One-off campaigns or clever sales pitches just don’t work anymore to convert prospects into attendees, members, and loyal brand ambassadors. People need time to get to know you, explore your offerings, understand your value, and come to trust that you will deliver on your promises. They undergo a journey from awareness to consideration to decision. Creating a customer journey map can help you take a more precise, strategic approach to guiding prospects along that journey.
What is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is a diagram of all the steps prospects go through when engaging with your organization. It includes how they first learned about you, the research and education they undergo in their decision-making process, and the action steps they take along the way—from signing up for your email list to attending your events.
At the heart of a customer journey map is the customer. To most effectively move prospects along their journeys, you must become very familiar with their wants, needs, and pain points. What are their goals? What keeps them up at night? Get to know your customer so you know how to help them.
What are the stages of the customer journey?
The initial stages of the customer journey are awareness, consideration, and decision. If you’re successful in these three phases, some members will continue on to become loyal brand ambassadors.
This is where a customer first learns about your brand. They might have read one of your blog posts, seen a testimonial, viewed a Facebook ad, or heard about you from a colleague.
For most organizations, increasing brand awareness is an active pursuit. It might include the following tactics:
- Publish free educational content
- Create blog posts, webinars, tools, templates, or guides
- Use video to inform while showcasing your authentic brand persona
- Publish a free email newsletter
- Promote content via social media posts and paid ads
Avoid making a sales pitch in the initial stages of the customer journey. This is your chance to engage prospects and build trust by providing valuable resources with no strings attached.
Once a prospect is aware of your organization, they will likely undergo a period of consideration. In this stage, they’re not quite ready to take action, but they are interested in learning more.
Move people toward a decision by providing content that will help them see whether your organization can solve their pain points. Be aware that it could take a while—perhaps 10 or more touch points. This is still not the time for a sales pitch. Focus instead on your value proposition and what’s in it for the customer.
Useful tactics for the consideration stage:
- Case studies, reviews, and testimonials
- How-to content that showcases your events, products, and offerings
- Demo videos, product descriptions, and data sheets
- Social media ads that lead to free downloadable content
At the same time your prospects evaluate your organization, you should also evaluate your prospects. Qualify your leads in this stage so you know where to focus your time, effort, and budget.
How long the customer journey lasts depends on many factors, including the cost of your product, length of the engagement, complexity of the offer, and more. Regardless, at some point, you will need to make a pitch and ask for a decision so you and your prospect can move forward.
Useful tactics for the decision stage:
- Ask your social media followers to sign up for your email list
- Make limited-time offers that create urgency
- Run Facebook ads that lead to landing pages with gated content
- Send direct mail promotions
- Call high-quality leads to make a personal connection
The tactics you choose may depend on the lead score of your prospects. For example, actively engaged prospects might receive additional communications and special promotions. High-quality leads might warrant a phone call or premium direct mail piece. Less active prospects might be moved to an automated email list.
Your guide to relationship marketing
Mapping the entirety of your customer journey may seem daunting, but don’t worry. You’re really just creating a simple guide for efficient relationship marketing. Start with the three broad categories: awareness, consideration, and decision. Then fill in each with details on goals, tactics, specific content, KPIs, and metrics for measurement.