Persona vs Journey Mapping: Which is More Important for Businesses?


The Inspired Brew – Episode 5

Would you like to join me as I uncover the secrets to mapping out your customer journey for ultimate business success? I’m a nerd and can talk your ear out but I condensed it into the key points, just for you!

In this episode of The Inspire Brew, I’ll be sharing some tips and tricks to understanding your ideal client avatar and unraveling their intricate journey. ✨

It’s not just about mere demographics; we’ll explore their behaviors and interactions with your business, how to have a holistic view of your touchpoints, and what I do for my own businesses.

Listen to today’s episode:

Listen (and subscribe!) on your favorite podcast platform like Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

Welcome to the Inspired Brew, a podcast for small businesses crafted with intention for coaches and creatives alike. I’m Ingrid, your host and resident brand and web designer. In each episode, I’ll bring you insights, tips, and tricks to help you grow your business and achieve your goals. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking into taking your business to the next level.

I got you covered, so grab your favorite brew Sit back, and let’s get inspired.

 Welcome to another episode of The Inspired Brew. I’m thrilled to have you here today because we’re diving into a topic that can truly transform your business, and I’m not kidding here, understanding your customer journey for growth. You know, as small business owners,

we’ve all heard about the importance of creating an ideal client avatar.

ICA for short because a lot of people just literally put it as ICA and that is basically a detailed persona or a profile of your perfect customer, the one that has a name and you know their favorite Starbucks drink.

And you probably even know if they have a preference for cats or dogs.

I’m a dog person, by the way.

But here’s the thing. In today’s fast-paced

world, in all of this marketing jungle that we have, the customer journey is anything but a straight line. It’s so really, it’s like a rollercoaster with twists and rights and turns and unexpected loops and drops.

So, People to just wake up one day and decide, oh, you know what? I wanna buy this product, or I need to sign up for that service

Um, no, definitely not. It’s a lot more complex and it involves a lot of online research and recommendations for friends, getting those referrals and just a lot of other things.

So just think to the last time that you looked at something on Amazon, how many reviews did you check out? Be honest. 

Um, so really while creating an ideal client avatar might have its merits, I’m here today to challenge that a little unpopular opinion. 

So today I’m gonna be trying to get you to forget about those cookie-cutter avatars and focus on what truly matters, something that I’ve seen through my clients and my own businesses.

So the actual needs and preferences of your target audience. And no, I’m not talking about their Starbucks drink because real people are far more diverse and dynamic than any avatar could ever capture.

So looking deeper into what’s an ideal client avatar, you’re probably coming across the term in a lot of different things from marketing to, brand terms and things like that, but it’s about creating a fictional representation of your dream customer.

That’s it. So you know the one that fits perfectly into that target audience, the one that you have all their characteristics neatly laid out, like their age, their income, their lifestyle, and maybe even their favorite color of socks. Like you can go crazy.

But don’t get me wrong, there’s some value in crafting that, and I absolutely feel like some people do need to have that.

And I would encourage you to have one because the whole saying about, Hey, make it so that you’re writing your marketing and your content as if you’re talking to one person, that is absolutely true. So having that ideal client avatar allows you to kind of just focus on that one person, and it can help you get a better understanding of your target audience needs and motivations.

But really, we wanna make sure that we’re peeking into their minds, like we see what the, what makes them tick. But here’s the catch.

Really no single person perfectly embody all of these trades and the needs of your ideal clients. So the avatar.

Is good, but it’s not all and it’s kind of rigid.

Um, so real people are absolutely diverse and it’s impossible to just squeeze them in into a one size fits all avatar. So I really wanna challenge that traditional notion of having an ICA and let’s create something that is going to go deeper into how are those icas coming into your world. Really this is going to allow you to create marketing campaigns that resonate with the actual humans that are driving the sales and creating your business growth.

So why should we limit ourselves by confining. in our marketing efforts to adjust the fictional character? So instead of obsessing over an avatar’s coffee or lunch preferences, I wanna shift our focus to understanding your customer journey.

So the path that they take from first encountering your brand to becoming loyal customers, is where the magic happens, and I’m not being dramatic. 

By truly understanding their journey, you’ll gain insights into the challenges that they face, the questions they might have, and the touchpoints that influence their decision-making process. And that is your real impact point. I feel like just the I c A, it’s kind of a partial look, and honestly, knowing their journey with you gives you way more opportunities to serve them and keep them coming back.

So let’s zoom into that whole customer journey and go over each piece.

It’s like going on an adventure with your customers. Understanding the twist, the turns, like what influences them before and through deciding to do business with you, what is going to really go through their minds at each stage. And that gives you insights into what are they facing, how are they feeling, and even what they might be thinking.

So that is really, really powerful. I think we can all agree that the days when customers would simply see an ad and make a purchase, they’re kind of gone. That doesn’t happen anymore. So people are influenced by various touchpoints through their decision-making process. In everything, not just your business.

So they might stumble upon your brand through social media, and they read reviews online and they see recommendations for friends or they explore your website. It’s a multifacet process that plays out differently for each person.

So by looking at at each stage of the customer journey, it allows you to adapt your marketing efforts and the touchpoints to meet your customers exactly where they are.

You can tailor your messaging, your content, the experiences that you’re giving them to match their needs and the expectations that they have at each stage. It’s all about creating those aha moments that they need in order for them to go and think, yes, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

But remember, the customer journey is not purely linear.

This is not a straight line. It’s morelike a web of interactions, and those pieces influence your person and they intertwine, and that makes the whole unique experience.

So think of it as crafting a roadmap that leads your business to success one step at a time.

The first order of business is to identify your ideal customers, so who are they? What makes them tick? Take deep dive and understand what truly matters to them. Are they looking for convenience, affordability, or maybe even a touch of luxury? Like see what is in their world currently so that you can kind of understand what they might be looking for.

You have to get to know their pain points and their desires.

Just like you’re having a heart to heart chat with an old friend. You can write all that down and keep it close, because honestly, you need to go back into that from time to time.

So once you have that clear picture of your target audience, your ideal customer, it’s time to map out their actual journey.

So think of this as making like key checkpoints along their path. So 

from the moment that they first hear about your brand to that glorious moment when they become raving fans. These checkpoints are the touchpoints where they interact with your

brand. Now, here’s a little hot from your resident brand designer.

Think about each of these touchpoints and put yourself in their shoes and ask, what does the customer need or want at this stage? How can my business provide value? Those two questions at each stage or at each touchpoint is going to give you so much insight.

 It’s really all about creating a seamless and delightful experience that leaves them a lasting impression in helping them move from one checkpoint into the next.

So, Little secret weapon that can help you do this.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console. If you have a website and collect data, which I’m sure you do, if you have Google Analytics set up, you’ve got a gold mine of information right there at your fingertips. Because these two are connected and you can uncover valuable insights by looking at things like what pages are they exploring, how long are they staying on each page, what are they subscribing to?

Have they made a purchase before, like it’s. Just like having a backstage pass to their actions and behaviors.

So it’s really, really powerful.

Don’t underestimate the power of data. This is gonna be one of your secret weapons to create a customer journey map that is rooted in real world experiences now. This map is not set in stone. It’s a living, breathing document that evolves with your business and your customers. So don’t be afraid to revisit it, refine it, and execute on those tweaks.

Look back at your past clients, the ones that you absolutely adore working with, the ones

you wish you could clone.

Trace their steps from the very first interaction to their decision of, yes, I wanna work with you.

This step-by-step journey will serve a foundation for building your customer journey map. And here’s another pro tip. Don’t forget to listen to your customers along the way, engage with them, ask for feedback, and truly try to understand their experience.

Your customers are the best guides in shaping your map and ensuring that it leads to success Now. The final point that I wanna go over is understanding how the customer journey is going to drive that business growth.

So let’s say that you’ve created a customer journey map that now guides your customers seamlessly from one touchpoint to the other, and you’ve crafted the personalized experiences that you wanna give them that are gonna truly, indirectly speak to their needs of their desires.

What’s gonna be the big payoff? How is this all going to translate into tangible business growth? 

When you truly understand your customer’s journey, the magic happens. And I’m not trying to be cheesy. It’s true. You create a seamless and super satisfying experience that is going to leave a lasting impression on them, and that is going to lead into loyal customers who become your brand advocates.

They spread the word about your business like wildfire. They become your biggest cheerleaders, attracting more customers to join your tribe in that way. 

So understanding the customer’s journey in your brand helps you identify the areas where your brand might be falling short. It’s like shining a light on the dark corners of your business, revealing the opportunities for improvement. 

Just making small changes at each stage can give you such a big impact, and honestly, overall growth.

And here’s the beautiful part. When your customers feel heard, understood, and valued, they keep coming back for more.

They become repeat customers.

And as we all know, repeat business is the holy grail of sustainable growth.

Instead of always chasing leads trying to market till you drop, it’s like having a devoted fan base that really keeps fueling your business’ success.

Now remember, it’s a cycle, a beautiful dance where you and your customers are going to keep that relationship moving. As you continue to understand their evolving needs, you are going to refine your customer journey map, keeping it fresh and relevant.

It’s just a continuous process of revisiting, refining, and executing so that you can ensure that your business is going to stay on the cutting edge. This is the ultimate leverage over your competitors. 

So, If you’re looking to take your brand to the next level, it’s time to embrace the power of understanding your customer journey.

And with a little bit of effort and a whole lot of empathy, you can create a roadmap

for growth that will help your business reach new heights. I absolutely guarantee that. Now it’s your turn to put this into action. A lot of knowledge is great, but I want you to actually do it.

So try putting it together, make small changes, and avoid getting overwhelmed because I absolutely know it can feel like it’s a lot of moving pieces.

Because they are so one thing at a time, focus on the awareness stage, which is the

first one where they just get to see your business and they’re getting appointed with it. See what touchpoints you have or which. Touchpoints you might need to create and help

them move into the consideration stage and see how do you have that set up?

How can you make things an easy yes for them and so forth. You can keep going through all the stages.

I like to make sure that I have a free or paid offers at at every single stage if possible. 

Someone who said yes to you once is way more likely to say yes again. So this is about avoiding leaving money on the table at any stage in your business.

 If you want a little help, feel free to check out my offer Synergy course, and it has a template in there where you can easily just map your whole customer journey and track your timely and super relevant offers that are gonna help you boost the conversion rates and really just help you bring in more revenue in the door.

I’m gonna leave the link in the show notes for you. That’s only $9, so definitely get it

if you feel like you are kind of stuck in your customer journey.

And if you want a little bit more help than you can always book a brain strategy session

with me and we can through it together. I hope that today’s episode help you see how a customer journey map can be way more powerful than having just a simple I C A or ideal client avatar.

Thank you so much for listening and see you on the next one.

You’ve probably heard about ICAs or “ideal client avatars” before, and yes, it does have its merits. 

But guess what? I’m here to let you in on a little secret—understanding the customer journey is what truly sets businesses up for success. 🤫

Identifying your ideal customer and mapping out their journey is what will really move the needle.

Trust me, it’s a game-changer! 

In today’s episode, I share some handy tips on how to navigate this intricate journey and my own personal approach to make it truly a perfect-fit experience.

Oh, and here’s a golden nugget for you—data is your best friend.

Tools like Search Console and Google Analytics hold the key to unlocking insights on customer behavior. With these tools in your arsenal, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what makes your customers tick.
I’ll be dropping some actionable tips so you can get your very own customer journey mapped out and stop relying on just your ICA.

Here are three key takeaways from this episode:

  • Ideal Client Avatar (ICA) is a crucial part of marketing, but understanding the customer journey is equally (if not more) important.
  • The customer journey is not a simple, linear path- it involves various touchpoints, recommendations, and interactions.
  • By identifying your ideal customer and mapping out their complete journey, you can glean valuable insights that will lead to business success.

The clearer you are, the less energy you spend “figuring it out”

Your customer journey and offer tracker will help drive your business forward.

When you create your very own Customer Journey Offer Tracker following my lead inside Offer Synergy, you’ll easily map your unique customer journey and track your timely, relevant offers that help boost conversion rates and bring more revenue in the door. 

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I'm Ingrid, welcome!  I'm a branding designer + Showit Design Partner, doggy mamma, and tea drinker.

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Hi I’m Ingrid

I design strategy-led brands and Showit websites that confidently represent you.

I’m a designer with a magic touch for monetizing websites. I’m also a tea-lover, dog momma, Ravenclaw, INFP and 2w3 (for all you personality-test nerds like me). 

I’ve also been called a Showit website expert (been with them since 2013), and a sucker for understanding customer journeys, brand psychology, and consumer and sales psychology. My clients have some pretty cool results after working together, things like doubled shop conversions, booked-out services in weeks, and increased monthly revenue, among other cheer-worthy celebrations.

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