How to Create Last Mile Customer Journeys

Learn how to create better converting journeys in the last mile

Last mile marketing is about taking customers from arrival on your website to conversion. How customers navigate this last mile all depends on how you design the journey.

What are customer journeys?

Customer journeys are how your customers go from hearing about you to buying what you’re selling, and beyond.

Journeys are made up of touchpoints. That’s points where your customer experiences your brand, product, or service. Marketers need to consider all of these touchpoints, from print media advertising and in-store experiences, to content marketing and product user experience.

Customer journeys are made up completely, or at least partially, of digital touchpoints. Longstanding principles of good marketing like segmentation and consistent customer experience are often set at odds with digital marketing, rather than simply applied in this new context.

Last mile marketing is about letting marketers apply their tried and tested methods, regardless of technology. This requires a particular way of understanding digital customer journeys.

The simplest way to map the last mile

In an abstract sense a customer journey is mapped if you have a list of touchpoints. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be an ordered list. For example, this is the skeleton of a mapped customer journey:

  • homepage
  • blog
  • product pages
  • checkout

The customer journey represented in that list is not particularly exciting. It says there are four touchpoints at those four locations, common areas of most ecommerce websites. To start optimising the journey, you need to make things happen at those locations and that means tying them together in service of a common goal.

What is the goal of a last mile journey?

To take our simple list and turn it into a great last mile customer journey, you first need to think about the finish line. It’s usually as simple as “the user buys the product”.

You should already have a goal for your campaign, it’s one of the two key parts of the hypothesis. If your campaign only contains one journey, (you aren’t segmenting customers) then you ought to use the goal you have already set. You can think of the campaign as one big journey.

Often the best way to achieve the goal of a campaign is to segment customers and treat them to bespoke journeys.

How to target last mile journeys

With a goal and a segment in mind, you can start to compose better converting last miles. Coming up with the best possible customer journey is probably impossible, but coming up with a better one can be fairly easy.

Keep it simple

For a start, simple is always better than complicated. This is crucial to targeting. The more you can find out about users, the more you can optimise their journeys for simplicity.

Most websites suffer from having to do hundreds of things at once, but a targeted customer journey gives you the luxury of single-mindedness. If you have a well-defined user segment and a single goal, then you can optimise the journey around those two ideas by stripping away anything superfluous or irrelevant. You can increase the prominence of the content that users are likely to want to see and afford them fewer options for actions they can take on the site.

Be consistent

Consistency is also powerful. The best last miles are consistent with the rest of the customer experience. Visitors arriving from social media are primed differently compared to visitors arriving from a webinar. You should assume they have different expectations, intentions and levels of knowledge.

Don’t go too fast, or too slow

You should also pay attention to pacing. Different users are at different stages in their interaction with your website or brand in general. Some website visitors will benefit from a highly streamlined journey to conversion, others will be turned off by what they perceive as pushiness and would rather learn more first.

Stop customer abuse

The paramount principle should always be respect for the people using your website. Marketers are often tempted to do short-sighted things like respond to exit intent with full-page popup modals. There is very little evidence that this does anything more than annoy people. (In fact, you should only really use popups when you are pretty sure it might actually be useful to the user.)

Next steps

Once you have a good idea of how you want to optimise your last mile journey, including the targeted segment and the goal you want users to reach, it’s time to start specifying the journey in full. This means defining a string of touchpoints that clearly describe the changes you want to make to the underlying website.

Further reading

 

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