Discover why you should map your customers’ buying journey and follow our five steps to mapping a journey for your business.

Wouldn’t it be great if all it took for a lead to become a loyal customer were three simple steps – see product, buy product, use product. Repeat. Bliss! No more need for marketing strategies, huge budgets to cover all your advertising bases or complex sales funnels that give you vertigo every time you look at them. Alas, your leads journey to becoming a loyal repeat-customer is complex. We would love for it to be a straight shot down the highway, but it’s a road trip filled with shady pit stops, enticing detours and other roadtrippers.

Google was one of the firsts to recognise the complexity and importance of the customer journey, so in 2011 Google set out to study and map it. They took 5000 shoppers and analysed how they shopped across a wide variety of categories – from car sales to groceries. They wanted to understand how customers go from being undecided about a product to actually purchasing the product, testing the old marketing formula that said customers did this in three stages:

  1. Stimulus – customer sees your ad on TV, read about you in a magazine or see a billboard about you.
  2. First moment of truth – customer sees your product in-store and makes the purchase.
  3. Second moment of truth – customer takes the product home, experiences it and tells their friends about it.

The study revealed what Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth – scientific evidence of people spending time considering to purchase a product. More interestingly, the study also revealed that the average customer consulted no less than 10 sources before making a purchase decision –  blogs, friends’ opinions, reviews, videos, podcasts to name a few. Ten sources at least! It’s incredible. For any business without the marketing budget of Coca Cola, it’s almost impossible to ensure you have a curated crafted message at every single consideration point that your customer is going to encounter. That’s why it’s vital for businesses to map their customer journey and decide: where do we need to be, what content do we need to create, how do we position ourselves, our product, our brand, and how do we convert people?

The study revealed what Google calls the Zero Moment of Truth – scientific evidence of people spending time considering to purchase a product.

Step 1: Business goals + customer goals = sweet spot

Write down your business goals. Let’s say you have a new psychology practice and your goal is to secure at least 20 clients who suffer from depression because that’s what you specialise in.

Your customers want to learn how to manage their depression without relying on prescription medication.

Every piece of marketing material you produce to complement a step in your customer journey needs to feed your business goal and help your customer reach theirs.

Aerial view of business data analysis graph

Step 2: Identify all of the communication touchpoints in your customer’s journey
Make a list of all the communication touch points you have with your clients – email newsletters, Facebook ads, podcasts, website banners, purchase confirmation emails et cetera.

Once you have the list, start dividing these touchpoints into three phases:

  • Phase 1: Touchpoints that happen before a purchase
  • Phase 2: Touchpoints that happen during a purchase
  • Phase 3: Touchpoints that happen after a purchase

You’ve essentially created a rudimentary sales funnel. Take some time to add any touchpoints you’ve forgotten. It’s also worth noting where your funnel is looking a little light on touchpoints and make filling those part of your longer term marketing goals.

Finally, look at the touchpoints that drive the business goals you listed in step 1. These are the touchpoints you should prioritise, implement or fix first.

Step 3: Recognize pain points and moments of delight

Make a list of any pain points that disrupt your customer’s journey during these phases as well as moments that customers are happy with. (If there are systems or specific people involved at certain points, make a note.)
Let’s use our psychology practice as an example again. Is the information on your website simple to understand or does it contain convoluted medical terms that the average consumer won’t understand? Once they’ve found what they’re looking for, they’ll most probably phone your practice to make an appointment. How knowledgeable is your receptionist about your services and do they have empathy with people who suffer from depression? Is dealing with the medical aid claim after the appointment adding stress to the process?

Step 4: Experience the customer journey yourself

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and take the journey yourself.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and take the journey yourself. If you own a digital business, open your browser and see how difficult or easy it is to purchase a product. If you have a brick and mortar store, follow the steps a client would take in your space. If you’re worried about objectivity, recruit someone neutral to go through the process and report back.

Step 5: Visualize your customer journey map

Put your customer journey on paper. It will make it official and give your team some goals to rally around.

If you’ve never mapped your business’s customer journey before, you’ll be amazed at how much it reveals about your business and, most importantly, your customer. The customer journey is also the start of setting up your sales funnel, something our Facebook Marketing Mastery covers in detail. After all, we can’t sell our products to people if we don’t know how they buy.


About the Author:

Niel has worked with and studied some of the top sales and marketing professionals in the world like Jay Abraham (the USA’s highest paid marketing consultant) and Tony Robbins (the well-known personal development guru.)