The customer journey is something that every business needs to carefully consider, but it’s not always given a lot of thought. There is a tendency to just focus on the end result – the sale – rather than the path the customer takes to get there.
Admittedly, it can be difficult to get into the mind of your customers – as soon as you think you’ve got it all figured out, a new buying trend or software will emerge! Or perhaps you’re just not sure why it takes twice as many steps for a customer to reach the sales funnel as it should. Whatever the case, a customer journey map can be an invaluable tool in your marketing strategy.
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the path an individual takes to reach an end goal. In most cases, this will be making a purchase, but it could be something like joining a loyalty program or subscribing to your newsletter.
Having this journey displayed as a visual diagram can help you and your team better understand the motivations of your customer base, and is also something that can easily be referred back to. A customer journey map ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals, and knows where improvements can be made.
What Should You Include in a Customer Journey Map?
Your map should include the most significant milestones in a customer journey, as well as the reasons for getting to this stage. So throughout the buying process, an individual might speak to others about their need for a particular product, and ask for recommendations. They may then start looking at your social media channels, or watch a video on your website. Perhaps they’ll read independent reviews, or learn more through one of your infographics. There are a huge number of things a user may do before taking an action, and you’ll need to consider as many of these as possible.
The main thing to keep in mind is that potential customers are trying to solve problems – often called pain points. Think about the emotions they’d be feeling at the initial stage of the journey, and whether the steps they’d take on your site would alter these emotions. Perhaps they’d feel a sense of relief at finding a solution.
Overall, a customer journey map should include every possible touchpoint, as well as the thoughts and feelings of the user.
Creating a Customer Journey Map
When it comes to mapping the customer journey, some things you won’t be able to predict or assume. Instead, you’ll need to ask your customers directly. So before you start creating the map, you may need to conduct surveys or run focus groups. That’s not to say you can’t get a lot of information from analytics sites – you can find out things like bounce rates and organic visits. But you won’t know the motivations or thought processes of your users.
Once you have this information, you can set out clear objectives for your map – what are you hoping to achieve by creating a customer journey map? Then, you can list all the touchpoints at which a customer is likely to interact with you. This probably won’t just be on your website – it will also include social media platforms, third party review sites, and any advertising channels you use.
Lastly, you can try taking the customer journey yourself, and see if you’ve missed anything. This should also ensure that you spot any weak parts of the journey, such as a missing call to action on a webpage. And if you’re still a little unsure, Hubspot has a ten minute video you can watch, which goes through everything you need to know about creating a great buyer journey.
Using Customer Journey Mapping in Your Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve created your customer journey map, it’s important to use it to guide your marketing efforts! There are three main steps you should take – discuss improvements with your colleagues, consider how you’re presenting your brand, and think about your website.
1. Research and Discuss Improvements
After completing your customer journey map, the first thing you should do is have a big team discussion about future plans. This is not a job for just one person – others may come up with ideas and strategies you might not have considered.
Look at the different touchpoints your customers have with your business, and see if any are underperforming. Do a lot of users drop off at a particular place on the customer journey? Make it your priority to improve this touchpoint, working with your team to find solutions, and then test to see which one yields the best results.
2. Advertising and Marketing Channels
At the start of the customer journey, there should be a reason to make a purchase. Either that, or they stumbled across your products through researching a tangential topic. For instance, many businesses realise they may need to hire a digital marketing agency when reading about search engine optimisation.
With both of these avenues, how you present your brand and advertise to your target audience are essential things to consider. The channels you use are also important. Which ones are performing better, and why? Should you focus all your efforts on the channels bringing in the best ROI, or make improvements to your other channels? These are questions that need to be addressed with the wider business.
3. On-Site Conversion
Your customer journey map should provide you with some valuable insights into what your customers are doing on your website, and at what stage they convert. You can not only use this information to improve your current processes, you can also add new touchpoints to the customer journey.
For instance, you may realise that the people who are attending your webinars are converting better than any other customers. If this is the case, you could consider adding a pop-up on your site, advertising your webinars, or linking to them in blog posts.