Getting Started with Customer Journey Maps

How to Get Started With Customer Journey Maps

Are you using customer journey maps?

Chances are if you have, they took a lot of time to build, aren’t very dynamic, and don’t provide real-time analytics throughout each step of your sales funnel.

And that’s likely worked out okay, up until now.

But as a digital marketer, your goal is to attract the right people and give them the information and tools they need to make a purchase.

Whether you sell a product or a service, a key component of success is the customer experience.

What does your customer go through as they explore your brand and eventually spend their hard earned money?

Understanding this information is a critical part of altering your marketing strategies and changing your business processes.

However, far too many businesses out there simply don’t dig into the customer experience as thoroughly as they should.

And that’s where customer journey maps come in to play.

What are Customer Journey Maps?

To put it simply, customer journey maps are a visual representation of what your customer goes through as they interact with your business.

Here’s an example of what a customer journey map might look like if you’re working in e-commerce:

Whether they are contacting you for the first time or making a purchase for the 20th time, a customer journey map puts the story of your customer’s journey into an easy-to-understand format.

Customer journey maps track how each customer learns about your business.

And this ranges from what marketing campaigns they came from, to the checkout experience on your website.

When designed correctly, customer journey maps display every touchpoint customers have with you in a way that is clear and concise.

Customer Journey Mapping Explained

Customer journey mapping is the process of making customer journey maps.

While the map is a visual, the mapping is the process.

Throughout the process, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

customer journey maps

You will be able to view your business from their perspective and gain new, extremely-valuable, insights into what your company is doing right and where there is room for improvement.

During the mapping process, you will discover what is missing in your customer experience.

Furthermore, you will see if your brand is represented in a cohesive way throughout every step.

In order to get the most from the customer journey mapping process, you need to make sure that every single touchpoint is represented.

This may include online and offline ads, social media posts, call center interactions, online chat boxes, and more.

You may even choose to continue the mapping process after the purchase is complete, tracking the retention stage of your sales funnel.

Why Customer Journey Maps are Critical to Your Success

As you can imagine, tracking and analyzing every touchpoint your customers have with you can provide you with invaluable data.

When done thoroughly and accurately, customer journey maps will help you:

  • Gain insights into the behavior patterns of your customers.
  • Run growth experiments to see what actions and changes in your process…
    • Improve your sales
    • Earn you more qualified leads
    • Increase website conversions
    • Increase retention rates
    • Speed up the sales process, and much more

Here’s what running growth experiments might look like when organized on a platform like CXMap.

customer journey maps

Customer journey maps will also help you to:

  • Identify your top performing channels and where to invest the most money based on ROI and other metrics.
  • Explore what your business looks like from an outsider’s view so you can see if your sales process is truly effective.
  • Ensure the customer journey aligns with your brand process.
    For example, if your marketing lingo focuses on your process being effortless or simple, you need to make sure you deliver on that promise.
  • Earn more sales by getting to know your customer and offering them exactly what they are looking for.
  • Gather data about how many people abandon their shopping carts, and where they abandon their carts.
  • See what your conversion rates are throughout each step of the customer journey.

How to Make Your Customer Journey Maps Effective

It’s one thing to understand what customer journey mapping is and why it is so important.

However, it’s something completely different to actually execute it.

If you want to build your own customer journey maps, there are a few key strategies you need to keep in mind.

1. Make the map from the customer’s point of view, not your own.

Even if you are mapping the customer journey, if you do it through your own perspective, you will unknowingly make your systems and processes the foundation of the map.

On the contrary, if you build it from the customer’s viewpoint, their experiences with your brand will become the base of the journey.

As a result, you should be able to improve the customer journey before mapping anything.

The entire point of customer journey maps is to evaluate what your customer thinks, feels and does when interacting with your brand.

Your behind-the-scenes work should stay out of it as much as possible.

If you’re like most companies, the best way to begin your customer journey map is to talk to your customers.

And from there, start to create your vision of the customer journey.

Speaking of which, are you conducting customer interviews?

Here’s a full guide from Crazy Egg on how to do customer interviews that reveal priceless insights

customer journey maps

Now, if you have enough data, your ability to hypothesize will be much greater.

However, if you don’t have significant data on your customer touchpoints, needs, and expectations…

Then you will need to be extra diligent when it comes to speaking with both customers and prospective customers.

2. Give Your Customer Journey Maps a Purpose

In order to be truly actionable, customer journey maps need a human element in order to put things into context.

Consider the positive and negative emotions the customer is feeling as they go through the buying process.

And then relate these emotions to the behaviors and expectations so you can fill in the gaps.

Then, take this information, along with your data, and you can paint a full picture.

Adding a Human Element to your Customer Journey Maps

For example, here’s a simple exercise and template I quickly put together to demonstrate how you might do this when creating emails…

In this particular case:

  • We’ve sent a welcome email after a new account was created
  • However, the first email was full of information, and the customer hasn’t taken any action in three days
  • So we’re following up and trying to activate that account.
  • Note: only the sections boxed in red are what you should pay attention to for this exercise.

customer journey maps

The highlighted sections are a simple exercise into the customer mindset, and can be applied to any step in your customer journey.

Not just for emails.

This will help you to change customer behavior by thinking as they do.

So, once you’ve identified a key pain point with your customers, you can come up with a plan of what it will take to change those negative emotions.

3. Include All Relevant Touchpoints

If you’re only looking at one section of the customer experience, such as how they interact with your website, it’s not a journey – it’s a single event.

For example, let’s look at another customer journey map.

This time the map is focused on the SaaS (software as a service) industry.

There are many beneficial impacts of creating customer journey maps with all of your touchpoints.

Some of the insight examples you could gain from this particular map would be:

  • Which source of traffic attributes most to Trials vs. those to Paid Subscriptions.
  • Where your main traffic drop-offs are located throughout the customer journey.
  • The number of blog visitors that are creating accounts and which blog posts they’re coming from.
  • How effective your cold emails, ads, and other marketing campaigns are working.
  • After creating an account, is your onboarding process resulting in Paid Subscriptions.

4. Pay Special Attention to Your KPIs

What good is going through the time and effort of creating a customer journey map if you aren’t focusing on the metrics that are the most relevant to your company’s mission?

By creating your map around the performance indicators that are the most important to your organization, you will yield the most impressive results.

Decide what aspects of your company you want to improve the most and create your map with these in mind.

Most of your customer research is probably conducted in smaller sample sizes, but with a customer journey map, you can bring your data to another level.

When you integrate your KPIs into your customer journey map, you can more effectively measure your main initiatives over time.

You will be able to locate what needs to be changed now, and then in the future, you will be able to repeat the process and see how big of an impact these changes had.

Being Data-Driven with your Customer Journey Maps

Some data-points that you may want to consider including in your customer journey maps include:

  • Conversion rates.
  • Time and effort going into nurturing each touchpoint.
  • Customer loyalty ratings or net promoter scores.
  • Customer emotions at different stages of their journey.
  • Retention rates, etc.

If you’re a strong digital marketer, and you’re mapping metrics to each stage of your funnel, you should gain some inspiration from the following image and SlideShare:

As long as you choose metrics that will have the biggest impact on your company’s goals, your customer journey maps will undoubtedly offer you the impressive ROI you are expecting.

Make Customer Journey Mapping Effortless with CXMap

The fact that customer journey mapping is a valuable tool for any business is undisputed.

However, putting together a customer journey map and analyzing the data can prove to be daunting.

At CXMap, we make the customer journey mapping process effortless.

We created our SaaS program as a way to gain the customer data we wanted.

We were having a hard time finding a software option that made it easy to map out the sales funnel for each of our marketing campaigns.

And just as important, we couldn’t find an option that also provided the data we wanted to visualize throughout the customer journey, such as attribution and conversion rates.

So we made the software that could do this easily.

Getting Started with Customer Journey Maps

Today, CXMap customer journey mapping software is available for everyone to get started for free.

And we’ve already done a lot of the work for you as you can see from our customer journey map templates.

customer journey maps

And for even more information on industry-specific customer journey maps and templates, check out Part 2 of The Comprehensive Guide to Customer Journey Maps.

So, if our creation was good enough to help us transform the way we do business, then we knew we needed to make it available to any company that wants it.

The incredible information you can learn through customer journey mapping is game-changing for digital marketers, growth hackers, and marketing analysts.

Test it out for yourself and get started with your first customer journey map now!

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