How to communicate the right message at the right time in 5 steps.
The consumer journey is a funnel of all the different moments that a client goes through before taking a desired action — usually buying something. In general the more expensive a product or service is, the more complex the consumer journey will be. A generic consumer journey can look like this:
Most purchases are caused by a consumer’s need to solve a problem. Of course people can be impulsive and buy things for no apparent reason, but in general, consumers tend to weigh their options and have some sort of thought process behind their actions.
Awareness: In this stage your target clients either don’t know they have a problem, or have a very vague idea about it. He/she doesn’t fully understand the issue in hand or has a misconception about the impact it can cause, therefore not caring much about it.
Interest: Your target client knows he/she has a problem but doesn’t really understand why it happens, or what the consequences are. They have no idea how to approach it or prevent it in future, but they’re already interested in getting a better idea about the whole thing.
Decision: Your target client knows his/her problem, understands why it happens, what the consequences are and wants to solve it now, so he/she needs to find out how to make the right decisions that will solve it effectively.
Action: Your target client knows his problem, understands why it happens, what the consequences are, knows how to tackle it and is at the point of comparing options to get external help or actively do something about it.
Defining the consumer journey for your business
The consumer journey is often used as the backbone of a businesses’ communication strategy, since it helps to craft messages that are more relevant.
Start by listing all of the problems and needs that your target clients have in each moment of the consumer journey. Avoid assumptions of your own. Instead, research the people you want to sell to, get to know them, observe their natural behaviour and ask the right questions.
By analysing the information collected and keeping in mind your business goals, define what are the desired actions you would like your target clients to take. If you have multiple desired actions, create a different consumer journey funnel for each action. Each consumer journey should be related to one specific outcome only.
Think about what type of content can address the problems and needs you mapped out on step one while also influencing the reader towards the desired action. Example: say your target clients are afraid of investing in real estate because “the economy isn’t great right now” and your desired action is getting them to buy apartments. An idea of content in that case can be collecting explanations from reliable influencers of that industry on how to minimize the risks of investing in real estate within a poor economy.
Once you’ve defined the consumer journey that fits your business, you can focus on crafting the messages around all the topics and ideas.