What is the Ideal Customer Journey?

Do you know what your ideal customer journey is to convert your prospects into customers? You should. Hi, my name is Cort Davies, and I’m a growth consultant.

What is the ideal customer journey? The ideal customer journey is the journey you want your customer to take through your buying process to become a customer at the end. Essentially, what that is going to mean is taking the visual representation of the marketing and sales funnel and bring it to life.

The Marketing and Sales Funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Decision

What is the marketing and sales funnel? It’s a representation of portions of the funnel that your customer travels down. There are typically three sections: the top, the middle, and the bottom. I like to rename the sections and make them a little more powerful. I like to call them “the awareness phase,” “the consideration phase,” and “the decision phase.

From an awareness standpoint, you want to make customers aware of your company who are not currently aware of it. You want to actually bring light that your product exists and that you may be able to solve their challenge. In the consideration phase, you want to take those customers who were just made aware of your company and have them consider you as a solution. So from a consideration standpoint, you need to educate. You need to actually give them the information that’s going to make them trust you. Then, the decision phase is going to be taking those customers whom you made aware of your brand through the consideration phase so that they can consider you as a solution, and then turning them into your customers. Let’s talk about all three of these in a little bit of detail.

Awareness Phase

Awareness is the top of the funnel where all the lead generation magic happens. It’s where you expose your ideal customer to your brand.

I worked with a mobile app that allows you to have multiple phone numbers on your phone. And we thought in the beginning that it was made for consumers. Through testing, product market fit and interviews, however, we found that it was actually perfect for solopreneurs, people who are one-person business owners. And the reason it was great for one-person business owners was because they didn’t want to spend a lot of money for a business telephone. This app allows you to have a secondary voicemail and secondary phone number on your phone. So it was a perfect solution for them.

Then we thought to ourselves, where is the biggest concentration of solopreneurs? We could go to LinkedIn and we could e-mail them one by one, but we wanted scale, because this was a low-cost solution. So the obvious answer to this was Facebook, because small businesses and Facebook go hand-in-hand. Almost every single small business has a Facebook page. And the greatest part about Facebook is the attributes of your profile telling you about these people, so we could actually target small business owners and solopreneurs.

So you really have to think in that sense. Think about your target customer. Think about where they are, online and offline, and try to attack that channel.

Consideration Phase

The second part of the funnel, the consideration phase, is where you bring those prospects and bring those leads into your actual funnel and you show them who you are. This is going to include your website, your landing pages, your app store, and your social channels. These are all owned assets. What you want to do is you want to show them the way, you want to educate them. You want to give them all the information possible so that they make the best decision, and hopefully that best decision is going to be to convert into a real customer.

In the same example from the app perspective, what we’re going to use from a consideration perspective is the app store in the app itself. It was a free download. You went into the app store, you read about it, we tailored all the messaging in the app store to solopreneurs, the solopreneurs read it, they downloaded it, and they got a free trial. And then what we did from an upsell perspective, which we’ll get into in the decision phase, is we sent them in-app messages, and those in-app messages included features that they could unlock by paying a nominal fee. So from a consideration standpoint, we educated them about what we do. We targeted the target persona, we educated them, and then we made it very easy for them to get into the free trial. And again, what we did was we eliminated all possible friction from a consideration standpoint.

Decision Phase

And now we’re going to talk about the third part of the funnel, and that is the decision phase. This is where all the magic happens. This is where you get your customers. You’re going to have multiple leads and prospects come to the top of the funnel and only a few of those are going to fall out and become customers. And that’s okay. That’s the way that it works. There’s a continuous optimization of the funnel to actually create that and make it better.

In this phase, we want to make it easy for them to make a decision. Now here’s something that you need to consider when making a sale or having a customer make a decision even from a digital perspective, or an automated perspective like this app: if the buyer feels that they’re taking on more risk than the seller, then the buyer is most likely not going to go through with the transaction. So you want to do as much risk reversal as possible and take away as much friction as possible to get them in the door.

Again, let’s go back to this case with the consumer app. What we did is we let them use this app for 30 days, and then we extended it another 30 days because we found that the usership wasn’t that great after the first 30 days and we really wanted them to get used to it. So we gave them more in-app messaging, more communication, and more education on features and benefits, and what we saw was the retention curve started to flatten out. That’s very important, because all of a sudden the customers started getting retained. We started to make our product a part of their lives. They couldn’t live without us. So then at that moment we said, “Okay, here are the premium features, here’s the result you’re going to get out of those premium features—I think it was around $2.99 a month—and we had our conversion start to happen. Slowly but surely, people would fall out of the prospecting funnel and become customers.

Tweak the Messaging

So to conclude, you really want to know what your ideal customer journey is. And by the way, this is not just for startups. This could be for any business launching a new product. When you start out in the beginning, you’re really only going to launch with two to three channels from attraction perspective, and then you’re going to optimize one channel and you’re going to double down on that. So we got Facebook to work really well. We doubled down on Facebook. We constantly tweaked the messaging in the app store and in the app and constantly tweaked the sales pitch as well. Through all of that, we created an ideal customer journey.

Now this is not going to last forever. You’re going to continuously have to optimize this and tweak this. One thing to consider though: whenever launching a business, whenever launching a product, create that ideal customer journey and consider the areas in the sections of the sales and marketing funnel, which are awareness, consideration, and decision.