Years ago I ventured to the closest IKEA® to Indianapolis, just outside of Cincinnati, and purchased loads of new furniture for our family room, basement, and office. From console tables to bookshelves and even hiding spaces for Avengers, Transformers, and Batman, I thought I had all my bases covered. “Finally, everything will have its own place,” I thought to myself. “I will be organized.”
Man, did I overestimate my ability to assemble furniture!
Like most people who struggle with assembly directions, I was about five seconds away from tossing everything out onto the curb until [for whatever reason] everything suddenly made sense. I actually tossed the instructions to the side once I had the frames together and was able to figure it out on my own.
The furniture is still standing almost five years later, so I guess I did an OK job. But that’s not the reason for this post. I’m here to show you how to create your own customer journey map and how to put together a “LIATORP” bookcase or a “FJELLSE” bed frame.
So get out a piece of paper and pencil, boys and girls. It’s learning time!
- Hold a piece of paper horizontally and draw a line extending from one side to the other, across the length of the paper. The beginning of the line on the left represents the first introduction your brand makes to a prospective customer. The end of the line on the right represents what your brand has come to mean to a loyal customer advocate. From left to right, this line signifies the growing relationship between your brand and its customers.
- Consider all the actions leads and customers take with your brand as they get to know you and build a relationship. From becoming identified leads because of a contact form or whitepaper download, to having a phone conversation with a business development representative. What activities occur along this line? Add these as you would significant dates to a timeline. From likely first actions made by leads to actions typically completed by loyal customers. It’s OK if you miss a couple. You can always add more later.
- Take a look at your brand’s busy relationship with customers, from left to right. Put a box around the activities most associated with leads, then customers, and finally loyal customers. By now you should have three groups boxed individually along your line with activities listed inside them. It may be a bit busy, but trust me, we’re almost there!
- Within these three boxes, identify at least two “stages” that describe the customer’s place in their relationship with your brand. For example, an anonymous website visitor may be a “Stranger” but those who provide their email address in a contact form or download request are “Acquaintances.” Perhaps the next stage over is “Friends” because they’ve responded to your messages, and so on. Get creative with your relationship stage names and make them unique to your brand.
- By now you should have at least six phases of the customer relationship mapped on your paper. We call these Customer Lifecycle Stages here at ROI. Now be prepared, just because the Acquaintances stage is before the Friends stage doesn’t mean someone can’t skip one or the other. Customer Lifecycles are unique to the customer and just because a brand says they have six lifecycle stages doesn’t mean every customer has ever spent any time in all of them. Now’s the time to determine each stage’s requirements (i.e., valid email address, engagement levels, responsiveness to sales calls, etc.).
You should now have your customer journey (lifecycle) map and stage requirements on the sheet of paper. Maybe you had to flip it over for some extra space but, for the most part, it’s all together. Now what?
Now it’s time to dive into your data. Begin moving contacts into their appropriate stages so you can begin to market to them based upon where they are in their relationship with your brand and their level of engagement with your website, sales team, social media platforms, email marketing, and client success staff.
Easy enough, right? Like my dad used to always remind me, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” That’s why Right On Interactive’s unique approach to creating and managing customer journey maps for organizations of all sizes and industries, remains the only Customer Lifecycle Marketing solution available.
Check out our ebook, Lifecycle Marketing 101, to learn how to use your newly mapped customer journey map to take your business to the next level.