A customer journey map is a way to graphically present the whole experience of your customer when he interacts with your business.
This means illustrating his whole journey – from finding out about you to buying from you and beyond.
The purpose of the customer journey map is to identify:
- key interactions of your customer with your business
- what he expects and wants from them
- how to help him accomplish his goals.
These things are often very hard to describe just with words. That’s why we create this map to present information visually.
Here’s what you have to do to create a customer journey map for your business.
Understand your customers better
The first stage of creating a customer journey map is getting to know your customers.
In fact, this is the most important part of the process. If you do a bad job here, you won’t be able to create a customer journey map that represents reality.
Here’s the list of things you should do before continuing with creating your customer journey map:
Understand customer desires, needs, problems – the first question you should answer yourself is what the desires of your market are?
What are the challenges your customers are facing? What do they need to solve these challenges?
Identify customer goals – The next thing you should know exactly what people want to achieve when they land on your website.
Are they searching for information? Are they looking for a solution? How do they plan to use it?
How to research a customer journey map
You cannot create a customer journey map without data that allows you to understand your customers better. That’s why it’s really important to do your research first.
That way you will know:
- what are your customer needs and problems,
- how he interacts with your website.
In general, there are two types of research you can do:
Analytical research – the most obvious way to turn to when you want to learn more about customers is your website analytics tools.
For example: by digging into Google Analytics you will know things like:
- Where the users come from
- Which are the most visited pages on your website
- What path do visitors follow to convert into customers
- What they are trying to achieve on each page
- Which products or services convert the best
Keep in mind that analytical data can be easily misread wrong.
Don’t presume that a lot of pageviews by a single user indicate that he’s engaged with your site. Maybe he’s just lost and he doesn’t know how to find what he’s looking for.
Anecdotal research – most of the time, data gathered by analytics tools doesn’t tell the whole picture.
That’s why you also need to gather anecdotes of user experience.
You can do this by:
1) Conducting interviews
One of the best ways to get to know your customers better is to engage with them in a conversation and ask them questions directly.
When you interview your customers you will get a deeper understanding about their needs, challenges, problems, goals and questions.
You will also have the benefit to direct the conversation by asking the questions you need answers for.
This kind of deep research you can’t achieve by using analytic tools only.
2) Social media
Another way to do anecdotal research is by social media. Here you can engage with people directly and listen to their voice.
The place you should start is by reading all comments on your social media platforms. Everything from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.
A lot of the times, people will share their opinions about your product, their experiences, motivations, problems, etc.
They are also likely to ask you questions when they don’t understand something.
3) Customer support/sales
Customer support and sales calls are one of the best ways to gather data about your customers.
During support calls people are reaching out to you to ask you questions because there is something that is not clear to them.
You can use that to learn more about:
- the difficulties they face on each stage of their customer journey
- how you can improve their online experience.
During your sales calls you can learn about people’s motivation, desires, needs, problems and their goals with interacting with you.
Outline your customer journey map
Once you have gathered all data and you understand your customers, it’s time to outline your customer journey map.
To do that, you need to:
Identify customer journey stages – your first goal is to identify the stages your customers will go through when they interact with your company. They could be different for every business.
For example, Leadfeeder identifies 4 stages in their customer journey:
- Discovery and consideration: In this stage people find about their software product and they consider buying from them.
- Free trial: In this stage people test their software tools for free before buying.
- Paid subscription: In this stage people convert to paying customers.
- Retention: In this stage people pay a monthly fee to continue using their tools.
Align goals with each stage – your next step is to know exactly what your customers want to accomplish for each stage of your customer journey.
This is important because by knowing it, you will be able to accomplish his goal and move him to the next stage of the customer journey.
For example: by using analytical and anecdotal research, you might learn that people have the following goals:
In discovery and consideration people might want to:
- find products that can solve their problems
- learn if your product has what it takes to solve their problems
- compare your product with other options
In the free trial stage people might want to:
- use your product to see if they can get results with it
- learn how long is the free trial
- learn if you require credit card or not
- learn if you support all features in the free trial
In the paid subscription people might want to:
- learn how much they’re going to pay if they sign up
- learn if there are there any hidden costs
- learn how they can cancel their subscription on a later date
In the retention people might want to:
- learn how to get better results with your product
- contact your support to help them solve issues
Identify channels – it’s important to identify which are the marketing channels that you use to communicate with customers on each stage of the customer journey map.
That way you know what type of information and messaging to deliver on each channel depending on the stage the customers are in.
For example: in your business you might be using the following marketing channels:
3) Facebook ads
4) Social media (organic)
5) Email marketing
6) Push notifications
7) Website and your blog
So these would be the marketing channels that you use for the following stages:
- Discovery and consideration – SEO, Adwords, Facebook ads, Website
- Free trial – Website, Email marketing, Content marketing, Push notifications
- Paid – Website, Email marketing, Content marketing
- Retention – Website, Email marketing, Content marketing
Identify touch points – touchpoints are the places where people engage with your website so you can help them accomplish their goals.
For example: people that are into discovery and consideration are likely to engage with your features page to learn more about your product.
By knowing this, you will write the copy of this page to communicate how each feature helps your customer solve a specific problem that he has.
It’s important that you understand the current state of your customer when he’s interacting with each touchpoint.
You must know:
- What is the customer feeling at this touchpoint
- What are the customer’s motivations to here?
- What questions do your customer has at this touchpoint?
Once you know this, you will identify what you can improve on each touchpoint to help your customer achieve his goals.
When customers are in the discovery and consideration stage they might feel anxious and stressed. Simply because they don’t generate enough leads for their business and they are at risk of going bankrupt.
They might feel curious to find new solution and ways to generate new leads. At the same time, they might be scared that these solutions might not work for their type for business.
Their core motivations are to find a way to generate high-quality leads that they can easily turn into paying customers.
Your customer’s questions will probably be related to:
- what types of strategies will work to generate high-quality leads
- what tools to use to achieve that.
Presenting your customer journey map
Usually, there is not right or wrong way to present your customer journey map graphically.
You can do that with:
- an infographic
- a video
- a simple storyboard.
What’s important is that you understand the process that your customer goes through on his journey.
Later on you should use the customer journey map to understand what your customer experience in each stage or touchpoint. That way you will know how can help him accomplish his goals.
The customer journey map should contain customer’s needs, feelings, motivations and questions through their interaction with the business.
The most focus should be on the customer and what he’s experiencing on each stage.
It’s important to make it simple so you and others can understand it.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Customer journey map - let’s look at the customer journey map that Leadfeeder created:
On the top you can see the 4 stages of the customer journey map:
- discovery and conversion,
- free trial,
- paid subscription
Below that you will see customer’s goals and thoughts for each of the customer journey stages.
In the Discovery and consideration stage, people are thinking:
- is there is a tool that tracks unknown web visitors
- how they can get more b2b sales leads.
In the Free trial stage, people are thinking:
- how does Leadfeeder work,
- how people use it
- how it compares to other tools.
In the Paid subscription, people are thinking about:
- how long they will need to commit,
- do they need to convince someone else in the company to buy
- is their data accurate.
In the retention stage, people are wondering if there is any ROI of their investment.
Below that in Touchpoints, Assets and Channels you see top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel information for:
- Top sources of traffic and conversions
- Strategies to convert visitors better and to retain customers longer
- Strategies to identify problems and ways to solve them
In the Pivotal Microconversions, Success factors and Secondary KPIs section you will see:
- Statistics which people are more likely to convert
- What type of content is important on the pages
- When the majority of the conversion happens (85% within 2 visits)
- Correlation between free content and conversions
- Information about churn rates
The creation of the customer journey map starts with understanding your customer. You must learn about his needs, problems, motivations, and goals.
Once you know that, you must find out what are the stages and the touchpoints that your customer goes through when he interacts with your business.
You must find what goals and questions your customer has for each stage and touchpoint. This will help you learn how can help him achieve this milestone.
Once you have that you must find a way to present your customer journey map graphically.
For that, you can create a simple infographic or a video summering your most important findings.
Have you ever thought about creating a customer journey map for your business? Do you think it will be helpful for you? How?
Let us know what you think!