Many of your current customers started at the same point: you were either completely or relatively unknown to them, but they had a want or need. Through a series of thoughts and actions, they ended up at your door. You nurtured the relationship, and like magic, they converted right into customer status.
What we just described is the customer journey, and truthfully, there isn’t much magic to it. The whole process is pretty predictable, but depending on your individual business and the industry that you’re in, there are nuances that can make one brand’s customer journey very different from the next.
However, the customer journey has become more complex in today’s increasingly digital world. There are so many digital starting points and avenues that customers can take, that they’re now reaching your business and converting in a multitude of ways. Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual representation of the customer experience, from start to finish, and it’s become more important than ever.
You want to make every step of the customer journey as great of an experience as possible. This means mapping out your customer’s journey as part of your digital marketing strategy. A customer journey map helps to ensure that there are no missed opportunities for interaction, and that you’re nurturing every touchpoint along the way. To help you make this happen, let’s talk more about the how and why of mapping the customer journey for internet marketing.
Tell Me More About Customer Journey Mapping
The real purpose of mapping might be a little different than what you’re thinking it is. Many businesses approach it from a strategic perspective, realizing that a map gives them the key to connecting with each of their customers; but it’s actually much more than that.
Journey mapping provides your business with a new perspective, one that allows you to step right into your customer’s shoes and see your business from their eyes. It’s key to gaining insight into customer motivations, behaviors and the pain points that help brands define a new level of customer service.
This starts with a customer experience that can be defined in one word: seamless. No matter what their entrance point or how unique their situation, they expect to move from one point of the journey to another smoothly, without a glitch. Basically, they want you to read their mind. Businesses that don’t take the time to map this journey fall short on this expectation and are often confronted with customer service issues, missed opportunities and lost revenue as a result.
What Customer Journey Mapping Accomplishes for Businesses
So, we’ve already established the value of journey mapping as part of your inbound marketing strategy from the customer perspective, so now let’s discuss what it really accomplishes for your business. At first glance, it’s easy to see that satisfied customers who have been nurtured along the journey lead to more revenue, but it isn’t really that simple, is it?
No, not at all. Customer journey mapping is a tool that positively affects many aspects of your growing business, and there are several great things that happen when mapping the customer journey.
Mapping reduces customer service friction. The process isn’t just about identifying the key points of your customer’s journey, but instead creating a visual representation of every step. With a picture in front of you, it’s easier to understand the emotional perspective of your customers.
The emotions they experience while engaging with you help to define their image and feelings about your brand. When you fail to recognize their emotions, you create more opportunities for friction and customer service issues, both of which are costly to your time and your bottom line.
Mapping helps you stay focused on the customer. A detailed customer journey is your number one asset for getting into the heads of your customers. This is important for several reasons, but most importantly it keeps your attention on the most important elements for fueling growth – your customers. As an added benefit, staying customer focused often leads to increased employee satisfaction. Great team members build great businesses.
There’s an indirect relationship between costs and sales. Even if you use the services of an internet marketing agency to help map your customer’s journeys, it’s a cost-effective strategy for sparking growth. Mapping helps you identify all the points where your business is losing money so you can focus on areas where you’ll get the most return on your marketing investments. As the overall costs of doing business are lowered, your revenue increases.
Tips for Hitting the Mark with Customer Journey Mapping
Your process of customer journey mapping should always be evolving. It’s one of those things that should be able to expand upon the more you do it. If this is your first try, you might start out with a very basic map that includes identifying your objectives and how they’re achieved at each stage.
As you’re doing this, you’ll begin to get more insights and see new pictures emerge. For example, say you own a car dealership. You’re journey map might include what happens when a customer decides to test drive a car and the process of negotiating the final price. But, as you look deeper, you’ll see that more is going on. For instance, their experience when they browse online or stroll through your lot for the first time. The more you map, the deeper you go.
To help you as you’re starting out, here are 5 mapping tips:
- Start by identifying the goals, mission and overall customer experience you want to provide. Think about how you’ll deliver this.
- Segment your audience by identifying different customer personas.
- Recognize that a single path can have multiple entry points.
- Realize that while each step is important, some weigh more than others. Identify the points where emotions and engagement really help to encourage the next step.
- Finally, take action. Your map is only as good as the effort you put into bringing it to life. Take everything you learn about your customer’s journey and apply it to every aspect of your business.
Mapping the customer journey can be a complex process, and you don’t want to miss a single detail. As a digital marketing agency, we come to the plate with experience and insights about customer journeys that can help build your brand. Contact Knowmad today to learn more about how our services can help you connect with and retain your customer base.
Diona is a senior Internet marketing consultant at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.