10 Tactics for Perfecting Your Consumer Decision Journey
The companies that will be the most successful are the ones that understand their customers best. This helps them make content their audience will consume, provide the help they need, and create products they love.
One way to gain this understanding is by mapping out a typical consumer decision journey. But how do you do this, and what are the tactics you need to focus on to maximize your efforts? Read on to find out.
What is a “consumer decision journey”?
A “consumer decision journey” (CDJ) is the entire process that people go through when deciding which product or service to purchase. This involves everything from first realizing they have an unmet need to the moment before they actually buy.
It’s important to understand CDJ as a company for a few reasons:
- It’s easier to meet your consumers where they are.
- You can more reliably influence their buying decisions.
- Your brand is seen more and becomes more competitive as a result.
Of course, the modern CDJ has changed with the internet. These days, there are more buying options and less pressure to purchase. This gives the consumer more power than they’ve ever had.
For a modern example of a company that adapted its business practices to fit its consumers’ decision journey, look no further than Warby Parker. An eyeglasses company founded in 2010, Warby Parker challenged an entire industry by offering at-home try-ons. This sparked a new business model and addressed the major pain point of people looking for glasses: feeling rushed to find the perfect pair in a store vs. the luxury of trying them on at home.
The point behind the story? Warby Parker worked to understand the typical CDJ of their potential customers by putting themselves in their shoes, and it paid off handsomely.
Still, you don’t need to dive deep into your consumer’s habits to tailor your process to their buyer journey. How consumers make decisions can easily be broken down into four steps.
- Exposure: The consumer, through ads or their own search, finds your brand.
- Evaluation: The consumer reads your website, compares your prices to competitors, checks your social media and reviews, etc.
- Purchase: The consumer chooses your brand to purchase from
- Loyalty: The consumer is happy with their purchase, which makes them more willing to receive your marketing materials and go through the decision journey again.
Looking at the CDJ through these four steps can help you craft useful communication with your audience every step of the way. As for optimizing your own CDJ? Provide value and assistance to your potential consumers everywhere you can and directly address concerns that may sway their decision.
For actionable advice on crafting a profitable CDJ, read on for our recommended tactics.
Create targeted content for different stages of the funnel
People require multiple touch points with a company before they buy. They have options, and are likely researching multiple other products while you engage with them. This is the importance of content marketing which positions your company as a helpful guide.
You take it to the next level, though, when you create content for each level of your funnel. For more information on targeted content, give this article by Databox a read. Forty marketers share how to craft content that fits each stage of your funnel.
Engage a subscriber immediately after they sign up for your email list
Even with tools like live chat, email remains a dependable channel for building and maintaining relationships with your audience. That’s because it’s a great channel for keeping your audience’s interest with things like enticing newsletters and informative welcome series. This is important because a good welcome series not only provides value to a new subscriber but also makes you money.
So what should your welcome series include? Here are some things to think about that can get you started in the right direction:
- What content can you share immediately that can solve your subscriber’s most pressing problems?
- Do you have an origin story that can bring you closer to your audience?
- Is there a new product or current sale you can offer to fresh subscribers?
- How can you be creative? GIF’s, personal photography and specialized layouts add a little personality to your emails.
Proactively approach site visitors and eliminate doubt
Live chat allows you to immediately address problems that may get in the way of a sale. We recommend using proactive chat to greet your customers and offer help, similar to an in-store sales assistant.
For example, let’s say I receive a discount code in my inbox for a product I was interested in. If I follow the email link to the website but hesitate during the checkout process, proactive chat (either an agent or bot) can automatically trigger to address any concerns I have.
Not only does proactive chat boost conversion rates and make the customer feel valued, but it’s quite easy to set up. Read our post on how to make proactive chat helpful for more information.
Make ideal consumer profiles
Most people have heard of buyer personas. Companies often use these fictional representations of their buyers to create more precise messaging in their marketing.
However, while buyer personas do have their use, we at Userlike prefer ideal consumer profiles. While a buyer persona focuses on the individual, an ideal customer profile instead gives a view of the company you are trying to sell to. This can include company size, profitability, number of subscribers, etc.
Keeping this information at hand also makes it easier to qualify leads. Because your audience will all be at different points of the CDJ, this qualification clarifies who you should most pursue - and when.
Interview your consumers
Your customers are gold mines of information. Asking them the right questions can give you a ton of insight into what you are doing well…and what you need to do better. At Userlike, for example, we make it a point to interview any consumer that can spare the time.
Here are five interview questions to get you started:
- What was the 'catalyst' to getting started with our product?
- How did you find our solution, and why did you decide on us?
- Was there any skepticism in your team about the value of our product?
- Did you compare our product with other solutions, and what did the process look like?
- What is your biggest professional challenge at the moment?
Even if you don’t have the capacity to interview consumers, reading online reviews of your competitors can also give you valuable insight into what your audience likes or dislikes. Try popular sites like Capterra or G2 to get started.
Implement user-generated content
While content should be a main part of most businesses’ marketing strategies, “user-generated content” is where you can really step up your game. This is any content that comes directly from your audience:
- Positive product reviews on Amazon
- Instagram pictures tagging your product
- Video testimonials from satisfied consumers
User generated content can be a great addition to an effective CDJ because it’s convincing. Think about it - are you more likely to trust what a company says about their products or services, or a normal person sharing their honest opinion?
Just check out this example by Citizens of Humanity. Anytime somebody posted content on Instagram with the “WeAreAllHumanity” hashtag, the company would donate 10 dollars to UNHCR to aid refugees.
While this was indeed a campaign that boosted the reputation of Citizens of Humanity, it was successful because of user-generated content. People saw others doing it. This participation from “normal people” not only made individuals more excited to get involved, but was more convincing than the brand simply telling them what to do. This is the sort of exponential result that user-generated content can have.
Use retargeting ads
Ever clicked on an ad without buying and then saw offers for it almost everywhere? Yeah - we all have. While retargeted ads can seem a little creepy (“How did they know I was looking for a new water bottle?”), you can’t argue against their effectiveness.
When I worked as a Facebook ads manager, there were a few things I learned about making retargeting ads as effective as possible. This includes:
- Putting a frequency cap on your ads. You don’t want people to see your ads more than a few times - you just become annoying if they do. Check out This retargeting guide from Instapage for more background on the ideal time frame.
- Getting your demographic right. Just because you can retarget somebody doesn’t mean you should. If the majority of your sales come from women between the ages of 20 and 29, these are the people you should aim for during your retargeting campaign.
- Learning the technical details of the relevant platform. How you run retargeting campaigns varies depending on which platform you use. Here are retargeting tutorials for Amazon, Google Ads, and Facebook.
Re-engage with contacts
It’s quite common for people to become less active at certain points during their interaction with your company. Maybe they are on vacation, busy with work, or simply doing research and evaluating their budget before they decide to invest in a solution. No matter the case, it’s your job to re-engage them to keep their interest.
While retargeting ads can be a great option (see previous section), here are some other tactics you might consider to re-engage people during their own CDJ:
- Send an automated email with a curiosity-provoking headline (“Is everything ok?”) to a subscriber who hasn’t opened your message in over three months.
- Give discount codes to previous customers. The frequency of these codes will vary depending on the product, although some brands send out deals multiple times a year.
- Set up an “abandoned cart” email offer for anybody that didn’t complete their purchase ( often one of the most profitable automations a company can have).
Use chatbots to provide help during off hours
You never know when somebody is going to be on your site. Depending on the size of your company (and how international your audience is), potential consumers will have questions at all hours of the day. It’s important you’re available to answer them.
That’s why a profitable CDJ often includes the use of a chatbot - they are ready to help your site visitors 24/7. You can also pair them with your content and trigger a chatbot on your website to invite the consumer to sign up for your email list or to promote sales, launches and answer simple questions.
Address objections in all sales copy
Let’s face it: your consumers are going to have doubts. That’s why they spend weeks and months comparing brands and solutions before making a purchase decision. For the most effective CDJ, you shouldn’t ignore these doubts, but confront them head on. This gains consumer trust quicker and is more effective than sales copy that seems “too good to be true.”
Here’s a tip to make this process easier: try to read your sales copy from the perspective of your consumer. Any time you catch yourself asking questions or generally being skeptical, it’s probably a good time to address it.
This has the added benefit of connecting to people about to buy. By “being in their head,” your prospects see that your company is serious about helping them. This is essential with today’s informed consumers who don’t tolerate generic answers. Anticipating their objections, and addressing them openly and realistically, is how you craft a great CDJ.
Userlike: your tool for influencing a profitable consumer decision journey
If you're upgrading your sales strategies, you also need to upgrade your support. With the modern consumer, you do this by talking to them directly. These conversations help you learn who your consumers are and intimately understand the problems they face.
Customer messaging is one of the quickest and most reliable ways to influence the CDJ. After all, a huge part of the modern day consumer decision journey is trust, and chats are one of the best ways to build this. They are personal, intimate and in real time. What better way to get started with the conversations than with a tool that specializes in exactly that: Userlike.
We’ve helped thousands of clients get closer to their customers through live chat. To get an impression, check out skate shop Titus’ experience with Userlike:
Userlike makes it easy to not only chat directly with your site visitors, but to reach them on all of their favorite platforms, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. This gives you a more direct (and profitable) influence on your company’s typical CDJ.