4 Ways to Steer the Customer Journey to Your Front Door

Joan Leahy, Vice President of Marketing for PeoplesBank

Many businesses would describe the customer journey using one word: buy. Yet, we all know that the journey is not one step. In fact, mobile has fractured the customer journey into many steps, and the path to purchase is different for every product and service. “If you want to win online or offline sales,” suggests Joan Leahy (pictured), Vice President of Marketing for PeoplesBank, “it has never been more important than now to understand how your customer will get to you and what will motivate them to become just that – your customer.”

In his book “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” author Stephen Covey touts the benefits of beginning with the end in mind. In terms of assessing the customer journey, however, that is a trap many of us fall into: How do I get them to buy? Instead, the focus needs to start at the beginning and assess how customers even become aware of us as a potential resource for a future need. Today’s best marketing strategies seek to win over customers before they are even aware of their need.

So how can you steer the customer journey to your door? Micro-Moments are four interrelated mobile moments that thought leaders like Google and digital marketing experts believe are the keys to converting searches into sales.

1. “I-Want-to-Know Moments"

“Your next customers are inclined to self-educate,” notes Ms. Leahy. “They don’t want to be told what to do or what to buy. Instead, they want to learn and do it at the exact moment their interest is piqued. The goal is to target based on insights around customer behaviors, then be there at the moment of search with helpful content that fulfills their needs, rather than pushing a sale.” Content and Social Media Marketing are both excellent vehicles to use to provide helpful content – but it needs to be helpful and relevant to be effective. Added Ms. Leahy, “It’s all about balancing what you want to say as a business with what the customer actually needs. If the balance skews too far toward what the business wants to say, you not only miss the mark on customer relevance, you likely missed your chance at a future customer.”

2. I-Want-to-Go Moments”

“Even in this day of shopping on your phone, customers still show up at your door,” said Ms. Leahy. “Provided that you have done a great job of showing them where you are, when you are open, and that you have what they need right now.” Make sure your Google Business and all other relevant listings (i.e., Yelp!, etc.) are complete and updated frequently because it might be the first result that shows when someone searches for your business or products.

3. “I-Want-to-Do Moments”

"Self-educating consumers not only want to do the research on their next purchases,” adds Ms. Leahy, “they also want instructions on how to use that product or service down the road.” Experts suggest making sure the content is both clear and useful. “A good example I like to give is creating how-to videos to help people get more out of your products or service,” says Ms. Leahy, “whether that means baking better cookies or learning the secrets of buying a home.”

4. “I-Want-to-Buy Moments”

If you’ve been there with the right mix of information and content to bring them to the purchase moment, make sure you’re ready to help them close the deal. Business experts say that with today’s constantly connected consumer, shopping never sleeps. “Your customers now make buying decisions on the fly, many right in your store, and rather than consulting associates they’re consulting their mobile phones,” said Ms. Leahy. “In fact, Google Business research indicates that 83 percent of smart phone users turn to their devices for help making purchase decisions.” “Businesses that create and capitalize on the idea of the consumer journey are the ones that plan appropriately, target intelligently and get out of their own way by creating content for their consumers — not themselves,” added Ms. Leahy. “At the end of the day it’s still about creating a path to purchase, but focusing on how you turn your customer’s moments into the maps that lead to your store."