Goal Examples for Every Type of Customer Journey
Today we launched Insights, which is goal tracking for customer journey marketers. Put simply, Insights makes it easy to track goals and optimize journey performance as you acquire, nurture, and grow customers.
Insights was built to help teams rally around key business goals and make it easy to achieve and share journey results in a few clicks. 70% of early users reported feeling more confident in the value and impact of their journeys when using Insights.
Although you can use Insights without setting a conversion goal, we know that high performing marketers are generally goal-oriented from the start. Starting a marketing journey without a goal is like going for a hike without directions – it may work out, but often you end up lost. Without a goal, how would you determine if the journey was a success?
Think of a goal as the action or event you’d like your contacts to take if they successfully convert in your journey. Do you have a goal for each of your journeys? In this post, we’ll dive into example goals we’ve seen for various types of customer journeys you may be using, including:
- Lead Follow Up
- Lifecycle Nurture
- Sales Nurturing
- Customer Retention
- Shopping Cart
Disclaimer: We have listed a variety of goals for each since, as they will always differ based on your particular business model, marketing challenge, or sales cycle.
Lead Follow Up
Lead follow up journeys are used to follow up with leads after they take a particular action, such as downloading a piece of content, filling out a contact form, or subscribing to your blog. These journeys can be incredibly effective because you’re capitalizing on the moment when your brand is top of mind.
Note: Before categorizing a journey as lead follow up, browse the other journey types, as many follow ups will fall under other groupings, such as onboarding or shopping cart abandonment.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) created
- Sales meetings set (or a similar high-intent action, such as demos requested)
- X% clickthrough rate
- X lead score
- Purchases or sign ups
This category can vary quite a bit depending on your business model, sales cycle, and what exactly you’re following up from (e.g. a content download vs. a demo request).
For B2B companies, you’ll want the lead to move down the funnel. Say for example, you’re following up with someone who just downloaded your latest “The Ultimate Guide to X” ebook. You’ll likely follow up with more than just their copy of the ebook. If you also include related content and encourage them to subscribe to further communications, you could set your goal to track off of number of subscriptions. Your goal could even be as simple as “number of ebooks read.” Just create a smart segment of those who actually clicked through to the asset after requesting it.
On the B2C side, you may follow up with leads after they submit an inquiry. Take an event agency for example. They receive requests to be contacted when companies are planning an event and evaluating vendors. The goal for a lead follow up journey here could be to convert 20% of these inquiries into paid customers.
Lifecycle nurture is an ongoing, top of funnel nurture journey that aims to educate leads, build a relationship with your brand, and improve and accelerate the purchasing experience. Many companies will have one main lead nurture journey, but it is possible to have different journeys for various segments or stages of the funnel.
- Sales-ready leads
- Paying customers
- Free trialists
The point of lifecycle nurture is to drive users down the funnel. If you are heavily sales focused, you’ll likely aim to convert most leads in lifecycle nurture to a sales-ready lead (MQL, SQL or however you choose to define that). If you’re B2C or SMB focused with a self-service sales model, lifecycle nurture may be used to nudge leads to become a paying customer. If you’re like us and break out your nurture journeys based on where people are in the buying process, you may have another intermediary goal, such as converting leads into a free trialist.
Take Instapage’s lead nurturing journey for example. Their goal is aimed at converting leads into free trialists. Even though not every email or Headsup message used links to a “sign up for a free trial” call to action (CTA), their ultimate goal across the team is to generate more free trials, and they have another onboarding journey that takes trialists through the product once they sign up. Spoiler alert: they discovered that their nurtured leads convert 6x faster than the company’s typical conversion rate.
“Autopilot’s Insights allowed us to immediately spot any bottlenecks in our messaging and easily share journeys performance with our teammates. Fantastic addition.”
Onboarding journeys aim to get new users set up, to encourage engagement, and to build the customer relationship. Onboarding is an important part of overall customer success—you want the customer to realize your product or service’s value as soon as possible, making them successful, loyal, and ultimately, less likely to churn.
- Active users
- X setup or activated within accounts
- X% level of engagement
The point of onboarding is to increase product adoption. Try setting a goal for active users, however you may define that. Most products have one or two key events that signal product adoption. Once you define these, create a smart segment that captures all active customers (i.e. those customers who have completed the key actions). If you don’t know what this is, or if it doesn’t apply to your business, try a simple goal of customer engagement (10 email opens, 5 email clicks, a support ticket created, or engagement with a customer success representative).
If you need some inspiration, check out RangeMe’s onboarding journey. They recently rebuilt it from a very basic welcome sequence to a personalized, goal-oriented nurture. In order for suppliers to be seen and get value from the RangeMe site, RangeMe realized the suppliers needed to post their first product. This is the most important step and has become their measure of onboarding journey success.
Reactivation journeys are used to re-engage formerly active users who have gone silent or encourage those one-time buyers to become repeat customers. These users can range from ex-trialists to former customers to previous subscribers. These are one of the easiest groups to engage since they are already familiar with your brand, product or service.
- Trials reset or subscriptions reactivated
- Number of logins
- Sales meetings set
- Email replies
The scope of a reactivation goal depends on what you’re reactivating. If you have an old subscriber that stopped reading your content, you’ll want to drive up those email clicks and bring them back to your site. If you have a trialist that’s gone silent, you’ll want to get them to sign back in. If you keep their trial open, great! If not, you may need them to meet with a salesperson, or submit a request to reactivate their account.
One Autopilot non-profit customer focuses their B2C reactivation journey on driving repeat donations. Since oftentimes donations are seasonal (people tend to be more giving during the holiday season), they focus their marketing efforts on delivering donations all year round.
Sales nurturing journeys are for warm inbound leads or leads that have already interacted with sales. Messages in these journeys can vary, but they’ll most likely leverage outreach emails on behalf of the sales rep.
- Meetings set
- Email replies
There are two main use cases for sales nurturing. One is automating the follow up when a hot lead comes in (think: trial signup). The other is after sales has already qualified a lead, if the timing is not right. In these types of sales journeys, sales can opt a lead into specific nurture journeys to keep the lead warm. With these use cases, the typical goal is to schedule a sales meeting (and therefore remove the lead from nurture).
One Autopilot customer uses their sales nurturing as an extension of the sales team. Sales is responsible for vetting all new leads, but based on size and quality, the rep can choose to put the lead into a self service sales track. Changing the lead’s status in Salesforce then triggers a journey in Autopilot that sends a series of emails on behalf of the sales rep. The goal for this journey is to increase the number of self-service sign ups, saving the sales team’s time.
Customer retention journeys help to enhance your customer experience, maximize retention, and boost your bottom line. These journeys are often framed around education, build on your company/customer relationship, and encourage product adoption and engagement so that your product becomes ingrained in your customers’ everyday life.
Journeys that may fall into this category include:
- Sending product nudges to encourage users to complete key actions
- Proactively reaching out to customers who may need support
- Rewarding loyal customers for engaging in desired behaviors
- Offering compelling incentives to high-value customers who’re disengaged
- Active users
- Content engagement
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Churned customers
- Support ticket load (in a specific area)
This category has a wide variety of journeys that may fall into it. However, the goals for these journeys will most likely match up with your overall company customer retention goals. Is the main focus on reducing churn, keeping users active, focusing on your NPS score, or reducing support tickets? All of these can be tracked in Autopilot.
In one of our previous webinars, LiveChat walked us through a few of their key journeys—one of which revolved around proactive support and customer retention. After a customer interacts with a support agent, the agent tags the conversation, and LiveChat sends a series of emails with helpful content around the specific pain point for the user. For a journey like this, it’d be interesting to track content engagement (aka email clicks), but ultimately, the main goal is to create a better customer experience and reduce support tickets internally.
A journey used to send your newsletter or similar type of communication (i.e. a consistently sent content roundup that individuals subscribe to).
Pro Tip: Want to double your newsletter open rates? Try sending a reminder follow up 48 hours later to those who didn’t open initially.
- Level of engagement
- X% CTR
- X action taken
There are two schools of thought for how to approach setting a goal for a newsletter.
- The first is selecting a unique goal for each send, specific to what’s in this issue’s newsletter.
- The second is using the same goal month over month (or whatever your newsletter’s cadence is), so you can easily compare newsletter performance.
Take Autopilot for example. We have two main newsletters: our monthly product roundup focused on all things Autopilot, and Just Landed, a community newsletter that compiles marketing best practices, news, events, and good reads. For our product newsletter, I like to use a new goal for each send. Surprise: the one for this month will be how many users then went on to set a goal with Insights :). For Just Landed, as much as we love marketing best practices, we ultimately care about conversions. So we track how many leads who subscribe to our Just Landed eventually become an MQL.
Promotional journeys are typically shorter in length and endorse a particular campaign, discount or offer.
These types of journeys are extremely common in B2C businesses and especially, the e-commerce space. This applies to all those “this weekend only: 25% off” emails, as well as seasonal announcements, giveaways, and new arrivals. In the B2B space, think of this more for your product launches or other feature announcements.
- Coupon redemptions
- Purchases or sign ups
B2C companies are constantly running flash sales to encourage new purchases. Try tracking the unique discount code and setting a goal for number of coupon redemptions.
One B2C Autopilot customer sends a new promotion every month to highly targeted segments based on timezone and location. They set the same goal for each send: number of new purchases. This makes journey comparison quick and easy.
As the name suggests, these are journeys for everything regarding events, virtual events and webinars. This includes both promoting and driving attendance to the events, as well as following up afterwards.
- Registrations / Attendees
- Booth visitors
For follow up:
- Sign ups
- Sales meetings set
- MQLs created
An event is only successful is someone shows up. However, your goal may change depending if you’re hosting the event or sponsoring it. Hosting a meetup? Keep your goal focused on butts in seats. Sponsoring the next biggest conference? Stay focused on interactions—drive people to your booth to get some face-to-face time.
Finally, remember your job’s not done once the event’s over. Similar to the lead follow up category, you want to capitalize on being top of mind. Whether they attended or not, follow up with your leads. Focus on driving them down the funnel—link to the product you promoted at the event and track purchases, encourage them to sign up for a free trial, or send them an email from a salesperson to book a meeting.
For e-commerce companies, shopping cart journeys are essential—from purchase confirmation, to shipping notification, to the quintessential, shopping cart abandonment. If you have an online store, you know how important these journeys are.
- Return visitor
The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70%. If you have an online shopping cart, you can’t afford not to follow up with those who abandon their cart before purchasing. Aim to convert these abandoners to customers.
One Autopilot customer follows up on abandoned carts three times before giving up. The first email offers a gentle reminder of their forgotten items. If after a few days they still haven’t purchased, the company reminds them of the “no cost” benefits, such as free shipping and returns. Finally, if a lead still hasn’t converted in a week, they send a friendly 10% coupon to nudge them over the line. With a stitched together journey like this, it’s no wonder they’re knocking their goal out of the park.
Survey and feedback journeys are an effective way to hear from your customers. These types of journeys include sending an NPS survey to existing clients, collecting feedback on your latest product release, or just regularly checking in to learn more about your user base.
- NPS score
- Total survey responses
- Feedback submitted (whether it’s a review written or idea posted to a feedback forum)
If you’re looking for ideas, try copying Pet Circle’s survey and feedback journeys. One of their most successful journeys automatically requests a product review after purchase. This helps them find out what customers think about particular products, and the reviews add social proof to each product page of its website.
For a journey like this, create a goal that focuses on number of reviews posted. If the review is tied to the customer’s profile, you can push this data into Autopilot (number of reviews or last review written) and create a smart segment to see how many people write a review after receiving the email.
Operational journeys are primarily used for internal purposes, including data management and maintenance. These journeys typically involve updating fields, routing leads, or sending internal notifications.
Journeys that may fall into this category include:
- Routing leads to the sales team
- Notifying the team when a new sale or churn comes through
- Qualifying leads for nurture (pro tip: there’s a guide for this!)
- Calculating a lead score
- Updating field values once a lead take a particular action
Take the below for example, this is an operational journey we have to notify the team if an error were to occur routing a lead to Salesforce.
- Leads that made it into Salesforce or onto a particular list
- Notifications sent
- Leads with a particular field value
- Lead score
Although it may not seem obvious at first, having a goal for operational journeys can be extremely helpful. Depending on the journey, use the goal to stay on top of errors or target a particular lead score.
In many B2B companies, the number one goal for the marketing team is to generate sales-ready leads and pass them to sales when they’re hot. It’s important this works like a well-oiled machine. However, if you’re using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, sync errors can happen for a number of reasons, such as hitting an API or storage limit.
Try setting a goal to monitor syncing between Autopilot and your CRM of choice. Simply create a smart segment for your CRM lists (if you’re using Salesforce, this would be the “Salesforce Leads” and “Salesforce Contacts” lists) and set the goal at 100%. If you’re falling behind your goal or something drastically changes one day, it signals when you should dig in deeper.
Determining your conversion target
This is the part of Insights I received the most questions about during our early access program. “How should I determine my conversion target? If I don’t know industry averages, isn’t this an arbitrary number?” Well, yes and no.
Think of it like golf. There’s par for each course (for most courses this is 72), but you’re really competing against yourself—what you typically shoot or what you’ve shot before. As much as I want to make par, if I regularly shoot in the 100s, par doesn’t matter as much to me (at least not yet!). Rather than trying to pick a conversion target that’s par for the course, it’s more helpful to pick one that’s competitive for your team. One that’s reachable, but challenging. From there, you can scale and update as you grow.
You may have a company goal you’re aiming for, but for most of us who have no idea where to start, leverage the retroactive conversion tracking. If you have a journey that’s been running for awhile, Insights will automatically analyze the last 90 days of data so you can see your historical performance.
In order to determine a reasonable conversion target, first set a goal (use your best guess or shoot for the stars) and let the data populate. (You can update the conversion target at any time.)
Once the data populates, you’ll be able to see what you’re converting at. Look at the numbers from the last 90 days and your most recent week or two, and pick a goal—reachable, but challenging.
So what if it’s a brand new journey? Ideally, you have older journeys you can look back on (e.g. past newsletters sent) or an industry average to start with. But, if you’re really not sure, don’t worry—as mentioned earlier, you can update your conversion target at any time! Set it at 10% (a good solid number I like). If after a few weeks you’re converting at 20%, shoot for 25% next time.
Insights was built to help customer journey marketers optimize high-performing journeys and execute smarter marketing. It’s not about judging your existing journey, it’s about improving upon it.
Thinking through your conversion window
When setting up a goal in Insights, you’ll also be asked to select an expected conversion window. This is used to limit the time range within which a conversion must occur to be counted. For example, if you select a 24 hour conversion window, and a lead converts 30 hours after entering the journey, they will not count toward your conversion rate. The main reason for this is so you can control when your journey should get credit for conversions.
There are two main ways to think about your conversion window.
- The window may be obvious based on the journey. Is it a flash sale where users only have a limited time to redeem a special offer? Maybe it’s a short two email journey that people will be through in only five days, or a nurture journey that lasts for 90 days.
- If it’s a longer journey and you’re really not sure how to define your conversion window, leverage the retroactive conversion tracking again! Select “all time” and see how many days it takes leads to convert on average.
But also remember not to short change yourself—keep the window to at least the length of the journey. For example, if you have a nurture journey that could take 60 days to go through, but most convert in 30, select the 60 day window, not the 30 day.
If you’re still reading, good on you! I know we covered a lot. Just remember, when it comes to setting goals with Insights, there are two main things to keep in mind:
- It’s not set in stone. You can change your goal, conversion window, or conversion target at any time. So play around with it! Have fun.
- Insights (and goal setting in general) is about focusing on high-impact journeys and improving performance. It’s about smarter marketing, not judgment.
“Without Insights, it was a bit cumbersome to pull data and harder to attribute which steps in the journey performed well and equally as important, which did not. Since Insights, I’ve been able to delve into the minutia of each step in our journeys and optimize on what’s been working. It’s been really good to connect the growth that’s unfolding with our sales department back to the nurture journeys in Autopilot.”
– Kevin Sides, CMO, Shipmonk