If you’re building a brand and growing a website, your first question to your website developer or agency will likely be “How much traffic can you deliver?” While that’s a valid question, the thinking behind it might just be outdated. Here’s why.
The number of people who visit your website is certainly important and, in fact, pivotal in building your site and your brand. However, in this age of data, you can get much more information about who is visiting your site than ever before. And that’s the information that’s most important.
Generating traffic to your site can be done using techniques including social media, search engine optimization, paid advertising, retargeting, and a number of other tools in the online marketing bag of tricks. But bringing QUALIFIED traffic to your site is what your goal should really be.
With the right information upfront about WHO you want to reach and what your target customer likes or is interested in, you can get leads, sales, and followers instead of a lot of traffic that bounces as soon as they hit your home page.
Rather than focus on traffic numbers, focus on the customer journey when they visit your site. What pages are most visited? Where did the visitor come from? How long were they on your site?
How to Build a Customer Map
So, how do you get your customers to do what you want them to do once you’ve gotten them to your website?
Step 1: Develop customer personas
Create profiles of your current customers. What motivates them, what interests them, what are their needs, what tasks are they hoping to complete by visiting your website, along with their basic demographics (age, household income, etc). Know exactly how you’re talking to and what they want. Aim for a Tier 1 Persona of your best customers along with a Tier 2 Persona and a Tier 3. Personas are fictional, but it will give you a frame of reference to work from when building your marketing strategies and measuring return.
Step 2: Use the data
You have data at your fingertips that will help you answer the questions posed in Step 1 AND give you information that can be used to retain existing customers rather than having to constantly acquire new ones. Data mined from your site analytics will tell you what your visitors like and what holds no interest. For an e-commerce site, you can also use the data to automate site content so that you can serve up information that’s relevant to each visitor.
Step 3: Map the customer journey
After you’ve created customer personas, you’re ready to map your customer’s journey through your website. Brainstorm it with staff or sales teams, gather information, sketch it out in multiple drafts, use post-its or a whiteboard… or whatever process works for you. Once you’ve got a good, final draft, you can create the final illustration for each customer persona. This can be complex and detailed or very simple. There’s no need to overdo it. Just create for the information you need to serve your customers best.
Whether you create a massive, complex map or a very simple one, here are some key data points to include:
- channels (Where was your visitor when they clicked the link that took them to your website: social media, brochure, trade show, online directory, store, etc.),
- customer emotions and feelings at each stage using their quotes from the feedback,
- statistics/analytics (helps to show which pages they visited most often and to show the “funnel” they traveled through to reach their goal (purchase, contact, etc.),
- customer goal at this stage,
- actual and potential barriers,
- what happens if there are any barriers at that stage — how the company helps the customer overcome the problems,
- who is responsible for the quality of the service on the touchpoint,
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) showing the quality of the service provided in each touchpoint.
Step 4: Put it to work
Use the information to enhance, improve, abandon or otherwise adjust your marketing strategy, website user interface, online and offline promotions to serve your customers in the best ways possible.