Email plays a role in every organization. It could be the lifeblood, driving revenue with every email sent. It could be the best way to retain customers or deliver loyalty rewards. Whatever its purpose, the owner of the channel should be thinking about how to improve it.
Our inboxes are filled with vendors who promise to turn customer emails into amazing engagements, and the latest trends are evident in every email we open from our favorite brands. Subject lines filled with emojis and tiny images; gif images that never stop playing; videos that may or may not play in the email; carousels of content; site navigation; surveys within emails; countdown timers; the list is endless. What is most interesting is that many of these same marketers trying to be a “cool kid” are missing some basic elements that I would consider requirements.
So first let’s cover what this playbook is not:
This is what this playbook is:
Mapping Customer Type to Email Content
|Type of Customer||Email #1||Email #2||Email #3|
|New to Brand||Genuine Welcome to the product, brand, or service. A little background on the company “How to” resources relating to recent product purchased or service provided, if opt-in occurs through checkout.||“Did you know” information related to product/ service. What to expect in coming months (from emails)||Request for product review (email should be sent 1 month from purchase); request to join social channels; Light cross-sell|
|New to Email- General Opt- in, Current Customer||Welcome to email list and glad you want to hear from us, recognize current customer status.||“Did you know” information related to products/services. What to expect in coming months (from emails)||Request to join social channels; light cross-sell|
|New Product, Current Customer||Product/Service Thanks for purchase, recognize current customer status. “How to” relating to recent product purchased or serviceprovided, if opt-in occurs through checkout.||“Did you know” information related to product/ service. What to expect in coming months (from emails)||Request for product review (email should be sent 1 month from purchase); request to join social channels; Light cross-sell|
|High Value Customer, New Product||Product/Service, Thanks for purchase, recognize valuable customer status by offering accessory discount or special gift. “How to” relating to product/service, including premium customer support options for help.||“Did you know” information related to product/service. What to expect in coming months (from emails).||Request to join on social channels; light cross- sell. Request for product review or company review.|
|Previous (no purchase in X years) Customer, New Product||Product/Service. Thanks for purchase, recognize previous relationship with brand (with product if possible). Offer accessory discount (less than valuable customer). “How to” relating to product/service||“Did you know” information related to product/service. What to expect in coming months (from emails).||Request to join on social channels. No product or company review; offer light cross-sell to related items if available|
Leveraging the Customer Journey
Triggers and much of email marketing revolves around your customer’s journey. That’s a phrase that is being used quite a bit these days, and if you have taken the steps to understand everything that your customers do (typically a significant scope of work), you may have an outline to follow. But if you have not made the investment, you can still put on your customer’s shoes and outline it to your best ability, and then ask a few customers to tell you how they make decisions to buy your product. See if it fits in with what you believe. You must start somewhere!
The best rule of thumb is to consider the tipping point in each step of the way, from awareness through to a loyal customer. What happens along these steps that is a reasonably good sign someone will continue, and can we track it? Sometimes we get hung up on tracking, meaning is it a digital moment? But offline data can trigger a message just as surely as an online action.
Once we have identified the moment and how we will know it happened, we can plan out how to respond. The message could be semi-transparent; we think you might be interested in our product based on your recent Website visit. Or it could be a little less obvious; Check out our product that can help you do X and Y. We don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable, particularly in B2C. I think that most B2B buyers are aware of how their activities are being tracked and would not find it weird or scary that you knew the information. In either case, we don’t want people to avoid the Website, thinking that it might result in potentially unwanted attention.
As far as offline data triggers, purchase data can unlock some consistent trends that could result in triggers. For example, if a consumer is buying outfits for their kids but never buys socks, a trigger could be put into place to show them your sock collections, even matching outfits they have purchased. The same could be done for matching jewelry or shoes for an outfit; acknowledging the great purchase they made and offering additional pieces to complete the look.
Triggers are usually single emails that drive the user back to their Web session or continue an engagement that is already started (online or offline.) The expectation of timing might be different based on the trigger. A dropped cart, for example, should not be immediate. Waiting 12 to 24 hours is advisable, but testing will determine the right timeframe for you.
A form that is not complete might need something timelier. One important part is to make sure you can link the user directly back to their session; avoid user frustration by taking them back to a blank form
How Much Do You Want Them?
A subscriber is just a receiver of email to many brands. The marketing team may be judged on the number of people in the list, and depending on what you are sending out, you may not be as focused on the ROI of your emails. But if a subscriber is a customer, and you are concerned about losing them to the competition, then you need an additional data layer applied. This is particularly relevant if you are planning to use offers to entice them back.
You may want to create a model, that will help you determine the right enticement based on their purchase or activity history. You will need to determine your own customer values, of course, based on your average order or sales size. The example below is made up and shows some examples of some actions that you can take. You may want to adjust the timings and the activities. Once you implement a model like this, it will be critical to carefully monitor and track to see which offers and treatments are performing the best.
You may want to include considerations for length of time as customer, member of rewards programs, geographical implications (that might impact purchasing) and their purchasing behavior (are they frequent purchasers, one-time purchasers, only purchase at holidays, etc.)
|1 Year CV *>$100||1 Year CV $101-$500||1 Year CV <$500|
|1 Month, No opens||No offer, Reminder||Offer 15%||Offer 20%|
|2 Months, No opens||No offer, Reminder||Offer 20%||Free gift w/ purchase|
|3 Months, No opens||Offer 10%||Offer 25%||Offer 20%, free gift w/ purchase|
|After 3 months no Opens||Move to broadcast general list, once/month||Send email to update preferences, re- confirm opt-in||Send email to update preferences, re- confirm opt-in|