If you don’t feel that you have a lot of insight into your customers’ decisions, it may be because you don’t have it written down yet.
The solution: a customer journey map.
What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is a quick path for getting inside the minds of your customers. At its most basic, a customer journey map is a sequence of all the possible events that your customer goes through.
That journey takes an individual from their first interaction with your company until the completion of the transaction.
What is a customer journey map?
The goal of the customer journey map is really to get a holistic view of what the customer is going through from their point of view and really what it’s like for them on a personal level, that human level.
You don’t know much about the customer journey until you can write it down. The map is where that happens. This map gives anyone who reads it instant access into what’s going on with a specific type of customer at any point.
By mapping out this journey, your company not only identifies the various aspects of its own sales funnel, but is then able to identify strengths and weaknesses along the way.
Best Practice #1: Set clear objectives for your map.
It starts with knowing why you’re making a customer journey map in the first place. Creating one for its own sake won’t yield any marketing benefits. But understanding your goals will help you use this map to generate all sorts of customer journey insights.
Your objectives should also be clear. What is it that you want the map to accomplish? Here are some sample questions for you to consider when choosing an objective:
Weak points: Can the map identify weak points in your sales funnel? Can you use insights from this customer journey map to identify areas where you install feedback systems to learn what’s going wrong?
Insights: What do you want to learn from this customer journey map? Where are customers getting hung up, and what might you have guessed wrong about your customers?
Challenges: Where does your customer most meet resistance along the customer journey? What don’t they like about your brand? What are their hangups?
Best Practice #2: Profile your personas and define your goals
How much do you know about your customers?
Only about 50% of companies report that they have a strategy for penetrating their key relationships. If you want a competitive advantage, it helps to learn just who your customers are.
Before you sit down and list all the touchpoints on your customer journey map, you’ll want to create a thorough customer persona. You may also see this all over the Internet, listed as a “buyer persona.”
There are a few ways to define your buyer persona:
Read through your analytics and get an idea of who’s already interacting with you.
Watch your competition. What sorts of personas are they appealing to? Do they make it obvious who they’re targeting?
Once you have a list of the demographics, needs, income, geography, and other details of your typical buyer, you’ll be able to construct a much more accurate customer journey map.
Best Practice #3: List out all the touchpoints.
A customer journey map lays out the various stages in which your customer might interact, including:
Awareness/acquisition: How is the customer finding you? Where is their first interaction with your brand?
Consideration: This is where the customer interacts with your content and considers whether to proceed with a purchase.
Purchase/Service: The point of the transaction. Does the customer buy? If not, do they first investigate by engaging your customer service?
Post-purchase: The purchase isn’t the end of the customer journey. Many companies follow up for feedback, loyalty bonuses, and look to convert the customer into a long-term follower.
You can split these individual touchpoints into different segments, but it’s important that each of these elements is present. You might also refer to old sales touch points—such as AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) to construct a basic customer journey map.
You should also get detailed about your specific touchpoints, including all:
Social media platforms
Calls to Action
If it all sounds overwhelming, refer to our article on managing a sales pipeline for your business.
Best Practice #3: Take the customer journey yourself.
Once you have a draft and the basic touchpoints mapped out, it’s time for you to put yourself in the shoes of a customer. That means approaching your company with fresh eyes.
As you test this journey, make sure that you keep a detailed list of notes of the positives and negatives you encounter along the way. You might even adopt the mindset of your buyer’s persona and try to approach things from their perspective. What sorts of concerns do they have? Does your customer journey actually address these concerns?
Make sure that you also take data-driven journeys. If you haven’t already, install analytics. The more you can install here, the better. Using resources to track email marketing, landing page traffic, and social media engagement will help you understand what the customer journey looks like not from your perspective, but theirs.
Best Practice #4: Perform A/B testing.
We had you set clear objectives for your map earlier because it’s essential that this map becomes more than just a document that you look at once. Use it to inform a variety of tests you run, especially when it comes to awareness, acquisition, and customer consideration.
A/B testing is the best way to measure your customers’ real feedback. By tracking the paths they do and don’t choose along your path, you’ll have answers to questions like your map’s weak points or unique customer challenges.
Best Practice #5: Continually implement any necessary changes.
The final step: action.
You have to make the changes to your customer journey that will have an impact on future customers. Remove the obstacles. Remove unnecessary steps. Add engagement points that they’re looking for.
The more you use A/B testing and data-driven insights to map your customer’s journey, the more insights you’ll gain into your customers. This will help you be a better seller—and a better business.