What kind of experience do your customers get when they come in contact with your brand online? Is your company more concerned with sales, or how the customers find their way to the business to make that purchase?
Understanding your customers to help improve your product or service begins by creating a customer journey map designed for business success.
Today, it isn’t enough to build a beautiful website and wait for your audience to find you. It’s vital to take a proactive approach to get your products and services in front of your potential customers.
Let’s go over a few digital-oriented strategies, ideas, and examples to give you the tools you need to set up a practical customer journey map in 2021.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
Simply put, a customer journey map is a visual representation of all of the ways your customers come into contact with your brand on their way to making a purchase. In other words, it illustrates the touchpoints your customers have with your company both online and off.
Right now, we’re focusing on the digital journey.
It might help to think about your brand as a person. What kind of impression do others get when they meet the brand? Like people, brands have a story, and that story defines the company. Not only that, but the customer journey map invites your audience to become part of that brand story.
Additionally, a well thought out journey addresses challenges as much as it does opportunities. Your business’s customer journey map should look at the complete picture.
What Are the Stages of a Customer’s Journey?
A customer journey map lays out the stages of a customer’s journey, although no two customers are going to come to a buying decision in the same way.
However, there are still four primary stages we all go through:
Awareness is that point when the customer realizes they have a need or, perhaps, a problem to solve. They start to do some research. When they find your company, it’s your chance to set their first impressions.
How will your business make its first impression? Some ideas for content at this stage to develop your brand story, are things such as blog posts, social posts, educational content, and research studies.
Once the buyer knows what they need, they start considering their options, though they’re not quite ready to commit. They’re comparing prices, companies, and trying to decide which company is the best choice. In this stage, you can reach them with comparisons and reviews, video, expert guides, and case studies.
Next, it’s decision-making time. At this point, your content will be specific to your brand, with product demos, customer testimonials, and reviews of your product line. Give them helpful information that informs their decision.
At the final stage, loyalty, your company supplied what it promised, and your customers are happy with their purchase. Now you can help them with user guides and newsletters. Also, this is a great time to implement customer appreciation promotions.
As you can see, it’s all about nurturing the customer, not doing the old hard sell. Nurturing customers lets them know that they are an essential part of your brand’s success, and it builds advocacy. Ultimately, loyal customers provide free marketing with word of mouth and social shares.
Customer Journey Map: eCommerce
Let’s take a look at a few statistics that you’ll want to consider as you’re developing a customer journey map for eCommerce. First off, 81 percent of shoppers research online before making a purchase—this statistic makes the awareness stage vital when you’re considering how to create a customer journey map.
What’s more, 73 percent of retail customers shop on multiple channels. What this means for you is that the customer journey may include purchasing from a platform other than your website. Keep this in mind as you’re doing your research to find out where your audience is online.
And here’s one more statistic that you must consider: 39 percent of buyers who do an online search with their mobile phone is likely to call your business. Are you ready to provide customer service via the telephone? Telemarketing may be part of your buyers’ journey.
Retail Customer Journey Map
A retail journey map includes all of those platforms available to make a purchase. And here’s one more statistic to entice you to utilize all of your channels: There’s a 250 percent higher engagement rate for marketers who utilize three or more channels then there is for those who use only one.
Buyers can purchase directly from your website, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest, for example.
Think about how to make the customer journey enjoyable and give them stops along the way. Focus on reducing friction, that is, make it easy for them to find you and navigate your business platforms. Also, make sure to anticipate their questions and provide the answers.
Remember, they are trying to make a decision.
Then, gradually increase their motivation to come back, look around, get involved in the conversation, and to make a purchase. Today’s retail customer journey is all about personalized customer experiences.
Utilizing machine learning to gather data will help establish insights into what offers your audience may respond to, as well as what they’re looking into buying next. Not to mention that machine learning can help uncover which devices your audience uses to visit your website, as well as what they use to research and make a purchase.
B2B Customer Journey Map
Now, you may be wondering how a B2B customer journey map differs from a retail B2C map. The difference lies in the fact that you’re building a partnership with another business. Learn from the experts.
One excellent example of providing value in a B2B relationship is Xerox’s partnership with Digital Silk to build a new strategy and website that captures B2B leads for Xerox’s new printer technologies. Digital Silk created a new landing page, paid media, retargeting, and email marketing campaigns from the B2B customer journey map they created.
After six months, Xerox achieved a 20 percent increase in sales as well as a 43 percent conversion rate for nurtured leads.
You’ll notice that the campaign used three of the four main touchpoints. A new landing page and paid media advertising increases awareness and puts Xerox on the list when the leads are considering new printer technologies. Additionally, the retargeting and email marketing campaign reorganized the company’s marketing efforts to go after a new (researched) audience.
The final step, advocacy, happens when a business fulfills its promise well with the product and services.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map in 12 Steps
Think of the customer journey as a roadmap that includes all the possible stops along the way. Then take these steps to develop your customer journey map for your online audience.
- Review company goals
- Research your competitors to find out what works and doesn’t work for them
- Host discovery interviews with your audience
- Create buyer’s personas based on research
- Determine your platforms based on research
- Consider how your brand story aligns with your audience and create an affinity plan
- Create a content plan with a timeline
- Create an empathy map
- Look at the journey from different angles
- Map out the route with touchpoints
- Post content
- Review and refine
Customer Journey Map Template
If it sounds like a lot to do, it is, and it’s worth every bit of the time it takes to understand your audience and their pain points. Now, if you need a little extra help, you can use this template and the included examples as a step by step guide to help you develop customer personas and a customer journey map.
There’s also assistance setting goals and help with content mapping, content distribution templates, as well as ideas on how to measure those KPIs so you can ensure the success of your content, moving forward. Try these tips, tricks, and the easy-to-use toolkit from Bookmark to help you create the best content strategy for your audience.
Create Your Company’s Customer Journey Map
Now that you know how to create a customer journey map, you can begin to think about the best places to maintain an online presence. Does your audience use Facebook? That wouldn’t be surprising as it’s still the number one social media platform for all ages. However, if you’re looking to market to millennials, you might find it’s easier to connect with them on Instagram.
Developing your customer journey map template will give you all the answers you need to create a successful marketing campaign and build lasting relationships with your customers.
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