Firstly, let’s start with User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
They’re the same, right? Not quite.
The terms are used interchangeably, sometimes incorrectly. It doesn’t help these two terms were not coined at the same time, which might go some way to explain some of the confusion.
In a nutshell, UI (User Interface) is what the user sees – such as web pages, content, images, etc – while, back in the 90s, Don Norman from Apple claimed UX (User experience) is about the entire experience the user has with the product, services and company as a whole.
The growing dependencies for many organisations on web and software application has meant a greater focus on UI to improve customer experience and boost conversion rates.
A User Journey is a timeline of a user's actions when interacting with your brand. It's a visual representation of how a user behaves and interacts with your product from their point of view.
Part of the user journey mapping process is developing a key user persona. Understand their role within the digital landscape, and where they get their sources of information. Recognising who your customer is, what they need and how they interact is a great first step to distinguishing the rest of their digital journey. This will also help you segment your audience.
A user journey map gives you the perspective of your target audience persona on their digital journey. Map out their path to get an idea of how the first point of contact will be received.
Let’s take member acquisition as an example. When generating a touchpoint (Facebook ad) consider the following:
And when they have clicked through, consider:
Now that you understand what a customer journey map is and how it can take your digital member acquisition campaign to the next level, let’s look at how you can map out the journey.
The Digital Marketing Institute outlined these four key steps for this:
Your organisation will no doubt already have an online sales funnel for capturing new members. This existing information will provide you with a guidance as to how many potential touchpoints has with your brand and content.
Having masses of customer data doesn’t make it any easier to truly think like a customer. Segmenting your audience is one thing, but differentiating between all your members’ needs, personalities and responsibilities is another.
How can you, as a marketer, understand what makes your members reach the end of your sales funnel and pay for a course, buy an event ticket or sign up?
Thinking like a customer, you can line up their goals and behaviours with your sales funnel. Track the steps that a typical member makes as you go through your touchpoints. For example, do prospective members want to read educational material before signing up as a member, or vice versa? Take note and adjust your sales funnel for a more optimised digital customer journey.
A touchpoint is any time a prospective member or customer encounters your brand. Either before, during or after they’ve purchased something from you. Each touchpoint is crucial for interacting with and converting members. Not only does the touchpoint have to make them want to act, it is just the first step of the user journey.
Create a visually-appealing customer journey map that is easy to understand and accessible for all team members. Now that you’ve identified each possible touchpoint, grouped and created a customer journey map, it’s time to put your new findings into practice and see how they work digitally.
As with every marketing strategy, research is a fundamental part. Platforms such as Google Analytics are great for seeing how your user journey map is playing out. If you notice users are dropping out on a regular basis, you can analyse these touchpoints and make improvements, such as streamlining the sales process or focusing your messaging.
As a professional awarding body, providing educational material such as blogs and videos can keep your users engaged along the customer journey.
Technology and the digital landscape are both ever-changing. That is why your online customer journey will need regular adapting and updating.
Take time to review how your customers are moving through your buying cycle, and what new technologies – if any – you can implement.
According to a 2016 report by the Aberdeen Group, organisations experience a 16.8% decrease in the size of the sales cycle when a user journey map is developed, implemented and maintained successfully.
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