One of those things that we hear a lot about is the client journey–the path people take with your brand. The truth is the client journey starts well before the initial discovery call. Your client’s journey begins the moment they’ve identified the problem that you solve.
In this episode, I’m going to walk you through the client journey–what the stages are, what that content looks like, and some special considerations for the types of content you might create. And, as always, I do this with the caveat that you need to do what works for you.
This episode was just a fraction of what you’ll get out of the free Client Journey ebook. Be sure to grab your copy to start your journey. Listen in!
Mentioned in This Episode
- Episode 51: Why Client Journey Matters When Creating Content
- Client Journey Ebook
- Content Mastery Lab
Welcome to episode 120 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it ALL right, ALL of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business. And most importantly, what feels good for you.
I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing; it’s about you and your business. Your lifestyle and, frankly, your values and belief systems.
You get to do business in a way that works for you.
One of those things that we hear a lot of talk about is the client journey–the path that people take to buying from us.
I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, specifically back in episode 51. I have an ebook about the topic and I have a masterclass you may have grabbed already. But I recently revised the ebook with new information and I’ll be rolling out the new masterclass soon!
If you’re on my list, you’ll get the new and improved ebook in your inbox tomorrow morning with my weekly email. If you’re not on the list (or you just can’t wait until tomorrow), head to thecontentexperiment.com/journey to get it for free now.
In this episode, I’m going to walk you through the client journey–what the stages are, what that content looks like, and some special considerations for the types of content you might create. And, as always, I do this with the caveat that you need to do what works for you. Take the information you learn and make it your own. Not everything is going to be a fit for you and your business, and that’s okay.
But before we get started…
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Okay, let’s dive into the client journey–what is it, why is it important, and how that all relates to you and how you’re marketing your own business.
What it is
Let’s get to the basics first–what is the client journey?
The client journey is essentially the journey that people take with your brand. We call it the client journey but in reality, not everyone who starts their journey with you actually becomes a client. So keep that in mind.
Why is a client journey important
Let me tell you about the first coach I hired. It was 2014 and I was really struggling in my business. I had quit my full time job the year before and I still wasn’t making enough money to feel good about my business. I had started applying for jobs while still trying to find clients. (And I actually DID go back to work for a few months–but that’s a story for another episode.)
So I was needing some help and I had no idea that business coaches even existed. I may have been searching for some networking or business support–I’m actually not really sure. But I happened across someone who was posting motivational business growth stories and quotes on Facebook. This person, her name is Erin Garcia, also posted some videos talking about business challenges.
She hooked me because she was addressing my own biggest challenges and frustrations, and she inspired me to try some new things.
I kept following Erin, watching her videos and opt-ing into her email list. I checked out her website, read some testimonials, emailed her directly, and eventually booked a discovery call with her. When I met with Erin, I think on the phone the first time, I was terrified. But she had built up the know, like, and trust factor with me. At the time, her initial session was less than $200 but still WAY out of my comfort zone. After reading her sales page and agonizing over the decision, I decided I didn’t have anything to lose and went ahead and booked it.
I experienced so many wins in that first 90 minutes with Erin that I was hooked–and I booked a full 3 or 6 month package with her. I don’t remember how long that initial engagement was because I kept working with Erin for a long time afterward–at least 18 months, if I remember correctly.
When we stopped working together, Erin and I kept in touch. Actually, the tables turned and she became a client of mine. But aside from that, she continued to send me emails and touched base with me for years afterward.
THIS, friends, is the client journey. I just took you through the entire journey I went through with my first business coach. I wasn’t meant to work with her forever, and that’s totally fine. Her job was to get me through the first years of my business, and she was wildly successful at that. Since we stopped working together, she’s sent me clients and I’ve sent her clients. And we’re both in different phases of business now.
Erin had a journey to take me on, and she did an amazing job at it. She knew what I needed to hear before we started working together, and she knew to have additional offers to expand her work with me.
It’s so much easier to retain the clients you have than it is to find new clients–and that goes for any business model. And it goes for prospective clients too. It’s easier to keep new followers engaged than it is to find new people to engage with you.
Okay, so how does all this connect with how you’re marketing yourself right now? I’m going to walk you through the six stages of the client journey and share some of the key content you can create at each stage.
Now just because you create this content doesn’t mean that you’re immediately going to see success. Marketing is a long game, but it’s one that pays off if you take the time to know where you’re going with it.
I hope you pause for a minute here and grab something to take notes with. I’m going to go through this quickly, but you can also grab your client journey ebook so you can follow along.
I also want to say that I’m going to go through the journey in order–from stage one to stage six. However, when you’re mapping out the journey and creating content for it, you really want to work backward. There’s no point in attracting new audience members to you in stage one if you don’t have anything to sell them in stage four. There needs to be a next step, and it pays to think through that before you dive into creating content.
Stage 1 – Brand awareness
People don’t know about you until they know about you. And one of the best ways for people to find you is through content you put out there online.
Of course, we recommend you have your own pillar content to share with the world. Pillar content is your blog, podcast, or YouTube videos. But there are other ways to get found online too. All of them require some sort of effort from you. Just a few of those ideas include:
Teaching in Communities
Through brand awareness, prospective clients are just getting to know you. They want to know that you understand their challenges and that you have a solution for them. Once new audience members discover you, you need to keep them coming back for more so you can move them along to Stage 2 of the client journey.
Stage 2 –
Stage 2 – Educate & Inform
When someone first discovers you, they’re trying to get to know you. They do some mild internet stalking (you know you do it too) to find out more about you, often because they saw your guest blog on someone else’s site, heard you on a podcast, or stumbled upon a YouTube video. Or maybe they heard speak up in a Clubhouse room or saw you tagged in someone’s social media post.
At any rate, you gained a new audience member—someone who recognizes you by name and likes your messaging. At this stage, they’re not ready to give up their email address to you quite yet, but you’ve piqued their interest.
You now have followers who are watching what you’re putting out there. But they want more. More value, more information, and more content from you. It’s time to educate them with value-driven content that helps them solve a problem. Convince them to hand over their email addresses with some really great goodies.
Content that can help you educate and inform your audience includes:
Workshops & Challenges
Talking Head Videos
Long-form Social Posts
The key here is that you keep the content coming consistently so you can stay in front of your audience. They know who you are now and they’ll notice if you suddenly stop creating!
At this stage, prospects are starting to evaluate whether or not what you offer is the best possible solution for them. So make it good because they could choose a competitor or no action at all over moving forward on their journey with you.
Stage 3 – Demonstration of Expertise
You now have some loyal followers. They’re reading your emails, downloading your freebies, and attending your webinars. And they probably know that they want or need your help—if only you offer exactly what will help them.
This is when your audience dives into your website to gather more intel on you. They want to make sure you’re legit before they commit to buying something from you. And this is also where the look and feel of your content may shift a bit, so bear with me.
At this stage, your audience knows what your free content looks like. Now they want to know that you can deliver if (and when) they pay you for something. They’re looking for proof—something that isn’t delivered through traditional blog posts and free webinars.
Content that demonstrates your competence and expertise includes:
Hot Seat Hosting
Free discovery calls
While some of this content isn’t necessarily something you would create (the testimonials, for example), you absolutely want to include them on your website or on your social platforms. Put this information out there for others to see, and see often.
Step 4 – Convert to Customer
Your people are hooked. It’s time to put them over the edge with that last piece of content that converts them. They need specific information about the exact product or service offering they’re interested in. So you haven’t closed the sale yet but it’s coming.
Content that helps to convert your audience to customers includes:
Work with me page
Free or Low-Priced Trial
Once you’ve nailed these pieces of content, your audience is ready to buy. Be sure to have all the right technology and automations connected to make it easy for them to give you their money and have a great experience. Then it’s up to you to nurture that client relationship—through exceptional customer service, amazing value, and targeted or exclusive content.
Step 5 – Expanding the Relationship
Now that you have this wonderful new relationship with a client, it’s up to you to provide the clear communication needed to keep it moving forward. So your client’s journey doesn’t end when money changes hands. Now comes the hard part.
Your clients bought from you for a reason. You provided tremendous value in the first four stages of their journey with your brand, and you earned their trust. The content designed at this stage is aimed at maintaining that trust while continuing to deliver exceptional value.
The content that expands your relationship with your client includes:
Regular personalized communication
Next steps content
Limited time offers
You’ll notice that we’ve gone back to some of the original brand awareness-type content here. You’re at a very different stage in your relationship with these audience members; now they need similar content, but at a different level. Think about what happens next and how you can establish a community with these clients.
Step 6 – Retain Relationship
Whether you offer one-off products and services or you’re in it for the long haul, it’s important to maintain communication with the people you work with or have worked with in the past. So even after the project is over or the client is ready for the next step in their journey in your industry, you need to stay top-of-mind with the amazing service and content you provide.
It doesn’t matter if you want to keep the client around or if you know your client will move on after this project. The people you’ve worked with are your biggest cheerleaders and most important marketing assets. They give you the shout-outs, the testimonials and, hopefully, the referrals.
The content that helps to retain your relationship with clients includes:
Real-time contact (Voxer)
SM Direct Messages
At this point in your relationship with your clients, you’ve likely developed a rapport that makes it easy and natural to communicate. If not, I recommend working on this. It can be difficult to do because you’re so busy working with current clients, but I promise it’s worth it.
Those are the six stages of the client journey–brand awareness, educate and inform, demonstration of expertise, convert to customer, expand offerings, and retain relationship.
Now, as I mentioned, in the ebook, we go a lot deeper into the why behind the different types of content as well as knowing the intent behind everything you do. I talk more about what some of the different content types look like as well as your content style, word usage, messaging, and more. This episode was really just a fraction of what you’ll get out of the free ebook. Go get your copy now at thecontentexperiment.com/journey.
We do a lot more talking about the client journey and the different pieces of content in the journey inside Content Mastery Lab, my membership community for motivated business owners who want to learn more about content and marketing so they can DIY it.
If you’re ready to start experimenting with content and marketing in your own business–without having to do all the guesswork yourself–and you want to learn more from Trish in her guest expert training, remember that you can join us inside Content Mastery Lab at thecontentexperiment.com/lab and use the coupon code PODCAST to get your first month for $1. Pricing starts at just $97 a month after that.
If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at @thecontentexperiment so I know you’re listening. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.