Customer Journey Mapping: 101

Customer Journey Mapping

Ready for a little art project?

We’re going to build a customer journey map to help you improve your customer experience as they move through your funnel!

If you’re not super familiar with all the jargon I just laid on you, Courtney made an awesome video about the difference between user experience, customer experience, and the customer journey that you should take a gander at that on our youtube channel.

As for this article, it’s all customer journey all the time.

What is a Customer Journey?

A lot of marketing agencies use the term, “funnel” here, but there is a distinct difference between a funnel and a customer journey.

A “funnel” is the view of what people go through from a salesy, technical side of things. A “customer journey” is softer and more connected with what your potential customer goes through on your website and beyond.

Customer journey mapping allows you to put yourself into the shoes of the people you want to impress the most and make it easy for them to take your desired action.

What is Customer Journey Mapping? Why Do You Need It?

Court talks about this in depth throughout her video, so we’re going to keep it simple here.

Customer Journey Mapping is where you literally draw out the steps that you want your customers to go through for each of your marketing initiatives.

Below, you’ll see OUR CUSTOMER JOURNEY MAP for our Top Three Email Automations Giveaway.

Notice that it’s on big paper, has high level information, and it’s super simple. We didn’t include the finicky details on this map, just the basic, “these are the steps we want our potential clients to take.”

When to Make Your Map 

This should be the first thing you do when you have a new high level initiative.

This is especially true the first time you create a new initiative because you need to make sure that you have all the steps in order and that they all make sense. It’s super easy to make a little mistake that will cost you a ton of time to fix if you don’t make a map.

Plus, if you do this right, it’s repeatable!

How to Create Your Customer Journey Map

I love to do this on big paper with a sharpie. I learn this from the book, Rework (highly recommend) and it’s awesome!

The sharpie marker keeps you from writing in too many details. There will be time for that later. Your focus right now should be based entirely on the steps that your ideal customer will take. Now, read that again. This is based on what your customer will experience.

Step one: identify your desired goal for the customer journey

This step is ignored all the time. People just launch into building something with no real, tangible goal in mind.

Each step should have one simple goal. That way, your end goal feels natural to your customer – remember that they don’t necessarily know that they’re walking through a journey. To them, in their busy life, they’re just taking each valuable step that you’re offering them one by one.

A good rule of thumb for a customer journey map: always provide a “next step” for the potential customer. Always find a way to push them ever so slightly closer to the intended goal.

In every step, make sure they get something when they complete the goal you have set. Like the Three Automations Funnel Example:

  • The first goal is to collect email. In this step, you get an email address and they get a free download.
    • their next step is a free webinar
  • Your goal is to learn more about the person you just signed up. You get more info about the via a survey and they get their webinar.
    • their next step is booking a call
  • You goal is to get them to schedule a call with you. You BOTH get to get on a call with each other where they get help and you have a hot lead.

Looks like a funnel, right? That’s because this is where most funnel gurus end. But we’re on a journey.

Step two: identify the potential customer that is heading out on this journey

You need to communicate really, really well with one particular type of person. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE RUNNING ADS otherwise you’ll waste real money.

It’s pretty easy to understand the concept of a funnel, but this added layer of understanding who your ideal customer or client is, will make or break any customer journey.

Expanding on the example above – having the client fill out a survey about their experience with email marketing before they can watch webinar about email marketing works because our ideal client understands that we use that information to help them. We wouldn’t suggest giving this type of survey in an ecommerce company or as a wellness practitioner.

Knowing who your ideal client is will help you a lot here because it lets you get a pretty good idea of what kind of action your potential customer will take to reach their own goals.

Step three: draw it out

This is the MOST FUN PART. Draw out the journey!

This is going to be messy at first, don’t worry. It’ll get clearer. Redraw it once you understand the whole thing.

Start by drawing all the places where your ideal customer will embark on their journey. Will this just be in an ad? Are you optimizing for SEO? What about directly from social media? How about an affiliate? Make sure you understand this step so that you can plan the details for each one later on.

Once your map is drawn out, go over it a couple of times yourself, and go over it with someone who doesn’t understand the ins and outs of your business.

Remember: your ideal customer does not inherently understand you. Make sure that all of your steps are super clear for them.

Here’s an image of our map so you can try to copy it (but it’s likely that this won’t EXACTLY work for you, so check in with step two).

Step four: get started

It’s detail time.

Once your user journey map is clear and well laid out, it’s time to get detailed.

When you’re deep in the details of ads and copy and imagery and steps and funnels and on your fifth cup of coffee, shit can get lost and confusing. You want to be able to power through the entire customer journey creation process creatively. The best way to do that is to go through each step of your map and write down everything you need to create this journey for your customer. 

Like a to-do list. (I love lists)

Lay out your plan of attack. Double check it. Make sure it makes sense. Check it again.

And then follow it blindly.

Of course, you should QA as you go. Check it every step of the way to make sure, but in general, your planning-stuff brain is different than your doing stuff brain. So you just need to trust that your planning stuff brain did it right.

Questions? Send us an email to and ask away! (Or just say hi! We love emails!)

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