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Customer Journey Metrics - Track Them Or Lose Them

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Customer Journey Metrics - Track Them Or Lose Them

In the face of digital disruption, understanding the ever-evolving customer journey is crucial. Today's empowered consumers expect seamless interactions across multiple touchpoints. Businesses that measure, analyze, and optimize each step will remove friction, drive conversions, and create loyal customers.

What exactly should you be tracking for the customer journey? Which metrics matter most? Today, we'll explore the most important customer journey metrics to monitor and provide tips on how to track them effectively.

Learning how focusing on the right customer journey KPIs can help you better understand customer behaviors, pinpoint issues, and gain actionable insights to continuously improve – keeping you ahead of the competition.

Defining the Customer Journey

Defining the Customer Journey

Before diving into specific metrics, it's important to level-set what exactly the customer journey encompasses. The customer journey refers to the entire end-to-end experience a customer has with your brand. It includes every touchpoint and interaction - across both digital and physical channels - during the customer lifecycle.

The awareness stage is all about making customers aware that your brand, products, or services exist. This is typically driven by marketing activities like advertising, social media, and word of mouth.

The goal here is to get on customers' radars when they have a need so you're part of the initial consideration set. If potential customers don't know about you, it's game over before it even starts.

Once you've generated awareness, you need to convince customers to actually consider you. Now is when they are evaluating different options, comparing features and benefits, and weighing pros and cons.

This is where your sales and marketing content really becomes important to educate customers and position your solution as the ideal choice for their needs. You want to nurture leads by answering their questions and addressing concerns during the research process.

Finally, we reach the decision stage where the rubber meets the road – when the customer decides to make a purchase and become a paying client. Don’t be mistaken, however, because the journey isn't over at this point.

Onboarding, engagement, and loyalty all play a role in customer retention and growth. It's just as important to continue delighting customers post-purchase as it is pre-purchase. The ideal journey is smooth from start to finish.

Tracking metrics at each stage provides crucial insights into how successful customers are moving through the journey. This enables you to identify any friction points or gaps and improve the experience. Let’s delve into some of those key metrics one by one.

Top Customer Journey Metrics to Track

When it comes to understanding how well your customer journey is working, there are some specific things you'll want to keep track of. These are called "metrics," and they help you see if your customers are aware of your brand and interested in it.

1. Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a critical first step in the customer journey. If people don't know who you are and what you offer, it's impossible to make progress down the funnel. That's why actively tracking brand awareness metrics should be a cornerstone of any marketing strategy.

Let's look at some of the key ways to measure awareness.

First, keeping tabs on your brand search volume shows how often people are actually looking for you online. More searches for your company name or branded keywords imply higher interest and awareness. Monitoring this over time can reveal new opportunities too – like potential uptake after a press mention.

Social media followers and brand mentions are another great awareness barometer. Are more and more people following you and engaging with your content? How often do fans and prospects talk about your brand organically? Social media enables constant monitoring of how your brand pops up in conversations.

Surveying customers directly via brand familiarity studies is also invaluable. Asking people straight out if they recognize your brand, understand what you do, and can recall you without prompting provides unambiguous data on current perceptions. This establishes a baseline so you can set goals to improve.

Tracking awareness from multiple angles gives a comprehensive view. While search volume and social data reflect organic interest, surveys offer clearer visibility into actual retention and recall.

Together, these metrics help you benchmark awareness, highlight growth areas, and optimize activities to expand your brand footprint. It's the first step on the path to acquisition and loyalty.

2. Traffic Sources

When it comes to driving awareness and getting your brand on customers' radars, looking at your website traffic sources provides invaluable insights. You want to analyze exactly where your visitors are coming from - whether that's direct traffic, organic search, referrals, social media, paid ads, or other sources.

Digging into the split between traffic channels illuminates where your brand awareness efforts are working and which areas have untapped potential. For example, if you see 25% of traffic comes from organic, but only 5% from social, you know SEO is driving more volume than your social presence right now.

That may be perfectly aligned with your strategy if search is your focus. But it also may reveal gaps in your social media marketing efforts that could become new growth levers.

The same goes for assessing direct traffic vs. referrals – a big chunk coming directly could suggest you have strong brand recognition and recall. While lots of referrals might mean partnerships and word-of-mouth are fueling awareness more than your owned channels.

Really examining and tracking traffic source dynamics over time gives you an invaluable window into how customers are discovering you. From there, you can double down on high-performing channels and also look for quick wins in newer channels.

Turning insights from traffic source analysis into an optimized, omnichannel awareness strategy is key. The ultimate goal is to have your brand be top of mind across multiple touchpoints when customers are ready to buy.

3. Lead Conversion Rates

Lead Conversion Rates

Tracking lead conversion rates is so important for understanding how successfully you are guiding prospects through the purchase journey. By looking at the percentage of leads that move to the next step at each stage, you can identify any friction points or leaks in the funnel.

For example, start by examining your website visitor to lead conversion rate. This tells you how many visitors become leads by taking a desired action like filling out a form or downloading content. A low conversion rate here indicates your offers aren't enticing enough or friction is preventing visitors from engaging further.

Next, assess how many of those new leads actually become marketing-qualified leads. This means they hit certain criteria proving they are real prospects actively researching solutions. Again, a low rate means you need to nurture better with follow-up emails, content, and messaging to move cold leads warmer.

Finally, look at how many marketing qualified leads progress to sales accepted or sales qualified leads. These are leads sales have vetted and deemed ready for outreach. A drop off before this point shows misalignment between marketing and sales.

Carefully evaluating conversion rates at each milestone enables you to pinpoint where interested prospects are falling out of the funnel. Then you can focus energy on optimizing those stages to create a seamless journey from prospect to purchaser. Keep a close eye on these metrics!

4. Content Engagement

Your marketing content is the lifeblood that attracts and nurtures prospects throughout the customer journey. That's why tracking engagement with your content across channels provides priceless insights. There are a few key metrics that reveal how your content is resonating.

First, look at download volumes and shares for each piece of content like whitepapers, ebooks, and infographics. Higher downloads suggest certain content better connects with and interests your audience. People only engage further with content if it provides value, so downloads indicate you delivered on the promise.

Time on page and scroll depth on your blog and website are other great engagement barometers. These show if people are actually reading and absorbing your content, not just skimming. Longer time on page and more scrolling means you crafted compelling content.

For video content, watch metrics like views, completion rate, and drop-off points. More views and completions signal engaging subject matter and delivery. High drop-off points help pinpoint where you lost viewers so the content can be tightened.

Analyzing metrics across your content library reveals winners to double down on and underperformers to revise or replace. The strongest-performing assets can then be used more heavily in campaigns and promoted via additional channels or formats. Weak content should be improved or swapped out for something more impactful.

Turn content insights into fuel for optimization!

5. Landing Page Conversions

Landing pages are a pivotal touchpoint for converting interested visitors into leads and customers. That's why keeping a close eye on key landing page metrics is so important. This enables you to continuously improve the experience and maximize conversions.

One of the most telling metrics is bounce rate, which is the percentage of visitors who land on a page but leave without any further engagement. A high bounce rate signifies your landing page isn't resonating - whether from poor messaging, bad design, or lack of relevance. Analyzing bounce rates pinpoints problematic pages to focus on first.

Time on the page is another indicator of landing page effectiveness. Longer average time on the page implies visitors are absorbing and interacting with the content instead of quickly clicking away. Strong time-on-page metrics validate your content strategy and approach.

Finally, monitor the ultimate metric - conversion rate. This shows the percentage of visitors who convert into leads by completing your desired action like downloading a gated asset, signing up for a demo, or placing an order. Conversion rate is the landing page optimization North Star metric.

Regularly assessing these metrics for each landing page will spotlight which ones need improvement. Make it a priority to overhaul pages that aren't meeting goals for bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate. Continual optimization is key for maximizing the value of your traffic.

6. Marketing Qualified Lead Score

Marketing Qualified Lead Score

Tracking marketing qualified leads is an excellent way to assess how sales-ready your prospects are based on their digital body language. The key is defining criteria to score leads based on engagement and behaviors.

For instance, you could award points for things like page views, content downloads, email opens, and form fills. Someone who downloads multiple assets, opens every email, and fills out contact forms is likely further down the funnel than someone with minimal activity.

You can build logic to assign points for each action, then sum up scores in real-time. Set thresholds so leads with scores above a certain level get marked as marketing qualified. This means they have shown enough interest and engagement to warrant sales follow-up.

Scoring leads based on explicit criteria makes it very clear which leads are hot and ready for contact. It also shows which ones still need additional nurturing before handoff to sales. Marketing qualified lead scoring provides a concrete way to gauge interest, prioritize best leads, and align sales and marketing around readiness.

Make sure to assess and tweak your scoring methodology over time as needed. Track which scored leads convert at the highest rates to validate it’s working. Lead scoring is a fantastic way to move prospects smoothly through the funnel by aligning outreach with their digital body language.

7. Sales Qualified Lead Conversion Rates

This metric is all about figuring out how many of the leads that marketing brings in actually end up becoming qualified leads for the sales team.

This is important because – if you've got a low conversion rate – it could mean that there's a bit of a disconnect between the marketing and sales teams. Basically, marketing might be bringing in leads that aren't quite the right fit for what the sales team needs.

So, by keeping an eye on this metric, you can see if there's any misalignment between the two teams. And if there is, you can work on fixing it so that everyone's on the same page and working towards the same goals. After all, when marketing and sales are aligned, it makes the whole process smoother and more efficient.

8. Average Deal Size

Tracking your average deal size over time reveals valuable insights into the value of customers you attract and convert. If the deal size is increasing, it likely signals you've expanded appeal to higher-value buyers with bigger budgets. This is usually positive, indicating growth in enterprise accounts versus just SMBs.

On the flip side, a decreasing average deal could mean you are sliding down the market as more SMBs and fewer big enterprises purchase. Assess if shifts in customer segments explain declines.

Ultimately, optimizing products and go-to-market around an ideal high-value customer profile matters most, whichever direction the deal size goes. Monitor this metric to understand if your solutions resonate more with niche vs. premium buyers.

9. Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost shows how much investment is needed to gain new customers. To calculate CAC, divide your total sales and marketing expenses by the number of new customers acquired over a specific period.

Tracking CAC helps assess the effectiveness of your acquisition efforts. Rising CAC may be an indicator of challenges in sales and marketing programs or increased competition. Conversely, decreasing CAC suggests successes in demand generation and campaign effectiveness, leading to a better return on investment.

Comparing CAC with metrics like customer lifetime value provides additional insights. Your LTV should exceed CAC to ensure your acquisition budgets are strategically sound. CAC measures sales efficiency, while LTV evaluates the long-term value of acquired customers.

Regularly analyzing CAC across campaigns and channels offers valuable insights into the performance of your sales and marketing efforts. By monitoring CAC, you can optimize your strategies for attracting and converting new customers.

10. Retention and Churn Rates

Retention and churn are critical metrics for assessing how well you satisfy and keep newly acquired customers in the fold. High retention and low churn indicate you are delivering ongoing value post-purchase to nurture long-term loyalty.

Churn rate specifically measures the percentage of customers you lose in a given period. If churn is increasing, that's a big red flag that there is some problem that needs to be addressed.

New customers may not be having a positive onboarding and initial use experience with your product or service. Identifying the root causes of churn enables you to plug those holes to better meet expectations.

11. Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value measures the total revenue a customer contributes over their entire relationship with you. Calculating LTV enables you to quantify the back-end value of acquiring a new customer. This helps inform strategic decisions on acquisition spending and sales & marketing program ROI.

LTV is calculated by looking at the average order value for a given customer segment, their projected retention period or repeat purchase rate, and the gross margin from those transactions. The math may seem complex, but simply put – it reveals how much profit you can expect per customer.

Knowing LTV guides your CAC targets. You want LTV to sufficiently exceed CAC to confirm your acquisition investments pay off long-term. If LTV is too low relative to costs, you may need to improve retention, expand your share of wallet, or target higher-value customers.

12. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score is a valuable metric for gauging customer satisfaction and loyalty post-purchase. The premise here is simple – ask customers how likely they are to recommend your company on a 0-10 scale.

Those scoring 9-10 are promoters, 7-8 are passives, and 0-6 are detractors. Subtract the percentage of detractors from promoters to get the NPS, ranging from -100 to 100.

The beauty of NPS is its simplicity.

By directly asking customers this one straightforward question, you gain a clear window into satisfaction levels. Higher NPS indicates happier, loyal customers willing to recommend you. Declining NPS should prompt an investigation into drivers like product issues, customer support, pricing, etc.

To maximize impact, segment NPS data in helpful ways. Look at differences across customer personas, use cases, and stages. This reveals where satisfaction may be lagging for certain segments. Comparing NPS by channel can also spotlight pain points in the journey – for example, lower NPS from website users may signal UX friction.

Regularly monitoring NPS provides an unambiguous pulse on customer sentiment post-purchase. Combining this with customer lifetime value and retention rates paints a comprehensive picture of engagement.

Last Remarks

With today's complex and fragmented customer journeys, brands can't afford blind spots in their data. To stay competitive, you need complete visibility into how customers research, evaluate, and select your products. This requires tracking the right metrics across the entire lifecycle – especially as customers jump between digital and offline touchpoints.

By focusing on the customer journey metrics above that align with your business goals and target KPIs, you can gain invaluable insights. Pick solutions to capture this data automatically across channels. Then, build dashboards to monitor the metrics, collaborate cross-functionally, and continuously optimize.

When you track and act on customer journey analytics, you'll keep customers moving smoothly toward purchase and beyond.

The road to understanding customer journeys is a complex one, so if you need an extra hand from those who have ventured into it beforehand and thrived, I highly recommend that you join our private Diamond Facebook group – where you’ll get access to driven, like-minded peers who can provide you with quality conversation.

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