8 Phases of the Email Marketing Subscriber to Customer Life Cycle
Every email marketer’s goal is to turn potential subscribers into long-term, loyal buyers that also act as brand evangelists for their social networks. However doing so requires building a solid relationship right from the beginning, and nurturing that relationship along the way with frequent communication and reminders as to why your product, brand or service is superior. The email marketing life cycle of subscribers to customers can be a tedious, but by careful planning and crafting of email campaigns you can see your conversion rates increase in no time!
Phase #1- The Prospective Subscriber: The initial interaction with your subscribers during the subscriber to customer email marketing life cycle is actually getting them to your sign up form. Make sure you are placing the form on every page of your website in a prominent position a well as providing the link on each of your social media websites and in your email signature line. Clearly state why your prospective subscribers should sign up for your emails, and what value you bring to your audience.
Phase #2- Converting the Subscriber: Your potential subscribers have clicked on or are at the sign-up form, step 1 complete! But beware of asking for too much information and creating subscriber drop off during this sign up phase. Make it as simple as possible and only ask for the most important information- like email address, name, and one or two other fields that are important to your business or how you like to segment your database. Include links to your privacy page and reiterate that you will never sell their information to another source, and provide an incentive that is tailored to your business product offerings.
Phase #3- Newly Engaged Subscriber: Once your new subscriber has successfully completed the sign up form send them a welcome message as soon as possible. Thank them for signing up for your emails, and let them know again exactly what they should expect with your email campaigns. This includes frequency of sending, what kind of messages (newsletters, promotional, etc.) and the from name and from address the emails will come from. Establish this subscriber trust right from the beginning in order to create a consumer relationship. Now is also a good time to drive them to update their preferences and profile with you so you can tailor your email marketing messages to their specific interests.
Phase #4- Prospective Customer: Next your focus needs to switch to actually getting your new subscribers to purchase from you. To do this, make sure you are using information collected during the sign up process to create well-targeted messages that are tailored towards their interests. Put yourself in their shoes- what specific service or benefit does your business bring? What is the main “pain point” of your potential consumers, and what do you offer that the competition doesn’t? Keep thinking of your specific value add with every email you send to your new subscribers, pushing them towards your website where they can purchase.
Phase #5- Active Customer: Your new subscriber just became a new customer by visiting your website and completing a purchase- hooray! But there is still plenty to do to convert this first-time buyer into a long term consumer. Use email to follow up on the product they have purchased and ask for feedback- either on the actual product, shipping speed or customer service. Think of this as the time when you should be on your best behavior- you want to drive your active consumer to be a long-term, loyal repeat customer! Use their past purchase history to make recommendations on future purchases in your email marketing campaigns, using content tailored just to them.
Phase #6- Repeat Customer: Having made it this far calls for a major celebration- your subscriber that you nurtured along the way is now a repeat customer, and thinks of your brand before other competitors when they need to make a purchase. To push the relationship even further, create an open dialogue with them on social media so they can spread their love for your business around their social network. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to increase conversions! You can also invite them into your VIP subscriber network, where they can receive deals and promotions before other subscribers or at a deeper discount.
Phase #7- Lapsed Customer: Unfortunately not everything always goes as planned in the subscriber to customer life cycle, and there can be roadblocks to getting to this desire relationship level. The first is a customer who has previously bought or interacted with your brand, but no longer is doing so for a period of time set by you. This could be anywhere from 3 to 6 months, or even longer, but usually less than a year (unless your product is seasonal). To try to re-engage your subscribers create an email campaign specifically for them with a discount or other incentive to try you again. Also again draw on past preferences or buying habits to try to persuade them with products they will be most interested in. And if that doesn’t work?
Phase #8- Abandoned Customer: At a certain point, again set by you, a past customer will move into the abandoned category, and you will need to pull out all the stops to get them back with a win-back campaign! This is where you provide your biggest incentive, with a time limit, in order to get your subscribers and past customers to purchase from you again. Try a more personal approach- like using “We’ve Missed You” in the subject line, or “We Want You Back!” Show them what they may have missed while away from your website, and why your brand is the best at what you offer.
Are you segmenting your email marketing campaigns based upon the customer life cycle phases? Let us know what works for you on our Facebook page!