Why walking in your customers’ shoes is the first place to start in marketing

A business owner approached me on LinkedIn and asked me to look at their marketing. Like many businesses they were keen to sell but had no idea where to start.

The problem was they had “tried marketing” and in their view, had spent money on trying to attract customers but were unclear on whether it was working. I could sense they were so desperate to find new customers, they weren’t looking at what had worked already. My advice to the business owner was clear and simple. Start with the customers you have now then work backwards. In principle, work out WHO your best customers are, then think about WHY and HOW they found you. Only then can we look at attracting new ones because we know what works and what we need to improve upon, to make them buy.

Your best customers’ shoes

So, if we are thinking about our best customers, who are they and where are they.

WHO – which customers, make you happy, make you money, make you proud?

WHY – what problems did you fix / do you fix … save money, reduce time, improve success?

HOW – did they find you and what happened next?

This means mapping out your best customer’s journey – the route they took from thinking about the help they needed, through to converting into a loyal and happy customer. This needs to be done for every product or service you deliver. Every product will have its own set of customers with similar problems that need fixing.

How does the customer journey work?

If you fix your existing customers’ problems, then you can do the same for prospects who are similar. Work out what problems they had (PAIN), how you fixed it and what this meant to them (GAIN). Take a look at Understanding your customers’ PAINS & GAINS which explains how this works. Once you are clear on what they want and how you can help them, they need to find you. This is about being in the right place at the right time. From here, you can draw them in with tactics to impress and keep on impressing so they remain happy and loyal.

Six stages of the customer journey

The six stages of the customer journey cover touchpoints or interactions with prospects and customers. Touchpoints relate to conversations and actions before, during and after service. For every touchpoint, you should be spotting gaps and finding opportunities to improve so they move from one stage to the next. Here’s a simple overview of a typical customer journey.

Awareness – a prospect sees your post on LinkedIn and recognises the problem you’re posting about.

Consideration – the post looks helpful so they check out the blog on your website which gives them a few tips.

Trial – with the blog there is a call to action which includes a prompt to get in touch and book a meeting.

Purchase – they take the steps you’ve advised in the meeting from which they are so impressed that they buy from you.

Retention – they are well looked after and remain a customer because of the experience they are given.

Advocacy – they enjoy the customer experience so much, they are happy to share with testimonials or referrals.

This may not start with a post on LinkedIn. It’s wherever your best customers are, for example a networking event or an exhibition, being referred into by another business or associate. From here, creating a clear pathway which allows customers to move from one stage to the next. Find an interactive exercise you can follow to work out your customer journey in How to map your customer journey to spot the gaps and find immediate opportunities  

What Next

Think about your best customer. What was their problem and where were you when they first noticed you? If there is a common theme then start to improve those messages and platforms to attract similar people, the prospects you want to engage with. Gather evidence of how you helped and find ways to introduce key messages such as posts for social media and stories for meetings. From awareness to advocacy, map out your customer journey and start filling the gaps to ensure the journey is smooth and continuously inviting.

If you have an accountant, they should be your first stop for business advice. If you don’t have an accountant or they can’t help, BuBul has a wide range of experts available. For more advice on customer journeys, contact our expert* Nigel on LinkedIn.

*We’ve picked experts we know and trust who are good at what they do. All of them will give you at least an extra 30 minutes free advice if you contact them and would then charge their normal prices. They don’t pay to be on BuBul and don’t give us any money from anything they earn as an expert.