7 steps to mapping the customer journey
Chris Taylor - Content Strategy and Content Marketing

Chris Taylor

7 steps to mapping the customer journey

You've probably heard of the customer journey, but did you know that you can map it out for your business? Doing so can be a helpful way to ensure that your marketing and sales efforts are aligned with your customers' needs.

Mapping the customer journey is a process of understanding how your customers interact with your business, from their first point of contact through to purchase and beyond. By understanding the journey, you can identify key pain points and areas for improvement, as well as opportunities to create a more seamless, satisfying experience for your customers.

In this article we're going to outline the seven steps you can take to map out journey for your prospective customers. Don't forget that if you need help developing your own customer journey map our team can help.

What is a customer journey map?

One of the most important steps you can take in understanding your customers is mapping out their journey with your business. 

A customer journey map is a visual representation of how your customers interact with your brand over time. It outlines the typical steps your customers take, from first hearing about your brand to becoming repeat customers. The customer journey map is targeted towards sales and marketing.

Mapping the customer journey can help you to understand what your customers need and want. This process can also help you to identify potential pain points and areas where you can improve the customer experience. Measure the results of your customer journey map.

The consumer journey typically consists of four stages: awareness, interest, consideration, and purchase. However, this framework is not always linear, as consumers may move back and forth between stages as they gather information and make decisions.

What is the goal of the customer journey map?

The goal of the customer or consumer journey map is to help businesses understand the various stages that customers go through when interacting with their brand.

By understanding the customer journey, businesses can optimise their marketing and sales efforts to better meet the needs of their target audience.

Additionally, consumer journey mapping can help businesses identify potential areas of improvement in their customer experience.

Ultimately, the purpose of the map is to align sales and marketing to business goals. It's vital that the business is working together towards the same goal.

Why is it important to map the customer journey?

There are a few key reasons why it is important to map the customer journey.

First, by understanding the customer journey, businesses can identify key touchpoints and pain points for their customers. This information can then be used to improve the customer experience, increase customer satisfaction and decrease customer churn. 

Secondly, mapping the customer journey can help businesses to better understand how customers interact with their brand and product. Knowing where customers are currently and where they want to go in the future helps companies connect with them on an emotional level by understanding their needs and expectations throughout each stage of the journey. This information can be used to improve marketing and sales tactics.

Finally, mapping the customer journey can help businesses to identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. Businesses can then make more informed decisions about where to focus their resources in order to improve the customer experience and drive sales.

How do I create a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of how potential customers first discover your brand, product or service and follows their journey beyond the point of sale to when they become a loyal customer or advocate.

It's a tool that you can use when you are trying to understand customers’ needs and wants. The customer journey map will also help you to identify what your customer is thinking, feeling, and wanting. 

The sales team will use the map to identify where a potential client might be losing interest in the product or service. This enables them to adjust their content marketing or sales tactics before the client is lost.

To create the customer journey map, simply follow the seven steps below.

What are the 7 steps to map the customer journey?

The following are the seven steps to mapping the customer journey:

  1. Define your buyer persona
  2. Research your competition
  3. Define your customer's journey
  4. Identify your customer's pain points
  5. Develop your messaging and create your content
  6. Develop solutions
  7. Test and optimise

Define your buyer persona

A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. It is based on market research and real data about your existing customers. A buyer persona includes demographics, behaviours, motivations, and goals. You'll also need to think about their psychographics, such as their lifestyles, interests, and values. It is important to have a well-defined buyer persona because it will help you create targeted marketing campaigns that are more likely to resonate with your ideal customer.

The buyer persona is a valuable tool for businesses because it helps them to understand their target market and create marketing and sales strategies that are tailored to that market. Additionally, the customer persona can help businesses to identify potential new customers and understand what they are looking for.

Your task: Define your customers

Who are your customers and what do they need from your business?

Research your competition

After you have a good understanding of your persona (target customer or audience), it's time to look into your competition.

Do you know your competition? This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many businesses don't actually know who their main competition is.

When you are trying to research your competition, there are a few different things that you will want to keep in mind. First of all, you will want to make sure that you are looking at the right kind of competition. There is a difference between direct and indirect competition, and you will want to make sure that you are looking at both. Direct competition is when two companies are offering the same exact product or service, while indirect competition is when two companies are offering different products or services that still satisfy the same need.

Your task: Start your research

Make a list of your top three competitors. This can be done by searching online for companies that offer similar products or services. Once you've identified your competitors, take some time to visit their websites and learn as much as you can about their business.

Next, you'll want to keep tabs on their social media activity. This will give you insights into what they're doing to promote their business, and what kind of marketing campaigns they're running.

Find out what they are doing well and what they are doing poorly. This can be done by looking at reviews, customer feedback and by using social media to track any negative sentiment about their business.

Take a close look at their messaging and see what they're doing well. This will help you understand where you can improve. You may find some inspiration for your own business here.

Finally, you should also be sure to stay up-to-date on any news or developments related to your competitors.

Define your customer's journey

Now that you know who your target customer is and what your competition is up to, it's time to define your own customer's journey. This will help you understand the steps your customer takes from awareness to action (makes a purchase or takes a decision). 

There are a few different ways to define the customer journey. You can use a simple spreadsheet to list out the steps, or you can create a more visual representation using a tool like Lucidchart or Canva.

There are a number of ways to define a customer's journey. One common approach is to think of it as a process made up of a series of steps or stages that the customer goes through when making a purchase. These steps can be broadly divided into four broad categories: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

Awareness refers to the stage in which the customer becomes aware of a need or want that they have. This can be triggered by a number of different things, such as seeing an advertisement, hearing about a product from a friend, or reading about it online.

Interest is the stage in which the customer begins to take an active interest in the product or service. In this stage, the customer narrows down their options and begins to compare different products or services. They may read reviews, compare prices, or talk to friends and family to get advice.

Identify customer touchpoints: Where do your customers interact with your business? This could be online, over the phone, in person, etc.

The decision stage is when a customer chooses a product or service. You will want to ensure you remove as much friction from this stage as possible. Any messages or content should be reinforcing the benefits and the need for your product or service.

Action: When a customer actually makes a purchase. Once again, you need to make sure the checkout process or whatever the 'conversion' might be is as seamless as possible. You want to instil confidence and professionalism to reinforce the commitment being made. 

Once you've identified the key touchpoints, you'll need to put yourself in your customers' shoes and map out their journey from start to finish. This will help you understand their thought process and identify any pain points.

Map the entire customer journey. Plot out the steps your customers take from beginning to end, starting with their first interaction with your business all the way through to post-purchase follow-up.

Identify your customer's pain points

Now that you've mapped out the customer journey, it's time to identify the pain points. 

In order to identify your customer's pain points, you need to first understand what a pain point is. A pain point is a problem or frustration that your customer experiences. It is important to note that pain points can be different for each customer, which is why it is important to take the time to understand your customer base. 

There are a few different ways to identify pain points. One way is to simply ask your customers directly. This can be done through surveys, interviews, or even just casual conversations.

Another way to identify pain points is to observe your customers and see what frustrates them. This can be done through things like heat maps or analytics, customer support tickets and social media posts.

This data can give you insights into what areas your customers are struggling with the most. You can also use data analytics to identify patterns in customer behaviour that can indicate pain points. 

Where do your customers experience the most friction? 

These are the areas where your customer may have a negative experience. Look for things like high drop-off rates or areas where customers seem to get stuck. This could be anything from a confusing website navigation to long wait times on the phone.

This is valuable information. These are the areas where you need to focus your attention in order to improve the user experience and increase customer retention. 

You can also use this data to develop your messaging and content.

Once you've identified the pain points, you can start working on solutions.

Develop your messaging and create your content

Once you know what pain points your customers have, you can develop messaging that addresses them. This is an important step in the journey, as it will help you connect with your customers on a deeper level. Make sure you create relevant content as it's important to manage your customer expectations. 

There are many types of content you could create. These include blog posts, articles, product descriptions, white papers, case studies, emails and social media posts. You must remember to create relevant content for each stage of the buyer journey. As always, your content should be measured against key performance indicators and link to your content strategy and broader business goals.

Develop solutions 

Now that you've identified the pain points, it's time to find solutions. To do this, you'll need to brainstorm potential solutions for each pain point.

Once you've come up with a few potential solutions, you'll need to test them to see if they're effective. Put your solutions into action and track the results to see if they make a difference. 

Test and optimise

Did you know the customer journey is always evolving?

Take a step back and evaluate your customer journey as a whole. Are there any areas that still need improvement? Are there any new pain points that have emerged? Evaluate and adjust your solutions accordingly.

Best practice would suggest that organisations review and update their customer journey maps on a regular basis, as customer needs and expectations change over time. 

How can I optimise my customer journey map?

There are a few ways to optimise your customer journey map.

First, you need to make sure that your map is accurate and up-to-date. This means that you need to constantly be collecting data about your customer's journey. This will enable you to continuously identify all of the key touchpoints that your customer has with your brand.

Is your map easy to understand? Do you and your team know how to use it and follow the customer journey? Keep in mind that you may have several maps based on the different types of customer journey.

Finally, you need to make sure that your user journey map is actionable. This means that it should be easy for you to identify areas where you can make improvements to the customer journey based on current experience.

Conclusion

By following these seven steps, you'll be able to map your content to the various customer stages. Not only does this create an advantage for your business, but it will also create a more seamless and enjoyable experience for your prospective customers. 

By introducing a mapping process in your business you will ensure that your marketing and sales efforts are aligned with your customers' needs by providing them with a positive and seamless user experience at every stage. 

So what are you waiting for? Get started today and see the difference it makes for your organisation.

If you're not sure where to start when it comes to creating your customer journey map, don't worry. We can help