The Customer Journey : The Maker's Business Toolkit

The Customer Journey

For the most part, unless you are selling very low priced, impulse purchase products, your customers are unlikely to buy from you the very first time they see you. This is especially true if you are selling expensive or very large sized products.

Your customers may need time to think about it, they may need to find the wall space for it, they may not be willing or able to spend the money right now.

It’s the job of your marketing plan to support and nurture these customers as they come through the “customer journey” and to hopefully remind them about you and your products, just when they are ready to buy.

But how on earth do we do that?

I’m so glad you asked.

First thing’s first.

Gather together as much information as you can about the circumstances under which your customers buy from you.

What makes someone buy your product? What events take place that might trigger a sale?

Does your customer buy the product for themselves of for someone else? How long is a customer likely to follow you before they buy? Have you noticed life events that cause people to buy from you? Is your business seasonal?

For me, I sell wall art, some of it quite large and people generally have to find a space to put it.

Oftentimes they will buy from me when they are moving house, or after redecorating their home. Sometimes they will have been following me for years before they purchase a print.

They may have bought some greetings cards or a phone cover or a calendar from me and kept it, knowing that at some point they would like to have a larger piece for the wall.

It’s quite deliberate on my part that I sell them products like phone covers and calendars that they may look at regularly, while they are thinking about whether they want to buy a print or not.

It’s also quite deliberate that I sell cards and calendars that can function as a tester for a larger print. They can stick it on the wall and see how it looks and decide if they want to buy the print or not.

When you’ve got as much information as you can about why and when a customer buys your product, start to think about what comes before that point.

What can you do to foster relationships with people who are not yet ready to buy? How can you keep in front of them so that when they are ready, they buy from you?

Maybe, like me, you have some smaller products that act as a “lead in” to your main product. Smaller products to bring them along the journey and changes the relationship you have with them.

Suddenly they are no longer someone who passed by your stand, but they are a “customer” a “buyer of your work.” If your smaller offering is something that will be looked at or used regularly that is even better.

Or maybe you can use your mailing list, Instagram and Pinterest to keep showing them aspirational lifestyle images that nurture your relationship with them until they reach that event that triggers a purchase decision.

Is there a certain season of the year when this kind of event takes place?

Work it all out and tailor your marketing plan accordingly. Your Social Media and Email Marketing strategy should always include an element for these potential future buyers.

Keep putting your images in front of them…even if they’ve seen them before. It can take anything from 7 to 20 points of contact before someone becomes a buyer.

For example, people thinking of redecorating will often use Pinterest months or even years before the actual redecorating takes place. This is people essentially collecting places they might like to buy from in the future.

Make your work pinnable so you can be included in these, if you want to be in front of people at this time of their lives.

(Tip: don’t just create one board with all of your work, but create boards especially tailored towards redecorating and sprinkle your items into the mix)

Learning more about your customers is always a good use of time.

And learning about the journey a customer goes through, from first encountering your work, all the way through to buying a large piece, can really help you to make sure that your marketing is effective and that you’re not wasting your time trying to convert people who just aren’t ready to buy yet and instead you’re meeting them where they are and just showing them how wonderful you are.

This is how you can pop up in front of them at precisely the right moment to supply the product of their dreams.

The Customer Journey.How much do you know about why your customers buy from you...and when?

I'm Nicola Taylor

I’m the founder of Maker’s Business Toolkit and I help artists, makers, and handmade business owners to make more money with less stress.

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