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In the digital marketing landscape, creating a converting customer journey can be what separates a business from success and failure. A customer journey is the sum of experiences a potential customer goes through from their first meaningful encounter with your brand to making a purchase or subscribing to your service.
Typically, the length of the customer journey depends on the industry and sales cycle. For example, purchasing a dress on an ecommerce website usually has a shorter and simpler customer journey than subscribing to a marketing automation software solution with a yearly contract.
The key to figuring this out lies within your potential customers’ decision-making time.
In ecommerce, there are no store employees that can engage customers and walk them through the purchasing process. So the customer journey is typically longer, more complex, and relies more on the behavior of the customer compared to an offline store.
The purchase of new sneakers is a good way to showcase this complexity.
For a start, customers have more options and can find offers from a wide variety of brands and types from all over the world. And that might make the shopping experience confusing.
Additionally, since most customers can’t try the shoes on, they would likely have to rely on reviews and brand reputation. Thus, ecommerce sites need to provide the consumer with a smooth, satisfying, comfortable, and reliable shopping experience.
Most ecommerce brands rely on new and advanced technologies in order to provide this experience, one of them being marketing automation software.
Using Marketing Automation to Create a Better Ecommerce Customer Journey
When you’re automating your marketing efforts and letting the software do the hard work for you, there is less room for mistakes. That means more room to grow your client base and subscriber lists.
The process of building and fine-tuning an automated tool for ecommerce marketing begins with forming a winning strategy on how to use it for the best outcome. This process will help better understand your business model and how to grow it.
A study by Nucleus Research found that marketing automation drives business sales by 14.5% while also reducing marketing costs by 12%. This explains why according to Social Media Today’s, “State of Marketing Automation Survey Report (2019),” 75% of participants responded that they use at least one marketing automation tool.
Now that you understand the importance of the customer journey, here are the top 10 steps for creating a winning customer journey that will help you stand out in the highly competitive market of ecommerce.
10 Steps for Creating a Winning Customer Journey
1. Identify Your Marketing Persona
The very first step to creating a successful customer journey is identifying your marketing persona. A marketing persona is the subject of the customer journey, who are the people that might need and be interested in your product and what are their pain points.
To identify it correctly, you should map your customer’s attributes and behavior, including shopping habits and demographic variables such as age, location, job, and role.
Correctly identifying your marketing persona can help create a more personalized and overall better experience for your audience. An accurate marketing persona will help you generate more quality leads who will also convert faster and might spend higher amounts and greatly benefit your ROI.
2. Find the Perfect Marketing Automation Software
Once you’ve identified your marketing persona, it is time to find ecommerce marketing automation software that meets your requirements. Look for features such as automated abandoned cart or follow up emails.
The right marketing automation software will significantly reduce your workload, cut costs and help you create a better customer journey and increase profits.
3. Build Your Marketing Messaging, Tone of Voice, and Branding
For successful marketing, you need to build a strategy that will help you create engaging and interesting content. Identifying your marketing persona and creating content that they would find interesting will help you fine-tune these aspects to maximize engagement and guide your leads through the journey of becoming loyal customers.
Take a look at an example by ASOS, the popular online retailer. Their newsletters are always on brand, with a white background, simple imagery, and they get straight to the point with huge discounts.
This is a great example of both the messaging and tone of voice which are always similar and the clean, white background with a single image as the main focus.
Moreover, ASOS stay on brand with the same messaging on the website and on other marketing channels as well.
4. Spread Your Marketing Messages Across All of Your Channels
Once you have fine-tuned your messaging, tone of voice, and branding, it is time to start spreading your marketing messages across all your channels including PPC, SEO influencer marketing, and social networks.
According to the 2019 social media report by Statista, around 45% of the global population are social media users. Thus, your social media marketing messages have the potential of reaching wide audiences and creating a bigger follower and subscriber list.
When using social media to increase potential audience growth, one should keep in mind that there are plenty of opportunities outside of PPC campaigns or ads.
A great example of an organic revenue and growth source is using influencer marketing on social media, and build your brand’s awareness using positive feedback from the new celebrities of the era.
As an example, the vitamin and supplements ecommerce brand, Sugar Bear Hair, used influencer marketing on social media channels to create a massive, seemingly organic awareness of their brand.
Once audiences started noticing the brand, they quickly moved through the customer journey and to the consideration stage and then to the conversion stage.
Keep in mind that marketing automation is crucial to their success since vitamins are exhaustible product, creating business growth means reselling the vitamins.
Marketing automation software would help a brand like this keep in touch with customers after the first purchase, offering items that relate to the vitamins, or bigger packs in order to grow the revenue.
All this through one simple hashtag, used by social media influencers.
5. Build Your Contact/Subscriber List
According to a study, the effort of attracting new customers can be 5 times more expensive than keeping current ones.
For this reason, businesses should focus on customer retention and create a valuable and long-lasting relationships with current customers. One of the best ways to ensure you engage with your customers and focus on customer retention is to build a subscriber list.
When you create your list, be sure to segment as much as possible, as they will help create multiple mailing lists that are more relevant to specific groups of subscribers.
This process will help you avoid sending irrelevant messages to subscribers who might eventually unsubscribe while also create a more personal and powerful marketing strategy.
6. Create Your Critical Automations
Ecommerce businesses need to deal with large amounts of data to effectively engage with their customers.
For example, to provide customers with the most relevant sales and offers, you need to keep track of their latest purchases and items they have added to their carts and perhaps abandoned. Tracking, managing, and acting based on these amounts of data are almost impossible without automation.
Automating as many stages as possible throughout the customer journey will help you convert leads into advocate customers.
Start the automation process by creating the most critical ecommerce marketing automations such as welcome automation for new customers, an item that is back in stock, special sales and other follow-up emails.
Image Source: dribbble.com
7. Build More Complex Automation
After you have your critical automations in place, start working on more complex automations that focus on customer retention. Use these complex automations to engage with your valued customers and reward them with unique offers.
You can create them based on a variety of scenarios or customer’s activities to engage with them or offer them personalized rewards such as coupons and promotions.
For example, you can create a special workflow for the customers after they made a purchase, which turns into a VIP workflow after they made a second purchase.
8. Use A/B Testing as Much as Possible
A/B testing is a method for determining which content, design or functionality elements are more successful with your audience to maximize marketing efficiency. You can use an A/B testing automation software to determine the best possible elements that will get the most CTR and generate more quality leads.
For example, if you try to decide between two types of banners, you can use an A/B testing tool to rotate between the two and see which one gets a higher CTR percentage.
Arono is a Danish company with a weight loss, diet plan, and workout app that uses a subscription model. They ran an A/B testing experiment to determine which background is more effective for their email newsletter subscriber form.
In the experiment, Arono rotated between both backgrounds exampled below and found that the first design had a 50% better conversion rate than the first. Which showcases how ecommerce businesses can use A/B testing and effective email marketing to drive sales.
Image Source: sleeknote
Image Source: sleeknote
9. Constantly Tweak and Improve
Always check if your emails are performing as expected in terms of open rates and CTR. If one of the emails on your automated workflow doesn’t seem to get to the average open rates, try to determine what went wrong and how you can fix it in future emails.
The process of understanding what works and learning from your mistakes will help fine-tune your marketing messages and improve your conversion rates.
Image Source: pixabay.com
10. Inquire customers to determine the best marketing strategy
If a client hasn’t opened an email in a while, send them a follow up email with a survey inquiring about the reason.
Since you might end up blacklisted if subscribers keep ignoring your emails, it is important to use a survey to understand how to improve your messages to avoid hurting your deliverability and business.
Customer satisfaction surveys are especially important in ecommerce as they can show you how customers think you are doing and how you can improve. Customer satisfaction surveys are also great for customer retention as they allow customers to post their feedback makes them feel valued and more connected with your brand.
Here is an example of an email customer survey by the streaming service, Netflix, designed to allow customers to provide feedback on how satisfied they are with the content on Netflix.
Image Source: wp.com
Image source: wp.com
Netflix can use the feedback to offer content that caters to its customers and provide a better viewing experience.
In conclusion, a recent report published by Cision estimated that by 2024, the size of global marketing automation will grow from the 2019’s $3.3 billion today to $ 6.4 billion. Thus, it is no surprise that marketing automation tools are the future of the ecommerce customer journey.
Correctly using marketing automation tools to optimize your customer journey can make the difference between a struggling and a thriving business. Use our 10 steps above to create your own winning ecommerce customer journey and propel your business to the future with marketing automation.
Luda Greko is the head of content marketing for ActiveTrail, a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses. By day, she writes for top online marketing sites about email marketing and marketing automation. And by night, she is a lifestyle blogger and a social media enthusiast.