Understanding the way people engage and interact with your business has become more important than ever.
Gone are the days where customers followed a linear path from awareness to consideration to decision.
Instead, they broaden and narrow their search at unique and unpredictable moments as they evaluate your brand and pit you against your competitors.
This behaviour and intensive research is continuously reshaping what we know about and understand about the customer journey.
What is a customer journey?
The customer journey is the complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company and brand. Instead of looking at just a part of a transaction or experience, the customer journey documents the full experience of being a customer.
Businesses often limit the customer journey to their website and how visitors move from point A to point B but in reality it expands far beyond that.
The customer journey considers the overall experience a target customer has with your business or brand. It includes both physical and digital touchpoints both pre and post-purchase.
For example, when a customer interacts with a salesperson (ping) or customer service representative (ping), visits a store (ping), reads a review online (ping), sees a post on social media (ping), watches a product or service video on Youtube or Instagram (ping), purchases a product (ping), and writes their own review (ping). These all count as part of the customer journey.
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Why is the customer journey important?
According to Think With Google, no two customer journeys are alike. Understanding each touchpoint that customers encounter along their journey gives you the opportunity to improve the customer experience and maximise your customer success.
Mapping the customer journey is an essential part of the process of improving the experience and understanding the pain points from the customer’s perspective.
1. Research is an essential part of purchasing decision making
For most buyers, research has become an essential part of their decision-making process, comparing you not only to your competitors but entirely different product categories.
Understanding this and the questions your potential customers are asking allows you to be a part of the customer journey by helping them find the answers they are looking for.
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2. Customers are looking for the last brand standing
Customers spend time evaluating brands, whittling down their list of options through obsessive rounds of research that span multiple channels until they find the one brand that meets all their requirements.
By creating a customer journey map you can identify all these touchpoints and make sure that your business stands out during these stages of evaluation.
3. Research continues long after the purchase has been made
The customer journey includes touchpoints after the purchase has been completed. Simply completing a purchase doesn’t mean you have acquired a loyal customer. Often customers do additional research post-purchase which gives you an opportunity to focus on helping your new customers achieve success with the product or service they have purchased.
Look past clicks and impressions - In order to connect the customer journey with the revenue and growth of your business, you need to move past looking at clicks and impressions. You need to understand the intent, interactions, and signals that will drive the long term sustainable growth your business is aiming for.
Understand your customers needs - Customers respond to businesses that understand their needs which means you have to optimise your journey to be relevant to the specific needs of each customer segment as opposed to delivering a single generic experience.
Remove friction - To grow, businesses need to focus on delivering customer journeys that are fast and frictionless. Adding automation to your customer journey can help add the agility to your business that would be impossible to do manually.
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