By Jowanna Daley
How to create and use a customer journey map.
One of the biggest struggles for most startups is knowing how to market effectively. If that’s a challenge your business is facing, a customer journey map can help. It will allow you to empathize with your clients and spot opportunities to enhance their experience with your brand, thus leading to a higher acquisition and retention rate.
Overall, a customer journey map is a business tool that allows you to visualize how your client might go through the buying process. It can be intimidating because it is created and used by hardcore marketers. However, having a customer journey map in your toolbox can help you create a path from client awareness to delight! (Is it perception and perspective.) It can give you the flow you are looking for to connect the pieces of your business, and it helps with customer acquisition and retention. Best of all, it supports customer-focused business modeling.
Understanding your clients’ thoughts, emotions, and inspiration helps you devise campaign assets that speak not only their language but also to their hearts. A customer journey map allows you to visualize opportunities to remove hiccups from your process, which will enable you to attract, convert, and delight your consumers.
However, a customer journey map is not a “one-and-done” activity. It is a continual learning process. Having a feedback mechanism throughout your buying cycle allows you to get early feedback and proactively improve your client’s experience.
Creating a customer journey map is walking in your client’s shoes, and it provides an empathetic perspective. You find out information about their:
- Pain Points
- Thoughts and Feelings
And there are many other benefits! The customer journey map can help with the following:
Grow Your Business
Business growth requires retention and new customers. Your customer journey map allows you to attract customers and motivate existing customers to act as ambassadors for referrals to your company.
Your customer journey map will show opportunities and gaps. It will generate creative marketing campaigns and solutions that draw clients—and that’s no surprise since it’s based on their wants and needs.
Continually Stay in Touch With Your Clients
Your customer journey map is based on continual communication with your client base. People want to know that you care. As you experience the benefits of an empathetic approach to marketing your business, you’ll look forward to those genuine engagements with clients.
Addressing the Challenges of Customer Jurney Maps
Customer journey maps are usually built with big (expensive) teams, using gnarly marketing terms. So yes, it has its challenges for a solopreneur with a limited budget. It’s easy to get tangled in a weave of information, losing the reason why you engaged in building one in the first place. Moreover, when you first start your life coach business, you may not have the insight to know your marketing model or have the model to run expensive studies. However, you can conduct research or get insights from the ideal people interested in similar services.
The data from a full-blown customer journey map can be overwhelming, especially if you put multiple products or services and personas on it. You can minimize the confusion by only journeying one client and service at a time. Finally, your map is a visual representation of data gathering, analysis, and conclusion. Each step includes its own set of activities. If you have no research or customer data, this process can take two weeks or more. It’s definitely time-consuming, so be prepared!
How to Make a Map
Making a customer journey map is actually straightforward. The work is in the process. Luckily some professionals can either walk you through the process or create the journey map for you. Here is a list of the steps to familiarize you with the mapping process:
#1 Determine Scope
You can get lost in a sea of information. Have a SMART objective and keep the scope to one service or product at a time.
#2 Define your Persona
You more than likely have more than one type of buyer that behaves differently and have diverse reasons to purchase. Using one customer journey map per persona will keep you focused and minimize confusion.
#3 Step into Your Client’s Shoes
Walking in your persona’s shoes means you will explore their experience with a beginner’s mind. Make no assumptions and uncover the endless possibilities. There are various tools [https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/design-thinking-getting-started-with-empathy] you can use to complete research. You want to collect information for each step of the journey. This include:
- Customer goal and activity.
- The touchpoints [https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/identify-customer-touchpoints/] (the different times in the process that your brand interacts with the customer).
- The customer’s experience with your brand.
#4 Create Your Map Your Journey Phases
go across the top (for example, awareness, consideration, and conversion), and the data such as customer pains, touchpoints, and activity, are listed vertically). Then add the identified business opportunities, goals, and activities to your map as they relate to the items you have listed.
The overall visualization created by the customer journey map allows you to spot opportunities, and then develop a concise and effective marketing plan. And remember, if planning the route becomes difficult, there are business coaches and consultants that can help you map the journey. Happy travels.
February Considerations for Your Content Calendar
February is the month to celebrate plenty of different themes. Two of the most popular events are black history month (in the United States) and love (worldwide). This month we highlight the top hashtag awareness days in February. Many of these daily observations have month and week-long observances you can tie in with the day, but remember these are only a fraction of the holidays that can fill up your marketing calendar. Use them to inspire content and offers that ignite excitement throughout your online and offline groups.
- African American Coaches Day. This holiday celebrates and offers support to African American coaches in the United States. It’s also a perfect day to highlight the benefits of life and business coaching in this community.
- Freedom Day. February 1 celebrates freedom from slavery in the United States and is a symbol of liberty. It’s a good day to remind your audience to free themselves from limiting beliefs.
- National Get Up Day. This holiday celebrates perseverance. Enlighten your clients on practicing resilience and not let a setback stop them.
- National Girls & Women in Sports Day. This empowerment day is also perfect for promoting health and wellness in this population.
- National Women’s Physician Day. Our healthcare workers deserve TLC. This is a perfect holiday to highlight what they are going through and honor their sacrifices.
- Facebook’s Birthday. Is there a better day to go “live” or announce what you have planned for your audience and clients for the year?
- Thank Your Mailman Day. If you are in the United States (and perhaps around the world), you are aware of what a nightmare it has been for the mail personnel during the Covid pandemic. Take a moment to thank them for their service. It’s a way to help your clients improve their mental wellness with gratitude.
- National Play Outside Day. Health coaches should rally around National Play Outside Day. This is a day to encourage people to put down their devices and enjoy outside physical activities.
- International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. Empower young girls worldwide by speaking out against a very debilitating and dehumanizing experience—female genital mutilation. This may not be a topic for all, but if you are a female empowerment coach, it’s an intriguing topic and certainly one where you can make a difference by advocating against this painful practice.
- National Send a Card to a Friend Day. February is the month for relationships, and relationship coaches can help their clients appreciate those around them with this fun holiday.
- Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day. You can encourage improved relationships with your client with this holiday. Continue to leverage this love month to help your clients better their relationships.
- Laugh and Get Rich Day. This is a fun holiday to promote mental wellness through laughter. Help people relieve everyday stressors with a big hearty laugh and spreading kindness.
- Safer Internet Day. You can take the love, liberation, and relationship topics for the month and highlight how to use the Internet responsibly.
- Read in the Bathtub Day. This is a favorite for wellness coaches. Promote self-care on Read in the Bathtub Day.
- Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day. This holiday can be appreciated by almost any type of life coach. It is a holiday where you can promote resilience. Still, don’t forget to practice empathy and validate your client’s feelings.
- Make a Friend Day. You can align this holiday with other themes in the month to help people recognize healthy relationships. You can teach people how to use digital technology to make new friends.
- Flip-Flop Day. Though it did not initially start as a day to celebrate wearing flip-flops, it is now a day to promote self-care and spend time with loved ones—whether on the beach or at a spa.
- Galentine’s Day. This is a cute holiday to celebrate female friendships. It continues the relationship team theme for the month.
- Madly In Love With Me Day or Self-Love Day. With all the hype about significant others, this vital holiday promotes self-love. After all, how can we have a relationship with anyone if we don’t love and care for ourselves first?
- Valentine’s Day. February 14 is a day built for relationship coaches (especially those who deal with romantic relationships). It’s a great day for great content or market an upcoming workshop.
- World Marriage Day. If you are not a fan of Valentine’s Day, you can share the responsibilities of being in a committed relationship with World Marriage Day; you can also tie in not losing yourself or forgetting about friends. The possibilities and creativity with this holiday are boundless.
- Do a Grouch a Favor. Kindness can turn a person’s bad day around. Promote empathy in your community by giving your audience ideas to be kind (even if the person is seemingly a grouch).
- My Way Day. This is a perfect day for people to do what they want. If you are a Life Purpose life coach, use this holiday to use a quiz, webinar, or Facebook Live to get leads for an upcoming life purpose group or offer.
- Random Act of Kindness Day. Another way to show love is through kindness, hence why this topic is prevalent in February. As the name suggests, this holiday is one to continue promoting kindness in your community.
- World Social Justice Day. Another theme in the month is social justice. You can use this day to let your audience inside your heart and share causes important to you. If you donate to an important cause, let it be known. Let your community see your humanity.
- Family Day. All can celebrate this Canadian holiday. Use it to highlight the importance of family bonding. Promote a turn off the devices day and encourage your audience to spend time with their family.
Jowanna is a business and personal coach, consultant, freelance blogger, and personal brand photographer. Jowanna uses her 20-plus years of business, information technology, business analysis, and project management experience to serve solopreneurs, microbusinesses, and professionals through consulting, coaching, training, and workshops. She is also a freelance blogger who serves corporate and non-corporate clients. Visit her website at https://www.jowannadaley.com/about/.