customer journey map
Guest Posts

Why You Should Create a Journey Map (+ How to Do It)

Journey maps are a vital part of developing and improving the experience you provide for your users. They can be as detailed as an interaction with an ad from your marketing campaign or as large as their experience with your company as a whole.

So how can journey maps help you? How can you create your own journey maps?

What Is a Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a graphical representation of the user process from becoming aware of a brand to finalizing a purchase or becoming a product advocate. It usually works by putting together all of the user actions into a timeline. You can then enrich this timeline by creating a narrative adding the user’s feelings and thoughts throughout the process.

Most user journey maps start with a user in a specific scenario. The user goes through different phases of learning and discovery to reach their goal, like achieving a purchase or downloading an app. At the bottom of a journey map you usually find takeaways and insights that the process provides.

With a user journey map you can identify the most important user interactions and discover their journey with your company. That way you can improve user experience and brand engagement. key interactions and touchpoints with your website or mobile app and describes in detail the customer’s goals, motivations, and feelings at each step.

Why Should You Rely on Journey Mapping?

A journey map gives you an overview of how a user goes through your sales funnel. It can show you why users come into contact with your company and give you valuable insights into their experience. 

You can use this insight to build a relationship with your users and to refine their journey, removing elements that aren’t working and improving on the ones that are. 

By mapping your user’s journey, you’re looking at your company from your user’s eyes. Journey mapping allows you to focus on achieving your customer’s goals and putting them first, instead of assuming what your customer wants.

With user journey mapping, you can:

  • Gain insights on your sales process
  • Find bottlenecks and unnecessary processes
  • Reduce costs while increasing sales
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Increase your customers’ loyalty
  • Develop predictive processes

Said it simply, journey maps allow you to understand customers. The better you understand what your customer wants, needs and expects, the better you can deliver!

Here’s How to Create a User Journey Map

You can create a user journey map by following these steps:

1. Set a clear goal for your map

Before you start, you need to define why you’re making a journey map. What process do you want to follow? What are you hoping to find out? Which type of customer will it be about?

Establishing a scope from the beginning is vital when mapping a user’s journey. A clear scope will help to clearly define your map, step by step, and keep you from getting lost in the details.

You can start with a map that overviews the user’s journey in its highest scope. Once you have that map, it’ll be easier to define smaller scopes and create more detailed journeys.

2. Craft a perfect user persona

A user persona is a profile of your most common users. Since a journey map is always built around these user personas, the persona must be well-defined.

To create your user persona, you need to create a user with your average customer’s characteristics, like their average age, gender and demographic.

Your user persona isn’t necessarily just one profile. Depending on your audience and the journey you’re mapping, your user personas can vary. For example, a streaming app may have multiple user personas, like:

  • The young viewer
  • The occasional viewer
  • The film fan
  • The trial user
  • The series-binger

To define your buyer persona, gather data through analytics, market research and surveys, and make sure your user’s pain points and other aspects of your user persona are validated with the according data.

Once you have your user personas, make sure you have a high-scope journey for each of them so you can later match them with the right detailed journeys.

3. Define your scenario

The scenario is the background for your journey map. It describes the situation that your user is in. This can be a common situation or a predictive situation. The scenario will not only act as a background, but it’ll define user expectations.

For example, a fitness app can have a predictive scenario of the beginning of the year, where the user has the resolution of getting in shape. In this case, the expectation is to find an easy path to achieve a regular fitness schedule. It can also have the common situation of an experienced gym member transitioning to a home-based workout regimen. The expectation here would be to find home workouts that are as effective as workouts at the gym.

The better and more realistic your scenario is, the better you’ll understand what your user persona expects from their journey.

4. Map out touchpoints

A “touchpoint” is when your user interacts with your products. This can be before, during or after they’ve completed their purchase or goal. They can go from a Facebook online ad from your marketing campaigns to an in-person interaction at your location.

Some touchpoints are more important and impactful than others. For example, a friend’s recommendation is far more likely to drive a user to your brand than a bus sign.

For a successful journey map examples, you’ll need to map out all of the touchpoints between your user and your company.

Here’s how to do it:

Identifying touchpoints

To identify all of your touchpoints, you need to carefully examine each step of your user’s journey. Ask yourself questions like:

  • How does your customer resolve [this issue]?
  • How do they validate their purchase potential?
  • When do they go to our location?
  • How do they find our physical address?
  • When do they visit our website?

You can also find touchpoints through customer surveys, with your analytics (like behavior and goal flow reports) or by setting up a CRM to gather insights.

5. Define each journey step

A step defines each part of your customer journey. These can be the realization of a need, an interaction with one of your employees and exploring your website. Each step should be as detailed as the scope of your journey.

For example, a hotel may define the following steps in their customer journey:

  • Step 1: Research
  • Step 2: Online reservation
  • Step 3: Arrival at the location
  • Step 4: Stay at the location
  • Step 5: Checkout

As you see, each step uncovers all dependencies of the journey and defines a clear and independent part of the user interaction with the hotel.

To define your steps, decide which parts of the journey are the most vital for the user experience. Keep your map from having too many steps by groping the ones that are too similar or occur very closely together.

For most effectiveness, your journey shouldn’t have more than 20 steps.

6. Test your journey map

To have an accurate map, you need to try its effectiveness. To do this, use data from your analytics and customer feedback to validate each step and make sure it’s accurate.

You can take the journey yourself by following each step your user personas take in real life. You can find your company like the journey map predicts, visiting video platforms, like YouTube and Vimeo and let your company videos guide you through the funnel You can even call your salespeople to experience your user’s interaction.

Before measuring anything, take your user’s journey while putting yourself in your user persona’s shoes. 

7. Gather your user’s journey learnings

Once you’ve developed a successful and effective journey map, gather the learnings from it. Identify bottlenecks and find ways to improve the customers experiences. You may find that you need to better guide your users through the use of effective CTAs or creative popups.

Keep trying and testing, and validate your findings with your team to make sure your user has an optimal experience with your company. Don’t forget to update the journey map as you go.

User Journey Map Templates to Get Started TODAY

The easiest way to start mapping your user’s journey is by following a good template. Here are some of our favorite templates that can adapt to most of your needs:

1. Сustomer journey mapping and personas templates – by UXPRessia

UXPressia has a lot of templates that can adapt to most needs. Divided by 13 industries, UXPressia makes it easy to find templates that fit your company.

The templates are fully adaptable. If you don’t find a good fit, you can also request a template to be developed to your needs.

2. Free Customer Journey Map Template – by Feedbackly

Feedbackly offers an Excel customer journey map template that allows you to enter your user’s activity, touchpoints and more data into every step of your user’s journey. 

This template is great if you’re looking for a simple solution that’s easily adaptable, or if you’re looking for templates for journeys with large scopes.

3. Customer Journey Map – by Miro

Miro has created a free, elegant and simple customer journey map. With a fully-customizable layout and a very simple and straightforward approach, anyone will be able to create a beautiful and simple representation of their customer journey. 

4. Journey map and user persona templates – by UX Planet

UX Planet has multiple, great-looking templates for both your user personas and your journey maps. Their journey maps are very detailed, with areas for actions, problems and opportunities at each step of the journey. Their user persona templates can also help you by fleshing out your personas and nailing down their needs and frustrations. 

You can download them for Dribbble and SketchAppSources.

Conclusion

Creating a journey map that actually works requires a lot of planning and testing. can be one of the most helpful and eye-opening experiences for your team. However, mapping your customer journey can bring you a lot of useful insights to improve your user experience. With them, you and your team can really understand your users and find ways to become more competitive.

Make sure to create as many user journey maps as you need!

Author bio:

Will Cannon is the CEO and Founder of UpLead and as a SaaS owner, he experienced how important it is to create detailed user journey maps.

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