Customer Journey Map

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the experiences that customers have during their interaction with a brand or on the way to a product purchase. It shows the individual steps and the touchpoints between the company and the customer. Diagrams and tables are usually used for this representation, but infographics are most commonly used.

A good product alone is no guarantee of good sales. Today’s customers expect a positive customer experience at every stage of their journey from decision to purchase. Every point in this customer journey is a potential exit point – or a promising touchpoint. Touchpoints are places or moments where touchpoints between customers and companies occur – either directly or via products and brands.

The customer journey follows the simple principle of AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. The customer must be addressed in different ways along these four steps. While the focus is still on information when arousing attention and interest, emotional aspects play a very important role when it comes to strengthening or arousing desire and the action that is ultimately decisive. However, the process does not necessarily end after the actual action. For example, satisfied customers can become a mouthpiece for the company’s message.

Customer journey maps make the customer’s journey clear step by step. And with the process of customer journey mapping, you learn to understand customers better.

What are the benefits of customer journey maps?

The customer journey has established itself as an abstract model in marketing. Mapping puts this customer journey into a descriptive form. In other words, it makes the movements concretely visible. Customer journey maps have a number of advantages:

  • They provide an overview of the entire customer journey.
  • They make data immediately visible and thus more understandable.
  • They show exit points, hurdles and touchpoints.
  • They clarify the interrelationships of individual aspects.
  • They help win new customers and retain existing customers.

Although customer journey maps often appear simplistic and generalizing, they have proven themselves in marketing practice primarily because of their creative potential.

How can a customer journey map be created?

Mapping means mapping the customer experience. This process can be very complex. Visual representations therefore facilitate understanding. The actual map of the journey can be created with the help of sophisticated tools, but basically also with pencil and sketchpad. It doesn’t matter whether you create the map in analog or digital form: In principle, the procedure consists of the three points Buyer Personas, Steps and Touchpoints.

1. definition of the buyer persona

The quality of customer journey maps depends crucially on how well the customer is represented in the form of a persona – and as vividly as possible: when mapping, you design a virtual person with all their wishes, current problems and specific characteristics (age, life circumstances, job, family, values, etc.). It is also useful to give the persona a name and a picture. This persona then becomes a cross-section of the customers – but with its own identity.

2. define the steps of the customer journey

What is the persona’s typical journey from consideration to purchase, for example, when it comes to a product? On each step of this journey, there are various intermediate destinations. These steps can be set up in the form of a storyboard, for example. Pictures support understanding. Even simple stick figures are sufficient. Of course, there are also numerous tools for professional customer journey mapping that can be used, for example, to visualize the emotions at the various steps.

3. define the possible touchpoints

Can the individual steps be used for touchpoints? At which points does the company make contact with customers? These are, for example, an online ad, a visit to the website, the retail store or contact with service or support.

It is important to note that this is usually not just about selling a specific product. The focus is on strengthening the entire brand. Thus, the customer journey does not end with the purchase of a product. This is where intelligent marketing comes in and tries to find out how, for example, satisfied customers can be used to spread the brand further.

Digital mapping tools

Numerous tools for creating customer journey maps offer users extensive options. These tools focus on representing as many aspects as possible simply and aptly using graphic means. These include, for example

  • the possibility of displaying emotion curves that clearly show the feelings of customers at the various steps,
  • creating personas and giving them a face,
  • link the steps or touchpoints with web analytics,
  • presenting the results in different ways (for example, as a film or PowerPoint presentation).

The right content for the customer journey

Modern marketing focuses on the individual touchpoints between the customer and the company. Mapping is also helpful for developing a content strategy along the customer journey. Sometimes only the customer’s road map clearly shows the solution to a problem:

What information does the customer need at a very specific point in their journey?
In what form should this information be conveyed? Guidebooks or checklists? Videos or infographics? Short definitions or extensive tables?
Does the customer want to be entertained rather than informed at a particular point?

The Customer Journey Map highlights problems with the various interaction points. Many touchpoints are ineffective only because the text doesn’t strike the right tone, appeals to the wrong emotions, or simply isn’t written in the language of the target audience. Just one word can make the difference between a user clicking on the crucial link on a website or not.

The worst case scenario: a customer is addressed in a way that is so unsuitable for the target group that he or she turns away from the company permanently and is difficult to win back. To eliminate this risk, outsourcing copywriting is a good idea.

The Customer Journey Map helps companies to put on their customer glasses. Only those who really understand the customer will build effective customer relationships in the long term, which will ensure further synergy effects. The visualized customer journey can make a decisive contribution to discovering the important “moments that matter” and making optimal use of them.

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