Would you like to better reach your customers online and generate more sales? Little Seed Group’s Annabel Mulliner guides us through how you can create an effective customer journey through your digital marketing strategy.
Understanding how your customers interact with your business is crucial to securing and retaining loyal customers. Visualising and planning a customer journey is a great way to do this. It can help you to understand the key touchpoints between you and your customers across different marketing channels, and help you provide a consistent and positive experience with your brand. But where do you start with this?
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map should provide a picture of every experience your customers have with your brand. It should show you your customer’s journey from their initial interaction with your brand online, through to their first (and subsequent) purchases. And if your customers aren’t reaching that all-important final goal, the map should help you to fix this by creating a more cohesive digital customer experience.
It may be helpful to think about your brand as a person. What impressions can you gain of someone through their social media accounts? If they have a website, how about that? Do you get a complete picture of who they are, and what they stand for?
In this article, we’ll be focusing on digital interactions. But of course, offline aspects like your customer’s experience with your product or service, or offline marketing like postal correspondence, can also factor in.
How do your customers interact with your brand?
Creating an effective customer journey map will help you to better understand how your customers interact with your business, and which channels are creating the most leads for you.
Using channels like Google Analytics and Hot Jar, you can track a customer’s journey and investigate why they are leaving your site, rather than moving through your website or making a purchase. By doing this, you can notice patterns in customer behaviour.
Your aim is to ensure their journey is as straightforward and as reactive as possible. This means offering solutions along the way so that they are confident in your product or service, for example by providing unbiased customer reviews.
Before they buy
A customer will likely view or engage with your brand on different platforms in a couple of ways, rather than seeing a one-off ad. Some examples of how a customer might interact with your brand before purchasing include:
- A promoted ad on their social media feed
- Finding your website through a search engine
- Reading a branded blog post
Once you’ve identified these, think about how the customer interacts with your brand when and after making a purchase. This will include:
- Ordering and paying for a product
- Your returns and complaints processes
- Email correspondence: have they opted into newsletters at the time of ordering? Do you send follow-up emails to request a review? What other channels are you linking in your emails?
Your customer’s interactions with your product or service also factor into their customer journey – arguably, it’s the most important factor in them returning to your business. If you are a hotel, how are you measuring customer satisfaction? If you are selling t-shirts, what sort of feedback are you receiving from your on-site reviews and social media comments?
Let’s map it out
Creating a visual representation of your customer journey can help you to keep track of all of these elements. This could be post-it notes on your office wall or an Excel spreadsheet. Hubspot has some free customer journey templates available if you aren’t sure where to start.
Once you have done this, you should better understand what is engaging your customers across your digital marketing channels, and what’s putting them off. You should also have an idea of which channels are performing well, and which less so – and more crucially, which ones are best suited to reaching your target audience.
For example, you might realise that because your audience 18-24, Instagram is the best channel to reach them, and that you need to focus your efforts on creating better content and building your following. Or, you might find that some of your web pages aren’t performing well because they need more information adding to them.
Now you’ve got your customer journey as it is, it’s time to improve it! You can improve your customers’ digital marketing journey in a variety of ways.
Now that you’ve identified moments where your customers may experience issues or dissatisfaction with an area of your product or service, you can work out at what point to intervene and improve customer satisfaction. You can identify areas where your customer service could be more proactive.
For example, if you are facing a high volume of orders resulting in a postal delay, you could send your customers a message letting them know so that they won’t be disappointed. Or perhaps you could use a live chat feature to resolve issues on the spot.
Target your audience
Your customer journey should help you better understand the demographics of your audience and target them more effectively. Finding out what your customers do and don’t want from your brand should give you a clear picture of what sort of people they are and how you can reach them.
For example, a chef leads a busy professional life and doesn’t have time to sift through loads of information. Instead, information needs to be both concise and informative. Or, a clothing retailer looking for mannequins will want to see pictures of the mannequin in different clothes to get an idea of whether it will suit their clothing ranges.
Improve your web content
If people aren’t staying on certain pages, you should edit your web content to make it more engaging. You can do this by adding subheadings and pictures, and by rewriting your copy to make it easier to read. This might involve shortening sentences and choosing less complicated words. You could also add inbound links to other site pages to help customers find out more about your brand.