Understanding the Consumer Lifecycle: From Discovery to Referrals
Creating a marketing plan is an important step towards bringing in new business. Before you draft a plan, there is some considerations to think through. Do you know what you want to accomplish with your plan? Do you understand what your contacts may be looking for? Do you know how visible you are at this starting point? It is important to understand the lifecycle of a client from discovery to referral. Here are the stages of developing your business relationships.
- Discovery. Discovery marks the very beginning of a business relationship. At this point, your contacts (aka future consumers) have identified their needs and they will begin to educate themselves on the various options to fill that need. The trick to getting discovered is being there before they have realized the need.
- Education. Your goal is to provide ongoing education about who you are, what problems you solve and how you handle matters. By building relationships before your services are needed, you establish visibility for yourself over a long period of time, increasing your credibility.
- Engagement. While you are educating your networks on what you do, it is important to engage them with the content you provide. Be available to answer questions, help others in their network and establish your relationship.
- Activate. When a potential hiring scenario is established, you can now talk to the prospect about a business relationship. Make a proposal to help them resolve a problem and ask them for the work.
- Get hired. If the chemistry is right, and you have done all of your homework along the way, you will get hired. Now it is crucial to translate this client into a regular, loyal and satisfied customer.
- Referrals. When your customer is at their happiest with your service, now is the time to ask them to refer you to others prospects who may need your services. If they are satisfied, there shouldn’t be any barriers to sharing their good experiences and send you referrals.
Now that you understand the lifecycle of developing your clients from scratch, it is time to build a marketing plan that wraps in all of these stages. Nurturing relationships is the only way to build long-term, satisfied clients who will refer you to others.