What experiences do your customers have when they come into contact with your brand online? Is your company more interested in selling or how do customers find their way to the company to make that purchase?

Understanding your customers on how to improve your product or service begins with creating a customer journey map designed for business success.

Today it is no longer enough to create a beautiful website and wait for your audience to find you. It is important to take a proactive approach to introducing your products and services to your potential customers.

Let’s go through some digitally-focused strategies, ideas, and examples to give you the tools you need to create a hands-on customer journey map in 2021.

What is a customer journey map?

Put simply, a customer journey map is a visual representation of all the ways your customers will come into contact with your brand on the journey to purchase. In other words, it shows the points of contact your customers have with your business both online and offline.

For now, we’re focusing on the digital journey.

It can be helpful to think about your brand as a person. What impression do others get when they get to know the brand? Like people, brands have a story that defines the company. In addition, the customer journey map invites your audience to become part of this brand story.

In addition, a well-designed journey deals with both challenges and opportunities. Your company’s customer journey map should show the full picture.

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What are the stages of a customer journey?

A customer journey map describes the stages of a customer journey, although no two customers will come to a purchase decision in the same way.

However, there are still four main stages that we all go through:

  • awareness
  • Recital
  • decision
  • Advocacy

Awareness is the point at which the customer realizes they have a need or possibly a problem to be solved. You start to research. When they find your company, it is your chance to make their first impressions.

How will your company make the first impression? Some content ideas at this stage in developing your branding story include blog posts, social posts, educational content, and research studies.

Once the buyer knows what they need, they start thinking about their options, even though they are not ready to commit yet. They compare prices, companies and try to decide which company is the best choice. At this stage, you can reach them with comparisons and ratings, videos, expert guides, and case studies.

Next, it’s time to make decisions. At this point, your content is branded, with product demos, customer testimonials, and reviews of your product line. Give them helpful information that will influence their decision.

In the final stage of loyalty, your company delivered what it promised and your customers are happy with the purchase. Now you can help them with user guides and newsletters. This is also a good time to start running customer recognition drives.

As you can see, it’s about caring for the customer, not doing the old hard sell. When customers are promoted, they know they are an integral part of your brand’s success, and this encourages advocacy. Ultimately, loyal customers offer free word of mouth and social shares marketing.

Customer Journey Map: E-Commerce

Let’s take a look at some stats to consider when developing a customer journey map for ecommerce. First of all, 81 percent of customers do their research online before making a purchase. These statistics make the awareness phase crucial when considering how to create a customer journey map.

In addition, 73 percent of retail customers shop across multiple channels. What this means for you is that the customer journey may involve buying from a platform other than your website. Keep this in mind when doing your research to find out where your audience is online.

One more statistic to consider: 39 percent of shoppers who do an online search on their mobile phone are likely to call your business. Are you ready to provide customer service over the phone? Telemarketing can be part of your buyers journey.

Retail customer journey map

A retail travel card contains all of the platforms available for purchase. And here’s another statistic that will tempt you to use all of your channels: For marketers who use three or more channels, the engagement rate is 250 percent higher than for those who use only one.

For example, shoppers can shop directly from your website, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest.

Think about how you can make the customer journey enjoyable and stop along the way. Focus on reducing friction, making it easy for them to find you and navigate your business platforms. Also, make sure you anticipate their questions and provide the answers.

Remember, they are trying to make a decision.

Then gradually increase her motivation to come back, look around, join the conversation, and make a purchase. Today’s retail customer journey is all about personalized customer experiences.

By using machine learning to gather data, you can gain insights into the offers your audience may be responding to and the next purchase decisions. Not to mention, machine learning can help figure out what devices your target audience is using to visit your website and what they are using for research and shopping.

B2B customer journey map

Now you might be wondering how a B2B customer journey card is different from a B2C retail card. The difference lies in the fact that you are partnering with another company. Learn from the experts.

A great example of adding value in a B2B relationship is Xerox’s partnership with Digital Silk to develop a new strategy and website that will capture B2B leads for Xerox’s new printer technologies. Digital Silk created a new landing page, paid media, retargeting and email marketing campaigns from the B2B customer journey map they created.

After six months, Xerox achieved a 20 percent increase in sales and a 43 percent conversion rate for nurtured leads.

You will notice that three of the four main contact points were used for the campaign. A new landing page and paid media advertising add awareness and put Xerox on the list when leads think about new printer technologies. Additionally, the retargeting and email marketing campaigns reorganized the company’s marketing efforts to appeal to a new (researched) audience.

The last step, advocacy, takes place when a company does a good job of fulfilling its promise with its products and services.

How to create a customer journey map in 12 steps

Think of the customer journey as a roadmap that includes all possible stops along the way. Then follow these steps to develop your customer journey map for your online audience.

  1. Review company goals
  2. Research your competitors to find out what works and what doesn’t for them
  3. Host discovery interviews with your audience
  4. Create buyer personalities based on research
  5. Determine your platforms based on research
  6. Think about how your branding story aligns with your audience and create an affinity plan
  7. Create a content plan with a timeline
  8. Create an empathy card
  9. See the trip from different angles
  10. Plan the route with touchpoints
  11. Post content
  12. Review and refine

Customer journey map template

If it sounds like busy, it is and it is well worth your while to understand your audience and their flaws. Now, if you need additional help, you can use this template and the included examples as a step-by-step guide to developing customer personalities and a customer journey map.

There is also assistance with setting goals and content mapping, templates for content distribution, and ideas for measuring these KPIs so you can ensure your content is successful in the future. Try these tips, tricks, and Bookmark’s easy-to-use toolkit to craft the best content strategy for your audience.

Create your company’s customer journey map

Now that you know how to create a customer journey map, it’s time to start thinking about the best places to maintain an online presence. Does your audience use Facebook? That wouldn’t be surprising as it is still the number one social media platform for all ages. However, if you are looking for Millennials, it might be easier to connect with them on Instagram.

By developing your customer journey map template, you will get all the answers you need to create a successful marketing campaign and build lasting relationships with your customers.

Do you have a digital marketing agency? Consider joining the Digital Agency Network. It’s another platform to increase brand awareness.

Even better?

You have a location-based listing in our agency directories. This means an opportunity to connect with the thousands of companies who visit DAN each month to hire marketing agencies. You can also showcase your work and post agency content such as case studies, press releases, and more.

Your entry offers additional benefits for digital PR and SEO. Join the DAN network today to get started.