One of the biggest stumbling points for brands that are trying to make a splash with a target audience is assuming that content and email offerings only need to come in one flavor or style. The truth of the matter is that this misconception couldn’t be farther from reality. Email marketing – at its core – is a relationship that grows and evolves over time, so naturally your content and approach should do the same. To help catch you up to speed with the different phases of the shared consumer-brand lifecycle, let’s spend some take going step by step through these events.
The Early Lifecycle Steps
As Marketing Land’s Jordan Elkind explains, lifecycle email marketing starts out with welcoming new contact list members to the fold and providing them with the info they need to start interacting with your brand. Whether you deploy inbox greetings or finish off an online sign-up with a “thank you” page, making a good first impression gets the process going. From here, turning these members into customers comes next.
Often, your audience will diverge into two different segments or groups at this point. The first group covers those who go on to purchase a product or service, while the second consists of cart abandoners and others who simply come up short before committing to a sale.
Developing into the Middle Stages
While most talking heads might suggest that there’s not much going on in the “maintenance” or middle phases of the lifecycle approach, Elkind goes on to point out that these moments are teeming with potential for building a strong relationship with your brand’s audience. At the top of the list is transitioning one-time buyers into consistent customers.
From here, cross-selling and promoting related products and services, as well as offering loyalty rewards and acknowledging special events – think birthdays and holidays – comes next. In some cases, replenishment reminders and special promos on new products can also enter the picture. The big thing to keep in mind here is that the early steps of lifecycle email marketing are all about laying the foundation for a relationship, while the middle phases focus on the maturation of this connection.
Understanding the Later Phases
In terms of understanding the later phases of this lifecycle, you can boil the underlying concepts down to a singular idea – don’t let this relationship end, if at all possible. Instead of looking at these stages as the beginning of the end, think about how your brand can reignite the interest of these customers who are starting to drift away. Known as “win-backs,” these activities can cover anything from unique offers based on the longevity of the relationship to promotions aimed exclusively at snapping these inbox viewers out of inactivity and lethargy.
Ensuring You Always Match Your Content to the Appropriate Lifecycle Moment
So now that you’re well aware of the different phases of the lifecycle that dictates most email oriented brand-consumer relationships, it’s time to start talking about how to make the most out of these inbox opportunities. According to Zach Taiji of Social Media Today, it all starts with generating interest among your audience. By focusing on content that goes beyond simply financial motivations, your brand can keep excitement and engagement high – something that’s desirable on day one and anywhere beyond this point.
In a similar line of thought, there’s nothing wrong with utilizing the notion of a “burning platform.” Aside from providing a unique visual, this approach helps to keep your audience from falling into a funk and disregarding your email content. Essentially, if your most engaging content and enticing offers take on a time sensitive slant, then these viewers will be hard pressed to sit ideally by and let these opportunities slip away.
Finally, don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes. By keeping a keen eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) and other metrics, your brand can stay on top of the content optimization process. This way, with every click, open, and conversion logged on behalf of your email marketing campaign, you can ensure that the next customer entering into the lifecycle relationship has a better and more productive experience.
Naturally, there’s so much more that can go into enhancing your relationship with these shoppers over the course of a standard lifecycle. However, with a firm understanding of the unique phases that go into this overarching system – and a willingness to constantly optimize and evolve your approach – there’s nothing that can stop your brand from truly making a positive impact in the inbox with the people that matter most.