5 Ways to Enhance the Customer Journey
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5 Ways to Enhance the Customer Journey

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
08 October 2014

Today’s buyers are more connected than ever, interacting with brands on a variety of channels during all hours of the day. A unified, personalized marketing approach is necessary to ensure you’re creating the experience your buyers not only deserve, but that also will ultimately drive brand loyalty and marketing ROI. 

The customer’s journey, from behaviors before they've even opted in to your marketing messages, all the way through repeat purchases as a loyal buyer, is critical to not only initial marketing success, but also to generating long-term revenue from repeat customers. Below I highlight five critical stages in the customer journey and how you can leverage digital marketing technology to ensure you’re creating that awesome customer experience. 

1) Stage in the Customer Journey: Awareness
How You Can Enhance It: Welcome Program

You’ve successfully acquired a new contact who provides an email address because they're interested in learning more about what your company has to offer. What you do with this new contact information could make or break the beginning of your relationship!

Leverage your digital marketing technology to set up an automated welcome program. Provide details of what the new contact should expect from your digital marketing program. Consider making it a multi-part message series with each communication describing the value of engaging with your brand.

The welcome series is also a great way to encourage new subscribers to set preferences like frequency, types of messages they wish to receive and preferred device. Remember, the more information you're able to gather on your customers and prospective buyers, the more targeted you’ll be able to get in your marketing efforts!

2) Stage in the Customer Journey: Researching / Between Purchases
How You Can Enhance It: Nurture Program

Today’s sophisticated digital marketing technology gives marketers the ability to deploy advanced nurture programs, allowing marketing teams to build brand preference and loyalty both before an initial sale as well as in between repeat purchases.

A drip nurture, the simplest program to establish, typically automatically sends one email every week or two weeks. Every recipient receives the same message at the same time. Drip nurtures are a solid starting point and can be used to encourage prospective customers to buy or to maintain a relationship with existing clients.

Consider upping your game and employing tactics like data-driven nurtures (messages targeted based on collected information like location), persona-driven nurtures (messages targeted to a particular customer segment) or multichannel nurtures (programs that incorporate more channels than just email).   

3) Stage in the Customer Journey: Evaluating / Decision
How You Can Enhance It: Service-Oriented Browse and Cart Abandonment Programs

Cart abandonment programs are a classic case of extremely successful automated programs, but many retail and ecommerce organizations either haven't yet deployed these types of programs or are doing so at a modest level of sophistication. If you fall into this category, you’re leaving money on the table!

Automated cart abandonment programs allow marketers to monitor shopping carts that never turn into a confirmed order and automatically deploy a series of service-oriented, personalized reminder emails to consumers encouraging them to complete their purchase and offering to help with the process. Most of our clients have experienced great return on investment (ROI) from these automated messages -- some see a lift as high as 50 percent.

Browse abandonment programs are similar to, but not exactly like, shopping cart recovery. A message series triggers when a visitor leaves a website without completing a conversion goal that a marketer establishes. Since these contacts may not be as far along in the buying cycle, the goal of the program is to provide helpful information (buying guides, how-to videos) that educates visitors and encourages them to eventually come back to complete his or her purchase.

To get started, identify three to four key pages on the company website where you want people to place an order or that are indicative of strong interest. These could be pages that contain items that are popular sellers, or even a product that needs to be moved quickly. If a known visitor comes to the page but does not complete the goal, an automated email triggers, encouraging them to take the next step.

4) Stage in the Customer Journey: Repeat Customer
How You Can Enhance It: Top Customer Reward Program

Often, marketers don’t give their most loyal customers the love and attention they deserve. However, this is a huge opportunity for revenue! Consider implementing a program that rewards your most loyal customers to strengthen their brand loyalty even further.

One approach is to determine your best customers by reviewing the RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) of their purchases. Once you’ve established who those customers are, provide special offers that are exclusive to them. While a simple coupon code or discount is always a nice offer, consider providing things like early access to beta programs, VIP access at company events or access to premium content. These small touches will go a long way in ensuring your brand is always top of mind.

5) Stage in the Customer Journey: Dormant
How You Can Enhance It: Reactivation Program

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, customers fall off the radar. However, there are ways to re-engage them to turn them into brand advocates. Your first approach should be to leverage the behavioral data you have on them to send automated, triggered messages.

For example, send an email on a purchase anniversary or that’s geographically targeted. These are more likely to catch someone’s eye than a generic batch-and-blast marketing message. Or, try a special promo code or discount that’s delivered over a series of messages. If the customer never engages with the emails, consider suspending their name from marketing messages. Remember, it’s OK to keep your database clean and full of individuals who are excited to interact with your brand! 

While these are just a few of the automation techniques you can use to reach your customers and prospects, getting started with these programs will ensure you're staying in touch with them during important points in the customer journey. 

Related Resources:

1)      Blog: Using Marketing Automation to Work Smarter, Not Harder

2)      Blog: 5 Tips for Getting More out of Nurture Marketing

3)      White paper: 7 Tips for Generating Content for Automated Emails



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