Turn prospects into buyers with customer journey mapping

How do you get those prospects to turn into customers? That is the million-dollar question all small business owners want to know the answer to. Today I’m going to teach you a customer journey mapping framework that will help you do just that in your business.

Traditional marketing advice will tell you to create a sales funnel – an idea that suggests you start with a large number of leads at the top of the funnel and work them through your funnel, losing some along the way, until a few pop out the bottom as customers. That, I can tell you with confidence, is a model that just doesn’t work in our current age.

Nobody travels a straight line from Point A (not knowing who you are) to Point B (buying your product or service). It’s more of a squiggly line, that jumps off the page all the time and comes back on where you least expect it. Nowadays, we have to understand the problem our ideal client is trying to solve and put our business in the path of their journey (not our funnel).

The other problem with funnels is that they tend to stop when someone buys and turns into a customer. This completely ignores the fact that the absolute best source of leads are referrals from your happy customers.

Instead of a funnel, you need a Marketing Hourglass, which focuses on seven key stages your prospects and customers will enter at various points in their customer journey: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer. By using the marketing hourglass framework, you create valuable information and experiences at each of these stages of the customer journey allowing prospects to get to know you and customers to love and refer you.

reduce customer churn using the Marketing Hourglass

Getting a Baseline

The first step in creating your marketing hourglass is to understand how your business comes in contact with prospects and customers now.

Some you will know about and have some control over and some you won’t. The important thing is to document them all and what you are currently doing to engage with prospects and customers at these touchpoints.

Then you have to dig deep and REALLY understand your customer’s problems. The way they think about them. We all like to think that our products and services are what people are buying, but they’re not. People are buying a solution to a problem, sometimes a problem they didn’t know they had, sometimes a problem we didn’t know we could solve.

To get to this problem you can talk to them, look at the reviews they leave you, or hire someone like us to interview them. Whichever method you choose, you need to know the questions that prospects are asking themselves before they begin the search that could lead them to you.

Building Your Marketing Hourglass

Once you’ve got a good idea of how your customers interact with you now, what they’re looking for, and how they’re looking for it, you’re ready to build your marketing hourglass. This means taking each of seven stages and mapping out how your audience might engage with you and making sure you have content, or processes, or experiences for each (there’s a worksheet you can download to help with this).

Know – This is before they know you exist. Referrals are key here, also networking, PR, website articles that score well with Google.

Like – Once they know you, they need to get to like you. Here things like blog posts, social media updates, your community involvement, maybe some ebooks they can download.

Trust – To move them to trust they need to see reviews, referrals, testimonials, associations you may have with other credible organizations.

Try – Before they buy from you, they need to try you. This could be a free consultation, a phone call, a seminar, how-to ebooks.

Buy – Think about your onboarding or orientation process. How can you make it a great experience, how can you surprise and delight them?

Repeat – Make sure they understand the value they got from you. Make them feel important. Upsell them on additional products and services that will add more value.

Refer – Get this right and everything gets easier. You have to make sure you are referral worthy. Focus on your delivery and really add value. Then you need to put programs in place to create brand champions and make it easy for your happy customers to tell others about you and refer your business.

Once you have your marketing hourglass in place, you’ll be amazed, but you won’t be finished. You need to constantly monitor how different elements are performing and how your customers are evolving. Make sure you have the right triggers in place to convert them at each stage and in each channel that you are engaging with them in.

Download this free Marketing Hourglass worksheet if you’d like to give it try yourself.

To help you take stock of where you are now, try our free Marketing Strategy Assessment.

Thanks for reading and I really hope this helps you find a way to better engage with your prospects and customers along their journey. If you want to discuss how to most effectively use this tool in your business you can book a free consultation or even leave a comment here.