As an email marketer, you know there are dozens of ways to slice and dice your contact list. From geographic location and age to product preference and level of engagement, each new campaign offers practically endless opportunities to test different segmentation and personalization strategies. You could spend hours dissecting your database (and many of us have).
But while some criteria may change depending on campaign goals, there’s one piece of customer data you should always consider: customer lifecycle stage.
Your customers have different concerns and needs at each phase of the buyer’s journey. The messaging and offers that appeal to a new subscriber aren’t usually as effective when presented to a loyal, repeat customer.
Let’s take a look at how you can personalize messages at each customer lifecycle stage to maximize engagement and keep your prospects moving toward a purchase.
When a person chooses to opt in to your communications, they’re inviting you into their inbox. But this invitation can be revoked quickly if you bombard them with too much, too soon. At this point in the relationship, you still need to earn their trust.
Start by welcoming new contacts aboard with a discount off their first purchase, or whet their appetite with an invitation to check out some of your most popular content. For example, a clothing retailer might share a seasonal lookbook.
Once a contact begins to show real interest in specific products or solutions, it’s up to you to make sure your brand stays top of mind. After all, if they’re actively shopping, but haven’t yet purchased, there’s a good chance they’re considering your competitors, too.
During this customer lifecycle stage, send emails with offers customized to the exact product pages they’ve perused, or abandoned cart reminders.
Hooray! Your contact has completed a purchase. The hard part is over, right? Well ... not necessarily. The post-purchase process can be one of the most critical moments of the entire relationship. The best way to guarantee subsequent purchases is to make the first experience exceptional.
In addition to sending order confirmation and shipping updates, you also should send content to help your customer make the most of their investment. And this is a great opportunity for an upsell. For example, if a customer purchased a new tent, a sporting goods store might follow up with an offer on sleeping bags, camping stoves and other related items.
Once a customer has ascended to the level of evangelist — that is, a brand loyalist who frequently engages with your communications and even refers others — sophisticated email personalization is a must. Make sure each message is tailored to this contact’s interests and behavior and makes them feel special. VIP offers, an “early look” at new products and loyalty programs go a long way with these valuable customers.
Whether they’re one-time purchasers who have suddenly vanished or subscribers who never made it into phase two, inactive contacts can drag down your campaign results and lead to plenty of frustration. Here’s how you can handle contacts in this stage:
- First, use email validation to determine which addresses are truly inactive and which are simply disinterested in your communications.
- Second, make an effort to earn back uninterested contacts with a win-back campaign, like a special offer on a new product line.
- Finally, if your re-engagement efforts fall flat, consider removing inactive contacts from your primary send lists.
Considering customer lifecycle stage is crucial in email personalization. By tailoring your messages to the specific needs of each contact at their precise moment in the buyer’s journey, you’re more likely to earn their business, foster long-term engagement, drive purchases and keep them coming back for more.