When starting out with our businesses, we’re told about the importance of marketing. But once you have defined your marketing mix – how do you make sure all your effort actually results in people getting in touch and buying from you? Creating a customer flow helps coordinate all your different marketing channels and tactics. It’s the best way to align the goals you have for each campaign and platform with your overall marketing and business strategy.
It’s all very well sharing aesthetically pleasing content on Instagram. But if people are only liking your latest post, story or reel without ever finding their way to your shop or contact form, it’s not of much use to your small business. To make sure all the work you put into your social media, emails, print ads and more is worth it, it’s important to have a solid customer flow in place.
Let’s explore why this is so important, and how to make it happen!
Why is a seamless Customer Flow important?
Industry terminology can often make these things seem more complicated than they actually are. When, in fact, it’s really quite simple – if you want people to do something, you have to tell them how! That, for example, is why it’s so important to have call-to-actions in place.
So, when it comes to converting people into paying customers, you have to direct them to your main sales platform. This can be your brick-and-mortar shop, your website or a third-party e-commerce platform.
Having a good customer flow like this in place is crucial. With the amount of competition out there today, if you can’t give someone a positive and seamless experience straight off the bat, there is no shortage of other places for them to go.
Call-to-actions are a huge part of your customer flow. I have a whole post on this, so be sure to check it out next!
How to plan it out…
The key here is to always focus on the bigger picture. Rather than looking at every marketing campaign you are initiating and every channel you’re using in isolation, ask yourself; “how does this fit in to my big picture goals and strategy?”.
The aim is to co-ordinate all of your strategies and channels, to ensure they are all actively working towards the same thing. So, for example, if you’re using Instagram, LinkedIn, an ad in a local business publication and a public speaking opportunity at a networking event, how can all four work together to meet the end goal of increasing sales on your website?
Put simply – all of your marketing efforts should be leading people to a final destination. Think of your customer flow like an airport! From the check in desk to the passport control to the food court, there are lots of important points along the way. But all of them, ultimately, should be directing people to the boarding gate.
Each of these areas deserve TLC, and it’s important that customers feel positively at every stage. But ultimately, your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to get from A to B, and take action once they get there. If people have to stop and ask for directions, you know you’re not being clear enough!
So take a moment to establish what you actually want to achieve. Is it to sell tickets for an event? Or have more people checkout with your product? Or maybe encourage more enquiries via your contact form? Whatever it is, you should have a clear goal in mind for your customer flow.
How to execute your plan!
Now to make it happen! There are a variety of different points along the way to consider. These include (but are not limited to) your:
- Social media bios and links
- Social media posts
- Email copy
- Website homepage
- Checkout page (if applicable)
- Copy on flyers, leaflets or print ads
The entire point of your customer flow is to ensure that a) people know what you want them to do and b) it is easy for them to do it.
If your goal is to increase sales on your online store, you could break down your customer flow as follows:
Use your social media accounts to share a mix of engaging content, relevant to your target customer, and sales posts highlighting your products. Add call-to-actions wherever you can, linking to your store within posts when possible, and in your bio. Also use your social media as an opportunity to encourage people to join your mailing list.
Emails are a great opportunity to get your product in front of someone who has shown interest – they’ve subscribed to your list, after all! If they haven’t visited your link via social media, an email sharing your products is another way to direct them to your site. Make that “Shop Now” button irresistible!
Once they click that all important link to your store, make sure it is immediately obvious what you want them to do next. The link should take them to exactly what you are referencing in your social post or email. People have limited attention spans, so if they click through and have to navigate through several pages themselves? There’s a decent chance you’ll lose them.
For people who stumble across your website through online search, the home page is crucial. Showcase your best selling products here, and link to your different departments in your header. Make it as easy as possible for them to add something to their cart.
And as for print ads? Much like your social media, use your copy to tell people exactly what you offer and what you want them to do. Include the handles for your social accounts and the url for your website.
Are there tools I can use to help?
Naturally, when running a business, over time your objectives may shift and change. Or, you might have multiple objectives at once, all tied to that big picture goal.
Say you are a restaurant and events space. Your goals, then, will be to encourage bookings for both. This means sometimes you have to maximise the use of a single link!
One option is to use a tool like Linkinbio from Later (for Instagram and TikTok), or LinkTree. These tools allow you to create a page with multiple links for customers to click on. Linkinbio creates an individual link for every social media post (handy, when you can’t create clickable links in an Instagram caption!). LinkTree creates a menu, contained to one page, where you can link to all of your important information.
Through that, you could have a link for Restaurant Bookings, a link for Event Space Hire, a link to your Contact Form. This ensures you are co-ordinating all of your marketing efforts in one place, and giving potential customers instant access to what they are looking for.
Your other option is to build a specific landing page in to your website, that includes these same links. If your customer clicks the link and is presented with a cleanly designed landing page with both options clearly labelled, they have nothing more to do than select the option that suit them, and hit book now.
Final Thoughts on Customer Flow
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re juggling multiple on and offline marketing efforts. The best thing you can do is to consistently remind yourself of your end goal. If you always keep this in mind, and ensure that every platform and piece of content works together to bring your customer to that, you’re well on your way to customer flow success!
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
7 Steps to Improve Your Customer Experience
What Are Call-to-Actions and Why Do I Need Them?
How To Improve Your Customer Journey To Win Repeat Business
How to Reach Customers Sooner in their Journey to Grow your Small Business