How to Optimize the Digital Customer Journey to Lower Customer Acquisition Costs

min read
How to Optimize the Digital Customer Journey to Lower Customer Acquisition Costs

Most marketing pros are well aware that it costs more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. But you must also devote ample resources to getting the digital customer journey right, otherwise, you’ll struggle on both fronts.

How do you deliver compelling customer experiences without breaking your budget? In this post, we’ll explore ways to make the digital customer journey frictionless, with a view toward retaining customers while lowering overall customer acquisition costs (CAC). 

What Is the Digital Customer Journey?

The digital customer journey is the entire trip a customer makes when interacting with your brand. It begins when a customer decides they want or need your product or service. And ideally, that journey doesn’t end after a purchase.

Let’s take a look at the six key components of a digital customer journey so you understand how that journey typically unfolds

Components of a Digital Customer Journey

The components in focus here are:

  • Awareness
  • Discovery
  • Consideration
  • Purchase
  • Retention
  • Advocacy

Let’s walk through these six components using the story of a hypothetical consumer. This individual’s digital journey as a customer begins with awareness. They have a problem they want to solve quickly. They are moving from a downtown apartment that is a 10-minute walk from their office to a house in the suburbs that is 15 miles away and not near public transit. They need to buy a car so they can get to and from work.

The need for a solution leads them to the second stage: discovery. The consumer searches online to find local car dealerships. They compare makes and models of cars on the websites and apps of those dealerships, giving each attractive option due consideration.

Eventually, the consumer decides to call a local dealership to initiate a purchase. Although the dealership’s website indicates that the exact car the customer wants is available on the lot, the customer learns from the call center agent that the car is not actually in the current inventory. The agent apologizes and offers to call a nearby dealership in their network that has the exact car the customer wants. The agent says they can arrange to have the car transported to the local dealership for the customer to pick up.

The customer agrees to this option, quickly gets the car they want, and is left feeling good about the level of service they received. This experience helps to increase the dealership’s potential retention of this customer. And in our story, our hypothetical consumer is so impressed that they write a positive review of the dealer and post it online (advocacy). 

Common Digital Touchpoints

As you can see, there are many possible touchpoints within a customer’s digital journey. These touchpoints can include online research via websites, app-based ordering, and text and email communication.  

Challenges in Digital Customer Acquisition

The digital customer journey map is straightforward when customers interact online, leaving data at each digital touchpoint. But what if the journey is not completely digital? 

Most customer journeys are not totally digital. More than six in 10 consumers polled who were looking to buy autos, insurance, healthcare, or telecom services said they prefer to call a business and talk to a live agent rather than interact online. 

For this reason, tracking customer journey analytics can be tricky, and controlling CAC can present clear challenges for businesses.

Challenge 1: Capturing Customers’ Attention

First, there is the need to capture the customer’s attention. Consumers are bombarded daily with numerous emails, texts, and digital ads. Standing out in a very crowded and noisy field is always a challenge for any business or brand operating in the digital realm.

Challenge 2: Rising Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC)

The fact that many consumers spend more time online is a major factor in increasing cost per acquisition (CPA) on digital channels. This has a direct impact on digital marketing and customer journey mapping and makes the overall CAC more expensive.

Challenge 3: Fragmented Customer Data

Omnichannel marketing creates a seamless experience for customers on the front end, but on the backend there’s a trail of data across multiple digital touchpoints and channels for retailers to track.

Customers may see your Facebook ad and, instead of clicking on it, research your business and go to your website. Then, they may use an app to transact. This can make creating a digital customer journey map or a holistic view of the customer journey difficult. 

Challenge 4: Disconnect from Offline Channels

Digital customer journey mapping is also problematic when you consider that much of a customer’s journey may take place offline, such as visiting a store or making a phone call to sales or customer service. This can lead to disjointed experiences for customers, like being routed to the wrong department or transferred multiple times and having to repeat themselves.

Challenge 5: Digital Privacy Concerns

It is important for marketing to target customers with relevant ads and messaging along their digital journey. But marketing costs can rise quickly when ad-blocking software and privacy regulations limit the reach and effectiveness of digital advertising efforts.

Just consider Apple’s introduction in 2021 of App Tracking Transparency to tighten iPhone privacy settings. That move shook up the digital advertising sector and pushed overall CAC up for many advertisers.

Data privacy regulations like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the U.S. are altering the digital customer journey, too, by giving individuals the right to access their personal data and request its deletion. For example, if a customer does not want to have tracking cookies collected when they visit a website, they must have an option to opt-out of or set parameters for such data collection.

And speaking of cookies, Google’s plans to replace third-party cookies in Chrome with its Privacy Sandbox is causing a stir because U.K. regulators are concerned that sunsetting these cookies could give Google Ads an unfair advertising advantage. In response to regulators’ scrutiny and to give marketers and advertisers more time to prepare, Google announced it would delay the phase-out of third-party cookies for Chrome until 2025. (You can track developments with Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative here.)

Challenge 6: Rapid Technological Changes

Digital is usually a cost-efficient way to reach consumers. However, rapid advancements in technology and shifts in consumer behavior mean that businesses need to be agile and continually adapt their digital customer journey strategies. When you fail to adapt to the latest changes in the market, this can hinder customer acquisition and inflate marketing costs.

5 Tips to Optimize the Digital Customer Journey

Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome the challenges outlined above. Here are some suggestions for how your business can optimize the digital customer journey, improve customer service, lower CAC, increase efficiency, and drive sustainable growth in the digital marketplace.

Tip 1: Segment Your Target Audience

Make the customer journey relevant by personalizing it. You can accomplish this if you identify and segment your target audience based on demographics, behaviors, and preferences. 

Collect and analyze data, including data gleaned from phone calls if you’re using conversation intelligence software like Invoca. Identify the customer segments in your target audience and create buyer personas for each segment. Now, your targeted ads, emails, campaigns, and website experiences will be more likely to resonate with the customers you want to reach.

Tip 2: Optimize Digital Channels

Any journey is better if it is smooth. Customers may use your website, landing pages, apps, social pages, or all of the above during their digital journeys. So, make sure these digital assets are primed to provide a seamless and intuitive user experience. For example, check for broken links and confirm that apps can be downloaded easily.

Keep in mind that when offline communication methods like phone calls are backed by robust technology, such as call tracking and conversation intelligence software, you can optimize your digital assets more effectively. (We’ve had customers who only discovered their websites had broken links when they detected patterns in transcripts of customer calls!) 

Tip 3: Develop High-Quality Content

Content is king, but high-quality content is emperor. Customers want to be informed and entertained. So, if you want to truly address the needs and interests of your target audience, make sure your digital channels offer relevant, high-quality, and engaging content (not just marketing speak). 

Tip 4: Utilize Marketing Automation

Many of us worry that our jobs could be taken over by machines, but marketing automation is a true helper. For one, it can reduce costs by streamlining tasks and improving conversion rates. Plus, it can take the drudgery out of routine tasks like email marketing and personalization.

The rapid deployment of AI-driven automation is an exciting addition to marketing automation. Our own conversation intelligence platform is a case in point. Invoca’s call tracking and analytics software delivers full visibility of the customer journey by capturing and digitizing 100% of phone conversations to provide marketing with the true voice of the customer. You can use this data to personalize outreach such as email content, webpages, and text alerts and develop hyper-targeted buyer personas.  

See How Invoca’s Voice of Customer Analytics Can Improve Your Marketing ROI

Tip 5: Use the Right Advertising Platforms

A resounding 62.6% of the global population uses social media today. What’s more, social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and Weibo (to name just five) are adding users at the rate of 5.4% per year.

These stats help underscore why it is important to meet your audience where they hang out online. Use social media advertising platforms to target specific audience segments with relevant ads and sponsored content.

Strategies for Optimizing the Digital Customer Journey

In addition to the above methods, there are several tactics you can use to optimize the digital customer journey and deliver an improved customer experience that increases satisfaction. 

Strategy 1: Affiliate Programs

You may have a marketing team in place already, but that doesn’t mean you can’t expand your impact by using the talents of other specialists to help bring in new customers and sales.

Affiliate marketing is one of the hottest strategies out there. It’s been one of the shining lights for Amazon. And The New York Times reported higher affiliate referral revenues in 3Q 2023 as a result of its acquisition of Wirecutter, a subscription-based product recommendation service focused on technology. 

Consider using an affiliate program to attract more customers through partnerships with content creators, bloggers, influencers, and publishers.

Strategy 2: A/B Testing

Just because your ads have great copy doesn’t mean they will perform well. It’s vital to test different elements of ads and landing pages to hit the consumer’s sweet spot. A/B testing, where you compare the performance of two different versions of content to see which resonates with your target audience, can help you do that.

A/B testing could be as simple as testing the performance of two similar webpages, one of which has a larger font and requires less downward scrolling than the other. If more visitors convert or move down the sales funnel via the version with less scrolling, that’s the one to go with. A/B testing optimizes content performance and, consequently, helps lower CAC.

Strategy 3: Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Strategies

Having the right CRO strategies can improve website performance and drive more customers to convert. You can use CRO strategies on landing pages, on product pages, during checkout, and with call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

For example, CTAs positioned at the bottom of a blog post might encourage you to check out other resources or book a customized demo. (SPOILER ALERT: You’ll find these types of CTAs at the end of this post!) Other CRO techniques to consider using include:

  • Displaying reviews and endorsements on your website to build credibility and trust
  • Using live chat and videos to engage visitors
  • Retargeting visitors when they leave products in their shopping cart

Strategy 4: Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a popular CRO strategy focused on building and maintaining long-term relationships with customers through special content, discounts, rewards, and giveaways.

An obvious example of this approach is airline credit cards. Data suggests that we love our free miles. In fact, 81% of people polled in a national survey from airline advocacy group Airlines for America (a4A) agreed that the ability to earn travel bonuses using an airline credit card was very important to them. A4A also estimates that 63% of total frequent flyer miles and points earned in 2022 came from consumers using branded airline credit cards.

Strategy 5: Post-Purchase Engagement

The most important strategy for optimizing the digital journey is mostly common sense. Don’t neglect the customer relationship after a purchase is completed. Instead, continue to engage and delight customers by providing them with high-quality content, personalized recommendations, and exceptional customer service that will encourage them to buy again.

Connect the Digital Journey to the Call Journey with Invoca

Invoca helps marketing teams create a frictionless customer journey that enhances the overall customer experience, increases retention, and lowers customer acquisition costs.

We do this by connecting your online and offline channels. Our intelligent call routing capability sends incoming calls to the best contact center agent right away, based on the pages and ads the consumer interacted with pre-call. And with PreSense, the agent receives a detailed screenpop about who the caller is and why they’re calling, allowing them to personalize the conversation based on their unique needs.

With Invoca, you can analyze online and offline data in real time to determine who is calling, why they’re calling, and if they have called before. This allows you to deliver seamless omnichannel experiences that make you stand out from your competitors.

And now, here are those CTAs we mentioned earlier!

Additional Reading

If you have customer journey questions you need AI to answer, Invoca can help. Learn more about how we can help you optimize digital customer journeys by reading the following posts:

You can also book a customized demo today to find out how our technology can help your business create standout experiences for your customers in the contact center and beyond.

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