When you think about your user journey and user journey map, the first thing that may come to mind is your product onboarding flow.
But it's equally crucial to track your user journey from a customer acquisition perspective - from the moment they find out about your business, to all the steps that led them to become a great customer using your products.
A map is a visualization of an area, usually somewhere on our planet Earth 🌎, and shows the relationship between different elements in the environment. In the same way, a user journey map is a visual representation of the relationship between your users and your business.
More importantly, a user journey map acts as your product growth compass - it guides you on the marketing channels, onboarding tactics, and UX flows that bring in lifelong customers who'll tell others about your products and services. Aka the ultimate customer who keeps on giving 💝.
In this beginner's guide to a user journey, we'll take you through:
By the end of this article, you'll understand why it's critical to map and track your customer journeys, and have some new ideas and tools for getting started right away!
A user journey (also called a customer journey) is a series of steps someone takes to engage with your business via your website, mobile app, and/or offline experience, in order to use your products and services.
A user journey map is a visualization of all the steps and touchpoints a person takes during their process of using your products and services, from first discovering your brand, to becoming a customer, to turning into a product evangelist.
Here's a look at a standard Product-Led Growth flywheel from Appcues:
The core steps of your user journey typically map to key stages in this flywheel.
We'll define each stage, and give some example steps a PixelMe customer might take:
The lifeline of any type of business comes down to a few major KPIs: revenue, customer growth, and retention.
And the gateway to each of these, is understanding your customer journeys and their experiences with your brand and products throughout their lifetime. By doing so, you can reverse engineer the paths that bring in your best customers, and replicate those strategies. Similarly, you can figure out when and why people drop off in their onboarding flow, to prevent churn.
A user journey map also lets you pinpoint customers' goals, needs, and struggles. This helps you build stronger customer experiences, and create stickier products that foster long lasting relationships with your company.
From conducting hundreds of customer research sessions at PixelMe, and tracking our customer journeys with products analytics tools & marketing attribution, we've discovered 4 takeaways:
When putting together your user journey map, it's important to outline what your team's goals are, so you're designing flows that drive outcomes you care about.
From there, customer research is really the key to building an effective user journey map. Both qualitative calls and sessions to understand your customer's thought processes, as well as quantitative outreach, such as surveys and forms to aggregate and validate feedback at scale.
To get started, we'll outline each of these 3 steps in more detail:
Understanding your customer is really the core of your business. So it's important to have a clear picture of the types of customers you want to target after doing customer research and market research about your ideal audience.
Buffer provides a great guide and template on building a customer persona. Key customer persona criteria to consider:
Here's a sample of a PixelMe customer persona, a fictitious person named Charles 🙍♂️:
This can be done by documenting all the channels and touchpoints used along each stage of your user journey.
We adopt an approach that maps to the different stages of a product-led growth flywheel, but there's multiple frameworks you can use, such as AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action).
During user journey mapping, it's a good idea to have team inputs across your company, to setup a successful, collaborative map: Teams from Product, Marketing, Customer Success, Sales, and more.
For example, here are some potential touchpoints for Charles and PixelMe customers, along with a simplified user journey example:
This is the foundational step for setting up your user journey map for success. It'll give you data-driven insights that feed into company-wide strategies and decisions, and show you where and how to optimize your flows across Product, Marketing, Customer Success and Sales.
It can be divided into 2 groups:
During the customer acquisition journey, marketing attribution plays a key role in showing your customer paths, and revealing which channels and campaigns contribute to customer growth by measuring their ROI and LTV.
During the customer onboarding journey, tools that provide product analytics and a view of your customer sessions allow you to analyze your user flows, behaviors, and track when people drop-off.
A combination of all of these platforms will provide a solid understanding of what's working and what needs to be changed in your user journey map to match your customer needs and desires. By implementing ongoing tests, you can then build optimal experiences for potential, new, and existing customers.
When mapping out your user journeys, you can get creative with how you design your visuals. Such as starting with simple post-it notes or whiteboarding your flows across various stages before migrating it into a chart. As long as they're digestible and actionable by various teams at your company, for making better business decisions.
We're providing 2 examples below for a B2B as well as a B2C company, when looking at different stages of the user journey.
If you're a B2B SaaS company like us at PixelMe, here's an example of our user journey map for the new user acquisition flow.
Our goal below is to increase free trial signups, by providing a variety of ways for people to discover our brand, get in touch with our team to learn more, and making setup as frictionless as possible.
If you're a B2C E-commerce company, here's a simplified example of a user journey map showing a potential purchase flow for Horizn Studios, an innovative smart luggage brand.
Horizn Studio's goal below is to drive repeat purchases from existing customers. For example, keeping them engaged through contests to win a free luggage via friend referrals, promoting 48 hour flash sales, and sending a loyalty voucher to upgrade to the latest generation of their luggages.
Here's one sample of a Christmas contest they promoted, along with a 15% discount code via email, as one step in their user journey.
Email subject line: Our gift to you: win a luggage set for Christmas
Creating multiple campaigns to increase engagement and driving loyalty through contests, referral programs, and exclusive offers, are a great way to bring customers back, create delightful customer experiences, and increase revenue.
Marketing Attribution (for analyzing user acquisition)
Product Analytics (for analyzing user onboarding)
Customer Sessions (for analyzing individual-level acquisition & onboarding)
In life, they say it's all about the journey. The same can be said for your brand - it's all about the customer journey and how they experience your products and services.
Great experiences are what lead to happy and loyal customers who willingly tell others about your company, creating a viral loop that helps you generate even more great customers.
So to figure out what drives the best customer experiences - start mapping away your ideal customers and their journeys, and track each of their steps with tools across marketing attribution, product analytics, and customer sessions! 🚀
Want to track your user journeys? Sign up for a free PixelMe trial 🎉. Or just message us from the blue chat icon in the bottom-right corner to talk to us live! 💬
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