In the modern age, your website is going to need to focus on the user experience. This is sometimes shortened to UX, but the meaning is the same. It’s what your average visitors and customers go through when they visit your site, and what they can expect to get out of it. Google, more so than ever before, is focusing on highlighting websites and online stores which focus more and more on the UX side of things.
It’s probably easy enough to assume that your website is doing enough to appeal to the average user. But what if you’re just not pulling in the traffic? Your SEO is up to scratch, you’ve got plenty of backlinks, but something just isn’t sticking when it comes to that crucial ecommerce conversion. The answer might well lie in your customer journey mapping, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.
The customer journey is, oddly enough, the average journey that your customer is likely to go on when they visit your site. This isn’t to say that all customers are going to be following the same journey, rather, it’s a way to be able to calculate what they thought processes might be, and how you can encourage them to check out with you, or take action in certain ways.
Your customer journey, for example, might be that they reach your site through searching for a specific keyword, clicking on your click, and searching for an item. They might then find the item they want but might choose to keep shopping. Your customer journey is the distance between that first click, that first visit, and them checking out. What happens in between?
Unfortunately, there may be cases where you find that your customers deviate from the journey you expect them to go on. There are going to be a few variables which might, for example, discourage them from checking out, or which might encourage them to look elsewhere. This is exactly what you want to avoid!
What’s more, your customer is going to need their journey with you to be smooth, swift, and painless. This means that they want clear indications of where they need to go to buy a product or activate a service. They want to know answers to their questions within just a few seconds, or you’re going to lose them to the back button. As we all know, that’s something you’re going to need to stave off.
Therefore, we need to think about mapping this customer journey. As mentioned, this isn’t always something which is easy to quantify. That’s why so many professionals and online store holders use mapping tools and software, which we will take a look at very shortly.
Customer journey mapping is all about putting yourself in the visitor’s shoes. Think about what your customers might need to do to get to that final checkout stage. Is it easy for them to navigate through your website? Do you provide them with everything they need to know? What about support options – do you have any help channels available which are easy to leap onto if they come up against a particular issue or concern?
These are just a couple of examples. Crucially, in aa fast-paced world, you’re going to need to think about the journeys your customers are likely to be taking, and how you can make them quicker and more convenient in the long run.
This isn’t just going to improve the end UX, it’ll help to generate more revenue for your business, and it’ll help you to refine the way your business operates. A clunky, slow, and awkward website is never going to get that conversion rate you’ve been dreaming of. It’s time to map those journeys.
Think about it this way – it might seem easy for you to just access and use your website on your own to see what people are likely to experience from day to day. However, this way, you’re very likely to apply your own thoughts and emotions to the process. Taking your website and online store for test drives is a really good idea, but it’s not necessarily going to produce the most accurate, averaged results.
Therefore, tools built to help you map out customer journeys are ideal for helping you to step away. If you need help seeing the bigger picture, and to consider all of the different variables and factors likely to alter that UX – no matter who it may be for – you’re going to need a bit of a helping hand.
Now that we’ve considered UX and this concept of customer journeys a little closer, it’s time to start dipping into a few tools and programs which are likely to help you work on an average shell or template that helps you to refine the way your store and site operate. Here are ten of the best tools we’ve found for you to start using alongside your current web management and development software.
When attacking the customer journey, you need to think about your approach as if you have several steps to clear, sort of in a funnel process. A ‘jobs to do’ template will help you to identify the specific stages of the journey your customer might be travelling down, even if they don’t yet realise it.
For example, you could split it into five stages. You have your situation, your motivation, your ideal result, the knock-on effect, and the impact on your social standing. You need to start with something as simple as your customer being unable to search for products. The outcome here will be to find their ideal buy, so they can improve their life, making them happy, and so forth.
Jobs to do templates will identify where your customer is travelling not only on your website, but outside of it. It’s templates like this which will help you to understand the emotional core of customers’ buying drive. Therefore, you can appeal to the emotional side of things just as much as the superficial side.
One of the best things you can do to map out customer journeys is to ask for feedback. How else are you going to really know what your customers are thinking? It’s never safe to make broad assumptions.
ExperienceFellow is a research hub which is great for reaching out to customers, users and even team members. You can tailor specific questions and queries through an app interface, meaning that it’s quick and easy for you to get feelers for how your site performs. What’s more, it’s free for two weeks if you want to give it a try.
When searching for journey templates, you’ll probably come across a lot of ‘buyer persona’ shells. These help you to create a typical visitor or customer, so that you can effectively fill out their details, their personalities, and their journeys.
HubSpot’s fantastic tool allows you to create worthwhile, averaged buyer personas without the assumptions. Much like ExperienceFellow, this tool helps you to research effectively – so you’re not filling in all the blanks yourself.
A buyer journey template is another shell you can use to map things out, and it’s something you can get started with for free. This template works on five key principles – being aware of your service, showing interest, building desire, mulling it over, and making a decision.
At each stage of this template, you’ll be offering confidence to your customers. You need to convince them that the services you offer are appealing, that they are appropriate to their needs, that you’re the best at what you do, and that buying will change their lives for the better. Simple process – but you can scale it up and down if you wish.
UXPressia is another standalone tool which takes things to a whole new level. This software allows you to create fully-fledged maps and journeys on an unprecedented scale. You can use it to create personas and apply them to custom maps and journeys.
It’s easy to export your data from this service, and what’s more, there are plenty of sections and breakdowns you can use to really make things bespoke.
Lucidchart is a flowchart-style system which is well-loved by people who are looking to transfer their journeys to Microsoft Office tools and more besides. This tool will allow you to simply map out journeys without any of the fluff or extra frills.
What’s more, it’s one of the most reasonably-priced tools online right now, and it’s likely to appeal to anyone completely new to customer journey mapping, or even flowcharts full stop.
If you’re an avid user of good old Microsoft Office, then you might well have come across Visio before. Believe it or not, it’s actually a really interesting tool for mapping out journeys from start to finish.
It’s a flowchart system which is completely bespoke, meaning that you can create diagrams and flows which appeal directly to your needs – and, naturally, your customers’ demands. This system is appealing as it’s instantly accessible, and there’s no need for you to pen yourself into a clunky template or two.
Visual Paradigm is a specific tool and service purely for homing in on a specific journey or two. Not only can you create flows and charts, you can set up graphs and stage by stage processes, allowing you to filter down onto one or two specific moments or stages in the UX.
For a fully-fledged UX oversight and analysis suite, Visual Paradigm seems to be a leading choice. It’s visually appealing, easy to use, and is unlikely to cause you the headaches more intensive or complex tools are likely to offer you.
If you’d prefer to set up and analyse your customer journeys with a variety of web applications and collaborative tools, Trello is likely to be a great choice for you. It’s designed for various purposes in the corporate sector – however, it adapts really well to journey mapping, meaning that you can always keep a close eye on where your visitors are likely to need to go.
If you’re completely new to journey mapping, then it might make sense to bring a few tools and templates together in one simple package. LeanLabs, who offers a fair amount of useful insight into journeys and mapping, offers a free starter kit which you can use to hone your website content with your customers in mind.
It’s a kit which – as well as all the other tools on this list – will help you to see your website and ecommerce solution through your customers’ eyes. This is absolutely essential if you stand any chance of getting in tune with your buyers.
It’s all well and good to assume that a customer is simply going to see your advert and link, to click through and make a purchase. Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. That’s why we all need to consider the way in which we appeal to our customers and regular visitors. How can we help to make their journeys and experiences more worthwhile, and more satisfying?
It all starts with putting yourself in their shoes. As mentioned, a test drive is a great idea, but it’s not always the be-all and end-all. You’re going to need a solid SEO strategy in place, and what’s more, you’re going to need to make sure you map out each stage of the process with an average in mind. All customers and experiences are going to differ – which is why an open mind is crucial when approaching any stage of this process.
It all revolves around a great SEO strategy, too. Why not get in touch with the team at SEO CoPilot to hit the ground running with a great SEO plan of attack that enhances journeys for all your customers?
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