How to optimize the 5 steps of your customer journey

Posted by Victor Brugman on May 31st, 2021
6 Min. read

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Broadly speaking, the customer journey can be identified as all the interactions/touches that the customer can make with your brand. These include awareness, interest, signing up, making a purchase, contacting support, and asking questions.

Customers today have more access to information and brands are competing for their attention. Do you know how your customer found you today? Is it your social media accounts? Do they search for something in Google and land you on the first page? Or is it word of mouth? Does the process look as expected or does the customer encounter unexpected obstacles?

To get an answer to these questions, it's helpful to collect and analyze the data from the touchpoints the customer has with your brand, for example through the power of measurable links or QR- codes. How do you use this knowledge of a customer journey? You can improve the customer's experience with your brand across multiple channels and target those channels with the most potential for higher conversion.

Communicate more effectively, sell more, sell faster, reveal and eliminate communication problems and ultimately save a lot of time and money.

You first need to know who the customer is before you start mapping out the customer journey. You do this by mapping out your so-called buyer persona. In its simplest form, you grab information like:

•Gender
• Age
• Position (& responsibilities)
• Salary
• Location

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Example of a buyer persona. (via Alexa.com)

Knowing who your buyer persona is, is a crucial part of mapping the customer journey. Therefore, do not rush this process.

If the entire customer journey is reasonably mapped out, the trick now is to optimize. On which channel has the most potential of improvement? Which campaigns work and which don't? I'm going to take you through all phases in a customer journey, so that you can start optimizing yourself.

1. Data (awereness)

This is the stage is the first contactpoint of the customer with your brand. People need to know you exist. Who are you? What do you do and what do you stand for? Online advertising, content marketing and social media are often used to answer these questions. But how do you know if your marketing campaigns are actually working well? That's where most companies get stuck.

The answer is actually very simple: data. You can use data to find out which campaign works best, which channel most (potential) customers come from, where the conversions are highest, which campaigns need more attention and even which campaigns are no longer worth it at all.

Tools like Google Analytics or Hotjar are great for seeing how many people visit your website and where people get stuck on your website or where conversions are the highest. Unfortunately, it is not possible to really know where your customers come from outside of your website.

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Example of mapping all marketing dashboard. (via Sub.Link)

The channel through which a campaign runs can also be crucial for gathering helpful data. With Facebook ads and a number of courses on that subject for example, you get to see how your campaigns are doing on Facebook with great insights.

2. Data (consideration)

This is the stage where your potential customers are considering buying your product or service. These people will look at companies that sell same the product or service and they will start comparing. Therefore, it is therefore it is crucial to ensure that the customer chooses you instead of the competitor. You do this by leaving a good first impression. Show why the customer should choose you instead of the competitor. Show added value.

The customer may start to hesitate between choosing you or the competitor. Fortunately, there is a solution to ensure that the conversion on your side is higher than that of the competitor: data.

Customers found you through a campaign or word of mouth. How do you know where they come from? Data. Customers may see a poster on the street with a QR code and scan it because they are interested. 10 seconds later they walk on and slowly forget about this poster. In the stage of the customer rembebering this poster, it is crucial to be able to approach this customer again within the next few hours.

Can you retarget customers who came from an offline point (e.g. QR code)? Yes, that's very much possible. Tools like Sub.Link make this very easy. Make your QR code measurable and see where the customer comes from, how often the QR code has been scanned, with which device it was scanned and approach this user so quickly that he or she does not even get the opportunity to compare your product/service with a competitor.

3. Data (purchase)

After long or short consideration, the customer has decided to buy your product/service. Hopefully you already know your gross sales numbers and what your turnover is. But do you know what you conversions are? Maybe it's the case that customers get stuck somewhere in the whole process of buying you product/service. Is it a button on your website that is not visible? Is it an endlessly long text that you have to go through before you get to the actual product on the website? How do you know where the conversion killer might be? You can guess the answer by now: data! Make everything measurable. Make sure the entire customer journey is mapped out. See what people click on and where people could possibly get stuck.

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Example of a conversion killer: a contact form that's way too long.

We at Sub.Link are one of the few who can map this in it's entirety. Put a shortened link behind every button/QR code in the customer journey, map the entire customer journey and immediately see what customers do or don't like.

4. Data (service)

If everything goes as planned, the consumer will find his way and buy your product/service. But if something doesn't work: delivery is late, or people don't understand how something works, support is needed. This phase is about user experiences, service recovery, exchanges, warranties, handling complaints and remote support. Make sure that (dissatisfied) customers are helped as quickly as possible and do not give any (extra) reason to them to leave a bad review.

Also ask for reviews from customers who would likely give positive reviews and find out what your customers think of your product/service. Start A/B testing: See which email has higher conversion and keep testing.

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A/B testing: See which campaign is doing better (A or B).

5. Data (loyalty)

There are 2 forms of loyalty: Transactional and emotional loyalty. Transactional loyalty means that a customer is loyal to a brand because of price advantages or gifts. Think of discount programs for exmaple, such as giving away discounts for students at Samsung.

With emotional loyalty the customer becomes attached to your brand and therefore feels an emotional connection. This often happens with clothing brands. For example, a customer buys an item from your webshop and is very satisfied. He/she needs a new T-shirt, you are top-of-mind and because of this he/she buys another item, is satisfied, another item and so on.

Especially with transactional loyalty, fast retargeting plays a very important role. How can you approach someone if you don't know who bought the product/service? Indeed: data. Make sure that the customer still wants to come back through a smart promotion/offer.

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Example of retargeting loyal customers.

Conclusion

So the point I'm trying to make is that data is needed for optimization in the customer journey. How else can you know what customers click or don't click on. There are some good tools to measure this. Make sure the entire customer journey is mapped out. Only then you will be able to paint the big picture and start focussing on the minor, but great details to blow that conversion rate through the roof.

Data plays a role every part of the customer journey. Many webshops have already been able to map the customer journey reasonably well, but are missing the much-needed data for optimization.