“Right Message, Right Person, Right Time” has long been the mantra guiding strategic email marketing. With the emergence of multi-channel marketing over the last few years, we’ve also added “Right Channel” to the mix. While this is fundamentally sound advice, another piece of the puzzle has recently entered the spotlight – the customer journey. This approach serves to tie every step of the lifecycle together from the customer’s unique perspective. While this holistic view includes many interactions that occur outside the email channel, there are essential touch points that we can implement to ensure your email program is activating your next raving brand advocate.
Your welcome email or onboarding series sets the tone for your entire email relationship. Introduce your brand, set expectations, and use this period of heightened engagement to gather information that will help you nurture your subscriber through every step of their journey.
CAMPAIGNS: Welcome, Onboarding, Preference Center
Relevance. Is. EVERYTHING. Subscribers won’t make a purchase, schedule a service, download a whitepaper or sign up for your webinar if the products or content you present aren’t aligned with their specific needs. Use the information ygathered in the engage phase and never stop listening – subscribers’ needs are ever-changing and their behavior will clue you in to what content and products they are currently looking for.
CAMPAIGNS: Promotional, Progressive Profiling, Transactional Messages
- Retain (or Nurture)
It costs far less to retain a customer than to acquire a new one, so make sure you’re putting just as much effort in here as you do to get that first sale. Next logical product, accessories, replenishment reminders, birthday and anniversary messages, and general value-add content are all important campaigns to have in your toolbox.
CAMPAIGNS: Cross/Up-sell, Content Marketing, Birthday/Anniversary
Let your subscribers’ own actions (or lack thereof) guide the way you communicate with them in the email channel. Monitor their click and browse behavior both within email campaigns and on your website and use that information to deliver timely and highly personalized campaigns.
CAMPAIGNS: Abandon Cart, Abandon Browse, Click Behavior
It’s important to remember that attrition is a normal part of the lifecycle for some subscribers. Watch for signs of disengagement with the email channel and have a plan to reel them back in or let them go. Losing a subscriber doesn’t mean you’re losing a customer, it just means this isn’t the right channel for them right now.
CAMPAIGNS: Winback/Reactivation/Re-engagement, Re-Welcome
Bottom Line: You can’t deliver the right message to the right person at the right time in the right channel if you don’t know where they are in their journey with the brand. Merging the customer journey with the customer lifecycle requires ongoing behavior analysis and many triggered communications to ensure that you are getting the most from your email program.