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A Simplified Approach to Lifecycle Marketing

Despite the fact that JupiterResearch data indicates lifecycle email marketing campaigns generate as much as nine times greater results than other types, few email marketers are taking advantage of this customer-oriented strategy based on the idea of delivering the right message at the right time.

Many marketers are confused about where to begin and are concerned about the additional work required to implement this truly one-to-one strategy. But during a recent presentation to Atlanta-area marketers, Silverpop CEO Bill Nussey detailed a simplified approach to a developing lifecycle marketing program.

He recommended marketers begin by thinking about recipients in three distinct ways - Interested Prospects, Engaged Customers and Lapsed Customers. Interested Prospects are those email recipients who have expressed some desire for communication; Engaged Customers are actively involved with the brand and expect to receive communications and, potentially, promotions from you. Lapsed Customers are those who have stopped opening and clicking your emails or who no longer make purchases.

"Understanding the mindset and needs of these three groups and acting on them with tailored campaigns can dramatically strengthen returns on investment," Nussey said.

"Unsophisticated email campaigns treat every person the same, regardless of their interest level and lifecycle stage. Dividing your list into three simple lists like this can be a good first step to creating more targeted and relevant messages," Nussey explained.

Nussey added that marketers should have unique goals that align with the customers' mindsets for each lifecycle stage. For example, goals for Interested Prospects might include moving them to 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 could 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, attempts to re-engage them with the brand and prevent them from switching allegiance to another company.

"By approaching your list in these fairly straight-forward segments, you can create specific campaigns that target each group more effectively and with better results than would be the case if you communicated to all with the same messages," Nussey said.

Campaign elements appropriate for Interested Recipients might include:

  • Welcome messages
  • An educational campaign
  • Lead warming activities
  • 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
  • Targeting based on Web site page visits

Tactics to re-engage Lapsed Customers include:

  • Sending surveys to identify reasons for lack of engagement
  • Offering incentives to re-visit the Web site
  • Delivering promotions to encourage purchases

Nussey recognized that many marketers think time-based, one-to-one marketing is difficult because only a few email service providers fully support these types of sophisticated email marketing programs without the need for custom programming. Additionally, new metrics are required to measure the types of ongoing campaigns that are part of a lifecycle program. He urged marketers to begin today to implement basic lifecycle data into email marketing campaigns. 

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

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