The Customer Journey: A Guide for Small Businesses

Whether running a small business or managing a startup, knowing how to effectively engage your customers at every stage of their journey sets you apart from your competition. 

This guide will walk you through each stage of the Customer Journey and share actionable insights on navigating them.

What is The Customer Journey?

But first, what is the Customer Journey?

Simply put, the Customer Journey is the process people go through when making a purchasing decision. 

The Customer Journey consists of five stages:

The Customer Journey: A Guide for Small Businesses
  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. Retention
  5. Advocacy

Each stage is an opportunity to engage potential customers and guide them toward purchasing and becoming a customer. 

Why is The Customer Journey Important?

Understanding the Customer Journey helps you to identify key touchpoints and optimize interactions at every stage. This helps you attract and keep customers while turning them into long-term advocates for your business. 

For you, as a small business owner, this means more efficient marketing efforts, better resource allocation, and, ultimately, increased revenue and growth.

Now, let’s get into each stage and learn how your business can optimize the customer journey. 

Stage 1: Awareness

What’s Happening

In the Awareness stage, potential customers first realize they have a problem or a need. They’re just starting to look for solutions and information. During this process, they become aware of your business and product or solutions for the first time.

What You Do 

Your job is to attract potential customers’ attention and make them aware of your products or services. This is your chance to make a great first impression.

How to Do It

  • Content marketing: Create content that addresses the problems your potential customers are facing. Blog posts, videos, infographics, and ebooks are great for this.
  • Social media: Use applicable social media platforms to share your content and engage with your audience.
  • SEO strategies: Optimize your website and content to appear in search engine results when potential customers look for solutions related to your products.
  • Public relations: Participate in events, sponsorships, and other PR activities to increase brand visibility.

Stage 2: Consideration

What’s Happening

Once potential customers are aware of your business, they enter the Consideration stage. They know their problem or need and are looking at different ways to solve it. They’re comparing different options, including your competitors, and researching to find the best solution.

What You Do

You need to provide more detailed information or comparisons on how your product or service can help. Show them you’re the best option.

How to Do It

  • Product comparisons and reviews: Offer clear comparisons highlighting your product’s advantages over competitors.
  • Case studies and testimonials: Share success stories from other customers to build trust and credibility.
  • Product information and demos: Provide details about your product and, if possible, offer demos to let potential customers experience it firsthand.
  • Email or text marketing: Nurture leads with targeted email or text campaigns with information and keeps your brand top-of-mind.

Stage 3: Purchase

What’s Happening

In the Purchase stage, potential customers are ready to make a buying decision. They’ve narrowed it down to a few options and are deciding who to go with.

What You Do

Convince the buyer that your product or service is the best choice and make it easy for them to buy from you. Create a smooth and reassuring buying process. 

How to Do It

  • Simplify the checkout process: Make your website’s checkout process as straightforward and user-friendly as possible.
  • Promotions: Offer discounts, promotions, or other incentives to encourage purchases.
  • Customer support: Provide excellent customer support to answer last-minute questions or concerns.
  • Clear return policy: Make sure your return policy and guarantees are easily accessible and clearly communicated.

Stage 4: Retention

What’s Happening

After a purchase, the customer starts using your product. The goal in this stage is to keep them satisfied and encourage repeat business.

What You Do

Focus on maintaining customer satisfaction and building a long-term relationship.

How to Do It

  • Exceptional customer service: Offer customer service to address any issues or questions in a timely manner.
  • Follow-up engagement: Send follow-up messages to thank customers for their purchase and check their satisfaction.
  • Loyalty programs: Implement loyalty programs to reward repeat customers with offers or discounts.

Stage 5: Advocacy

What’s Happening

In the Advocacy stage, satisfied customers become loyal advocates for your business. They promote your products to others through word-of-mouth, reviews, and even social media.

What You Do

Encourage and make it easy for customers to share their positive experiences and refer new customers to your business.

How to Do It

  • Referral programs: Create referral programs that reward customers for bringing in new business.
  • Encourage reviews: Ask happy customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
  • Customer recognition: Show appreciation for loyal customers through special events, personalized thank-you messages, or special offers.

How Texting Simplifies the Customer Journey

Texting helps you communicate directly and personally at every stage of the Customer Journey. From awareness to turning customers into advocates, texting makes the whole journey simpler, smoother, and more effective.

In the Awareness stage, create a text message subscriber list and use SMS campaigns to quickly share content and updates, keeping your business top-of-mind. 

When someone moves to the Consideration stage, personalized texts with customer testimonials and product recommendations help them make an informed decision. Also, when someone has a question, texting helps you respond quickly, which builds trust and shows that your business is available.

Simplify the Purchase stage by sending discount codes and providing real-time customer support via SMS to encourage customers to complete their purchases and answer any last-minute concerns. This direct communication reassures buyers and makes the process smoother and more confident.

Communication shouldn’t end after someone has made a purchase. For the Retention stage, texting helps keep in touch with customers so you can encourage repeat purchases. With drip campaigns, you can easily send personalized thank-you messages, satisfaction surveys, and updates on new products or features to keep customers engaged. 

In the Advocacy stage, text satisfied customers to encourage them to share their positive experiences through reviews and testimonials. Schedule birthday or special occasion texts to automatically send to show appreciation. 

Using texts in each stage of the customer journey creates a more engaging and responsive experience. Texts simplify communication and boost customer satisfaction, making the journey easier to manage and more rewarding for both your business and your customers.

Guide Leads Through The Customer Journey

By understanding and strategically engaging with customers at each stage — Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention, and Advocacy — you guide potential customers through the stages quicker, allowing you to close more deals faster. 

Want to move customers even faster through the Customer Journey? Start texting them. Skipio is a texting solution that automates the time-consuming but necessary outreach and follow-up that turns leads into sales — all from local numbers.

Schedule a demo to see exactly how Skipio engages leads and customers through every stage of the Customer Journey.