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How to Guide the Perfect Customer Journey




Farzad: Hello ladies and gentlemen, happy Wednesday everybody or one might say happy hump day. My name is Farzad. I'm the director of marketing at Visme. 

Here I have my boss, Payman, founder and CEO of Visme. And of course, John of Duct Tape Marketing. I'm sure all of you guys have heard of him and his work and podcasts, his book, he's all over the place. A huge, huge blessing to have him here to talk to us about the user journey and how to basically create and master it. 

Throughout the webinar, we're going to have John come on board and talk about his experience. We're going to have a quick little showdown of Visme towards the end, basically showcase to you guys how you'd be able to visualize some of the concepts that John is going to be speaking about. 

I think we're ready to go ahead and get started. Without any further ado, I would like to hand the mic off to John. John is a marketing consultant, speaker, and author of Duct Tape Marketing. I myself I'm a big fan of their podcast. If you guys want a golden marketing podcast, definitely go ahead and look him up on... I normally listen to on Apple Podcast. I'm sure they're on other platforms as well. Right John?

John: Pretty much anywhere you can listen, we're there.

Farzad: John has multiple audiobooks: Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine, SEO for Growth, and also The Referral Engine. His latest e-book, The Self-reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business, which I actually haven't read yet, it's still on my to-read list, is a daily reminder to entrepreneurs that a better you makes a better business. 

The Changing Landscape of Marketing

John: I'm going to share my screen real fast and pull up some slides that you can follow along with. We've called this presentation “Guiding the Customer Journey”. The customer might be a client, might be a patient, might be a user, but essentially whoever you're after as your ideal customer or client, we want to talk about the need to help guide them along the process. 

I could call this “how to get 100% of your clients to refer you” as well because ultimately that's what a great customer journey is all about; it’s about turning those prospects into clients, into raving fans because one of the greatest sources of lead generation is a happy customer. 

Before we get into my process that I've developed and have been using for about 15 years now, I want to go on a little journey of how marketing has changed over that period of time just by sharing a couple of stats because we're all dealing with this now.

61% of mobile searches are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. So what does that say? We certainly have to be considering the mobile experience of folks online. 87% of potential customers won't consider a business with low ratings. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, everybody is rating and reviewing businesses and experiences today. And that's a part that's out of our control in some ways.

64% of consumers say watching a marketing video on Facebook has influenced a purchase decision in the last month. We’ve got to be on these social channels, we’ve got to be producing video, another set of tactics and things we have to do. 

92% of consumers will visit a brand's website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase. I would say that 92% of the small business websites that I visit are set up exclusively for that person who came there to make a purchase. So, we have to consider this idea of journey when it comes to our online presence in every aspect. 

But here's the hard part, I think, for a lot of folks: 82% of small business owners, it doesn't matter what they sell, claim that their main source of new business is referrals. In many cases a referral is a testimonial, a referral is a review on a website, a referral is a share in Facebook. A review might be still a conversation across a neighbor's fence. But we have to understand that the greatest thing that has changed, the biggest thing that has changed in marketing is how people buy. 

Yes, there are all these other avenues, all these other tactics, all these other channels we have to consider, but the first thing we have to consider is how are people making decisions about the companies they find, choose, stick with? 

That's what's changed the most because a lot of the control, if you will, in the buying process has really moved to the customer or the user because they have access to so much information about companies, about our companies, about products, about services, about ways to solve their problems.

From the Marketing Funnel to the Marketing Hourglass

This standard model of the marketing funnel of “drive a bunch of leads into the top of the funnel and find ways to squeeze a number of them out there to become customers”. This model is really broken. In fact, I would suggest that the customer journey looks a lot more like this...it is not a linear path and many of the ways in which customers come into contact with us and make decisions about buying from us are actually out of our control. 

We can try to influence them, but the fact that somebody can set up a YouTube channel exclusively talking about our business, good, bad, or ugly, means that some of the ways in which people get information about our business are out of our control. 

I created, about 15 years ago, something I call the marketing hourglass to replace the concept of the funnel. If you think about the traditional shape of an hourglass, it borrows heavily from the funnel idea. We still have to get people to know about our business and hopefully educate them to the point that they're going to want to buy from us. But it's what happens after that that so many people neglect.

And that's really where I think some of the greatest opportunity to create a great experience, to create repeat business, to create those raving fans who want to refer us comes. When I talk about marketing, it's less about creating demand and more about organizing behavior. 

These seven stages are behaviors that I believe that pretty much everybody, yourself included, wants to go through with businesses that they do business with. So, “know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer.” 

We obviously need to come to know companies that can solve our problems. When we get there, we want to think, "Oh yeah, I like what they're saying. I like what they're doing. Do other people trust them? Do other people buy from them?" Because in many cases, that's the part that's actually going to decide whether or not they're going to move forward. Do I trust that this company can solve my problems? 

Then, frankly, if they solve my need and the experience is great, I'm not even going to look around. I'm not going to shop for price. I'm not going to move to somebody else because I'm going to continue to do business with them because they solve my problem because I like doing business with them.

I think we, as human beings are wired to talk about great experiences, to talk about companies, and tools, and products that exceed our experience or our expectations, that we're going to naturally refer, or share or talk about those companies. Those are the seven behaviors that we need to intentionally think about as we build out all of our marketing, all of our campaigns.

Applying the Marketing Hourglass Model to the Customer Journey

How do we apply the marketing hourglass? The first question...so many people get this backwards; they start thinking, "Okay, what can we do to get them to like us? What can we do to get them to trust us?" Those are ultimately what you have to decide, but the first thing you have to decide is, how do your customers or your prospects actually buy? I mean, how do they solve their problems? 

Often I will talk to small business owners that will tell me that the only way that their customers buy is somebody refers them. You think about....an attorney. I mean, you're probably not going to turn to a Facebook ad and think, "Oh, good. I'm going to hire that attorney to write my contracts for me." You're probably going to talk to another business owner who has worked with them, or has a similar type of business and they're going to maybe tell you about the great experience they had with their attorney.

A lot of times companies will just look at it and say, "Oh, we need to be here. We need to be there. We need to be there. Customers actually buy.” It's not simply a matter of, “I found this company and I bought from them”. 

What are the questions and objectives they have as they move closer to buying products and services? I talked about those stages, know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, refer. Most people want to put “know” and “buy”. Go from you found me, you read my ad, you saw this, I had a meeting with you, now buy from me. 

There is a process of helping them move or guiding them, at least, from the understanding of what their problem is to the understanding that you have the solution to solve that problem. It's a process. And those questions and objectives they have in each of those stages change. We have to then understand them first and then match our marketing channels and tactics to guide them. And in most cases, we have to figure out what's the role of content, and story, and design in each of those channels?

This is actually for my business. I just wanted to illustrate this in a way that brings it into context of how you might actually be thinking about these seven stages. In many cases, traffic sources, that's how people come to know us. Direct mail, Facebook, partners, networking. 

But today content is the starting point or at least our website might be the starting point where they will decide, "Yeah, this is somebody that's talking my language. They seem to understand my problem." They're going to give us an email address because they trust us or because we've offered something like a checklist that addresses their specific problem or need. 

There's going to be some amount of “trying” us in the nurture and the follow-up campaign that might come from giving that email address. But I will tell you, a phone call is a try, a meeting is a try, a webinar is a try. I mean, there are lots of ways in which people can at least get a sense of what it might be like to work with us. 

And there might be some sort of discovery process where you can find out their needs, you can find out their problems, you can start talking about ways you could specifically address their problem. And then the buying process. What's a proposal look like, what's a follow-up look like? What's the new customer kit, and the orientation, and the onboarding processes look like? 

The customer experience or the customer service, that's really where that next purchase comes from. That's what turns them into a repeat client and if we create processes, that's what ultimately turns them into that referral client as well. 

Think about, how do they buy? Okay, if that's how they buy, if that's how they find their information, what do we need to do?Where do we need to be in order to address that? 

This is actually an actual client that sells accounting software to non-profit agencies. People find them because they go to search engines. That's typically most of us these days, or they read journals in this case. 

They attend conferences, their ideal client does, they network with each other. They have boards of directors that make recommendations, they will respond to an ad. So, we identified those are all the ways that people come to know about this company or know about this accounting software. So, what does that mean for us? That's the bottom half? 

This is just the exercise that we go through. So we say, "Okay, if that's the case in the top half, well, then we'd better be focused on search engine optimization. We better be thinking about producing educational content. We might want to find some of those journals and think about, how could we contribute content?" 

We're not doing anything actively as a referral process. If folks network and take recommendations, what are we doing to make sure that they're talking about us? Are there conferences that we need to be in? You can get your team together in a room one day and knock out many of these answers. 

So, once they come back, once they found us, they're going to check out our website, maybe they're going to visit our mobile. Maybe they're going to bookmark. They're going to look for content to download.

They might actually look at our Facebook profile or our LinkedIn profile and start thinking about, "Okay, this is somebody that might go on my shortlist of companies that I consider." So if that's the case, we better knock them dead with a website promise. When we get there, they better find useful content. We better have social media activity. 

Like it or not, our site better load fast. We better have great calls to action that really entice them to look for information over and above just, "Hey, sign up for my newsletter." 

Trust becomes the next factor. They're going to revisit a website. They're going to look at reviews. They're going to ask friends, they're going to do a deep Google search. So if that's the case, what do we need to do? We need to have case studies. We need to have trust signals. We need to have videos of our people. 

You can see how we're moving people along because at first, they're just trying to find somebody, but now they're starting to think, "Is this the somebody? Is this somebody I want to go deeper with?" We have to think about what are we doing to intentionally allow people to move through these stages.

Refining the Buying Process and Increasing Referrals

Buying process. Okay, they requested a proposal. They want to negotiate a purchase. Now, what are we doing? What does our proposal process actually look like? Are all of the salespeople using that process? How do we communicate our expectations or their expectations, what they should expect from us? What's our onboarding process? If, in this case, they're transitioning to a new software, what's their new customer kit look like?

I will tell you just briefly the benefits of paid lead conversion or something that we really try to put to everybody. If there's a way for somebody to “try” you in a paid model that is then going to go up to maybe a much higher cost engagement, there's just so much benefit to that because there's a lot of people offering free today. There's a lot of people taking advantage of free. If you can crack the nut on how to get somebody to give you a little money to move the next stage, that is a great buying process. 

The main thing that we end up identifying is a lot of companies will go through this process and then figure out where they are actually missing aspects to help move people along the process.

If you are a business who sells to other businesses, one of the greatest ways to generate more referrals is to bring many of your customers together. I don't care what you sell, teach them how to get more business by way of referral, because it's the number one way that most small businesses, at least, get the bulk of their clients. 

I'll give you one little tip in closing here. A lot of times when we do this with folks, we'll actually do it in reverse. And the reason for that is because a lot of times, yeah, you start with, "Okay, how can companies come to know about you?" Everybody can answer that because they're already doing it to some extent. I mean, that's how people think about marketing. While we run advertising, we do this. 

But what if you instead said, "Okay, what would it take so that every single one of our clients was so happy with us that they were willing to refer us?" Or, "What would we have to do? What would we want customers thinking, feeling, doing 45 days, 90 days after they buy from us?" Because if you start there, you're more likely to build functionality, and processes, and campaigns into creating a better customer experience than “how do we get more clicks?”

If you start with, “after we get a customer, what we do to just blow them away”, that will improve your business more than any aspect of some platform, or some email writing course, or some SEO in the end. I'll stop my screen sharing and we can go to the next part of the presentation, including questions.

Farzad: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much, John, for the amazing presentation. I myself have a ton of questions. So, really excited for the Q and A part that comes in a few minutes. In the meantime, I want to hand the mic off to my boss, Payman, who has been actually on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. 

John has basically mentioned a lot of this great info about how to create and be able to guide your customers through the customer journey and optimize it as much as possible. A lot of the steps in the process requires you to actually be able to communicate with your customers. And the best way you can communicate with them is using visuals and actually being able to notice a picture's worth a thousand words. 

Most people, if they're anyone like me who has absolutely no artistic skills or design background, are going to have a little hard time being able to craft those. Payman, he's going to be taking over and showing you guys how to be able to create these pieces of content, create these touchpoints with your customers in a quick and easy way in a visual format. 

Visual Communication During the Customer Journey: Visme

Payman: If you see my screen, so what I'm going to show you, in a nutshell, people always ask what is Visme? We are the all-in-one communication tool. So, people basically use this tool to create all types of content. 

And today I'm going to focus on the customer journey. I saw the marketing hourglass slide that was presented by John a little bit earlier. So, I'm going to just show you another angle that you could take that content and present a little bit differently. 

We're known as more of a presentation tool, but we're actually a data visualization, charting tool, reporting tool. I'm going to focus on one thing and then you can, of course, explore the rest yourself. 

When you create something in Visme, you get to choose the type of content that you want to create. So, yes, you can create from the ground up, but our presentations, we gave you full-blown presentations. I'm going to go a little more towards the infographic. I want to do a journey. 

What does a journey look like? And we give you these different types of content. Perhaps it is more of a timeline or it's more like a process. 

Now, it just happens that if I type in the word “journey” here, we have, and again, we have animated, but I'm going to go to the infographics. And then you'll be seeing the customer journey map. That's the one I'd selected a few minutes ago and I've got it open here. 

As John was speaking and presenting, I ended up just grabbing a few of the words and I'm going to actually just skip over here to the slide that was here, the content, right? There were a couple of slides that were talking about the seven steps. I just want to show you that you have the ability to customize things. 

Imagine that you give a little description for each of these and if I'm done with it, I've got myself a little infographic, right? And I can go in and do that. I can go full screen. I can stretch things and fill it up with more content here. 

I can zoom out and I can add additional components. I want to show you interactivity because you can, in Visme, do all sorts of interactivity components. I'm only going to touch on a couple of those. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and grab me a little block of content. 

We give you all these different templates. And I can go ahead and grab one of these. So, let's say that I wanted one of those blocks to go to an actual box or a selection that I want to do. And then I can choose that and add that as a block. Okay? 

If I want to share this online, I can also download it. I'm going to go ahead and say, “customer journey and webinar”. I can make it as a URL that's public. But I'm going to go ahead and launch it as a URL. It's almost like a webpage.

That's how you can make very interactive engaging content in Visme. You can go ahead and embed this to your own website if you want to with an embed code, or if you're like, "Hey, I really need this to be offline because I'm just very old school." You can go and download it. Because there's some animation involved in this one, I probably wouldn't download it as an image. I could get it as a PDF or a video file. 

I could keep going, but I'm going to cut it short here. That just gives you a little bit of an idea that you can be a powerful content presenter yourself and use visual pieces such as animations, and icons, and graphics, and texts to make content that could otherwise be static and stagnant and make it more interactive and more engaging with your audience.

Farzad: All right. Well, thank you so much Payman.

John: One of the things that people underestimate, I talked a lot about building trust and I think if you can simplify complex concepts, I think that actually goes a long way towards building trust. I think visuals certainly that's one of the real impactful things about visuals is a lot of times they can help you simplify something that's really complex. 

Farzad: Alrighty. Well, thank you so much Payman for the presentation. And John, glad to have you back. I know you got disconnected for a second there.

We've got a ton of questions, so I'm really excited to bounce off some questions from you guys because I'm sure a lot of folks are excited to have you guys. Samantha is asking, "What tools or research methods do you recommend us to use to find out how people search for a particular product or service? And not necessarily SEO-wise, but also about the broader customer research.”

John: SEMrush has tremendous content, keyword discovery tool that you can actually find the terms people are putting in and in the kind of volume. Old school: interview your customers. Get them on the phone and ask them how they found you, how they make decisions, how they find other services. You can get a tremendous amount of insight from that process as well.

Designing a B2B Website to Maximize Revenue

Farzad: Great. So, we also got a question from, sorry, Vanessa, who's asking, "Do you recommend any resources on the best way to design a B2B website designed for the purpose of demand generation or revenue, not just an electric brochure of content delivery?

John: I think Payman might have some thoughts on this as well from a design standpoint, but I will say that a lot of the elements that I talk about on the journey need to show up on the website as well. So, somebody needs to get there and they need to actually have a promise that you first promise to solve the problem that their greatest problem is. Instead of like, here's what we do, it's, here's what we fix in your world. 

Have representations of your personas or avatars or whatever. I mean, “here's who we serve, here's who gets results using our product or service.” Having all the trust elements you can there as far as testimonials, or case studies, or logos, or certifications, whatever your business is about. Having that content or the dosings as people step through. Having calls to action for something that sounds really useful, again, related to solving their problem.

When we build wireframes for websites, that's what we're thinking about, especially on the homepage is how does this site allow somebody to go through a journey. And that's why you see these long scrolling home pages are such, the popular way to design home pages today is because that's the expectation or the behavior people want to go through and make a decision.

Farzad: Gotcha. Payman, do you have anything to add on to that?

Payman: I mean, as far as if we're talking about the website creation tools, if you had to do it yourself, platform Wix, Squarespace, of course, is like the Apple of it in terms of the sexiness and the cleanliness of the tool and so on.

E-Commerce, Shopify would be another aspect. And then of if course, you're hiring someone or you want to go a little bit deeper into a little bit more strength, 

WordPress, of course, 25, 30% of the websites are powered by that. But eventually you're going to find yourself, you're going to need to probably have a developer. Our own website is based on WordPress, by the way, heavily customized. 

Determining the Right Price to Charge Customers

Farzad: Thank you. Adam is asking, "Do you have any suggestions with determining the right price for a service throughout the customer journey to not scare them away, especially for a new business?"

John: Price is funny. I mean, price is just a function of value. People will pay a million dollars for something that they believe is worth a million dollars. And that's the hard part, I think, for a lot of people is, there are million-dollar problems that people want solved. Everything from, “I want my neighbors to think I'm a really impressive person” to “I have a legitimate medical problem or something I want to solve”. 

The real key is, or where people end up discounting things or feeling like, "Oh, I can't charge that much because nobody else is," it's because they haven't really unlocked somebody's problem that they're trying to get solved and they haven't unlocked a way to communicate why this is the path to solve that.

What I like to do early on, if I'm creating a product or a service is, I like to hopefully have a group of people that I think I'm going to target participate and not just give me feedback, but literally build it with them. Give me advice on how I could make this more valuable to you. And what happens then is you start hearing, "Well, I needed to do this, or I needed to do that, or here's what I'm always struggling with, or here's what I don't get about what you're trying to sell me."

Typically you create a much better product or service that way. Now, I know, particularly you guys in the software business, I'm sure you have lists of features that people want that is two miles long. You have to balance that with, okay, this one person wants this one feature, but does that make sense for us to build it in because nobody also will use it. 

I will say this whole customer discovery process is how you nail the differentiation, it's how you nail the messaging. And that's how you then are able to not only lock down on pricing, but charge more. And that's where I think is the real key. 

A lot of times people will do research on pricing and they'll just say, "Well, what's everybody else charging?" And it's like, "Well, that's what we have to charge." You haven't found a group of people who want a bigger problem solved than what you're trying to solve.

Incorporating the Customer Journey Into a Website’s Structure

Farzad: Absolutely. Yeah. That's what I've noticed also is that lots of folks focus on the market price of things versus actually trying to gauge how much people are willing to pay for it. 

Stringers Society Lacrosse, I'm assuming it's a company, is asking, "Any recommendations of building the structure of your site, including blog posts, product pages, landing pages around the customer journey with SEO best practices in mind? 

John: Obviously, I would have different answers for a local business than a national business. I would have different answers for a professional service versus, say, a home service versus a software company.

If you sell three or four different products or services that are dramatically different, having those represented on the homepage and then having interior pages for all of those. So, it might be still the typical nav of “about us, our products and services, who we serve”, but what we've also found a tremendous amount of luck or results with, I should say, is to actually identify the two or three biggest things that you offer.

Common Pitfalls in Guiding the Customer Journey

Farzad: Murali, and again, I'm sorry, I'm terrible at pronouncing names is asking, "Could you tell us what are some of the top three things that people often mistake when it comes to designing and also running people through the customer journey? What are some of the pitfalls that you see normally people do?

John: The big mistake I see people do is, if they sell a product or service, they basically say, anybody who needs accounting, anybody who needs software, anybody who needs a bookkeeper can buy our product or service. 

Narrowing your focus is how you're really going to end up figuring out how to attract more of the same, how to differentiate. Narrow your client focus and then figure out what it is that you do that they love so that you can then use that as the message for, here's who we serve. 

Those two points scare a lot of people off because you are ultimately saying, "Here's who we do not serve," And that's actually the key to growing your business. Then the third piece that I see is we're so anxious to get a client that we're not charging, not only what we're worth, but we're not charging enough to even keep the doors open sometimes. 

I mean, I work with so many small business owners that are basically creating a job for themselves. They're not building a business, they're not growing profit, they're not building something that somebody might want to buy because they're essentially afraid to ask what they should be doing. So, those are my three points.

Farzad: All right. Well, thank you so much, John. I appreciate it. I'm sorry if I'm going over time here. Alrighty. I think that's pretty much it in terms of questions. Thank you both for coming in today.  I also want to thank the audience. John, just one thing I wanted to leave the audience with, how can people get in touch with you? So let's say if they have any further questions, what would be the best way?

John: Sure. So, the easiest is just Duct Tape Marketing. That's ducttapemarketing.com. You can see what I've been doing the last couple of decades there. Feel free to send me an email. It's just john@ducttapemarketing and then it's ducttapemarketing on LinkedIn and on Facebook and ducttape only on Twitter.

Farzad: Alrighty. Well, thank you, John. And if you guys haven't heard of Duct Tape Marketing podcast, I personally highly recommend it. Please do go take a look. 

Payman: Thanks everybody. 

John: Bye now.

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