From Unaware to Advocate
Level 1 – There are numerous ways of achieving this first step. But, given that the number of ‘suspects’ is always going to be far higher than the number of prospects (let alone customers), low cost per person methods are very much the best choice. Typically this might involve display advertising – search engine or social network based.
Level 2 – Viral social media campaigns (such as competitions or vouchers) can jump someone straight from unaware to prospect. The traditional ‘sign up for my newsletter’ does not in general work any more except for brands that are very well known or if it is known that those newsletters are often going to contain special offers that are of interest: A more successful approach is to offer something of value – a white paper, a research report or a series of hints and tips in exchange for the people’s ‘opt-in’ to receive marketing materials from you.
Level 3 – Getting from prospect to customer depends on your type of business. But if we’re talking about most B2B businesses, your prospect wants to have their confidence and trust built before they are going to make an enquiry – it is therefore important to ensure that what they find about you, when they research online, builds the right picture. It is also crucial to find out the specific product / service interest of each prospect to avoid driving them away with too much marketing that is irrelevant to them.
Level 4 – Having successfully gained a person / company as a customer, the most critical thing in maintaining them or persuading them to buy more is their experience with your products / services and in dealing with you / your organisation. But a close second is feeling valued – which has to be maintained with regular useful contact. Customers want to feel that you are listening to them and taking action accordingly. And if you want to build business with them you need to pro-actively introduce them to your new offerings. Special offer / opportunities for existing customers only can be an excellent idea.
Level 5 – For a customer to reach this level, they must be far more than satisfied. They will feel that their business would be significantly damaged if they no longer used your products / services. Typically this will come from added value that they receive from you but fear they would not get from another supplier. A delighted customer at this level with a good network of connections and well thought of can be worth their weight in gold: The challenge in the 21st century is to get them to express their praise online (typically in social networks) when the traditional ‘word of mouth’ can become ‘word of mouth on steroids’.