HOW TO MAP THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY: A GUIDE FOR ANY BUSINESS

07 June 2022 Sourcey team member

The journey to purchase is different for every customer. The same product or service might sell differently depending on who the buyer is and what their needs are at that moment in time. The extensive research we've done shows that only 18 percent of shoppers go through a standard buying process when making purchases. While this seems like a rather obvious fact, businesses today tend to treat all customers the same, assuming that everyone has the same motivations and behaviours when shopping for their product or service. 

"...only 18 percent of shoppers go through a standard buying process..."

To increase conversion rates, it’s essential to understand your customers better. Understanding their unique journeys can help you personalise their experiences with your business and increase the likelihood they become lifelong customers. This post will explore how you can map the customer journey and accelerate your understanding of your target audience so you can take action quicker than ever before.

What is Customer Journey Mapping?

Customer journey mapping is an analytical process that maps out the touchpoints your customers have with your business across multiple channels. It looks at how customers move from being 'unaware' of your brand to being 'repeat customers' who are fully engaged with your products or services. This type of visual customer journey mapping process also explores what content is needed at each stage and how it should be delivered to customers, so as to meet their expectations throughout the buying cycle. 

"It looks at how customers move from being 'unaware' of your brand to being 'repeat customers'..." 

Customer journey maps are extremely useful in understanding the customer experience and identifying opportunities for optimisation in each stage. This includes both the path they take through your website and any physical stores you might have.  

Why is mapping the customer journey important?

Unfortunately, if you’re not mapping your customer journey, you might as well not have a business. The process is essential for understanding your customers, their motivations and (most importantly) their buying triggers. It will also help you identify opportunities for improvement in your marketing strategies, customer service and sales funnels. 

"The process is essential for understanding your customers, their motivations and (most importantly) their buying triggers." 

The basic process of customer journey mapping will help you answer questions such as – What are your customers’ pain points in the buying journey? How can you use your content and marketing strategies to solve their problems? And when armed with this insight: How can you use this insight to increase conversion rates? 

Step 1: Define your current starting point

This part of the customer journey mapping process helps you understand your customers' motivations for purchase at the beginning of the journey. You can also see how your customers interact with your brand before making a purchase. 

"...helps you understand your customers' motivations for purchase at the beginning of the journey." 

This part of the process will help you understand what information your customers currently seek out before making a purchase from your brand. You can learn which questions they have, where they look for information, what social media channels they interact with, and more. In particular, this part of the process highlights the current deficiencies in the process and where the current journey is experiencing roadblocks.

Step 2: Identify your current (and prospective) customers

This part of the journey mapping process helps you understand who your customers are. You can learn about their demographics, their psychographics (what they think, feel and do), their motivations, their behaviours, and more. You can learn who your current customers are and who they are likely to purchase from next. 

"...learn about their demographics, their psychographics (what they think, feel and do), their motivations, their behaviours..." 

You can also dig deeper into what they are looking for in a product. (This can be helpful if you want to refine your targeting and segment your audience.) 

Step 3: Discover your customer’s buying triggers and pain points

This part of the journey mapping process helps you understand your customers' buying decision-making process. You can also understand their 'pain points' and frustrations with your brand. This part of the process will help you identify where your customers encounter pain points with your business, ie. you might find that customers have trouble locating the products they want to buy, or the information they need to make the decision to buy. 

"...understand their 'pain points' and frustrations with your brand." 

Stepping into your customers' shoes during this process can help you understand where they get stuck in the buying process. You can then use this information to create content that will help customers resolve these pain points. 

Step 4: Pinpoint the most important touchpoints

This part of the journey mapping process helps you identify which touchpoints are most critical for your business. You can then determine which elements of your business are most important for customer interactions. For example, you might want to focus on increasing engagement on your Facebook page or website. Or, you might want to focus on driving traffic to your physical stores through targeted advertisements. 

"...helps you identify which touchpoints are most critical for your business." 

Step 5: Define where you want to be

This part of the journey mapping process helps you set goals for the future. You can use this information to set targets for increasing customer engagement, improving sales and more. 

"...use this information to set targets for increasing customer engagement, improving sales and more."  

What do you want your customers to say about your business? What do you want them to share with their friends and family? Where do you want to be on the sales ladder? How do you want your company to grow? These are all questions you need to be asking (and answering) when exploring where you want your brand to be in the future. 

Conclusion

As we’ve shown, the customer journey mapping process is a critical step in understanding your customers better and taking action to improve conversion rates. Because every business is different, so too your business’ customers will be different and their journey to purchase will also be diverse. This is why it’s important to really understand your wide range of customers and not just assume that every customer is the same. 

"This is why it's important to really understand your wide range of customers and not just assume that every customer is the same. "  

The mapping process also helps you to see where opportunities lie for improvement, and how you can better leverage your content and marketing tactics to move customers through the buying journey faster and easier.  


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