Article

10min read

How To Build A Customer Journey Map

Understanding your customers’ paths is no easy task. Each user has their own unique reason for visiting your site and an individual route that they take as they explore your pages.

How can you gain insights about your customers to improve your website’s usability and understand buying trends?

The answer is simple: build a customer journey map.

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the start-to-finish interaction customers have with your brand before reaching a specific goal.

Creating a compelling journey helps you stand out and shows customers that you care about their experience. An enjoyable customer journey promotes positive engagement, making for more satisfied customers that are more likely to return for repeat purchases.

In fact, a study from Forbes found that positive interactions lead customers to spend as much as 140% more.

Each step along the journey will provide you with valuable, real-time insights into customer behavior.

By better understanding your customers, you will be able to provide them with the best possible user experience every time they visit your online store. The best way to do this is by creating visual customer journey maps that present all this information about customers at a glance.

Visually mapping the customer journey

A customer journey map is a visual representation that helps you gain better insight into your customers’ experiences (from start to finish) from their point of view.

There are two vital elements to creating a customer journey map:

  • Defining your customers’ goals
  • Understanding how to map their nonlinear journey

By mapping out a customer’s digital journey, you are outlining every possible opportunity that you have to produce customer delight. You can then use these touchpoints to craft engagement strategies.

According to Aberdeen Group (via Internet Retailer), 89% of companies with multi-channel engagement strategies were able to retain their customers, compared to 33% of those that didn’t.

To visually map every point of interaction and follow your customer on their journey, you can use excel sheets, infographics, illustrations, or diagrams to help you better understand.

Customer journey maps also help brands with:

  • Retargeting goals with an inbound viewpoint
  • Targeting a new customer group
  • Forming a customer-centric mindset

All of these lead to better customer experiences, which lead to more conversions and an increase in revenue.

Choosing The Right Map

There are four different types of customer journey maps to choose from. Each map type highlights different customer behaviors as they interact with your business at different points in time. Choosing the right template is essential based on your goals.

1. Current State Template

The current state template is the most commonly used journey map that focuses on what customers currently do, their way of thinking and how they feel during interactions.

It’s great for highlighting existing pain points and works best for implementing incremental changes to customer experiences.

current-state=customer-journey

2. Future State Template

The future state template focuses on what customers will do, think, and feel during future encounters.

It’s useful for conveying a picture of how customers will respond to new products, services and experiences.

3. Day in the Life Template

This template is similar to the current state template because it visualizes present-day customer behaviors, thoughts and feelings. However, this template assesses how customers behave both with your organization and with peers in your area.

This type of journey map works best for spurring new initiatives by examining unfulfilled needs in the market.

day-in-life-customer-journey-map

4. Service Blueprint Template

When creating a service blueprint template, you typically begin with an abridged version of a current or future state journey map. Then you add a network of people, methods, procedures and technologies responsible for giving a simplified customer experience, either in the present or in the future.

Current state blueprint maps are beneficial for recognizing the source of current pain points, whereas future state blueprint maps help create an environment that will be necessary for providing a planned experience.

blueprint-journey

Steps to create a customer journey map

Creating customer journey maps may feel repetitive, but the design and application you choose will vary from map to map. Remember: customer journeys are as unique as your individual customers.

Step 1: Create Buyer Personas

Before creating a journey map, it’s important to identify a clear objective so you know who you’re making the map for and why.

Buyer personas help define customer goals, providing a deeper understanding of their needs and topics of interest. More detail makes for more realistic personas, which means you’ll need to do a fair amount of market research to acquire this data.

Start by creating a rough outline of your buyer’s persona with demographics like age, gender, occupation, education, income and geography. When you have that in place, you’ll need to get psychographic data on your customers. This kind of information may be harder to collect compared to demographic data, but it is worthwhile to understand customer preferences, needs and wants.

In short, demographics tell you who your customers are and psychographics provide insights into the why behind their behavior.

Collecting concrete data on your customers helps you serve them better and deliver a more personalized user experience.

Step 2: Select Your Target Customer

After making several customer personas, it’s time to do a “deep dive” into each to build a more accurate reflection of their experience.

Start by analyzing their first interaction with your brand and mapping out their movements from there.

What questions are they trying to answer? What is their biggest priority?

Step 3: List Customer Touchpoints

Any interaction or engagement between your brand and the customer is a touchpoint.

List all the touchpoints in the customer journey, considering everything from the website to social channels, paid advertisements, email marketing, third-party reviews or mentions.

Which touchpoints have higher engagement? Which touchpoints need to be optimized?

Step 4: Identify Customer Actions

Once you have identified all your customer touchpoints, identify common actions your customers make at each step.

By dividing the journey into individual actions, it becomes easier for you to improve each micro-engagement and move them forward along the funnel.

Think of how many steps a customer needs to reach the end of their journey. Look for opportunities to reduce or streamline that number so customers can reach their goals sooner. One way to do this is by identifying obstacles or pain points in the process and creating solutions that remove them.

This is a great time to use the personas you created. Understanding the customer will help you troubleshoot problem areas.

Anticipating what your customer will do is another important part of mapping the customer journey. Accurate predictions lead to you providing better experiences, which ultimately leads to more conversions.

Step 5: Understand Your Available Resources

Creating customer journey maps presents a picture of your entire business and highlights every resource being used to build the customer experience.

Use your plan to assess which touchpoints need more support, such as customer service. Determine whether these resources are enough to give the best customer experience possible. Additionally, you can correctly anticipate how existing or new resources will affect your sales and increase ROI.

Step 6: Analyzing The Customer Journey

An essential part of creating a customer journey map is analyzing the results.

As you assess the data, look for touchpoints that might drive customers to leave before making a purchase or areas where they may need more support. Analyzing your finished map should help you address places that aren’t meeting customers’ needs and find solutions for them.

Take the journey yourself and see if there’s something you missed or if there is still room for improvement. Doing so will provide a detailed view of the journey your customer will take.

Follow your map with each persona and examine their journeys through social media, email, and online browsing so you can get a better idea of how you can create a smoother, more value-filled experience.

Step 7: Take Business Action

Having a visualization of what the journey looks like ensures that you continuously meet customer needs at every point while giving your business a clear direction for the changes they will respond to best.

Any variations you make from then on will promote a smoother journey since they will address customer pain points.

A great way to test your variations to find out what betters serves your customers throughout their user journey is by leveraging A/B testing.

AB Tasty is a best-in-class A/B testing tool that helps you convert more customers by leveraging experimentation to create a richer digital experience – fast. This experience optimization platform embedded with AI and automation can help you achieve the perfect digital experience with ease.

AB Tasty Demo Banner

Analyzing the data from your customer journey map will give you a better perspective about changes you should make to your site to reach your objective.

Once you implement your map, review and revise it regularly. This way, you will continue to streamline the journey. Use analytics and feedback from users to monitor obstacles.

The truth about customer journeys

Customer journeys are ever-changing. Journey maps help businesses stay close to their customers and continuously address their needs and pain points. They provide a visual of different customers which helps to understand the nuances of their audience and stay customer-focused.

Customer journey maps can vary widely, but all maps share the same steps. With regular updates and the proactive removal of roadblocks, your brand can stand out, provide meaningful engagement, better customer experiences and see positive business growth.

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Article

13min read

10 Best Practices to Creating Powerful Sign-up Forms

We’ve all been through the pain of filling out never-ending forms where we eventually gave up because it was so complicated.

Simple or complex, sign-up forms are everywhere. You are either the one creating the forms or the one filling them out. From e-commerce to SaaS and media platforms, there is no way to escape them. They’re a part of our everyday digital life.

Because consumers are used to filling out sign-up forms, the smallest mistakes in design or the information you’re asking for can have huge consequences on your conversions.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics, the different types of sign-up forms, and 10 best practices for designing powerful sign-up forms that convert.

What is a sign-up form?

A sign-up form is a webpage, questionnaire, document or popup that visitors must fill out with their personal data in order to access specific content or subscribe to a service.

What is a sign up form
Source: SoundCloud

Sign-up forms can have multiple purposes, but typically share a common goal: acquire personal consumer information, such as their name and email, in exchange for access to top-notch information or services.

For many websites, sign-up forms can also represent the entry point that makes all further conversions possible. This is particularly true for freemium or subscription-based models.

E-commerce websites also rely heavily on these forms because they’re a mandatory step prior to any purchase.

Why do sign-up forms matter so much?

Sign-up forms are where conversions happen. In other words, sign-up forms create business.

In our digital era, forms are how companies can get up close and personal with their potential customers. This is the beginning of their interactions where they collect emails, basic user information, leads and deliver content.

In short, forms are at the center of many digital interactions:

  • For the service industry, forms are where leads are made.
  • For the e-commerce industry, forms are where purchases are made.
  • For the SaaS industry, forms are where you acquire customers.

As you can see, sign-up forms are the central piece of the puzzle.

Knowing this, it’s no surprise that neglecting forms is detrimental to any business. In fact, even a single mistake can promptly cost big companies millions in lost revenues.

For example, travel company Expedia found out that adding one extra line in their registration form had cost them over 12M$ per year, as measured with analytics after correction.

Finding out what’s wrong with a form takes time. It requires your team to test out your sign-up forms using A/B testing to see what is the most appealing for your users.

AB Tasty is an example of an A/B testing tool that allows you to quickly test elements of your sign-up form or different portions of your web page. With AB Tasty’s low-code solution, you can get these tests launched with ease, gather insights via an ROI dashboard, and start increasing your conversions.

AB Tasty Demo Banner

4 main types of sign-up forms

1. Email sign-up forms

Emails are a precious touchpoint that shouldn’t be neglected.

These are forms aimed at harvesting email addresses to enhance your email list and generate potential leads.

In the image below, we can see an example of Hubspot using FOMO (fear of missing out) to promote their Service Blog by asking for only one email address.

By keeping the sign-up simple and offering some value through your email content, you’re encouraging your prospects to engage in a short, informational exchange.

Email sign-up form example
Source: HubSpot

2. Product sign-up forms

Product sign-up forms are crucial to e-commerce websites because they’re the last barrier before any purchase is made.

For product sign-up forms, it’s best practice to show the actual product, be very clear, and display security elements to give your customer peace of mind.

While there’s no consensus around the question, we think that e-commerce product forms should be reduced to the bare minimum to decrease the shopping cart abandonment rate.

In any case, delivery and payment options can be separated in order to streamline the checkout process.

3. Subscription sign-up forms

Subscription sign-up forms are a central piece of any subscription-based digital business; it’s where the conversions happen.

However, converting someone into a paying user isn’t always so simple.

Typically, SaaS and subscription-based businesses need time to educate their potential customers, which is why their subscription forms are key for them.

For subscription forms, it’s always important to remember the key information that you’re looking for and to provide value by offering a demo or a free trial.

See how Lancôme increased revenue by 15% by optimizing their account sign-up pathway.

4. Service sign-up forms

Service sign-up forms differ from subscription forms as they do not necessarily bind the user through a subscription.

Service sign-up forms, like Spotify in the image below, are typically aimed at converting a maximum number of visitors into users. For that to happen, one of the best tools that you can use is a social media sign-up process.

Service sign-up form example
Source: Spotify

Offering users a quick alternative way to register with social media or Google could multiply your conversion rate.

10 Expert Sign-up Forms Best Practices

1. Make it contextual and obvious

Your forms only serve one purpose: to be filled out by your visitors.

For that reason alone, make sure that your forms are easily found on your website with distinctive colors.

However, it’s great to keep in mind that making your sign-up forms obvious doesn’t mean that you should display them everywhere. Context really matters when it comes to asking your visitors for their personal data.

Let’s take a look at Lever in the example below. Lever offers gated content on specific HR subjects that requires you to register. It uses a clear call-to-action and offers a brief summary that helps them “sell” their content before visitors fill out their personal information.

It's all about context for successful sign-up form
Source: Lever.co

2. Multi-Step vs Single-Step forms

According to VentureHarbour, multi-step forms tend to outperform single-step forms when it comes to lead generation.

Multi-step forms leave a less intimidating impression on visitors because they only ask for sensitive information at the very end of the form. This method generally leads to better results.

However, when it comes to product and subscription sign-up forms, we’d recommend a clear single-step sign-up form as long forms can discourage even the bravest visitors.

3. Keep your forms simple and easy

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to measuring our online attention span but one thing’s for sure: if your online content isn’t attractive and sharp, you’ll lose potential customers.

In fact, your form length mostly depends on the context. Some industries benefit from longer forms because it gives their websites more credibility, while others see a better return from shorter forms.

Here is one example of a truly simple sign-up form:

Simple sign-up forms are best
Source: Asana

Asana does an awesome job at keeping the registration process easy – they only ask for your email address in exchange for a free subscription. Of course, Asana’s team knows that more information is required to properly use their solution. However, they wait until the onboarding process to ask for more user information later on.

On a larger scale, several studies report that shorter forms (fewer fields) tend to yield better results (more conversions).

With every additional field, there’s more of a potential to lose leads or customers. For e-commerce stores, our advice is to reduce the number of fields to the bare minimum. Your goal is to offer a slick and swift buying process.

It’s important to keep in mind that a simple form doesn’t mean removing all fields. A simple form means that you only focus on mandatory information that helps you meet your business objectives like the users’ name and email address.

4. Provide some real value

Visitors are asked about their personal information almost everywhere, and data privacy is becoming a prominent concern for many internet users.

With this issue in mind, it’s important to design your sign-up forms in a way that provides value for your visitors in exchange for them filling out the form.

To accomplish this goal, the most popular option is to craft a powerful value proposition to sell your form. This value proposition doesn’t have to be long and detailed – it can be effective by getting straight to the point.

In the example below, outdoor gear specialists REI keeps it very simple with a clear value proposition in their email subform: “co-op offers, events & cool new gear.” When you put your email in the box, you have a very clear idea of what you’re signing up for.

Highlight your value proposition in your sign-up form
Source: Rei.com

5. Leverage your social proofs

Social proofs help you sell your services and products because it plays on our deeply rooted social nature.

Showing your visitors that many people did the same before gives them comfort in trusting your product or service. This also enhances your brand credibility and helps you achieve higher conversion rates.

It’s all about convincing your visitors to go through the next steps.

In the example below, you can see how Slack leverages social proof by displaying customer testimonials from famous tech companies just above their sign-up form.

Leverage social proof in your sign-up form
Source: Slack

6. Make it mobile friendly

As more than half of web traffic comes from mobile devices, mobile friendliness is becoming more important each year.

Knowing that more than half your visitors browse your website with their smartphone, you need to ensure that you pay close attention to your sign-up forms’ mobile layout.

The screen size adaptability of your form could play a decisive role in improving your conversion rate.

7. Don’t ask for password confirmation

Password confirmation typically doesn’t help with conversions. In fact, it slows down the process and actually increases the chances of a user misspelling their password.

Rather than asking for confirmation, allow your visitors to see what they just typed with an icon that unmasks their password. This will give them peace of mind knowing that their password is correct without the frustration of misspelling it.

Avoid password confirmation in your sign-up forms

8. Avoid using Captchas

Although spam is a real issue, you might want to consider avoiding the addition of an anti-spam solution on your visitors’ shoulders.

Captchas, like the one displayed in the image below, can sometimes get messy and irritating, which is why they shouldn’t be overused when it comes to building efficient sign-up forms.

Captchas could have you lose potential customers

However, if your team feels more comfortable having an anti-spam solution,  there are better alternatives to captchas to prevent spam.

9. Allow for social sign-ups

As we’ve mentioned a few times in this article, social sign-ups significantly reduce the time it takes for visitors to sign-up thanks to Google or Facebook’s auto-fill.

Implementing social sign-ups makes it easy to subscribe and gives your brand some much-needed credibility. People generally assume that Facebook and Google sign-ups are more secure.

With just one click, it’s an excellent tool to quickly generate leads and improve sign-up conversions.

10. Optimize and test your sign-up forms

Implementing best practices is a good practice in itself. But measuring the changes and their improvements is even better.

Do three fields perform better than six? Is implementing a social media sign-up worth it? Does social proof really give visitors the extra push to fill out your form? Tracking your sign-up form experimentation is the only way to find out.

Your marketing team should test several variations. Using an A/B testing solution, you’ll be able to:

  • Create assumptions based on your analytics
  • Test several variations and find a winner
  • Measure your conversion gains at every stage

Want to get started on A/B testing for your website? AB Tasty is a great example of an A/B testing tool that allows you to quickly set up A/B tests with low code implementation of front-end or UX changes to sign-up forms on your web pages, gather insights via an ROI dashboard, and determine which route will increase your revenue.

AB Tasty Demo Banner

Conclusion

As the conversion opportunities for the subscription service industry continue to skyrocket, so does the competition. Online customers are overwhelmed with choices – and often many good ones.

To convert online visitors to your website, you have to have a very consumer-friendly and optimized page. To find what turns your visitors into subscribers, get started on A/B testing your sign-up forms today.