Making strategic decisions when creating content by using journeys, funnels & maps

1. Customer journey map

A customer journey map, as its name implies, focuses on the journey of a customer, or on the process that the user goes through when trying to accomplish a goal. This goal can be learning a new skill, buying a product or service, finding a location and so on.

The design process starts with understanding the customer pain points and needs, so the focus is first on the why, and then on the what and how.

Since the journey is different depending on the goal of the customer, you should create one journey for each persona — goal combination. In other words, if you’re selling 2 services, such as content marketing services and SEO consultancy for example, you should map separate user journeys for each of these offerings.

Keep in mind that the journey should reflect the perspective of the user, not yours. So ideally you would back it up with analytics data or user insights from interviews.

Other important characteristics of the customer journey is that it looks at the process in chronological order, and it maps the phases and actions of the user with thoughts and emotions. So typically in a customer journey map you have at least 4 levels or swim lanes.

Here’s a generic template:

Customer / user journey map — template

The customer journey map can be used before creating the content strategy or the design for a website, or when you don’t understand why users aren’t converting or taking specific actions.

Here are some examples of customer/user journey maps:

2. Experience map

An experience map is broader than a customer journey map, and it analyzes (maps) the entire experience a person goes through in order to accomplish a goal. For example, the experience of travelling abroad, the experience of being pregnant, the experience of buying a new house.

All these are much more complex than the journey of a user on a website, and they look both the the experience of the person and at the opportunities for the business. The intersection between these two is illustrated at the middle of the diagram.

An experience map is generally used before a customer journey map, to gain deeper understanding of the human behavior that ultimately leads the person to your service or product. This map looks at the end-to-end process, but without considering a specific offering.

Here’s a sample template:

Experience map — template

As you can see, the experience map looks at more than the actions, thoughts and feelings of the person. But it starts with interviewing the person to learn about their experience, in order to understand the big picture. So typically, you would ask the person to talk you through the steps involved in that specific experience.

You can see some examples of experience maps here:

3. Empathy map

The role of this map is to help you understand how your user feels and thinks and what he does and says while interacting with your website. The model is simple:

Empathy map — template

The 4 quadrants are quite self-explanatory, and they’re supposed to help you and your team understand the user’s perspective. Since this map is meant to build empathy towards a specific user profile, the exercise should be repeated for each persona.

Ideally, you should create these empathy maps at the beginning of a design / content planning / content strategy process. However, you can also use this model after performing customer interviews, to help you organize the input and find patterns and differences.

You can see some examples of empathy maps here:

4. Day in the life map

This type of map looks at what your customer does on a regular day, and how they may use your product. It maps out the schedule, activities, places where they go, people that they interact with, as well as concerns and past times.

Here’s a generic template:

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