What is a customer journey?
A customer journey explains in detail the problem(s) your customers are trying to solve, the process they go through to find a solution and the way(s) they connect with your brand. If thorough, the customer journey makes it easy to understand your customers’ motivations from start to finish. A customer journey map will explore what customers are thinking, feeling and doing as they move through the decision-making process. The typical decision-making process includes Awareness, Research, Evaluation, Decision, Validation, and Loyalty.
Why is the customer journey important?
All brands want to build better relationships with customers; this is especially important for brands in a competitive industry and for all marketers, because customers decide when to interact with your brand—it’s up to them whether they engage your solution. This means your content needs to show up in the right context at the right time throughout their journey.
You could guess based on a gut feeling or a surface-level understanding of your industry; however, that can get very expensive with little ROI.
Customer journey maps allow your entire team to truly understand your customers’ needs throughout their problem-solving journey and determine exactly what content will meet these needs at every step.
How do you start the customer journey mapping process?
We recommend creating personas in order to understand your customers’ pain points, needs, perspectives and challenges before mapping their journeys. This is because each persona you target may have a slightly different journey, and the more detailed you make your journey maps, the more opportunities you’ll have to create relevant content.
You also need to conduct content marketing research in three areas: customers, competitors and the industry. This research will result in a mix of qualitative and quantitative data.
Your personas and content marketing research should allow you to go through every stage of the buyer journey and identify what your customers are thinking, feeling and doing—and what kind of content you could create in response.
Awareness: I am buyer, and I am aware I have a problem
- I need to improve
- I need to prevent
- I need to start
- I need to stop
- I need to optimize
- I need to solve
- I need to learn
Research: I have questions, I need information
- What tools are available to solve my problem?
- What are the industry solutions that solve the problems I have?
- What industry services are available that might solve my problem?
- What options do I have for solving this problem?
Evaluation: I am a buyer. I have now collected information to solve my problem and need to consider more questions
- What will address my problem most directly?
- Can I afford it?
- Am I confident in the solution?
- Who else should I collect information from?
- Have others tried this?
- Is there proof that it works?
- What is the benefit of this solution?
Decision: I am a buyer deciding on a specific product, I have even more questions:
- I need to confirm pricing
- I need to confirm it will solve my problem
- I need to confirm I can trust the company
- What happens if something goes wrong?
Validation: I am now a customer and desire continued information
- What other aspects of this product or service are valuable?
- What do I do if I need help?
Loyalty: I am now a loyal customer, I want to tell others
- How can I share the success I’ve had?
- What can I do to help others in my network?
- What is the best aspect of the company and product to share?
- Can I have a stronger relationship with the company?