You want to create something that matters, and you want to prioritize people while you accomplish your goals. Effective marketing means minimizing customer pain points, meeting their needs, and connecting with them well – but that can feel overwhelming.
To understand your clients’ experience from start to finish, you need a customer journey map. When you can clearly identify the road they take to becoming a loyal client of yours, you can serve them well at every step.This simple tool will help you streamline your brainstorming process into the best ideas, making a game plan that minimizes stress and maximizes success for your customers and your business.
A customer journey map is a visual representation of every single interaction a potential client has with your business, from being introduced to your brand for the first time to becoming a repeat customer. Each of these interactions may seem like random pieces to a puzzle when looked at individually, but when you bring them together, you’ll get a clear picture of who your customer is, how they’re hearing about your business, and what will get them across the finish line as a person who makes a purchase.
While your customers will never see their own journey drawn out, these maps are a powerful internal tool that help you avoid potential pitfalls and create long-term loyalty — that’s the power of strategy and relationship. Even better, customer journey mapping allows you to create a reproducible story that helps you track your process with all consumers, not just one individual.
Want to reach your target audience? A map will quite literally show you the way, helping you synthesize the emotions and reactions of your customer to determine their level of satisfaction and get a measurable gauge on their overall experience.
Have you ever heard the saying, "if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail?" Herein lies the importance of journey mapping. Journey mapping can help you reach your clients by giving them a path to follow!
In any work, it’s imperative to budget your most valuable resource—time! Customer journey mapping will help you manage your time effectively. When you have an organized system for converting leads in place and a step-by-step structure for how your process works, you’ll always know what your next step needs to be. No more wasting time wondering if you’re giving energy to something that will yield results—you can feel confident that you are working efficiently by simply following the map.
Because the first step of your journey map creation process will involve identifying your target customer, you'll never wonder who you're trying to reach. You'll have a clear picture of what your specific goals are, who those specific goals are for, and exactly how you're going to reach them. You'll spend less time on alluring rabbit trails in the middle of your work, and be able to quickly course correct when you veer off course.
Now that we’ve looked over the basics of customer journey mapping, let’s get practical. How do you create one?
The actor is the subject of a journey map. In other words, who is the customer in question? Who is going on the journey? This should always be your first step in map creation, because it’s very difficult to complete a narrative without establishing who you are creating that narrative for. You want to get specific when identifying your actor. It’s also important to recognize that if a subject would have a different perspective, they will be going on a different journey—and therefore would need an entirely different customer journey map. Specificity is key!
Now that you know your actor, imagine their journey. List out each step they might take, grouping them into phases that give you a clear picture of where they’re headed. At Redstory, these phases typically include:
Along the way, ask yourself two questions at each step: “What is the motivation behind the actor's goal?" and, "What are their specific needs in this phase of the journey?" Here are a few key identifiers to look out for:
With your phases clearly identified, it’s time to gather data, draw conclusions, and record insights. Think of this as the “what now?” step of journey mapping. Where are your biggest opportunities? How can a certain phase be changed to create a better experience for your customers? Can you effectively measure if the map you’ll implement is working?
To gather accurate data, you’ll likely need to conduct some research or interview customers. The information available to you depends on your specific objective, of course, but market research is always a key component to truly understanding your audience and inviting them on a journey they’ll actually be eager to take.
Remember, the point of a journey map is building a replicable, comprehensive system to get customers from “new lead” to “sold” to “brand advocate” without a hitch. Downloading a basic internet template will never address your specific objectives. Instead, cater your customer journey map to your ideal clients to get the most out of the tool, and you’ll be shocked at how simple the process becomes.
At last, it’s time to put the pieces together! Using your template from Step 2 and your data from Step 3, fill in each area of your map, and don’t be afraid to get specific. Flesh out each phase of the customer journey, writing out specific actions to be completed before moving on to the next phase. Think of it as breaking your project into several large chunks — 4 or 5 is a great place to start — and then dividing those steps into easily accomplishable smaller chunks. Naming your journey phases and developing the key components of each phase helps you develop a step-by-step game plan for client relationships that last.
As experience designers and event marketers, customer journey thinking is a part of our daily rhythm at Redstory. Want to nerd-out on customer journey mapping and ensure you’re reaping all of its benefits, let’s chat. Send us a message here to connect!