Beauty is not a trait in things done with haste.
What looks like a beautiful structure is a result of a series of bricks painstakingly placed together to create the magic. Moreover, once completed, the structure requires constant touch-up or maintenance to sustain the beauty for the long run. The same applies to email marketing world too. To create a lasting relationship with your leads, it is very important to get the basics right and constantly engage with them via emails designed according to only the very best of practices.
Such emails are not spur-of-the-moment communication but a well-constructed process that involves automated emails sent to different leads at a pre-set duration. This is possible when you have a fool-proof email series or an email lifecycle planned out. We shall help to prep your email lifecycle from scratch to become an ROI gaining machine.
Preparing the soil for your magical beans
Planning for an email lifecycle starts with understanding the different stages of your relation with leads & the specific emails sent in each stage. The types of emails in an email lifecycle differ with different industries (discussed in later part of the article) but overall stages can be divided into:
- Onboarding stage
- Lead Nurturing stage
- Sales / Promotional stage
- Transactional & Behavioral stage
It is not necessary the stages for you shall be as distinctive as the ones mentioned above. For some businesses, the stage mentioned above collaborative or even more diverse. So once your stages are identified next comes the timings, frequency (for lead nurturing emails) and determination of which stage your lead is at.
All the emails in the onboarding, transactional and behavioral stages are automated and need to be sent promptly from the time of trigger of a desired event – for optimal user engagement. So setting up a proper automation process shall help you with email send time.
Once the email types and send time are finalized, all the emails need to have a consistent design so that it’s easier for your leads to connect with your brand easier.
Planting the seed – Interacting with new leads
Personalization and Relevancy are two key elements in all emails and are crucial for retaining leads. However, for that, you need to know your leads well. The lead joining your mailing list is like the person you meet at a party.
Over a casual conversation, you try to learn their preferences, their views and this helps you create an image of the person. This helps you strike a better conversation with them on your next interaction. Similarly, emails in the onboarding stage should collect as much information to create a robust customer persona.
The types of emails to be set in the onboarding stage are:
- Personalized Welcome Emails
- Introduction to features or Getting Started / User Guide emails
- Complete your profile emails
- Activation or Service activation emails
- Content preference emails
Similar to the person you meet in the party, you need to have an informal (not humorous… yet) tone with your leads in these types of emails.
Watering the plant – conversion of lead into sales qualified lead
The customer persona prepared from your onboarding emails is not a final one. But it helps you to fulfill your leads’ thirst for knowledge by sending relevant information which helps them to convert into a sales qualified lead. In this stage, your leads tend to get awareness regarding your brand and in-depth knowledge of your services.
As stated in the previous analogy of conversing with someone at a party, this is where based on their choices and preference, you talk about yourself in order for making them comfortable and they know more about you.
The types of emails to be set in the lead stage are:
- New Feature or Product update emails
- New Blog Post emails
- Round Up emails
- Newsletter emails
Some more examples are listed in this article on automated emails.
A lead ‘subscribes’ to your emails to gain knowledge and hence the overall tone should be helping and courteous.
Witness the first leaf – setting up the sales prospects
Once the leads are aware of your brand and services, it’s time for converting your leads into customers. This progresses the relation to sales / promotional stage. The emails in this stage shall be more of announcements and promotion of a sale or a discount or a coupon that prompts the lead to make a purchase. At this stage, the leads receive the following emails along with the emails from the lead nurturing stage.
- Special Offer emails
- Holiday Offer emails
- Event or Sale announcement emails
- Event invitation emails
The tone of the emails should reflect joy or excitement that transfers into the leads, who become eager to be a part of your sales.
The first fruit – transactional and behavioral emails for customers
Woo hoo! Celebrations all around. Your leads make the first purchase out of the many more in future. They now are willing to be a part of the sales cycle and contribute in the overall ROI your campaigns generate. At this stage, as soon as the lead makes a purchase or triggers an event, either one of the following emails reaches their inbox.
- Order Receipt emails
- Shipping Confirmation emails
- Subscription Renewal emails
- Re-order suggestion emails
These emails can be 20% promotional while the 80% needs to be transactional in nature as per various international SPAM laws. The relation with your customers at this stage has escalated to a point where you can converse with them as a best pal i.e. a little amount of casualness shall help you bond better.
- Product Suggestion / Recommendation emails
- Cart Abandonment emails
- Apology emails
- Leave a review
- Customer Loyalty emails
- Birthday / Anniversary emails
- Re-engagement Cross-sell emails
- Social feeds / Testimonial emails
- Password Reset Emails
In the above emails, a hint of humor shall help drastically to re-engage with your emails. These emails are purely triggered in nature and need to be sent within a particular time duration.
A fruit-bearing tree
This is the final stage of the lifecycle but your work doesn’t cease at this point. Even though the email lifecycle is set-up for an email campaign but like any well-oiled machine you need to constantly update your emails. The updating may be design-wise, content-wise and even based on the trends to avoid saturation. Have you prepared an email lifecycle for past email campaigns? Start the conversation by sharing your views and experience in the comments below.