Today’s customer is a little hard to pin down. Between social media, email campaigns, blog posts, and more, your customer could be taking multiple steps before they even consider making a purchase. It can be more complicated than you would think, but tracking this process is vital to your customer success.
When we talk about a customer journey, we mean the process a customer goes through before you see a conversion, whether that’s a purchase, a newsletter subscription, or a follow on social media. By analyzing your customer’s interactions with your website, you can understand their motivations and needs in order to improve their experience.
We’ve talked at length about the different ways 2020 redefined the customer journey and how we analyze it. Between the pandemic, remote work, and a new focus on the online experience, things are different now. If you haven’t already, you need to take steps to optimize your customer journey or improve on the steps you already have. In this article, we’ll look into some of the best ways to conduct customer journey optimization.
What is customer journey optimization?
Customer journey optimization consists of mapping out and analyzing your current user experience and interactions in order to direct or influence their behavior. If you improve your customer journey, you can increase your sales and brand loyalty. In today’s digitally-focused world, you’re going to want to ensure you’re creating a seamless experience across multiple channels, including social media, apps, and your website.
This is important for brands in all industries, but it is a baseline essential for your e-commerce business. As the pandemic drags on and brick and mortar stores fall to the wayside, digital business is more important than ever before. If you’re just getting started in e-commerce strategy, you can read Omniconvert’s article on the topic here to get you started.
How can you optimize your customer journey?
When looking to optimize your customer journey, you need to make a plan. Optimization takes work, and it’s critical to ensuring you stay competitive as a business. Plus, your customers will be happier for it.
Let’s discuss how you can create a successful customer journey optimization strategy, step by step.
Assess your existing customer journey
The first step in optimizing your customer journey is by assessing your existing assets. When using your website or app, what are the steps customers normally take? Doing this research allows you to find patterns and identify what you could be doing more effectively and efficiently, or perhaps see what opportunities you may be missing.
Assess your customer by journey mapping out their touchpoints. In Omniconvert’s article on mapping the customer journey, they outlined different parts that should be assessed. Brand touchpoints can be broken down into three distinct categories: pre-purchase experience, purchase experience, and post-purchase experience.
When mapping out your touchpoints, consider the four critical phases of this process: driving awareness of your brand, making the customer consider your brand, closing the sale, and generating repeat business. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what advertisements and experiences you would see in each phase of the process. Use these stages for your customer journey map process.
Clearly define your ideal customer
In order to successfully market your product, you need to consider the needs and preferences of your customer. Who are you trying to sell to? Who is just out of your reach? Think of your ideal customer, and decide what you’re going to take into account, such as age, race, gender, hobbies, interests, behavior, etc.
Omni convert has a guide on how you can create a customer profile based on your business. Take a look at your existing customers and their buying behavior. Here are a few questions you should consider:
- Which customers have stayed the longest with your company?
- Which customers provide referrals to their family and friends?
- What are the customer’s pain points?
By creating a profile of your customers, you can figure out the different ways that different types of people interact with your business. For instance, if your business is popular with young people, they might interact mostly with e-commerce — older people might be partial to more brick and mortar stores.
Ask your existing customers for feedback
Before you decide to implement a new strategy, you need to consider what your customers are already thinking. You don’t want to change or remove a process that they enjoy, or expand on something they don’t. It’s a good idea to have your customers take a survey or submit input on your website. Consider the following questions when conducting a survey:
- How did they come across your brand?
- How do they prefer to interact with your brand?
- Would they recommend your brand to others?
- What are their frustrations when dealing with your business?
- Do they have any suggestions on how they could improve?
Another avenue to consider is reaching out to your customers on social media. Twitter can be a great tool to gather information for your customers. If you’re new to the platform, check out this SocialPilot guide to the best Twitter tools that will help you build stronger relationships with customers and collect information from them. There are a wide variety of tools that can help you optimize tweets, find the best hashtags, evaluate tweet success, and more.
Omniconvert also has an article that offers other ways to gather valuable customer feedback. Customer feedback is vital to your business — check out the suggestions and see how you can integrate new feedback loops into your process.
Make sure you’re providing plenty of touchpoints
Your customer will want to get to know you before they spend money with your business. Usually, they’ll be hitting multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. When evaluating and optimizing your customer journey, think about the different aspects of your brand they will interact with, such as social media, email marketing, and online or physical store locations.
Depending on your business, you could consider offering a free service, consultation, or test to help explain what you do and earn potential customer’s trust. Even if they don’t immediately make a purchase with your business, this will help them remember you, should they see your advertisements later.
For example, Hasbrook & Hasbrook is a personal injury attorney firm that offers a free case evaluation for individuals interested in their services. Their page has a spot to enter information and case details so prospective customers can get advice from a lawyer without commitment. This is a great way to get your name into your customer’s mind and begin to form a relationship with them.
Another great example is the different services provided through Wave Invoicing. Like many sites, they offer a variety of services for free, with various upgrades costing money. This is a great way to build trust with potential customers that could eventually convince them to spend money with you down the line as they decide they need more services.
Ensure it’s easy for customers to get in touch
Potential customers might want to contact your business at different parts of their journey. Depending on what they have questions about, they may contact you before, during, or after a purchase. You need to ensure that, every step of the way, there are easy ways for customers to get in touch with you.
Consider that different people like to contact your business in different ways. Younger people might prefer to use instant messaging or social media to contact you, while older people might prefer email or telephone.
One of the perks of instant messaging for customer service is that people can use it at any stage in their journey. Additionally, many customers find it helpful to get quick feedback on their issues. BrokerEngine, for instance, has a customer chat line that also provides information to the customer about how long it will take them to receive a response. This can help eliminate customer frustration.
Tipalti is another great example of a site with good customer service touchpoints. Their site highlights different ways to contact the business depending on the customer’s preferences and needs. This is an excellent example of the business keeping its entire customer base in mind.
If you’ve found that your customer service experience is proving to be a pain point for customers, or maybe you’re just looking to give your existing service a boost, check out Omniconvert’s article on leveling up your customer service game using live chat and email services. This will help you provide a consistent and supportive experience for your customers.
Don’t forget about mid-funnel customers
Think of your customer journey as a funnel. At the top of the funnel, you have pre-purchase customers that are learning about your brand — at the bottom of your funnel, you have customers making a purchase. But what about the customers in the in-between stages?
Customer awareness and customer purchases are not the only things you have to consider. Think about how you can build interest, desire, intent, and action over time. Here is a diagram outlining ways to reach customers at different stages in their journey with your business.
If you’re still unsure on how to target your customers that are floating in the mid-funnel range, check out Omniconvert’s guide to improving customer value. The customers with the most purchase potential lie in the middle of the funnel and this article provides strategies as to how you can target them.
Increase brand awareness with a strong SEO strategy
People are more likely to spend their money on brands they know and trust. So, how do you get your brand to the forefront of your customers’ minds? One way is by implementing an SEO strategy. By improving your brand’s visibility in search engines, customers will start to remember your name — even if they don’t purchase something from you immediately.
Consider creating content on your website that positions your company as an expert in your field. This will not only improve your SEO strategy but give your brand a sense of authority in your field. One example of a company getting this right is FreshBooks, which is a brand that specializes in accounting software. But, to attract potential customers and rank for relevant search terms, they also provide the likes of free invoicing templates. Their templates, in addition to their accolades in publications such as Forbes, CNN, and The New York Times, increase their authority as experts in their field and improve their brand awareness.
Another important aspect of improving your SEO strategy is by leveling up your keyword lists. Take a look at your SEO content (as well as your competitors) and find out where there are gaps in your keyword research. Start creating content based on these gaps, and your brand awareness will increase. If you’re new to keyword research, Loganix has a guide to building your SEO keyword lists that will help you get started.
Furthermore, you can improve your search engine rankings by creating high-quality infographics that will provide your customers with a lot of valuable information in an engaging way. If this is a concept that’s quite new to you, Venngage can walk you through how to create an infographic in 5 steps.
If you’re still at the beginning of your SEO journey, don’t worry. Omniconvert has a guide on how to improve your SEO ranking and enhance your customer experience. Check out this article for tips on content optimization, prioritizing the mobile shopping experience, making your store accessible, and more.
The most important thing you need to do when optimizing your customer journey is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If you were a potential client of your business, what steps would you take through your brand’s social media, website, or email campaign? What would drive you to pull the trigger and make a purchase? If you were having an issue, what customer support services would you seek out? These questions and more will help you optimize your customer journey.
For further reading, check out Omniconvert’s article on the customer journey map. There, you can map out your customer’s experience and learn how to improve it.
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Adam Steele is the Founder and COO at Loganix, an SEO fulfillment partner for agencies and marketers. We build easy to use SEO services that help businesses scale. If you liked this article, please check out our SEO guides and templates on the blog.