But how do you know you’re building on a solid foundation and haven’t omitted the basics?
The December webinar was about understanding the company journey alongside the customer journey and ways of improving the customer experience.
To find the secret of building a great brand, we invited a special guest, Jon Ivanco, the co-founder of Formtoro. Together with his team, they created a new sign-up category that allows for live data collection to be aligned with the modern customer journey.
Now, you can either keep on reading or access the webinar recording here on-demand.
If you choose to stay here, let’s dive into the subject.
H. What’s next?
“The secret of building a great brand is to put the right message in front of the right person at the right time, and the result will be a purchase.”
We live in times where brands and companies are born as we speak, but not all of them get the chance to shine and taste success.
This can happen even if they have a great product to sell, which means that a purchase is not guaranteed unless you know how to present your offer while considering the customer.
To find the right audience, marketers should build their buyer personas to know best who they’re talking to.
But here comes one of the problems most companies have: blindly guessing why people make a purchase.
This happens because they don’t know the differences between the company and customer journeys.
A company journey is highly essential as it sets the stage for its customers and their interaction with the brand’s products or services. So, it’s vital to have a strong brand identity, but this is not all that your audience needs.
And here is also where the problem of not selling starts. The companies that don’t succeed think about their products and services as something that would sell by themselves just because they’re good.
And when they’re not selling, they invest more in ads to increase the:
With these three components in mind, companies usually ask themselves only three questions:
- Did the customer convert?
- Did it drive enough revenue to cover our expenses?
- What was the ROI?
All of them are money-oriented, and none are about the customer. Instead, companies should ask themselves:
- Were the customers satisfied?
- Were the transactions smooth?
So, to give a complete answer to “what a company journey is,” we must include the promise to deliver to the customers’ expectations.
Moreover, the times when strictly following the company journey brought success is not effective anymore because of the high rates of ads and the regulations into privacy.
In other words, to raise your chances of success, you need to shift to the customer journey.
As you can see, the reality is a bit different.
The customer journey starts with a pain point, which your product or service can solve. And for this, it is a good idea to run ads that lead audiences into the awareness stage, which is the first step of the customer journey funnel.
To understand your customer, you must pay attention to three important aspects, which are:
- Awareness: Were the customers previously aware of our products?
- Want/Need: Is our product something the demographic wants or needs?
- Timing: Is the want or need large enough to force timing?
“We, marketers, think we can influence a transaction, but we can’t.”
The company journey focuses on sales, where the customer wants to feel that they made the right decision buying your product or service.
Then what is the difference between the two journeys if customers still buy in the end?
Most people would say there is no difference and that sales are everything.
But when it comes to retention and the need to inflate the lifetime value, the experience with a product plays an important role.
Marketers cannot influence a purchase as much as they think they can, even with all the countdown timers or social proof pop-ups. It all depends on the timing and especially on the product.
Different parts of the journey create an experience that results in a sale. They all have to be aligned for the user (right user, right timing, right product).
But you still have to be prepared for the not selling scenario, as even the best audience in the world combined with a great ad and a remarkable landing page does not guarantee a sale if the timing isn’t also part of the equation.
When building a customer journey, there are three aspects to focus on:
Not all audiences are equal or relevant to your brand. You have to find the one that brings the most benefits for your product or service.
Depending on who you target, you must understand how your audience shops, if your product is something they need to try out first, or read publications and reviews before buying.
Most importantly, you must understand the buying process of your product. Some products have more extended sales cycles than others. You have to see where each product fits to focus on the customer journey process.
What kind of purchase applies to each product? Is it one-time only or recurring? Depending on the product type, you should adapt your communication and add value in different ways.
Brands create offers hoping more buyers will come and turn into loyal customers.
But here’s a tricky one: is your customer buying from you only because you offer discounts? If the answer is yes and your customer is price dependent, it’s not a good customer.
When creating an offer, ask yourself these questions:
- Does your brand need to de-risk?
Absolutely, but without making discounts. This will also help you with your omnichannel sales because the ability to discount cannot happen as the pricing is the same for all the channels. You have to de-risk things other than prices, such as guarantees or free replacements.
- What is the repeat purchase potential?
It’s important to think about creating your offer to result in repeat purchases. Most brands concentrate so much on the first purchase that they forget to think about the life cycle of their customer.
- Can your company afford to discount to obtain the first purchase if the return customer rate is high?
If you’re a new brand and have quality products, de-risking and discounting for that one purchase can pay dividends, but it works with products that sell repeatedly, such as gifts.
- Does your offer increase the chances of a sale?
You should consider this question every time you create an offer. Provide more value with your offer so that specific actions will increase the chances of a sale.
- What is the consideration period for the purchase?
The decision depends on the product or service you’re offering. If you sell T-shirts, the purchase can happen right away, but if you sell cars, the purchase period is as long as the customers will test different brands, have test drives, read reviews, etc.
For some products, the trigger is created out of necessity. For example, if you like golf and your cross gets broken, you buy a new one.
But in most cases, when it comes to timing, we fail to understand why people make purchases in relation to their lifestyle.
A company can motivate customers to buy by presenting aspirational things such as an active or calming lifestyle. You are not giving offers, discounts, or sales but create aspirations with the idea that these will make customers think it’s relevant for them and decide to make a purchase.
“The goals of the touchpoints need to be customer-focused, not company-focused.”
Customer journey is not linear, and people can be influenced in different ways to buy something, whether talking to a friend who slips a word about a brand in a conversation or seeing a person on the street wearing something they like and would buy for themselves.
In terms of the touchpoints, all marketers use the following:
- Landing pages
- Product pages
- Sign up forms
Let’s break them down.
When it comes to ads, the goal is not to obtain a sale. It’s actually to get a click on the ad.
Getting a click and making people feel related to that specific brand mentioned in the ads makes people want to buy. Of course, if you are addressing the right audience.
Ads are important because they set up the rest of the customer journey. They have to be memorable to create interest and make people visualize themselves with the mentioned brand.
But they also need to lead them to the right place. Otherwise, the journey may end right after the click.
For example, from the eight ads presented by Jon Ivanco, only one ad was made correctly, and it was the one that took the potential buyer to a landing page to see the product.
Most of the pages sent them to the collections page, where they had to go search for the item seen in the ad. This led to friction in the customer journey.
When creating a homepage, the key is to make it memorable and leave the customer with a few takeaways.
You can push the design limits to offer an excellent experience for your customers as Pit Viper did.
When it comes to desktop vs. mobile, your homepage should be optimized for both, especially when nowadays, most traffic comes from mobile devices.
3. Landing pages
The purpose of building landing pages is to build trust with the brand, and it’s also the place where you can let your creativity reign as they are an extension of your ads.
Landing pages are an excellent opportunity to perform A/B testing as you can easily restructure them in different ways and then check their performance.
When building a landing page, most brands focus their attention on features, benefits, education and talk about how great their product is. But if potential customers come on a landing page from an ad, they don’t know anything about that brand, resulting in a broken customer journey.
That is why landing pages should include a short story or description of the brand to help people understand your brand better.
4. Product pages
The goal of the product pages is, you guessed it, not a purchase.
When customers enter a product page, they want to learn more about the specific product, see close pictures of the product, and look at the reviews.
They’re looking into trust elements to justify their purchase.
So the goal of a product page is to answer the questions a person may have when considering a purchase.
Some of these questions may be related to the quality of the product, the reviews, or the return policies.
Here’s an excellent example of a great product page. It tells visitors what the product is, it has reviews, a short description (plus colors and sizes), and it also includes information about the shipping, returns, and the product’s guarantee—all in one place.
5. Sign-up forms
Through sign-up forms, a company’s purpose is to obtain the customer’s email address as relevant data for future purchases.
Most offers come right away when people enter a website, but sometimes that is too early for many consumers who just discovered a product and want to see more about the brand first.
Also, in most cases, offers don’t collect data when customers sign up. But it’s a good idea and an excellent method to gather information to understand why people are signing up.
Moreover, with the cookiepocolypse coming, it should be a high priority for brands to take advantage of these sign-up forms for better future retargeting.
And let’s not forget that this can help the company find out what it can do better for their customers to have a more pleasing experience on their website.
The only way to go is by “sharing things that allow people to be part of the brand and wanting to buy in.”
Emails relate to wanting, need, and timing, but they are not catalysts to drive conversions.
People have already agreed to receive emails and offers, so they are already interested in your brand.
To give you an answer on how to build trust and make people relate to your brand, think about Nike. They don’t feature their products. They show stories of athletes who confront different situations to inspire people to buy into that lifestyle.
The secret is writing stories that allow the subscribers to see themselves in your brand.
But how can we collect data to build the stories our subscribers want to see themselves as?
As we mentioned in the beginning, the company makes a lot of guesses and builds buyer personas instead of entering into conversations with the people interested in their products.
But through collecting data that helps you know more about your audience, you can shape relevant ads or emails that help you connect with your potential buyers.
As we’ve seen previously, you can improve the customer journey through emails, and sign-up forms, but they can also be surveys and quizzes.
All the brands should do this because the future of marketing is about consent-based marketing, lifestyle branding, and community building. People will opt-in for things because it will be enjoyable to be part of them.
The role of ad agencies will be different as well. The media buying will be automated, and strategies will play a more significant role. A massive opportunity for ad agencies will focus on building communities for brands.
Robert: Larry Kim said in our previous webinar that awareness is the new performance marketing. What are your thoughts on this?
Jon Ivanco: Agree! It is harder than ever for brands to be recognized. If you can drive awareness and let the product speak for itself, you’re going to be in a better position than a lot of other brands. Performance marketing is shifting massively and what we have is not long-term, not sustainable, and brands will have to rethink positioning within markets to have market shares. We are all fighting for attention right now.
Robert: I see this trend, and it’s getting higher and higher that brands are building their communities, creating on different platforms, circle discord, and are getting away from platforms they can’t control. What’s your opinion on this?
Jon Ivanco: I like it. I like where this is heading. A lot of brands don’t know their niche. If you’re like a golf company or a snowboard company, you have these built-in niched communities that you can tap into and do cool stuff with. I think a lot of brands go wrong, especially when they are small because they think they are for everyone. We’re figuring it out later. And they don’t narrow it down and don’t figure out who their people are and what lifestyle they ascribe to. Ad testing is a great way to try to figure them out. It’s really tough unless you have a really strong founder-led passionate company to identify a niche into the lifestyle that they’re able to get behind. The brand alone just doesn’t do it for a lot of people. To have success, you must have a community.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the customer journey and that you filled your notebook with ideas about how to improve the customer experience.
If you want to see what else Jon Ivanco mentioned in the webinar, you can watch it on-demand here.
See you next time!