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A Simplified Approach to Lifecycle E-mail Marketing

January 2007 By Bill Nussey
Despite JupiterResearch data indicating well-executed lifecycle e-mail marketing campaigns can generate results as much as nine times greater than other types of e-mail campaigns, few e-mail marketers take advantage of this customer-oriented strategy. Developing a lifecycle e-mail marketing program needn’t be complicated. A simple approach is to start by separating your e-mail list into the following three distinct groups:

Interested Prospects—recipients who have expressed some desire for communication.
Engaged Customers—recipients who actively are involved with the brand and expect to receive communications and, potentially, promotions from you.
Lapsed Customers—recipients who have stopped opening and clicking your e-mails, or who no longer make purchases.

Understanding the mindset and needs of each of these three groups and acting on them with tailored campaigns can strengthen your return on investment dramatically. The first step is to establish unique goals that align with the customers’ mindsets for each lifecycle stage. For example, goals for interested prospects might include opt-in to receive regular messages from you, visit your Web site, make an online purchase or visit a retail location.

Goals for engaged customers can include maintaining or increasing purchase levels, strengthening loyalty, encouraging recommendations to friends and the delivery of efficient customer service.

For lapsed customers, appropriate goals would include gaining an understanding of their concerns, attempting to re-engage them with the brand, and preventing them from switching allegiance to another company.

By approaching your list in these fairly straightforward segments, you can create specific campaigns that target each group more effectively and with better results than if you communicated to them all with the same messages.

Campaign elements appropriate for interested recipients might include:
• welcome messages;
• educational campaigns;
• lead-warming activities; or
• promotions for first purchase.

Messaging elements to engaged customers can encompass:
• renewal notices;
• shopping cart abandon notices;
• service alerts;
• receipts;
• reminders of upcoming events;
• special promotions for top customers; and
• targeting based on Web site page visits.

Tactics to re-engage lapsed customers should include:
• sending surveys to identify reasons for lack of engagement;
• offering incentives to re-visit the Web site; and
• delivering promotions to encourage purchases.

The point is to begin the effort. The more you deliver relevant, targeted messages to prospects and customers, the better your results will be.

Bill Nussey is president and CEO of Silverpop, a permission-based e-mail marketing solutions, strategy and services provider with offices throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. He can be reached at (678) 247-0500.
 

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