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We’ve been told time and time again that consumers are time poor, impatient and unforgiving. They have high expectations: personalisation, relevancy, a good experience, intolerant to mass-marketing and aggressive selling. But do we really know how our audience would like to be communicated to?

One thing you can count on: people that have taken the step to purchase from you are more likely to trust and engage with your brand if you continue communicating to them, and nurturing them. This can help you turn them from first-time customers to loyal customers, and eventually advocates of your brand.

So how do you nurture a relationship to that point? It may not surprise you to find that email automation is the perfect tool for that.

3 days after ordering one of your bestsellers, something else might be of interest

Lifecycle emails have a reputation for bringing great results. Just look at Harrod Horticultural who achieved a 47% click-to-sale rate. Or Mango Bikes who got a 2337% ROI from their anniversary email. And at the core of that is the perfect timing, a great message and an action that triggered it.

Automation Program Builder: the easy way to create retention lifecycle programs

We’ve just introduced a new feature called Automation Program Builder which will make it quicker and easier for you to create, monitor and gain insight into your marketing automation programs.

You can drag and drop the different stages of your program: campaigns, timing, filters based on actual reader actions and data management options. You can build simple programs within minutes, or use its advanced capabilities for complex targeted communications.

The feature is available right away, so make sure you get your demo now. If you’re a client just contact your Account Manager to turn it on for you.

Where do you start with retention lifecycle programs?

This will vary depending on the focus of your business, your resources and marketing technology capabilities, but here are three ideas to get you started.

Thanks and nice to have you on board

Well, you start at the beginning of the relationship. As soon as someone has purchased one of your products, send them a confirmation email right away to keep them informed. This will help you establish trust in those initial stages of interaction with your brand.

Welcome, let’s make the most of it

Then, nurture that relationship by taking new customers through a welcome series. This is what it could look like:

  1. New customer list
  2. Send Email 1: Making the most of your recent purchase
  3. Wait 4 days
  4. Send Email 2: Let’s get to know each other (an introduction to your values and the story behind your brand)
  5. Wait 5 days
  6. Send Email 3: Tell us more about yourself and get x% off your next order (include a link to a preference centre)
  7. Filter:

7.a. If preference centre options are submitted

  1. Send Email 4: Here’s your 15% off code
  2. Remove from welcome program

7.b. If preference centre options are not submitted

  1. Remove from welcome program

You’re a VIP, here’s a treat from us

Offering a loyalty discount or treat will make customers feel not valued and appreciated for their investment in your brand. Try this:

1. Loyal customer list (made x purchases in 6 months/spent y amount of money)
2. Send Email 1: A treat to say thanks
3. Filter:

3.a. They’ve used the treat and converted again

  1. Send thank you email
  2. Add to ‘Loyal customers 2.0’ list
  3. Remove from this program

3.b. They haven’t used the treat

  1. Send reminder email with time limit
  2. Filter:
  1. Send thank you email
  2. Add to ‘Loyal customers 2.0’ list
  3. Remove from this program
  1. Remove from this program
  2. Add to ‘Loyal customers engagement’ program

Do you want to turn first-time customers into loyal customers, and advocates? Make sure you don’t send  them one-size-fits-all emails, and instead focus on relevant, timed, behaviour-based automated programs at different stages in their customer lifecycle.