In our last contextual email marketing blog, we talked about how the acquisition phase of the customer lifecycle in email can benefit from contextual email content and real-time content personalization. We also mentioned the five different phases of a typical customer lifecycle in the email marketing world – acquisition, conversion, growth, retention, and reactivation. This post will focus on the second phase of the journey, the conversion phase.
Let’s assume from our last blog that we’ve got our acquisition campaigns running and the initial meet and greet via email has been accomplished. The potential customer has subscribed to a list, liked a Facebook page, and mentioned a product on social media. Now it’s time to transition the subscriber into a customer. The original welcome campaign suggested a few products, but a purchase has yet to take place.
This is a crucial point in the lifecycle to make decisions about potential on-boarding of customers. Unfortunately, too many companies pull out the generic weekly email template and begin sending deals – it sucks to watch. It’s cold, impersonal, has no context to the subscriber’s needs and typically just ends up being labeled as spam or gets unsubscribed. Many times a welcome email campaign is skipped altogether, and subscribers are added to the general marketing list immediately *shudders*.
But, back to the assumption that we have a welcome series going with real-time social media feeds, geo-location based offers, potentially some video, and the basic first name inclusion. So far the subscriber has not converted into a customer, but from the 2-3 emails we have sent out so far we know if they clicked, did not click, opened, did not open our emails, etc. These are the metrics we’ll use to develop the second stage’s logic of our email program.
Campaigns to Convert Newly Acquired Email Addresses
Using the newly acquired email address and analytics from the welcome campaign, making some decision trees should be relatively simple. The creative addition of contextual content in this step can make emails much more personal for the recipient, thus increasing engagement from the first acquisition step. Naturally, like a verbal conversation, names and details should be shared and used in context to improve the relationship. Liveclicker helps this process by delivering real-time content to the recipient as the email opens, using live identifiers as well as pre-known data to tighten the relationship between the buyer and seller.
Let’s use the segments we mentioned to create some theoretical campaigns to convert the subscriber into a customer. We will score them in levels of activity and create an email campaign for each response. Hopefully, we will create contextually relevant emails for each level of subscribers to engage. (These segmentation strategies can go as deep as you care to develop them, this one is a basic example)
- Opened, clicked, and purchased – C1
- Order confirmation email
- Shipping confirmation email
- Moved to growth and retention lifecycle phase(s)
- Opened and clicked, but did not purchase – C2
- Most engaged and highly active
- Needs reminder to purchase
- Potential for abandoned cart reminder, discounted offer for first purchase, or a membership offering for continual discounts
- Opened and did not click – C3
- Engaged, but not interested
- Needs encouragement to purchase
- Potential for product email with testimonials, product line email of all products, new product release emails
- Did not open – A3 (still in latter stage of acquisition phase)
- Unresponsive and uninterested, potentially a false subscription
- Needs encouragement to engage email
- Potential for subscription center email, community email with other channels to engage with, demotion to general newsletter/product release list.
In a perfect world, we would see every customer convert on the first email. It would be even better if the first email that went out is a transactional thank you message, but the strategy above is not uncommon for businesses using lifecycle email marketing. Now we need to match our segmentation strategy with our messaging. This junction is where we add value with contextual technology in the email template.
Contextual Email Content in Conversion Emails
- C1 – Contextual email ideas
- Add LiveTracking to shipping confirmation emails
- LiveMap local stores to encourage additional purchases
- C2 – Contextual email ideas
- Use an abandoned cart email with a LiveTimer and discount to retrieve sales
- Add a LiveWeather forecast email with climate-based product offerings
- Cart reminder email with membership subscription discount offered
- C3 – Contextual email ideas
- Use a LiveReveal discount offer to drive interactions from quiet subscribers
- Send email with LiveFeed of product catalog to excite clicks on all items
- Use a LivePoll in an email to get subscriber exit data before removing the address from the list
- A3 – Contextual email ideas
- Video email to unengaged subscribers with reasons to engage and link to email subscription center if available.
- Send email with LiveFeeds containing real-time social media content for cross-channel marketing and marketing retention efforts. The subscriber may engage more in a different channel – if they open.
- Use a countdown timer to show the amount of time before their email address moves to the general marketing list where they get periodical newsletters. If they engage with the email, they stay on the life cycle path in the conversion phase.
There are almost infinite amounts of applications for contextual email content; we hope these ideas will excite more creative applications as we get better at creating tighter conversations with potential customers using email as the medium. Just like in any other customer life cycle, confidently moving the subscriber from a place of discovery to purchase is key to consistent sales revenue. Real-time, contextual email content provides a new way of communicating with subscribers in the inbox, breaking down the static, flat marketing stereotype email has grown to be known to carry.
It’s time to take email personalization beyond first names and get better at delivering real-time content uniquely for every email subscriber. The inbox is far more capable than we give it credit for these days, it’s catching up to website-like interactivity. Don’t miss out on an easy chance to learn more about contextual marketing by contacting our team here at Liveclicker.