Happy March, everyone! It is my favorite time of year. Spring weather is here, and March Madness is just around the corner.
While many of us are focusing on buzzer beaters and bracket busters, business owners should be focused on improving the way their businesses get their customers to Know, Like, Try, Buy, Repeat and Refer their product. We call this the customer journey, and we visualize it with a tool called the Marketing Hourglass.
But ignoring basketball this month is easier said than done, I thought I might visualize the customer journey a different way – through the lens of a college basketball fan.
First Four – Know
The First Four is the official kick-off to March Madness, and it begins the Wednesday before the first weekend of the main tournament. This may be the first time you have heard of any of these teams, let alone watch them play. This would mirror the first time a customer encounters your business.
While you watch these early games, be aware of all of the ways new customers may encounter your business for the first time, and imagine different ways to reach more people.
Second Round – Like
The next step is to get this customer to like your business. New fans of basketball teams begin to like the team if they know enough about them to correctly predict a second-round upset.
For your business, you must strive to give potential customers great first impressions. Think about all of those customer touch-points in the previous round. Are there ways to improve the experience to create better impressions?
Third Round – Trust
Getting your customers to trust you is an important step towards turning them into paying customers. The Cinderella team you have been following earns your trust by winning another game. Not only are you rooting for them, but you are starting to believe they have a chance to win it all.
Like the team working hard for an upset, show your customers you are working hard to earn their trust, and they’ll start to believe in your business.
Sweet 16 – Try
Say your favorite new team has made it past the first weekend of the tournament. Games are now stand-alone, so more people are watching and cheering for every team. This is the first time a new fan can truly feel like a fan, a part of this team’s community.
The same goes for your business. Give your customers an experience to try and show them the value of your product. If they like what they experience, they will take the plunge and buy your product.
Elite Eight – Buy
Now it comes time for your customer to buy your product. During the tournament, this may be the stage when a new fan buys a t-shirt or some other memorabilia from the now improbable Elite Eight run.
For businesses, some of you may think this is the ultimate goal. It isn’t. You want to now shift your focus to turning these customers into continuing business.
Final Four – Repeat
Not every team makes it to the Final Four, just like your customers don’t always become repeat customers. The thrill of your chosen team making the Final Four is your reward for your support so far. Win or lose, this is exciting enough you’ll likely want to experience it again in the future. Your business is no different. Reward your customers for their business with great customer service or continued support, and they’ll keep coming back.
National Championship – Refer
This is the biggest step a customer can take for your business. Customers that continually refer your business to their family and friends are the best for the long term viability of your company. For the basketball team, win or lose in the national championship game, you’ll be telling your friends you were there to see their run to the final, and they should be fans too.
Referrals are the culmination of all of the steps that came before, and it is the championship trophy you should be seeking for your business.
Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC