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One aspect of business that is incredibly important but often overlooked is the client journey.
Simply put, your ‘client journey’ is the experience people have as they come into contact with your business, get to know you, learn about your offerings and their benefits, make the decision to buy, and receive their goods or services.
Client journeys are easily overlooked as incidental, the focus being placed on attracting leads, creating the content to educate them on your value, and ensuring your offers are as valuable and enticing as possible.
The journey is something that happens as a result of all of this, so it often feels we’re already dealing with it, by handling everything else.
But ensuring your clients are happy during their journey with you is crucial for several reasons, not least of which your desire to serve your audience in the most positive manner possible.
Beyond that, a happy journey has a huge impact on sales and the lifetime value of your clients, in that it will greatly affect whether they become repeat business and help grow your client base through positive word of mouth.
Client journeys are simple on the surface, consisting of the process of offering something that is bought. But dig deeper and you’ll find it’s more complex.
The more effectively you map your client journey the happier prospects will be as they follow the path towards becoming clients.
Look at it this way: happy prospects turn into happy clients, therefore a happy client journey is essential for building a sustainable, successful business.
Client Journeys & Lifetime Value
The point of any journey is the destination, client journeys are no different.
Your goal is to build strong relationships with your audience, educate them on the value of your products and services, and demonstrate the depth of your expertise, so that they naturally want to buy from you.
Your client journey aims to transform leads, first into paying clients, then into repeat business, then into brand ambassadors.
Think of the latter as your end game – the ultimate goal of the client journey is to ensure your clients are so delighted by your business and everything you’ve done for them that they market your business for you, through positive word of mouth and happily recommending you.
The importance of this really shouldn’t be underestimated, both for the sake of your clients and your business.
The happier they are at every point of contact you have with them the greater the benefits and value they receive, and the more likely they are to not only want to buy from you, but come back to you time and again.
A few weeks ago I was blogging about the CLV trinity and the client journey is a huge part of getting this right.
Creating a happy client journey is the easiest way to maximise your profits in the most soulful way possible, because it all hinges on creating the most positive, transformational, valuable experience possible for your clients.
The key is placing the emphasis on your clients, rather than yourself; your profits will increase as a result but the more you can see that as a happy bonus the more effective you will be in crafting a great journey.
Mapping Your Client Journey
Happy journeys hinge on details.
When mapping out your client journey, remember that there are the big parts that are easy to see, and a lot of smaller aspects that are very easy to overlook.
You’ve likely already got the big elements nailed. At the very least you’ll be aware they’re important. Regardless of how effectively you’ve already perfected these aspect take another look, just to be sure and give you the full journey in context.
Make sure all the big stuff is handled:
- Your website looks great
- You have regular content going out to educate and engage your leads
- You’re active on the social media platform that’s most popular with your ideal clients
- You’re actively growing your leads database
- You’re nurturing your leads
Once you have that in place you can look at all the little things that link these major points together.
Here’s a useful analogy: your client journey is made up of several overnight stays, lots of little pit stops, and a whole lot of road way. Ensure the whole journey is perfectly constructed to be as positive as possible.
Luckily you can map out your client journey with a few simple steps:
Define The Behavioural Stages Of Your Clients
All clients go through certain motions when they need something. Understanding these behaviours will help you create effective ways of meeting their needs.
It begins when they have a problem or need and recognise it’s an issue. They go in search of a solution for their problem – in the online world that means turning to Google or another search engine.
They will then compare and evaluate the alternative options, decide which option is best for them and make a purchase, and finally evaluate their satisfaction with the solution. If they’re happy they’re likely to recommend it or come back for more.
2. Align Each Stage With A Client Goal
Take each of these behavioural stages and align it with a specific goal. The specific goals may vary depending on your business but here’s a basic example:
|Behaviour Stage||Client Goal|
|Problem/Need||Make their life better by fixing a problem or meeting a need.|
|Search For Solution||Find an effective solution to their problem/need.|
|Compare And Evaluate||Ensure they pick the best option for them.|
|Make A Purchase||Take action to improve their lives.|
|Evaluate Their Satisfaction||Feel satisfied they have an effective solution, their need has been met, and they money they spent was a good investment.|
|Recommend You||Help friends and family achieve the same satisfaction they feel from your product/service.|
|Buy Again||Continue to improve their lives, solve their problems, and meet their needs by getting even more effective solutions from you, or solutions to related problems and needs.|
3. Plan Your Touchpoints That Achieve Their Goals
For your client journey to be effective and pleasant it’s important to create touchpoints for each behavioural stage – points at which your prospects can interact with your business in a way that fulfills each of their goals. Take a look at the things they will be doing, and what they’re trying to achieve at every stage, and make sure there is an effective touchpoint for each stage.
For example, having great SEO will help people in stage two by providing them with the answers to their search questions. Likewise when they come to compare and contrast different options making sure you have plenty of great testimonials and case studies to demonstrate your way is the best way will meet their goal and help them choose you.
4. Find The Bumps In The Road
A lot of these elements are likely in place, to some extent, so go through your client journey step-by-step and look for anything that’s missing or currently not working as well as it should or could. Fix any aspects you’re unhappy with.
How To Use The Client Journey To Increase Sales
While the primary focus of your client journey is to ensure you’re delivering maximum value while helping your clients as much as possible, it’s important to keep sight of the fact you are also running a business. Optimising your client journey to increase your sales as much as possible may feel a bit nasty, but keep in mind that you are performing a vital function for your clients and pouring a lot of effort and resourcing into their wellbeing.
You deserve to earn a healthy wage in exchange for all that good you’re doing.
As a quick fix, just remember that all the benefits your clients gain from you and your business will only increase as you flourish and grow.
Growth will help you, yes, but it will also help you to help your customers even more.
The Essential Elements
There are a few essential elements that you should try to include in every stage of your client journey to encourage maximum sales simply by providing the right information, accessibility, and properly educating your tribe.
It’s not always possible to use all of them in every stage, but always use at least one, and more if possible.
#1 Provide Social Proof
Proving social proof in the form of testimonials, reviews, case studies not only demonstrates the effectiveness of your offers it builds trust.
Having an active presence with high engagement on the social media platform most relevant to your ideal client is also a great way to create social proof of your expertise.
#2 Make Yourself Easily Accessible
Include clear and easy ways to you contact on your website, respond to people on social media as soon as you can, show up on your platforms and engage in conversations with people by replying to their comments on your posts.
Have a free curiosity call offer, or the equivalent, so people can always book and ask you more questions without charge or obligation.
In addition to making yourself available digitally, consider running live events in person, such as workshops and seminars that get people real face time with you on a regular basis. If you have an international audience you can do this on your social media using Facebook or Instagram Live, Snapchat etc.
#3 Build Your Credibility
Include elements that will build your credibility by strengthening and expanding your presence, authority and credibility online. You can also join professional networks, like Profit First Professionals Australia, to demonstrate you’re a pro and connect with others.
Demonstrate you have faith in your own product/service by giving a free taster of it – a free trial, a free chapter of a book, a sample of a product, or a free mini-taster of a service is ideal, and doubles as a great lead magnet for your email marketing list.
#4 Offer Guarantees To Build Trust
You can also build confidence and trust in your business by safeguarding the investment people are making in you through the use of guarantees. It’s important to be careful when working a guarantee into your offer to ensure it’s viable for your business model, but provided you’re sensible about it this can be a really powerful force in your client journey, providing comfort and reassurance.
Where you might run into trouble is if you try to offer a guarantee you won’t be able to fulfill without damaging your business. For example, you can’t offer a money-back guarantee on a service, because the service will already have been performed by the time the client is unhappy and wants a refund. You can’t take that kind of financial hit. You can, however, guarantee to provide a replacement for whatever they’re unhappy with, or to continue working on what they’ve paid for until they are happy with it.
There are a few different types of guarantees you can use, pick the one best suited to your business model and most useful for your clients:
- Money Back Guarantees
- Risk-Free Guarantees
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantees
- Forever Guarantees
- Price Match Guarantees
#5 Create A Personal Experience
Tailor your client journey to the specifics of your ideal client as much as possible by learning their language, honing a brand voice that speaks directly to them, and infusing that into all your communications.
Beyond that, get seriously customer-centric in your marketing and service delivery and personalise it wherever possible. A few easy ways to do this:
- Send handwritten notes to new clients or members.
- Send parting gifts to clients at the end of long contracts.
- Add a special touch, little gift, or thoughtful note to any parcels you send out.
- Give your clients and unexpected call just to check in.
The old school marketing methods are really effective, especially because so much marketing now takes place online it can feel very foreign and depersonalised. There’s a disconnect between online entrepreneurs and their clients because they are literally removed from them. So make the extra effort to close the gap by picking up the phone rather than sending an email, writing them something by hand, and surprising them with little bonuses.
If you need further help optimising your client journey and business as a whole for maximum profits book a free curiosity call now and we can chat about how the Profit First method can help you create a client-focussed business that is both helpful and highly profitable.