What is The Online Customer Journey?
The online customer journey is defined as a potential customer’s path throughout all digital touchpoints with your brand that help enable them to make a decision. It is referred to as a journey because potential customers typically have multiple touchpoints with a brand before making a decision and oftentimes they move forwards and backward between stages before making a decision.
When it comes to the customer journey, your website plays a massive role in the first 2 stages. During Awareness and Consideration, the traffic your website generates is more than the traffic generated during the next 3 stages combined. In fact, it is estimated that around 80% of a website’s traffic will occur during the Awareness and Consideration stages which is why your website must make a great first impression.
Your Website's Role In The Customer Journey:
1. Get Found
Your website can’t serve its purpose if it’s not getting found! That’s why your site needs to be properly optimized to be found on search engines.
2. Build Trust
Now that you’re found, you need to build trust with your site visitor by validating their pain points, and functioning properly.
3. To Educate
Your website needs to show that you are the expert in your field by providing educational material on what their pain points are.
4. To Inform
When your visitor knows that you solve their pain point, your website needs to show how you solve it.
Before making a purchase, a potential customer may come back to your website multiple times which is why you need to consistently provide them with great content.
It has been said that your website is your number one salesperson which is why it needs to drive conversions. A conversion can be something as simple as filling out a contact form, or it could be making a purchase.
Learn more about what makes a website successful here!
When someone arrives at your homepage, are they able to find what they’re looking for? It has been shown that 40% of first-time website visitors will leave instantly if they can’t find what they’re looking for within the first few seconds of entering your homepage. Getting that first click is crucial to ensuring that the customer journey doesn’t fizzle out as quickly as it started.
The 3-Step Billboard Test
This simple test will help you gauge the effectiveness of your homepage so you can ensure that you are getting that first click.
Here are the 3 questions your homepage needs to answer:
Is it clear what you offer?
Again, this goes back to ensuring website visitors are finding what they want right away so they aren’t immediately leaving your site. Make sure that your offerings are front and center so that they are obvious to any of your site visitors.
Is your credibility easily identified?
Credibility establishes rapport with your visitors and helps build the trust that leads to conversions. Credibility on your homepage can come in the form of testimonials or any statistics that prove that you’re the experts in your field. You know you’re the expert in your field, but your visitors don’t so make sure that you show your credibility on your homepage!
Is the call-to-action obvious?
When a visitor enters your website, your call-to-actions should guide them where to go next and should be the main driver of the customer journey. Your visitors being able to find your call-to-actions on your homepage could be the difference between them continuing their journey, or leaving right away.
If your homepage doesn’t answer each of these questions with a “yes” then your homepage isn’t performing at its max potential. If your homepage passed the test, then you’re well on your way to getting that first click that kicks off an incredible customer journey!
Whether it be a landing page or a normal webpage, your CTAs are what turn visitors into potential customers
For every Call-to-Action, you need to ask yourself:
- Does the CTA serve a specific purpose?
- Does the CTA define that purpose (for the target audience)?
- Is the CTA interesting or interactive? Does it invite users to click through?
- Does it create a sense of urgency?
- Does it appear more than once on the page in different forms?
For more information about CTA best practices, check out our blog, Writing CTAs That Convert!
Going With The (Behavior) Flow
Oftentimes, you’re designing a website based on the ideal customer journey for your business. But how does that relate to the way users interact with your website?
This is where behavior flow comes into play. Depending on the analytics platform you’re using to track real-time data about your website, you may be able to generate a behavior flow chart or map. Simply put, this site mapping allows you to see the aggregate “journeys” of each user on your website. This isn’t just about the most popular pages on your website. This map helps you understand what pages most users go to first AND each subsequent page they visit afterward.
In imagining your ideal customer journey, you may outline a path from your homepage to your products page, and then to a contact form. Remember, this ideal journey likely informs the design and development of your website. However, in comparing that journey to actual site behavior data, you may realize that most users don’t visit your product page from your homepage, or that they don’t go to the contact form. Ultimately, with this data you can see whether or not your ideal customer journey is realized by your audience — and if not, you can identify the areas where you can improve your site to encourage them to do so.