Is your team struggling to understand your target consumer? Perhaps your ads aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be.
Several small businesses need help building loyal customers; the trick is knowing the customer journey!
Hi, my name is AJ! I recently sold my business for multiple seven figures. After making a successful exit, I wanted to help other entrepreneurs meet their business goals.
Scaling my business taught me a lot about marketing, customer retention, and creating a loyal base.
So, if you’re ready to exceed a customer’s expectations and create a practical customer journey map, keep reading!
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What is a Customer Journey?
A customer journey is a map that outlines the various steps potential customers take to become paying ones.
You and your marketing team can develop strategies at every touchpoint by outlining the steps potential customers will take.
A customer journey makes a marketing funnel possible.
For instance, a marketing funnel helps you promote products or services to customers based on where they are in the sales process or customer journey.
So, someone at the start of the customer journey demands different ads and engagements than someone about to make a purchase.
The customer journey map shows you how your customers interact with your brand.
As a result, your business can create personalized interactions based on where people are in the customer journey, creating a better customer experience for everyone!
What are the Phases of a Customer Journey?
A customer journey map shows how customers interact with your company as they purchase products.
Therefore, customer journeys have multiple phases you must account for.
Let’s take a look at the five phases in the customer journey!
The first phase of every customer journey is awareness.
The “awareness” stage observes how someone learns about your brand.
Some examples of ways consumers discover new brands include the following:
- Social media advertisements
- Search engine results
- Customer recommendation
It’s crucial to track and analyze how people discover your business.
Using awareness data, you and your marketing team can ensure you promote your products and services on the proper communication channels.
The next step in the customer journey is getting potential customers to purchase your product or service. Congrats!
During this phase, customers will evaluate if they should purchase from you again.
Also, collecting paying customers’ emails is crucial so you can store them in your records or customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Collecting emails and other customer information allows you to create a better customer experience and increase the chances of repeat buyers!
The next phase is onboarding, meaning you send your new customers emails or other messages to help them feel welcomed by your brand.
Communicating with customers after they make a purchase also creates a personalized experience your competitors may not offer (this helps you stand out!).
These emails and messages can contain a variety of information, including the following:
- Details about new products
- Information about your brand’s mission and vision
- A discount code for their next purchase
- Introductions for staff members
Connecting with customers emotionally allows them to associate your brand with positive messages.
Lastly, be sure you and your team collect data regarding how customers engage with your email marketing campaigns!
The engagement phase of the customer journey refers to how your team gets customers to use your product or service regularly.
Engagement also includes how you can motivate customers to read email marketing messages consistently or shop at your store (if you offer in-person shopping).
Some ways to improve a customer’s experience and boost engagement include the following methods:
- Email marketing
- Social media
- In-product messages
- Personalization at various points
Personalization and engagement are vital as they can turn an average customer into a loyal one!
The last phase of the customer journey is advocacy.
When customers advocate for your business, they tell everyone how great your products or services are!
Advocacy can be in forms such as:
- Reviews on social media platforms
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Referrals to new customers
- Loyalty programs
- Customer feedback
Every successful business strategy emphasizes customer advocacy because it’s FREE advertising!
Benefits of Understanding the Customer Journey
Understanding your customers’ needs, actions, and steps before making a purchase is highly beneficial.
Not only is understanding the customer journey excellent for your customers, but it also benefits your employees!
Let’s examine the four advantages of knowing your brand’s customer journey!
Understanding of Customer Emotions
A significant advantage of understanding the customer journey is learning about customer emotions and behaviors better.
Understanding customer emotions can help you learn about their pain points and how they approach the buying process.
Also, learning about your customers’ feelings ensures you meet their expectations throughout the purchasing journey.
Lastly, when you understand how your customers feel, you can effectively target them with sales and marketing campaigns that resonate with them.
Improve Employee Satisfaction
Employees also benefit when you learn more about your customers and their journey!
When you create a customer journey, your team has set steps to follow as each person moves through the sales funnel.
Therefore, employees are less likely to become frustrated because they must figure out what to do next.
Also, when you know how your customer interacts with your business, you can ensure your team provides the best service possible.
Using customer data helps employees better understand customer needs, making them more productive at work!
Improve Customer Satisfaction
You can effectively cater to customer expectations and behaviors when you understand them.
And personalizing the customer’s journey improves overall satisfaction levels.
When customers shop with your company, the process should be as painless and worry-free as possible.
When you create a customer journey, you’re making a customer-centric approach to sales.
As a result, customer satisfaction increases!
Create a United and Committed Team
When you understand the customer journey, it helps create a team that’s united and committed to the success of your business!
Everyone in each department should know what tasks they need to do to help the customer experience better.
For example, employees in marketing might know what words to use in emails, while those in customer service might have the perfect tone to use when responding to customers.
These tiny details can help create a committed and successful team that grows with your business!
Customer Journey Communication Channels
custWhat is the best way to collect information on each customer persona that shops with your brand?
Various communication channels are available, and understanding which one your customers gravitate toward is vital.
The customer journey begins with potential sales discovering your brand.
Here are a few ways to attract and communicate with customers!
One way you can communicate with your target audience is in person!
Of course, this method is only applicable to some types of businesses.
For instance, if your brand operates entirely online, it’s very challenging to communicate with customers in real life (unless you attend events, trade shows, etc.).
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, take advantage of connecting with customers in person.
And remember, there’s a delicate balance between being friendly and getting to know a potential customer and being too pushy.
Sales are significant, but forming genuine connections should be your priority.
Email marketing is one of the best ways to reach customers and build relationships with them.
You must create an email list for potential customers and keep it organized to offer relevant content to each customer.
Feel free to use automation when it comes to emails as well.
Plenty of tools are available to help you create eye-catching ads that accurately reflect your brand!
If your business is large enough, having a call center is very beneficial.
Call centers are great for more complex customer inquiries like product-related questions or technical issues.
Also, you must hire experienced and friendly people who can provide excellent customer service!
Another way to communicate with your target audience is in your mobile app (if your company has one).
Offering a live chat option in an app is an excellent way to connect with customers and offer help or suggestions when necessary.
Another form of in-app communication is with social media.
Social media is a highly effective way to communicate with potential and current customers.
Also, social media platforms allow you to display your business’s products or services for hundreds or thousands of people simultaneously!
Finally, your website is the perfect place to communicate with customers.
You must optimize your website for mobile and desktops and provide all the necessary information about your brand, services, products, etc.
Also, utilizing a chatbot on your website can help customer service teams instantly answer questions or direct people to the right page or person in your company.
These are just a few examples of how to communicate with customers along their journey.
Remember, the customer journey is more than just a purchase – it’s the entire experience!
What is a Customer Journey Map?
A customer journey map is an effective (and incredibly useful) marketing tool.
With a customer journey map, you can understand your target market better.
Also, you can use the map to lead potential customers down the right path to convert them into paying customers.
Customer journey maps list detailed steps every customer goes through when interacting with your brand.
From awareness to engagements to post-sale actions, customer journey mapping ensures teams understand each stage in the customer experience.
Which type of companies should use customer journey maps?
All types of businesses can benefit from customer journey mapping, whether e-commerce or a lawn mowing service company.
Simply put, understanding and knowing how customers interact with your brand helps you boost customer satisfaction, conversions, and overall revenue!
Advantages of a Customer Journey Map
There are several benefits of customer journey mapping.
From understanding customer behavior to improving the customer experience, a customer journey map ensures your brand stands out.
Let’s look at some of the other advantages of customer journey maps in greater depth!
Better Understanding of Customer Behavior
Creating a customer journey map allows your team to understand customer behaviors and shopping patterns better.
When your company knows how and why customers interact with your brand the way they do, you understand their motivations.
Therefore, your marketing team can deliver messages that resonate with these motivations.
Also, keep in mind that different customer segments have varying motivations.
It’s essential to cater to each segment to boost every customer experience.
Identify Customer Touchpoints
The customer journey map also helps you identify which touchpoints are working and which are not.
For example, if a customer segment isn’t converting after seeing your ad on social media, you could adjust the messaging or try another platform.
Understanding and identifying your customers’ various interaction points before buying products or services helps you create better marketing campaigns.
More effective marketing campaigns mean higher returns on investment and lower costs to acquire new customers!
Improve Customer Experience
Because customer journey mapping allows you to collect customer data, you can, therefore, improve the customer experience.
What types of customer data should you collect? There are numerous things!
For instance, some examples of practical customer information include the following metrics:
- Days of the week people buy products or services
- Social media outlets customers prefer
- The types of items they purchase
- The types of marketing campaigns they interacted with
- How often they buy things from you
Improving a customer’s experience results in more loyalty and increases the likelihood that they’ll shop with you again.
Support Marketing Efforts
Customer journey mapping helps you design better and more effective marketing campaigns.
By understanding customer motivations, you can deliver content that resonates with your target market.
Also, when creating a customer journey map, you uncover potential areas where customers might be stuck in the purchasing process.
Lastly, improving your company’s marketing efforts can shorten the customer journey and increase conversions!
Predict How Customers Will Behave
Have you ever wished you had a tool to predict what your customers will do next?
Well, with customer journey maps, you can do just that!
These tools help you predict what your target audience will do next.
As a result, you and your team can market to your customers regardless of their progress in the sales funnel!
Will these maps predict consumer actions correctly every single time? No, that is impossible because humans are unpredictable.
However, collecting data from customer touchpoints and communication channels lets you get a good idea of their actions.
Boost Customer Engagement
Creating a customer journey map allows your company to offer excellent experiences at every touchpoint.
Therefore, customers associate your brand with positive messages and experiences, motivating them to shop with you again!
So, if your business struggles to retain customers, you must make a customer journey map!
These maps allow you to see the path every potential sale takes, ensuring you customize and personalize the experience.
How to Build a Customer Journey Maps
Now that you understand how beneficial investing in customer journeys is, you’re ready to create your own map!
There are customer journey map templates available online.
These templates are ideal for small businesses.
However, if your business demands a customized customer journey map, follow my five-step process to get started!
Step 1: Start with Business Objectives
The customer journey mapping process begins with setting goals.
Meet with your team and determine your business’s goals before creating touchpoints for your map.
Some examples of goals you and your team can set include the following:
- Increase brand awareness through social media marketing
- Convert qualified leads into customers
- Shorten the customer journey
- Identify weak points in the sales process
Setting goals is crucial because they motivate team members.
Without goals, it’s easier for employees to get bored and forget their objectives!
Step 2: Understand Your Customers
The next step in creating a customer journey map is to understand your customers.
Specifically, you should research the following:
- What types of pain points or problems do they face?
- Which channels do they prefer for product recommendations?
- What type of content and messaging resonates with them most?
Gathering data is vital if you must understand their behaviors.
Also, collecting customer data opens up new techniques for marketing campaigns!
Step 3: List Opportunities for Communication
The third step in creating a customer journey map is to find and list how you will communicate with your target consumer.
Think about the numerous communication channels available to your business.
Some examples of communication channels include the following:
- Social media outlets like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook
- Cold calling
- Email marketing messages
It’s essential to test various communication methods if you need clarification on which will be most effective.
Step 4: Test Your Customer Journey
Next, you must test your customer journey map.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and walk through the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint to completing a sale to post-sale engagements.
Testing allows you to identify areas that need improvement or further tweaking.
Walking through your customer journey map template also assists in recognizing trends and discovering new ways for customers to interact with your business.
How many ways can you test your customer journey map?
In addition to doing it yourself, you can use the following techniques to test your customer journey:
- Survey customers
- Focus groups
- A/B testing campaigns
Rely on various people and groups to test your customer journey map template, as it decreases the chances of mistakes or inefficiencies!
Step 5: Refine and Pivot Your Customer Journey As Needed
Finally, you must be willing to refine and pivot your customer journey map as needed.
Analyze the data your customer service team collects throughout the testing process and make changes accordingly.
Your goals won’t stay static, so you must be prepared to adjust your strategies when necessary.
Also, it’s crucial to find ways to do the following things:
- Improve existing customer touchpoints
- Remove outdated methods
- Add new content that’s more relevant to your customer base
Like anything in your business, you should look for ways to improve and make the process more efficient, and the same goes for the customer lifecycle!
Customer Journey Mapping Examples
For this example, consider an online retail store selling fashion accessories.
The customer journey might look something like this:
First, the customer finds out about the store via a social media ad on Instagram, showcasing trendy accessories.
Intrigued by the ad, the customer visits the store’s Instagram profile and explores their posts, finding the collections appealing.
The customer visits the online store through the link on Instagram, browses different product categories, and reads product descriptions and reviews.
They select a few items they like, add them to the cart, and proceed to checkout.
The smooth and secure transaction process enhances their buying experience.
After receiving the items, the customer gets a thank-you email with a discount code for the next purchase.
They also receive a request for feedback via email, which they fill out, thereby completing the journey.
This example illustrates various touchpoints, why an online presence is critical, and how companies can connect with customers post-purchase.
Marketing Automation & Your Customer Journey
Marketing automation tools are beneficial because they allow your team to be productive and ensure you don’t have to deal with mundane, repetitive tasks.
Marketing automation can also positively impact your customer journey stages in numerous ways.
Here are three ways your existing customer journey can improve by adding marketing automation tools!
Sell More Products & Services
Automated tools can help your company sell more products or services.
For example, when a customer puts an item in their cart but doesn’t checkout right away, marketing automations can send an email to them about their purchase.
Also, you can use marketing automation tools to retarget customers who have interacted with your brand in the past.
Don’t worry about being annoying when you send retargeted ads; sometimes, customers need a gentle reminder about how awesome your products or services are!
Connect With New Customers
Automation tools help you connect with new consumers as soon as they’re aware of your brand.
For example, one automated tool is a pop-up message on your website.
You can utilize pop-ups to collect new customer email addresses.
Then, your marketing automation service can send an initial welcome email, instantly giving this person a reason to stick around!
Cultivate Better Customer Relationships
Automated marketing tools allow you to send relevant content at all of the customer touchpoints.
As a result, customers feel like your brand cares about them.
And the more often you send targeted communications, the more these customers will trust your company to continuously provide top-notch products or services.
Automated tools let you send coupons or discount counts to customers that meet specific, pre-set criteria.
Therefore, people know customer loyalty pays off with your brand.
Customer Journey Automation Examples
There are several ways to utilize automation tools to positively impact the customer journey.
For example, companies can do the following:
- Greet new customers with an email
- Send abandoned cart reminders
- Request customer feedback
Let’s look at each of these examples in more depth, allowing you to see if they’re a good fit for your brand.
Greet New Customers When They Sign up for Your Newsletter
One of the keys to a long-lasting customer relationship is an excellent first impression.
So, when someone signs up for your newsletter, it’s a good idea to send them a welcome message!
The welcome message doesn’t have to be very long; simply introduce yourself, the brand’s mission, and that you appreciate them signing up!
Also, sending customers an incentive after they enter their email is an effective strategy to develop loyal customers.
Lastly, you can use the initial email message to improve your customer journey by analyzing how users engage with the message.
Send a Cart Abandonment Message
Several online shoppers abandon their carts for any number of reasons.
Whether they get distracted with work or have to step away from their computer, consumers can forget about their potential purchase.
Therefore, sending an abandoned cart message via email or text is effective.
These messages encourage customers to reengage with your website and complete their purchase.
Ask for Product Reviews Automatically
You can also use automation tools to request customer feedback automatically.
Typically, companies do this via email so customers can access it and complete the survey on their mobile device or computer.
Some details to include in your customer feedback survey include the following information:
- Product or service ratings
- Pain points or struggles the customer had while shopping
- How the customer enjoyed their shopping experience
- Recommendations for future products or services
Keep track of feedback and recommendations, as they can help you tailor your brand to fit customer needs!
Final Thoughts on Customer Journies
There you have it! Everything you need to know about the customer journey and creating effective maps!
Remember, understanding the customer journey benefits your target consumer and your employees simultaneously!
Also, investing in the customer journey can result in more conversions, higher ROIs on your marketing campaigns, and more productive employees.
How will your team use customer journey strategies and technology to your advantage? Let us know in the comments section below!
And good luck building a customer journey map for your company! Don’t forget to tweak it as your company and customers evolve!