A map helps the reader get from point A to point B. There are many different routes an individual can take to reach their destination, but the one thing they all have in common is that they want the best experience on their journey. For some this may mean taking the fastest route possible because they value time and convenience, while for others this may mean taking the scenic route to enjoy new places, views, or experiences. All expect to reach the same destination but by different routes.
The same is true in marketing. All consumers have a problem and they want to find a solution. In the mapping example, they are at point A and need to get to point B. Just like a traveler may choose a variety of routes to reach the same destination, consumers may choose a variety of products to find the same solution.
Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a customer journey map, or a visual story of your customer’s interactions with your brand. This exercise allows businesses to step into the shoes of their customers and gain an outside perspective on their business.
Here are the basic 7 steps to creating an online customer journey map:
Step 1: Target Customer
The very first step in the online customer journey is determining who your target customer is. This involves understanding their demographic, habits, or persona. Brainstorm as much information as you can about your target customers. Think specifically about their online habits and persona. Some of these online habits may include impulsive buyers, critics, review readers, sale searchers, socially influenced buyers, online shoppers, browsers, and more. Understanding these online habits can give you a great start in visualizing your specific target customer’s online journey.
Step 2: Customer Online Behavior
The main component of this step is determining what your target customer is trying to accomplish. Does your target customer need a solution to his/her problem immediately? Clearly identifying what they are trying to accomplish will help you position your product or service as a solution to their problem. One helpful tip is to understand their online queries or searches. This will give you insight into what they are truly trying to accomplish. Some helpful tools are Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, or Google Search Console. Once you understand these queries, it is important to optimize your website and ads for these targeted phrases. This is called search engine optimization (SEO).
Step 3: Customer Attitudes
Now that you have determined who your target customer is and what they are trying to accomplish, it’s time to dig deeper into their thoughts and feelings. This step requires understanding what your target customer values most. This could be convenience, speed, relevance, customer service, engaging content, and more. A simple survey or analyzing customer reviews can give you this insight.
Step 4: Pre-Service Touchpoints
This is one of the most important steps in the online customer journey. How is your target customer exposed to your product or service online? This can be through a variety of touchpoints such as social media, search results, customer reviews, email marketing, online advertising, etc. It is important to remember that your marketing strategy on social media should vary from traditional internet marketing. For the best results try using a social media management service. It is important to optimize your website for what your target customer is trying to accomplish. A professional search engine optimization service can help to optimize your entire website.
Step 5: Service Touchpoints
In order to increase your conversions, you must know the service touchpoints. What is your target customer’s experience while trying to accomplish his/her goal? These touchpoints include online checkout, website navigation, FAQs, product reviews, and more. Think back to what your target customer values. If convenience is what they value most then optimize your website and checkout process to be as seamless as possible. Have you put off upgrading your website? It may be time to build a new website design. One helpful tool to understand your website and conversions is Google Analytics.
Step 6: Post-Service Touchpoints
Once your target customer has converted to a sale, their journey is not over. The second to last step involves understanding the post-service touchpoints. How can you validate the customer’s decision to purchase your product or use your service? These touchpoints may include product returns, troubleshooting, customer service, and more. The biggest key is to help your target customer feel like they are part of your brand and accepted into your company’s community. This could include offering specials to returning customers.
Step 7: Online Customer Feedback
The last and final step includes perfecting the other six steps. Your company should become feedback fanatics. Offer online surveys and give customers incentives to complete them. Pay attention to product reviews and other customer service complaints. By analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, your company can understand your target customer’s online journey from a need to purchasing your product or service.
Are you looking to step up your marketing game? Kite Media can help with many points along the customer journey, from keyword research to social media management. Contact us today to see how we can help your business!
View the infographic below for a visual representation of the online customer journey!