Did you know that businesses who put the customer front and center tend to be more profitable than their competitors? You’ve likely heard the saying, “the customer always comes first,” but what does that mean? And how can one utilize it from a marketing perspective to generate more leads and repeat customers for their business? That is what we are going to discuss in this article, as we take a deeper look at the customer journey for businesses targeting affluent and high-net-worth customers.
What is the Customer Journey?
It all starts with the customer journey, which is essentially a full-circle picture of the number of experiences and touchpoints customers go through when interacting with your brand. However, that is assuming that the customer already knows what they want and that you are the one they wish to transact with. For customers who know what they are looking for but do not know or have not decided yet who they will transact with, it is imperative that you become front and center with them as they begin their journey.
The questions you must ask as a business owner or marketer are as follows:
- Do they already know what they want?
- Do they know about your company?
- What sets you apart from the competition?
This is where becoming a trusted advisor on the customer’s journey plays into your digital marketing strategy. The old rule of business says that in order to get the business, your target audience must know you, believe you are knowledgeable, and trust you. Whether they are just beginning their journey or are a current customer, you must earn and continually work at retaining their trust. Typically, there are five stages to the customer journey, which we will explore more of in a moment…But first, we must explore how the customer journey is defined.
For businesses targeting affluent buyers, understanding and mapping the customer journey will be the key to an effective digital marketing strategy. But first, let’s start with the basics.
Take a moment to sit back and think of the current process a customer goes through with your business from start to finish to become a customer. To start, think about where the first interaction or touchpoint stems from. Does a customer stumble across your Instagram account when browsing for ideas or inspiration? Or maybe they stumble across a helpful blog post related to their search query. Whatever this first touchpoint is, we call that the awareness phase and phase one of the customer journey. There are Five Phases of the Customer Journey, let’s examine each phase of the customer journey in more detail:
Phase One: Awareness
As noted in the visual above, the first phase of the customer journey consists of the target customer developing an interest in travel and seeking information on destinations. In this illustration, the affluent traveler likely came across photos of incredible yachts in various exotic locations on Instagram or Facebook. Suddenly, they find themselves feeling inspired and thinking of the possibilities for their own life.
This would happen during the awareness phase of the customer journey, which is where social media marketing strategies and tools are typically deployed. Customers in phase one of the customer’s journey are not necessarily searching for your product or service, but they are interested in discovering ideas, inspiration, and resources.
After seeing several social media posts about Fort Lauderdale in their Instagram feed as shown in the above, potential customers may continue to search online for additional vacation possibilities in South Florida. This is where phase two comes in, after you have successfully captured their initial attention and the customer begins the discovery portion of their journey in phase two.
Phase Two: Consideration Phase
Now that the customer is inspired, they will continue further down their journey into the consideration phase. At this point, the customer may discover your brand via a search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) or on social media or other mediums as they begin searching for more information.
For instance, if you are in charge of promotions for a hotel chain, a touchpoint in the consideration phase would be a potential customer searching Google for “Luxury Hotels in Fort Lauderdale”: At this stage, the customer is beginning to seek more information, such as which destinations to explore, and more.
During their discovery phase, there will be multiple side journeys happening simultaneously that come together for a family vacation in Fort Lauderdale. For instance, the customer will also need to search for how to get to their destination, which might include private jet options like NetJets or commercial business or first-class flights.
Customers also may begin to get further into their discovery by asking questions such as:
- Which yacht is going to get them to their destination?
- Which restaurants will they indulge their senses in?
- What activities will fill their schedule?
- What are they going to pack?
In this scenario, a yacht broker who has articles ranking on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs) that the customer discovers would be touching on both the first and second touchpoints while also generating awareness for their brand. Remember, not every piece of content needs to be focused on sales and conversion, which we will touch on later as we get further into the customer journey. For instance, if you click on the first article ranking for the keyword, “Mediterranean Charter Destinations,” you will discover charter yacht agencies which have the best SEO or Google Ads placement:
As you can see, this is the perfect opportunity to establish your brand as an authority and resource on the subject matter and to keep users coming back for more. For the consideration phase, touchpoints such as branded content where you tell your brand’s story and paint a picture of the lifestyle you cater to can be highly effective. Something to keep in mind, it is important to focus on selling the “lifestyle” rather than the product itself with affluent buyers.
Take a look at the Louis Vuitton ad above featuring Zinedine Zidane playing a game of table soccer, with his Louis Vuitton trolley visible in the distance. How does an ad like this make one feel? And how would it differ if it were just an ad featuring Louis Vuitton bags? It would be nowhere near as powerful or influential. The lifestyle appeals to one’s emotions and desires and is what luxury brands rely on for maximum sales.
Marketing Touchpoints for the Consideration Phase
Pay-per-click advertising campaigns (PPC) can be a valuable way to connect with those searching for what you have to offer. You can run PPC campaigns on both search engines and across social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. What is so powerful about PPC ads is that you can create custom campaigns for specific audiences and get ultra-specific with who you are targeting based on a set of key demographics.
PPC campaigns make it easy to target your exact customer based on a specific set of criteria such as:
- And more
Along with that, you can also retarget previous website visitors who may have browsed your site without signing up for your email list or converting into a customer. For customers in the consideration stage, there will be certain expectations such as an easy-to-use platform, along with a positive user experience. If your website is glitchy or makes it hard to find what the user is searching for, they will leave instantly.
Phase Three of the Customer Journey: Conversion
The next phase of the customer journey, the conversion stage, is where we reach the moment we’ve all been waiting for. This is when a customer becomes ready to purchase and needs to find and select what they are looking for with ease.
During this stage, customers finalize their plans and count on a seamless experience to guide them through the process. Customers who are ready to purchase may be met with various marketing touchpoints from search engine marketing (SEM) to email marketing.
In this stage, ready to buy customers can be reached by targeting specific keywords that fit your offerings. For example, if you search Google for “yacht charters Miami,” you will see that the first few results are all examples of search engine marketing, where these brands paid to be shown first for this keyword:
When utilizing SEM, you also get to direct where the lead lands on your page. Rather than directing them to your home page, perhaps you will direct them to an optimized landing page designed to convert for that targeted keyword. If we click on a result from the example above, we will see a prime example of this:
In this particular example, this brand uses a lead magnet to capture the lead’s information, which is great if the lead doesn’t make an immediate purchase; you will still have their information to retarget them later.
Phase Four of the Customer Journey: Loyalty
Assuming that the lead converted into a customer in the third stage of the customer’s journey, the next phase brings us to the loyalty phase. This isn’t quite the time to pat yourself on the back just yet, as there is still work to do. In this phase, customers may be seeking another incredible vacation or need to arrange travel or otherwise again. But this time, they’re already familiar with and trust your brand, and customers in this phase tend to expect only the best.
Marketing touchpoints in the loyalty phase could be as simple as an email nurture sequence to keep customers engaged and notify buyers of new developments, as well as to share helpful resources such as your latest blog or video content. Along with this, you should be keeping your website content up to date by providing ongoing educational value to stay at the forefront of your customer’s minds.
Phase Five of the Customer Journey: Advocate
Customers in the fifth and final phase of the customer’s journey are what we call customer advocates. These are the ones who are proud to be your customer and genuinely want to share the experience with others. Not to mention, this is where the concept of selling a lifestyle comes in handy as customers seek to embody the brand and become part of a community.
In this phase, you can ask customers for reviews and work to build your social media presence to continue engaging with your community and spreading the word about your brand.
We hope you have a solid understanding of the customer journey by this point, why it matters, and the different ways you can interact and engage with customers along each step of the way.
But now we’re handing it over to you. What questions do you have about the customer journey or how it relates to your digital strategy? The experts at Yachting Lifestyle Digital are here to help. Take the first step of your own journey and get in touch with one of our team members today.