Digital marketing is an industry that has boomed over the past few years, but if your customers aren’t clicking on ads or leave the page before making a purchase, it can feel like your marketing is not working.
This isn’t the case, as the following three customer journeys will show.
Dave is walking through Manchester Airport’s harshly lit terminal 3 hoping that this is the one with the Starbucks. “Daddy, Daddy, when we get to the hotel can we go straight in the pool? Daddy will there be ice cream?” he tries to zone out the excited questions from his adorable, but grating children. Dave’s been up since 3am, fought with the ticket machine in the long-stay car park before parting with far too much money and he just needs a coffee.
Looking over to his wife he announces quickly before she can protest, “I’m going to go grab a paper, do you want anything?” Walking over to WHSmith he sighs, peace at last. Clutching the paper he’s bought for the sport section and a large bottle of overpriced water, he looks up, sees the red sign ‘Currys PC World’ and heads straight for it.
Dave rubs his tired eyes, straining under the harsh fluorescent lighting. Walking around he plays with the latest shiny models, larger than ever with all the best features. ‘Was £189, now just £124.99’ calls out to him in big red font, ‘… pretty good deal’ thinks Dave doing the maths in his head. He has a go with the tablet and imagines how simple it would make organising his ever hectic schedules.
His thoughts turning to his children and the mess they’ve already accumulated before 7am, Dave realises the likelihood of this tablet surviving the holiday is slim. Reluctantly, Dave walks away from the tablet and approaches his noisy family. Smiling, he promises himself that once the plane touches back down in the UK, he’s going to buy it.
Two weeks later when Dave’s sunburn has started to peel and the suncream scented washing is piled up in the kitchen, he types in ‘Currys PC World Samsung Galaxy Tablet S2’. The tablet is the first result and Dave hurries onto the page, checks the details before clicking ‘purchase’ without hesitation.
Lesson: A direct, branded search, short session time and fast conversion show that the work was done long before your website was involved.
Sitting uncomfortably wedged between an overweight man bulging out of his shiny suit and a sour-faced woman, Lucy attempts to get her phone out. Digging around the bag she finds crumpled receipts, an old sunglass lens and a half-used packet of tissues. She bends down further and grabs the whole thing, accidentally barging the heavy breather with her elbow on the way up “sorry.”
After finally locating her cracked iPhone 5, she distracts herself from the disappointment that he’s not replied to her text by going on Facebook. Looking through photos of loved-up couples, beach snaps and a funny-looking cat, she scrolls past a picture of some olives.
A few “excuse me”, “sorry” and uncomfortably close encounters with people too rude to move out of the way, she breathes a sign of relief as she climbs the station stairs and squints in the early evening sun.
She catches sight of McDonald’s and considers going in. Willing herself to walk past and stick to a tasteless life without carbs, she heads for home and jumps in the scalding hot shower. Wrapping herself in an indulgent White Company bath sheet, she sees her phone flashing: ’10 missed calls from Sophie.’
Panic strikes. Yet again, she’s forgotten the dinner party at her best friend’s. Cursing herself for being a terrible person while scrambling for something relatively clean to wear, Lucy doesn’t realise that she’s finished the last bottle of red in the cupboard and only has a packet of popcorn to take with her to the party.
Running more than fashionably late, dishevelled and empty-handed, Lucy resolves herself to never do this again. Rushing through overcrowded streets, holding her bag to shelter from the persistent rain, Lucy looks up and recognises the deli from Facebook. “Olives!” she shouts, ignoring the looks from people around her and runs across the street to buy a big tub of feta olives for her forgiving friend and a small jar for herself.
Smiling, Lucy strides down the street, knocks on the door of her best friend and is welcomed with open-arms.
Lesson: If sales are going up even though click-through rates aren’t, you know that your brand message is strong enough online to make an impact in the real world.
It’s 10.21, Lee’s tight collar is scratching his stubble and the noise level in the office is rising with gossip about the new ‘hunk’ who’s just started next door. He runs his hands through his hair, regretting that last pint with the guys to commiserate Spurs' embarrassing defeat. His boss calls him over to chat about ideas that his hungover brain struggles to process, but he does his best to nod diligently.
On his way back to the desk, Lee sees that Oli is over in the kitchen and decides to make a hot drink to distract himself from the inevitable bank of emails waiting for him. Laughing at the slightly inappropriate joke, Lee stirs the Nescafé granules and the unique instant coffee smell fills the room. Stirring three spoons of sugar into the stained mug before throwing the spoon in the sink, he says goodbye, knocks his knee on the table and hobbles back to work.
He looks through the email list: Subject: Drinks on Thursday, Re: Drinks on Thursday, Re: Drinks on Thursday, scrolling and still Re: Drinks on Thursday. Sighing at his hatred for group emails, he selects the messages and continues scrolling down before pressing the ‘delete’ button with sheer satisfaction. Filtering through, he sees a link from Fiona; past experience says she’s pretty spot on with the stuff she sends so he settles back in his chair as the website springs to life on his browser.
‘Ten reasons why you need a break at work’ and after finishing the article, he considers forwarding it on to the boss, before discarding the draft.
A fortnight later, Lee walks in the door at 8pm again, tired from a long day at work. He leans on the wall before entering the kitchen to face his girlfriend who he already knows will be angry that he’s late for lasagne night the third week in a row. Releasing the buckle on his cracked leather belt and untucking his creased shirt, he slumps down in the chair.
“This can’t go on. You’re exhausted”, he agrees. Knowing things have to change, Lee decides he has to look for a new job. After fighting with baked lasagne crusts and finishing off the bottle of red, he yawns, stretches and sits down with his laptop.
He remembers that article Fiona sent. He reads through it again and sees it was written by a recruiter. Clicking on the link, a simple screen pops up ‘what roles are you looking for?’ he browses through the positions and sees one that does actually sound pretty good. ‘Send your CV’ he hovers over the button, contemplates doing it now, but decides to sleep on it.
After another draining day at work, Lee returns home, heads straight for his laptop and types in the recruiter’s name next to the job he wants to apply for. This time there’s no delay before he submits his CV and waits for the call.
Lesson: Content marketing is a long game, don’t expect a conversion in the first week your article is live. Set up specific micro-conversions and relax knowing that if you’ve targeted the right people, all you need is patience.