A buyer’s journey is every interaction with your company a prospect experiences before becoming a customer. From the initial email or advertisement to becoming a loyal customer, the buyer’s journey is the path of engagements that leads prospects to become customers.
A buyer’s journey is the path that prospects follow which convert them from contacts to leads, leads to MQLs, MQL to SALs, SALs to Sales, Sales to Advocates.
The buyer’s journey is highly dependent on three very specific prerequisites:
A buyer’s journey will go through a few drafts before it’s finalized as your detailed buyer’s journey. For the first draft, draw it in a process flow that shows each outbound communication – try Draw.io – it’s a free and powerful tool to put these together. For the first draft, don’t worry about the channel used to deliver the communication pieces.
Take a look at your content map and use multiple outbound communication pieces to support it. Once you have the process flow down, add wait times between each step. After that, consider adding logic such as if an email link is clicked or form is filled, move to the next stage in the journey. Try not to repeat yourself in the journey – the idea here is to create a seamless nurturing path that progressively moves each prospect down your marketing funnels for an easy transition and conversion to a sale.
Next, label each step of the journey with the communication channel. It’s important to review your buyer persona to see which communication channels would be the most appropriate. Now, consider what information you would like to gather about your prospects as they progress through the buyer’s journey. Think with the end in mind. Put together the list of criteria and follow the steps listed in the progress profiling article.
Now that you have your buyer persona, content map, messaging table, progressive profiling plan, and your buyer’s journey draft, now it’s time to consider the marketing automation platform you’ll need to support it. There are a few listed here on the marketing tools page. It’s unlikely that you’ll need anything sophisticated like an enterprise tool like Hubspot, Pardot, Eloqua, or Marketo. To support progressive profiling in the buyer’s journey, you’ll need a tool that’s a bit more sophisticated than a standard email blasting tool. Some of the alternative tools for small businesses include Active Campaign, Get Response, Campaign Monitor, Agile CRM, and others.
As a side gig entrepreneur, it’s important to be flexible to your resources and maximize the value of any tool you’re using. Before signing up for a tool, make sure you have the content to support it. If you’ve followed the plan above and have built out all of the content to support the buyer’s journey, then purchasing the software makes a lot more sense. By defining the requirements to support the buyer’s journey first, you can review each software and make sure it supports your requirements before making a purchase. This helps you keep money in your pocket. It happens to big companies all the time – they buy software with great expectations and then they never use it to its full extent. It’s like buying a Ferrari and then going grocery shopping.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”
The journey down the sales and marketing funnels is only the start of the customer’s journey. Your persona’s first purchase is only the beginning of their journey as customers. More to come on this topic, check back in a couple of weeks.