Why You Need a Customer Journey Map.

Nov 07, 2022

“Customer journey map” is one of those buzz phrases I’m sure you’ve heard tossed around a lot.

But it’s an important phrase to know about. When done correctly, a customer journey map will guide your biggest and most basic business decisions, it will clarify your vision, and it will bring unity to your team.

The work of putting together a customer journey map is no joke, though I’ll guide you through the process in this Customer Journey Map Series, but for now we’re just going to talk about why it’s so important.

There are three core reasons that should serve as your motivation for having a customer journey map.

A customer journey map makes it clear who you’re selling to.

It also means being okay with the fact that you can’t appeal to everyone. And you shouldn’t want to appeal to everyone, anyway. Watering down your message so you can have mass appeal means tanking sales and no true brand vision … and that’s a recipe for business disaster.

When your customer journey map is on lock, it brings these things into focus about your ideal customer:

  1. Their pain points – AKA why what you’re selling is the answer to their troubles
  2. Their motivations – AKA the reason they’re considering purchasing from you in the first place
  3. Their emotions – AKA all the inner brain work that goes into the lead up of the customer reaching out to you

It’s worth noting, too, that when you keep these things in the forefront of your mind, you’re going to waste less time and money on product development because you’ll know what your customer needs.

white tennis shoes on beige tile

A customer journey map means you can focus on inbound marketing (which will save money).

First, a quick refresher on what inbound marketing is versus outbound marketing.

Inbound Marketing means creating content and experiences that attract your ideal customers. Customers find you when they need you.

Outbound Marketing is what 99% of marketing is today – it’s sending your messaging out to customers via advertisements (or other methods) in the hopes that interrupting what the customer is doing will spark a sale (or call, or signup, etc.). You find the customer and hope they become an actual customer.

Take a guess right now which of these two methods of marketing is more costly.

If you guessed outbound marketing, you would win a gold star. And yet most businesses focus their marketing budget on outbound marketing in the hopes of convincing a cold prospect that they’re the best choice.

This would be like walking up to a random person at your local grocery store and asking them to marry you. You’ve interrupted their current task and immediately jumped to your “conversion” without any warm up, and without demonstrating at all why you’re qualified, what value you’d bring to the relationship, or even what the two of you have in common that could serve as your foundation for a relationship.

On the other hand, when a business focuses on creating content and experiences that they know will benefit their ideal customer, they put into place a foundation that’s ready and waiting for the right time – when the customer is ready.

This type of marketing is more affordable because typically it revolves around promoting content pieces versus conversion funnels.

It also opens the door to exposing your content to niche audiences, or other pools of potential customers, because it’s a smaller “ask” – asking someone who is new to you to simply read an article on a topic they’re already interested in is way easier than asking them to purchase from you.

You can customize the content and experiences based on the touchpoints of your customer journey map – which means you can market to people who are at different areas on the journey, with things that are tailored just for them.

camembert cheese and knife on cutting board. flat lay, top view

As an example, let’s imagine you have a business that specializes in cheeses and cheese boards. Yum!

You could spend all your time posting and promoting images of cheese boards, or artfully arranged cheeses with captions like “let me help your next party be amazing!” and hope the customer would put everything together on their own.

Or you could structure inbound marketing this way:

  1. Create website content that informs the consumer. Topic ideas – “the differences between grocery-store cheese & specialty-store cheese”, “how to understand cheese pricing”, or “Best finger cheeses for a birthday party”. Share and promote the posts on Facebook and Pinterest for a few dollars a day. 
  2. Create a useful opt-in a potential customer would want to have prior to purchasing from you. An example could be “How to Build a Cheese Board” with a 10-point checklist of things a customer should know. Keep it branded with a very small promotional blurb in the footer. Share and promote on Facebook and Pinterest, and embed on content pages created in the prior step. 
  3. Have a portfolio on site that features examples of professional work. Include an embedded opt-in or contact form that enables the customer to get more information on every single portfolio item
  4. Send new subscribers through an automation that warms them up to your business. This can be 5-6 emails long and should cover points like why the business began, what the business does, testimonials from happy clients, etc. The automation should culminate in an offer like a discount or a free phone consult. The automation should also send readers to specific places on the website that will help them take that next step (for example, the testimonials email should link to applicable portfolio items that have an embedded contact form where the customer can get more information on how they could purchase a similar cheese board.

You can see in this example that Inbound Marketing takes forethought – it takes having a customer journey map in place so you can get ahead of all the places a customer will go on their way to finally making a purchase.

But it means less money thrown down the proverbial drain of cold prospecting because instead you’re working on increasing your authority. And that makes it worth it.

A customer journey map means your whole team, at every level, is aligned on the main goal.

Everyone – from employees to contractors, at every organizational level – should know what the ultimate goal of your company is and how the customer achieves it.

The main reason this point is so important is having everyone aligned on a goal gives everyone a reason to “buy in” to your concept – it means employees and contractors have a reason for believing in the WHY behind the company that goes beyond collecting their paycheck.

When your employees strongly believe in what they’re selling, it makes their jobs easier. It also unlocks creativity, promotes collaboration and troubleshooting across teams – and that means better customer experience at every level.

This can also lead to better employee retention, which will save costs over time.

Your business needs a customer journey map, no matter how big or small it is.

I hope you’re feeling pretty convinced at this point as to why having a customer journey map can seriously help your business.

My final point is that it doesn’t really matter how big or small your business is – you should have a map. Even if you’re the only employee, you still need to know how your clients get to you and what you’d like them to do once they’ve discovered you.


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