First impressions last, especially in the current era of hyper-competition. With so many competitors fighting for customers’ attention, building brand affinity is more important than ever. The customer journey is one of the most important tools a business can leverage to build strong brand affinity. It’s an opportunity to shape the customer experience and perception, building the foundation for a long-term commitment.
That being said, there are countless businesses who still get the basics very wrong. Approaching customer journeys with a “near enough is good enough” attitude is a recipe for failure, and your competitors will almost certainly see that as an entry point to steal your customers away.
We’ll cover the top three mistakes that brands make when planning their customer journeys and how you can avoid them.
Don’t force your visitors into a channel. Give them options. A critical mistake that businesses still make to this day is forcing visitors or customers to engage with their brand through a pre-determined channel.
To be competitive, you must embrace the complexity of real life. Give people options to enter your customer journey through the channels of their choice. Your role as a business is to serve your customer, and that starts in the customer journey. Include email, SMS, web/app push, even social media, and other relevant channels that are utilized and demanded by your customers. In addition, hedging customer engagement across channels means you have more channels for acquisition, which ensures that you don’t have an unhealthy business dependence on a single channel.
A journey for everybody is a journey for nobody Just as a product for everybody is a product for nobody, the same goes with a customer journey. A generic customer journey is another entry point that competitors will look at to gain an edge over your business.
With so much data at our disposal, there is no excuse for generic experiences. Refine your customer journeys based on the information you have about any given individual. What demographic information do you have about them? What products did they view or buy? How much are the products worth? Through which channels did they sign up? What devices are they using?
A customer journey should be built around questions such as these. To make things even easier, consider leveraging personas. Build out your most common audience personas and craft your customer journeys around them. This is a great way to start small, with a base that you can easily expand over time.
What gets measured, gets managed. What gets managed, gets better. The final mistake businesses make is assuming that they know what customer journey will deliver the best results. In reality, every marketing effort starts off as a hypothesis. You make an educated guess about what will work, implement it, and measure the success. If it doesn’t meet expectations, then it’s time to optimize or pivot.
But how do you acquire the information necessary for such adjustments? You need to track your customer journeys at every stage, across all channels of engagement, and across all personas. Using many different tools to achieve this comprehensive tracking can be cumbersome, so investing in a marketing automation tool that is built from the ground up to support omnichannel execution and tracking will save you considerable time and money down the track.
Customer journeys are very, very important. Done right, it’s a great opportunity to expand your audience base but done wrong, competitors can easily steer away existing and potential customers with superior experiences. It is critical that you have the capabilities and strategies in place to deliver journeys that truly adapt to today’s customers, instead of the other way around.
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