How To Measure Your Customer Journey And Use The Data To Make Better Marketing Decisions
The reason you aren’t seeing the results you want from your marketing might not be because you’re doing anything wrong— it might be because you’re putting your resources in the wrong places.
Does this sound familiar? You want to increase sales or leads… so you try out something new like ads to reach more people. Or, maybe you looked at your data and notice that only 1% of people who saw your sales page purchased… so you hire a copywriter to optimize the page.
But no matter what you try, it feels like you’ve hit a wall and even if you see small bumps here and there, no matter what you do, you can’t move the needle consistently or increase your sales by as much as you want.
The problem is likely because there’s a bottleneck or ‘leak’ in your customer journey. And up until now, you’ve just been throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping that it sticks. But what if instead, we identified exactly where the problem is, and what needed to change to fix it?
How on earth can you do that? By leveraging your marketing data.
Every stage of the customer journey can be measured. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to grab a warm beverage (or glass of wine) and dig into your numbers to figure out where your drop-off is. We’re going to walk you through exactly what you should be measuring for four of the key stages of the customer journey, how to identify if you have a bottleneck or leak, and then what to do when you find them.
And don’t worry, if you’re already starting to think, “I do not have the time to work through this!” well spoiler alert: this is the root of our signature service– meaning, we can do this all for you. So, if you’d rather trade the DIY for Done-For-You, let’s get on a call or feel free to explore our Marketing Strategy service.
Free Reach Calculator
Get up close and personal with your marketing numbers— we promise, it’s not as scary as it sounds. This tool walks you through how your marketing is performing now, then calculates the leads, traffic, and reach you need to hit your goals.
Without data behind your decisions, you’re just taking a shot in the dark
In our experience, most businesses are at least aware of their customer journey. However, few actively measure it or, better yet, use that data to inform their marketing decisions. This can be costing businesses $$$ every month if they’re spending on ads, agencies, or channels that aren’t converting as well as they could be!
Your customer journey data should drive your marketing priorities (and be the center of your quarterly or annual planning) as it tells you exactly where your marketing investments will have the highest ROI and impact.
It’s kind of like trying to fix a broken car without running a diagnostics test first. Why are you wasting money replacing an engine when all the car needed was an oil change?
Your customer journey tells the story of how your target audience first interacts with your brand–or your offers– and what typical steps they take as they progress toward becoming real paying customers.
Your specific customer journey might look slightly different than this one, and that’s okay. It will probably have more stages to it as we’ve stripped this one down to the bare-bones essentials.
So make sure to map out yours, and then use the same principles to set targets for the other stages we haven’t included here. Let’s get started!
The four stages we’re going to measure are:
- Traffic acquisition (are you reaching new people in your target audience?)
- Connection & engagement (is your content engaging and resonating with your audience?)
- Offer consideration (are you funnelling your audience towards the offers best for them?)
- Conversion (are you converting traffic that’s interested in your offers?)
Stage 1: Traffic acquisition (are you reaching new people in your target audience?)
For this stage, we want to do two things:
- Measure how many people you’re reaching, and
- Qualify whether they’re the “right” people.
First, let’s measure how many people you’re reaching
How and what you measure this will depend on what platforms you use to speak to (and target) new people.
So, if most of your traffic learns about your offers through your website, you’ll measure Website Users and Website New Users. If you market to new customers on social media, through podcasts, or something else, you’d probably want to measure metrics on those channels. Essentially, we are looking to gain insight into the number of “accounts reached” or “people reached” through your marketing.
Then, let’s qualify whether they’re the “right” people
We see it far too often, that businesses just focus on reaching more people rather than focusing on reaching the right people. They get addicted to seeing their overall numbers increase without considering if these people are actually in their target audience. Don’t fall into this trap!
Remember, reaching 100 people in your target audience is better than 1,000 people who are not interested in what you do. So don’t just look at how many people you’re reaching– pay attention to how they’re getting there, and whether they’re actually in your target audience. When it comes to traffic, quality is much more important than just quantity.
So, if you get lots of traffic from search engines (paid or organic) you can measure traffic quality by looking at whether the search terms or queries are actually something your target audience would be searching for. Or, look at where on your site the traffic is landing. Is it an old blog post that’s no longer relevant to what you do?
You could also measure how “engaged” they are on your site. Do they actually read the content (do they stay at least 10 sec or scroll 25%), or do they leave immediately?
How to use traffic attribution data to make better marketing decisions
Here’s a simple report we’ve built in Google Data Studio from Google Analytics 4 data to measure how many people this business reaches each month on their website, and if they’re quality or ‘engaging’ with the content on the site.
We can use this data to:
- Allocate this business’ marketing budget towards the channels that are performing best or reaching the most qualified traffic, or identify channels that should be optimized
- Proactively prepare & respond to highs & lows in expected sales as they’re typically aligned with highs & lows in traffic
In this example report, we are able to identify that reaching people isn’t this business’ problem. They’re reaching plenty of people across a diversified set of channels, but those people aren’t engaging with the content.
We can now drill down to investigate into where the traffic is landing or what we’re doing on each channel to identify if we need to do a better job of reaching the right people, or if it’s an engagement problem (how to figure this out is in the next stage!).
Stage 2: Connection & engagement (is your content engaging and resonating with your audience?)
When someone first learns about your business, the first thing they’re going to ask themselves (consciously or subconsciously) is “can this help me” or “is this what I’m looking for”.
If they don’t feel seen or if they don’t connect with your messaging, there’s a very high chance they’ll leave. So, we want to measure if our messaging and content are resonating with them so they’ll stick around to learn more!
Once again, how you measure data at this stage will depend slightly on which channel you’re using to educate or engage with your audience.
If your educational or connection-driven content is on your website– via blogs, an email list sign-up, embedded videos, etc.,– then you’ll measure what proportion of your traffic spends a specific amount of time on a blog, signs up for your list, or watches up to a certain point of a video.
If you’re mostly engaging with people on a social media platform or through some third-party platform like podcasts, getting these metrics can be a bit more challenging. You can often get rough numbers of how many “active” people you have in your audience and divide that by how many new people you’re reaching. Or, you can measure how many people engage, listen, or watch with you on a repeat basis, but note the data isn’t going to be perfect and that’s okay.
Some data is still better than no data, and if you want to drill down even deeper, invite members of your community into some offline conversations or ask for their feedback.
How to use connection & engagement data to make better marketing decisions
Here’s an example report we’ve built in Google Data Studio from Google Analytics 4 data of a business that primarily educates on their blog and offers a few free webinars to nurture their audience.
We can use this data to:
- Identity & prioritize blogs to update or optimize if they’re no longer attracting the same traffic they were before, or they’re not engaging or converting as well as they could.
- Identify any bottlenecks or drop-offs in the webinar lead generation process
- Identify if there’s a disconnect between how they’re promoting their product or service and what’s resonating with their target audience. If there appears to be a disconnect, we’ll prioritize collecting Voice of Customer (VOC) data to better understand their customer’s pain points, goals, and needs.
In this example, this business is seeing a large discrepancy between the number of people who are clicking the ‘sign up for the webinar’ button on their website and the people who actually sign up for the webinar on the opt-in page.
With this data, we were able to prioritize the optimization of their webinar opt-in page. Initially, they were going to increase their ad spend to reach their sales goals, but this alternative is less costly and has the potential to yield a much higher impact on their leads.
Stage 3: Offer consideration (are you funnelling your audience towards the offers best for them?)
The next stage to measure is whether you’re doing a good job of directing your engaged traffic to the places where they can actually consider buying from you.
Most businesses have– or should have– sales, services, or product pages that outline exactly what they sell and how to get started. To determine how well a business is getting people to consider buying from them, we need to track if people are actually getting to these pages!
You probably want to break this down by each service page or product page or category if you have multiple offers, especially if those offers target different audiences.
Essentially, you’re looking to see how many people visit each of these sales/product pages, what percent of your audience is finding their way there, and the path their taking to arrive on those pages.
How to use offer consideration data to make better marketing decisions
Here’s an example report we’ve built in Google Data Studio from Google Analytics 4 data that shows a business’ website doing a great job at acquiring traffic but struggling to get those people to their sales pages.
We can use this data to:
- Identify which channels or tactics are actually moving the audience from engaging with free content to considering their offer
- Prioritize and optimize content or channels that aren’t doing as good of a job at transitioning their audience from “I like your brand/content” to “I might one day buy from you” as they could be.
The business in this example finds and nurtures its audience through a podcast and a Facebook group. This means they have lower traffic levels on their website, but the people who do land there are already primed and usually ready to buy. This means that most of the people who visit their site should be at the very least looking at the sales page.
In this case, we noticed that only 64% of visitors make it to one of their sales pages which, when most of the traffic is nurtured and ready to buy, we could definitely improve this. (And yes, they could also likely work on the conversion rate of their sales page- but that’s a problem for the next stage).
So, we can now analyze the key landing pages on the site and high-trafficked blog posts to look for opportunities to make it clearer which sales page or offer is best for which person and clean up our call-to-actions so more people are ready to click through to the next step.
Stage 4: Conversion (are you converting traffic that’s interested in your offers?)
Now, for the final and most often misunderstood step— we figure out if the people on your sales pages (so those who are theoretically interested in what you offer) actually buy.
This is one of the steps that many businesses actually look at the data for, but they often oversimplify and jump to false conclusions based on what they see.
Potentially controversial opinion… reporting on a “conversion rate” isn’t enough.
Your sales page is arguably the most important page on your website, and if someone doesn’t convert, it could mean many different things:
- Did they land on the page, and it wasn’t what they were expecting, so they left right away?
- Did they scroll down a bit and not understand what you were offering, so they left?
- Did they read most of the content, were kind of interested, but weren’t intrigued enough to actually click through to the next step?
- Did they love the offer and click through to checkout but were thrown off by something in the checkout process?
- I could go on…
And truthfully, we will never know the full story. But we can ask better questions about how your customers are behaving on your site and set up data systems to measure them.
We can start asking questions like:
- How many people saw this page but left after 5 or 10 seconds?
- How many people scrolled at least 25% and stayed for at least 15 seconds?
- How many people scrolled far enough to actually see the offer/pricing/other important section on the page?
- How many people looked at that info for at least 5 seconds (or however long it would take to read it)
- How many people clicked to the next step (add to cart/checkout/etc.)
- When they got to the checkout page, did they even click into any of the fields?
When we ask these questions, we are able to build out a mini customer journey for just your sales page and/or checkout process and use it to identify what specifically on that page needs to be fixed up.
Instead of A/B testing or optimizing blindly, we know exactly where the problem lies, and we can test within a much smaller and more targeted sandbox.
How to use conversion data to make better marketing decisions
Here’s an example of a report we’ve built in Google Data Studio from Google Analytics 4 data that we can use to measure two mini-customer journeys from a sales page and corresponding checkout page.
We can use this data to:
- Identify the specific points on your sales page or checkout page where people drop off. This allows us to do more targeted optimization, A/B testing, and so on…
In this example, this business knew they had an overall purchase conversion rate (users on the sales page / total purchases) of 1-2%. They were invested in trying to increase this, so they had been A/B testing their sales page, hoping to improve it.
But it turned out that their sales page was actually converting at 18% (doing a pretty decent job of getting people to click “buy the course”), so that wasn’t the issue at all! When people arrived on the checkout page, there was a huge drop-off. They were leaving the page before they even entered their email address.
Their sales page wasn’t the problem. Could it be improved? Sure. But focusing on improving their checkout page (and in their case, optimizing it for mobile) would yield a much higher impact on their sales.
The secret to measurable, intentional growth isn’t a secret at all. It’s data.
Too often, businesses get stuck in the never-ending content creation cycle where they constantly try new ways to reach more and more people without first checking if what they are doing is working, or if the people they’re already reaching are actually converting.
By identifying stages of your customer journey, identifying important metrics for each stage, and setting up data systems to track those metrics— you can prioritize your marketing resources and efforts to where they’ll have the most impact. Saving you money, time, and headaches.
Our signature process takes you through this step by step. We’ll map your unique customer journey, conduct a comprehensive audit outlining how each stage in your funnel is performing and set up an entire data system with easy-to-understand reports.
We’ll identify any ‘leaks’ or bottlenecks in your customer journey, and help you prioritize where your resources will have the most impact over the next year. Then we’ll take you beyond these first steps, and actually build out clear & measurable project briefs so your team, contractors, or agencies know exactly what you need them to do, how you’re measuring success, and what the data is telling us about the problem.
Get more details about how the process works, or jump straight to booking a discovery call, and we’ll discuss how your team can start leveraging your data to make better (and more effective!) marketing decisions.
NEED A BETTER WAY TO MEASURE THE MARKETING YOU’RE DOING NOW?
Let’s put your marketing efforts where they’ll have the most impact
Get the data you need to understand which marketing channels are generating the most sales and leads, which ones aren’t pulling their weight, and where you should invest your time, energy, and money.