People don’t just buy a product or brand put in front of them. It takes more work than that. You have to take your customers on a journey from awareness to education to conversion.
As the number of marketing channels and data has grown, so has the understanding that marketers can use this information and ubiquity of touchpoints to create more connected customer experiences. This has driven a huge increase in the interest in customer journeys.
So how do you create your own customer journey? It all starts with understanding the route your customer takes. For this, you need to create a customer journey map. In this blog we’ll be looking at how you can do just that.
- What is a Customer Journey?
- What is Customer Journey Mapping?
- Benefits of Making a Customer Journey Map
- How to Create Your Customer Journey Map
- Customer Journey Marketing
What is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey is the route your customer takes to complete your desired conversion action. This journey will vary greatly depending on your type of business.
Some customer journeys will be extended and take several weeks to complete -- often decisions that involve a lot of money -- such as purchasing a house, car, saas software or holiday. These journeys will therefore take a lot of education. Other journeys will be short and single touch, such as small or impulse purchases.
The longer your customer journey takes, the more touchpoints it will involve. A touchpoint is any point where you communicate with customers. This could be digital, such as an email, social media or website communication, or offline, such as a phone call, meeting or event. Every touchpoint plays a role in converting your customer, so each one must be considered.
Source: Marketing Week
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the journey your customer takes to conversion.
Custom journey maps will differ between industries, companies and even your own customers. In order to create your customer journey map you first need to understand the motivations of your customers and what drives them to progress through your journey.
Once you know these motivations, you can align them to each stage in your journey and the communication touchpoints your customers will encounter there. This will help guide your messaging across platforms and throughout your marketing campaigns, providing a more consistent customer experience.
The Benefits of a Customer Journey Map
So why should you bother with a customer journey map? Sure, you can get by without one, but your marketing will suffer. Here’s a few advantages you should consider:
- Clarity: Get a complete overview of where and when customers are interacting with your business.
- Focus: Create focussed messaging aimed at fulfilling the motivations of each buyer persona at each stage in your journey.
- Purpose: Build campaigns that have a clearly defined purpose, call to action and KPI for each stage of your journey.
- Gaps: Show where you are currently lacking content that helps buyers progress through your journey.
- Issues: Identify choke points and places where you are currently losing customers and develop priorities to address these.
- Expenditure: Understand where you need to invest money to get a continued flow of people from beginning to end of your journey.
Source: Aberdeen Group
How to Create your Customer Journey Map
Customer journey maps are important and you need one. That’s settled. So, what steps do you need to take when creating your own?
Define Your Customers
The journey each of your customers take won’t be the same, because their motivations for completing the journey will be different. This means you need to create buyer personas.
These buyer personas can be created a number of ways. You can interview current and prospective customers, conduct online surveys and delve into your data. This could be any data you have available; Website, CRM, Social Media or Advertising. You can also utilize tools such as Facebook Audience Insights to find out more about your current customers, from their demographics and behaviors to interests and affinities.
When you’ve done this you should build different customer journey maps for each persona.
List Your Touchpoints
You need to list every point at which you communicate with your customers, from their first experience with you to the last.
These could include (but aren’t limited to) your website, social media, advertisements, emails, chatbots, phone calls, events, in-store promotions, product packaging, product documentation and the product itself. List every possible touchpoint, at what point your customer may encounter it and what messages they are receiving.
Build Your Framework
Firstly, define the end goal of your customer journey. What is the conversion event you want people to complete?
Next, define the first point at which your buyer persona begins their journey to completing your conversion. What is the pain point they are currently experiencing that sets them on your customer journey?
Now, between your start and end-points, define the stages that a buyer will progress through before making a purchase decision. What are the key problems and motivations your buyer has to overcome to keep them on your journey?
Build this framework of the key decisions each buyer persona has to make throughout their customer journey. For each decision stage, define the key goal that you need to help the buyer achieve to progress to the next stage and how you’ll measure their progress. Once you’ve completed this, you have your framework.
Visualize Your Path
Now that you’ve developed your framework, you need to define the channels, content and key message for each stage in your journey. Doing this will enable you to synchronize your messages throughout your customer journey. Once you’ve done this, you’ve got your customer journey map!
This customer journey map should help guide all content, sales and marketing campaigns you create going forward. However small or insignificant a message you're creating may seem -- consult your customer journey map. Consider who it is aimed at, where they are in your customer journey, what challenges they are facing, how it will help them progress and what channel it should be delivered on.
Here’s an example of a customer journey map from Forrester Research, created in Excel.
Customer Journey Marketing
There’s a couple of key things you need for your customer journey marketing strategy to succeed.
You need to ensure your data is synchronised by customer journey stage across your channels. This isn’t too difficult but it’s easier said than done. A lot of marketing automation or CRM systems will have integrations with platforms such as Facebook, Google and DMPs that will help you to this. You need to use them to ensure your communications and campaigns are consistent across channels.
Once you’ve created your customer journey map, synced campaigns and messaging across each stage and launched, you’ve still got a lot of work to do. You need to continually iterate and update your campaigns based on where you’re failing to get customers to progress through your journey. Identify your choke points and test new content and messaging. Rinse and repeat.
For a more detailed look at how to create multi-stage customer journey campaigns, download our latest ebook. To find out more about how Adgo has helped both brands and agencies create successful journeys that connect with customers, take a look at some of our case studies.
Don’t think of each channel or campaign as something separate. Don’t think of each customer as one and the same.
Your customers are unique and your messaging for each of them should provide a consistent and logical customer experience from the first touchpoint to the last -- it’s what they expect. If you’re not doing this, your customers will find a company that is. That’ll be your competitor.
The starting point of providing this connected customer journey experience is understand your customer journey and to do this, you need a customer journey map.