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March 22, 2022

How do email marketing flows fit into your customer’s journey?

As an eCommerce owner or as a marketer, you are familiar with the term “customer lifecycle” and how important it is for your brand. This term describes the different stages a consumer goes through before their first purchase, after their first purchase, and before they end their relationship with your brand. What do email marketing flows have to do with your customer’s lifecycle? Well, flows are the most basic infrastructure you should set up when building your email strategy because they will help you set up a system that covers the full life cycle of a customer, targeting them with relevant information for the phase they are on.

Whether you do them with your in-house team or with the help of an eCommerce email marketing agency, you should invest some time and resources to get your flows to fit your customer’s lifecycle.

For each customer lifecycle phase, there’s a flow that will allow you to help your leads or customers go into the next stage in their relationship with your brand. This is because your subscribers will receive relevant emails for their journey. Irrelevant emails are just one of the reasons why your emails can go to spam, so you need to keep in mind that the more relevant the content – the more likely they are to positively engage with your emails and avoid negative interactions like unsubscribing or marking your emails as spam.

There are four stages of the customer lifecycle that are relevant for email marketing.

  1. Pre-Purchase
  2. Post-Purchase
  3. Declining Subscribers & Churning Customers
  4. Gone

Let’s go through each stage and the most important flows your eCommerce needs to set up for them.

1. Pre-Purchase

All the leads that are on your email list that haven’t bought from you yet, are in the pre-purchase phase. BUT, don’t forget all your existing customers are in this phase too, this is because the cycle can repeat in each customer’s life. So in this phase, you will focus on converting new customers or on getting repeat purchases from your existing customers. Things like reviews, social proof, and your unique selling points are recurrent messages you should share with people in this phase.

The flows you need to set up for this stage are your Welcome Flow and all abandonment flows: browse abandonment, added to cart abandonment, and checkout abandonment.

2. Post-Purchase

This is the phase when you put even more effort into taking care of your customer. You need to:

  • Prevent buyer’s remorse and reassure them they made a great choice by purchasing from you
  • Keep them engaged with your brand. This is not the end of your relationship, but the first step into what could be a life-long commitment.
  • Reward their loyalty. Let them know how important they are for you and your brand with special content or incentives.

That’s how you can establish a strong foundation for your relationship and get your customer to become organic brand ambassadors. A friend’s or family member’s recommendation will always be the most effective mouth-to-mouth marketing.

For this stage, you need to set up a Post-Purchase flow, but you can also build Cross-sell/Up-sell flows or VIP flows for repeat buyers.

3. Declining subscribers & Churning customers

If you have people on your list that have purchased from you in the past but not recently; or people that used to engaged with your emails but lately have gone cold, then you have some win-back and re-engagement opportunities that you need to take care of.

To know which are those opportunities exactly, you need to understand the general behavior of your list. After how long can you say it’s weird your list hasn’t opened or clicked your emails? That will depend on the frequency of your campaigns. On the other hand, when can you say your customers are at churning risk? Churn is a term that describes the percentage in which customers stop buying from a brand within a given time period. This timeframe will depend on the industry you are in and the product you are offering.

So, to re-engage those profiles that are losing interest or those customers that haven’t purchased from you in a long time, you need to set up a re-engagement flow and a win-back flow respectively. The content there needs to be super attractive and you can even offer some incentives.

4. Gone

There’s a point in the customer’s lifecycle where the chances of re-engaging uninterested customers or subscribers are really small. This is when they have gone through the re-engagement and win-back flows but we haven’t been able to re-ignite their interest in our brand. This is something that inevitably will happen with a considerable portion of your list. You can choose to let them go already and delete them from your list. Or you can make a last effort with a sunset flow. It should be triggered after your win-back and re-engagement flows. Add a couple of emails that prompt customers to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested in receiving emails from you. If they don’t show interest, you can know for sure there’s no point in keep emailing them, so you should erase them from your list to avoid your deliverability being harmed by this inactive profiles or having high spam rate because you are emailing people that are not interested.

Flows are really important for your business to be a constant presence in the lifecycle of your customers, so before setting them up, you need to make sure that you have the resources and the knowledge in-house to set up winner flows. And, if not, you should consider getting the help of an eCommerce email marketing agency with the experience necessary to create relevant flows for each lifecycle stage.

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