In today’s competitive business landscape, understanding your customer’s journey is not just beneficial—it’s essential. Customer journey mapping provides invaluable insights into your customer’s experience, from initial awareness to post-purchase behavior. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps to effectively map your customer’s journey, highlighting best practices and tools to help you along the way.
Phase 1: Awareness – Identifying the Moment of First Contact
This phase focuses on how potential customers first learn about your business. It could be through social media, word of mouth, or online advertising. To map this stage effectively, identify all possible channels of initial contact and understand what drives customers to these channels.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to track word-of-mouth as a referral source here. You should always ask every new customer how they heard about you…hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of new business you get from existing customer referrals.
Best Practices for This Phase:
- Conduct surveys or interviews to discover how customers found you.
- Analyze website and social media analytics for traffic sources.
Phase 2: Consideration – Does What you Offer Match their Needs
Here, customers evaluate your product or service against their needs and other market offerings. It’s crucial to understand the factors influencing their decision-making process and to make sure you have a clear picture of why you are the best solution for them. Remember–the customer is the focus and meeting their needs is the priority.
Pro Tip: Use the language that your ideal customer uses when communicating about their pain points. Don’t use highly technical jargin–stick to plain language to reinforce that you understand their needs and are the best solution for them.
- Gather feedback on what customers are comparing when looking at your offerings.
- Use customer personas to represent different segments of your audience.
Phase 3: Decision – Taking the Leap
This is the point where a customer decides to make a purchase. Identifying the factors that convert consideration into sales is key. Focus on making their first experience with you the best it can possibly be as it will set the tone for the relationship moving forward. Even something as simple as saying “thank you for your business” can leave a lasting impression.
Pro Tip: Eliminate obstacles and streamline processes to make the customer onboarding experience as easy for them as possible. Communication is key during this phase. Take the steps in advance to record trainings, tutorial walk-throughs, SOP documents, and give your customer several ways to get in touch with your team if they have questions. It’s worth the investment of time it takes to put together a batch of onboarding resources and your customers will thank you for it.
- Analyze sales data to understand common pathways to purchase.
- Investigate any potential barriers that might prevent a purchase.
Phase 4: Retention – Cultivating Post-Purchase Relationships
Much like with marriage, the courtship doesn’t end when you customer signs on the dotted line or completes their purchase. This is especially true for online course creators–for you, the purchase is just the beginning of the relationship. During this phase, the focus continues to be on the customer and getting to know them better so that you can continue to develop offerings that keep your customers coming back, turning them into loyal advocates for your brand.
Pro Tip: So many entrepreneurs and small business owners forget to ask for referrals and reviews. Be intentional about this and look for creative ways to ask your best customers to support you in this way. But keep it simple–share a direct link to your Google Business Page or Facebook account for them to leave a review. Create a referral program that rewards your customers for telling others about your product or service. Ask for testimonials and make it extremely simple and “pain free” for your customers to provide them.
- Implement follow-up surveys or communication to gather post-purchase feedback.
- Develop loyalty programs or incentives for repeat customers.
Phase 5: Advocacy – Turning Customers into Brand Ambassadors
Happy customers can be your best brand ambassadors. Continue to reach out and engage with your customers, even when you have nothing to sell them. Provide consistent value in the form of free content, videos, trainings or by offering tools and resources to better help them achieve their goals. Continually seek out ways to provide value and engage your customers on topics that matter most to them.
Pro Tip: The old adage in marketing “ask them what they want and then give it to them” is so true here. Companies are all too often more caught up in creating products or services that they think their customers want instead of actually asking them. Invest in a good social listening tool that can listen to what people are saying online. Do research on tools like answerthepublic.com to find out what questions are being asked online related to your business or industry. Do not underestimate the power of customer surveys – these will give you great insight to lead you on your journey to constantly evolve with the shifting needs of your market.
- Consistent communicating with your customers will pay huge dividends – seek to always give more than you ask
- Showcase customer testimonials and stories, share their social media posts and support them (especially if you are in the B2B space)
The Bottom Line
Customer journey mapping is an ongoing process that requires regular updates as your business and customer base evolve. By understanding each phase, you can create more targeted strategies to enhance customer experiences and drive business growth.