Your customers are on a journey.
It's an epic quest to buy something. And just like in the old-school epics like Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, there are a lot of other steps and segues between the beginning and the end of their story.
The way people buy things, especially something that's a major purchase or that's important to them, has changed a lot with the rise of the internet and eCommerce.
Imagine that you're planning on buying a kitchen appliance.
Let's say it's a blender.
And you want a really good blender, something that will last. You've decided to spend a little extra, not just grab the first thing you see for $20 at Walmart. You're not afraid to put down three digits for a really amazing blender that has a ton of great features.
So what do you do?
Chances are, you start looking up what's out there, to get an idea of what you're looking at spending for a top-tier blender. You might look at Amazon and sort by price or by type.
If you have no idea about blenders, and you've never bought one before, you're probably going to look into informational content that explains what kind of features you should look for in a good home blender.
You're also probably going to look for reviews. You might very well end up Googling something like “best blenders 2017” or “best high end blenders.”
After you've done some research, you'll feel ready to make a purchase decision. You've narrowed down your options, and now, you're choosing between just a handful of products. You might pull up some reviews that focus specifically on each model you're considering, to get a better idea of the pros and cons of each.
And then, you choose the perfect blender, and you buy it. You might even buy it by clicking through to Amazon from someone's affiliate link in a product review.
This is an example of a customer journey.
And as an entrepreneur, each step in that journey is an opportunity to reach out to your audience and provide exactly what they're looking for.
A big part of tracking this process involves technology. If you're a one-man operation, you probably don't have access to the same suite of analytical tools that a big corporation's marketing department might have.
But with that said, you can still leverage measurable data to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, which you can use to refine your sales funnels.
A recent article from Marketing Land explains further how you can understand the customer journey.
Understanding the customer journey
To assist as you embark on your customer journey analysis quest, read this to learn five practices for understanding customer journeys. To find success, you need to:
• Make it simple to access the insights you uncover.
• Continually improve results through collaboration across teams and partner organizations.
• Get to know how different customer experiences across channels and media lead to results, such as purchasing, registration or abandonment.
• Optimize engagement and offers by determining what to offer — and when to offer it — during the journey.
• Get the most value from your data so you can understand customer pathways across all touch points — without limits.
Defining a holistic customer journey is difficult, but the right technology can make it a lot easier. In today’s hypercompetitive landscape, understanding how customers expect to engage with your brand is what will set you high above the rest.
You can read more about using analytics to uncover the buyer's journey over at Marketing Land.