At its core, content marketing is all about two things: connection and conversation. Some might argue that there’s a third, missing ‘c’ here — but you don’t get conversions without connection and conversation. Conversions are an outcome; conversation and connection are the indispensable means to that end. And the best tool we have to make our content worthy of conversation and connection? The customer journey.
It may sound like table stakes, but don’t let the seeming simplicity of customer journey mapping fool you – done well, this exercise yields a wealth of insights that can inform everything from messaging to content planning to CTA selection and user experience. In future entries in this series, we’ll explore exactly how to transform your customer journey knowledge into purpose-built content, but for now, we’ll dig a bit deeper into what makes a customer journey mapping exercise effective.
Specificity and Segmentation
Chances are you have more than one kind of customer, so take the time to complete more than one customer journey exercise. Know your personas and map each of those journeys individually. A 40-year-old man with a family is probably not going to experience the same path as a 27-year-old single woman, and knowing the differences in those journeys will tell you everything you need to know to connect and converse with both of those audiences.
Be Data Driven
If you can, use information from real customer wins (and losses) to inform your journey map. Interview new customers (or newly lost prospects) as soon as possible after conversion so you can capture the most accurate impression of how they chose you. Likewise, if you have a sales team, get their input. Consider their wins and losses from every angle – where do prospects stick? What gets them over the hump? What can be done post-conversion to create a lifetime customer? Every bit of information you have contributes to a more complete understanding of your customers.
Don’t Go It Alone
Get a group together to help you think through the journey. The more minds you have thinking like your customers, the more likely you are to capture the nuances that will help you identify opportunities for connection and conversation. Bring that same group back together to examine your findings and help develop content recommendations. This immersion in the journey will help you focus your planning and reveal new insights.
After you build refined customer journey maps, you can use them as the foundation for integrated content marketing efforts that will drive conversations and connections with the audiences that matter most.