The Marketer’s Field Guide To User Journey Tracking And Optimization

Many marketers are familiar with what the user journey is, but they don’t know how to track it properly. In order to optimize the user journey and make effective changes that increase revenue, you must have clear visibility into all of your user journey metrics.

The user journey can take place on a single website page, as readers move down the page through awareness, consideration, and decision stages. Or, it can take place across entire marketing campaigns.

Before diving into individual channels as part of the user journey, let’s learn first about how to track the user journey in general and market effectively.

 

Tailor User Journeys To Marketing Personas

While no two customers are the same, your product or service is likely to appeal to certain types of customers known as personas.

You should create separate campaigns for each marketing persona so that your user journey is individualized toward them. Creating user journeys for a generic customer is possible, but your results will be better if you target your personas.

Start by picking one or two marketing personas and getting a sense as to what problems they face, what kind of language appeals to them, and how your solution would offer value to them. Then, create separate user journeys from awareness to decision with messaging that resonates.

 

Create A Content Strategy

You can map out your campaigns by creating a content strategy document. For each user journey stage, detail what questions the user has. Then, create topics for content that match the user’s needs at each stage.

You will need emails, ads, highly-ranked results on search engines, or social media posts to draw users into your website. Blogs are good for educating prospects when they’re still in the awareness stage. Whitepapers and assessments help guide users through the consideration stage. And case studies or consultation offers help users make a decision.

However, these are just basic guidelines. Sometimes, a blog may be targeted to users in the decision stage. Vice versa, a case study could resonate with a user in the awareness stage. The most important thing to remember is to meet users where they are with content that matches the questions and problems they have.

 

Measure And Optimize Based On KPIs

Once you start collecting data on your user journey, it’s tempting to make sweeping improvements. Yes, you want to optimize your journey overall, but it will be difficult to track what changes were effective and which ones weren’t unless you test changes one at a time.

It’s best to start by picking the low-hanging fruit. For example, if you see a web page is getting a lot of traffic but few conversions, identify where users are dropping off. Then, optimize the copy or design in that section only to keep prospects moving toward the bottom of the page where your conversion point most often is.

Keep a record of what your metrics were before you optimized and what they are afterwards. A marketing reporting tool can do this for you and show you comparison charts so you can measure how effective your changes are.

A tool like Optix can help you optimize your user journey by letting you know exactly where on your website abandonment takes place. You can pinpoint what content needs adjustment so that you can funnel more users through the sales process. This leads to increased conversions, leads, and sales.

 

Channels

The most effective way to market is to create a user journey across multiple channels, including emails, ads, SEO content, social media, and the UI/UX on your website.

Each type of channel has best practices and marketing optimization techniques you should follow to improve performance. Let’s start with email.

 

Email Marketing

Optimize Your Email Campaigns For More Opens And Clicks

Email marketing is a key piece of user journey marketing. When prospects give you their email address, it means they trust your company and are open to reading more about what you have to say. It’s important not to violate this trust.

If you’re sending out email after email, and no one is opening them or clicking through your links, you’re probably not offering value to your prospects. So what do you do? You need to optimize your email campaigns.

 

Email Open Rates

Most email inboxes are full of messages your prospects will never open or read. You need a way to stand out. You should use powerful language in your subject lines. Include numbers that stop prospects from scrolling down.

For example, email headlines such as “5 Secret Tips To Turbocharge Your Email Marketing ROI” or “4 Consequential Pitfalls Of Boring Email Subject Lines” will make your prospects want to learn more. If you’re not using numbers or power words, make sure you entice prospects to open by teasing a value offer.

 

Email Click-Through Rates

When you send an email, your goal is usually to get prospects to complete an action, such as to click through to a landing page, blog, or other area of your website. So, you need to convince prospects that completing this action benefits them.

Avoid overselling in your email copy. Briefly tell prospects what they’ll get by clicking, show them what they’ll miss if they don’t, and give them a deadline so they don’t procrastinate.

If you want to learn more about how to increase your email open and click-through rates, read 37 Tips For Writing Emails That Get Opened, Read, And Clicked by Copyblogger.

 

Test What Works Best

Not every email is going to get you optimal results. But if you test subject lines and value offers, you can start to get a sense as to what resonates with your prospects. Isolate and test one aspect of your campaign at a time, and move forward with the changes that work best.

To do so, you’re going to need a reporting tool that gives you detailed metrics on how your email campaigns are performing.

Ideally, this tool should show you how your campaigns fit within the user journey so you or other members of your team can stay in sync about how you’re marketing your company.

 

PPC

Dramatically Improve Your PPC ROI

A well-run PPC campaign can bring in a flood of qualified traffic to your website or landing page. However, it takes skill and expertise to hit your KPIs.

If you optimize correctly, you can improve PPC metrics such as:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC)
  • Cost-per-acquisition (CPA)
  • Impressions
  • Conversion
  • And more

Follow these tips to consistently achieve your KPIs.

 

Use PPC In Conjunction With Organic Search Marketing

How much more traffic would you get if your business both occupied the top of the organic search traffic page and dominated the paid ads?

According to Marketing Domination Media, searchers who see that your company has a presence in both areas will consider you an industry leader. They will be more likely to click through to your website.

As a PPC specialist, you should work in tandem with your SEO specialist to cover as much SERP page real estate as possible.

 

Focus On Improving Your Quality Score

Quality score is meant to gauge the quality of your keywords, ads, and landing pages. Search engines want to make sure that the content you're offering searchers is highly relevant, as this will give them a better user experience.

According to Medium, you can improve your quality score by:

  • Using properly matched keywords
  • Leveraging negative keywords
  • Employing sitelink extension
  • Writing powerful ad copy
  • Using Ad Extensions
  • Increasing your bids
  • A/B testing your ads
  • Making sure keywords are relevant to ads

 

Track Your PPC Metrics Constantly

PPC data should always inform your strategy. If a certain campaign isn't performing well, you should cut back on your spend until you figure out how to use marketing optimization to improve ROI.

PPC reporting affects the rest of your marketing program. For example, you and your team should understand where PPC fits within the user journey.

What type of ads are bringing users into the marketing funnel? What do they do once they reach your website or landing page? Answering these questions is essential to increasing your PPC ROI.

Because many different pieces of user journey marketing fit together, you need a marketing reporting tool that shows you a holistic picture.

 

SEO

Improve Page Rank By Changing The Way You Think About Search

The way Google and other search engines return search results for users has dramatically shifted in the past few years. In the early days of search, filling content with keywords was the best way to improve your page rank. Now, Google’s algorithms are much more advanced.

Improving page rank is a complex science that often requires a dedicated SEO specialist or SEO team. You should also consider hiring content writers to work with an SEO specialist, or else outsourcing these functions.

Without a professional’s experience and expertise, your content marketing efforts will likely be ineffective because SEO strategy is constantly evolving. Few marketers have time to learn SEO in depth, which is why dedicated content marketers are so valuable.

That being said, let’s touch on the most important factor affecting page rank today. Is your content a valuable, high-quality answer to users’ search queries?

 

Answer Users’ Search Questions

Alexa, Siri, and other such technologies along with Google’s answer boxes are changing the way users interact with search engines. Data from Jumpshot shows that around 8% of search queries today are phrased as questions. And that number is expected to rise.

By 2020, 30% of search is projected to be voice-conducted. That often means users will ask Siri and Alexa questions instead of inputting keywords.

In order to rank highly on Google, your content must be informative in the sense that it answers a question.

The content must be high quality so that users stay on your page to read the answer to the question. And ideally, the expertise you establish should encourage users to learn more about your company by clicking to another page on your site or converting on a value offer.

You can use a marketing reporting tool like Optix to track how your keywords are performing and optimize your content. If you’re performing poorly on a certain keyword, try to establish the intent behind the users’ search.

Then, if your content is not answering the question users have when they search for that term, alter your content until it does.

 

Social Media

Drive Engagement Across All Of Your Social Platforms

Growing your social media following is all about engaging your audience with consistent, valuable content. Unlike other marketing channels, you don’t have to always post links to your own content.

In fact, it’s best to engage within your community by sharing content that’s informative and captivating, whether it’s written by your company or by other community members.

You can reach out to communities that may be interested in your product by following industry leaders. Comment on their posts and on their followers’ posts with helpful questions or tips.

If someone posts a question within your company’s sphere of expertise, answer it! With strong effort, you’ll have built up a solid following.

 

Build On Successes

Once you have a following, hold on to it through personalized content and interaction. Set a social media calendar and stick with it so users can always find something interesting on your pages. Then, engage off the calendar by liking or responding to your followers’ posts.

A reporting tool like Optix can help you optimize your social media campaigns by showing how your efforts fit within the user journey.

Optix aggregates all of your social media metrics to show how many likes, follows, shares, and comments you received across all of your social channels.

 

Aggregate Social Media Metrics

You can't make targeted changes to your social media strategy without having a clear picture of overall performance. Diving too deep into the specifics of one Facebook campaign may cause your team to overlook trends across all of your platforms.

By aggregating your social media metrics, you keep everyone on your marketing team on the same page. For example, social media specialists can point to their success in community growth or engagement overall rather than having to defend a single tweet that didn't perform well.

 

UI/ UX

Create A User Journey Path Through Your Website

In order to get prospects to move from awareness to decision on your website, you have to think differently about your goal. Instead of forcing users down a path that doesn’t address their questions and problems, you should help them achieve their goals as well as yours.

To do so, you have to understand what motivates your prospects. Developing customer personas is a good place to start. After you know the ins and outs of their questions and pains, map out their path on your website from the moment they arrive.

No two personas are the same, so make sure you have different journeys for each persona.

You’ll need rich data on your users’ interactions with your website in order to make improvements. You may start out with a user journey path in mind, but more likely than not, users will drop off the path at some point.

By pinpointing where users drop out, you can optimize weak sections of your website. UI/UX areas for marketing optimization may include:

  • CTAs
  • Error messages
  • Icons
  • Sliders
  • White space
  • Visual hierarchy
  • Unnecessary information
  • Content below the fold
  • Making expected actions clear
  • Simplifying choices
  • Scannability
  • Readability
  • Pattern consistency

The key is to control the user’s focus and attention. By conducting tests and making small changes one at a time, you can start moving users to interact with your website the way you intend.

Optix shows you detailed data on how users move down your page and through your website. So, you can continuously improve for more conversions.

 

Aggregate Your Metrics To See A Clear Picture Of The User Journey

It’s challenging to see the user journey clearly when you use many disparate reporting tools. The data is often incompatible. Consequently, you can’t assess how well your campaigns are going because your data is either incomplete or flawed.

Emails, PPC ads, SEO, social media, and UI/ UX all affect each other when it comes to bringing prospects into your funnel and guiding them toward a purchase decision. That’s why you need to view this data together in dashboards that tell a complete story.

Leveraging a user journey reporting tool like Optix to aggregate your data can help you optimize more effectively. Optix shows you intuitive dashboards so you can assess marketing performance easily and accurately. As a result, you’re free to make data-backed decisions that drive revenue.


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