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How to Create a Customer Journey Map

To build strong and sustainable relationships with your customers, you need to understand their pain points and motivations at every stage along the buyer’s journey. Someone who is just starting to explore options around a purchase will respond very differently than someone who is in the final stages of making a decision. It's important to differentiate your messaging for customers at each phase, including re-engagement, for churned customers.

A customer journey map lays out all of the brand interactions a customer might have as touch points along the customer journey, and includes all of the actions they may take along the way depending on their attitude towards your brand. As a marketer, this will help you to outline all of the ways that you can nurture your customer towards your goals, and help you overcome customer obstacles and drive customer engagement with your brand.

To create a customer journey map, you’ll need to build a framework that consists of:

  1. A defined journey period. For example, one week or one month. This time period includes the customer lifecycle from awareness to conversion and beyond.
  2. Different outcomes for the customer. What do they want to accomplish, and what are the steps they’ll take to do so?
  3. Touchpoints outlining how the customer interacts with your brand. For example, adding an item to their shopping cart.
  4. Defining which channels they prefer to engage with your brand. Maybe it’s via email, maybe it’s via push notification.
  5. Understanding the customers’ thoughts and feelings towards your brand. How do they feel at each touchpoint?

You can set up KPIs to monitor your customers’ progress towards meeting goals, but whether your customers hit the goals or not, you’ll be able to monitor each touchpoint along the path to purchase or your other goals. 

Mapping the Customer Journey

Start by mapping out your customer journey. Keep in mind that you may have several different customer journey maps based on your buyer personas and what each customer’s objectives are. A customer who buys products for their family will have a different profile and potential lifetime value (LTV) than one who makes purchases for a business, for instance. You’ll need to create different customer journey maps for each type of customer that you want to spotlight, though there may be some overlap in their goals and actions.

As you create your map, lay out all of the touchpoints that the customer might have with your brand, such as:

  • Signs up for email 
  • Opens an email
  • Downloads app
  • Clicks a push notification
  • Uses a QR code from direct mail
  • Visits product page on website
  • Purchases product

With each step in that process, consider:

  • What is the customer trying to accomplish?
  • How does the customer feel?
  • Who/what is the customer directly interacting with?
  • What needs does the customer have?
  • How do we measure our success in meeting their goals?

For instance, let’s say your brand is a sustainable fashion company. Because your persona is an ethical shopper, your customer’s goal for opening an email might be, “learn more about the company’s sustainable approach to fashion.” What page do you send them to and does it meet their goals successfully? If your product page is focused solely on the product details, it may not be engaging them successfully, whereas a short video about your approach to manufacturing and using recycled materials will. 

You can use metrics such as the time on site and bounce rate to analyze your success in meeting your customer’s goals, even if they are not ready to make a purchase at this point.

Gathering Your Data

To accurately map the customer journey, you can’t just rely on what you think you know. You need real data to help you understand your customers’ feelings and pain points at every stage along the way. 

First, you can look at your marketing automation tool’s analytics to help you understand the paths that customers usually take and what criteria makes it more likely that they’ll take a particular path over another. Iterable’s Workflow Analytics tool can give you insights around your engagement metrics at every stage of the buying process, so you can understand which workflows are most successful and which are falling short.

For example, look at the percentage of people who click on your demo or product tour video in your onboarding email compared to those who don’t. Are the people who don’t engage in this initial educational content more likely to churn within 30 days? Use your existing data to analyze the demographic factors and behavioral choices that make a customer more likely to complete their goals, and you’ll be able to understand where the pain points are.

Beyond that, it’s also worth gathering detailed customer feedback. When a customer chooses to unsubscribe or cancel their service, send out a survey to ask for their feedback on why they’re doing so, with choices like “The content isn’t relevant to my needs,” or “Too many emails.” 

You will also be able to analyze areas where customers are struggling by reviewing customer support tickets and even reviewing transcripts.

It can also be useful to talk to customers directly. Conduct user feedback sessions where you walk through the onboarding process with customers who are new to your product or service and ask them for their thoughts at every stage of the process. You’ll be able to gather detailed data on how intuitive they find the process, where they’re getting stuck, and what their goals are.

How to Use Your Customer Journey Maps

Once your customer journey maps are complete, and you’ve gathered data insights related to your KPIs, you’ll have detailed insights to help you develop customized templates to engage buyers at every stage of the lifecycle, from awareness through to re-engagement, and a framework for tracking how successful your efforts are.

You can then build workflows to help engage your customers around every goal and conversion, such as completing an onboarding sequence or completing a purchase, with targeted messaging tailored to overcome their objections at every point. 

Using Iterable, you can improve customer engagement by delivering these messages across all of the channels your customers prefer while using real-time personalization to meet each customer’s specific needs based on their actions. By delivering a personalized experience that meets each customer exactly where they are, you’ll be able to deliver a superior customer experience that drives engagement, revenue, and brand loyalty. 

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.