Digital Customer Journey Mapping in Marketing Strategy
Someone buying a product seems like a brief, often insignificant moment for customers.
For businesses, it’s just one step of a very long journey. Not even the final one.
To make that moment happen, they need to go through the time-consuming lead nurturing process while ensuring that every customer experience with them is positive and personalized.
Successful marketing is a key to influencing customer behavior at each point in that journey from being aware of a product to being ready to purchase.
To drive customers toward the purchase, one needs an accurate description of their possible experience with a business. It’s called the customer journey. It informs content creation to ensure that the business provides relevant and useful content at each stage of the journey.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- how to create an effective customer journey map
- how to add it to your digital marketing strategy.
How to Develop a Customer Journey Map
Digital customer journey mapping is a process of visualizing the customer experience to understand how they interact with a business by outlining communication touchpoints and motivations.
Around 40 percent of marketers are already using this process to structure the touchpoints in a way that will make the customers more interested in their businesses.
Not only that, but 9 out of 10 marketers doing digital customer journey mapping are satisfied with their efforts.
Developing a customer journey map is something that should be done carefully to find out areas of friction and issues within the customer experience.
Here are step-by-step instructions to create a customer journey map.
1. Begin with Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a visual representation of your ideal customer.
In addition to age, gender, and other demographics, it includes more specific details like:
- Describes the customer’s psychological features
- background. A short bio with details on the customer’s lifestyle and behavior
- professional and personal goals. It could be any essential or aspirational goal that your product or service could help to achieve
- pain points. What is preventing the customer from achieving their professional and personal goals?
- motivations. What factors motivate the customer to achieve their goals?
- communication channels. How you can reach this customer – social media, blog, email, etc.
While one customer persona might be enough for a small business to create a customer journey on, consider creating several of them.
Having multiple personas might give you a better understanding of different people interested in your product or service.
But where can you get all the data needed to make the customer persona?
Here are the best ways.
Create online surveys. Add a feedback tool like a chatbot to your website. Go out there and ask people. Create a questionnaire and send it out to your current customers. Ask questions on online forums like Quora or Reddit.
2. Define Customer Journey Stages
Customer journey has certain stages your ideal customer goes through, typically from becoming aware of your brand through the decision to make a purchase.
Most customer journeys involve three to six stages.
The plausible needs of the customer at each stage define the content you create. Here are the most common customer journey stages along with content types.
Customers are aware of the product but don’t know its features and/or advantages. Types of appropriate content to share at this point include:
- blog posts describing answers to questions about your products
- paid ads
- social media posts.
A customer goes to your website to check out what you have to offer. At this point, you need to increase their interest by giving them a good reason to stay longer and come back later.
Businesses do it with:
- email newsletters containing links to top content
- blog content (articles, infographics, etc.)
- white papers
- social media posts.
If your customer persona research was correct, customers will keep returning to your website.
The more times they interact with your content, the more they trust your company.
At this point, the goal is to ensure that every piece of content you publish is useful and relevant to their needs.
In many cases, they would also check out your reviews from independent company reviewers, like this Grabmyessay review.
Customer feedback will be an invaluable tool to get content ideas that build trust and contribute to a good reputation.
Types of content to build trust:
- customer testimonials (video, textual)
- customer success stories
- in-depth how-to articles and guides
- templates that customers can use
- case studies
- customer-generated content (CGC).
The content created for this stage needs to clearly describe the advantages of your product or service over competitors.
This way, you can differentiate your business and convince potential customers to try it.
Do it with:
- product comparison articles, e.g. “X Reasons why is a better alternative to ”
- workshops showing how to use a product
- webinars demonstrating how much better your product is than the competitors’
- product demos allowing to try it out
- video demos.
The customer has bought the product or service. The goal now is to maintain a positive experience by continuing sharing content that helps the customer to enjoy the product and get the most out of it.
Content appropriate for this stage:
- knowledge bases containing tutorials and how-to guides
- customer success stories
- user manuals helping to benefit from the product or service
- video tutorials.
Repeat purchase stage
Here, you need content to make customers return and give you more business. The “repeat purchase” doesn’t necessarily mean the fact of buying something.
It also includes upsell, cross-sell, and upgrades (an example is a SaaS customer upgrading their basic account to a more expensive, premium one).
Content to encourage more business:
- videos describing the benefits of upgrading
- product newsletters
- educational content showing additional solutions, features, or tools.
3. Identify Customer Journey Contact Touchpoints
The next step is to identify the touchpoints between your business and a customer during their journey at which you need to have the right content ready.
Here are the most common contact touchpoints before, during, and after the purchase.
- website (blog, landing pages, etc.)
- customer reviews
- website chatbot or live chat
- paid ads
- brick-and-mortar stores
- content marketing (your blog articles, infographics, videos, and so on.)
- influencer marketing.
- website (landing page, product page, checkout, etc.)
- product demo videos
- free trials
- order-related emails (order confirmation, invoice, etc.)
- shopping cart abandonment solutions like automatic emails
- social media (Instagram’s shoppable images).
- website (thank you page, blog articles, etc.)
- knowledge base or online help center
- customer support chatbot or live chat
- follow up emails (customer satisfaction survey, etc.)
- questionnaires and surveys.
When you’re done with touchpoint mapping, the next step is to think of appropriate content for each. For example, these content ideas are great for most before-the-purchase touchpoints:
- blog articles with the benefits of your product or comparing to competitors
- video reviews of your product
- web or social media ads with the benefits to customers
- case studies where your product helped a customer overcome a challenge.
4. Establish a Timeline
A good customer journey is time-based.
Do you know how long it takes for your typical customer to complete the journey? To create a journey that makes sense, you need to come up with estimations of each stage.
Obviously, there’s no way to know the exact timelines but there’s something you can do.
First, you can use the past history of customer behavior to determine the timeline for the entire journey of its parts.
The second and the best way is to actually talk to your real customers. Create a dedicated survey and send it out to your customers.
Here are some ideas:
- “How long have you been using our product/service so far?”
- “When did you find our product/service?”
- “How long were you using the free version of our app before upgrading?”
Feel free to incentivize them somehow – give a small discount, an extended trial, etc. – so they complete. It’s really important for your success and will help you to avoid wasting tons of time.
5. Consider Emotional Appeals
Digital customer journey mapping is incomplete without the emotional factor.
Chance is great that you’ll find your customers’ buying decisions affected by certain emotions (hopefully, the positive ones).
If your customer feels a positive emotion, they feel good about your product/service, and, in many cases, about your company in general.
During the customer journey analysis, you’ll discover many situations at which emotional appeals may assist in the movement toward the purchase.
Creating emotion-based content will take a professional content creator. Experienced freelance writers and experts from the essay service reviews can help you find these points and create content that will appeal to the emotions your customers feel. In this case, you don’t even need a dedicated content department in your company.
See the next section for emotions that customers feel during the journey.
Digital Customer Journey Example for an Interior Design Business
Here’s an example of a customer journey using an example of ABC, an interior design service.
|Customer: Jamie Rowe, 41, a business owner|
Goal: redesign the office space to make it more modern
|Expectations: a modern, open space that promotes collaboration with informal areas for ad-hoc meetings.|
|6. Repeat Purchase|
|Sees a digital ad or a blog article on ABC’s website||Browses around the ABC’s site. Reads the blog and services.|
Saves favorite ideas
|Visits the ABC’s site repeatedly with a business partner and brainstorms the ideas for the design. Reads more articles and watches videos with design ideas.||Books a free consultation with a design expert to discuss the details of the project.||Discusses and agrees for a contract for office design redesign with ABC.||Buys additional services and recommends the contractor’s website when asked about the new design.|
“Hmm… this design looks interesting…”
“I like this design but I’d change some things. It’s good they’re flexible with this.”
“I think this one is put together very well and encourages employee collaboration.”
“These folks know what they’re talking about. I love that they’re experienced in modern office designs.”
“Overall, I’m satisfied with contract terms. I think the price is a bit high for the lighting, though. I wonder if I could have gotten a better deal.”
“I took them a bit longer to complete everything but they know what they’re doing overall.”
Need examples of digital customer journey mapping or templates?
Download the How to Create a Customer Journey Map guide.
Add Digital Customer Journey Mapping to a Marketing Strategy
Create unique and useful content for each stage of the buyer’s journey to keep them interested and encouraged to buy. It must match the questions, pain points, and issues the buyer might have at each point in that journey.
To create such content, you need to map the journey based upon the information and data you collect from real customers. It’ll allow marketers to create the right content for each stage.
Do the steps described earlier and you’ll have a customer journey that is:
- helpful for your marketing
- relevant to your customers
And, most importantly, it’s going to be customer-based and give you enough information to know how to be successful.
Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll have the best shot at creating content that attracts clicks, conversions, and sales.