Visualize your digital experience, increase lead conversions, and build brand loyalty with our customer journey mapping tips.
From initial brand awareness and site browsing to final purchase, the customer journey includes the entire lifecycle of a customer. A customer journey map is a visual outline of the process a customer or lead goes through to achieve a desired outcome with your company. Customer journey mapping teaches businesses how to build relationships with customers using their needs as connection points.
Visualizing your customer journey into a diagram creates an impactful sales and marketing tool for all your future campaigns. A recent HubSpot article describes the entire customer journey mapping process to help you better understand how your customers navigate your website and identify where you can improve your digital experience.
Why is Customer Journey Mapping Important?
Many companies have access to large amounts of customer data and digital touchpoints, but they continuously struggle to gain a customer’s perspective. Customer journey maps show you how to build relationships with customers using their needs to improve the customer experience and convert sales leads into brand-loyal customers. In fact, research from Aberdeen Group shows that customer journey maps can shrink sales cycles by 16 percent, improving marketing ROI by 24 percent.
It is important to establish a clear customer journey in your digital strategy to ensure your customers get from Point A to B without any confusion, increasing your chances of conversions. We recommend breaking down your customer journey phase by phase, aligning each step in your process with a specific goal and redesigning your touchpoints to maximize customer success. Here are a few quick tips to solve your customers’ problems and help them achieve long-term success with your brand:
- Implement your customer journey into every aspect of your digital strategy. With inbound marketing, you can also create the type of content that will attract customers to your site and keep them coming back.
- Build a new customer base by researching the needs and pain points of your typical customers, mapping out their journey to provide a better picture of your target audience.
- Use a customer-centric approach throughout your business with a customer journey map that can be used as a baseline of the customer journey from initial engagement to post-purchase support.
How to Create a Customer Journey Map
1. Set clear objectives.
Start by asking yourself some important questions about your customer journey such as what are your goals, or who is this specifically about? Based on your customer journey mapping objectives, we recommend creating customer personas, or fictitious customer profiles with specific demographics and psychographics, to represent your target customers. Identifying clear personas provides a baseline to help you direct every aspect of your customer journey towards them, improving your digital experience and boosting lead conversions.
2. Characterize your personas and their goals.
The best way to understand your customer journey is by conducting consumer research. We recommend getting customer feedback through questionnaires, surveys, and user testing. You want feedback from the people who have interacted with your brand and are actually interested in buying, so it’s important to only reach out to verified customers or potential sales leads.
3. Identify all of your customer touchpoints.
Touchpoints are the areas on your website where your customers can interact with your brand. Identifying touchpoints can help you understand the process and objectives of your customer journey. Make a list of all the digital touchpoints your customers and leads are currently using on your site to gain insights into what actions your customers are completing and which aren’t performing as expected.
Remember: your customer touchpoints aren’t limited to your website. You should identify all the different ways your customers might come across you online including social media channels, paid ads, email marketing, and third-party review sites. We recommend running a quick Google search of your brand to see all the pages that you show up on. Verify these searches by reviewing your Google Analytics to see where your site traffic is coming from. Also, narrow your list down to the touchpoints that are the most common and will be most likely to result in a customer transaction.
You can’t convert sales leads if your customers are having trouble accessing your digital touchpoints. Once you have a comprehensive list, you will also need to identify the actions, emotions, and pain points associated with each touchpoint in your customer journey.
- Actions – Make a list of all the actions your customers perform throughout their interaction with your brand. This can be a Google search, opening an email, site clicks, etc. It’s important to recognize when customers are required to take too many actions across your site. We recommend limiting the number of steps in the customer journey to provide a smoother customer experience and increase conversion rates.
- Emotions – Every action taken by your customer is motivated by an emotion, and your customers’ emotions will change depending on where they are in the customer journey. This emotional driver is usually caused by a pain point or problem. Recognizing their emotions and pain points allows you to provide the right content at the right time, so that you can ease the customer’s emotional journey through your brand.
- Pain Points – Understand what roadblocks are preventing your customer from making their desired action and highlight these potential obstacles in your customer journey to reduce them.
4. Determine specific elements you want included on your map.
There are four styles of customer journey maps you can follow: Current State, Day in the Life, Future State, and Service Blueprint. Decide which map to use based on the specific objectives for your customer journey mapping.
5. Test drive your customer journey.
The most important part of the customer journey mapping process is to analyze the results. For each of your personas, follow the journey they take through their social media activity, emails, and online searches. Here are a few questions you should be able to answer with your completed customer journey map:
- How many people are clicking to your website, but then close out before taking another action or completing a transaction?
- Are there any customer actions that are unclear?
- How can you better support your customers and their needs?
Analyzing the results can show you which needs aren’t being fulfilled in your customer journey. By focusing on your results, you ensure that you are providing a valuable customer experience, making it clear and simple for people to find answers to their problems. We recommend combining your data analytics with customer feedback to ensure all customer needs and pain points are being addressed at some point during your customer journey.
6. Make any necessary changes.
Now that you have tested your map, your data analysis should give you a strong sense of what your customer journey needs to look like. Evaluate your experience and make changes to your website to achieve your goals and improve your customer experience. Your customer journey map should be a constant work-in-progress that is reviewed on a monthly or quarterly basis to identify gaps and opportunities for streamlining your process.