Customer Journeys: A Simplified Explanation

Posted by ImageWorks Creative Team May 19, 2021
Macro photos of a figurine standing on a map of Europe

When a person encounters your brand multiple times (sometimes in multiple places) marketers call this a customer journey. The ultimate goal of the journey can be to make a purchase or sign up to a mailing list. However, without a little bit of structure from your company, the journey might lead your prospects to nowhere. If you’re looking to get started with crafting a customer journey, but don’t know where to start, allow us to cover the basics.

What is a Customer Journey?

A Customer Journey is the series of steps someone takes toward a desired action, such as going from being an unknown individual to being a customer of your business.

The reason this definition is deceptively simple is that there are many different steps a person can take on their way to converting. Also, the order in which a person takes those steps is not as linear as once thought.

Lastly, some Customer Journeys can also encourage current customers to take a desired action or automate a business process like on-boarding.

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The Essential Elements of a Customer Email Journey

As we said above, the steps involved in a customer journey are vast and varying. However, there’s no need to get overwhelmed. You can create a guided customer journey simply made up of emails. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to say this journey is designed to get newsletter subscribers to purchase from you.

Initial Contact

This is the first email sent to a contact after the journey is triggered. In our example scenario, this is the email welcoming the contact to the newsletter. We recommend reaffirming the value of their subscription, letting the contact know what they’ll be receiving each month.

About You

Since this is a new contact, take this opportunity to tell a little bit about your company and get the contact interested in your brand. This can be a formal letter from the CEO or something more casual, if that’s your style. In both cases, we recommend keeping it short and personal. The goal of this step is to build your connection, not brag about yourself. (Well, okay, a little bragging is fine.)

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Exclusive Offer

This is where you sweeten the pot. Give them exclusive access to a bit of content or offer a discount on one of your products. Think of it like a welcome gift for joining your mailing list.

Bonus: Add a follow up email to the exclusive offer helping the contact maximize the deal!


Pretty self-explanatory, this email reminds the contact of the offer you sent them in your last email. Since the email’s purpose is simple, we recommend keeping the design to just text.

Final Push

This is your final shot at convincing the contact to take your desired action. This email could involve addressing the reasons they might be hesitating. You could also highlight what they’re missing if they don’t take the next step. Model your final persuasion off what your particular audience will respond to best.

Remember: this is just the final step in this particular journey. You’ll still have the person’s contact information and can include them in a different journey later.

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Now, these steps sound a bit vague because the content included in each email can and should be tailored to your industry and business goals. Also, we focused on email journeys to keep things straight forward, but a customer journey can have multiple steps and span multiple platforms and brand touchpoints. In order to maximize your customer journey’s full potential, you need to know your goals and the most likely path that will nudge a contact towards that goal.

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