Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Being able to fully understand the minds of consumers can be challenging but if a business can do so it will have a competitive edge over its competition.
The goal for a business is to be the obvious choice for its target audience over its competitors. Although, the problem most businesses face is not making sure their customers are aware of their product or service, but that they actually decide to make a purchase.
Often businesses are losing their customers in the marketing funnel. The customers may know about your brand, know what they can gain from you, and express interest, but fail to go through with the purchase.
How can businesses ease this hesitation that potential customers have before deciding to make a purchase? They can create a customer journey map.
Businesses should be creating customer journey maps from the beginning, even when the customer is a complete stranger to your brand. If created accurately, customer journey maps can answer questions about consumers, help set up a definite plan of action, and serve as a unified source of information for your marketing team to refer to.
Here we will explain what customer journey mapping is, why it is an important step all businesses should take, and how to create one that is beneficial to a company:
What Is Customer Journey Mapping?
Customer journey mapping is a visual representation of the steps a customer takes from discovering a product or service to making a purchase, and beyond. It is the end-to-end purchasing process for a consumer. The process starts with the first customer-to-business interaction through the post-purchase of the product or service.
At the end of the day, the customer is trying to achieve their goal, making a valuable purchase decision based on their interaction with a brand. For businesses, it allows companies to map out the customer's journey, identify pain points and potential areas for improvement, and provide a better experience for their customers.
The easier the process is for the consumer, the better the overall experience will be for the consumer. Customer journey mapping is exactly its name, it is mapping out the best path for a customer to take on their purchasing journey.
Why Customer Journey Mapping Is Important For a Business
A customer journey map will expose the pain points that a consumer hits when making their way through the journey. These three pain points are what make up the marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, and conversion). By being able to identify these pain points, you will be able to enhance and improve the process for your customers.
For example, when a customer is in the consideration stage they may go to your website to find more information about your product or service. If they reach your website but are having a difficult time finding the tab that includes all the information about your product or service, they may become frustrated, give up, and go to one of your competitors to satisfy their needs.
If a business can determine that your customer is frustrated by this, then you can rearrange your website to make the important information more accessible to find.
Instead of having to make assumptions about how to motivate your customers through the purchasing process, mapping puts the customer and their needs first. It is important to understand that the customer journey is not simple.
The journey begins when they see an ad, to interacting with a sales representative, then when they’re attempting to check out. That is why each step they make along the journey will affect their purchasing decision. Marketing teams should be making a visual customer journey plan that each person can strategically plan with and refer to.
How To Create A Customer Journey Map
Business leaders can showcase their desired customer journey from a post-it-note, to a company email, to a whiteboard in the office. It does not matter how you choose to design your journey diagram, as long as it makes sense to the people that will be using it.
Have a clear goal for your map. It is important to understand who you are directing this map towards and what experiences it is based on. It is beneficial to create a buyer persona that includes all the demographics and psychographics that you are attempting to target. Once you have a buyer persona you will be able to have a target to direct the goals of the map towards.
Conduct research based on your buyer persona. Businesses can conduct research through questionaries, surveys, or online databases. It is important to then reach out to people that are actually interested and planning to purchase your product or have done so already. For example, if you want to find more information about how effective your company's website is you may ask customers how attracted they are to the website, the amount of time they usually spend on it, if they ever used the website to contact the brand, etc. This information you gather can be used to compile information that you can use to enhance your customer journey process.
Determine common customer touchpoints. It is important to understand all the touchpoints the consumer is making when they are interacting with your website, social media, paid ads, etc. This helps you determine what actions your customers are making in the process of their journey. A simple way to research this is to run a Google Search on your brand to see what is popping up first in the search engine. Another way is to use Google Analytics, Facebook Manager, or other tools that help you determine where traffic is coming from. This step is important in figuring out the customer actions they take in finding information about your brand because reducing the number of clicks and time a customer spends searching for information can increase conversion rates. Figuring out touchpoints will also help with understanding the emotional motivation behind a customer’s purchasing decision and where in the journey it is being altered the most. An emotional issue caused by a customer usually comes from a problem they are having in the process. Therefore, by knowing where in the process their emotions are being affected the most, businesses can ease that part of the journey. Lastly, touchpoints will help us figure out what is causing roadblocks for customers. For example, if a lot of customers tend to walk away from a purchase when you give a price then your company's pricing might be an issue. It is important to understand these touchpoints so you can mitigate them for future customer journey processes.
Make the changes you need. Trust your customer's feelings and opinions, and change your process to compliment them. It is risky and useless to make business decisions based on what you think the customer wants when you have actual customer data. The customer journey map will ensure these pain points customers are experiencing are being addressed and fixed.
At the end of the day customer's, have no problem walking away from a product or service, if they have a difficult, stressful, and unpleasant time getting to the purchase. A strong customer experience is critical to the growth of a business. It will not only help you retain loyal customers but encourage them to refer your company to others.
Creating a customer journey map that is thoroughly researched and carefully planned will enhance the customer experience, optimize existing marketing funnels, and provide beneficial research for the team.