How to create your User Journey
1, What is a User Journey?
A user journey is a way of knowing at which points your audience interacts with you. This can be where they see you advertised, how they search for you, how they make a decision about your product, how they buy your product, even how they leave a review. If you were writing a story about a day in the life of your character then you would want to understand their motivation for the decisions that they make to progress on their travels. A user journey is like understanding the story of your character and helping them to interact with your plot. You help to guide your user through the steps that makes them want to become your customer.
2, How to understand your User Journey
The key to understanding your user journey is being aware of all of the potential points that they come into contact with you.
Socials: Consider what platforms you are using and the type of content your are producing. On average a viewer will see your posts up to 8 times before they may be ready to move to the next stage and consider being your customer. This means that you need to be consistent in your posting schedule. You want to be recognisable, and be showing up in the same place at the same time every day to have your best chance at fitting in to your audiences routine and make an impression on them. Your content does not need to be full on sales for every post, in fact that may annoy your viewers, so develop a strategy that includes themes such as top tips, glimpses into behind the scenes of your business, or interesting facts or quotes that fit into your line of business. Be interesting to your audience and make them happy to engage with you.
If you want the viewers to do something like respond to a post or to follow a link to somewhere else like your website or a landing page then you need to clearly tell them what to do. This is called a CTA, Call to Action. Provide clear information that makes it easy for your viewer to do exactly what you want them to do. Remember, people are always watching you and building trust in you and your business so every post is important, make sure it is authentic and effective.
Your Website: Once your viewers make the decision to click on your website they are a captive audience for a short amount of time. At this point they have clicked because they have some sort of specific interest in what you do, you need to make it worth their while. You need to hold their attention and make sure you are giving them the right information in a visual and interesting way that builds more trust in your business and converts interest into custom. If you want them to sign up to an email list make it very easy for them to do so. If you want them to buy from you make the process as simple as possible and use credible and trustworthy systems that are easy to recognise like PayPal. The system should be user friendly and take as few steps as possible so that the customer doesn’t get distracted or lose interest in buying.
This world is very digital and most people have a high level of digital literacy and expect sites to be fast, easy to navigate and secure when purchasing. Make sure your site is all of these things as each click represents a stage of your user journey.
Aftercare: A very important part of a user journey is aftercare, but this is often neglected when running a business, especially if you are busy producing your product. A good trick for this is to use automation. If you collect a customer email address during a sale it is very easy to generate an automated thank you email that would send at a pre-determined time. This could be right after the sale or a few days after. You may wish to offer the customer a chance to review the product or write a testimonial. This would in turn create more credible material you could use in your website to build trust in future customers. You may want to offer discounts on future offers or a refer a friend deal to grow your business and gain more customers.
Aftercare is one of the most important stages in your user journey as you don’t want to lose a customer because they have bought your product, you want to utilise that positive outcome in the best way you can.
What’s missing: Something is always missing! If you want to do well in your business then you should always be striving to do better and assuming that something is missing. By understanding every point in your user journey, every time they see a post, every time they click to a next page you should consider what works and what could be better. Sometimes the think that is missing may even be simplicity, nobody likes doing 5 steps when it could be one step. Marketing changes often, especially in social media. Buying trends change often, especially in the digital world. Check your user journey often and make sure that you are always providing the best experience possible.
3, How to find your users
Where you find your users will vary greatly depending on the business that you have. If you are an artist making art or furniture your target audience may be middle class professional women who have a good amount of disposable income to buy luxury items. In this case you may want to create a large campaign on Pinterest because it is mainly used by that exact demographic. You may want to join Facebook communities and groups that focus on art appreciation or furniture restoration to network with others that have an appreciation of the type of work that you do. Doing your research and knowing who your most likely customer is helps to build up a picture of who they are and the habits they have. If you understand the types of places they enjoy spending their time then it gives you a chance to show up in the same places.
Be careful to know the difference between your assumptions and facts. It is important to research and validate the decisions you are making rather than posting in an area because someone you know said it would be good and you trust them because you think they have the right experience. Always do your research and know your audience.
4, How to make a Call to Action post
Your post should be recognisable, high quality, clear, informative, and provide a CTA (Call to Action) of what you want the viewer to do next. If it is a sales post you might suggest the viewer clicks to your website to see an offer. If its a top tip post you might suggest that the viewer follow you. If you are looking for interaction on the post you might ask people to comment on which choice they prefer from options listed.
Look through your feed on one of your platforms and see the types of things other people are doing with their businesses, Chances are you have never really noticed them before, but once you start looking you will see them everywhere.
5, What should be in a landing page?
Bellow is an example of the typical layout of a landing page and what should be included in it. Many landing pages put their Call to Action throughout the page in multiple locations to increase the change of the customer deciding to buy.
-Strong heading image
-Colours that match your product branding and promotional materials
-Title of what the offer is
-Images of the product eg examples of pages in an ebook, behind the scenes of making the product etc
-Questions and answers about the product/service
-Detailed description about the prod offer
-Gallery of examples
-Call to Action
-Socials to follow
6, Understanding what a landing page should do
You should be very clear on what the aim of your landing page is before you start to make it. Common landing pages are to promote a specific offer, usually time limited, like a product, course, book launch, limited edition art piece.
The function of the landing page is a place to funnel people to that are likely to buy your offer. You will promote the offer on social media etc, but as that has limited opportunity to provide any substantial details the landing page is the place to bring the potential customers to learn more and gain their trust. Hopefully you can convert their interest into custom by providing them with all the information they need to know about the offer and make a sale.
7, Where should a landing page lead?
This all depends on what the aim of th landing page is. If you are wanting to make a specific sale of a single product on the landing page and have a cart built in to it them perhaps that is where your user will end. If you have multiple products you want to offer then you may be inviting people to visit you website where they can see a larger range and buy. You may be about to run a training session and are wanting to intice people to sign up for it so you
will be looking to collect email details so you can add them to an automated email system you have set up for your event to get maximum participation.
8, How to help your users find the next step
We live in a digital world where UX (user experience) is built into ever digital interaction we have. People are used to being led through a website or platform in an intuitive and structured way that lets them absorb the information without really thinking about it. You need to pre-empt the next thing that your user would want to do and present them with an option to do it at the right time. For example, if you have a section that talks about the limited edition prints you are selling and that if you buy today you will get a 20% discount then you want to add a CTA button there that gives them the option to buy at that moment.
It is sometimes hard for people to talk about money and sales, for a whole load of reasons, but the thing for you to remember is that there is a time and a place to discuss sales and on a landing page is definitely the place. If people have come this far then they are considering buying and the last thing they want is for you to beat about the bush by not wanting to appear pushy. They want to know what you have to offer and how much it is going to cost them. Don’t be shy!
9, Why is a mailing list important?
Mailing lists are the best way to engage with people who have already expressed an interesting what you do. The have given you their email address voluntarily and are genuinely interested in your products and potentially would like to buy it. You mailing list is where you filter out all the generic viewers you get on social media and find the people specifically interested in what you do. It is a little pot of people who want to hear about special offers you have, read about what you are doing next and want to spend money on what you have to offer.
Ultimately you have no control over your social media following because you are always at the mercy of the platform provider. Your whole business could be wiped out in an instant if the platform changes its algorithms or shuts down. With an email list it is yours to do whatever you want with.
10, Why is Facebook important?
Facebook is a way to tap into your current networks as well as reaching out to new ones. With facebook you can now create pages, which is a way of having a business avatar within your own account, and a new feature is that you can join communities as your page. This can be a great way to get to know your potential customers and to promote yourself as you go. By joining a group as your page you can interact in a authentic way without promoting yourself through conversation, but others can see who you are and may be tempted to follow you, which in turn makes them your viewers and potential customers.
11, How to join up your user journey
Think about what you want to achieve and then think of all the steps you might need to achieve this. What would you social media posts look like to best gain people’s interest? What type of offer will your landing page be promoting? What do you hope to achieve by doing all of this?
Start out by mapping out all these things in the forms of ideas and questions. You need to really understand all the things you are wanting to achieve before you work on connecting them up in the best way.
12, Building your user journey
There is no trick to this and it doesn’t need to be complicated. It is simply marking down the order of what you want the user to do and making sure you have created the right options at each stage to lead them to take the next step. Don’t create things that lead to dead ends as you may lose the customer, always make sure there is an option to follow a step that takes them closer to where you want them to go. If you bring them from a social media post to your landing page make sure the landing page has the right content to interest that person and option to take them further on their journey, such as subscribe options or buying options.
Have a go at sketching out what the user journey for your business might look like. Then be critical and consider if it is doing exactly what you want or if you could make it better, either by adding steps to give more information and build trust, or by taking steps away to make it more streamlined.
13, Consistently showing up
Building up trust with your users is very important and you want to make sure that at every point in their journey you are showing up and installing trust. The term showing up often brings up ideas of influencers on social media promoting themselves and every part of their life. This can seem like overwhelming to the more introverted person and fill them with dread, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Showing up can be having branding and making sure it is visible in some way every day. It can be giving a reassuring statement at each point of your user journey that you are available for any questions they may have. It can be replying to all messages and emails quickly and effectively and making the user build trust in you. It is all about being professional and authentic in a style that suits you while providing the best possible service for your users.
14, Why use a checklist
Checklists are a great way to keep yourself organised and make sure you aren’t missing any important steps in your process. Mark out all of the steps you want a user to take on their journey and then check to see that it is happening like that. Perhaps they are missing out a step, or maybe they are getting stuck on a particular one. You want to really understand your user journey and how your viewers are interacting with it so that you can create the best service possible.
They are also a great way for your users to understand their own journey. By including a checklist in the early stages of their journey, perhaps in your landing page, you are letting them know exactly what to expect. You can then then produce this checklist again at the end of the journey or in a follow up aftercare email as proof of how good your service was. This will build trust and make them want to stay your customer and refer to others. As you use research to validate your ideas a checklist can validate the quality of your service.