By analyzing the path customers take from first click through purchase, you can uncover tremendous opportunities to improve your clients’ campaigns and ROI. Guest blogger Alan Brocious shares his step-by-step process on mapping the customer journey to conversion.
Consumers have multiple options to purchase products and services offline and online. With a smartphone, tablet or desktop, they can research products, read reviews and compare prices all without talking to a salesperson. Companies need to understand how consumers make purchase decisions through the data available. Without that insight, without understanding the customer’s journey to conversion, it is impossible to address issues and improve the customer experience to earn that sale.
Taking the Customer Journey Step-By-Step
At Exigo Digital, we’ll thoroughly examine the customer journey to conversions for our clients, typically toward the beginning of a campaign so we maximize our learnings. If a client has a particularly complex campaign, we might even revisit the process.
Depending upon the campaign goal, we’ll determine a segment of the audience to track. If a campaign is focused directly on a specific demographic, for instance women between the ages of 24-30 that also like to reach about travel /leisure, we’ll segment the data in Google Analytics to see if we are having the desired effect. In other campaigns that might be focused on new customers, we’ll break down data into new visitors that have come back over the space of week or two, then apply a specific demographic target.
Here’s how Exigo Digital approaches this challenging but worthwhile exercise:
- List out all your marketing and advertising efforts (digital, print, etc.) combined with the calls to action.
- Determine which marketing effort points at a specific microsite, designed landing page, or some other page within your website. Do that for all the campaigns.
- It’s ok to go “old school” – we use large post-it notes or 3×5 cards and organize them by “medium”. This way can see how consumers begin and the beginning is always the best place to start.
- Prepare a reporting foundation that will make the data actionable and tell a story.
- Using Google Analytics, we follow the clicks, and in doing so follow what the customer does. What was the referring site, the email subject, the ad/keyword that brought them to your client’s site and what was the landing page?
- On an index card we write down what pages the customer visited next. We keep drilling down until we start to see a pattern. For instance, do they use a call to action or navigation?
- After we’ve established a possible path and customer type we create Google Analytics Events on the pages. It’s been our experience creating Events first makes them meaningless unless you have the data. If you have an educated idea, you can focus the Events, test your hypothesis and effectively map the customer journey.
- Get ready to create your reporting and customer journey. Start by identifying the key elements in Google Analytics that will help you tell the story.
- Understand that the journey will not be a straight line or only have one hop. For example, a customer that entered the site via an email campaign for a particular product or service may not purchase that product, but instead selected something else. Or they may have purchased the product advertised but also purchased a similar product as well. Or they may leave and return.
In the end you will have a customer journey for each one of your marketing and advertising efforts. But maintaining all this information can be challenging and very difficult when using Google Analytics, Excel or Power Point.
We use Swydo to illustrate the numbers by linking the analytics accounts directly. We tie in page speed tools, search console and add our own information such as heat maps or diagrams showing the steps a customer may take. There is also a hook to bring in Facebook Insights and visualize the social habits of customers as well.
Now that you’ve got your report it’s time to take action. By seeing the holes in the customers’ experience, you can provide actionable recommendations to improve campaign as well as website effectiveness to drive more sales.
I’ll give you an example how this process can benefit your clients’ business. We have a client that is a restaurant furniture manufacturer who specializes in outdoor furniture. Through our examination of the journey data, we realized that there was no specific season for purchasing the product – designers plan all year long for various projects and furniture is purchased when the product is needed, regardless if it will be used right away.
In addition, we found our original demographic assumption was off – it turns out that the designer’s support staff was doing the research and purchasing, rather than the designer themselves. These findings allowed us to improve our targeting, change our messaging to reach the correct demographic and to run the campaign year long. As a result, the cost per acquisition (CPA) has decreased and ROI has improved. Since making our changes, we’ve seen a 150% increase in effectiveness in the overall AdWords campaign.
Have questions? Let me know in the comments or DM me at @exigodm
Alan “Al” Brocious has over 20 years of marketing experience and is the CEO & Founder of Exigo Digital Marketing, an agency that specializes in digital marketing strategies and implementation. Exigo works to cut through the hype of marketing and technology fads by utilizing each client’s goals to create a custom solution.You can connect Al at @exigodm