Customer journey mapping and its role in website creation

“Life is a journey, not a destination”. It sounds cliche, but it perfectly mirrors the intent behind a customer journey map. Better defined as a strategic process of communicating and capturing customer interactions, journey maps illustrate perceptions, processes, and needs based on the way customers interact with products and services on a website.

Done right, customer journey mapping makes your customers tick. The better you map out their path, the better chances you have to understand their behavior on your website from entry to exit point. Before getting started, perform a detailed buyer persona analysis of your ideal customers.

Aim at understanding who they are and what they’re looking for in order to build a journey map that piques their interest; motivates them to keep reading and ultimately, take some sort of action on your site.

Move on to transforming visitors into leads, and then leads into loyal customers. Content alignment and web design with the buyer personas in mind are the key ingredients of a successful customer journey map.

Role of customer journey mapping in web design & development

Following a meticulous buyer persona analysis of your audience, a customer journey map comes into play. The purpose is to obtain a holistic perspective of your customers’ behavior from the moment they enter your website to the moment they exit. When designing or redesigning a site, your customer journey map should focus on understanding the visitor on a human level.

Put yourself in their shoes and try to grasp what they would want to see on your homepage. Note that all journey maps are different. Usually, it’s up to the customer experience expert to identify customer pain points and gaps.

How do you create a customer journey map for your buyer persona?

In the following lines, we’ll craft a detailed step-by-step guide to help you create a journey map that shapes the needs and wants of your buyer personas.

Identify buyer personas

Assuming you have a business idea you truly believe in, the next step would be to create a website (or improve a current website design) for that business. Before getting started, you need to understand for whom. This is where buyer personas come into play.

Better known as iconic representations of your ideal customer, a buyer persona is a fictitious representation of someone looking to buy whatever you’re selling. Buyer personas are the go-to-market foundation of your marketing campaigns. To get started, you should check the sales history into your CRM, or management system; run a report of recent buys to get a general feel of how people interacted with your products.

Next, craft a list with 50-80 people and consult with your sales team (or you can do it yourself) to come up with a customer satisfaction survey.  Out of 80 people, expect an average of 15 to be responsive. Following this step, move on to identifying and characterizing 2 -3 buyer personas.

You can automate your buyer persona identification process by using tools like Google Analytics and CrazyEgg. These tools can show you where people click on a site, what pages they frequent and where they expect to find information.

Draft your ideal customer journey map – custom-made

You website’s homepage is your “business card”. It’s the first page prospects and customers see when accessing your website. How do you make it stand out? It depends on what you’re selling. Standard features for your homepage menu may include elements such as:

  • Home
  • Services
  • Team/Careers
  • Projects
  • About us
  • Blog/News/ Case studies

However, you should make the journey relevant to your target audience. Look beyond standard elements mentioned above, and customize website elements (e.g. top menu, footer, header) according to your customer journey map.

Implement new website elements based on persona behavior on your site

At this point, you should have buyer personas and the main Homepage page clearly defined. The next step is to test to see what works and what doesn’t. Tackle pain points through evaluation. Use Google Analytics to see which of your pages perform best and make improvements as needed. For example, you may realize that your target audience is more interested in reading cases studies rather than blog articles. If that’s the case, maybe you should build a “Case studies” page separately.

Other elements you should be considering are CTAs to facilitate a user’s journey through your website. What do you want a customer to do after reading an article on your blog? A CTA pointing the reader in the right direction preserving interest, increasing awareness, and driving action.

The end goal: integrate website elements based on persona behavior on your website. This will help you craft relevant, customer-oriented journey maps. Take a look at how we do customer journey maps.

Every journey map is different. The key is to understand your persona really well before getting started. This way, you’ll be able to take a prospect in the awareness stage on a really engaging consideration journey on your website. “The goal of the customer journey map is really to get a holistic view of what the customer is going through from their point of view and really what it’s like for them on a personal level, that human level.”  Kerry Bodine

Takeaway: Your end goal is not to create a customer journey map. The key is to draw relevant conclusions that can help you improve user experience. Focus on aspects of your website that need immediate improvements. Patch the holes, tighten the screws and look for areas where satisfaction levels can be improved. Last but not least, don’t forget that customer journey mapping is a continuous process. Treat it as a monitoring tool for identifying development and improvement opportunities.

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