Marketing specialists encourage people to buy products and services that are expected to meet their demands. To successfully promote their goods, marketers should know exactly who their customers are and clearly understand their desires, pain points, frustrations, and so on. Otherwise, your potential buyers and clients will choose your competitors.
If you want to fully understand your customers to improve your marketing strategy, customer experience, increase sales, and facilitate your business growth, you should pay attention to customer journey mapping. Let’s find out what it is and how it can help you make progress.
Describing Customer Journey Mapping in Simple Words
Customer journey mapping is a visualization of the customer journey stages they go through when using your products or services. Building a customer journey map will allow you to understand how to meet your customers’ expectations, reveal problems they face at different stages, and see what emotions they are experiencing when interacting with your brand. Simply put, you have a chance to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes.
Let’s look at the steps of a young woman who want to buy a pink luggage bag:
- She looks for a luggage bag on the Internet and finds a post on Facebook describing your products.
- She likes your bags, but there is no pink color available. Nevertheless, she likes the design and decides to read bag characteristics and reviews on specialized websites.
- Your bags are so cool that she is ready to buy one of them.
- She tries to add the bag to the cart but can’t do it due to an unknown error.
- She contacts a manager to solve this problem and make an order.
- The manager helps her to place an order and offers a discount for the next purchase.
- The woman describes her experience on Instagram. She complains about the lack of the pink color but gives credit to the quality and design.
A customer journey map will help you see all these stages, interactions, channels, and touchpoints. Moreover, you will have at hand the actions your customers take, the problems they face, as well as other useful information that you can use to improve the customer experience, product, or service. For instance, you can think about making pink luggage bags.
Another example – journey map for a sneaker store, Persona is an influencer.
How Can Customer Journey Mapping Benefit Your Marketing Strategy?
Creating customer journey maps will provide a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship of your customers with your brand. Let’s see how.
Understanding Their Real Experience
As a marketer, you certainly have an idea of customers’ experience with your brand. But when you build a customer journey map, you will have a chance to compare their real experience with those you have imagined. You will be able to understand how they feel, what they do, and what they expect at every stage of their journey. The map will help you better understand them and see whether you deliver on your brand promise.
Designing a Better Experience
Customer journey maps allow you not only to understand the current customer experience but also to think about the ways on how to improve it. Your customers need a product or service that will fully satisfy their expectations. That’s why it’s essential to look at your brand through the eyes of your customer and consider how to change their experience for the better.
Choosing the Right Communication Channels
You can interact with your customers through various channels, such as search engines, advertisements, social networks, friends, websites, apps, and others. But sometimes it’s difficult to provide the right person with the right content at the right time and through the right channel, isn’t it? How to find the ideal channel to interact with your customers? Customer journey maps are here to help you. They allow you to clearly understand what resources your customers need at every stage of their journey, what communication channels they use and provide them with these resources through these channels.
Let’s imagine that a young man called Andy wants to buy a camera. He finds a required model in your online store and looks for a video review. Unfortunately, there are no official reviews in your store, and Andy has to find and watch an incomprehensible and incomplete video made by a blogger. In search of a simple and detailed official review, Andy finds a similar camera in the competitive store and buys it there. Having a customer journey map at hand will allow you to see the barriers and quickly remove them (e.g., by adding official reviews of the products in your online store).
Expanding the Pool of Marketing Opportunities
Your marketing team already uses different tools like Google Analytics, HotJar, etc. You can take advantage of the data they provide when building a customer journey map. For instance, you may see that one or stage takes too much time and come up with ideas of what to do to fix the situation. Or you will be able to determine what marketing activities and at what stage of the user journey you want to conduct them. These marketing activities can include the following:
- blog articles that answer questions that a customer has at different stages of the journey;
- banners on third-party websites that describe customers’ pain points and offer them solutions with the help of your product;
- changing your landing pages in accordance with the insights that you received based on your customer journey map;
Improving Communication with Other Departments
It’s not enough to build a map and use it only within one department. It’s vital to share it among other departments so that they also understand the customers and see their journey. This will allow your company to break silos and together create awe-inspiring products and services.
When your colleagues acutely understand the needs, problems, and expectations of your customers, they have a coherent idea of how to help you to establish close relations with customers and enhance the experience and drive their loyalty.
Below are some tips on how to create an effective customer journey map.
#1 Define Personas for Your Map
First of all, you should think about personas to include in your map. What to do if you have several customer personas? Which ones to choose? Should you build maps for all of them? Since building a map takes time, choose the personas that are the most important and valuable for your business. Don’t waste your effort and resources on a less relevant or limited number of customers.
Collect as much information as possible about your customers through surveys, questionnaires, research, observations, etc. This data should include customers’ interests, goals, preferences, and other useful information. It will allow you to create a persona based on real data and representing a real customer segment.
#2 Define the Required Information
If you don’t know how to create journey maps from the ground up, you can use customer journey map templates as a starting point or for inspiration.
Should you decide to build a map from scratch, keep the following details in mind:
- Pick the map scope. You can build an end-to-end journey or choose a narrower scope if you think it’s more important at this time.
- Add channels and touchpoints. There are instruments through which a customer interacts with your brand (ads, website, mobile app, forums, blogs, online store, etc.)
- Write down pain points, barriers, and problems. Some things prevent your customers from achieving their goals.
- Visualize the emotional experience. There can be excitement associated with a discount or disappointment because a salesperson could not confirm the order.
- Remember about customer goals and expectations. What does a customer want to get at every stage of his or her journey?
- Come up with ideas and opportunities. How can you improve customer experience?
#3 Gather a Team
If you want your customer journey map to be reliable, it should be created with the participation of various specialists who are involved in different stages of the customer journey. Your team should include marketers, sales managers, customer service specialists, product managers, and others who can share important customer data. No detail is too small!
#4 Regularly Update Your Customer Journey Map
Work done, have your fun. Oh, no, this proverb doesn’t work here. When your customer journey map is created, it doesn’t mean that you can forget about it. Revisit and revise your map regularly to enrich it with new data when needed. Have you launched a new communication channel or updated your product? It’s time to update your map!
Marketing specialists use various instruments to track customer preferences and demands and keep them loyal to the product or brand. Customer journey maps are now becoming one more performant tool that will help marketers step into the shoes of their customers and offer more customer-centric products and services.