We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of creating buyer personas for SEO campaigns, which help you hone in on exactly whom your target Customer is and what specific needs that customer has. Along with creating buyer personas as part of a SEO campaign, it’s important that you take time to map a Customer Journey from initial thought to final sale and beyond.
In our post about micro-moments and being there throughout a customer’s decision-making process, we gave you some brief examples of how you can show up and be notable when a buyer is looking to fulfill a need – even in the moments where it’s not certain there will even be a sale down the road. In order to be seen in search engine listings, local business listings, photo galleries, and other places a customer might be looking for solutions to meet their needs, you must first know that these channels are the right places for you to target your marketing.
Mapping Customer Journeys, the paths that your buyer personas take from the I-want-to-get-away moments to the Can’t-wait-to-explore moments (and even after), is a critical step in a SEO marketing campaign because it reveals where your target customer is looking for information. And HOW. Completed Customer Journey maps give you the insight you need to understand where your SEO marketing efforts are best placed. And, while one buyer persona Journey might take the road from search engine to blog to booking, and another may go from search engine to landing page to phone call, the varying paths usually pass through similar stages in the decision-making process. This is important for you to know.
Mapping Customer Journeys to Understand the Customer Experience
To understand your customers’ needs and experiences, from initial thought about making a purchase
[or taking a trip] through reviewing the product, it’s helpful to take your buyer personas and map your customers’ fictional (but likely) Journey.
Your Customer Journey maps will include certain touchpoints, which are similar to the micro-moments we’ve spoken of, and they will let you plot each imaginative step from the moment a buyer notices your SEO marketing to when the sale is closed – and even throughout repeat business with you.
Touchpoints Are the Moments Your Customer is Aware of Your Brand
As you create the fictional Journey your imagined buyer will take, from thinking about finding solution to actually settling on one, you will plot the pertinent touchpoints on your Customer Journey maps.
- The first touchpoint on a buyers’ Journey might be something like a Google search of cruises for nature lovers. This search will provide the buyer several options, and hopefully your website will show up as one of the top options in the search results.
- The next touchpoint might be the moment that buyer clicks on your About Us page, which may be indexed separately in the search results.
- A subsequent touchpoint could be the customer clicking on the tab for your blog, from your About page, or opening up a new tab in a browser to look your company up on Facebook.
If you can anticipate a customer’s Journey from initial search through all the steps that will eventually get that buyer onto a cruise or buying a membership or lying in hotel room, you have a better chance of making the sale and positioning yourself as a company of value.
Stay Relevant and Positive Throughout Customer Journey Stages
Customer Journeys, and the touchpoints associated with them, tend to go through 5 stages: awareness, comparing, engaging, transaction, and satisfaction. These stages represent groups of decisions or micro-moments (sometimes hundreds of them) that take place before, during, and after a purchase or a trip.
If you can be there, offer valuable and helpful information, and stay positive (because any slip or negativity attributed to your brand can taint your reputation across the Journey) throughout all of these stages, you will see success in customer acquisition and retention. Customer Journey maps help you make this happen.