From understanding that the journey is not linear to the importance of social proof, here are 13 answers to the question, “What is one thing every startup needs to know about the customer buying journey?”
- Understand That The Buying Journey is Not Linear
- The First Buyer’s Journey Map You Create Won’t be Perfect
- Customers Have Unpredictable Circumstances
- Technology Affects Customer Buying Journey
- You Have to Earn Customer Trust During the Consideration Stage
- Understand the Post-purchase Customer Journey
- Emotional Connection Plays a Role in the Buying Journey
- Building Trust is Paramount
- It’s Unexpected and There are Too Many Variables
- Target the Awareness Stage
- Be Extremely Visible During The Consideration Stage
- Everyone’s First Thought is “is This a Scam?”
- Social Proof is Essential to Credibility and Trust
Understand That The Buying Journey is Not Linear
To succeed, startups need to understand that the customer buying journey is not linear. Customers go through various stages, influenced by their needs and preferences.
Startups should tailor their offerings and focus on personalized experiences, relevant messaging, and excellent service throughout the buying journey. Exceptional experiences foster customer loyalty and advocacy, leading to repeat purchases, referrals, and feedback that improve the startup’s offerings. Prioritizing customer retention is key, as loyal customers are more likely to provide feedback and make repeat purchases.
To create a loyal customer base, startups need to nurture relationships, deliver exceptional experiences, and understand their target audience’s buying behavior. By doing so, startups can provide an exceptional customer experience, foster long-term customer loyalty and advocacy, and succeed in the market.
The First Buyer’s Journey Map You Create Won’t be Perfect
In all likelihood, the first buyer’s journey map you’ll create will have a lot of shortcomings. You’ll struggle to understand your target market as well as your ideal buyers and the stages they go through, which will cost you lots of qualified prospects and make you waste time on many other irrelevant ones. It’s important to understand that the customer buying journey will always be a work in progress
In today’s highly competitive markets, startups should constantly be evaluating their existing buyer’s journey map and looking for opportunities to improve it. There are many tactics you can use to make your customer journey map more efficient and turn bottlenecks into breakthroughs. The best way to start is to gather more customer feedback, as that can help you better understand your leads. You should also track and analyze behavioral data to uncover prospect pain points and identify potential ways to enhance the customer experience.
Customers Have Unpredictable Circumstances
The customer’s buying journey does not follow a straight line. Sure, there are some factors you can predict, but overall the journey cannot be simplified to a single, simple equation. For example, on the other end of this journey is the customer’s life, which is unpredictable. That unpredictability will undoubtedly affect your customer’s buying journey in different ways, especially when each customer has different circumstances affecting their buying habits.
Technology Affects Customer Buying Journey
Every startup needs to understand the customer buying journey in order to successfully design a strong business strategy. One important thing to know is that customers today think and interact with brands differently than they did before, thanks to technology, which should be considered when creating marketing strategies.
An uncommon example is that artificial intelligence (AI) has been used by some startups to respond quickly to their customers’ queries, which can help build trust and loyalty between a company and its consumers. Furthermore, AI can be used within emails and social media campaigns of a brand in order to promote its products or services more effectively. It is essential for startups to recognize how AI might assist them in meeting their goals as far as consumer engagement goes.
You Have to Earn Customer Trust During the Consideration Stage
Give customers a reason to trust your business during the consideration stage. For example, when a potential customer is comparing your product to the competition, providing a money-back guarantee will help eliminate the risk associated with potentially not being satisfied with your item. The more you can ease the burden of risk for the customer, the greater chance you have to secure their business.
Understand the Post-purchase Customer Journey
Startup teams should look beyond the beginning of the customer buying journey. For example, post-purchase communications like email subscriptions and social media interactions may lead to repeat business and positive reviews. It’s not just about obtaining the client – it’s about learning how to best curate the journey to ensure most customers continue to be happy with your products and services.
Emotional Connection Plays a Role in the Buying Journey
One thing that every startup needs to keep in mind about the customer buying journey is the role of emotional connection. While you may think of customers making rational decisions based on factors like price and quality, emotions are also a significant driver in their buying decisions.
So, as a startup, it’s crucial to understand your customers’ emotional needs and create a brand experience that resonates with them. You need to think about how your product or service makes your customers feel and use that understanding to build a strong brand identity that connects with them emotionally. This means using language and imagery that speaks to their aspirations, desires, and values and creating a customer experience that fosters a sense of community and belonging.
By focusing on emotional connection, you can build long-term loyalty and advocacy among your customers, which is essential for your success as a startup.
Building Trust is Paramount
Nothing turns a potential customer away faster than an obvious sales pitch. A great approach starts with an unequal value exchange that shows you understand your customer’s needs and offer them something for free that solves their problem.
Examples of this might be content-related, like free templates or how-to guides, or it might be offering a freemium version of your service, product, etc., so would-be clients can see if it’s a right fit for them before signing on the dotted line. Figuring out that play builds a great relationship foundation and can accelerate the path to purchase.
Bruce Johnston, Head of Digital Marketing, Kosli
It’s Unexpected and There are Too Many Variables
I think startup founders must understand that the customer buying journey is not linear and can often take unexpected turns. Even if you have studied several pre-determined paths in books or have done deep research about what the customer journey should look like, in reality, it rarely follows anything like that. It constantly changes and evolves with each customer, making it hard to predict exactly what will happen.
So, I believe it’s very important for you to be prepared for sudden changes and have multiple options available for each touchpoint of the customer journey. This is the only way you can provide a tailored experience for each individual customer and keep optimizing along the way. It will ensure that you’re meeting their needs and delivering a great experience overall.
Target the Awareness Stage
When launching a new business, the most relevant stage of the buyer’s journey when starting is the awareness stage. Startups don’t have the benefit of brand awareness, so you’ll need to get your name out there through PR and marketing efforts.
You should start by making your audience aware of a problem or need they have, and demonstrate how your product or service fulfills the issue. As a startup, you should focus on attracting potential customers using social media, SEO, thought leadership, and other strategies relevant to your business that will develop awareness surrounding your brand.
Be Extremely Visible During The Consideration Stage
Customers progress to the consideration stage once they have determined either an issue or a need in their lives. Customers are now investigating various potential solutions to their issues at this point in the process.
At this phase, new businesses need to make their goods or services as visible as possible and as easy as possible to obtain. This can be accomplished through the use of a variety of marketing platforms, including search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and social media.
New businesses have an obligation to their prospective clients to produce material that is both pertinent and useful to assist those clients in making informed decisions.
Everyone’s First Thought is “is This a Scam?”
Unfortunately for us, online customers are now deeply jaded individuals. Without the reassurance of a trusted brand, many online customers will be deeply suspicious of any new name or logo. Justifiably so, as a large proportion of “businesses” are simply a front for myriad illicit or malicious activity, from phishing to identity theft. Consequently, many prospective customers will require convincing that you are the real deal, and will simply look elsewhere if not.
This can be achieved in a number of key ways. Naturally, you need a secure website, otherwise, antivirus software will flag your website as suspicious. Additionally, third-party validation services can help provide evidence of reliability, particularly reviews and testimonials. Lastly, displaying clear and transparent terms will help placate more security-conscious customers, instilling confidence. Therefore, you must always seek to build trust and provide reassurance, otherwise, customers will seek a provider who will.
Social Proof is Essential to Credibility and Trust
The customer buying journey is an important aspect of any startup’s success. While the journey may vary from one business to another, one thing that remains constant is the need for social proof nowadays. Social proof is essential in building trust and credibility with potential customers, especially when making a high-ticket purchase online.
One way startups can build social proof is by getting out of their comfort zone and dancing on TikTok. This can be a fun and creative way to show customers that your company has personality and culture, as well as demonstrate that you are willing to take risks in order to stand out from the crowd.
That’s what kind of made me TikTok famous at the age of 65. As I was able to connect with potential customers in a more personal way and create content that will be shared across multiple platforms, even to my grandchildren.