A customer journey map is, possibly, the marketer’s only tool to navigate in the unknown territory of finding leads and converting them to clients. It helps develop a marketing strategy, create relevant content and plan the sequence of emails and other marketing messages you should send to your subscribers.
Without this document, your marketing strategy is at the mercy of trial and error – an expensive and counter-productive thing for any company, large or small. Just like you wouldn’t indiscriminately put clothes in your shopping cart without trying them for size or even looking at them to see if you like them, you should not post articles, social media ads and calls to action without knowing if you will get responses from the right people: those who are likely to buy your products.
What Are the Key Elements of a Customer Journey Map?
First of all, it is important to understand that there is no magic formula that creates a customer journey map applicable to every business and every industry. However, leaving aside the particulars of your niche, this map should cover these main steps:
- First contact or awareness – when the customer first hears about your business and products;
- Evaluation – the phase when the customer finds more about your business, its experience, its solutions and products
- Purchase – when the customer makes the first acquisition
- Adoption – when the customer starts making regular purchases and prefers your brand to others
- Loyalty – when you can count on your best customers to become brand ambassadors and join referral programmes.
Each step of this journey is critical. And your marketing efforts should not stop once you made the conversion from lead to client. On the contrary, you should apply more targeting and personalisation in order to nurture your most loyal clients.
How to Create and Update Your Customer Journey Map?
We recommend this to be a team effort, involving all the departments that deal with customers: marketing, sales, customer support, accounts, etc. As part of the customer journey map, you should always state what department is involved in each phase of customer acquisition and retention process.
In this way, new hires (including managers) will know exactly when and where they should get involved.
1. Create Your Buyer Persona
Everything in marketing starts with the buyer persona. The profile of your ideal customer influences everything: the language you use in your content, the type of messages you send them, the problems you promise to solve and the offers you make.
This initial step will determine the rest of the journey, so make sure that you got the right buyer persona. Otherwise, the end of the map will see you with the wrong leads and few to zero sales.
2. Understand the Customer’s Goals
If your product solves a basic need, then you need to know what your client is looking for: the best price, convenience in delivery, a simple purchasing process, etc. If you sell products with a long life or with premium prices, the buyer’s goals are different: they are looking for extended warranty, assistance with set-up/ installation, friendly and helpful customer support to troubleshoot problems, etc.
This element of the customer journey map will determine your USP (unique selling proposition), that is, what makes your products and services different from the competitors’ and more appealing for the customer.
3. Detail the Lead’s Touchpoints with Your Brand
Touchpoints are all the channels your lead uses in connecting with your business. Thus, you should include:
- Social media pages
- In-store visits (if applicable)
It is important to be aware of all the way in which a customer may wish to initiate contact with your business in order to offer them a uniformly quality experience. A surly and unpleasant maitre d’ in a restaurant, for example, may leave a figurative bad taste to a customer, no matter how delicious the food was.
4. Find the Customer’s Pain Points
Leaving aside marketing and advertising messages, people buy products to solve a problem or satisfy a need. These needs and problems are their pain points. You need to understand them and envision the situation from the customer’s point of view in order to identify relevant benefits and get the sale.
For a busy mom, the fact that your hair dryer has a high power output and sleek design will not really impress her. Instead, tell her that her hair will be dry and wavy in just one minute and you’ll get a sale.
5. Identify Roadblocks and Remove Them
What could stop a lead in their track? What can interrupt their journey and make you lose a sale? Is your landing page consistent with your Facebook ads? Is your checkout process simple? Do you have clear terms and conditions for product returns?
The ideal solution would be to have several people from your team go through the entire customer journey maps and write down every situation where they were confused, not sure what they wanted to do next, etc.
Last but not least, remember to take a look at your customer journey map from time to time and update it. One thing you should consider is how your buyer persona evolved and changes over time.