One-off email projects and newsletters have their place in your email marketing strategy.
Sometimes they can grab audience attention with a sudden sale, or push people to rediscover the value in your brand. However, if you really want to build and maintain your email list, then you need a basic understanding of the whole customer journey.
The customer journey, starting with “awareness” of a problem that needs to be solved, and ending with continued support after a purchase, contains every interaction you have with a client. Yep, that’s right – there are multiple touchpoints in every journey.
With the right email marketing tool, you can send messages to your audience that are catered to each step in their journey. This helps you to develop stronger relationships with your customers, which also leads to more long-term sales.
So, how exactly do you get started with customer journey mapping?
What is Customer Journey Mapping?
The primary purpose of any marketing expert is to predict the behavior of a customer and then influence that behavior.
Every email you send, landing page you create, and ad that you promote needs to persuade your visitors to move in the right direction (towards your checkout page)
Customer journey mapping helps you develop a better understanding of the adventure that your customers embark on every time that they interact with you. It involves knowing what motivates your clients from start to finish when they’re buying from you. With customer journey mapping, you get:
- Valuable insights into customer expectations.
- Strategies for helping your customers to accelerate through the buying journey.
- Ideas on how to convert one-time customers into repeat clients
What Do You Need for a Customer Journey Map?
Just like customers themselves, customer journey maps aren’t always a one-size-fits-all concept. You may have extra information in your maps compared to your competitors.
However, most journey maps contain the following information:
- User personas: These are representations of your target customer based on in-depth research into your market. These personas contain demographics like gender, age, job title, and more. Additionally, they help you to better predict what your customers might do when interacting with you.
- Customer stages: Before mapping the customer journey, you’ll need to think about the stages that your audience goes through when interacting with you. Usually, the stages include awareness, consideration, decision, and retention.
- Touchpoints: The touchpoints in customer journey maps are the moments when you interact with your audience. For instance, every email you send in your automated campaign is a touchpoint. Other touchpoints might include blog posts, case studies, landing pages, and even interactions on social media.
- Time frames: Through in-depth analytics into customer behavior, interviews, and surveys you’ll begin to gain an idea of how long it takes for your audience to move through your customer roadmap from start to finish. How long do your touchpoints take to push someone to the next step in their journey?
- Customer emotions: Finally, you’ll need to think about the goals and emotional needs of your audience at every stage of their journey. Collecting data through surveys and service emails will help with this. Remember, every customer is unique, with their own needs and expectations. Segmentation will help you to create more personalized experiences for your audience.
Stage 1: The Awareness Phase
Once you have the information above to guide your decisions, from buyer personas to survey information, you can begin to build an email marketing campaign that works alongside the customer journey. This often means starting with the awareness stage.
Awareness is when a customer becomes aware of the problem that they had – something that they need you to fix. The client will need information, such as blog posts and landing pages to help them understand their problem and begin considering certain solutions to the issues.
To capture your audience’s attention at this point and move them into the next stages of the funnel, think about how you can use engaging information (like blog posts) to convince your audience to sign up for your newsletters.
From there, you can use “welcome series” posts, to engage your audience and begin convincing them that you have the solutions to their individual problems.
For instance, Broadway.com immediately sends a welcome email to customers with some valuable discounts to encourage a first purchase. By sending this email interaction as quickly as possible, the company can increase the chances that its customers will interact with it again in the future.
Stage 2: The Consideration and Decision Phases
Once your customer knows who you are and what you have to offer, thanks to your content and welcome emails, you need to convince them that you’re the right choice. After all, no matter how specific your niche is, there’s likely to be someone out there that offers something similar to you.
During this point in your buyer journey, you’re using your omnichannel marketing strategy to highlight the authenticity, expertise, and trustworthiness of your brand.
Perhaps you can use your email marketing to send your customers a roundup of some of your best blog posts, videos, and other useful content. Product webinars, case studies, and even demonstration videos can all help customers to better understand your product.
For instance, in Uberflip’s follow-up email, the company lets its audience know immediately what they’re going to get if they sign up for the “Content Experience”:
If the audience member decides to click on the email, then they’ll be taken directly to a landing page where they can learn more about the product in question.
At this stage, it’s essential to focus on delivering anything you can to capture your audience’s attention and keep them focused on you. This could mean:
- Offering free trials or demos if you’re a software company
- Providing discounts and money-off options
- Delivering plenty of trustworthy information
Stage 3: Conversion and retention
Once you’ve got your customers thinking that you might just be the perfect solution to their problems, you’re ready to focus on conversion and retention.
At this stage, all your customer should need is a good nudge in the right direction.
Just remember, getting a customer to actually convert can take time. Things like freebies and discounts can sweeten the pot and remove some of the concerns that your audience will have about spending their money.
However, if you’ve got the right offer, the conversion won’t be the hardest part of your customer journey map. The toughest step will be encouraging your audience to stick around as part of your community after they have converted.
After all, research tells us that it takes up to 5 times more investment to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. When your client does make a purchase, the most important thing you can do is keep them around.
For instance, once the purchase is complete, consider asking your audience to sign up for a VIP program where they get more discounts and support than the average customer. Sephora uses its VIB (Very Important Beauty) program for this purpose.
Once someone buys the right amount of products, Sephora’s email marketing tool automatically enters that person into the VIB segment, where they can begin to earn more money off products.
Don’t just think about how you’re going to convert your audience directly into a customer. Think about what you can do to continue nurturing your leads after they’ve made a purchase too.
The VIB strategy for Sephora doesn’t just keep customers happy; it also encourages customers to make more purchases, which is excellent for the company’s bottom line.
Stage 4: Re-engagement
The retention stage in the customer journey map isn’t like the other parts of your pipeline. There’s no endpoint here. This phase keeps going until your customer loses interest or decides that they don’t want to connect with you anymore.
It’s easier to retain a customer if you can continue to offer the right kind of experience that your client is looking for. For instance, providing excellent customer service, fantastic products, and informative emails, rather than annoying, is always a good step.
However, no matter how hard you try, there’s always a chance that someone will begin to fall out of your funnel. That’s where the re-engagement emails in your campaigns come in. Remember, losing existing customers can cost your business a lot. Just as 5% increase in customer retention is enough to improve business profitability by 75%.
While winning back the customers that stray isn’t always easy, you can set up a set of re-engagement emails that help your audience to remember what they loved about you in the first place.
In re-engagement emails, the best thing you can do is focus on both value and emotion. For instance, St Jude’s hospital sends a re-engagement email that reminds it’s donators how important their input is. It’s that kind of emotional impact that pushes a customer to return to your arms.
Notably, in this re-engagement email, St Jude’s isn’t just focusing on making their customers feel bad that they’ve left. The company also highlights the fantastic work that they’re doing, so that the customer can remember why they signed up for the newsletter in the first place.
Perfecting Conversions with Customer Journey Maps
Customer journey maps can be confusing.
It’s difficult to predict with any real certainty what takes your audience from point A to point B in their purchasing journey. However, if you can get to the bottom of what makes your audience tick, then you can accomplish incredible things with your conversions.
The steps above will get you started on the four main components of a great customer journey map so that you can stay connected to your audience through every step of their purchasing adventure.