Thousands of your potential customers could be getting lost on your website. They’re going round and round in circles looking for information and answers.
This causes people to abandon your site, which slows down your conversion rates. What’s the answer? Create a simple user journey map that leads them straight to your holy grail (without distractions).
What Is A User Journey Map?
From the second someone discovers your website, they start their user journey. That journey can follow many routes. They might read one of your blogs, share it on Twitter, and then disappear.
If you’re lucky, they’ll read a blog or two, sign up to your mailing list, and then buy your product. That’s a great user journey!
But rather than leave it to chance, what if you could map out the perfect route from discovery to conversion? What if you could guide them straight to the holy grail?
That’s why you need a user journey map.
What Should My Map Look Like?
There are two main types of user journey map. A straight timeline map that takes the user from one point to another. Let’s take a look at Starbucks’ journey map as an example. It starts with the customer entering the coffee shop, and ends with them leaving. Notice they take into account the possible thoughts and emotions of the customer along the way. (We’ll explain this in more detail later).
The second example is a circular map. This is good for online stores who want users to keep returning again and again, even after reaching the destination (purchasing). Remember, not every customer experience is linear. The following example starts with discovery (top left), but continues after the conversion with a series of rewards. It’s all designed to lead them back to the start again.
I’m Convinced! How Do I Start Making My User Journey Map?
We’ll start with a simple linear timeline map. To make the most accurate and reliable map, you need to know two things:
Number 1. Start Point (Discovery) Where do you expect users to first discover your service? This is the start point of your user journey map. If you’re running an advertising campaign, this will be when the user first sees your advert. It might be when they see a link to your site on social media.
Number 2. Destination (Your Ultimate Goal) In my previous post, I showed you how to set an ultimate conversion goal for your website. It could be buying your product, or subscribing to your service. This ultimate goal will act as the ‘destination’ on your user map road trip. It’s where you’re leading your customers.
Place them at opposite ends of your map; now you’re ready to fill it in.
Step 1. Draw a straight line between discovery and your ultimate goal.
Naturally, you want your user journey to be as short as possible. The faster they go from discovery to your ultimate goal, the better.
But, as we learnt in part 1 of this series, you can’t ask your visitor for the ultimate conversion right away.
Step 2. Add some touch points along the way.
If you were driving from New York to LA, you wouldn’t do it all in one trip, would you? You’d have to break it down, and put some stops along the way. It helps break the journey down and builds anticipation for the destination.
The same thing needs to happen on your website. You’ve got to keep them on the right path with a variety of touchpoints along the way. These touch points give them information about your product and brand. They give your visitors inspiration, and convince them to make that final conversion.
But be careful here. Don’t add too many touchpoints or they’ll get frustrated, distracted or bored. Too few, and they’ll get lost along the way.
Here are a few simple touchpoints that all online stores can use:
Watching an introduction video (to introduce new visitors to your brand)
View ‘latest trends’ or ‘best-sellers’
Read the reviews or ratings
Add item to basket
Create an account and sign up to newsletter
Checkout and buy product
For non-linear timelines, you could also add
Customer receives 20 reward points
Customer receives follow-up email inviting them to view your new range
Customer returns to your website
Step 3. Set a timeline.
If you set off on a road trip, you’d set a realistic timeline for making the journey. You’d make estimates for each of the touchpoints and the final destination.
You can do the same for your user journey map. In our online shop example above, you might expect the timeline to be very short; within a few minutes in fact.
If you offer a consultancy service, however, you’ll have to stretch those touchpoints out over a month or so. You’ve got to use each touchpoint (reading a blog, downloading an eBook, taking a free trial) to build confidence. Only then can you guide visitors to the final destination.
Set yourself a realistic timeline for your user journey map.
Step 4. Add in user emotions along the way.
Finally, you need to anticipate your user’s thoughts and emotions along the way. In the user journey map below, notice how the broadband customer’s emotions and thoughts change throughout the map.
On your website, you have to anticipate that new visitors are immediately intrigued, but also confused. They’ve never been here before, remember. By adding this emotion into your map, you know that you need to give them a very quick informational touchpoint. You need an explainer, a value proposition, an image, or text that tells them exactly what you do.
Next you need to add a touchpoint that inspires them. Inspiration is a powerful emotion to motivate users. An inspiring blog post or video about your product might be just the touchpoint you need to keep them going.
During your checkout process, your customer might be frustrated (why is it so complicated? why do I need to give this much information?) so you know you need to make your touchpoints simple and quick.
Understanding what your users are feeling lets you create a better journey map.
With a detailed user journey map, you can hold your customers’ hand from the first moment they land on your website.
So, take them on a simple journey of information, inspiration and -finally – take them straight to your conversion.
Daren Low is the founder of Bitcatcha.com and co-developer of the free Server Speed Checker. With a decade of experience in website development and internet marketing to his name, Daren is considered a premier authority on all things related to building and managing an online presence. Feel free to pick his brain by connecting via Google+ and Twitter.
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