Your customers are at the heart of your business, and knowing what they want is the first step in creating a customer-centric brand. This requires you to have a thorough understanding of your customers’ journey, which is vital for sending them the right message at the right time, elevating their experience, and also forging loyal brand relationships.
Whether it is product design, marketing, or customer service, mapping your customer journey and aligning it with your goals can help create a seamless experience that’s bound to exceed user expectations and act as a critical business differentiator.
- Customer Journey Mapping and Email Marketing
- Leveling Up Your Email Campaigns With Customer Journey Mapping
- Nurturing Customer Relationships For Sustained Growth
Customer Journey Mapping and Email Marketing
Emails are one of the most versatile marketing tools that businesses rely upon. However, as a customer, you don’t want to be bombarded with emails about products you are not interested in or receive the same offers every day that you are not likely to act upon. That’s why it’s important to match your messaging with your customers’ journey to improve your marketing campaigns’ success rate.
By understanding the stage at which a customer is presently on their journey with your brand, you can increase the chances of sending them the right message at the right time. But what does the term ‘customer journey’ mean for your business?
Typically, customers’ journey can be explained as the sum of their complete experience with an organization. It encompasses all customer interactions across all touchpoints and devices at every stage of the lifecycle, starting from brand awareness to loyalty.
Broadly, we can divide the customer journey into the following steps:
This is the first step in the customer journey when potential customers begin researching your brand and other brands to find a possible solution to their problem.
This is the second step – also known as information gathering – wherein a customer reaches out to you to discuss your product and gain information that they couldn’t find through their research. This may include product demos, customization requests, and specific questions about how your product or service can solve their problem.
Take the example of an e-commerce site where a user adds a product to their cart but abandons it for some reason. In marketing terms, the user is at the consideration stage, and sending automated abandoned cart emails can prove useful in bringing back the customer to this stage and move to the next step, that is, purchase. You may even include user reviews in abandoned cart emails to help users decide at this stage.
This is the next step after consideration when a user finally makes the payment and buys your product or service. However, this is not the final stage of your customer journey but only a part of it. The reason is that it takes much more time and effort to acquire a new customer as compared to retaining existing customers. So, as a marketer, your aim is not just to sell your product but also nudge customers along their journey with your brand through retention and re-engagement strategies. Some messaging ideas at this stage include:
- Sending a thank-you email with order details at the time of placing the order
- Regular email notifications regarding the order status
- Product follow-up emails
- Coupons and offers based on browsing history
- Personalized emails with product recommendations
4. Retention and Re-engagement
You cannot grow without your customers, which is why customer retention is an essential step in your customers’ journey. In general, customers want to be treated like humans. Doing small things like acknowledging birthdays and anniversaries, seeking regular feedback, offering sneak-peeks into new products, etc., can make customers feel special and increase their loyalty towards your brand.
Another aspect of retention is re-engagement, triggered by customer inactivity. So, even if a customer hasn’t interacted with your brand for several months, sending out an email on their birthday or sending across some special offers can re-ignite the relation between an unengaged customer and your brand.
As you can see, each step in your customers’ journey can be mapped to specific actions to nudge users into taking the desired actions by your brand. Thus, even before you plan an email marketing campaign, it is essential to map your customers’ journey across every stage, touchpoint, and device. This will help you pinpoint the challenges and roadblocks and create targeted email campaigns to overcome these challenges.
Leveling Up Your Email Campaigns With Customer Journey Mapping
Visualizing your customers’ journey or building a customer journey map becomes exceptionally easy with analytical data. For example, your website’s analytics will tell you who your customers are, how much time they spent on a particular page, and at what stage did they leave your site. Besides, you can also use social media to gauge customer feelings and intent. Most users share both positive and negative experiences on Facebook, and you can rely on a tool like Hootsuite for social media hearing to keep a tab on what people are thinking and talking about your brand.
It is also a good idea to ask users for regular feedback and judge their overall experience. Once you have collected this data, you can use it to segment your audience and evaluate their current stage of interaction with your brand to send them targeted messages that increase the chances of conversion. Here are some tips to maximize the results of your email campaigns with customer journey mapping.
1. List Your Journey Mapping Goals
You will never take a train without knowing your destination. Similarly, there’s no point in customer journey mapping without setting clear business objectives.
What is the purpose of your customer journey map? Do you want to increase sales? Do you want to convert more customers? Do you want to generate more leads? Or all of the above? In any case, make sure you select your goal before you start mapping to create a seamless marketing strategy for your business.
Once this is done, the second step is to define your user personas and postulate what each persona or group expects from your product or service. Different user segments likely have different expectations from your brand, which will help you curate emails that match their goals.
2. Make Use of Customer Interactions for Planning Email Campaigns
You cannot provide a solution unless you know of the problem. Similarly, your email campaigns cannot help your customers unless you know their pain points and create messages to address those pain points. Take the example of your customer support team. In all probability, you have live chat software in place to engage your customers in real-time.
Such software also provides chat transcripts and links with your CRM to expand your repository of client information. Besides using this data for personalized marketing and product improvisation, you can dig through chat records to find common pain points or challenges and build email campaigns around them.
Say you have a software product that aids in project management. Of late, you are noticing that several customers have inquired about a particular feature in this software that they might find exciting or too complicated to understand. Perhaps you can build a series of emails to help interest users understand this aspect better while offering them free demos and special offers to sign up for your product?
You may also use past chats and interactions to ideate new blog topics for your website, find success stories and case studies, and also identify opportunities for upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.
3. Identify Email-Related User Touchpoints
User segmentation is the first step for any successful email marketing strategy. However, you also need to identify user touchpoints to determine the right time for connecting with the various user personas. This will include all the ways in which users interact with your brand, through sign-ups, information forms, landing pages, newsletters, surveys, and anything that you send to them via email.
Once you have completed this step, it is time to pen down what your customers expect from each of these touchpoints and the issues they potentially face while interacting with your email-based communications.
For starters, it is essential to understand why users interact with your email program.
Are they genuinely interested in your brand, simply following up, or too lazy to unsubscribe?
You can perhaps judge this from the actions users take after receiving your emails. So, if a user regularly opens your emails and acts on them, he or she is probably interested in your product.
On the other hand, if a user never opens your emails, you should probably send them a re-engagement email and remove them from your mailing list if they don’t show any interest eventually.
At this point, you may feel that your customers aren’t interacting with your emails the way you’d want them to. If yes, you need to delve deeper and figure out the obstacles preventing these interactions from going as envisaged.
Suppose that you regularly send out surveys to users via email, but the completion rate is low. In that case, it is possible that the surveys that you send out are exceptionally long, or users are required to fill out some information that they don’t want to share.
Other reasons for low engagement include lengthy emails, impersonal subject lines, lack of CTA, and inaccurate messaging, which can be easily eliminated once identified.
Nurturing Customer Relationships For Sustained Growth
For most marketers, converting site visitors into loyal customers is a lofty goal.
Fortunately, customer journey mapping makes it easier to achieve this goal by enabling you to map your marketing assets to the various stages in your customers’ journey for the best results.
As always, customer data is your best friend while developing a customer journey map.
However, it is also essential not to forget the human element. Therefore, it is necessary to take inputs from customer interactions and surveys in addition to data and automation to create robust marketing assets with sensible email messages that click.
Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works at Acquire and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write on tech and marketing. He is a frequent contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.