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Customer journey optimization is the process of mapping and connecting customer interactions with your brand across multiple touchpoints. The end goal is to improve their overall experience so that it leads to more conversions and boosts customer loyalty and retention. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a complete look at customer journey optimization and show you 3 ways to optimize your own customer’s journeys.

5 steps of the customer journey Graphics
5 steps of the customer journey.

Your customer is the hero. Their journey spans multiple channels and touchpoints ranging from your website to social media and from desktops to mobiles. What you need is for it to be consistent and personalized.

Essentially, your customer’s journey is their relationship with your brand. Typically it will progress across five stages, each of which will involve numerous interactions:

  • Awareness - This is a prospect's initial interaction with your brand and may come about thanks to a Google search, a user review, or a Facebook ad. 
  • Evaluation - During this stage of the customer journey the prospect will start to weigh up their options, perhaps via customer reviews, product reviews and so on, and see how you fare versus your competitors.
  • Acquisition - Once a prospect has considered the alternatives and decided that you’re their preferred option, the third stage is the sale. However, while this may seem like the end goal, it isn’t. There are more stages. 
  • Retention - Customer retention should be the ultimate goal for all businesses, and it’s the crucial fourth stage of the customer service journey. 
  • Advocacy - Lastly, customer advocacy is a bonus fifth stage that will help you get even more customers. 

So, all being said, how do you go about optimizing your hero’s journey across all the five stages? 

1. Customer Journey Mapping

A customer journey map (we think this could be called a hero journey map but the common term is a customer) visually represents the customer journey, giving you a detailed picture of how they interact with your brand at various touchpoints. 

Customer journey mapping makes it easier to: 

Understand Your Customers 

Customer journey mapping allows you to understand customer behavior because it shows you how they interact with and experience your brand. This puts you in a stronger position to make improvements on the path to purchase so that you’re able to tap into their motivations, needs, and desires at each specific point on their journey. 

Identify Gaps in Their Journey 

It may well be that specific channels aren’t adding anything to the customer experience. In fact, they may even be detracting something away from the experience to the point where the customer gets frustrated and loses interest in your brand. 

Related Read: How To Remove Friction From Your User Journey

Create Tailored Content

As this report by IDG Connect shows, 64% of marketers admit that creating relevant content is one of their biggest pain points. 

Customers will engage with your brand and make more purchases if they understand what they’re getting from you. In other words, they need key information that helps them make up their minds. 

Via a customer journey map, you can deliver data-driven content that’s highly targeted and relevant to your hero.

Related Read: 10 Best Customer Engagement Platforms To Foster Brand Loyalty

2. Audience Segmentation

Your brand will cater to a number of different buyer personas. In order to target them, it’s really important that you adopt an audience segmentation strategy.

What does this mean? 

First off you start by capturing and storing customer data gathered from your various channels. Tools such as a customer intelligence platform can help streamline this process.

Then, you need to analyze the data to create your segments (either manually or with specialized customer segmentation software). This will then allow you to build more accurate buyer personas of your customers that are based on a set of shared attributes. In other words, who are they, and what motivates them?

Next, you can create a customer journey map for each separate buyer persona. This should look like a flowchart and, as mentioned earlier, should be a visual representation of their journey, including what channels they use, how they use them, and what actions they take (and when). 

Once you’ve done all that, you can then build experiences around each map, optimizing messages and communications so that they’re tailored to each segment. 

3. Attack the Entire Funnel 

Remember, there are five stages in our hero’s journey and each one holds value.

Where I see a lot of brands fall down is that they fail to engage the customer as they compare and contrast during the evaluation stage. 

This is important to note because it’s in the middle of the funnel that a lot of prospects vanish. It’s okay to attack the top of the funnel, but you need to remember that there are many touchpoints to cover and that it’s often a long time before a prospect is ready to make a purchase. 

As such, you’ll need to work hard at becoming their confidante—their trusted guide who walks them through this journey. During the evaluation stage, you can put your arm around them with in-depth blog posts, case studies, live chat, and more as you demonstrate to them that you’re the expert who’s got what they need. 

This is far better than leaving them to it and hoping that they somehow manage to make sense of all that’s thrown at them by various brands.

They’ll want assistance—so give it to them, for example via live chat customer support.

They’ll want a personalized experience that makes them feel special and valued—so give it to them via tailored content and ads that directly address them and their needs. 

They’ll want helpful content, too—so give it to them via educational blog posts and case studies that help to establish trust in your brand, while at the same time giving them all the resources and information they need to continue their purchase journey. 

Related Read: Types Of Customer Experience Management Software

Next Steps 

Customer journey optimization can sound like a lot of work at first and, being honest, it is. 

The good news, however, is that there’s a galaxy of tools available to help you do it. As a next step, you might want to check out the following articles:

If you have any questions or insights, reach out in the comments below.

Michelle Deery
By Michelle Deery

Michelle Deery is a content writer with over 8 years of experience. She specializes in writing content for SaaS companies. The words she writes convert readers into paying customers. Learn more at her website and connect with her on Twitter @MichWriting.