The value of mapping your customer's email marketing journey

Grace Miller

We live in the age of data. The internet is full of jokes about the FBI guy who lives in our phones and everyone’s had that moment where the perfect ad shows up right after talking about a business with a friend.

But what does all this influx of data and specifically the customers’ awareness of it mean for email marketers?

It means consumers expect you to collect their data and use it well. Read: they expect companies to use their data to their own advantage. Research shows relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than generic sales emails.

This makes a lot of sense. For email marketers, this translates into subscribers having less patience for irrelevant emails. Gone are the days when the word spam was synonymous with scam; these days, a person is likely to report an email as spam if they deem it irrelevant to their interests and needs.

Sending individual emails to every. single. subscriber. is way too much work for you and your team. Instead, you should be automating customer journeys in order to make the most of your time. This way, once a subscriber has performed a certain action, they’ll receive an email directing them toward next steps automatically, allowing you to set up your customer journey once and know that it’ll be sent to everyone.

You’ll save a ton of time and still give consumers the personalized responses they want and reward, bringing in more revenue and creating lifetime value. In fact, automated emails get 152% higher click rates than broadcast emails. The point of automation and specifically automating your customer journeys is catching your customer at the right time.

Mapping your customer journeys

The best way to make sure your customer journey delivers is through mapping. Mapping just means you break down your customer’s experience step by step. Creating this map can help you see where you can improve this experience and where you might have gaps in your email marketing. If you can sense these gaps, you’ll be able to anticipate your customer’s frustrations, address them, and ultimately increase revenue as 86% of buyers claim they are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

The steps you need to take to set up any and all customer journeys are the same, regardless of their ultimate result: set your goal, collect the data you need through your CRM software, define triggers and rules, define content and offers, and finally, send your campaign out into the world via your ESP.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got ideas and inspiration covered. Here are 5 customer journeys you should be sending today:

1. Welcome customer journey

A welcome email or series of email is a great way to welcome any new subscribers to your list. According to MarketingSherpa, 50% of welcome emails get opened.

To put that into perspective, that makes them 86% more effective than the average newsletter. Thus, when a person first joins your list of subscribers, they are more likely to engage with your brand; this is because your still new, their excitement is at its height, and your brand is top of mind.

So take advantage of your momentum by immediately sending a welcome email or series of emails that tell them what to expect as part of your community and highlights the value your emails bring to their inbox. Remember, customers want to know what’s in it for themselves, as they should be.

There are several tactics you can use in your welcome email to showcase your value. A few of these are:

  1. Offer a special discount to convert your subscriber into a paying customer as soon as you can.

  2. Alleviate concerns and ease people into your product, your service, or your community by linking to an FAQ or including the contact information for support staff.

  3. Provide instructions for taking their next steps.

  4. Direct new subscribers to your highest-performing content.

  5. Include a message from your CEO or other visible employees.

  6. Tell your brand story.

However you decide to use your welcome or welcome series, be sure that your emails remain actionable. You want to take advantage of your new subscriber’s excitement and utilize the opportunity to start building a relationship with them from day 1.

Ellevest includes this handy “what’s next” to take the stress out of investing, keeping customers happy and stress-free:

Source: Really Good Emails

 

2. Reminder customer journey

A customer journey can be triggered by more than just a subscriber’s behavior, though. You can also trigger customer journeys by dates, such as reminder emails.

Reminder emails are a great way to reach out to existing customers and keep them coming back for more, increasing engagement and keeping your brand top of mind. And marketers know that staying in touch gets results: 53% of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.

The date you select as a trigger will depend on the action you want your subscriber to take. For instance, scheduling a follow-up or asking for feedback will need to happen quickly, so the experience is still fresh in your customer’s memory while you’ll want to schedule a reminder (or multiple reminders!) about an event farther in advance.

A reminder to RSVP might be scheduled a month in advance and directions or parking information will be most effective a day or two before the event. You can design and schedule these emails when you first design the email campaign, ensuring that you don’t leave a reminder to the last minute or, even worse, forget completely.

The CSSConference sent this follow-up with a link to relevant data soon after the event ended to ensure subscribers would be most engaged with the content:

 

What’s most important in a reminder is that you feature the call to action as the primary focus of the email. Including a link to blog content is a great way to increase engagement when you know your subscribers are most likely to open an email that contains parking information, but you don’t want the extra info to interfere with the CTA.  

3. VIP customer journey

Another customer journey that can bring in revenue and encourage engagement with your brand is the VIP journey. When you have customers show special interest and loyalty to your brand, reward them!

After all, these are the people who already spending money with your company and everyone knows that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Don’t believe me? Research shows it costs 5x as much to earn a new customer than to retain an existing customer, so don’t neglect the fanbase you already have.

Trigger a VIP journey whenever a customer spends a certain amount at your store or performs a specific action multiple times, whatever makes the most sense for you and your brand.

A VIP journey can give your customers and subscribers special access to sales or events by emailing them unique promo codes, sneak peeks at upcoming merchandise, behind the scenes footage, or even by giving them first dibs for a special event.

While still including a clear CTA that encourages subscribers to download the new album, Award-winning musician Flume rewards subscribers who have been on his list the longest by telling them about an event before anyone else:

 

Your biggest fans are one of your greatest resources. They’re already excited about your brand and have proven that by coming back time and again. They’re also more likely to tell their friends about you, whether by sharing on social media, forwarding emails, or simply word of mouth. Keeping them happy will pay off big in lifetime value and retention.

 

4. Re-engagement customer journey

Speaking of previous customers, another great resource you already have access to is the people who signed up for your emails once upon a time, but have stopped responding in recent months.

These people were once excited enough about your brand to sign up for your emails. Though they might have forgotten about you or shifted their priorities, you obviously connected with them once—you can do it again.

Losing existing customers is costly. An increase in customer retention by a measly 5% can increase a company’s profitability by a whopping 75%, according to Bain & Co.

This brand opens its re-engagement email with a friendly message consistent with the brand voice:

Source: Really Good Emails

By triggering a re-engagement customer journey that consists of one email or a series of emails, you remind these inactive subscribers why they invested in you in the first place.

Consider triggering a re-engagement email once a subscriber has gone 12 months without opening an email and including an incentive to come back, like offering a special, one-time promo code. Another great example of a re-engagement email is sending an abandoned cart reminder to the almost 70% of customers who leave websites without purchasing the products in their basket.

A re-engagement email focusing on the scarcity of the product or a special deal can recover some of that lost revenue.

 

5. Life-cycle nurturing customer journey

Customer journeys, and all email marketing, for that matter, aren’t just about bringing in revenue today. Most companies also want to build brand loyalty, retain customers with lifetime value, increase engagement and awareness, as well as drive revenue.

Studies show that most consumers do 60-70% of their research online before talking to a salesperson about a purchase, so it’s easy to see how many of the people who come across your website aren’t necessarily ready to buy in the moment. These prospects are exploring the landscape, checking what brands offer the product they’re looking for, evaluating the amount of money they need to save and then spend.

That’s why it’s imperative to build relationships with these subscribers and continue to build trust in your brand to tap into this revenue in the future. When they do buy, studies show these prospects buy big: nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.

Creating an automated customer journey that delivers your best content and builds rapport between you and the prospect will pay off huge dividends in the long run.

 

Wrap up

Only you know what you have to offer your customers. By keeping an eye on your metrics, you can adapt your campaigns so that both you and your customers are getting the most out of your email marketing campaigns. However you decide to use automation, just be sure you’re using it: according to research, automation workflows have up to 309% higher opens and 455% better click rates than bulk newsletter campaigns.

 
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