Mapping your customers journey – 5 guiding principles
If we told you that having a customer journey map is a vital part of your marketing plan would you believe us?
A customer journey map is a vital resource and an integral part of your strategy to attract customers. It is also a great starting point to understanding where your marketing voice should sit. You see ensuring you have this clear visual story showing and demonstrating where people interact with your brand allows you to refine and beautify your voice as a creative entrepreneur.
See we told you! A customer journey map is not only part of your “big marketing picture” but it will help you “the creative” gain a clear, easy to use business picture and leverage the understanding you have of your customers. It can also act as a bridge between the clarity of thought you have of what you do, how you do it, how you sell it and how your buyers invest.
With this single key, you basically unlock the process capturing your client’s invest journey from first hearing about you, to writing you a glowing testimonial. How can that not be valuable?Let’s recap quickly;
- Journey maps are a vital resource allowing you to tell the visual story about how people interact with your brand and business.
- They allow you to gain a deep understanding of your customers and are a bridge between what you do and what your clients buy from you and invest in.
Looking at the potential power a journey map has, do you now see why they are so important. If I told you, you can capture an entire customer experience for a large company in one meeting sitting – would you pay attention ?
You would be right in assuming it is – not a little task, but then nothing this strategically important should be right?
Done well, a client journey map can empower creatives to work cross-functionally and iron out all of your customer experience issues.
They will also serve as a significant long-term asset guiding your brand for the next 2–3 years. Done poorly, journey maps can confuse, misalign, and likely to be cast aside fairly quickly.
We hear you, we know – you have no time! This is no small task, you don’t know how to start! However in your business brain, I bet you now see how valuable this kind of information is.
Done well these maps fuel the purpose you can grant your business, and empower you to develop a supporting community around you. They can also allow you to lift your confidence therefore enhancing your creative prowess, as well as allow you to cross-functionally collaborate for the good of your sector, culture and business. Done poorly, they may confuse, misalign, and alter your marketing efforts in a non-holistic way.
Here are the must-have parts of a customer journey map. CAVEAT – As with all frameworks, there is not a one-size fits all map. There are however, sections and wording you can cross purpose, analyse and strip out. Ensuring you can move forward with your plan despite obstacles and pandemics!
A customer persona/ ideal client
A marketing persona or ideal client is a semi-fictional representation of a group of your customers. We suggest you have four in totality. They are based on research and data from your existing customers, and analysis of where you want your business to go. An ideal client and persona is a heuristic representation, showing, describing and bringing to life an essential segment of buyers. These personas and ideal client characters bring your business to life through both demographic and psychographic profiling. Where you take time to identify not only the people who will respond to your services, brand and tonality, but also the kind of people you want to be present in your business. Those clients who will understand, appreciate and invest in what you do.
Phases of the Purchase Journey
This part of the journey details the process customers follow from finding out about you, to purchase, and beyond. In real life, this isn’t a straight line, and different parts will overlap. You can divide the journey into discrete steps, with clear markers. We have found that with creative brands, there are usually 6–8 phases in a purchase journey, but there can be as many as 10. When designing your map, you cam include more, less, or different steps. We believe this depends on your sector, niche, industry, product, and of course ideal customer type.
That exciting and thrilling point of contact, the first interaction, and of course the all important information gathering moment. Touchpoints can be owned by the brand (such as a social media post or website), or reflect part of your carefully thought out brand experience in some way (such as testimonials or Facebook reviews).
Customer Thoughts and Actions
Capturing the combination of what customers do, think, and feel is why journey maps are so useful. Customer testimonials (social proof) helps investors and adopters understand customers’ perceptions. It also gives us a steer as to where we should start improving the experience. Social proof paints a vivid, passionate and compelling picture of your customers and their experiences. Ensure you keep this end point in sight with each paying client, converting their positive experience into social proof is one of the key things you can facilitate for your business. Also ensure your clients are aware that leaving spite driven negative “social media” feedback is not something you will accept and all post sales negotiation is done in person, in line with sector guidance and contract terms.
Pain Points (what’s stops your customers investing)
Here you capture the most significant issues that customers have when pursuing their mission. Each pain point can be allocated to part of the customer journey. You can then associate it with a touchpoint, add it into a brand message and ensure you work hard to counteract what has been said. While performing qualitative research, you’ll find that customers are honest about their complaints. The challenge usually comes when you try to interpret what they have said and turn it around. Not picking up on these pain points can ensure that you don’t deal with issues efficiently, and never evolve your marketing messaging.
The customer’s emotional journey
Ahhh… ssssecret sauce!! What makes customer journey maps, really interesting and hugely helpful. By understanding the Oooh and Ahhhh and Aggghhhhh in a customer’s emotional journey, you’ll identify those areas for improvement.
Opportunities for Improvement
This is where you can build on the pain points, emotional journey, and customer feedback to start painting a picture of the future. This is where you communicate how you solve these issues with consummate professionalism, an ease of language, no pressure and effortless sales techniques.
Moments of Truth
These are the moments your brand has the biggest opportunity to influence customer decision, opinion, and action. These usually occur when the customer first encounters you, when they initially purchase, and initially work with you. They then in turn react to how everything works, how the “experience” comes together and how supported they feel.
“If you can bring someone belonging, connection, peace of mind, status, or one of the other most desired emotions, you’ve done something worthwhile. The thing you sell is simply a road to achieve those emotions, and we let everyone down when we focus on the tactics, not the outcomes. Who’s it for and what’s it for are the two questions that guide all of our decisions.”
Five principals for creating your journey map
Customer journey maps may vary in specific sections and design, but they all share several guiding principals:
Write them from a customers point of view
Anything created like this should be written from a customers point of view, not your point of view. The purpose of the journey map is to form a story and interpretation of the space between marketer and consumer.
Combine mechanical business facts with creative emotion
This is where you find your absolute magic. When you perfect the mix of business fact with creative emotion, you will be in prime position to absolutely communicate with effortless perfection everytime.
Connect with your ideal clients on multiple levels
This is where you communicate with a full marketing strategy, with a complete holistic approach directed firmly towards your ideal client. Without this critical piece of work, how will you and how can you connect on this level, and experience these immensely fulfilling understanding results?
Use visualisation tools
We absolutely LOVE Trello for this, we use it when we need to brainstorm a project, or look at channels and processes – as they sit perfectly together. If you are seeking a full understanding of your business map in a way you can track efforts and map other projects this system is perfection.
Seek help from an expert
We would highly recommend that you work with someone to support you whilst analysing your business, and we believe this can and will make a huge difference in the process, and the success of the outcomes. It can allow you to look at things differently, work out what matters and what does not, and see what you are potentially missing through lack of confidence or focus.
Phases of the Purchase Journey
A checklist for your finished journey map
Once you have the clear parts assembled and a hypothesis map created, use this checklist to make sure your map hits all the right notes. You will find below a link to a specific product we offer which would allow us to map this journey for you, and would allow you to invest just £99 to have this work completed for you;
- A customer journey map focusing on key personas and ideal clients?
- A clear brainstorm covering your purchase/interaction process across all sales channels?
- A bullet list of both mechanical and emotional customer measurement data options (thoughts, feelings, pain points, emotional responses, etc.)?
- Moments of Truth option maps? Have you looked at where you can be innovation, and groundbreaking. Where you can take steps through your strategy as the leader you really are?
- Does it include elements that are customer-centric and insightful, remember to think and examine your business, sector and niche holistically.