We design your e-Commerce marketing #2 – customer journey map
The previous article from the series left us (or at least I hope it did) with a thought that a good marketing funnel formation and right actions at every stage of the awareness of our future clients are very, very important. The conclusion was, more or less, that if we know what the client does, thinks, feels and what problems he has at any moment, we can overtake the answers of his question. This, in turn, makes it easier to find us and our offer raises natural trust.
Today, we tackle the first step that needs to be done to build and effectively use such a marketing funnel. This action will be to develop a customer journey map, i.e. to define how the client “wanders”, not to follow him, but to accompany him on his journey. If you missed the first part, you’ll find it at this address.
What is a customer journey?
The client path is nothing but the process that the user goes through, along with the activities that accompany him, to end it with a conversion. For each business, conversion can mean something else, so it can be a success to make a purchase in a store, but also sign up for a trial version of your solution, signing a contract, etc.
For a better illustration, you can visualize the client’s path as a timeline on which a user performs particular actions, for example, browsing industry materials, then looking for a problem on the Internet, browsing offers and finally placing an order.
This is how the customer follows his shopping path
Now the bad news – customers do not buy a product as soon as you put it in front of their eyes. Often, the process from awareness of the problem to making a decision and finalizing the purchase can extend to many weeks or months. This is particularly evident in products and services that cost a lot. Then, a client does a lot more research on the topic and market, and often has to have an acceptance of a budget.
This fact ties with two basic conclusions:
- you have to be in more places to let the client know about you,
- you should put in an effort to educate your clients so that they spend more time with you than with your competitors (it’s a great opportunity to build long-term relationships).
Mapping the path
Customer journey map is a project, how you respond to what your clients are doing, that is, planning your actions in such a way that:
- customers always come across you,
- provide them with the value they need,
- build relationships even before direct contact.
Just like the path itself, you will definitely agree that the map will have completely different points of contact, activities and description of customer problems, depending on the industry, your service, the condition of the market itself, and so on. As you can see, a proper mapping of a customer journey, in order for it to bring you valuable knowledge, requires time and the understanding of your customers’ needs.
Of course, the actions taken by our clients vary greatly depending on where in the marketing funnel they are located. That is why a well-designed customer journey map should contain (though you do not necessarily have to limit yourself to them) for each stage the following points:
- what does your client do,
- what does he think,
- what are his current issues,
- what contact points can he have with us,
- what can we offer,
- our weak sides.
Define your weaknesses
I have intentionally thickened the last point – when analyzing the map of the client’s path, you should definitely pay attention to your weaknesses, things that you do wrong (ugly marketing materials) or not enough (you do not publish enough content). This will allow you not only to organize your processes, but also to improve your condition among your competitors.
Is something missing here? I have not mentioned one variable that may affect your client’s path – the so-called buyer persona, or sales profiles of your clients. Of course, a CEO of a company will think and buy differently. Same goes for a financial director or a warehouseman. They will be governed by different needs so there may be a completely different communication needed.
I leave the “advanced” version for you to explore, and we will focus on a basic, general one for your company.
Benefits of preparing a CJM
Should you sacrifice time and resources in order to prepare a CJM? Well, not all companies do it, you probably do some without. However, believe me, consciously or not, you condemn marketing to suffering, preventing them from building a specific strategy that will attract new customers.
What you gain:
- better knowledge of what your clients really do before they make a purchase,
- proper customer and content segmentation that you will present to them depending on the marketing stage,
- identification of your weaknesses and places where you need to start appearing,
- more measurable actions, as long as you develop appropriate KPIs for each stage of the map,
- better allocation of resources, both personal and financial.
As you can see, there are so many benefits that it would be quite unreasonable to miss the customer journey map in the process of creating a marketing strategy.
How to design your own map
I hope that I have encouraged you enough that together, we can create your customer journey map. See what steps to take to get it right.
Define the customer
Define the customer first
First of all, start with who your customer really is.
It is natural, especially for smaller companies, to say that they will sell everything to everyone if they want to buy it. Well, this is not the most precise term, and certainly it will not be easy to understand the problems of such a wide group.
In this process, the persona buyer I mentioned earlier may be helpful. You can also simply specify:
- company size,
- positions that your offer applies to
- budget for the type of product or service that you offer.
Use any of the data you already have, Facebook, Google, your CRM, or interviews with existing clients.
Discover the problems of your clients
What problems do your customers have?
What does your client do every day? What does he do, what he thinks, what problems does he have? What are your goals (private or professional, depending on what you sell)? Customers usually do not buy for the actual purchase or possession of a product, most often because of a specific need or solution to a problem. If you can tell what your customers’ pain points on a daily basis are, you’ll also be able to give them the tools, solutions, knowledge, and products that will help them achieve their goals.
Specify the points of contact
Where can you find your customers?
If there are problems, there is certainly a desire to solve them. For this purpose, clients perform various activities, for example they read blogs, reviews, internet forums, ask friends, travel to trade fairs and so on. There may be plenty of contact points with your company (both on-line and off-line).
You should at least define all and arrange them so that they correspond to prioritization of your activities. If you know that trade fairs do not give you a meaningful return, maybe it is not worth investing in them as much as in articles sponsored on blogs?
Find your answers
How will you rspond to customer needs?
We know who is looking for what and where. All that is left is our answer, that is materials or activities that we will perform in given places.
The range of possibilities here is limited only by your imagination (and of course the budget). You can choose:
- advertising brochures / folders,
- demo of your products or services,
- Loyalty programs,
- online advertising,
It is impossible to list all the activities that you are able to do to tempt customers with your offer. It is important to, as in the case of contact points, give your actions appropriate priorities to effectively use the budget (remember that some activities have a quick effect, and others will take time).
Distribute this to the various stages of the marketing funnel
Your marketing funnel
When we have all this, we must “connect the dots”, which means linking the stages of the marketing funnel with the needs, contact points, materials, your weaknesses and actions that you ultimately take to be better than the competition.
The result of your work will be a table that will actually tell you (and each employee in the marketing department):
- what are the problems your clients are facing
- how do you segment them marketing-wise,
- where they are looking for answers to their problems,
- where you will provide your solutions to them,
- over what weaknesses you work now.
Please note that the entire time you look at it from customers’ perspective, which is critical in building an effective marketing strategy. Thanks to this approach, you have a chance to actually be the answer to customers’ problems instead of counting on them adapting to you.
On the Internet, you will find plenty of examples on how you can make really interesting customer journey maps. You can find them, for example, here https://www.mycustomer.com/experience/engagement/nine-sample-customer-journey-maps-and-what-we-can-learn-from-them
The examples show that you can actually enter more elements into your map and format it in a different way. The important thing here is that at the end you will feel you understand your customers and are present where they will definitely look for you.
Customer Journey Map is more of a “cleaning up” of your marketing than a revolution. The effects of the work will be as good as your understanding of customers (and defining who you really want to sell to). I encourage you to engage the biggest possible team to design such a map (I know from experience that this can be quite fun). Regardless of the result, you will definitely have a better understanding of your customers and yourself.
In the following issues, we will move over to the next stages of a marketing funnel and build sample customer journey maps. I will also show what actions you can take in e-Commerce to meet market expectations, and ultimately, increase profits. See you next time!