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Are you missing a step in your marketing funnel?

Season 3

Episode 3

When you're creating your marketing strategy and detailed plan, you need to consider each of the different steps of a customer's journey, and the marketing that matches each. Each of these steps build on each other over time to get to a purchase, and to create natural word of mouth from your past customers and clients. These are unlikely to lead to a sale overnight, especially without word of mouth.

At each step, you have options of what platforms and ways in which you'll help people in that step, meaning you can expand, improve, and try new things to have the biggest impact on your revenue, but also that you don't have to focus on any one platform. This also means you can choose your marketing platforms and content style based on how much time you have, how many people you want to attract what ways you can batch versus making a timely piece of content every day or week, and find a balance to suit you while also attracting the right people. In a way these work like a funnel, because while you get more people at the top, only so many people will continue to progress.

The steps are discovery, interest, engagement, familiarity, consideration, timing (both yours and theirs), decision, purchase, delivery, loyalty and advocacy.

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Your client for a service business might find you on TikTok, they might like some of your content, comment on a post and after a while, go to your website and sign up for your email marketing list by signing up for a freebie, then they'll get that freebie and use it and go through the welcome sequence. Over time they'll visit blog content, eventually read a case study to see how you work with clients and start to become familiar with your brand and your offer. They'll see some variety of a sales pitch and over time, they'll book a call after which you'll send a proposal. When they sign on they'll sign a contract and go through your paid experience. After the service is completed, you'll offboard them and request a testimonial. Afterwards, they might sign up for another service or start to refer clients to you if they truly enjoyed the experience.

Another type of business might follow a different path, but the general steps are the same. Think about what a potential flow through each of these steps could look like for your customer. That's what we call a customer journey. Often when you're thinking about what happens on a website, it's called behavior flow. But we're thinking bigger here. Let's break down the steps and finer detail so you can think about how you've covered them with your marketing.

I won't cover each part of each type of marketing or we'd be here for hours, but this will give you some notes to get started when making sure you've got each step locked down, or to spot a gap if you have one.

Step One: Discovery

This is the step in which people first find out about you and start the whole process. This could happen online using various algorithms or through search and paid avenues. You can amplify your discovery via organic search, blogging, social media, Pinterest advertising, guesting on other people's shows or blogs, and networking. Word of mouth can also be the first way people find out about you. But your approach to this will be more indirect. We'll get back to Word of Mouth later in the funnel.

Discovery through search isn't brand based search. It's the times when someone searches for like a mechanic in their area but more generally. Branded search happens later in the funnel. SEO and Google My Business will help you here as well as paid search ads.

Blogging for discovery is mostly still search based but it usually leads them to a more specific answer to their question, rather than a product or service or other salesy style page.

Discovery through social media is often algorithm fuelled, since they'll follow you only after this point, hashtags, collaborations or shareable content can help a little too. Pinterest is all about discovery. It's amazing. Yes, you can definitely follow people but your feed is driven by your search history and search is a large part of the platform. There's an element of keyword matching and grabbing the eye with your pin imagery since multiple pins are always on the screen.

Discovery through advertising outside of search results is very target audience orientated using demographics and browsing history to include or exclude people. When guesting on other people's shows or blogs, you're able to be discovered by their audience, you may have a little overlap, but when done right, you'll be able to show up in front of people who are mostly your target market, but who are new to you.

Discovery through networking is one of the most manual one to one options, but it can often have the biggest impact. This is really great for those with higher priced items since you need fewer sales to meet your revenue goals.

Influencer or affiliate marketing as well as PR all act kind of like word of mouth. But these options do include people who may not have ever bought from you, but who are sharing paid placements rather than actual customers. They might be friends of yours or colleagues or clients from an older offer who act as brand spokespeople. In a product business, they might be someone you sent a product who liked it enough to share it.

Whether or not you then paid for that sponsorship, it's still best to ensure they did actually like it. Believe it or not, people can always tell and the best referral is from someone who only refers items they genuinely care about. The content best suited to this would be searched keyword based since they already have a question and you can answer it. This fuels search visibility across all platforms since even social media has search.

The other type of content is that which hooks people in that shows people you understand the problems they can solve with an offer like yours. You can emphasize brand here since we're not close to acquisition yet. Brand Marketing is telling your brand story and sharing the brand personality. Discovery is often the most critical because if a person never finds you, they won't go to your website and get familiar enough to purchase.  

Step Two: Interest

This is the step in which people are first introduced to your offer. The key is to pique their interest so they stick around to find out more. This step also starts the compounding of multiple interactions. You can amplify the interest in your brand by sharing the highlights of your offer and what it achieves across almost all platforms. At this step they've discovered you so you can start to have platforms like a podcast where people have some levels of discovery beforehand, so you aren't relying solely on discovery in a podcast app, which is usually limited. You can also create this interest through email freebies that allow people to subscribe to your email list in exchange for something, so email starts to come into play here too.  

Step Three: Engagement

This is the step in which people start to feel comfortable enough to start to engage more fully and become much more visible to you as an individual person. They might react to a post, comment or reply to an email or sign up for a live webinar and comment in the chat. Through this engagement, the two way conversation can begin, you can amplify your potential engagement by creating content, people will likely feel obliged to comment on or want to click the link at the bottom of the piece of content to go to the next step. You can ask questions give prompts, or ask them to tell you a story or send a message, reply to the email whatever makes the most sense in this content.  

Step Four: Familiarity

This is the step where the majority of trust is built. People stick around long enough to learn about your business or with a personal brand about you. You can amplify your familiarity by getting to know your audience and sharing more about the business that they're seeking for through search or by what they comment and engage most with. The content best suited to this would be about your mission, goals, your process as well as the people behind the brand.

Consistency is a pretty big deal here. Some people who don't necessarily have a personal based brand will start to gain trust by showing up as if they were a personal brand. They often do this not by making everything about them but by emphasizing those within the business that a client or customer would interface with. This means that as people progress through the rest of the steps they feel familiar with the people they talk to, whether that's the owner or not. Then they don't feel like they're getting passed from the face of the brand to someone they've never known existed before when the granular work gets done.

The larger scale your interactions are the more this speeds up the process. For example, chatting one on one in the DMS even if only for 20 minutes can have more impact than a short social media share with 300,000 views because a larger and more intimate connection is forged with the one individual. Comparing stories length snippets to a multi hour podcast every week can be quite the difference in how people could become more familiar with you much more quickly, especially if they were to watch both new and older content and catch up.

This is why we are seeing new YouTubers create large dedicated audiences, while TikTokers with five times the following aren't gaining the same connection and leading people to any kind of sale. It's due to the length and personal nature of YouTube content. It is also common for the same person to grow a smaller but more engaged following on YouTube, partially because of the sale of the platform. But also because it's more common that they actually talk on their YouTube, but not on their TikTok.

You might choose to pick one platform to funnel people to at this step like an email list or a podcast where everything else promotes one thing. You then educate or entertain there. And anything that you promote is delivered within that email list or podcast. That one avenue is then the place that the familiarity is gained over time, while also helping them to stick around as they get closer to a sale. This can sometimes mean you are less sales focused externally, so you can decide how you want to play that side.

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Step Five: Consideration

People get here a lot quicker from word of mouth, but this is where they start to decide more definitively whether your offer is right for them. They're not making the decision yet, but many people will tune out at this step if they know it's not right for them. They might also keep following you knowing you might add another offer or change in the future and they do enjoy following along for now. This is the step in which they need to be introduced to the details.

They should know what the pricing is soon at least an idea of range or whether it's affordable or an investment. They should know at least some of the features and benefits of your offer so they're getting prepped on what they'll be committing to. As time goes on. If they're right for the offer. They start to spot that need in their work or life, the content best suited to this would be getting specific about the offer. This is what people are missing when they post to social but never talk about their offers.  

Step Six: Timing (yours or theirs)

This is the step where they wait on a waitlist for your offer to be available, or are waiting for their own timing because of availability, need or budget. Either way, you want them to stick around. Following you on social media is good, but having them on your email list is the most reliable. This is where you want to make sure people are subscribed in some way to continue to hear from you when the time is right.

This is often when people will use discounts to tempt people to purchase but this might not be helpful for your profits so keeping in touch might be the better way to go. Also, if you have a range of products, it can help to showcase your range and while people like their style, they might wait for the right item to make their first purchase. Other ways people can be kept in the loop while they wait to be ready to buy include a formal waitlist where they sign up to specifically hear about an offer when it becomes available, or an online community. This is also a great time to educate so they become the perfect client or customer.

If you're making people wait for a cart to open of some kind, you might like to start sharing information before the launch day. This could include telling them what the price will be or sharing details. This can help you to avoid that tactic of selling people emotionally on something long before they know the price. They can prepare for when the doors do open and don't feel rushed or pushed into a decision. If you aren't having a formal waitlist, you could send everyone on your email list this information, then allow people to opt out of the extended sales content but stay on your email list.  

Step Seven: Decision Time

This is the step in which they review all the information and decide to buy or not. If the offer is door open and shut, they may just decide not to buy right now meaning they go back into the timing step. The sales page or proposal is where they will find the single source of everything. So even if some features or benefits are highlighted on social media, make sure everything is on that one piece of content.

For example, you might have case studies or testimonials on your website. But in your proposal, there are still benefits in including a page of quotes or highline information. This is because they may not have read them on your website not seen them for a while or have a group of people reviewing the proposal.

Share information about the process, the timeline and the finer details of the next steps. For a product business people need to know all about the product, but a size guide and information around delivery timing definitely helps your first time customers for a course business, they need to know what they will receive when and how they'll make the most of it. While you'll want to make the features clear, you also need to include the benefits wherever possible. Over time, you'll start to refine what people need to know and improve your sales contents' performance.  

Step Eight: Purchase

This is the step in which they make contact or take the steps to purchase. You'll want this to be as simple as possible and as quick as possible. You might like to do things like offering payment plans or use systems and softwares to make the process as seamless as possible.  

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The steps (of marketing and sales) are discovery, interest, engagement, familiarity, consideration, timing (both yours and theirs), decision, purchase, delivery, loyalty and advocacy.

Step Nine: Delivery

This is the step in which you send off the product, undertake the service or the person receives access to the course, download, or whatever the case may be. So it will look very different depending on your offer. The things people tend to value the most are speed, accuracy and organization. I also find it can help to break this into onboarding, delivery and off boarding to make sure you are improving the experience of each part of the step and not just delivering only.

While some might say you need to under promise and over deliver. There's a limit to this. All that extra stuff isn't baked into the price or it secretly is but you aren't telling people upfront. The part you put in the over promise category and don't disclose upfront could be an item that when it's missing from the features stops them from buying.  

Step Ten: Loyalty

This is the step that's not actually included for many businesses. That offer isn't available over a longer time and isn't something you repurchase. But for most businesses this can mean the customer or client sticks around for a service year over year. They repurchase, stay subscribed to a regular offer or buy your next tier offer over time.

You can amplify this with software making it super simple for someone to re up to keep subscribed to a product delivery even when they end up with a little too much product because they can control their delivery dates and make little edits without fully canceling. You can also amplify this with post purchase email sequences, or an email list that's dedicated to past clients. More often than not the quality of the delivery does make this component so much more common for your clients and customers.  

Step Eleven: Advocacy

This is the step where they refer you to their friends, family clients and in their networking circles directly as well as posting on their own social media. You can amplify your client and customer advocacy by asking for referrals, hosting events where people can bring a friend starting an affiliate program for products or a referral perk for a service or course. Ultimately most of the work for you happens across the purchase delivery and loyalty steps, so the people really want to refer you whether a perk is involved. for them or not.

Across all of your marketing, each piece of content or interaction should have a natural call to action, not necessarily to the next step, but onto at least another piece of content or opportunity for engagement. Next week, I'll walk you through each of these steps again, using a fake client as a guide. This business I'll talk about probably won't be your business or even industry, but it will hopefully help you to see how you could apply this framework to your own DIY marketing strategy.

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