The customer journey is a roadmap, created by organizations, to get a clear picture of the steps their target audience goes through to become and remain customers. Among other things, it helps organizations to set up their marketing more effectively or to design a new website.
Buyer personas are essential in mapping out this journey more effectively. Here, we’ll discuss how buyer personas can help to optimize your customer journey and ultimately add to your bottom line.
What Is a Customer Journey?
The customer journey is a visual representation of the ‘journey’ that the target audience is on from start to finish. It shows the steps the target group takes, linked to the contact moments with the organization. The customer journey helps organizations to set up their marketing or to design a new website. Here is an overview of the phases of their journey:
Within each phase of the customer journey there is a unique information need with specific interaction models. Based on that, you can establish the touch points as well. These are contact moments that the visitor has with your organization depending on the phase he or she is in. The customer journey is unique for every organization.
How Can You Create a Customer Journey Using Buyer Personas?
To map out the customer journey, it’s good to first determine what you’re going to use the customer journey for. Are you using it to make your marketing activities more effective? Are you creating a customer journey to optimize your website? Once you have the goal in mind, it becomes easy to actually create a map. Below are the steps to get you started.
Step 1: Determine Your Buyer Personas per Target Group
Before you really start mapping the customer journey, you first need to know who your customer is and what drives them. You do this by creating buyer personas for each target group. A buyer persona is a characterization of a type of customer. Buyer personas are essential in the customer journey, because they are the ones who take the ‘journey’. So make sure you know exactly who these buyer personas are: What are their needs and how do they reach your website? What are their interests? You can determine the buyer personas through interviews, focus groups and your own experiences.
Want more information on how to create your personas? Here we take a deep dive into creating buyer personas.
Step 2: Determine the Steps in the Customer Journey
Are your personas ready? Great! Because now you can look at the steps your buyer personas make in their customer journey. Research when your personas first come into contact with our company and which steps they go through until the last contact moment. Many organizations use models to identify the stages of a customer journey. For example, the AIDA model which uses the stages Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. In the image above, however, you see added steps that show the phases of the customer journey after a ‘purchase’.
After all, you want your customers to become loyal to your brand and convince others to buy from you as well. Hence, the journey does not end at the moment of purchase.
Step 3: Identify All Touch Points
For each buyer persona, research which touch points, or contact moments, they have with your organization. Do this for each stage in the customer journey. The different touch points will probably vary per phase and can also vary enormously per type. From social media posts to an on-site appointment. Map out all touch points, both online and offline, and place them at the stages you defined in step 2.
Also define a number of clear conversion points for each contact moment. This way you can see when someone moves to the next stage of the customer journey and you will gain more insight into the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. An example for a touch point conversion is the “contact us” button in a newsletter.
Step 4: Get to Know Your Buyer Persona Even Better
For each step in the customer journey, your buyer persona has a different emotion or problem. Because of this, their needs also differ per stage. It’s up to you to map this out. Identify as many problems and possible emotions of the buyer persona as possible so you can offer the right solutions per step of the customer journey.
Step 5: Complete the Customer Journey
Now that you have gathered all the information you need, you can start filling out the customer journey. You can do this easily by putting all the information into Excel. But you can also base your customer journey on different models or existing customer journey maps to guide you. As mentioned, the journey itself is always unique.
Optimizing the Customer Journey
Finished mapping your customer journey? Then it’s time to reap the benefits! If all goes well, you’ve mapped out the customer journey and exposed the pain points. Next, compile a document containing everything that needs to be improved. For example, using the customer journey, you can easily identify the possible exit points for each stage in the customer journey and thus act on them. Link these improvement points to a grade, so you can prioritize the optimization points.
Now you know exactly what the customer journey will look like and have taken the first steps in creating your buyer personas and optimizing this journey. By doing so, you will gain better insights and before long, you will see how much the relationship with your customers can be improved by this process.
Need help collecting all the data for your persona to create a more effective journey map? Konvertigo can help you get the marketing research you need. Click here to get started!