Email Marketing Tutorial – Article 1 In This Article… If you’re considering implementing an email marketing program but aren’t sure if it’s really worth the time or effort, this article explains how email marketing can turn your customers into more loyal customers who, in turn, are more profitable customers. In this article, Comm100 explains the customer lifecycle and what type of email to send at each point to get the most out of your customers and your email marketing program. The Customer Lifecycle and Email All customers have a lifecycle with your company or brand. They start when they become a customer, are active as they make a certain number of purchases or site visits, and then lapse or exit your brand. Email is a reliable, robust and cost effective way to both acquire new customers and also to make your existing customers repeat, loyal customers. Because even bulk email is easy to personalize, you can create messages that speak to customers’ exact needs at any point in the customer lifecycle. You can affordably contact and recruit new customers, and you can also continue to promote your company to customers after their initial purchase. Sending existing customers email reminders, special offers or even just information newsletters gives those customers a reason to return to your company or website and, ultimately, makes them more valuable to you. Sending the right email at the right point in a customer’s lifecycle is the key to activating, retaining and even winning back customers. Here’s what to send, and when! New Customers Leads: Big Offers, Big Brand Talk If you're using an email list to contact prospective customers, you need to remember that you are dealing with people who may not know your brand or your product. Cold leads are not inclined to purchase naturally, so you need to put a big offer in front of them! Emphasize your value proposition, but the nature of these emails needs to be a hard sell. Also remember that you may expect a small return from these emails. That means that it is equally important that even if the email doesn’t spur an immediate action, it establishes your brand in the user’s mind. Make the email content engaging and promote your brand visually and within the text. Then, the next time the user thinks of a product related to you, they will remember your email solicit. New Customers: Make Them Feel a Part of Something! You’ve got a customer! What’s the best way to make sure that customer keeps coming back? Make them feel like they’re special and part of a conversation with your company instead of just a nameless face in your customer database. Adding an automated email (with personalization if your database captures it) that generates after an initial sign-up or purchase is a great retention tool. The email should come from a key figure in your company (CEO, President, Founder) or a personalized customer service agent. The email should not only thank the customer for the purchase but also ask them for feedback, educate them about your company and give them clear directions on how to contact customer service for any of their needs. Active Customers: Newsletters and Weekly Specials Keep Them Paying Attention We all know that very few active customers will stay active customers forever. However, one way to extend the length of time during which they will stay active is to use email to give them both relevant information and incentives to continue purchasing. A simple weekly email that includes a quote of the week or fun fact and that week’s special goes miles to keeping customers engaged. The one thing Comm100 wouldn’t recommend is using your weekly email only to promote specials. Content such as articles and factoids will drive opens and readership even when a customer isn’t in a purchasing cycle and therefore increases customers’ engagement time with your brand. Short Term Lapsed Customers: A Little Push! Most places define “short term lapsed” customers as customers who haven’t taken an action in the last thirty days. This may vary for your product and purchasing cycle. The most important email that you can send is to identify these “just lapsed” customers and send them an offer right as they are hitting the short term lapsed threshold. At that point in their customer life cycle, customers will still have brand awareness and loyalty. It may take just a small offer from you to get them back into the purchasing cycle. Sending them an offer to respond to before they become further distanced from your company or brand will have the greatest impact on lengthening customer lifespan. Long Term Lapsed Customers: New Customer Leads All Over Again Don’t let that database of inactive customers go to waste! Many of those clients will have brand loyalty and existing reasons to return to purchasing from you. Comm100 suggests emailing your long term lapsed list once a quarter. Unfortunately, you’ll need to pull out the big offers again. These are customers who, for whatever reason, went away. You’re trying to convince them to come back. What’s the benefit? They’ll likely be less resistant than completely cold leads. Seasonal Customers: Remind Them That You Exist! If you market a seasonal product, you should send a cycle of emails to your lapsed clients leading up to their seasonal purchases. They’ll certainly be getting exposed to marketing messages from your competitors and may just need a friendly reminder from you that you’ve successfully met their seasonal needs before. Identifying these users in your database and communicating with them at the right time brings them back, and extends their value to you. Email marketing can be as simple as sending a weekly newsletter that summarizes what happened with your company that week, but it also has potential beyond that. Taking the time to identify customer patterns in your database and sending those customers the right message at the right time can increase your customers’ engagement and activity with you … and that will increase their revenue value! No matter where you are in identifying the points of your customers’ life cycles, the first key to successfully emailing to them is to choose an email sending partner that meets your needs. Comm100, who provided this complimentary tutorial on when and where to use email marketing, offers a completely free, hosted email and newsletter solution. It’s both a great long-term and short-term solution to getting your email marketing off the ground whether you’re just sending to your active buyers or going deeper into your customer database!