The customer journey is a great starting place for your web design. Web design isn’t just about the look and feel of your site. The content and interactions for the overall experience are critical to guide customers in a way that they gain value.
First, what the heck is a customer journey?
The customer journey is how you get your customer from being aware of your brand, all the way to action—purchasing what you have to offer. The journey even continues after purchase through to advocacy.
At each stage of your customer journey, you want to ask questions to help you craft a sweet experience for the visitors to your site.
- What are the interactions a potential customer might have at this stage?
- What might the customer be feeling during each of these interactions? Happy? Frustrated? Like they need a drink?—whether to celebrate or decompress!
- What questions might they have?
- What is their motivation?
- What’s holding them back?
- What would help them leap to the next stage?
Ok, that’s awesome. How do I use this to help me with my website?
Once you answer these questions for each stage, you can build an overall amazing experience for your customers as they travel through your site. What you discover as you build out the customer journey can help you:
- Define the structure for your site.
Knowing your customer pain points and why they may be searching for your site can help you figure out what pages need to be upfront and in their face and what pages are less important. Knowing what’s most important and less important will help you map out the hierarchy and architecture of your site. Our team uses a site map outline to list the pages of a site. If this is informed by what’s important to the audience, that’s even better!
- Determine your calls to action.
Once you identify the questions and motivations your customer has at each step of the journey, you can better understand how to drive behavior change. For example, if during the awareness stage, your customer’s question is, “Do you just have the same features as everybody else?” A call to action could be something like “download our comparison quick sheet.”Consider what your primary and secondary call to action for each page would be. If your audience did one thing on this page, what would it be? If for some reason they couldn’t or wouldn’t take that action, what’s the backup? Where do you guide them next?
- Enhance your content.
If you know how your customer feels, you have a better sense of how to talk to them. Let’s say your customer is frustrated when they visit your site. They have had a horrible experience and are looking for a fix. You don’t want to come off brash and yell-y on your site. You want to help bring them away from that frustration using your content. Not only can the journey guide how you talk to them, but it can help you figure out what to say. If you know their blockers, you can speak to how you can help them jump over those blockers and succeed. You can weave it into your content as it relates to your brand.
- Craft your look and feel.
Visuals are important. However, they should always be accompanied by good content—they are a team, like mint and chocolate chips, they just are sweeter together. Knowing your customer journey can guide how your site looks, if you know what they feel at each stage, perhaps some specific colors might psychologically counteract a challenge or frustration they may have. Think about if your customer is full of overwhelm, would you want to cover your page in moving patterns? This might drag them deeper into overwhelm. The journey helps you explore the possibilities of how your design can not only help grab that initial attention but hold people there, so they check out more of your site.
Don’t forget! You are not your customer. You shouldn’t work in a bubble. If you have the chance to actually talk to potential customers or look back to people you have worked with in the past, ask them questions, see if what you put down for their journey resonates. Validate your thoughts.
Let’s walk through the first three steps of the journey and how you can use them to build your site. The tips below will help you give your customers that nudge to jump smoothly from stage to stage.
KNOW: In the know.
The first step in the journey is the awareness stage. This is where your customer gets to know you. They learn that your brand exists. At this stage, they might not know anything about you, and you have to get them up to speed.
If someone is coming to your site and just starting to figure out who you are, think about what pages they are likely to go to and what information needs to live on those pages?
Many times the first stop on your customer’s journey is your home page. This is your chance to catch their attention, speak to their challenges, and pull them in. While it’s tempting here to talk about yourself, try to put the focus back on the customer, make them the hero of the story.
LIKE: They like me. They really like me!
Now that they know you exist, it’s time to start building the relationship. You might be asking yourself, “How can I take them from getting to know me to starting to like me?” This is dependent on what their motivations and feelings are. You discovered these when you looked at your customer journey.
They may have a lot of questions at this stage and start to dive into your content like blog posts, videos, or podcasts. This is your chance to tickle their taste buds with things like freebies and opt-ins. Here is where you can continue to let your personality shine through. They are looking for value, how can you help them, how can you assist them with their challenges.
TRUST: Hello, old friend.
They like you. Now it’s time to take it even deeper, so they trust you enough to buy from you. They had a taste of what’s to offer, and now they want it all, they trust you to help them, and they are ready. They are right on that verge of purchase.
There are ways you can build this trust with features of your site. A simple way to approach trust using technical solutions is to make sure your site is secure, and your visitors see that secure lock in the browser bar. This helps them feel safe enough to give you their info, especially credit card info!
Privacy isn’t the only way to gain trust, although an important one. You want them to have trust in you and your business. You can showcase this through showcasing successful projects, showing them the impact of work you have done, or even having others share how you have helped them.
While a customer journey gives you a view of your customer’s path, remember people are human, and they don’t always purchase in a straight line. Some customers might skip stages altogether, and you have to account for that. Make sure you consider these situations when building your site. Think about it, a person might know they want to buy from you right when they get to your site, so how do you drive them to purchase quickly if they don’t want to learn more? The website equivalent of “don’t talk past the sale.”
Your customer journey is always evolving, and you grow and learn more and more things about your audience. This is a living and breathing map that helps you continually enhance and maintain your wite.
Ready to start mapping out your own customer journey? Download our customer journey template here.