customer-journey-for-website

Leveraging the customer journey on your website

Tools to improve customer experience AND your sales

You have an amazing product and a website. You might even be blessed by word of mouth on social media. But why aren’t customers buying your product?

You should be asking: What’s missing from my customer experience?

The problem

First, let’s name the problem. If your ducks are in a row but you’re not seeing customers jump on board in regards to sales, you’re probably failing to deliver on customer experience.

A great website makes a big difference in whether your customer buys from you or a competitor. But that great customer experience isn’t only about how a website looks. You need a dynamic website that can fulfill the right customer need at the right time.

As a small business owner with lots to juggle, how can you tackle this problem? It’s actually not that bad if you’re using the right tools.

The customer journey

The customer journey is the story of your customer – from learning about you to becoming an advocate for your brand. A customer journey map can help you picture your customer’s point of view as they interact with your brand. It shows you where they are in the sales process and what they need.

For example, a client that’s new to your brand is more interested in learning about you than if there’s a sale as the latter is likely just seeking a good deal. Trying to get a visitor to buy before they’re ready will often send a visitor to a competitor’s website. You’ll waste fewer resources on things that won’t work by matching your actions to the stage your customer is in.

Understanding the customer journey provides a strong foundation to develop the customer experience. Delivering on that experience will turn a prospect into a fan that tells other people about you.

So how do you figure out your customer’s journey? The general stages are the same for any business. Your customer’s psychology – what needs drive them to your product – will shape the details for your brand.

If you’re thinking this is an impossible task, you’re not the only one. Only 6% of senior executives feel like they actually understand their customers’ needs. But you don’t have to guess. A data-driven approach can give you clear answers.

Tools for shaping the customer experience

1. Develop customer personas

Customer personas are fictional representations of the type of customer you serve. MailChimp made dramatic posters and named their personas. It helped their team visualize the customer experience. But you don’t have to go that far.

What you should do is talk to your customers to learn who they are and what they need. Some great ways to gather this information are:

  • Customer surveys (including open-ended questions)
  • Customer interviews (great insights from 1:1 interactions)
  • Web or exit surveys (real-time feedback from segmented audiences)

Here are some persona templates from the awesome people at Shopify

2. Track user behavior

You can refine customer personas by using reporting tools like Google Analytics. They give you more insight into what’s important to your customer and what they’re looking for.

When developing your customer journey, here are two things to look for in the analytics:

  1. Behavior: How are customers moving around on your website? How long are they staying? What does their behavior tell you about their needs?
  2. Conversion Path: Where and how are your customers finding you? Once on your site, which pages are they visiting prior to converting?

Tracking this behavior data is key. Solutions like Lucky Orange track visitor behavior to help you determine where customers are in their shopping journey, and where you can improve your site to increase conversions.

When you use a conversion funnel solution like Lucky Orange, you can deliver segmented and customized website user experiences. With robust features like tagging and funnel creation, you can see where people abandon a process on your website. It’s like an e-commerce CRM to personalize your customer’s experience. All based on data about their actual behaviors and can help you account for less measurable concepts like word of mouth marketing.

3. Focus on smart search

Are you surprised to hear that the search bar is incredibly important to your success? Because it is an absolute data goldmine. Pay attention to what customers type into that search bar. It will help you understand the customer’s wants, shopping habits and needs you may not be filling.

The search bar is the online counterpart to a brick-and-mortar store’s employee. It can provide personalized advice based on the customer’s input. A positive experience can convert that prospect into a fan of your brand.

A great search bar will:

  • Deal with typing errors
  • Recommend similar and popular products
  • Offer relevant information
  • Answer questions by linking to blog posts

There are a variety of ideas on how to optimize the search bar for websites. And you can keep tweaking it based on customer search queries. You’re adding a ton of value by providing useful information quickly and clearly.

4. Read the heat maps

Google recognizes that customer experience should be at the forefront of how you approach website design. They quantitatively assess page experience for their website ranking criteria. If you’re looking to improve your page experience, you need heat maps.

Heat maps use color to show you how customers are interacting with your website. The warmer the color, the more your customers interacted with that part of the web page. It’s an easy way to read visitor behavior. You can use this data to make their experience seamless and enjoyable.

For example, are they clicking on something that isn’t a link? Now you know how to lead them in an intuitive way to the topic they’re interested in. They’ll leave the website without buying anything if they can’t get to what they want. A tool with dynamic heat maps like Lucky Orange can drive some amazing upgrades to your customer’s experience.

5. Create great content

Written content is one of the most powerful ways to engage your customer and turn them into loyal fans. Write an article answering the customer’s pain points. Combine it with a catchy title, strategic keywords and a CTA to inspire action.

6. Build trust along the way

Building trust is essential to improving the customer journey. One way to build trust, especially in e-commerce is to utilize social proof. Adding social proof like customer testimonials, photos, and videos to your website helps your shoppers see that your site is trustworthy. That’s because they see that people have tried out your product before them and were happy with the experience.

Whenever you install any social proof app that claims to boost your revenue, they should offer you a way to see how your customer is interacting with the app. There are lots of good social proof apps out there, but make sure to choose one like Fera.ai that can tell you exactly how your customers are interacting with your social proof, how it affects your bottom line and give you A/B testing tools to optimize the customer experience.

Optimize Your Website

The website is only one part of the customer experience and journey. But it’s a major platform for most businesses to engage with customers and drive sales. That’s where you can build the customer experience to reflect your brand’s values and goals.

By using data-driven tools to develop your customer experience, you’re selling more than a product – you’re adding value to your customer’s lives. This is what brand power is all about.

About the author

Jameela is the owner of the Shopify store Alora Boutique and the Marketing Manager for the Social Proof App Fera.ai. You can find her on the interwebs on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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