Lifecycle email marketing programmes should play a big part in your strategy, especially if you want to keep your customers happy and entice them to spend regularly with you. In this article, we look at the key benefits of lifecycle email marketing, key programmes to implement and where to start.
What is a Lifecycle Email Marketing Programme?
Lifecycle emails are automated and targeted emails that reach the customer at different stages of their journey, covering emails specifically for brand new customers, current customers and inactive accounts on your database.
What are the benefits?
Quite simply these emails are more effective due to their targeted nature. You can build segments based on the information you have on each customer and really tailor the message using personalisation and dynamic content.
For example, a winback email programme targeting those that have not placed an order in 12 months can be tailored to offer a discount. Sending targeted emails at the right time will show that you’re interested in your customers and encourage them to start spending again.
However, some benefits to lifecycle emails are not so obvious and measurable. Every business has its own vision of what action they want the customer to take, but it’s important to understand that sometimes you need to nurture your customers to see the benefits in the long term.
For example, asking them to join a loyalty programme will help to keep them active, and show that you are willing to give something back for their commitment to your business. You may not see immediate revenue but continual engagement could lead to future purchases and longer term benefits.
If you can improve relevancy and send the right message at the right time then the customer will start to realise that your emails are worth reading, so a boost may be sent across other email campaigns.
Programmes You Should Definitely Think About
1. Welcome and Nurture
A welcome programme is essential but needs to be done right. Don’t simply drip feed non-personalised generic emails across a couple of weeks, think about the actions they need to take to become a better customer. That might simply be an educational exercise.
Also be careful with incentives at this point. Are customers ready to make another big commitment or purchase with you? That is where an incentive might simply fall flat and it’s better to encourage micro actions, such as preferences you can use for targeting or simply getting them to look at different areas of the website so the whole experience with you is more familiar.
All online businesses will have a very high percentage of customers who won’t come back after their first order. They will need a prod and a reason to do so. Cutting through the clutter of what else you are sending them with a ‘We Miss You’ sounds unlikely but even small changes here will have a significant impact. Even if you get say an incremental 0.5% of these customers back the size of the segment is so large that this is likely to be the biggest revenue generator of all email programmes apart from abandonment.
There will be a large percentage of website visitors that leave without ordering, with more browsing than those who add items to their cart. A good browse and cart recovery programme will start to draw customers back in resulting in a huge impact on the bottom line.
Where to Start?
Stage 1 has to be to make sure you have data driven insight into customer behaviour. What makes a good high-value customer? What actions do they take and when compared to a less valuable customer? Although, don’t neglect the low-value customers, how can you turn them into high value?
At this point, you probably have some ideas for what your lifecycle email programmes might be so you want to understand if the actions you want them to take are realistic. If customers are already doing them in good numbers at that point of the lifecycle without email activity then you will be onto a winner with your email programme.
Data Preparation and Integration
In order to implement lifecycle email programmes, you need automated data streams into your email service provider. Without this, it’s not possible to automate these types of programmes and reach customers at the right time.
Design and Build
Once you know who you want to target and how to use your data, it’s a case of getting on with the design and build. That might seem obvious, but this is where you need to get copywriters and designers referring to your earlier insight piece and the key objectives and actions of each lifecycle email programme. These also benefit from more stand-out creative than normal emails – you need customers to realise it’s not just another one of your weekly emails.