In the world of digital outreach and marketing, the customer journey is the “road map” by which a brand understands and catalogs a consumer’s path to a conversion. From social media interaction and landing pages, to ad campaigns and in-app promotions, every starting point on the map seeks to culminate with a happy consumer making their way through your digital checkout.
Despite what some organizations might presume, email marketing is no exception to the rule. To ensure that you’re always getting the most out of your inbox operations in terms of its role in the customer journey, here’s a look at a few key tips and tactics for fully integrating email marketing into your branded customer journey.
Understand the “Inbox as a Research Tool” Mindset
As one of the initial phases or steps within this journey, your marketed inbox content serves as an entry point into the process for intrigued or engaged customers. Because of this fact, Ryan Johnson of Marketing Profs points out that these offerings need to serve as a wellspring of information.
The truth of the matter is that for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) customers alike, the inbox is moving more and more toward the status of being a fully-fledged research tool. This means that your content must go beyond the sales pitch and focus on educating and informing the viewer. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when these audience members abandon your customer journey before it ever truly begins.
Aim for an Early Response
Once a customer has signaled interest in taking the next step on this path toward a conversion, don’t be afraid to have a few automated responses ready to go as a way to nurture this lead. From triggered prompts to gated content, planning ahead can mean the difference between a satisfying customer journey and one that feels disjointed or stunted.
Going a step farther, having a steady stream of informative and value-laden emails is a powerful way to keep these consumers engaged and active. Incorporating calls-to-action (CTA) with each of these automated offerings also helps keep potential customers traveling further down the funnel.
Be Accommodating to Consumer Hesitancy
On the other hand, Business 2 Community’s Andrew Sheridan points out that it’s also a good idea to have a plan in place for the audience members who aren’t quite ready to take the big plunge just yet. The reality of the situation is that not every email-driven lead is fresh or new to your customer journey, so having something to offer to these viewers is essential to maximizing the impact of your inbox operations.
The big key here is that you want to keep this connection as low-pressure as possible. Contact list members who aren’t prepared to move forward don’t want to be battered with a constant deluge of pushy or overbearing messages, so keep things lighthearted and on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule. This way, when your target consumer is ready to take the next step, they’ll have an avenue to explore this option on their own time.
Get Personal as the Journey Continues
If – and when – this journey starts heading into its final stages, Sheridan notes that it’s beyond important to have this relationship transition away from automation and move toward a more personal experience. Specifically, this means having a member of your sales team or a brand representative reach out and forge a connection with this potential customer if possible.
The final stages of the customer journey (whether it originates from the inbox or another outreach channel) are undoubtedly the most tumultuous phases of the process for uncertain travelers. In particular, failing to impart advanced information and handle any concerns faced by these users as they pop up can lead to plenty of “cold feet” and second guesses from the leads that travel this far down the customer journey path. With this in mind, it makes plenty of sense to offer a guiding hand to those in need of more details and insight.
As you can see, getting the most out of email marketing as part of your customer journey isn’t easy. In fact, it’s safe to say that this strategy is one of the most difficult and daunting undertakings a brand can face down in its digital outreach operations. Fortunately, by leveraging all of the info complied here as part of your organization’s approach to this process, there’s no reason why you can’t make the inbox a vital – and effective – inclusion within your unique customer journey map.