We can argue that every potential customer out there is on a “journey” of their own in regards to your brand’s portfolio. While some might come across social media ads about your products, others might come in contact with your services in the hands of friends or family. However, taking advantage of that fact and leading the customer down a personalized journey, from awareness, through engagement, to advocacy, is a challenge in itself.
According to Medium, 31% of users wish for “far more” customer personalization than what an average web-based business might offer today. Additional customer personalization wish-list items include being recognized by name (56%), for the business to know their past purchase history (65%) and product recommendations (58%).
These numbers showcase a shift toward a more personal, friendly and close-to-heart customer journey than ever before thanks to digital and online media becoming prevalent. With that said, let’s take a look at what makes a customer journey experience tick, as well as how you can implement it going forward.
Customer Journey Experience Personalization 101
Let’s start by exploring what customer journey mapping is all about to get a better understanding of how we can utilize it daily. A customer journey represents a linear map of how a cold lead should be handled in order to make them a customer and a brand advocate.
Before you sell a product or service, you want to create an outline. Do you want to retain customers for repeated purchases or are you focused on one-time sales? What are your quarterly and yearly goals, and how does your marketing content reflect them? These factors can be used to map out a solid customer journey with personalization at its core to ensure long-term success for your business.
It is a common marketing practice to map your business’ customer journey experience prior to any major content marketing campaign to ensure its success. To break things down, a typical customer journey map contains the following stages – take each into consideration when trying to improve your customer journey.
- Awareness – A user becomes aware of your brand
- Consideration – user considers whether to invest time and resources into your brand
- Acquisition – user purchases your product, whether online or retail
- Service – customer uses your product/service and gauges its quality and ROI
- Loyalty – The customer comes back for more products/services and advocates for your brand
Customer Journey Personalization Methods
- Brand Storytelling
The thing that separates your brand from the competition lies in its mission statement, vision, goals and company culture. The best way to start the customer journey personalization throughout brand storytelling and by introducing potential customers to who you are behind the brand.
Brand storytelling can manifest in a number of ways, including employee showcasing, blog articles and videos just to name a few. The content based on brand storytelling can be published on your website, sent out to the mailing list or used to promote your social media pages. This approach to digital marketing will allow customers to identify with your brand philosophy and quickly determine whether you are the right fit for them.
- Social Engagement
Speaking of social media platforms, it’s worth noting that hubs such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter enjoy a multi-billion following. These platforms and others can provide your business with an untapped market to explore when it comes to attracting new leads.
Simply create social media pages under your company’s name and brand identity before you engage users through posts, comment discussions and sales offers. Social media platforms are an intuitive communication channel used by users across the world regardless of their age or lifestyle. As such, their role in your customer journey experience is invaluable, so make sure to explore their potential in terms of content marketing and engagement.
- Audience Segmentation
The fact of the matter is that no two customers are alike when it comes to specifics wants and expectations from the brands they follow. As such, focusing your efforts to improve customer journey experience for existing and future customers will enable you to segment your audience more effectively.
For example, if you launch an email-based campaign, your mailing platform will let you analyze data to gauge which leads responded positively or negatively. Different writing services can be utilized to write relevant content and retrofit content marketing for different audience groups within your customer base more efficiently. This will allow you to further streamline and target different demographics within your customers contact list to personalize their experience even further.
- Post-Engagement Retargeting
Once a user converts into a customer, you will have a number of choices as to how to proceed with them further. Some businesses are content with having one-time customers which may or may not advocate for their brands to local social circles. Others, however, choose to retarget existing customers and offer additional purchase incentives through discounts, exclusive offers, limited-time deals, etc.
Customer data can thus be used to retarget leads to further improve customer journey personalization based on their prior engagement of your brand. Additionally, sending post-purchase surveys or polls written through platforms such as Readable will be seen as a net positive with customers. As we’ve stated previously, many customers will enjoy the added benefit of having a personalized experience following their initial purchase – make the most of it.
- Loyalty Reward & Recognition
Lastly, loyalty programs can further personalize your customer journey experience and allow for a plethora of engagement opportunities for existing leads. Customers who buy products/services repeatedly can be rewarded with points toward free items or special gifts for loyal brand followers.
In addition, these customers can be brought onboard for content marketing purposes through quotes, interviews or reviews about your services. Such social proof will work wonders for future customers and their personalized journey with your brand, since testimonials represent effective and trustworthy marketing materials. Try to find ways to reward loyal brand followers with referral links, special offers and signs of gratitude – they will return those efforts in spades.
Continuous Personalization (Conclusion)
With the plethora of communication channels available at your disposal, now is the best time to reinvent your customer journey map and introduce meaningful innovation. It’s worth noting that no personalization choice is permanent and final – you can constantly make adjustments to your lead generation, nurturing and loyalty campaigns respectively. Once you find the sweet spot of having good brand reception with brand followers across the web, the customer journey experience personalization will become worth it.