A user journey represents a prospect’s path when interacting with your brand.

User journey maps (also called customer journey maps) cover all customer journey stages.

From the moment they first encounter your brand to the point where they become a customer and advocate of your brand.

What’s the difference between a user journey and a sales funnel?

Sales funnel

Traditional sales funnels typically focus on landing the sale. These funnels have four key stages — Awareness, Interest, Consideration, and Purchase.

1 – Awareness

This is usually when a prospect first encounters and becomes aware of the brand They may also become aware of a problem they didn’t realize they had.

2 – Interest

In this stage, the prospect is typically aware of their problem and actively seeks a solution.

They may be researching and looking to learn more about the brand and how the brand’s offers can solve their problem.

3 – Consideration

In the consideration stage, the prospect is ready to make a decision. They are considering their options.

4 – Purchase

In this sales funnel stage, the prospect has made a decision and is ready to buy.

A visual representation of the traditional sales funnel

User journey maps

On the other hand, a user journey is a more extensive and detailed version of a sales funnel. It takes into account the entire customer lifecycle.

The user journey covers all the stages in a traditional funnel, then goes beyond that to include what happens after a customer makes a purchase.

A brand that uses a user journey approach is concerned with more than just new customer acquisition.

They’re also focused on retention and advocacy.

A visual representation of the customer journey

A user journey is not linear (because user actions aren’t linear)

It’s important to note that a prospect will not always go through every step of the user journey.

A prospect may approach your brand ready to buy and skip the first three stages. This can happen if someone they trust refers them to your brand.

Another example is when a prospect does a Google search for “best project management software.”

The prospect is already problem aware and interested in solving their problem. The Google search simply leads them to your website as the solution.

Why does a user journey matter?

The traditional sales funnel is dead.

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As customers’ needs evolve, traditional digital marketing needs to evolve along with them.

Your marketing channels need to evolve as the user evolves.

And a shift from a sales funnel approach to a user journey approach is one way marketers can adapt.

User journey maps help with retention

A user journey approach values customer retention and advocacy, which can significantly impact your bottom line.

The best brands know that acquiring new customers costs way more than marketing to existing customers.

“It is much more convenient to invest in converting an existing customer as the chances of success are 60-70%.

By contrast, if you opt for converting a potential customer, the probability is much lower at 5-20%.”

Truelist – Customer Retention Statistics

This makes it increasingly important to focus on the customer’s overall experience at every stage of the customer life cycle.

And a key part of that is the post-purchase experience.

This may include:

  • Onboarding emails that teach a customer how to use the software they’ve purchased
  • E-commerce follow-up emails asking for a review of the customer’s experience with the product
  • Invitations to join a loyalty program

A user journey approach turns customers into long-time users (and advocates)

Word of mouth marketing is powerful.

This is because we trust recommendations from our friends and family more than we trust the words from marketers.

“Word-of-mouth is even more effective than paid ads, resulting in five times more sales.”

Semrush – Word of Mouth Marketing

When you implement a user journey-focused approach to marketing, you make customer advocacy a part of your strategy.

And that’s an excellent way to market your brand.

When your customers like and trust your product, they will share it with their friends and family.

And that kind of promotion is priceless.

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Using VOC data and the user journey to write compelling copy

There are many reasons to maintain engagement and provide ongoing value to your customers.

One of the greatest advantages is the incredible voice of customer (VOC) data you can collect from research.

VOC data — taken directly from your customers — is one of the most powerful tools you can use when writing copy for the different stages of the customer journey.

User journeys are "A powerful thing" gif

VOC data and understanding the user journey helped the Copyhackers team improve Wistia’s onboarding email sequence.

After the Copyhackers team rewrote the emails, Wistia saw a 350% increase in paid conversions from those emails.

In this Tutorial Tuesdays video, Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers shares how you can use VOC data in your brand.

Taking a user journey-focused approach to marketing your brand is a solid strategy.

But that strategy also needs to be supported by effective conversion-focused copywriting.

Conversion Copywriting 101 by Copyhackers is a great starting point to learn the basics of conversion copywriting.

Enroll now for free to learn valuable lessons like how to write copy for the different journey phases I covered in this article.