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8-Step Customer Value Journey to Increase Referrals

How important is the Customer Value Journey to referrals?

We all know that word-of-mouth is a strong source of new business. But I bet you didn’t realize that you could put a system into place that would help you get more referrals.

This system starts with a simple and understated tool called the Customer Value Journey. This tool helps you document and improve every step of your customer lifecycle, from first touch to raving fan and every stepping stone along the way. With each step, you systematically build trust, position yourself as an authority, and create a relationship that will be profitable for your business and beneficial for your customers.

Let us show you the 8 steps of the Customer Value Journey that you can use to create an army of super-fans that will help you grow your business.

Step #1. Build Awareness

Building your brand and growing your business begins with increasing customer awareness. If clients don’t know you exist, how can you expect them to find you? 

Engaging with potential clients involves advertising your business. However, it’s not enough to just announce your presence. You need to show prospects what you can offer them. They need to know that they have a problem and that you have the solution to that problem.

In this step of the Customer Value Journey, you create awareness of the problem through top-of-funnel content. This content addresses the problem and lines your business up as the solution. There are numerous ways to set up this content to build awareness of your business:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Advertisements
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts 
  • Digital products (ebooks, PDFs, etc.)
  • Word of mouth referrals

Anything that catches the eye of your prospects can build awareness. However, if you don’t target the information to your ideal client, the prospect may not see the content. They may also ignore it because they don’t know you’re a good fit for them.

Most advertising platforms make it easy to target your ideal audience. It can be trickier with social media platforms, but if you search for your ideal client, you can get a better idea of where they hang out so you can be more visible to them.

Step #2. Engage with Prospects

Engagement is a crucial part of the Customer Value Journey. There are many ways to grow and develop a dynamic relationship with prospects, but engagement is the key to walking your prospect through this  journey. If your prospects aren’t engaged, they’re not emotionally invested enough to become clients. A lack of engagement makes it easy for them to walk away. 

So how can you actively engage with prospects that aren’t yet fully committed to you? 

Videos are a valuable engagement tool that allows prospects to know, like and trust you and your brand. Videos that educate and inform prospects are great because they do two things. First, they establish you as an authority on the subject matter at hand. Second, they open up the door for your prospect to seek more information from you and help build a rapport between you.

Videos have another benefit in that they are well-suited for both social media and your website. Use the same videos across multiple platforms to efficiently engage with more potential clients, and you’ll save yourself the work of creating new content for each platform.

Social media itself is another great platform for building engagement. Stay active on your social media channels by delegating the work to a social media team that is ready to address questions or comments at any time. Being responsive to and interested in prospective clients shows that you’re committed to building a relationship with them.

Step #3. Get Them to Subscribe

Once you’ve got your prospect engaged, maintain that relationship by capturing their contact information. If they know and trust you, it’s the next natural step in the Customer Value Journey — that of becoming a client. 

Now, you need to offer something valuable enough for a prospect to hand over their email address. For example, you can offer exclusive content to those who join your mailing list. You can also provide a quality lead magnet that pulls your prospect in and lets them know that you are the answer to what they’ve been looking for.

Lead magnets can take many different forms.

  • Free ebook or other digital content
  • Video webinar
  • Quizzes/surveys and results
  • Educational resources
  • Discounts
  • Software downloads

While it’s true that you will inevitably get freebie seekers, you can help weed out unlikely converters by segmenting your mailing list. An assessment or grader can help you segment your subscriber list to identify those prospects most likely to stay and convert to clients. It uses identifying information to help you categorize each subscriber so you can send them targeted emails in the future.

By segmenting your subscriber list and targeting each group specifically, you can increase your number of conversions and keep those prospects happy once they’ve become clients.

Step #4. Convert Subscribers to Clients

It’s not enough to have a subscriber list of happy prospects. You need to convert these people into paying customers. Before that, however, you need to guide them to the next step, sharing some of their valuable time or making a small purchase.

Prospects aren’t ready to commit fully at this stage in the Customer Value Journey. With a little motivation, though, they soon will be. Offer an entry-level product or service at an exclusive rate, and provide one-to-one consultations to deepen the relationship. 

Information calls or consultations are an excellent way for B2B businesses to engage with prospects and convert them into dedicated clients. Highlight your value during these calls. Showcase testimonials of how you’ve helped your other clients. Social proof is a powerful tool, and these testimonials demonstrate your commitment to helping these new clients become successful.

At this point in the Customer Value Journey, you’re not looking to make a profit. Instead, by offering value at an entry level price, you’re firming up the relationship between your new client and your business. 

Step #5. Generate Excitement About Your Business

Generating excitement about your business doesn’t necessarily mean making big, bold gestures. Clients can get excited about you just by buying your products, but only if they see them as truly valuable. Aim to offer unexpected value, or surprise and delight your new clients.

A simple, small gift can be the perfect way to thank and excite your clients. Personalize the gift, if you can, to better reflect your new business relationship. For example, a book, magazine, or even a simple card can all add a deeply personal touch that reminds your client exactly why they chose to do business with you. Use this step to ensure your client continues to work with you by making your core offer the obvious next step in their journey.

Step #6. Ascend the Relationship

The ascension step in the Customer Value Journey is where your client purchases your core product or service. In addition, this step is where your first-time buyer buys into bigger and better products and/or services, or repeatedly purchases from your business. 

Simple upsells are a good way to grow your relationship with your client. Add-ons and ‘done for you’ solutions are also popular. Anything that makes it easier for your client is a smart way to provide value and generate more sales. 

Take care not to ignore your clients at this point in the Customer Value Journey. It can be tempting to spend all your time and energy searching for new prospects. Don’t forget to market to your existing clients. It’s easier to sell to warm clients than to sell to warm prospects because they already know you’re a good fit for them.

When you continue to market to existing clients, you continue to help them overcome challenges. This also gives them opportunities to strengthen their bond with you. Show them a little love, and they’ll return the favor.

Step #7. Turn Clients into Advocates

At this point in the Customer Value Journey, you are building a strong bond. You’ve shown them that you can deliver above and beyond what was initially expected. They’ve been receptive to your new and upcoming products and/or services because they know you provide value and care about them. So now, they’re primed to become a part of your company’s voice.

Take advantage of the natural advertising that your success with these clients shows by using their words to sell to others. Record your client meetings, ask for feedback, seek out testimonials, and then use this priceless content to boost your marketing and drive awareness of your business.

Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews from your clients. Most are happy to oblige, especially if you’ve offered them great value for their money and time. But don’t stop there — make this a part of your standard operating procedures. Each time you hit a milestone or phase with your clients, have a process in place to request a testimonial or review.

Step #8. Empower Your Promoters

The ultimate step in the Client Value Journey is promotion. Promotion is different from testimonials and advocacy in a significant way. A testimonial is something you ask for from your client. Your client may give it happily or freely, but you still have to take the reins and utilize the testimony yourself.

When your client becomes a promoter, they actively promote your business and its benefits without being asked. However, it doesn’t mean they will always do it out of the goodness of their hearts. You can help fuel the fire by providing tools to help your clients promote you. For example, referral programs where the client earns some reward for referring others to you are still a form of promotion, and if you do it correctly, it can benefit you and your clients enough to become a standard part of your business as well.

Consider strategic product and/or service bundling with your clients. Do they have a product that pairs well with one of your own? Could two small, paired products bring both of you more success? Get creative and use what you have, which is an excellent relationship with a client who wants to see you succeed almost as much as they want to see themselves succeed.

Are you ready to elevate your business with the customer value journey? Contact Manny Torres today to apply for a complimentary workshop