Who is at the center of your business? You should realize that you are not the center of your business, nor is your idea. You know who should be at the center of your business. The center of your business is your client or end user.
How can you build the path your user will follow in order to define your marketing strategy? I recommend designing the user’s path with a storyboard.
Let’s start by defining what we mean by “storyboard” and “user journey”.
The storyboard is an actual graphic representation, like a comic book, of how the customer can reach our product. The storyboard allows us to understand visually the what, how and when of marketing success. It allows us to imagine and visualize the user’s experience of interaction with our site. It allows us to hypothesize about the channels, both online and offline, through which our potential customer comes into contact with the company. It gives structure to our ideas about the devices and searches our customers will use to reach us. Each of these contact points will obviously have to be studied and improved.
The user journey gives us – in a detailed and descriptive way – all the steps that a typical user could perform before even knowing that we exist. This hypothetical path shows us what happens when he discovers us and interacts with our app or with our website. Then we will continue to broaden our hypothesis, identifying different dynamic scenarios for the user’s journey.
The development of the product should be based on a good understanding of our users. We should look at how they look for products like ours. Here, of course, SEO and a good strategy for positioning content will help. We should ask ourselves how they will get in contact with our product or service. What is the “touchpoint?” We should study the possible offers and interactions with the website, from initial contact through to loading the shopping cart, and finally, if we have done our job correctly, to the purchase that is our ultimate goal.
The Example of Ikea: Augmented Reality
Always remember what we said at the beginning: our points of contact with the user can be anywhere. They are not only found online. Let’s consider an example.
Ikea created an augmented reality experience to capture users’ imagination. Using a tablet or smartphone, users could see if a piece of furniture was suitable for their room. The IOS app allowed users to read the codes included in the paper catalog and then project the desired item onto their device screen, superimposing it over the live camera view of their room.
Consider another example of an innovative customer journey. Google is testing a new mode of integration between research and e-commerce, directly within the search image search results. The user who looks for a photo of a pair of “fringed leather shoes” will also receive a clickable image with the price of an item, allowing them to buy it in just one click. Thus google brings customers from research to buying in record time.
What is a storyboard for?
A storyboard allows us to concretely visualize the path of our user, which is often not linear, and which can vary from user to user, identifying the key points at which it is necessary to capture the user’s intention and push them to interact. Using the storyboard, we seek to simplify the most complex aspects of our user experience and make the simple steps more compelling and enjoyable for the user.
I once had a customer who had never even tried their website to see what a user would experience. They knew that their product was good and that the price was competitive. They were also well positioned in the Google SERP. But they did not sell as much as they would have expected. When they finally tested the user’s path, they immediately understood the problem. They were not present when the user needed them most. The user experience was far too complex, which hindered the user rather than helping them find what they needed easily and driving their purchase.
A storyboard allows us to predict and display the user’s path, simplifying all the steps that can be simplified. First, we devise a mobile experience. After we have refined our mobile navigation, we expand to the desktop. (Many companies still fail to follow this simple best practice). We emphasize design, colors, call to action and buttons, which can simplify the user journey and make it more enjoyable, and consequently improve conversions.
If you are still not clear about the convenience of designing a user path with a storyboard, let me list some important advantages of this method:
- It is a great way to view your plans and show them clearly to your team.
- It makes the production of your project easier and faster, because “an image says more than a thousand words.”
- It saves time in the long run by keeping all the various steps clear.
- It helps secure a competitive advantage with strategic marketing.
At the same time, the visualization will allow you to better understand the perception and performance of a product, user behavior and the complete picture of an interface built for users and not for the product or service.
Of course, to use this approach, you must include designers and User Experience specialists in your team from the very beginning.
Where do you start to draw the storyboard from? From the script.
The Viral Octopus Loop helps guide us in Point 4: Customer experience.
I have designed a Tool that will help us define our script by stealing the script writing techniques of the cinema and the “scale of awareness” hypothesized by Eugene Schwarz, which I have spoken of previously here.
This tool will help guide you in creating your storyboard to comply with the best practices laid out in Point 4.
Describe the potential client and his problem
Define who the client is, what the problem that afflicts him is, and who he is influenced by. Eg: Bill is a middle-aged man who is beset by efficiency.
Describe how his problem affects his life negatively.
Define the problem in context. Eg: Bill hates not finding his favorite dish at a restaurant.
Show your product as a possible solution.
Show how the product solves the problem. Eg: a digital menu that changes according to availability
The First Contact
Describe how the customer finds your product.
The customer comes across your product. How do you know what he wants?
Describe the client who solves his problem.
What does your customer do to use your product and solve his problem?
Please provide an email where we can send your template.
We need a few minutes to illustrate your script.
As soon as you receive it by email, re-read it a million times until you say: Yessss!
Print it and start step 2: mark up.
Highlight all the touch points and key actions in your story in different colors.
Ex. Bill, desperate about his situation, searches on google for a solution. He sees a forum that looks like it might be a good place to find answers. He arrives at the forum and posts a question looking for an answer to solve his problem.
A user answers and recommends your product.
There are so many juicy elements to think about!
Draw the Storyboard
During all the courses I teach on this subject, I was asked this question: I suck at drawing, how can I create a storyboard that is understandable? Are there any tools online? The answer is yes. There are. The question is do you really need them? I do not draw badly. I draw worse. My incompetence at drawing is, frankly, disgusting. But even I can draw something understandable. If you’re planning your business, why do care if your strategic drawings are pretty? I found this fantastic video that explains how to solve the problem.
Well, that is more than 1,000 words to think about. That’s enough for this article. We’ll go deeper in the future. Stay tuned!