Customers at each stage of the buying lifecycle have different interests, needs and history with your brand. Your job is to determine which messages will resonate with customers at each stage so you can focus your lifecycle email campaigns appropriately. In this post, we’re going to take a look at how this might play out by discussing which email marketing strategies to use at various stages.
But first things first. Why do we want in on the lifecycle marketing fun? Because we can use it to build better relationships with customers at every stage along their journey, from the buying stage all the way through the post-purchase stage. That’s right. Post-purchase. Email marketing doesn’t end with conversions. Instead, it starts with potential customers searching for information to find a fix for some challenge they’re facing and continues all the way to brand evangelists who happily promote your products and services.
Alright, on to the strategies…
Liga Bizune from Mailigen offers a great idea for starting off your lifecycle marketing with the right kind of personalization. She suggests tracking where your subscribers signed up for your email newsletter:
- If subscribers joined your email list while making a purchase, you can include a survey, invitations to complete their profile, or upsell offers.
- If they signed up for your newsletters on your blog, you’ll know they’re already fairly informed about your products and services.
- If the source was a Facebook sign-up form, they’ve probably only heard about you. However, you can include encouragement to share your news with their friends on social media.
For brand new leads with no knowledge of your offerings, you’ll want to teach them about your products and services and how they might match their needs. Let them discover what’s relevant for them and then track their behavior accordingly. For those who’ve just purchased your product for the first time, you can create a getting-started message to help them get the most out of it.
Thank You Emails/Quid Pro Quo
Chris Sietsema of Teach to Fish Digital calls this strategy the “Quid Pro Quo” message. When newer customers make a second purchase or respond to your welcome email, you can take that opportunity to gather more information about them in exchange for something they may want. You’ll want to provide an incentive. Sietsema suggests offering special access to premium content while incorporating a short survey that lets you gather key data for further segmentation. You can also add a simple thank-you note. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way.
When you haven’t heard from a customer in a while, it’s an opportunity to reach out again and try to re-stoke your relationship with them. Here you’re trying to ascertain whether or not your customer is still interested and what incentive would provide the necessary impetus for another purchase or more engagement with your company. You have lots of options for messaging here too. You can create a “we miss you” email with a special offer, a simple reminder about your offerings and their usefulness, or announcements about new products, services or maybe your new website.
If you have a good understanding of what your customers want from your business—via tracking behavior or collecting interest data through surveys, you’re in a good place to launch some remarketing campaigns to encourage customers to engage further. Use the data you’ve collected (including responses to previous email campaigns) to inform and inspire your efforts to provide relevant content and strengthen ties with your customers.
For customers who readily engage and have a long history with your company, upselling and cross-selling just makes sense. If you’ve been able to collect key data, you can use it to segment these folks into specific audience groups and craft stories about your offerings that speak directly to them in a more personalized way—based on purchase behavior, geographic location, demographic info, interest data and more. It’s a perfect opportunity to highlight features of your products and services that they haven’t yet used or new offerings relevant to their specific situation.
And, of course, don’t forget to track responses to your upselling and cross-selling campaigns in order to get a sense of what messaging opportunities might lie ahead.
Lifecycle marketing—all marketing, really—is about building relationships with your customers, and like any relationship, your relationships with your customers will wither and die if not given attention. You can help these relationships flourish with positive and meaningful content that keep your customers engaged and happy while encouraging them to take that next step forward into brand advocacy. For example, customers at the retention and loyalty stage might be the perfect recipients of a loyalty program campaign that allows you to acknowledge their best-customer status and give them something special in return.
If you’ve managed to keep repeat customers happy and engaged, well done. Now’s the time to take advantage of word of mouth and let these customers do some of your job for you by giving them opportunities to share what they love about your company and what you offer. This sharing can be in the form of product reviews, social media shares, or even “forward to a friend” buttons.
You now have 7 lifecycle marketing strategies that can help you make sure every touchpoint with your customer conveys relevance and builds a solid relationship. Using event-triggered messaging like cart abandonment emails or browsing history emails, you can meet your customer wherever they’re at in their journey and continue to develop a meaningful dialogue.
Are you ready to get started? Visit Filament to find out how we can help with anything from planning lifecycle email campaigns to creating relevant content for your email segments.