We all know trying to understand your customers' minds can be extremely challenging but is also a vital key to success. With the increasing buzz of the digital world, even when you think you've considered every possible factor, the journey from awareness to purchase for each customer will always be unpredictable, at least to some degree.
This is where customer journey mapping can be a powerful tool for helping you understand as much as possible. This blog post will provide 3 top tips when creating your first customer journey map.
Before we get started we thought it would be helpful to answer a few questions that may come to mind when first starting out with customer journey mapping:
What is the customer journey?
The customer journey is a term that refers to the different interactions that a customer has with a specific brand, product, or business as they become aware of a pain point and decide to purchase. It is often mistaken for, but differs from, the buyer's journey which refers to the general process of arriving at a purchase.
What is the Customer Journey Map / The Customer Journey Mapping Process?
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer's experience with a company. It also provides insight into the needs of potential customers at every stage of this journey and the factors that directly or indirectly motivate or inhibit their progress.
Commonly there are 4 phases to consider when you create a customer journey: Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA model.) However, you will also see people expand on this to include Retention and Loyalty.
The customer journey mapping process is therefore the visual representation of a customer experience/journey. It compiles a customer’s experience and touchpoints with your business into a visual map.
Why is customer journey mapping important?
It's important to recognise that the customer journey is far from simple. While it may seem like a straightforward process of a company offering a product and customers buying it, the reality is much more complex.
It involves a multitude of touchpoints and external factors that can affect a customer's decision-making process. In fact, in most cases, the journey begins way before a customer even becomes aware of a product or service.
By mapping your customer’s journey, you can understand, visualize, and gain valuable insights into each phase and work to make the process as seamless and effective as possible for your customers. This is crucial, as research has shown that the customer experience is just as important as the products themselves (up to 80% of customers according to this Salesforce article)
So now you know the answers to these common questions you be thinking ‘How do I get started with Customer Journey Mapping?’ Well as mentioned above, this blog will give you 3 top tips when creating your first customer journey map.
1. Research Your Audience and Define Personas
Understanding your audience and considering things from a customer's perspective is the foundation of creating a customer journey.
Before anything else, it's essential to:
Identify Segments: Recognize different segments within your audience.
Create Customer Personas: Develop a detailed customer persona for each of these segments.
Understand Customer Needs and Preferences: Focus on their pain points, interests, and expectations.
By investing in this critical research, you ensure that your marketing efforts are precisely targeted, allowing for a more personal and effective approach.
For example, if you were a Digital and Marketing Agency like h2o creative this could look like this:
Identify Segments: Your clients might be segmented into industries like healthcare, technology, retail, or education.
Create Personas: For each industry segment, you can create detailed personas. For the technology industry, a persona might be 'Tech-Savvy Tom,' a CMO of a mid-sized tech startup looking to expand brand awareness and lead generation.
Understand Needs and Preferences: For 'Tech-Savvy Tom,' understanding her needs means recognising her focus on cutting-edge technology solutions, preference for multi-channel campaigns, and a desire for measurable ROI.
As a little sub-tip, always survey customers to get insights directly from real customers. This not only helps in ensuring that your customer personas accurately reflect the genuine needs and preferences of your audience but also in identifying customer pain points that might otherwise go unnoticed. By understanding the actual experiences and expectations of your customers, you can enhance customer satisfaction and deliver a more positive customer experience. It's invaluable to hear firsthand what customers experience in their interactions with your brand; it's the truest metric of whether you're meeting or exceeding their expectations.
2. Identify Customer Touchpoints and Goals
Your customers interact with your brand at various stages and touchpoints. Before you can map your customer journey you must first identify each touchpoint and understand your goals.
Map the Stages: Remember the AIDA model mentioned above. Use this approach to map out the different stages of your journey. Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. Potentially add in Retention and Loyalty too, but these can always be added at a later stage if you aren’t in a position to map these out just yet.
Identify Touchpoints: Recognize where the customer interacts with your brand (e.g., social media, email, website).
Define Goals: Set clear goals for each stage, providing a clear sense of direction. Always aim to set SMART goals - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
As a little sub-tip, in addition to identifying touchpoints, try to ensure that each interaction aligns with your customer needs and expectations at that particular stage. Picture yourself in your customer's shoes. By understanding what your client is looking for at each stage you can tailor your content and interactions to be the most effective.
If we go back to our Digital and Marketing Agency example this could look like:
Awareness: A potential client may see your LinkedIn post promoting your latest blog.
Touchpoint: Social Media / LinkedIn
Goal: Achieve a 3% CTR from the Linkedin post
Interest: They might then read your blog post and want to know more about your agency. They could explore your website and read relevant case studies.
Goal: Maintain a bounce rate of below 45%
Desire: They might then decide to have an initial call with your agency and look for a way to get in touch with you.
Goal: Achieve XX number of unique view of the get in touch page each month.
Action: Finally they would submit their details with the Get In Touch form.
Goal: Boost appointment requests by 15%
3. Visualise Your Customers Journey
A picture is worth a thousand words, and in customer journey mapping, visual aids can be invaluable. They ensure that your strategies are clear, accessible, and effective.
Use Diagrams or Flowcharts: Simple yet effective ways to visualize the process.
Infographics: These provide a more detailed and aesthetically pleasing overview.
Industry Tools: Consider using specialised customer journey mapping tools designed specifically to help you craft and visualise your journey.
Visualising your journey helps in understanding the process more intuitively, for internal alignment, and ongoing optimization, making the journey both tangible and actionable.
Visualisations can be as simple or complex as you need. Here are two different examples from a digital agency perspective.
The first one is a simple Abandon Cart journey, the second one is a more complex Lead Generation Campaign journey.
In summary, Customer Journey Mapping is a versatile tool that can revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns. By focusing on researching your audience, identifying touchpoints and goals, and visualizing your journey, you can create a more effective and engaging experience for your customers.
Why not start today? If you have any questions or would like some help just get in touch!