How Do You Map the Customer Journey?
Everyone talks about ‘mapping the journey.’ But how do you actually do it?
In this article, we’re going to look at the specifics of how you actually map your customer’s journey. We’ll also look at content types serving each stage of the journey so you can be sure your marketing is serving up the information your prospects need to become your customers.
Start with the Who
Mapping your customer journey starts with creating a buyer persona to follow through the journey for each decision maker involved in the buying process. When selling to companies in pharma and the life sciences, you likely have more than one buyer persona. You may need to influence the purchasing department in addition to the laboratory manager, for example.
Begin the mapping process with the buyer persona that has the most influence on the final decision. You’ll want to map out each influencer persona involved as well. Starting here gives you insight into what’s driving them to buy and what they need to help them decide.
Then the What
Next, decide what you want to map. Many people are interested in how the customer gets from the first encounter with their company to making a buying decision and placing an order. You could choose this as an objective, or you might want to explore the points at which customers decide to hand over their details.
Other options include re-engaging with customers that have abandoned your site and mapping how you acquire reviews and testimonials. We recommend mapping every route your customers can take with you for a clear picture of what is happening at each touchpoint from the customer’s first encounter to their last.
And End with the How
Follow each buying persona through every step they take when dealing with your company. You’ll need data and statistics for this. Your Google analytics will be particularly helpful. Customer surveys and interviews provide excellent insights – and potential marketing gems!
Identify every touchpoint on the customer journey and add it to a spreadsheet. A touchpoint is each interaction they have with you, from clicking on an ad to booking a demo. Log every stage, or phase, they go through and the specific pain points, motivations for searching and buying, and any roadblocks they encountered to get to the point of buying.
All of this information is key to creating your map.
At each point, you’ll also need to consider what assets are appropriate and whether you have the right assets available. Different content types should be offered at each stage. Someone in the awareness phase shouldn’t be shown anything that pushes them to buy as this may put them off and send them away from your website. This is a key part of the process that should be thought through thoroughly.
With marketing automation, creating a customer journey map is a lot easier than using sticky notes, white boards and spreadsheets. Most marketing platforms deliver excellent analytics and data to your fingertips, including customer tracking, so you can see when you’ve contacted them and what was said. This can be extremely valuable data when mapping your customer journey.
These platforms can also produce a variety of in-depth, data-driven reports to help you add more information to the picture you have built.
Read more on the customer journey and marketing automation in our blog Power Your Marketing with Marketing Automation.
Tailor Your Content to the Customer Journey
One way to look at the types of content you’ll need for each buying stage is to look at your prospects’ keywords and questions. This will not only give you topic ideas, but you can also see where they are in the customer journey based on what they are searching for.
- Buyers in the early stages are more likely to be looking with keywords such as: what, how, resolve, help, and where. Early phase questions may include:
- How do I solve X problem?
- What service or product can help with this?
- Does this company have what I want?
- Later, they’ll change to searching with words such as: which, solution, types, best, and review. In the consideration stage, customers could be asking:
- Does the product have the add-ons or options that I need?
- What is customer service like?
- What are the buying options?
- Does it meet regulations or certifications?
- How much is it?
- Is there a materials safety data sheet?
- In the final stage, prospects are more likely to search with: buy, test, book demo, meeting, sales call, and so on. At this point customers are likely to ask:
- How do I book a meeting?
- Can I see a demo?
Keeping in mind the types of questions that your audience is asking allows you to identify the content assets you need to move them through their journey. From these questions, you can see whether it makes more sense to create, for example, a demo video, a step-by-step tutorial, a checklist, a case study, or a white paper at each stage.
As with the phases of the customer journey, the types of content you create can overlap. Short blog posts, for example, can work in the early stages when convincing your customer of your expertise. Longer form, more in-depth blog posts can also work in the later stages when demonstrating how your specific solution or product can help.
Before you begin creating new content, audit what you already have. You likely already have content that either fits into the customer journey map or can easily be repurposed to fit. The audit will also show you if you have any content gaps that need to be filled.
You know yourself that when selling into science-focused organizations, the sales/marketing cycle can be as much as 18 months. Throughout that time, you need to nurture your potential clients with the right content at the right stages of the journey.
Yes, it will take some time and effort but by mapping your customer journey you can create a frictionless journey that will draw in and convince your ideal customers. With your map in hand, you can make significant improvements in your customer experience – differentiating you from your competitors and making you the obvious choice.
Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.