What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is the journey that a customer takes from first encountering your brand through to each interaction that they have with it. A customer journey can take place online and offline, with overlap between offline touchpoints (venues, stores etc), and online touchpoints (email, social, website etc). An example might be a customer landing on your website, signing up to your newsletter, receiving emails from you and using an offer contained within one of those emails to make a purchase in store. Or a customer might have an unpleasant interaction with a member of staff in store and leave a bad review on your Facebook page.
Your job as a marketer is to ensure that at each of these touchpoints your brand is positively represented to the customer – encouraging them to interact and go further along the journey until they reach the point of taking action in line with your strategic goals.
Using email marketing to push customers further along the customer journey
Emails are a great way to connect with your customers. If you are sending an email to a customer, then the customer should have already interacted with your brand and shown interest in your product or service. They trust you enough to submit their email address, and may have ticked a checkbox to sign up to receive offers/newsletters from you. If you want to push customers further along the customer journey to the stage where they take action, sending a series of strategic emails can help you to achieve this.
Here are three emails that you should be sending if you want to push customers further along the customer journey:
- The first stage of the email customer journey should be a welcome email. This should welcome and thank the customer for signing up to your service or for purchasing your product. It should lay out what the customer might expect from you in the future, and if relevant, state firmly that you will not pass on their information to any third parties. In essence, you want to ensure that the welcome email builds trust with the customer. A welcome email can also be used to show any current offers you have or to offer an incentive for further purchases in the form of a discount code.
- If you have data on the customer’s birthday, sending a birthday email with a unique offer/discount code is a great way to build customer loyalty. If you are selling a product or service that the customer might want to purchase/book in advance of their birthday, it is best to schedule birthday email broadcasts to go out before their birthday so that they have plenty of time to purchase/book.
- Retention or re-activation emails are essential to retain customers who might have forgotten or not interacted with your brand in a while. Retention emails can also be used as an opportunity to push the customer further along the journey: an exclusive offer or discount code can be used to encourage customers to re-engage with your brand. You should focus on the language used in your re-activation email: if a customer has not engaged for a period of time, then they may do you more damage than good in trying to re-engage.
Email customer journey best practices
Having a customer’s email address is a valuable piece of data that can be used to maximise sales across the whole of a customer lifetime. This is why it is so important to get it right. You should think about the design and user experience (UX) of the emails that you are sending: are they responsive (display across all different sized devices) and easy to use? Is the information displayed clearly with easy to read text and appropriate use of colours? The customer should be directed to a call to action and find it easy to transition from email to website/application/venue.
Email marketing is about more than short-term sales opportunities: it is about fostering a long-term relationship with a customer where the customer feels recognised and rewarded on a regular basis with frequent updates, news, and offers.
Airship provides personalised marketing through our CRM and email marketing tool, which allows you to segment customer data and automatically populate email templates with personalised content. Find out how we can help you to get the most out of your email marketing strategy.