Do you ever just wish you could get inside someone else’s head, just to see what they’re thinking? Well nothing is truer than for a digital entrepreneur and their users. Understanding and analyzing the ‘user’ or ‘customer journey’ is the closest you, the entrepreneur, are ever going to get, so listen up!
In this introductory article, we’re going to answer the following questions:
- What is a user journey?
- Why understanding the user journey is key.
- How to analyze your user journey.
What is a User Journey?
When we use the phrase ‘user journey’ in digital marketing, we are referring to all the steps a user takes to engage with your brand or business in order to buy or use your product or service. These ‘steps’ are also called ‘touch points’. These touchpoints can be on any device, any platform, on- or offline.
Why is Understanding the User Journey Key?
The users and customers are the cornerstone of any business. What is a business without someone to sell to? (rhetorical question, although feel free to leave your answer in the comments)
Anyway! A well researched and analyzed user journey will open your eyes to the experiences your customers go through with your business in their lifetime.
Each business has major KPIs such as revenue, customer growth, and retention. Understanding your users and their journey will allow you to pull it (the user journey) apart and put it back together, targeting quality leads and bringing back the best customers.
Understanding and analyzing the user journey is also invaluable because it allows you to identify drop off points and why users are choosing to stop engaging with your business. Once these points have been identified, you can work on minimizing the loss.
How to Analyze your User Journey
Before launching into your user journey analysis, make sure you know what your goals are, so that you and your team are designing a journey that drives outcomes you care about.
You will also need to engage in a lot of user research to best understand the users journey and thought process as they interact with your business. Use qualitative research methods when looking into the thought process of the user and quantitative research methods to validate the feedback at scale.
User journey mapping is a popular way to visualize the user journey and can be a helpful tool in analysis as well. We will talk about this in the steps listed below.
We have listed 3 steps to best engage with ongoing user journey analysis:
Step 1: Define user profiles
Use the research from your qualitative and quantitative research above to shape your user profiles. Having solid information about your users will protect you against making false assumptions. Gather and analyze all available data about your target audience.
Bookmark me: 3 Data Sources For Building Complete Customer Profiles
Step 2: Define a scenario and user expectations
The scenario describes the situation your user journey map addresses.
It is important to define this because this will allow you to go through the user’s touchpoints during this process.
An example scenario would be visiting your store to order new equipment and expecting the process to take less than 10 minutes.
Step 3: Map out journey stages
One of the most recognized frameworks for the user journey stages is AIDA. This stands for the Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action stages of the user journey. Here are the stages explained:
Awareness: This is the stage where the customer learns about your product/brand. You typically try to catch the customer with the problem they may be facing or might face in the future.
Interest: The customer will develop an interest in your brand as you keep sending messages/ads. They may search a related topic and click on your article as they are now somewhat familiar with your brand following the “Awareness” stage.
Desire: The customer develops the desire to purchase as you send specific messages. Your audience should be able to see how your offerings can make their lives better. If done well, your prospects at the “Desire” stage will be ready to make a purchase.
Action: Once you’ve succeeded in creating desire for your offering, the task is then to instill immediacy in your potential customer. The focus of the action stage is to persuade your prospects that now is the time to act.
List all the touchpoints in your user journey and match them up with the stages in the AIDA framework.
This is important because it gives you the opportunity to later visualize the drop off points and where in the user journey needs to be optimized further.
Here is an example of a journey map based on the AIDA framework:
Step 4: Measure and track each stage
This is where the ongoing analysis comes into play. Use user data to feed back into your user journey map. Without recent and relevant data, your user journey map will not age well. The stages of the journey in measurement context can be divided into two stages; customer acquisition and customer onboarding.
Customer acquisition: Marketing attribution plays a huge role here. You want to be able to identify from which channels and campaigns your customers are coming from. With this information, you can measure their ROI and LTV and see which are more successful and resonate with your user’s more.
Customer onboarding: Here you can analyze the customer’s sessions and the user flow, behavior and drop off points. This information will feed back into the flow of your user journey map.
The main goal of user journey analysis is to create a clear vision of your user’s experience based on solid information. I hope this article helps you get started on your own journey to success with your customers. If you would like a deeper dive into user journey mapping and how to create your own, please let me know in the comments section!