Aligning your marketing to the customer journey is a frequent topic in webinars, marketing conferences and industry chit-chat. And the idea is relatively simple: by adapting your marketing to your customers’ unique needs, you’ll grow conversion and retention. But if it’s your first time assessing how your marketing meshes with the customer journey, knowing where to start can be a bit daunting. Below are tips we provide Ascent360 clients to get them on their way, focusing first on email marketing. The great news is this process can be repeated across your marketing channels and efforts.

Map out the journey

Start by whiteboarding the big milestones your customers go through when interacting with your company. Detailed customer journeys can have dozens of milestones, but for now, focus on the foundational milestones that are relevant to your company, such as those listed below:

  • Awareness of your company or product(s)
  • Research of your company or product(s)
  • Purchase of your product(s)
  • Experiencing your product(s)
  • Re-engaging with your company or choosing a competitor

Once you’ve listed each of the milestones along your company’s customer journey, go back and take note of the following under each milestone:

  • Action: What are your customers doing at this milestone? For example, in the Awareness stage, are they performing an internet search to learn more about you? Visiting your website? Searching social media?
  • Motivations: What are your customers trying to accomplish in this milestone? Are they comparing you to competitors to narrow down choices? Looking for broad information or trying to find a specific deal?
  • Barriers: What’s preventing your customers from moving further down the purchase path? Do they need more information? Do they simply need an easy way to buy?
  • Cues: What are the signs that customers have reached this milestone? Are they signing up for your emails? Abandoning their cart? Completing a review of your company or product(s)?

End your customer journey mapping by listing a Strategic Imperative for each milestone. A Strategic Imperative is a summary of the action(s) you believe your company should take to best meet the needs of customers based on their Actions, Motivations, Barriers and Cues at this milestone. For example, at the Experiencing milestone, your Strategic Imperative may be to get customer feedback so that you can send an upsell offer to highly satisfied customers or rectify issues with dissatisfied customers.

Build and implement your marketing strategy

Now that you’ve got a customer journey laid out, it’s time to overlay your email marketing efforts. Looking at your Strategic Imperative, identify the email marketing efforts best able to meet those objectives. You may already have some of these efforts in place and need to implement others. Remember that the goal is to be more targeted in your marketing by sending relevant messages to where customers are in their journey. For that reason, a generic email newsletter is unlikely to be a strong strategy, say, for a customer who is at the Research milestone and just signed up for your emails. Instead, consider a Welcome email that is tailored to the Motivators and Barriers you identified for the Research milestone.

With your email marketing efforts outlined, it’s time to start building out content. As you draft your content, keep referencing your Strategic Imperative as well as the Motivations and Barriers for customers. It’s important to write focused content and avoid trying to accomplish too many steps at once. Think about the immediate action you want the customer to take to move to the next step in their journey and orient your content to that action. Once your content is ready, setup your email marketing efforts to deploy when your company sees the Cues that you listed.

Automation is key. Instead of a batch and blast of approach where you send emails to all customers who are at a given milestone, look for ways to use the Cues that you listed for each milestone to trigger automated emails. The easiest example is sending a welcome email immediately to a new email subscriber versus waiting to send all welcomes emails at once on a periodic basis.

Getting your email marketing efforts in place for your foundational customer journey does take some initial legwork. But once you’ve been through the process and everything is in place, you’ll find that the work was worth it because it will become easier to fine-tune and evolve your emails and processes. And you can also move onto other important steps, such as the following:

  • Apply this process to other marketing channels such as paid media.
    Revisit the Cues you listed for each milestone and assess if you have any gaps or missed opportunities to pick up on Cues from your customers. Data capture is critical!
  • Dig deeper into your customer journey and get more granular as you’re able to pick up more Cues. The more Cues you can capture in your data, the more personalized your marketing can be to your customers.
  • Review performance to determine if you’re accomplishing your Strategic Imperative. Test new content or approaches in areas where you may see under-performance.

If you have questions about customer journey mapping for email or would like to see how Ascent360 can help you more easily capture data, build segments and send messages that matter, request a demo below.

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