Customer journey maps are step-by-step guides to how customers arrive at a purchase decision for your products. Think “road maps” during a vacation. Customer journey maps are graphical representations of the route your customers take as they move through the sales funnel toward the destination (a purchase).
How does this help you? Buyers don’t simply wake up one day and decide to buy a specific product or service, so knowing the route others used helps you move new customers to a purchase, too. In addition, each stage typically uses different types of content delivered through different channels, so understanding how your customers reach each stage helps inform your strategy.
Customer journeys generally include . . .
- discovery of the product,
- education about the product,
- trying the product,
- purchasing the product, and
- using and advocating for the product.
Discovery is how customers find out about your product in the first place. Is it social media? Direct mail ads? Web searches? Here is where you’ll use your widest range of channels: direct mail, print ads, web banner ads, and social media marketing. Know where your customers learn about your products, what types of content they use (social media reviews, blogs, in-store signage), and meet them where they are.
The education stage is how they learn about your product. What information do they need to move them to the next step? This could include drip marketing of product details and tutorials via print and email, QR Codes on packaging, or for more complex products and services, multi-stage mailings of high-quality print collateral.
Next, you want people to move to the try stage. For this, you might provide product samples or allow prospects to register for a trial period.
Ultimately, you will move the customers to the purchase stage. That should be multichannel, too. It’s not unusual for customers to make a purchase only after the second, third, or even fourth attempt, so make responding as easy as possible. (Don’t assume that delay means no. Be persistent, but not annoying.)
Even once your customer makes a purchase, the journey isn’t over. You want them to move to the advocate stage. You want happy customers to encourage their friends and family to try the product, too. Customer-loyalty and customer-retention marketing pick up where lead nurturing left off.
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