Are you creating content that helps the consumer become a loyal advocate of your brand?

Customer journey mapping (CJM) is an increasingly popular strategic management tool praised by for its usefulness in understanding an organization’s customer experiences.

The fundamental idea behind CJM is relatively simple; it is a visual depiction of the sequence of events through which customers may interact with a service organization, during an entire purchase process. That is, CJM represents a graphical representation of all the possible organizational “touchpoints” that customers may encounter during an entire exchange process.

Key Ingredients to a Customer Journey Map

  • Set clear objectives for the map – what is your marketing objective?
  • Profile your customer’s personas and define their goals – as discussed in module 3
  • List out all the touchpoints – all the interactions the customer will have from pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase.
  • Identify the elements you want your map to show – what you as a business can control / influence.
  • Take the customer journey yourself – to confirm it adequately captures the most common experience of your consumer.

A sales funnel takes the information from the customer journey map and creates a set of systems, processes, and content for each major touchpoint. The aim is to help move the customer, through the journey, to make more informed choices about what to buy and when, to meet their needs, wants or desires. It is sequential and can take time. A sales funnel can take weeks, months and even years for a customer to complete, depending on the complexity of the purchase decision.

To help visualise this, have you heard the dating analogy for marketing? You don’t ask someone to marry you when you first meet. Courtship takes time and nurturing. A journey is needed to build trust, ensure compatibility, and develop commitment.

It is the same with sales and marketing. Think about a recent experience with a website. You go to check something out, maybe get some information, and are immediately hit with ads or pop-ups to buy now or miss out forever. You get frustrated and probably go back to the search results.

You need to court your prospect FIRST. Nurture that relationship and build trust – then when you share an offer tailored to their needs, they’re ready to commit. To better understand this process, I would like to introduce you to the customer journey map.

The customer journey map outlines the steps a customer takes from first becoming aware of you, to buying from you, to becoming a loyal advocate of your product or service.

For purchases that are ‘high-involvement’ (ie important to the prospect, often more expensive and possibly carrying more risk), it can take days, weeks, even months before they decide to buy. For ‘low-involvement’ purchases, often e-commerce products, it can still take 7-13 interactions before they choose to buy from you. 

Great marketers know this and use this fundamental principle to develop successful business campaigns. Facebook can be outstanding for this. The infographic below shows how heavily this journey relies on content.

Stages of the customer journey

Let’s explore each stage in greater detail, continuing with our dating analogy.

The awareness stage

The awareness stage happens when your prospect first makes contact with you. This is different to simply having an impression about you. For a prospect to be aware of you, it means they’ve thought about, felt or taken some action with your business. For example, they have watched a video, liked a social media page, downloaded a document or read an article on your website.

“Provide exceptional value to build trust and credibility.”

Referring to the dating analogy, they have swiped right. They’re a cold lead. At this stage, they are problem aware and starting to look for solutions. Your marketing may have turned them from problem unaware to problem aware, which leads them to you to find out more. You do not sell to them at this stage. Instead, you provide immense value, advice, guidance or even a “map” they can follow on the journey ahead. This could, for example, be a guide that helps them make the right decisions about an opportunity or a problem they need to solve.

The consideration stage

The consideration stage occurs when they decide to engage with you. They have moved from browsing to an intent to buy. They become a warm lead. Back to our dating analogy, this if your first few dates. They have questions and they expect answers. Those questions include what, why, when, where and how. As the infographic shows, they are reading reviews, watching longer videos, attending webinars or events, and consuming more of your content.

“Your prospects need to know you can deliver what you promise.”

They want to know you can be trusted and can deliver on your promise to close the gap between where they are and where they want to go. You must give them the information they need to decide. You have full control of your website design, so you can provide content in a way that makes decision-making safe and easy.

The purchase stage

“This stage should be as convenient and risk-free as possible.”

This is the moment they make a commitment with you. They’re a hot lead. This commitment requires the customer to give something of value to you, so they can receive the product or service you’re offering. This could be their time (e.g. for a strategy session, consultation, quoting) or money (paying for a product or service). Referring to the dating analogy, you’re asking for their hand in marriage. The purchase stage should be as convenient as possible. You should look to minimise their risk as much as possible. The website can help by making it easy to book appointments or purchase online.

The service stage

This is by far the most important stage. It’s when you deliver on your promises to your customer. This may be the fourth stage of the consumer journey, but for you as the business owner, it’s where you need to spend most of your time getting it right. In our dating analogy, this is your marriage. You are rewarding their choice in you with exceptional customer service and quality that exceeds expectations. This might be delivered online or in person. Your website may play a role in service delivery, but not always.

The loyalty stage

This occurs when customers choose to use you again. You have proven you can deliver on your promises. So when their need arises, they’ll choose to work with you again and again. All of us want to save time. The decision-making process can be time-consuming. If you exceeded their expectations and demonstrated value for the price you charged, they are likely to return to you.

“It’s crucial to keep nurturing customer relationships, even when they’re not currently buying from you.”

Referring to the dating analogy, they will renew their vows with you. This is not a guarantee – it’s important to continue nurturing the relationship so you remain top of mind, even if they’re not a current customer. Regular blogs, emails, newsletters, and social content that focuses on product or service experiences can help with this. The website can host and share all this content with your customers for you.

The advocacy stage

The final stage is advocacy. It’s the moment customers choose to recommend your services to someone else. This is the most powerful part of the consumer journey. Having customers who advocate for your services exponentially improves your return on investment. Most of us start out with a limited marketing budget, so word-of-mouth and referrals are often our most important source of new customers. But it’s also a potent way to continue growing your business.

“This is the most powerful stage, with potential to grow your business exponentially.”

Your website can facilitate advocacy by making it easy for customers to leave reviews and recommendations and follow you on social media to share their experiences with their networks. This often-overlooked stage is a crucial part of any long-term marketing campaign. Momentum builds momentum. If others are seeing the success you’re delivering for people in their network, they are more likely to come to you, which shortcuts the decision-making process.

Webpages that speak to your prospects – on each step of their journey

At Marketing Broker Australia, we will build a webpage for five of the six stages of the customer journey. We can develop the ‘service’ stage for you upon request. The service stage often requires custom web-development. Here’s what you can expect with a five-page website.

  • Awareness stage – we’ll create a page for the first contact. It will be dedicated to your free eBook, with a video from you about what is included. Don’t worry, all this, including an eBook, is part of our packages.
  • Consideration stage – this is by far the most important page on your website. It will either be your home page or your services page. We use the ‘persuasive selling format’ and your ‘conversion equation’ to provide all the information your prospect needs to decide whether to buy from you (more about this later).
  • Purchase stage – we’ll create a dedicated page to move them to your sales process. It might be a free consultation, quote, or webinar. This page will include a video from you covering what they can expect when they first meet you and answers to FAQs.
  • Loyalty Stage – we’ll set up a blog page and template for you and show you how to create blogs. Your blogs should provide helpful advice and tips for your customers. Blog writing not your thing? That’s ok – one of our partners can help you with this as well.
  • Advocacy Stage – we’ll provide a professionally written ‘About Us’ page that highlights your credibility and trustworthiness. Plus, we’ll integrate your social feeds to make it easy for customers to follow up and give you a review. We’ll also set up a CRM integration, so you can continue to connect with your customer list.

If you are interested in having a website designed, using the customer journey map, check out our offers here

Adapted From: Mckinsey 2020