Visitors aren’t customers – understanding customer activation

You’ve spent time building targeted marketing campaigns that increased visits to your store, site, blog, and/or social media. Business visibility is growing and you’re fashioning a strong, trustworthy brand. But how do you transform the visitors and followers you’ve acquired into loyal customers?

The answer is customer activation. A customer goes through multiple steps and interactions with your business prior to that first purchase. Understanding these steps, mapping them out, and targeting your marketing and customer service initiatives to move the visitor through those milestones more quickly than they would on their own is the core principle of customer activation.

Creating a framework

Think about your business model and the stages you’ve set up to put your business in front of consumers and create an environment for a sale to happen. Defining each step of this process gives you a big picture look at how visitors interact with your brand and become customers, and it’s also the first portion of, and a more detailed look at, your overall customer journey map.

Let’s take a theoretical business and define their customer activation cycle. A brick and mortar boutique with an online shop sells clothing and accessories geared toward women between 20 and 45 years old. For most customers, the following touch points occur during their initial introduction to the store:

  • Find a styled outfit on Pinterest
  • Visit the business’s site
  • Read content on the boutique’s blog
  • Sign up for a fashion newsletter
  • Purchase one item in store or online

If you’re the owner of the boutique, what does this set of milestones tell you? Pinterest is one of the first touch points a consumer has with your brand, and should be a priority in your marketing efforts; the content on your blog offers value and convinces the customer to provide their contact information; and, newsletters are the last touch point before a purchase, and the products strategically included need to meet your demographic’s tastes with the utmost precision.

Where do I get the data necessary to map customer activation?

Mapping customer activation requires that you track every single visit to your site and blog to build a series of reports that define where your traffic is coming from, what the visitors are reading, and what they viewed that prompted them to reach out. The boutique in question added Google Analytics to their blog and found that a huge percentage of their traffic originated from Pinterest. Once on the site, visitors gravitated to their blog, returning frequently and spending an average of 20 minutes reading posts. A few weeks later, they signed up for the newsletter, and the embedded product links in the newsletter sent them to the store to make a purchase.

Depending on your business model and customer base, you may need or want to create maps for specific groups of customers to further target marketing and increase activation, including separate maps that outline the steps a person goes through if their initial introduction to the brand occurred somewhere else. Maybe 60% of the boutique’s site traffic came from Pinterest, but 30% came from a current ad campaign the boutique is running on an influencer’s lifestyle blog. Visitors originating from the ad campaign never sign up for the newsletter, but instead purchase items showcased in style guides on the boutique’s blog.

Going into this level of detail with your activation map allows you to group customers by the path they take with your company, and then pinpoint commonalities in those groups so you can better target your marketing to them. The more detailed you are with your maps, the better your results will be.


Knowledge is power: Take your business to new heights by creating online courses

Fun fact: Experts estimate that the e-learning market will exceed $240 billion by 2023. And it’s not a stand-alone industry filled exclusively with entrepreneurs building entire businesses around …

Posted on Jun 25, 2018 6 min read
  • Marketing
  • tools
  • education
  • online courses

Interview with Rita Casanova: Healing 4 Harmony, LLC

This entrepreneur may own a niche company, but she still makes modern marketing tactics work for her brand. Learn all about her philosophy on business and favorite marketing tools. Rita Casanova, …

Posted on Jun 14, 2018 4 min read
  • Marketing
  • energy healing
  • entrepreneur

The modern way to launch and market a book

Marketing a book is not the same as it was even a decade ago for a few reasons: self-publishing is now a massive industry, book stores are slowly disappearing, and the internet, with all of its perks, …

Posted on Oct 20, 2017 3 min read
  • Marketing

Grow your business for free

Get the know-how you need to take your business to the next level.