Advanced Automation and Customer Journeys You Can Implement For Your Clients

JASON DENT - JUN 1, 2017

Having a strong understanding of your clients’ different customer journeys is crucial to maintaining a strong relationship with your clients’ customers. The more targeted and personalized each touchpoint or email feels to a customer, the more engaged they will be with your clients’ brands.

Sending highly targeted emails per customer journey can be time-consuming if sent as one-off campaigns. Advanced marketing automation tools help to streamline the customer journey touchpoint process and will allow your clients to connect with all of their customers in an efficient and relevant way.

In this guide, we will first discuss what customer journeys are, and will then explain how marketing automation plays a role in connecting customers to your clients.

What is a customer journey and why is it important?

Customer journeys take into account what a customer’s experience is, beginning from the time that a customer first becomes aware of a brand, through the time that they purchase a service or product, and hopefully, the journey doesn’t end there. The goal for brands is to acquire new customers and retain the customers they already have – one of the best ways to do this is by managing different customer journeys. For example, one customer journey can exist for someone who signed up for your client’s newsletter for the first time, and a different customer journey can exist for a customer who decides to extend their existing monthly subscription.

Many agencies that design customer journeys for their clients will first identify which personas make up their client’s customer base, and then they will determine which stages exist within a customer journey. According to Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group, you need to know your customers’ different personas, goals and what actions a customer needs to take in order to reach their goal. This will determine the different touchpoints throughout a personalized and targeted customer journey.

Some agencies decide to create customer journey maps and then use their analysis to discover where there are gaps in communication and where their clients’ succeed in customer satisfaction. According to Goran Paunovic, Creative Director at ArtVersion Interactive, “Journey mapping…encourages stakeholders to consider the customer’s needs, wants, emotions and questions, and [creates] the path to fulfill those needs.”

The main things to consider when developing and analyzing a customer journey is to look at what customers feel, expect and need at each stage of the journey. A customer might need to feel seen and appreciated after first signing up for a newsletter, and they will need to feel understood and heard later on in the journey when they are seeking an effective solution to their problem.

It’s important to be in touch with the customer from start to end of their journey and throughout the different stages to make sure that they feel valued, heard and engaged. McKinsey&Company believes that doing so can, “enhance customer satisfaction, improve sales and retention, reduce end-to-end service cost, and strengthen employee satisfaction.” Not only will customer journeys keep your client’s customers engaged – they will also drive increased ROI.

How does marketing automation come into play?

Marketing automation emails that are sent in customer journeys are based off triggers defined by an email marketing tool. When each customer takes a specific action, a marketing automation tool will send that customer a relevant email that you designed for your client. These tools also allow you to define what each trigger is, as this will vary from client to client and journey to journey.

These tools allow you to design different customer journeys and create the content for each email in every stage of the journey. This is much different than sending one-off email campaigns to a list of customers. When designing behavior-triggered emails, the emails are automatically sent out based on the segmented lists you built and the stage in which each individual falls under within their journey. This saves time and increases relevance and personalization. In fact, studies show that automated emails get 86% higher open rates, produce a 196% increase in click-through rates, and generate 320% more revenue than standard promotional emails.

The different stages and touchpoints in an automated customer journey

It’s important to determine how many touchpoints should be involved per customer journey and what the content should be in each touchpoint. When we explored customer journeys earlier this month, we explained how there are three basic stages customers go through when exploring a brand. The first stage involves casual visitors who are not customers yet but are interested in your client’s offers. The second stage involves active subscribers who are enjoying their first experience with your client’s business. The third stage involves people who are more interested in becoming customers and should be guided towards making a purchase.

Each stage has different customer journeys containing relevant content that will promote engagement and interest. For example, stage 1 should receive 5-10 emails in their journey, while stage 3 should receive 3-5 emails in their journey. To learn more about what the content of these journeys should be, you can read more here.

Examples of automated customer journeys you can implement for your clients

1. Welcome email

When customers first sign up for your client’s newsletter or purchase a service, this behavior should trigger a welcome email and be sent out automatically. Many agencies decide to send special offers in welcome emails which encourages users to explore your client’s products.You can also include fun content with tips and tricks that they can take in when learning about your client’s brand. You can decide to include 5-10 emails in this initial stage spread out across the month in order to promote engagement

You can also include fun content with tips and tricks that they can take in when learning about your client’s brand. You can decide to include 5-10 emails in this initial stage spread out across the month in order to promote engagement through offers and storytelling content.

2. Reminder emails

Reminder emails are most relevant to existing customers who need to follow up with your client’s brand. This could include scheduling follow-up appointments, renewing a subscription, taking a survey, etc. This is a great way to re-engage with current customers by sending them a quick call to action.

You may want to have just a couple of reminder emails set up in this journey in order to prompt them to take action, while also providing them with useful content that relates to their next step. For example, if they are being reminded to renew a subscription, you might want to include what is different about the new subscription model versus the old one.

3. Milestone offers

Milestone emails can include anniversary offers or new VIP offers. These emails are based off triggers and can depend on where someone is in their journey. Sending relevant and personalized offers helps to build a relationship with your client’s customers, and also encourages them to make purchases.

These offers are especially useful because they encourage customer loyalty. Only your client’s most dedicated customers will receive these emails. These journeys send the message that the more loyal a customer is to your client’s brand, the more offers and benefits they will receive.

4. Re-engagement emails

These “We miss you” emails help to target customers who seem to be at the end of their customer journey. As discussed earlier, the goal is to make sure a customer journey continues after the purchasing process and that customers remain engaged with your clients. One of the best ways to re-engage with customers is by understanding what their expectations are, why they became un-engaged and how you can appeal to their needs.

Customer journey mapping can really come into play here when designing these automated customer journey emails. Sending dynamic content, solutions to their problems, engaging stories and offers can help to re-engage distant customers.

Wrap up

When creating customer journeys, you need to take into account the different stages that exist in each journey and how these stages vary by segmented lists or personas. Pay attention to customers’ feelings and needs in each stage of the process.

Marketing automation not only saves time, but it also increases relevance, efficiency,  and revenue. The more you can focus on building strong relationships, the more effective your automated customer journey campaigns will be.

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