Most people think that good marketing only requires an understanding of marketing. That’s true. But great marketing happens when you understand people.
For real success, you must know who your customers are and have a clear understanding of what they go through during their buying process. This allows you to almost "predict" their actions and behaviors and gives you the power to leave “breadcrumbs” for prospects to follow straight to conversion.
However, the buying process seldom happens overnight. So, if you want to convert leads, you have to know what moves them. To make you a successful “mover” of prospects, we’ve compiled this essential guide to mapping your customers’ journey.
What Is The Customer Journey?
Imagine deciding that you want to buy a new mattress. Think about where you typically start and the steps that unfold after that. Very likely, your first step is to head directly to Google and start looking, using a keyword such as "best mattresses to buy."
After getting your results, you’ll see a few companies that look interesting. You start with one company's website and realize that you like what you're reading. So, you head over to social media to learn more and also check out other people's experiences.
Once you’ve done your searches, cookies set in your browser may trigger ads using retargeting. That’s where you search for some product or service and then notice that ads for that item show up in the ads on pages you are viewing that you click on. Another way is for you to spot a potentially good solution would be to stumble across an article in their blog and learn about how to choose the right mattress for you. Ultimately, you decide that the company seems legit so you buy it, like it, realize it was a great solution and leave a review.
You've just taken a customer journey.
The times when you came in contact with the company are called customer touchpoints. And they are essential to help you decide to purchase.
[quotesright]The customer journey is a storyline of all the experiences a customer has when interacting with a business. [/quotesright] Customer journey mapping is when you create a visual representation of this process and outline all the engagements. Mapping the customer journey gives you a clear understanding of user behaviors and helps improve overall business and marketing efforts.
Stages of the Customer Journey
Just as in our example above, each customer goes through a series of stages before they get around to purchasing. However, some people may have a starting point that's further along in the customer journey than others. So this may cause their journeys to look sequentially different but overall the same steps are included.
Stages in the Customer Journey
Keep in mind that there are a variety of interpretations of the customer journey so the stages described below could look different from business to business.
The first stage of the customer journey is called the awareness stage and it sits at the very top of the buyer's funnel. This is where the customer is figuring out that they have a particular issue or need.
[quotes]During this stage, the customer is in the beginning phase of research and is trying to identify their problem.[/quotes] They may use keywords in a search engine to help them look for information that sounds like it matches their scenario. Your goal during this phase is to show up (be visible) with the solution that you offer for their problem.
Throughout the consideration stage (also called engagement or interest), buyers are still scooping out the value and benefits of your company. They're looking for proof that your specific solution will solve their issue.
Customers may also be looking at competitors and shopping around. This phase is about having all the right elements in place that will position you as the best option. This could include having a page on your website that thoroughly describes benefits and presents case studies.
If the customer has reached the decision stage, congratulations. The prospect has done most of the research and is ready to buy. [quotesright]You're still in the running as a potential solution! [/quotesright]
Keep driving value during this stage to help push the conversion. Also, make sure that you make it easy for the customer to buy the product or service.
The retention stage refers to keeping a customer after they've made a purchase. The quality of your overall customer experience matters here. This may include factors such as onboarding, customer service, etc. You can drive brand loyalty by going “above and beyond” customer expectations.
[quotes]In the advocacy stage, customers do a lot of heavy marketing lifting for you.[/quotes] They'll share your business with others and drive referrals. You want them to share positive reviews so be sure to always offer the best possible products, services, and experiences.
Benefits of Mapping the Customer Journey
When customers come in contact with your business, you must know exactly who they are and what they want. Mapping the customer journey gives you the ability to take a good look at everything your customers may feel while they’re going through a purchasing process.
As you get closer to knowing and understanding them, you can empathize and present your solution more and more persuasively. [quotesright]Your goal is to have them saying to themselves, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I was looking for.” [/quotesright]
The visualization process also becomes a resource for your company to help everyone learn about your target audience, how to deliver what they are looking for, and help the company grow.
Another benefit of customer journey mapping is that it can help predict customer behavior. If you know what someone may react to, then you can turn that into a touchpoint. For instance, if you sell fitness clothes and know customers consider how their bodies may look, then you can put a range of body shapes and sizes in your advertising to help with the decision.
A user journey map also helps you make sure marketing efforts align with your goals. You can save time and money by being more precise and targeted in the pursuit of the sale. Mapping the customer journey gives you a chance to improve your customer’s buying experience by filling in gaps and developing new ways to present your products so they better align with the conversation prospects are having in their head.
Why It's Important to Understand Customer Journey in Any Size Business
[quotes]Companies can waste a lot of money in marketing efforts when they don’t understand how to reach their target audience effectively. [/quotes] No matter what size your business is, you’ll always need to understand the one thing that makes every business tick – humans.
When you don’t equip your company with the right tools to serve people correctly you create a disconnect. Understanding the customer journey puts the customer back at the forefront of your business and helps you to hone in on getting a full picture of what they want.
Ways to Improve and Enhance the Journey
Once you start mapping the customer journey, this gives you the upper hand to control the user’s experience. It also allows you to improve certain factors to enhance the journey and create a better experience.
There are a few practical ways to do this. You can start by looking at how you’ll track customer responses. This is where you can set up analytics tracking systems across your CRM and other platforms that you use. [quotesright]When you get a clear view of what’s working and what is not in near real-time, then you can start to make changes faster and more precisely. [/quotesright]
Another way to improve the customer journey is to create exciting touchpoints that are relevant to your customer. For instance, put a lot of thought and intention into the freebies you create. Know whether your target audience would love a downloadable eBook or a five-day challenge (or both).
When you’re trying to enhance the customer journey, make sure you create a seamless process for everything. [quotesright]Get rid of “friction.” [/quotesright] For example, your website should be easy to navigate and the email sign-up page shouldn’t take up much of their time. Dropping the ball on these essential customer touchpoints could cost you sales as the journey feels awkward and inconvenient.
You should offer a personalized experience wherever you can. This could be through packaging, in your emails, via social media chatbots, etc. Make sure the customer knows that you care and they aren’t just another number.
How to Find The Gaps in Your Customers' Journey
Customer journey gaps describe the experience the customer wants to have versus the one they’re having. When your customer journey doesn’t feel seamless, find gaps and fill them in.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Evaluate your current customer journey map,
- Walk through it yourself,
- Take a look at analytics to see where customers fall off,
- Audit content, and
- Create missing customer touchpoints.
Customer journey mapping will show you the natural process a customer takes. It can also help you see where you might not be meeting customer expectations.
Enhance Your Customer Experience With Customer Mapping
You can connect with your target audience more effectively when you have a clearer picture of their choices. Mapping the customer journey gives you great insight into the actions and decisions that are involved in the buying process.
Start enhancing your customer experience with customer journey mapping to improve brand loyalty. Let’s start a conversation about how you can propel your business to the next level of success.
Want to Explore Further? Questions?
Get in touch and let's set up a time to talk. Brian Tracy USA: 877.433.6225 Email Me