How to Increase Conversions With Customer Journey Mapping
That means publishers eager to grow subscription revenue need to learn what makes a great customer experience (CX), or else run the risk of losing out on conversions. And when it comes to improving CX, there’s perhaps no better tool than the customer journey map.
Aberdeen Group found that companies that actively manage the customer journey
- get 54% greater ROI on marketing spend;
- get 24% more positive mentions on social media;
- earn 3.5 times greater revenue from referrals;
- and bring in 56% more revenue from up- and cross-selling than companies who don’t.
It’s hard to argue with those numbers. So let’s take a look at how you can improve customer experience by using customer journey maps.
Start With Buyer Personas
Before you understand the journey that your customers go through, you need to understand who they are. That’s where buyer personas come in.
A buyer persona is a succinct description of a customer group. It includes things like a name and photo, demographic information, personal and professional experiences, goals, challenges, and potential objections. (You can get a lot of this information through effective psychographic segmentation.)
Imagine that you’re an ecommerce company selling watches. You might have several buyer personas. Rolex Rachel is looking for a status-boosting timepiece. Sporty Sam wants a watch with GPS. Fitness Freddie needs something that tracks steps and heart rate.
Buyer personas let you target these customers with marketing that’s specifically tailored to their needs. That’s more effective than sending the same message to everyone. Much more effective, in fact: Using marketing personas made websites up to five times easier to use and significantly increased the revenue from email marketing.
Think that’s not worth spending a lot of time on? Cintell found that high-performing companies were more likely than others to research the drivers and motivations of buyers, understand buyers’ fears and challenges, and include buying preferences in personas.
Personas are the real deal.
Now let’s look at the journey map itself:
What Does a Customer Journey Map Look Like?
You can design your customer journey map in any way you want. Every company will have different steps in the customer journey, so it makes sense to use a custom (or customizable) map. For example, here’s a relatively straightforward journey map from Top Drawer:
It outlines how an e-commerce prospect becomes a customer. You might also use a more complicated journey map, like this one from Iris Tong Wu:
These are only two of an infinite number of customer journey map examples. You can use any format you like. What’s important is that you identify different stages in your customers’ buying cycle and understand how your marketing and sales fit into it.
Remember that different buyer personas might have different journey maps. So take the time to see where they align and diverge.
How a Customer Journey Map Improves Conversions
So how does a customer journey map — which might appear to be a simple timeline — help you convert more users to customers?
It’s all about making the most of your opportunities. When you go through the process of creating a detailed customer journey map, you’ll include all of the touchpoints that you have with customers and potential customers. And you might realize that you’re not taking full advantage of some touchpoints. Here are some considerations to make while mapping your customer lifecycle:
How do customers arrive at your product or service?
What problems are they having, and what are the potential solutions?
Knowing the answers to these questions helps you make the most of pre-purchase touchpoints.
Let’s say you have an app that helps users buy a car. A customer journey map will highlight the difficulties potential customers have before they download your app.
For example, you may find that users don’t download and use your app because they don’t know how it works. In this case, a short explainer video could solve the problem. Addressing that point in your marketing will improve your acquisition efforts and increase your conversions.
In this stage, make sure to do some customer research. Because you’re dealing with leads who haven’t yet been acquired, you may not have a clear idea of the steps in the journey.
It’s well-known in the app world that you lose a lot of users in the first week of the customer lifecycle. Mapping the onboarding process can help you minimize the number of lapsed users.
A detailed customer journey map will show you the points where users of your app drop off so you can address them. You might see that requiring a credit card for a trial is an impediment. Or that complicated pricing makes it difficult for users to choose a premium plan.
Improving the user experience during onboarding is crucial for success, and a customer journey map is a great tool for doing so.
Once you’ve successfully onboarded a customer, keeping them engaged is crucial for driving lifetime value. If they’re making use of your product and continue to love it, they’ll be a repeat customer.
If, however, they don’t see the value of the app—or simply forget about it—you’ll lose customers.
A customer journey map for a shopping app, for example, might find that most customers make a single purchase, but many of them stop using the app after that. As long as there’s nothing standing in their way, there’s a good chance that they just forgot about it. That’s a great time for a push notification campaign.
Whenever you see a drop-off in engagement in the customer journey, it’s time to take action. And a customer journey map can show you when that happens.
Why do customers stop using your product? What precipitates them deleting your app or canceling their premium subscription? A customer journey map will help you find the answers.
If your journey map shows that people cancel their subscriptions when it’s time to renew, you can use that information to your advantage. You might, for example, put a campaign in place to show people extra benefits of the app starting a month out from their renewal date.
Customers churn for many different reasons, but an effective journey map can help you uncover the most uncommon ones. When you address those, you’ll make sure that you get the most out of the conversions you earned in the acquisition phase.
Customer advocates are one of the best ways to grow your brand. But how can you maximize the likelihood that customers will share your product or service? A journey map will tell you.
You may find out, for example, that customers who receive a push notification asking them to share a purchase on social media are twice as likely to give out referral codes. Or that users who have received a certain campaign tend to share the app with their friends.
The trends that you see on your user journey map can help you develop a strong base of customer advocates. That’s free marketing that you can use to further drive conversions.
Engaging Customers Across the Journey
The true power of a customer journey map comes when you use it to create long-term campaigns that specifically target leads with messages to move them through the journey. For example, you might have a touchpoint on the journey map for when a new user signs up for your service, and another touchpoint when they sign up for a free trial of a premium subscription.
An effective welcome email or a push notification can help get them to that next step. A customer journey map helps you figure out when to send that message and via what medium.
You can use this approach throughout the entire customer lifecycle. A lifecycle email campaign, for example, can help turn lapsed buyers into repeat customers. A customer journey map makes it easier to see long-term opportunities for conversion.
If you don’t know the customer journey, you can’t plan your marketing to improve the customer experience. And when CX has become one of the primary differentiating factors between companies, that means you’re losing business.
With the knowledge you gain from your customer journey map, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors with a better customer experience. Here are a few things to consider:
- Intent-based segmentation for goal-based marketing to maximize engagement and marketing ROI
- Cross-channel marketing to create a cohesive and personalized customer experience
- Measure the real impact of your marketing activities on business metrics over the long term by tracking metrics like ARPU, Retention.
Don’t have a customer journey map? Get started on it today. Start with the basics and make sure that you have up-to-date buyer personas. From there, build out your customer journey map piece by piece until you’ve created a powerful marketing tool.
Related story: 7 Steps to Map and Drive the Customer Journey
Almitra Karnik is the head of marketing at CleverTap, a mobile marketing platform that enables marketers to build differentiated customer experiences at scale using actionable, real-time insights. She has held leadership roles at Cisco, EMC, Splunk and Twilio in the past and has recently been named as one of the "Top 50 Women in SaaS."