Have you ever heard about customer journeys? They are simply a visual or documented journey of what your customer will experience when they are dealing with your business. What makes this so special? I know you might be thinking it’s pretty simple as your customers finding you on your website and contacting you and that’s that, but there are so many different ways clients can reach you.
Customer journeys help you identify crucial touchpoints where sending a well-timed email or showing a pop-up message could drive action and move them from simply considering using your product or service to actually buying.
So what’s important when you map out your customer journeys?
You need to understand that the first part about mapping out your customer journeys is that it’s all about understanding your customers' experience and then building on it. You might think that touchpoints only relate to your customers' experience in terms of your website, but there are many other avenues for your customers to reach you through.
We’d suggest looking at:
- Your website
- Social Channels
- Any paid ads
- Email marketing
- Review sites (Trustpilot, HelloPeter, etc)
Once you’ve mapped out the journey your customers go through covering all possible touch points, you’ll be in a better position to refine the experience your customers have.
You can do this by adjusting your messages or adding transactional emails or automated emails, pop-ups on your website, streamlined referral mechanisms, etc. The possibilities are truly endless. To ensure that you don’t just go through your customer journey mapping for no reason, you should always keep your objectives in mind and consider what people may be thinking or looking for as they move through your funnel.
Steps to get started
Create buyer personas
A buyer's persona is simply a fictional description of your ideal customers or current customers. Buyers' personas help you humanize your customers in a more focused way. Creating a buyers’ persona allows you to look at personality traits, demographic and psychographic factors that your customers have in common. This allows you to target your audience better.
Ideally you want to map out multiple personas, but if you are strapped for time, you should consider mapping out 4 personas based on the following stages of the buyer’s journey:
- Research Stage
- Final round of considered suppliers/providers
- Ready to Buy
People who are in your awareness group are people who have heard about your brand and know about you. They are a group of people who might not need your service now but would need to keep you top of mind if they ever need to make use of your product or service.
In the research stage you will usually find customers who are more clued-up about the product or service you offer and are doing comparative research between you and your competitors. People in this buyer stage are weighing up pros and cons about you, alongside other competitors.
Final round of considered suppliers/providers:
People in this stage of the buyers process have essentially shortlisted your business and have decided that you are one of the best possible “fits” in terms of their needs. People in this group might reach out to you with more personalised needs or questions that they are not finding on their own.
Ready to buy:
Customers in this stage of the buying journey have done all their research and know what they need to know about you and your business and want to simply purchase your product.
Map out the info people need to know in their buyer journey
You’ve got a website, check, you’re on all kinds of social channels and you're sending out decent email campaigns on a frequent basis, BUT you’re just not seeing the return you want. Have you considered that you’re treating your potential customers the same?
If you are, don’t stress, you can fix this. All your potential customers aren’t going to be at the same stage of the buying journey at the same time. You need to account for the different stages they are in, and map out information that will help them move towards the “Ready to Buy” stage quicker.
Messaging is key when it comes to helping your audience convert as it is messaging that will help them move from consideration to buying.
Let’s take a closer look at what customers expect to find out about you in each stage of the buying process and what kind of messages you need to create.
In the awareness stage, all your messaging needs to focus around your core business value or offer. Essentially if we used ourselves, Mail Blaze as an example, our main focus is email marketing. Therefore for people who are in our awareness stage we want to make it clear that this is what we do. Our main offer in other words is that we are providers of an email marketing platform or email marketing sending service.
For your awareness stage you want to focus on messages that keep you top of mind, in essence a “touch” selling approach where you want people to associate your brand with a particular service. It’s what marketers call brand awareness.
Example: Mail Blaze is the email marketing platform for you.
Potential customers in the research stage are already considering a product or service you offer. This subset of consumers are more than likely doing searches to find a list of providers that offer the product or service they need, and your messages (regardless of platform) need to show them that you’re a good partner to match with in this space. Your messaging in this stage of the buying journey needs to focus on features and benefits that you offer.
Example: Did you know Mail Blaze is up to 50% cheaper than other competitors?
Final round of considered suppliers/providers
In the final round of considered suppliers or providers, your potential customers would have whittled down a shortlist of businesses that can help them answer a need they have. These consumers have all the high-level information that they need that has shown them you are a worthwhile candidate to partner with. All they require is the final, unique specifications that relate to their business. So essentially this could be factors like the below just to illustrate (but there can be many many more):
- Unique configurations
- Corporate structure
- Warranties/Guarantees (if a physical product)
Example: Need an email platform with built in survey functionality? Find out more.
Ready to Buy
Customers who are in the “Ready to Buy” stage of the buying journey have already decided that you are the right business for them to engage with. All these customers need is to know when and how to actually make a purchase or book a service. Messaging for customers in this stage needs to be navigational. So essentially just direct them to complete their purchase.
Example: Pay in less than 5 minutes via credit card today!
Map out the touchpoints
Now that you know more about your audience and their specific needs, you need to look at how they are getting to them and where you need to add messages to help them answer a need they have.
Depending on your purchase process, you might have a longer sales process than others, or you rely on people to reach out to you to book a demo or make use of your service. You want to lower the barriers of entry enough so that people can get enough info to make a considered purchase or simply just help themselves to buy.
Mapping out all the touchpoints and interaction points can help you automate some of the messages that you want people to receive.
What is it that people are struggling with?
We’re in the business of creating value through what we do. Why? Because it’s what makes us unique. It’s part of our DNA, the fabric that’s built our business. Offering value to our clients is the way we’ve been able to see them grow, but also grow ourselves. When you’re mapping out your customer journeys, you need to understand what your customers are struggling with and help them to overcome these problems through your products or services.
When you’ve successfully mapped out your customer journeys, you’ll see there are crucial moments or touchpoints where the problem the potential customer is facing needs a solution - and your business needs to communicate this solution to them.
Start by looking at frequent questions that your customers ask your team. This would mostly come from your support and sales department. Once you have these questions or problems documented somewhere, you are able to create content that can answer these questions upfront.
Benefits of answering common problems or struggles your clients have?
- It’s to the point, people don’t want to waste time looking around for solutions. They want to have the information they need readily available to move forward.
- It adds to your overall brand reputation and in turn gives you an edge above your competitors. Added perceived value is a great motivator to get people from consideration to purchase easily and can also directly influence your bottom line in terms of how much you can charge for certain products or services.
- Less time goes by from the awareness stage to the purchase stage, as people can help themselves as they are empowered with useful information.
- You have more “share-factor.” People share things that they find valuable and in turn can become your greatest advocates, increasing your overall brand reach.