A sale happens after a customer decides to buy from you. We all know that.
But we often ignore that a buying decision is the result of a well-defined process called
Customer Value Journey. It’s true for a million-dollar B2B deal. And it’s true for a few dollars worth impulsive buying by a B2C customer.
Off-line or on-line, the Customer Value Journey is more or less the same. The process was there before the internet. And it will be there tomorrow.
Most freelancers often wonder why they don’t have a stable and predictable income. Statistics show that on an average 90% freelancers struggle to pay their bills.
Freelancers don’t get paid on time; they can’t charge enough; they don’t get enough clients; they choose wrong clients, and so on.
But those are just symptoms, not reasons.
The problem has little to do with technical skills or creativity.
There’s a limiting belief that there are too many freelancers in the market, so the competition is high.
That’s a load of baloney.
A reason is, most freelancers don’t understand business. They have experience as employees.
Many of them are freshers – having no experience.
Without having an entrepreneur’s mindset, they try to learn too many things half-ass. Naturally, they get half-ass results.
But the freelancing profession is not so complicated.
Even if you have just one skill, you can become a successful freelancer – by guiding your prospects along the Customer Value Journey. How about attracting swarms of customers instead of going to them? How about getting more deals that you can handle? Are you ready for that?
Let’s dive into understanding the Customer Value Journey. It will give you a step by step process for attracting, converting, and keeping your best customers.
What is Customer Value Journey?
The Customer Value Journey (let’s call it CVJ) is about turning strangers into super fans. Digital marketing can make this journey incredibly faster.
I reviewed many templates of CVJ, but none of them are as in-depth as the one developed by Digital Marketer, the partner of our Online Business University.
The CVJ is an 8 step route that people travel as they discover your brand, build a relationship with you, and finally become your super fans.
If we draw a map, the path will look like this.
It looks like a gallery floor-plan with several arrows showing different directions, right? A customer left alone in this journey will get lost along the way.
They may get confused, and even forget why they ever started on this journey with your brand.
That’s why we need a strategy to guide people through all the eight steps, helping them when they get stalled anywhere and encourage them to move along the journey.
Here we go.
Step 1 – Know Your Ideal Customer
In the beginning, you should avoid the temptation of offering everything to everyone. Most freelancers make this mistake and end up nowhere.
You must figure out who your ideal customer is, where they hang around and what they will buy. You need to create a document around this. We call it Customer Avatar. Building your customer avatar can have a massive impact on your marketing results.
The customer avatar document is a “Swiss Army Knife of Marketing” because it impacts practically every aspect of your marketing, including:
- Website design
- Content marketing
- Paid traffic
- Product creation
- Email marketing
And that’s just scratching the surface. Any part of your sales and marketing process that touches the customer will improve when you get clear on your customer avatar.
After all, it’s a human being who buys our products or services. It pays to get a clear picture of the characteristics of the person, so you can present them with a message that can move them into taking the desired action.
Here is a sample template showing how a customer avatar document looks.
For example, let us take a buyer group of small supermarket owners like Venkataesh.
He wants to let his business continue to grow after the Covid-19 lockdown. After doing a little research, our customer avatar document looked like this:
You should take your time to research your customer avatar. Because it can make or break your business going forward. It’s very, very important.
Step 2 – Make Them Aware of Your Offers
At this stage, you let your prospects discover your offers and your brand.
Prospect awareness can be triggered by advertisements, blog posts, words of mouth referrals, events, social media or any other channels that get people’s attention, then entertain or inform them.
You need to create a campaign with contents relevant at this stage. It’s called Top of the Funnel Content Strategy.
Step 3 – Engage Them with Your Brand
Engagement means an emotional involvement or commitment. It’s about being on the same wavelength with someone. It’s a prerequisite to building a deeper relationship, just like it happens before marriage.
In digital marketing, it happens just after your first interaction with the prospects, and it continues through the entire experience with your brand. It’s a continuing conversation you have with them throughout the Customer Value Journey. You use multiple channels like a blog, social community, email, customer support and the likes.
Step 4 – Ask Them to Subscribe
If the prospects like the experience of interacting with you, they start liking you. A level of trust begins to build up. At this stage, you can ask them to subscribe to get more valuable information. The purpose is to get their email addresses to establish a closer relationship with them.
Today people are careful about giving their email addresses. You have to offer something valuable that makes it worthwhile to exchange their email addresses against that offer. It may be a free ebook, demo, webinar, downloadable cheat sheets, or anything useful to them. They fill in a form, submit, and get access to your freebie – instantly.
Step 5 – Convert Them into Customers by Offering a Low-Ticket, High-Value Product or Service
It’s also called the Tripwire marketing stage. The idea is to offer subscribers a low-cost, low-risk, high-value product, and sell them more expensive products later. … Once a subscriber becomes a customer, they are more likely to become a customer again.
A tripwire offer is not supposed to make you a profit. The only intention is to create a smooth transition from subscriber to paying, happy customer. Real profit will come later in the journey.
Step 6 – Make Them Excited about Your Brand
People feel good after they buy something. It’s a scientific fact. Buying gives a feeling of acquiring something due to release of a mood-enhancing hormone called dopamine. That gets people ready to be excited.
That’s why this sixth stage of building excitement in your buyer’s mind is essential.
How can you do that? Give them some memorable experience of the buying process. Send them a thank you letter. Give them a quick-start tutorial. Give them some bonuses; some discount coupons; or some freebies. Anything that they will remember.
Step 7 – Make Them Repeat Buyers
This is called the ascension stage. See the ladder image on the top left corner of the CVJ diagram.
The goal here is to generate repeat buys from the same customers. Real profit starts here.
Your entry point offer was planned for conversions. Your ascension offers should be aimed at making profits because a happy customer becomes a repeat customer.
It’s a known fact that cost per sale to an existing, loyal customer is 90% cheaper than acquiring a new customer and selling to them.
A good ascension offer may include upsells – bigger, better versions of earlier purchase. It may be cross-sales – parallel products that can complement the products already sold. Or it may be a DFY (Done For You) offer that relieves some burden of work at the customer’s end.
Offering premium membership to enhanced, personalized services, monthly templates, priority help-desk access etc. are some other examples of ascension offers.
Step 8 – Ask Them for Referrals and Reviews
Usually, a happy customer would be willing to advocate for you. Yet sometimes they may need a little extra push to reach out and give you a positive review or refer your service to their friends and contacts.
The smart idea is to ask them to write their positive experiences on social media or for your website.
Step 9 – Make Them Your Brand Ambassadors to Promote Your Brand
At this Promotion Stage, your customers become your captive brand ambassadors. They talk about your products or services; they write about your brand and share your offers.
This is like getting into a kind of joint venture with them by sharing affiliate or other types of commissions and giving away free products every time, they send a customer to you.
The arrangement becomes a sure-fire way to make formidable brand equity in the market for you.
Understanding the Customer Value Journey has catapulted many struggling freelancers into high-income entrepreneurs.
Understanding the CVJ process itself will boost your freelancing results. But there is more than you can learn to reach an even higher level. We’re a dedicated Digital Marketing Institute that makes people learn while they earn and make their presence felt in the market.
We’ve helped thousands of freelancers to reach top levels that they never imagined would’ve been possible. We offer rigorous training leading to internationally recognized certifications in Digital Marketing and personal coaching.
To know more about our Institute, visit Online Business University.
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