Hourglass 01-02 As a small-business owner, you want your customers to have the best customer experience possible. If comparable to traveling, you would want them to experience the comforts of sumptuous living in a five-star hotel and not, let’s say, the irritations of trekking through an arid desert without food or water.

It is unfortunate that some clients’ experiences are more like the latter than the former. Poor customer service, untimely delivery of products, and unmet expectations are some of the things that can make a buyer’s trip as unpleasant as an unpleasant and mishap-ridden vacation.
These negative experiences can be avoided through the implementation of a marketing strategy that ensures the ideal buyer journey from beginning to end. Once small-business owners, especially those in rapidly evolving markets such as information technology, are aware of all the phases involved in the customers’ experience, they can focus on the details that make clients want to come back for more business.
Here are the seven phases of the customers’ experience, using the Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass™ as the guide:

1. Know
A potential client will typically learn about your products or services through an ad or word-of-mouth. Since this is the first impression she will have of your company, you want to make sure it is a good one. To do this, you must first learn who your ideal customer is in as much detail as possible. This entails establishing a buyer persona with obvious demographic data, such as gender, age, income, interests, and educational level, but also psychographic information about her main motivations, challenges, problems, and influences. Once this is known, you can tailor your message to appeal to potential customers’ specific interests and needs.

2. Like
Once a potential customer perceives that your product or service fits her needs, she will search for more information by either looking you up online or physically visiting your business. At this phase, it is crucial that all of your marketing assets, such as your website, logo, store design, and marketing materials, communication a right message, consistently. If this part of the journey is handled correctly, the prospective customer will begin to align or like the overall feel of your organization and proceed to the next phase.
The customer proceeds to learn more about your business through the content on your website or emails, during an in-person meeting, or by receiving a sales presentation. It is crucial that a consistent message be communicated through all the points of contact a customer may have with the company. By offering educational information in the form of webinars, reports, checklist, and other relative information, the customer will begin to trust in your expertise and begin to believe your business can solve their problem..

3. Trust
This part of the customer journey is probably the most challenging for the business owner, but essential for your marketing strategy. Trust is built with consistency, empowering your prospect, and by communicating credentials such as accreditations, memberships, transparency, and social proofs.

4. Try
Offering the option to try your product or service allows potential customers to feel more comfortable with the buying process. Through the use of free trials, seminars, and guarantees, your business has the opportunity to build trust and demonstrate value and benefit.

5. Buy
A customer who is sufficiently convinced of your product or service’s value and benefit will proceed to buy. At this phase, it is crucial that the promises and guarantees made at the first point of contact be completely met. There must be a seamless transition between your company’s marketing, sales team, transaction process, and service or delivery team.

6. Repeat
If all phases are handled properly up to this point, your customer is likely to repeat the buy. To ensure that she gets the most value out of your product or service, you can provide a thorough on-boarding process, include how-to materials and convenient usage tips. Also, it is important that you gather feedback, for example, a customer satisfaction survey, to ensure that expectations are met, and any deficiencies are improved upon

7. Refer
This last step is the ultimate goal of the ideal customer experience. Once a client is thoroughly convinced of your product or service’s value, you want her, she will refer your business to others just like here. In this way, satisfied and loyal customers are generating leads for your business, which is the outcome of a highly effective marketing strategy..

To learn more about the steps of devising an effective strategy that will boost your marketing ROI, feel free to download this free customer experience e-book.

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