Do you know how long it takes a person from the day they first hear about your business and until they make the first purchase? If you have been in business for some time, you should have sufficient analytical data to make an estimate. Moreover, you should also know how many interactions your lead has with your business and what channels they use to communicate with you. Put together, all these details form your customer journey map. And you definitely should create one.
What Is the Role of a Customer Journey Map?
You usually know what happens with the leads that move through the entire sales funnel and convert to customers. But what about the many others that fail to convert? What exactly happened to change their minds? What type of interaction or lack of interaction turned them away?
This is what your customer journey map will clarify. By detailing the time spent, type and duration of interactions with your company, you will get a picture of the main roadblocks that may dissuade a consumer to do business with you.
Key Elements to Include in Your Customer Journey Map
A regular map contains the geographical relief of a territory, the network of roads and all the towns and cities dotting the landscape. Its role is to help a person find the best way from point A to point B.
A customer journey map does the same thing, essentially. Its role is to help you nurture leads from point A – the first time they hear about your company – to point B – the first purchase.
Thus, it needs to contain several crucial elements:
- The buying process
- The lead’s actions
- Pain points
- Your solutions.
Let Us Start Creating a Customer Journey Map
It is time to really get to business. Here are the steps you need to go through in order to create an effective and accurate customer journey map:
1. Define the Objective of the Map
Why do you create your customer journey map? Each business has different goals and must have different approaches, as a result. Do you want to reduce the percentage of leads that abandon the nurturing process? Do you want to refine a specific element in the interaction with leads? Or do you want to target a specific consumer group?
You need to clarify the goal before you move on, because it will be very difficult to modify the scheme already created.
2. Create Your Buyer Persona
Any company should have a buyer persona – a profile of their target customers. This should me more than an abstract description of demographic and behavioural traits. You should picture it as a real life person, with a name, a job and a personal life.
Creating a buyer persona is not easy. You need to combine information from analytical data, discussions with your marketing and sales departments and customer polls and surveys. However, this effort is worthwhile. Your buyer persona will not only help you understand how your leads interact with your brand, but also helps you create highly targeted and personalised marketing materials.
3. Create the Route for Your Buyer Persona on the Customer Journey Map
What is the typical progress of a buyer through the sales funnel? Based on all the information you have collected, you can create a schedule, such as:
- Day 1 – read a blog post
- Day 3 – liked our Facebook page
- Day 12 – subscribed to our newsletter
- Day 17 – downloaded a lead magnet
- Day 21 – messaged us on social media about a product
- Day 23 – made a purchase.
This will give you an idea of how fast a typical converting lead passes through the entire funnel. Also, by comparing the number of converting leads to non-converting leads at critical timestamps, you can identify the moments of friction that make some leads abandon your brand.
4. Indicate All the Touchpoints
A touchpoint represents an interaction between a person and your company. When you get a new site visitor, that is a touchpoint. When you get a new social media follower, that is another touchpoint.
These touchpoints are essential, because the way the consumer perceives your business in terms of response time and usefulness of the information obtained, they may decide to continue interacting with your brand or not.
Once you have all the touchpoints, place them on the buyer person route, at the precise timestamps when they initiate a new interaction. In our example above:
- Touchpoint 1 – website
- Touchpoint 2 – social media
- Touchpoint 3 – email.
Remember to add any outside source of traffic as a touchpoint: referral sites, paid ads, print advertising (flyers, catalogues) – if you use it.
5. Focus on Your Customers’ Goals
Now it is time to get back (once again) to your buyer persona. What are they trying to achieve during the entire time they engage with your brand? Some of your leads have a clear idea of what they want and the touchpoints they use will validate/invalidate whether you can provide what they are looking for.
Another buyer persona is trying to learn what the product does, why they should buy it and if it is really worth the investment. They need time to discover benefits and features of the product, read customer reviews and watch a tutorial on how to use the product.
While the goal of buyer persona 1 is to find a product quickly, buyer persona 2 needs to be convinced that they actually need and want it.
6. Consider Your Customers’ Emotions
How does your customer feel along the sales funnel journey? Do they start full of hope that your brand is a good match for their needs? Are they neutral in their feelings? Next, how do their emotions change along the customer journey map?
Some leads become confident that you have the solution they need. Others are in doubt – they are evaluating several brands in parallel. The frequency of the touchpoints is telling. If one lead is taking less time to move from one stage to another while other leads are lagging behind – you have an enthusiastic lead who is ready to covert.
7. Do Not Forget about the Pain Points
What are your buyer persona’s problems that they are trying to solve using products similar to yours? Are these problems one-time or ongoing? Are they urgent or something they have on their plan, but which can wait?
The level of urgency in solving a pain point will speed up or slow down a lead on their customer journey map. You need to make provisions for all the cases you encounter when building buyer personas.
For example – a person who travels for work and whose car was damaged beyond repair will need to replace it as a matter of urgency. A young family about to have a baby will evaluate offers very carefully, both from the financial point of view and from the point of view of safety for their new family member.
8. Do Your Brand Values Match the Customer Journey Map?
Now comes the critical moment! Does your brand deliver what it promised during the first touchpoints? Can you match your lead’s expectations, needs and interest? Can you smooth out the friction and provide relief to their pain points?
For instance, if you say that you offer an effortless solution to X problem, is it really as simple and easy as you promise? Do all your leads move smoothly through the bottom of the funnel and the first sale process? Or do they abandon the cart or contact you for further explanations? If these happen, they are friction points and they negate your promise of an effortless solution.
9. Break the Journey into Key Phases
Is your customer journey map ready? Great! So, are you done with your work? Not yet. You have to identify the milestones on this map. They are the moments that appear most important to you from the point of view of your business goals.
Separate the customer journey map into phases, based on these milestones, and take each phase separately for further refining and improving. Yes, it means more work, more delving into data. But you want to reach your goals – this is why you created your customer journey map. So, you want to make sure that you can keep every single lead, by identifying the moment when they appear to abandon your brand and wining back their interest and goodwill.