What is a customer journey and why is it important?

As bloggers, we often earn income from affiliate links. But are there ways to increase conversions via these affiliate links? The answer is yes! By understanding the customer journey! 

Customer journey literally means the path a customer takes before making a purchase. A customer journey is a strategic model that businesses use to visualise every customer contact. Although customer journeys are incredibly important for online businesses, it is also incredibly useful for blogs. Why? Because the customer journey will dictate whether or not a page can earn you money, the call to actions you are going to include, and even the affiliate programs you use!

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What is customer journey?

A customer journey is the path that a customer takes from becoming aware of a product or a need to making that purchase. It includes all of the steps that a customer goes through, from initial awareness to post-purchase follow-up. The customer journey is important because it helps us understand what customers want and need, and how they can best provide for those needs. By understanding the customer journey, we can optimize our blogs and content plans to better convert visitors into affiliate sales.

The 5 stages of the customer journey

what is the customer journey

The customer journey typically has five stages: awareness, interest, decision, action, and retention. We will now go through all the stages of the customer journey so you can understand what a customer or visitor wants or what kind of information they are looking for.

Awareness

A person has a problem and starts looking for a solution. Nowadays, this is often done via search engines. Are you high up in the search results? Then there is a good chance that your company will be included in the next phase: consideration.

Interest

At this stage, visitors are not yet committed to any particular product or service, but are instead exploring their options and considering various alternatives. It is important for bloggers to create content that is relevant to the visitor’s needs and to position themselves as a trusted source of information. If a blog can successfully engage a customer during the interest stage, they will be more likely to lead them towards a converting blog post containing affiliate links.

Decision

The decision stage of the customer journey is when the customer decides whether or not to purchase a product or service. This stage can be influenced by many factors, such as price, reviews, and the visitor’s needs.

Action

The action stage of the customer journey is when the visitor is ready to buy. They have decided what they want and are now looking for the best way to get it. This is where they will compare prices, look for discounts, and read reviews. Once they have found the perfect product, they will add it to their cart and checkout.

Retention

The retention stage of the customer journey is when a customer continues to use a product or service after the initial purchase. This is probably the least important stage for us bloggers.

What are the most important customer journey stages for bloggers?

There are a few key stages in a customer journey that are especially important for bloggers to be aware of.

The decision stage is the most important stage for bloggers because it is when the reader decides whether or not to purchase the product or service that the blogger is promoting.

The interest stage, however, can also be quite important as you can not only include pay per click affiliate links, but also allow users to click through to other, more detailed pages crafted around the decision stage where it is easier to convert customers.

What kind of blog posts should you write for the Awareness stage?

In the Awareness stage of the customer journey, potential customers are just beginning to learn about your product or service. At this stage, it’s important to provide helpful, informative content that can inspire users. So travel bloggers, for instance, would write about the most beautiful villages or beaches in a region or country.

Every single part of the article will then be linked to articles that dig deeper into the content. So for instance, if you are writing about the most amazing villages in the Provence, you would want to add in a link to the best places to stay, best things to do and best restaurants (for instance) for every single village. This will not only help your visitors to get more information about a certain place (and help them along their customer journey), it is also amazing for your internal linking.

Conversion during the Awareness stage is going to be quite rare. This is why it is often a good idea to include links to affiliate programs that pay per click. An example of such an affiliate program in the travel industry is Tripadvisor. They pay every time a visitor clicks through their website to a hotel website.

What kind of posts should you write for the interest stage?

customer journey blogging

In the interest stage, your goal is to get your audience interested in the product or service you are promoting. These would be the posts about the best hotels, best things to do and best restaurants.

What about the Decision stage?

For most of us the decision stage is well and truly out of our hand. It will be up to the brand we promote to convince people to head into the action fase where they go through the actions to buy or book a service or product.

There are some posts, however, that can help the brand or product we are promoting to convert better. Take reviews for instance, reviews of a product or service you have tried for yourself can be incredibly helpful in converting visitors.

What's next?

So what’s next? How should you use these stages to create and craft content? Well, I would recommend you to think about the stages your visitor is going through and how you can serve these customers best.

Start out with marking every single article in your content plan with an A, I or D. This way you know what kind of stage this is and you will understand what affiliate links you will need to use and what posts you need to link to.

You can also set up funnels for your most popular categories where you send automated emails to certain subscribers. If someone is in the awareness stage for buying anti wrinkle cream, for instance, why not send them 1 email a week automatically which takes your customers through the subsequent customer journey stages. Your first email could explain why people get wrinkles. Your second what active ingredients work best for wrinkles, your 4th and 5th could be listicles for wrinkle creams and your last one could be links to reviews of your favourite wrinkle creams embedded in an email written from a personal standpoint.

Understanding the customer journey can really help you to increase that conversion rate and drive more sales and income!

Programs and tools like Affilimate can also help you to understand what articles are converting and which aren’t which will help you understand during what time of the customer journey your visitors are visiting your website. Affilimate is an amazing tool and I would fully recommend trying it. You can try it out for free via this link. 

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