If you’re looking to improve your marketing but don’t know where to start then this is the blog for you!
When you map your customer journey you’re able to step back from the problem and like a treasure map, suddenly you can see where the solutions and hidden treasures are – X marks the spot!
So if you want to build a loyal customer base of repeat-purchasers and raving advocates you’ve come to the right place…
It’s time to stop neglecting aspects of your customer’s journey and start creating an end-to-end (and start all over again) experience that engages your audience at every point. Today I’m going to show you just how you can do that & better yet I’ll give you a free downloadable template that will make mapping your customers journey a piece of cake!
Today you will learn:
4 stages of your customer’s journey
What are customer touch-points
How to use a customer mapping template to optimise your customer’s journey
The 4 Stages of Your Customers Journey
Understanding the 4 stages of your customer’s journey will help you tailor content and fine-tune your marketing efforts to better serve the needs of your customers at certain stages in their journey. By breaking the journey down into 4 stages you can use the template to see where your current strategy may be neglecting aspects of the journey and also where you could use connecting content to help them progress through the stages. Here’s a short description of each of the stages:
Aquire: a customer’s journey begins the moment they see or hear about your brand. This may be through a digital marketing channel such as email or social or it could even be passed on by word of mouth.
Nurture: once you have the attention of a potential customer it’s time to nurture. This is the stage where your customer will do their research, price compare, make an enquiry or call into your shop for a quick look. They haven’t decided if they want to make the purchase, and more importantly, they haven’t decided if they want to buy it from you or your competitor.
Convert: The customer is ready to make the purchase, they just need the final push. This might be free shipping, a catalogue sale or even the assistance of a knowledgeable and welcoming sales assistant.
Retain: The customer has made a purchase this is where many businesses drop the ball. The retention stage, although often forgotten, is arguably the most important stage. I cannot repeat myself enough in saying that the customer journey DOES NOT FINISH AT THE POINT OF SALE! Retention is all about continuing to build on your customer relationship and turn a one-time purchase into a loyal, brand advocating customer.
Understanding Customer Touchpoints
Once you understand the stages of the customer journey you can look at what touch-points and channels assist your customer through the four stages. Where can you make contact with your customers to make their journey as enjoyable and stress-free as possible? When considering customer touchpoints you need to put yourself in a customer’s shoes and think about how you progress from first impression to conversion.
Marketing Channels – email subscription, social media, blogs, word of mouth
Research Channels – customer forums, website, FAQ’s, customer service and enquiries
Of course, depending on your individual business you will have your own unique touchpoints!
Ok, now all that’s left to do is map out your customer journey using the 4 stages of the buying cycle, known touchpoints and customer perspective. There’s no use mapping it out in your brain, lay it out on paper or the screen and really go into detail. To help you out a little we are providing you with our own template for mapping out the customer journey. The example below is for a party supplies business which operates online.
Now that you can see it for yourself let me break down the other elements of the table.
Buying Cycle (Customer Journey Stage): When considering a certain scenario it is helpful to consider how many days you would expect your customers to spend in each stage. This often depends on the price or perceived value of the product. For example, buying a pair of plain silver studs may only take a matter of minutes for a person to consider, maybe they will do a quick Google to see if a competitor offers them cheaper. An engagement ring on the other hand, chances are a person has done a weeks worth of research by the time they come to you or perhaps you’re the 7th shop they’ve walked into today.
Customer Goals: What is the customers objective? During each stage of the buying cycle, your customer will have specific goals that influence their thoughts and actions.
Touchpoints: Where will the customer be making contact with you in-store, online and through third-party sources
Customer Thoughts: What are the questions they are trying to find the answers to? What are the concerns and obstacles that are stopping them from progressing to the next stage? The customer’s thoughts will lead them to certain touch-points. For example, if they are concerned about a warranty or returns policy they will check it out on your website or phone your sales team.
Overall Customer Experience: map how your customer is feeling across the journey. It’s ok for them to have points of uncertainty or times where they may be looking to buy elsewhere, this is where you should be focussing your time in reengaging them.
Ideas to Improve: As you go along note down any ideas for improvement that come to mind. It is also helpful to step back when you’re finished and analyse where you may be lacking content throughout the customer’s journey.
Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is known as one of Australia's leading digital marketing futurists and the brains behind Milk It Academy – A research-based training firm to advance marketers skills into new school digital leaders and company innovators. For over a decade Alita has worked with global brands including SAP, Experian, SEMrush, TS14+, Estee Lauder, Myer, Power Retail, & Online Retailer.