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14 customer journey touchpoints to optimize
Do you know how your customers found out about your brand or product? Or what made your users convert—or abandon their carts?
It’s important to understand the key touchpoints where customers interact with your business to help you determine how to improve them. If you don’t know exactly which elements drive your users—or which block them—you won’t be able to design a smooth customer journey.
This chapter outlines the most important external and internal customer journey touchpoints and shows you how to optimize them to elevate the user experience and drive business growth.
14 key touchpoints in the customer journey
According to Iga Gawronska, Product Designer at Hotjar:
Touchpoints are the key moments your customer interacts with your brand, be it through social media channels, your product, or your customer support.
It’s important for companies to do customer journey map research to understand which touchpoints are ineffective or even causing friction, so they can quickly remove blockers and streamline the user experience.
Below, we dive into external and internal customer touchpoints you can optimize to raise brand awareness, better understand your customers, and increase conversions.
3 external customer journey touch points to optimize
Before they get to your product or website, customers pass through several external journey touchpoints you need to effectively understand and perfect to guide users to your site or product:
1. Social media
Social media is a vital touch point that lets you communicate directly with your users to help them find information about your business or solve their problems, and grow your audience through engagement with posts and ads.
Social channels also help businesses boost awareness, increase user engagement, and connect with customers.
So how can you optimize your social media touchpoints?
Encourage engagement with contests and giveaways, live Q&As, and ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos that get users excited about your brand
Create interactive, high-quality content users will want to share—and keep track of shares and clickthroughs
Use social listening tools to interact with users and track questions, comments, and complaints that help you better understand how customers are experiencing or what they expect from your brand
Humanize your brand by conveying your company's core values and involvement with social causes
Pro tip: highlight your expertise on social media to drive engagement. For SaaS product teams, that might include explainer videos and educational posts; for ecommerce businesses, it might mean showcasing different product pages or visuals, with tips for consumers on how they can use the products you’re selling in their everyday life.
2. Online ads
Display ads, social media ads, and video ads are all important customer touchpoints that introduce potential customers to your business.
Ads help companies generate leads and successfully reach their target audience.
Here’s how to optimize your online ads:
Deeply understand your target audience and plan campaigns around their demographics, location, interests, and needs
Make sure you have a clear call to action (CTA) that guides users to complete the desired action—like subscribing to your product or signing up for newsletters
Use a landing page that displays relevant, compelling content and mirrors the advertisements in your campaign
Use your ads to inform users about product upgrades, features, or improvements
Pro tip: Look for keywords—the words and phrases users type into search engines—that aren’t performing well to optimize specific product or landing pages and increase conversions. Use Google Ads to help you determine what keywords to use and which aren’t performing.
Virtual or in-person events are an important touchpoint to build brand awareness, display industry thought leadership and influence, and generate sales.
Some key tips for designing impactful event touchpoints:
Target the right audience to provide attendees with real value and ensure you’re attracting interested potential customers
Tailor and segment your event using CRM or registration data to curate the content to your audience’s interests for more meaningful engagement
Create an immersive experience that lets you connect deeply with your audience
11 internal customer journey touchpoints to optimize
Once your potential customers reach your website and product pages, key internal touchpoints can make or break their experience.
Let’s explore the internal touchpoints you can optimize to land more conversions and delight—and retain—your customers:
1. CTA buttons
Call-to-action buttons—like ‘Try it free’, ‘Learn more’, and ‘Add to cart’—guide your visitors to complete conversion action goals. Clear, compelling CTA buttons entice users to click, so they can take actions, like finding more information, booking a demo, starting a free trial, or initiating or completing a purchase.
Here’s how to optimize your CTA buttons:
Keep your CTA ‘above the fold’, at the point before users have to start scrolling down your web page to learn more about your product offering
Use bright colors and white space to make sure your button stands out
Make sure any copy that accompanies your CTA clearly conveys how this action will solve the unique challenges of your potential customers
Your homepage is a crucial customer touchpoint: it's your users' first impression of your website, playing a huge role in whether they decide to keep navigating, and it guides them to intuitively find their way around your site.
Use your homepage to help visitors understand your product's value and show them what to do next.
This touchpoint determines whether users will continue exploring your site and your product solutions—so make sure your web design is customer-centric, with clear, intuitive navigation menus, working links, and compelling images and content.
Use these tips to make your homepage touchpoints more effective:
Set clear goals: define exactly what you want your website to do and what its customer journey KPIs should be. Stick closely to your core objectives to communicate your mission effectively to users.
Create an attractive header: using an attractive, consistent header throughout your website experience—with a recognizable logo—elevates your brand's awareness and creates user trust
Build an intuitive navigation bar: make sure users are able to easily navigate your website from the second they land on your homepage with smart web design choices to improve UX
Add compelling CTAs: include calls-to-action that appeal to each type of user, and A/B test them to see which are most effective
Pro tip: use Hotjar's Observe products to see where users click, scroll, and move on your home page—so you know what to adjust to increase engagement. Hotjar's Heatmaps and Session Recordings tools help you A/B test CTAs and other homepage elements to get a granular view on which options compel users to click and engage.
#Hotjar Heatmaps tools
3. Landing pages
Landing pages lead users to a specific product or offer—like an ecommerce promotion, a free trial, ebook, white paper, or webinar—that entices them to take action.
Landing pages focus users on one specific conversion action, helping online businesses guide targeted leads through signups that are more likely to convert. Use your landing page to home in on one unique value proposition and encourage users to complete that desired action on your site.
Our top four tips for optimizing landing pages for customers are:
Simplify design: don’t use complex design elements or cram your landing page with too much media or content—you don’t want to distract users from your landing page’s main objective. Keep design and copy simple and focused to make sure users get to your call to action.
Clearly state your offer: don’t make users dig around for what you’re offering them. Make your value known to visitors: clearly explain the pains they’ll solve by taking an action, and why they should choose your solution to meet their needs.
Prioritize value-based information above the fold: make sure your users are given the most valuable information before this point to encourage them to keep reading
Watch user recordings: Hotjar Recordings let you watch full user sessions, so you can see every click, scroll, u-turn, and rage click in real-time as visitors navigate your landing page. This arms you with valuable insights on blockers to remove and possible optimizations.
4. Signup forms
Signup forms let users opt in to communications like email newsletters or receiving educational resources. Using signup form touchpoints effectively can help you grow your mailing list, learn more about your users, and increase leads and conversions.
So, how can you make your signup touchpoints more effective?
Make it clear to users what the value of signing up is, and how it will help them solve their problems
Make signup forms short and clean—the more form fields you include, the more friction users experience
Personalize sign-up with tools like Mailchimp
Make the signup process easy with autofill forms
5. Blog posts
Blog posts are a vital touchpoint to earn your customers’ trust by offering them content that establishes credibility and thought leadership and helps them better understand your product's or website's jobs to be done.
High-quality blog posts build trust by showing users you understand their pains, helping them evaluate their options and make a decision. SEO-optimized blog posts can also help potential customers find your website on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here’s how to make sure your blog posts are effective customer touchpoints:
Optimize for SEO: Optimize website readability, headlines, content, images, and anchor text to make your blog posts and other content findable to users
Optimize for targeted keywords: stuffing your blog posts with less relevant keywords can harm SEO. Use a few long-tail keywords to narrow your focus and directly answer user questions. Remember, you’re writing for people, not search engines—and this approach will actually benefit SEO.
Add image alt text: search engines like images with alt text—they add to the user experience by summarizing what’s in the image, in the event that it doesn’t load
Optimize URLs: make sure your URLs and topic-specific ‘slugs’ are relevant to your content and inform users about what they’re about to open
Optimize meta descriptions: give search engines and customers a brief overview of what your blog post is about to inspire users to click through
5. Video/visual media
Great media elements compel viewers to convert by engaging your audience, providing useful information, and showcasing the benefits of your brand and product solution. Visual media can elicit an emotional response from users that helps them connect your brand with their needs.
Make sure to optimize your visual media to maximize its effect on the overall customer journey. Here’s how:
Create user-centric videos: your videos should provide added value and insights, or educate users on the ins and outs of your product and features. Create content that’s relevant to your users to capture their attention and keep them engaged.
Have a clear goal: determine the responses you’re hoping to get from viewers beforehand to design visual media with maximum impact
Add key SEO information: do keyword research and add targeted keywords to video and image meta descriptions. Try transcribing your video content so users have the option to read it—and search engines can understand what it’s about.
Consider lead capture methods: ask users for their email to access special or useful content and help you get qualified leads deeply interested in learning about solutions
6. Product pages
Product pages help ecommerce companies showcase different product offerings and encourage users to make a purchase or learn more.
Use an effective page navigation layout and high-quality images and product descriptions to give your customers everything they need to make their decision at this touchpoint.
Here’s how to optimize product pages for your customers:
Organize your products: group your products in a way that makes sense to your users, with clearly labeled categories, intuitive filters, and search bars
Make user-centric design decisions: adjust the style of your page, including its language, layout type, and item placement, to help users easily access all the information they need and improve their product experience (PX). Test out different product page designs with Hotjar's Heatmaps to see which attract more engagement—and ask users why with Surveys.
Add CTAs: include clear, compelling CTAs throughout the page to inspire users to carry out the intended action
Image quality: use professional, high-quality images of your products or services that clearly display their main features to compel users to keep browsing
Include all relevant information: add reviews, product comparisons, product specs, shipping information, and final price so your users have all the information they need to successfully convert
7. Point of exit
The point of exit is when a user stops engaging with your website or product, whether it’s by unsubscribing, abandoning their cart, or exiting a page after clicking around. Tracking churn touchpoints helps companies uncover key information on what’s stopping users from converting into paying customers.
It’s important to ask yourself—and your users—questions at this stage:
If a user abandons their cart: what about your checkout experience caused friction?
If a user exits a page: what could you do to make your pages more targeted and engaging?
If a user unsubscribes: how can you improve your product experience?
How to optimize point of exit touchpoints:
Identify where users drop off: use Google Analytics to track which pages are failing to convert by identifying the percentage of exits per page
Optimize pages with high exit rates: make sure web page design, navigation, and responsiveness are optimized for minimal exit. Include animations, images, and visual media—and optimize your content with the tips above.
Use multiple-choice churn surveys: place Hotjar Surveys on ‘unsubscribe’ pages to ask users why they’re churning. Let them choose a reason from a multiple-choice list so it’s quick and easy for users to complete—but also create an open-ended question where they can add their free-form feedback.
Exit-intent surveys: use Hotjar exit-intent surveys to ask your users why they’re leaving your site without taking a conversion action. Then, use these actionable insights to make impactful changes.
8. Starting a free trial
Free trials are a key customer journey touchpoint that lets users experience your product on their own terms and decide if it’s what they’re looking for.
This ‘show, don’t tell’ approach means you can focus on improving your solution so a trial user understands its value, rather than aggressively selling your product.
Try the following to improve your free trial customer touchpoints:
Build a trustworthy, informative landing page: create a landing page that’s dedicated to free trial signups and clearly explains the trial benefits and conditions. Include testimonials, trust seals, and guarantees to persuade users to give your trial a go.
Make signup and download easy: use a simple signup form with minimal steps, and make it easy for users to download and get started on your product trial, so they’ll be more likely to follow through.
Provide clear timeframes: tell users how long they can expect their free trial to last, so they’re aware of when to cancel or continue with paid plans to build their trust
Showcase your product's value: make the trial worth users’ time and communicate how it’ll help them achieve their goals
Your onboarding experience directly impacts product adoption and helps build lasting relationships with users, which can turn them into brand advocates.
Optimize onboarding touchpoints to make sure users are getting the most value possible, as they learn how to use your product and features, to minimize churn and maximize user satisfaction.
Make sure your onboarding process clearly and intuitively shows users how to get set up and introduces them to key features and use cases to help them integrate your product into their everyday life.
Here’s how to optimize your customer onboarding:
Educational content and problem-solving: create high-quality educational content that simply and quickly answers user questions. Investing in an interactive knowledge base is one great way to address user issues that might arise during onboarding. Also, ensure that you have fast, effective customer support available.
Introduce users to key features: use hotspots, banners, and tooltips to draw users’ attention to features that might help them and let them quickly locate the answers to any questions they might have
Optimize welcome emails: A/B test your welcome email to find out what users respond to most
Collect user feedback: use Hotjar's Feedback tools to ask users what you could improve during the onboarding process and what they need help with. Use the Feedback widget for streamlined in-browser feedback forms to make gathering user opinions simple.
10. Using a new feature
New features keep users engaged with your product and add value to their experience to help them in their journey of becoming loyal customers.
Find compelling ways of introducing new features to your customers so they understand how to make full use of your product and reach higher levels of product adoption.
Keep users in the loop on new features: tell users about upcoming features on your blog, social media, and newsletters to attract customers and get them to try them out.
Set up guides and prompts: make sure users know about your features and updates within the product itself. Help them set up new features, and explain how to use them effectively. Use tooltips and hotspots to remind users of new features as they’re interacting with your product.
Include relevant features: focus on the user and include the right features that add value. Don’t feature-bomb your users and dissuade them from adopting your product.
11. Customer reviews
Customer reviews highly influence user decisions and can make or break a visitor’s desire to adopt your product.
Positive reviews help build trust with your users and strengthen brand credibility. They encourage users to interact with your brand—and act as a knowledge base for potential customers.
Here’s how to optimize your customer reviews:
Increase customer confidence: customers who are happy with their product decisions are more likely to leave good reviews and inspire confidence in other users
Leverage bad reviews: use your reviews as a feedback mechanism to drive change and make user-backed decisions. Where possible, follow up with customers who leave negative feedback to learn more.
Optimize your customer journey touchpoints for brilliant results
Optimizing these key touchpoints will improve your customer journey from start to finish, helping you delight your users and meet organizational goals.