Customer Journey

How to use this strategy to turn unfamiliar prospects into enthusiastic repeat customers.

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Reading time 15 min
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For entrepreneurs and marketing managers
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Forget everything you've heard about online marketing

Surely you know this: you want to do marketing, but you don't even know where to start.

You ask a few people for help and suddenly you find countless "experts" promising to magically bring you new customers at the touch of a button.

I'll give you one piece of advice: forget everything you've heard about marketing so far.

In this article, you will learn the one marketing strategy you can use to successfully convert prospects into paying customers. Your marketing stands and falls with this strategy.

This strategy is applicable to all entrepreneurs and in every industry. And it is completely timeless because these basic marketing levers can never become obsolete.

The Customer Value Journey

The Customer Value Journey is the strategic foundation for everything we do here at marketer UX. It is the master template on which every other online marketing tactic is built.

It is so important that we confidently make this statement:

The task of marketing is to move prospects and customers smoothly through each stage of the customer journey.

From interested party to regular customer

In marketing, it is your job to build a relationship with your target group. This is how you turn them into loyal regular customers in the long term. 

Every person who becomes a customer of yours goes through an 8-step process. From the point they first hear about your company, learn about your products and finally trust you enough to buy from you when they need to.

We call this 8-step process the Customer Value Journey.

What if you could control the process? 

Then you can move prospects through the different stages of the customer journey in a predictable way and thus manage the growth and success of your business. 

So you no longer have to wonder when the next orders will come. You no longer have to cross your fingers and hope for new customers.

If you understand this process, new customers and referrals will come automatically.


Overview of the Customer Value Journey

Now that you understand why the customer journey is so important - Let's take a closer look at the Customer Value Journey: 


Customer Value Journey Phase 1 to Phase 8 explained

The 8 phases of the Customer Value Journey

I show you the 8 phases of the Customer Journey.

In addition, you will learn how to move your customers seamlessly through these phases through your own marketing strategy.

Phase 1. create purchase awareness

Phase 1.
Create purchase awareness

The first step of the customer journey is as simple as it is important:

No one will buy from you if they don't know you exist.

Pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?

In this step, the person becomes aware of you and your company.

Because nobody knows Apple and Microsoft from birth. At some point, a person has to learn about the company before they can become a customer.

There are various ways in which a potential customer can become aware of your company, product or services. Here are three possible scenarios:

An entrepreneur wants to pay less tax, but does not yet know how. This person "accidentally" sees a Facebook ad by tax consultant Burkhard Küpper, who offers tax coaching for entrepreneurs.

Example Phase 1 Creating purchase awareness through Youtube Ads
In this example, a tax consultant promotes his tax coaching through advertising on different channels to create awareness among the target group.

A family man is looking for an alarm system for his family home and searches Google for a supplier in his area.

Example Phase 1 Creating buying awareness through Google search
Example of a Google search ad - this is displayed when the user searches for "alarm systems Düsseldorf".

An athlete has knee osteoarthritis and wants to fix it permanently. He searches on Google for ways to avoid a knee prosthesis.

Example Phase 1 Creating buying awareness through Google search
If you google "avoid knee replacement", you will find an advertisement by Dr. Olaf Beck, who offers a sustainable treatment method.

So, as you can see, there are different approaches to creating purchase awareness among your target group. Here again in summary for you:

Marketing tactics to create buying awareness

To create buying awareness for your company, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Online marketing
  • Search Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
Phase 2. build a relationship

Phase 2.
Building a relationship

Your prospect now knows that you exist. But he does not yet know you.

This means he does not yet have confidence in you and your company. If you want to sell him something at this stage, it won't work. Your prospect has to warm up to you first.

So the next step is to build a relationship with your potential customer. This works no differently in online marketing than in reality:

If you want to build a relationship with someone, you need to talk to that person and build sympathy.

That's what this step is all about. You start talking to your prospect and offer them entertainment and/or information.

But be careful: 

You cannot tick off this step once and then forget it.

You need to talk and interact with your prospect throughout the entire customer journey process.

Interaction usually takes place through the communication of content.

Here are some examples from which you can draw inspiration:

BlueSafety gives appointments to their interested parties to analyse water hygiene in dental practices free of charge.

Example phase 2. building a relationship through an interesting offer
Blue Safety offers complex medical products for dentists. To build trust with dentists, Blue Safety offers an on-site analysis.

Elithairtransplant shows its prospective clients through an online form whether they are at all suitable for a hair transplant. Through the personal analysis, the basis of the customer relationship is created here.

Example Phase 2. Building a relationship through a free analysis
Through the hair analysis, interested parties can find out in advance, without obligation, whether they are suitable for a hair transplant.

Tax consultant Burkhard Küpper gives free tips on his YouTube channel on how entrepreneurs can save taxes.

Example Phase 2. Building a relationship through a YouTube channel
A Youtube channel is a great way to position yourself as an expert while building a relationship with viewers.

So, as you can see, there are different approaches to building a relationship with your target group. Here again in summary for you:

Marketing tactics to build a relationship

To build a relationship between prospects and your company, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing

We are happy to support you with the implementation

Contact us and we will show you how to build a relationship with your target group.

Phase 3. collect contact details

Phase 3.
Collect contact details

Now your prospect knows who you are and has engaged with you and your business in one way or another.

But if you don't get his contact details, you will probably never hear from him again. Why?

Nowadays we are inundated with marketing.

Experts estimate that we are exposed to up to 13,000 advertising messages¹ every day.

That means for you:

Just because someone interacts with your business today doesn't mean they will even remember you in the future.

So you need to get your prospects to give you the contact details. Then you can make sure that you contact your prospects so often in the future that they cannot forget your company.

This is how you get the contact details of your prospects:

You are advertising a valuable offer. But instead of asking for money from your prospect, ask them for their contact details.

Your prospect agrees and then of course receives the promised product. In addition, he allows you to contact him again in the future.

The advertised offer must deliver tangible added value for your target group.

Here are some examples from different sectors:

A woman signs up for the home24 newsletter by giving her email address. In return, she receives a voucher code for the online shop by email.

Example phase 3. Collect contact data through a voucher for newsletter registration
Through the email address, home24 can now regularly send new offers or exciting furnishing ideas to the prospective customer and thus build up a relationship.

A salesman wants to manage the contact details of his prospects in an organised way in one place. He is interested in Pipedrive and would like to try it out first. To do this, he provides his contact details and receives a 14-day trial version in exchange.

Example Phase 3. Collecting contact data through a test version
Offering a free trial in exchange for contact details is a smart way to build a long-term customer relationship.

The most important thing in this step is to give the potential customer something valuable in exchange for their contact details. As long as the user finds your offer useful, he will gladly give you his data.

As you can see, there is an opportunity to offer something in every industry. Whether a free trial or simply a voucher for the first purchase. Here for you an overview of the marketing channels you can use in phase 3.

Marketing tactics to collect contact details

To get your prospects' contact details, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
Phase 4. complete initial purchase

Phase 4.
Complete initial purchase

Your new contacts from step 3 will continue to engage with you and eventually be ready to strengthen the bond with you.

Contacts like the information you share and start to trust you. Your prospects are willing to invest time or money in your business. 

Your key to success

Many entrepreneurs are frustrated by this phase of the customer journey. They offer the prospect a complex and often expensive product far too early.

At this point it is too early to ask for a big investment. Remember:

They are only in the early stages of the relationship!

The key to success is to offer "entry offers". These offers should deliver tremendous value to the new prospect without posing much risk to them.

It is too early to worry about profit. 

Read correctly: You may lose money at this stage if you convert prospects into buyers.

And that is the most important lesson you should take away from this article:

The initial purchase is not about profits or profitability.

Your goal is to generate new customers. We'll take care of the profit later.

The secret of successful entrepreneurs

The most successful companies know: The most expensive marketing activity of a company is customer acquisition.

That's why Vodafone is willing to buy you out of your telecom contract and give you a free mobile phone. And that's also why Vistaprint sells 100 business cards for €9.

There are two types of entry offers: either they demand time or money.

Here are some examples:

GoDaddy sells its new customers a .de domain for less than 1€ per year.

Example Phase 4: Concluding the first purchase with an attractive offer for new customers
GoDaddy knows its numbers and knows exactly that this entry-level offer will pay off in the long run.

Audible not only offers new customers a free trial month, but also gives them an audio book.

Example phase 4: Complete first purchase with free additional product as incentive
Audible also makes it as attractive as possible for its prospective customers to get started with the free audiobook.


This step is about attracting customers and changing the relationship between you and your prospects.

Remember:

The most expensive marketing (in terms of time, money, resources) is the acquisition of new customers. 

The good news: 

After that, you will never have to pay to acquire the customers again.

Because a person who has once become a customer is very likely to buy more complex and higher priced products or services.

Marketing tactics to get customers to make the first purchase

To convert prospects into customers, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Digital Advertising
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Marketing

Acquire new customers at predictable advertising costs

Through insight into over 100 small and medium-sized enterprises, we have developed a concept with which we reliably generate new customers at predictable costs.

Phase 5. arouse enthusiasm

Phase 5.
Arouse enthusiasm

Congratulations! A new customer has completed a transaction with you.

Sure, it was a small transaction. But it was still a transaction. Your relationship is now at the next level.

Avoid this mistake at all costs

Now it's your job to make sure your new customer has a good experience and builds trust with you through the purchase.

If the person does not get value from this transaction, they will not move on to the next stage and will never buy from you again.

How can you now ensure that your customer has a good first experience with your product or service? 

Your customer needs to get tremendous value out of the transaction with you. If he gets value out of it, he will look forward to the next transaction with you!

Your client has now already done what you asked him to do.

For example, "Download this PDF", "Buy this product", "Hire me for this service".

As a reward, he should be able to draw tangible added value from this experience.

Here is an example:

A student buys a new MacBook. Then he gets an email from Apple showing him tips and tricks for his MacBook. He discovers new features and is once again excited about the product.

Example Phase 5: Generating enthusiasm through email marketing with tips on the product
Apple sends out an email after the purchase of a new MacBook with useful tips to make the customer's experience even better.

This phase is about your marketing giving your customers the opportunity to get value from doing business with you - and to enjoy that value immediately.

Marketing tactics to generate enthusiasm

To create enthusiasm with your customer, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
Phase 6. increase sales value

Phase 6.
Increase sales value

You have invested time, money and resources in the acquisition of new clients. In addition, you have ensured that clients have received tangible added value from working with you.

Important to understand:

It is possible that you have not made a profit by this time.

If you are in a competitive market (and who isn't?), you may even lose money by the sixth stage.

That's perfectly okay and here's why:

You invest from phase 1 to 5 in your
future profits.

Remember: acquiring new customers is always the most expensive part of marketing. But once you have a new customer, it is very easy to sell more products or services to them.

Your first sale is not about immediate profits. It's about converting a prospect into a customer to build a long-term (and profitable) customer relationship.

How to monetise your customers

If your business has a core offer, now is the time to make that offer. Once your customer has bought this core offer, you can present them with other relevant offers.

If you master this phase, your customers will thank you for this offer.

Examples could be:

An entrepreneur buys access to the online tax coaching "Taxes No Thanks" by tax consultant Burkhard Küpper. He then buys a 2-hour balance sheet check to analyse his savings potential.

Example Phase 6. Increase sales value through meaningful offers to the initial product
After the entry-level product "Taxes No Thanks", tax consultant Burkhard Küpper still offers sensible additional services to increase customer value.

A Pipedrive customer books the next higher package to unlock more features.

Example Phase 6. Increase sales value by expanding functions
Offering different bundles is a good way to upgrade existing customers to a higher package if they have the need for it.

A woman with a new car finds out about a flat rate car wash for 40€ per month via Mr. Wash's newsletter, instead of paying for each wash separately.

Example phase 6: Increase sales value through a more expensive flat rate package
Mr. Wash receives predictable monthly recurring revenue through the flat rate.

So: you have useful additional offers on top of your core product or service? This is perfect for increasing customer value.

You should regularly inform your customer about the possibilities and advantages of these offers. If he has a need, he will gratefully buy your offer.

Marketing tactics to increase sales value

To persuade the customer to upsell, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
Phase 7. passive promoter

Phase 7.
Passive promoter

Now you have a satisfied customer who has brought you several profitable purchases.

In the next phase, you need to set up marketing that encourages your most loyal customers to engage with you and your business.

A Passive Promoter is someone who talks positively about you and your brand.

He will not necessarily actively promote your business. But when asked about you, he will speak positively about you.

Passive promoters help to give your business more trust and credibility. This will help you attract more customers and grow your business.

These last two phases (Passive Promoter and Active Promoter) are often considered to be out of marketing's control.

But that is not true. 

You can create marketing that intentionally generates more promoters.

Here are some examples:

An employee recommends the concentration app Brain.fm to his colleagues. As soon as one of his colleagues signs up using his code, he gets a free month. 

Example phase 7: Passive promoter by gifting a free month with a successful recommendation
With a free month, Brain.fm motivates its customers to recommend the app to others.

A McFit customer takes her boyfriend to the gym. Since her boyfriend is so enthusiastic, he signs a contract on her recommendation. As a reward, she receives a free month.

Example phase 7: Passive promoter by gifting a free month with a successful recommendation
McFit also offers its customers an attractive opportunity to advertise for them with the free month programme.

A son recommends the Paypal payment service to his mother. In return, the son receives a 10€ bonus from Paypal, which he can withdraw.

Example phase 7: Passive promoter through 10 euros cashback on a recommendation
Paypal offers a whole 10 euros as a bonus for a successful recommendation.

The most successful companies in the world have understood how valuable the recommendation of an existing customer is. Companies like Paypal or McFit have even developed an attractive referral programme.

Marketing tactics to generate Passive Promoters

To turn more customers into Passive Promoters, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Marketing
Phase 8. active promoter

Phase 8.
Active Promoter

Let's move on to the supreme discipline: turning your customer into an active promoter.

Active promoters want to actively promote your product or service.

Option 1:

The promoter had a great experience with your company and wants to share their story with friends and family.

We all know that one Tesla driver who preaches the environmental benefits of an electric car. Or the Apple fan who enthusiastically tells every member of the family about his latest iPhone.

Don't get me wrong: these are great and convincing promoters.

But you can only control them with difficulty.

Option 2 (the better option):

Your promoters promote you because you have created an incentive for them in your marketing.

It is important that you consciously generate more promoters. By doing so, you build an army of sellers who will promote you completely free of charge.

Your marketing message gets a new audience: the promoter's fans, followers and friends. 

In addition, they hear about your business through someone they already trust. This makes it much more likely that they will become a customer of yours themselves.

Here are some examples:

  • An entrepreneur pays 20% less tax than before thanks to the "Taxes No Thanks" coaching. He is thrilled and tells every one of his fellow entrepreneurs about it.
  • A marketing agency has brought its client so much new sales that it shares the success of the collaboration on all its social media channels.
  • Tesla gives its customers 1500 free kilometres at a Supercharger when they recommend Tesla to friends and family.

Marketing tactics to generate Active Promoters

To turn more customers into Active Promoters, you need to master the following tactics, among others:

  • Email Marketing
  • Offer referral programmes
Customer Value Journey Phase 1 to Phase 8 explained

Why most throw their marketing budget out the window

You now know all 8 phases of the Customer Value Journey. To summarise for you once again:

  • Phase 1: Create purchase awareness
  • Phase 2: Building a relationship
  • Phase 3: Collect contact details
  • Phase 4: Finalise initial purchase
  • Phase 5: Arouse enthusiasm
  • Phase 6: Increase sales value
  • Phase 7: Passive promoter
  • Phase 8: Active promoter

Many entrepreneurs make a fatal mistake when trying to move their prospects and customers through the stages of the Customer Value Journey. 

They try to sell their most expensive product to strangers with one (!) campaign and turn them into promoters at the same time.

That is impossible.

You need to create several campaigns that move people from one phase to the next.
How to move customers through the Customer Value Journey

How to move customers through the Customer Value Journey

Think about the Customer Value Journey - whether you are involved in content marketing, digital advertising or similar.

This is the foundation for all the marketing tactics you will ever learn.

Next, you need to understand how to move prospects seamlessly through each of these stages.

The short answer: 

They create marketing campaigns that deliberately move people from one stage to the next.

These two words are important:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Consciously

That's why we're dealing with it again explicitly.

Marketing campaign

A campaign aims to get people to contact you. 

Another campaign aims to inspire new customers to buy. 

A marketing campaign leads prospects to the next step of the customer value journey.

Consciously

Everyone who has ever become a customer of a company has been through the Value Journey. Regardless of whether that company has consciously enabled it or not. 

Once you apply the Value Journey to your marketing, you can target and improve the areas where your customers are 'stuck'. 

Examples: Customer Value Journey in application

Case study 1
Hochschule Ruhr West

  • Campaign objective: Build relationship (phase 2)
  • Advertising channel: Google Search Ads 
  • Our service: web design & development, conversion optimisation, campaign management
  • Offer: Student advisory service for women on the mechanical engineering course

The Hochschule Ruhr West is the only university in Germany to offer mechanical engineering as a women's degree programme. The aim was to generate as many new female students as possible for the HRW.

We have chosen Google search ads as our advertising channel. This way we reach every person who is looking for a mechanical engineering degree. 

We wanted to build a relationship with the prospective students and therefore already listed the advantages of the women's degree programme within the advertisement.

Case Study HRW Customer Value Journey Phase 2 Google Search Ad
Google search display as soon as a person searches for "mechanical engineering studies". The advantages of the HRW are already described here.

When you click on the ad, you land on a specially optimised landing page. On this page, the prospective student will find all the important advantages of the women's degree programme.

Case Study HRW Customer Value Journey Phase 2 Landing Page
In order to build even more trust with prospective students, we have included testimonials from current students on the landing page.

The landing page has been designed to generate maximum interest from the target audience. The sole aim of the page is to start a conversation with the prospective students.

For this, prospective students can ask all their questions about the course in exchange for their mobile phone number.

Result:

The HRW was able to collect so many contact details from prospective female students. Through the ongoing conversation on WhatsApp, a relationship was successfully built. The conversations resulted in counselling appointments and eventually enrolments for the programme.

Case study 2
Tax consultant Burkhard Küpper

  • Campaign goal: Create purchase awareness (phase 1)
  • Advertising channel: YouTube
  • Our service: web design & development, conversion optimisation, campaign management
  • Offer: Information on tax coaching

Tax advisor Burkhard Küpper has designed tax coaching in the form of an online course as an alternative to having clients with him. 

The product "Taxes No Thanks" was brand new on the market at that time. Therefore, we first had to raise awareness (phase 1) among the target group.

For this, we mainly placed video ads on YouTube to reach as many people of our client's target group as possible.

Case Study Tax Advisor Customer Value Journey Phase 1 Advertisements Youtube
Ads for "Taxes No Thanks" before and during YouTube videos create purchase awareness among the target group.


Result:

Through provocative Youtube ads such as "Can I deduct a Rolex from tax?" we were able to build up market awareness incredibly quickly. Thus, goal phase 1 (creating purchase awareness) was quickly achieved. In total, "Steuern Nein Danke" achieved a turnover of 2.7 million euros within 6 months of its market launch.

These results are also possible for your company!

Contact us and we will show you how we can maximise your sales.

Case study 3
Schneider Law Firm

  • Campaign objective: Collect contact data (phase 3)
  • Advertising channel: Google Search Ads
  • Our service: web design & development, conversion optimisation, campaign management
  • Offer: Free case review

Lawyer Adam Schneider wanted new clients for his law firm. 

In order to collect the contact details of interested parties, we have developed an offer for new clients together with Adam Schneider: a free case review.

Case Study Law Firm Customer Value Journey Phase 3 Offer
In 3 steps, interested parties can get a free case assessment from lawyer Adam Schneider.

To receive this free case review, we ask interested parties for their contact details.

Law Firm Case Study Customer Value Journey Phase 3 Collect Contact Details
The contact details for the free case review are requested in a simple form.

Interested parties thus receive a valuable offer in exchange for their contact details. The staff of Rechtsanwalt Adam Schneider can then directly convert the enquiries back into paying clients. The rest is then just simple mathematics.

Result:

With this system, we collected contact details from 272 prospects in just 2 months. Of these, 33% were converted into paying clients, generating €108,000 in revenue for the law firm.

Congratulations, you now know all the phases of consciousness!

You have successfully completed the article. Now you belong to the exclusive group of entrepreneurs who know how to turn prospects into loyal repeat customers.

The 8 awareness phases should now form the basis of every marketing action you take.

Use your new knowledge to improve your marketing and give you a big advantage over your competition!


Where do we go from here?

The Customer Value Journey you have learned here is a solid marketing strategy. With it, you can plan to generate new customers and scale your business.

But the wonderful thing about digital marketing is that there are no limits.

Your next step is to expand your skills in each of these areas. This will enable you to outperform your competition and anticipate your customers' needs.

This is the only way to achieve real growth: by creating and optimising the Customer Value Journey.

For real entrepreneurs

Would you like feedback on your current Customer Value Journey? Or someone to optimise the Customer Value Journey in your company?

We are happy to help you!

You can then be confident that your marketing is working and getting results. 

This expert talk is perfect if you are an entrepreneur:

  • Want to consciously move your prospects through the Customer Value Journey
  • Discover your sales potential through more customer enquiries & an optimised closing rate
  • Maximise your completion rate and average order value
  • you are looking for a reliable online marketing agency that makes your business a priority

Get feedback on your Customer Value Journey

Arrange an expert meeting and get personal feedback on your Customer Journey. We check your strengths and weaknesses and discover your dormant sales potential - in less than 30 minutes.

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