How to win big - transform your micro journeys
Updated: Sep 9
In my previous article ‘Think small to win big’, I made the case for micro journeys. In this next instalment, I will demonstrate how to create better micro journeys by showing some specific examples of them in action.
Creating simpler journeys
Let’s start by going through a simple example of a common micro journey, to show how it can be transformed into something better. Below is a micro journey for a product search in Google:
This is a common journey to see, which whilst it does allow the customer to find the product and purchase, it essentially misses the point of what the customers motivation is. If the customer has typed into Google your product name, they want to see information on that product and not an introduction to your business or your full product range. So we can create a quick fix for this type of journey by removing the unnecessary steps like this to create a simple and lean journey:
Removing unnecessary steps will greatly improve your conversion rate and provides happier customers too, so it’s one of those rare cases of a genuine win-win scenario.
Start with the what
If your micro journeys are already simplified though, how can you find the additional improvements you are looking for? At first glance the above journey looks like it would be hard to improve. However, if you put yourself in the customers shoes and find out more about what is going on from their perspective, then the areas for improvement quickly become clear.
To do this, we firstly add some simple data to show us what the customer behaviour looks like. It’s important to note at this stage we are only looking at what is happening and not why or what to do about it, those stages come later on.
From this data, we can see some initial insights, for example we now know that 1% of people who search in Google for the product go on to purchase it. That’s helpful if we are trying to work out how much we can afford to pay for our Google ads, but it doesn’t give us the detail we need to work out how to improve the journey. What it does do however is highlight where we need to look and it points quite clearly at the product page and the need to discover why it only converts 10% of these people, given they have shown a high level of intent prior to arrival at the page.
To get the level of detail we need, we need to throw a bit more website data at it and this time focus in on our area of investigation which is now the product page. Where are people going if they aren’t purchasing the product?
With this additional level of detail added, we can now see that the main issue is that 50% of people leave the site from this page. There could also be a secondary issue too given 40% of people felt the need to go elsewhere in the site to get what they wanted, but that is of less concern at this stage. We now know that if we want to to improve this micro journey, we need to do more to stop people leaving the site and to a lesser extent leaving this page. To do that we need to know why they choose to leave the site.
Next comes the why
In exploring why people leave our page, we need to ask questions of our website visitors. There are several ways to do this, including looking at on site browsing behaviour in your site analytics tool, running on site surveys or monitoring the way people use the website through website recording software. Dive into these data sets to find out why customers are behaving in the way they are. Consider how the journey works for them in practice and not how it works theoretically when you look at it from afar. Perhaps in practice the reasons they left the product page were like this:
This information tells us much more clearly what we need to do to improve the customer experience on this page, which in turn will lead to better performance.
We may not be able to do much about the price, but we can report the findings back to the business to show them the extent that the price is turning people off. This may be an issue, but equally it may be perfectly fine, as price is a very useful filter to ensure a business finds the right customers for them.
Of the other data shown, there is plenty we can act on and there are changes that are relatively easy for us to address, in particular by changing the focus of the product pages to more clearly feature delivery times and the product information.
Another area we can improve easily is encouraging those people who left the site intending to buy it later to come back. We can do this by retargeting product page visitors with ads to remind them to act, through digital channels including display, video, search or social. These ads could perhaps feature some of the key product and delivery information in the ads, along with a strong call to action, given we found that this was the information people felt they needed and couldn’t easily find.
With these combined changes, we’ve got a much better chance of converting 65% of the people who left the product page without buying. Even just by switching on retargeting ads and making the creative better suited to the customers needs, we would have a much better chance of converting 25% of the product page visitors and that requires no changes to the website at all. There is always something that can be done to improve the customer experience!
What if you can’t find out the "why"?
Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to find out why customers aren’t converting through one of your micro journeys and the answer to how to improve it is not immediately forthcoming. However, all is not lost in this scenario either.
Set out a list of hypothesis for how the journey or individual touchpoints within it can be improved. Create a testing schedule and test one improvement at a time to see if you can beat the current performance. Ensure you benchmark the performance levels of the original journey and each touchpoint within it before you begin and see if you can beat the benchmark. You should quickly find ways to beat it and you will then also learn what people do and don't respond to. This last point provides valuable customer insights that can help your future efforts and be fed back into the rest of the business to provide a greater understanding of the customer across the organisation.
I hope this article has given you some ideas for how you can start to put in place better micro journeys yourself. As ever, the best way is just to start with something and evolve it from there. But remember, small gains add up to large improvements over time so keep on testing and learning to find your way to the optimal customer experience and you will be sure to reap the rewards in time.