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The Power of a Digital Customer Journey Map

In any business, you want to prioritize the customer experience. That experience often starts before someone decides to make a purchase and doesn’t end when the transaction is completed. Seeing the whole picture is essential in order to improve the customer experience (CX).

The customer experience (CX) is critical to bottom-line growth. According to research from CX Index, a positive CX alone drives over two-thirds of loyalty—more than price and brand combined. One of the most effective ways to determine how to improve people’s interaction with a brand is by examining the digital customer journey map. 

Digital marketers today need a firm understanding of digital customer journey mapping, including what it is, why it matters, and how to best use it in their overall digital marketing strategy. 

What Is a Digital Customer Journey Map?

First, it’s important to understand what a digital customer journey is. It refers to the steps that the modern consumer takes on their path to conversion, including every touchpoint from engagement and awareness to post-purchase behavior.

Traditionally, the customer journey followed a linear path of: exposure to an advertisement on TV or radio, a customer visiting a brick-and-mortar store, followed by them making a purchase. In today’s world, the experience is vastly different as a result of technology:

Digital marketers must ensure they’re viewing the customer journey through the digital lens as well. One way to do that is with a digital customer journey map—a visual representation of the experience that also provides insight into the customer needs and potential factors that directly or indirectly impact their needs and behaviors. 

The 5 Stages of a Digital Customer Journey 

Every path to purchase will be different, but at some point, all customers will go through these stages to some degree:

1. Awareness

The consumer starts the research process after determining that they have a need for a product or service. Oftentimes, they will turn to the internet to further their research and consume various forms of educational content. During this stage, you want to put your company’s name on their radar through ads or relevant content that may address the customer’s needs.

2. Consideration

The consumer enters this stage after conducting research and beginning to compare different solutions for whatever need they might have. Ideally, they will look at your company as a viable option. To help them reach a decision, this phase may involve visiting your website again, attending a webinar, or requesting a free trial. 

3. Purchase

They’ve made a decision and completed a purchase from your company. This phase is critical to overall CX because it will influence future behavior. The purchase process needs to be as seamless and easy as possible.

4. Retention

Once the shopper has become your buyer, it is time to nurture that relationship in order to earn their loyalty. During this phase, it’s important to look at opportunities for future purchases, leveraging analytics and offering loyalty incentives such as reward points.

5. Advocacy

Now it’s time to turn your buyer into your brand’s advocate. After establishing trust and a connection, your customer is more likely to make a purchase in the future as well as recommend your product to others through customer-generated content (word-of-mouth referrals, reviews, and other endorsements).

To successfully move a customer through this journey, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and overall experiences. A journey map makes this possible.

Why Is a Digital Customer Journey Map Important? 

In order for a business to remain competitive, it must adapt to changing customer behavior. Today’s customers have access to more information (and more options) than ever before. It’s made them more empowered but also more demanding. Your business must ensure you are offering an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint.

Digital customer journey mapping allows you to:

  • Walk in your customer’s shoes 
  • Make more informed decisions on content creation and content marketing
  • Identify gaps in the existing experience (and make efforts to fill them)
  • Gain valuable insight into customers’ wants, needs, feelings, actions, and aspirations
  • Use data to predict and influence how customers will behave

How Do You Create a Digital Customer Journey Map? 

When you map out a customer’s digital journey, you are outlining every possible opportunity that you have to connect with that client. Knowing more about each touchpoint allows you to craft targeted engagement strategies on the right platforms. 

Here are the general steps to follow in creating your own map: 

1)Set objectives for the map

2)Conduct research to create buyer personas 

3)List out all customer touchpoints (website, paid ads, social media, blog, etc.)

4)List out the most common actions your customers make at each step

5)Determine the resources you have and the ones you need at each touchpoint 

6)Go through the journey yourself and analyze the results 

Dive deeper into the process of creating digital customer journey maps with an online Master of Digital Marketing degree program  or an online Digital Marketing and Analytics certificate from Wake Forest University’s School of Professional Studies. 

Learn more today.