Understanding the customer journey is a top priority as a marketer. An accurate understanding of your customer’s path from initial interest to sale will improve brand loyalty and result in repeat purchases from existing customers. Let’s talk about mapping out your customer journey.
However, few marketers take the time to map out their customer’s journey. This can result in a jumbled, confusing customer experience (CX) as would-be shoppers are directed to apps, websites, and social content without any sense of continuity.
As well as improving your CX, a well-mapped-out customer journey can help you identify opportunities for growth, improvement, and innovation. Clear feedback forms and content means that customers can give you the feedback you need during a new product launch.
But mapping out the customer journey takes more than a few sheets of flipchart paper and some permanent markers. You’ll need to properly visualize your customer journey using flowcharts and should get comfortable with key customer journey analytics.
Defining The Customer Journey
The customer journey outlines every stage a potential customer goes through. These stages can be broken down in line with your current sales funnel, and typically align with the following steps:
- Awareness: the customer learns about your product/business.
- Search: they complete further research into your brand/product/service.
- Evaluate: the customer compares you to other alternatives.
- Purchase: they take the leap and purchase your product/service.
- Experience: post-purchase, the customer receives your support and refers others to your brand.
Your sales department is probably familiar with these terms already, but you can also use them as a marketer. In particular, you can use these stages to identify where potential customers are being lost.
For example, if you are launching a new app for your business, you can use the data you gather to spot the stage where you lose prospective customers. You can ensure that you build engaging apps by focusing on streamlining the onboarding and sign-up process when potential customers download your app. You could also work on your post-purchase experience by building a social-based platform for customers to engage with one another and share their feedback.
Mapping Your Customer Journey
You should now understand the importance of mapping your customer journey. But where should you start?
You can start mapping your customer journey with a flowchart. Flowcharts are a great way to “see” the information you’ve gathered and can help you start to identify the particular strengths or weaknesses of your customer journey.
Once you’ve gathered your information and made an appropriate template, start to fill in each section with every piece of content, web page, or physical engagement your customer could have with your business.
For example, if you are marketing for a shoe manufacturer, you should fill in the “awareness” section with everything from sponsored celebrities to YouTube advertisements. You’ll likely have a little overlap between each section, but that is a good thing — folks usually want to start their search/research as soon as they become aware of your product.
Analytics To Spot Confusion
Now you’ve got your customer journey mapped out, what, exactly should you do with it?
The best way to accurately analyze your customer journey is with SEO analytics. In an ideal world, your SEO and customer experience should already be fully integrated. Integrating your SEO with CX ensures that your website is well connected via links and that the content your potential consumers see is relevant to their needs.
Provided your SEO and CX are intentionally integrated, you can use analytics from Google to track key indicators like clicks on a link. If you notice that some links are underperforming, there’s a good chance that your customer has become confused and doesn’t understand why they should follow links and dive deeper into your business’s content.
If you have the resources and want to learn more about your customer journey via analytics, you should create a team of customer journey specialists who work in the middle ground between marketing and customer support. These folks can use journey analytics to reduce churn on your sites and improve conversions.
Future Marketing Opportunities
Mapping out your customer journey does far more than reduce churn and improve conversions for the current product/service. A well-mapped-out customer journey can help you spot trends sooner and gain a first-mover advantage in your industry.
For example, if you work for a business that sells supplements, you can use journey analytics and qualitative feedback to spot trends amongst fitness enthusiasts before your competitors. This exact scenario played out last year, as supplementation of vitamins C and D were recommended by the U.K. government which caused demand to skyrocket.
Businesses who mapped and tracked their customer journey spotted the demand for vitamin C and D first, as their analytics pointed towards a customer journey that funneled directly towards the sale of vitamin C and D. Brands without analytics and a clear map of the customer journey were left in the dust compared to folks who used data and visualization to spot the trend.
An accurate map of your customer journey allows you to spot trends and identify the cause of churn on your websites. You can also improve your physical sales, as the customer journey gives you a great insight into consumer behavior and the overall efficacy of your marketing campaigns.