It can be challenging to identify your customers’ needs throughout their journey with your brand. However, it’s critical to support your customer through this journey to ensure a positive buyer experience. 

The customer experience is a make-or-break way to stand out from the competition. In a time where customers can get their products from a plethora of brands, how you progress them on their journey will be a determining factor in whether they purchase from you… or someone else. In fact, 80% of consumers in one Salesforce survey said that the experience a business provides is just as important as their services and products. 

Customer lifecycle journey mapping can help give you an overall picture of the buyer experience. The right map of the customer journey allows you to visualize what a customer wants and needs along each step of the process.

If you are unsure where to begin, read on to learn more about customer journey mapping, how it can benefit your business, and the steps to create an effective map. 

What is Customer Lifecycle Journey Mapping? 

A customer lifecycle journey map is a visual representation of the ideal path that a consumer will take as they interact with a brand along their way toward becoming a loyal, lasting customer. It is a diagram that offers a high-level view of the stages a customer goes through, starting from before they become a customer to after they leave a brand.

A customer journey map does not end with a purchase or onboarding. Instead, it also identifies critical stages within the customer lifecycle so that you can find ways to increase engagement and maximize your revenue. A customer journey map is not only reveals ways to attract new buyers, but it guides you toward making the most of the business opportunities you already have. 

Why Your Business Should Create a Customer Lifecycle Journey Map 

Companies can enhance their customer’s experience and increase repeat business through optimized operations. A customer journey map provides valuable insights that enable companies to concentrate on effective processes and policies. It can help maximize business in multiple ways, including:

Learning more about your target audience 

A customer journey map can help you answer critical questions about your target audience, including: Who is your customer? And: Where are your customers coming from? 

The answers to these questions can help you distinguish where your customers are coming from and what they want to hear from your brand. For example, what brought your customers to your website? Did they arrive via social media, paid advertising, organic search, or email? What’s more, your map can include insights about which devices your audience use and which promotional campaigns get the most results.

Improve the customer experience 

A customer journey map will reveal key insights into the buyer experience, enabling your business to be more proactive in delivering positive experiences. A poor cookie-cutter experience not uniquely tailored to your customer could be driving away more people than you think: 59% of consumers will walk away after several bad experiences, and 17% will leave a brand after just one.

A map lets you know where and how to meet the needs of your prospects and loyal customers. That way, you can ensure you’re providing the level of service they need for a positive experience. 

Optimize inbound marketing efficiency 

Effective marketing means concentrating on qualified leads. Unqualified leads will waste both time and money. A customer journey map will give you the information you need to create more qualified leads by helping you identify who is right for your brand. This gives you more insight into not only where your customers are but who they are as individuals.

You can also leverage your customer journey map to more effectively use inbound marketing. A map of the customer journey helps you see what draws inbound leads to your website and how to leverage these opportunities. 

Drive repeat business 

New business is critical, but repeat business is vital to a company’s profitability. Loyalty is a critical factor for buyer purchases. In some cases, it is even more important than price. In fact, 56% of consumers in one survey stated that they would spend more on a brand they are loyal to, even if there is a cheaper option elsewhere. 

Companies drive repeat business when they create a positive customer experience. By reaching out to buyers during critical lifecycle stages of their journey, such as when they are likely to purchase again, they drive profitable repeat business.

5 Steps for Creating a Customer Lifecycle Journey Map 

Now that we’ve established what a customer journey map is and why it is critical, here are the steps to creating your own map:

1. Define your target audience 

First, it is vital to understand who your customer is, where you can find them, and what unfulfilled needs are driving them to find your product or service. Creating a customer persona will help you define your target audience. Some characteristics to define include:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Job Role
  • Preferred social media sites
  • Family Status
  • Professional goals
  • Personal goals

You can get these insights by looking at your demographic data and interviewing customers. Some questions you might want to ask customers to guide your map-making process include:

  • How did you hear about our business?
  • What attracted you to our site?
  • What problem were you trying to solve or what goals did you want to achieve with our brand?
  • How much time do you spend on our website? How easy was it to navigate?
  • Did you require customer support? How helpful was it?
  • Are there ways to support you to make the process faster or easier? 

2. Choose what to map 

Decide which parts of the customer journey to map and create a behavior line from there. A behavior line describes what your customer does on their journey. For example, do they Google search information related to your business? Or find your company through social media? The behavior line will illustrate each action they take in their journey to becoming a paying customer.

You might decide to map a new customer journey, the process of fixing a product issue, or the process of a renewal. You could start with your most profitable journey, the most common one, or the journey that seems to break down most frequently. 

3. Identify the elements you will include in your map 

Identify all of the actions that a buyer performs during their interactions with your brand. This includes activities like performing a Google search or clicking on an email. Also, consider the emotional drivers behind their actions. Their emotions could change through the journey. For example, a business may start their search overwhelmed because they don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to 1:1 marketing. As they get closer to finding an automated solution for personalization, they become relieved or excited as they realize there is a more efficient way to streamline their efforts.

Also, highlight any obstacles or pain points your customer might face. When you know the roadblocks in your customer’s journey, you can take steps to mitigate those obstacles. For example, you can provide a FAQ page for their questions or send an informational email after a customer purchase to walk them through using your solution or product.

4. Add touch points along the way 

The touchpoints are the places on your site where customers interact with you. Research all the touchpoints where your leads reach out to you, plus ones you think they should be using.

Also, keep in mind other ways customers find you online, such as social channels, email marketing, paid ads, or third-party sites. Do a Google search of your brand to see where you are mentioned online. 

5. Adjust and optimize for improvements 

Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey, analyze the results. Look for ways to better support customers and make the process easier. The customer journey map can show you where your buyer’s needs aren’t being met. When you approach your map with a critical eye, you will create a better customer experience and concentrate your energy where it is most valuable.

Try out your map for each of your personas and follow the journey to your website. By taking the journey yourself, you can get a sense of what the experience is like for your customer. You can then make adjustments and changes directly linked with the customer pain points.  

Harness the Benefits of Customer Lifecycle Journey Mapping 

Customer lifecycle journey mapping can give you better insights into what it means to be your brand’s buyer. You can create more effective processes that meet your prospects and customers where they are to provide them with a better customer experience. 

However, customer lifecycle marketing can be a long and hands-on journey. It requires immense time and resources to ensure that your brand provides a seamless experience for customers. The Emarsys customer engagement platform streamlines this process and offers all of the information your marketing team needs in one convenient location. Our platform allows you to create a personalized experience that leads to more sales and happier customers.

Request a free 3 minute demo today and see how we can help you.