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Marketing professionals are well educated on the typical sales funnel.

In short, the funnel moves prospective leads through a sales process with the end goal being a purchase, download, or sign up.

While simple enough to understand, it is quickly being phased out in favor of lifecycle marketing. This is forcing marketers to take the time to understand lifecycle marketing and how to map to email campaigns.

While it may look a bit overwhelming at first, learning how to map emails to your lifecycle marketing isn’t nearly as difficult as you think.

However, before jumping into the steps needed to map your email campaigns to the customer lifecycle, it’s crucial to take a moment to define the term “lifecycle marketing.”

Defining lifecycle marketing

Lifecycle marketing is very similar to the typical sales funnel marketers have come to know and love. The most significant difference, however, is lifecycle marketing doesn’t have an endpoint. For example, this is what the standard sales funnel looks like:

Standard Sales Funnel

Source: Campaign Monitor

In this example, a lead enters the sales funnel at the very top of the funnel as they first become aware of the brand. Based on interactions and communications with the brand and its content, the lead will hopefully be funneled through each of the phases and convinced to make the final conversion from lead to customer.

Create a customer journey using our guide.

Lifecycle marketing does much of the same, but it never truly ends. Instead, once the lead makes the desired conversion, it starts all over again by making the consumer aware of new products, services, or other news simply to keep them engaged with the brand.

 Visual of the customer lifecycle

Source: Alexa

How does email play into lifecycle marketing?

Lifecycle marketing relies almost entirely on constant communication between you and your consumers. While this communication can (and should) come in several different forms, one of the most effective forms is email.

Not only does email net marketing teams the most ROI of all available digital channels, but it’s also the most preferred method of communication between customers and their favorite brands.

According to a recent study, 83% of consumers stated that they preferred to communicate with their favorite companies via email, beating out SMS/text messages, popular messaging apps, social apps (such as Facebook and Twitter), and even a brand’s own mobile app.

Consumer communication preference

Source: Twilio

Lifecycle marketing: how to map to email campaigns in 6 steps

With email being the most preferred method of communication between consumers and brands, marketing teams must prioritize email marketing, as well as email automation.

Email automation is the practice of setting up email campaigns to send out automatically to lessen the daily load of marketing teams and keep consumers engaged with your brand.

Not sure where to get started? Here are six ways to get started with lifecycle marketing and how to map to email campaigns.

Get the email automation guide.

1. Potential lead to engagement

The first step in mapping your email campaigns to your lifecycle marketing is the awareness stage. At this stage, the goal should be capturing the lead’s attention and convincing them to start engaging with your brand.

This can be through a free campaign, an email signup, or a download. The idea here is to get the consumer interested enough to supply you with their contact information, primarily their email address.

New lead to engaged subscriber

It’s by collecting this information that you’ll be able to continue forward and build/nurture your relationship with this lead. This relationship-building process is essential to moving any lead through the lifecycle marketing process.

2. Engagement to evaluation

Once you’ve captured the lead’s information, it’s time to get them to seriously consider performing an action such as a download or making a purchase.

One way to do this is by sending them an automated welcome email that thanks them for signing up for your content or providing you with their email address. Not only will your new lead feel appreciated, but they’ll be intrigued to see what you have to say.

From there, you can consider giving that lead a special incentive to encourage them to visit your website. Again, this can be in the form of a free download, a discounted webinar, or even a special discount on their first order.

Welcome email example that encourages new customers to make a purchase

Source: Really Good Emails

The idea in this stage is to show your new lead that you’re a brand that cares about its community and a brand worth investing in.

It’s important to note that, while the incentive may be good enough to get your new reader to click through to your website, it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll make a purchase or follow through on your desired action.

Studies have shown that approximately 98% of consumers won’t purchase anything during their initial visit to your website.

3. Evaluation to purchase

Since you aren’t likely to get that initial purchase after you’ve sent out your welcome email, you’ll want to continue encouraging a purchase by “reminding” your reader that something’s waiting for them.

This can be through a cart abandonment email (if they viewed a particular product while visiting your site after your initial welcome email) or simply sending a second email in your welcome series.

In the following example from the brand Rue21, they sent out an email informing their subscribers of some outstanding deals and then followed it up the next day with a reminder email.

Sale and Reminder email to encourage purchase

Source: Rue21

While these two emails are practically the same, they serve as important reminders for the sale and why you need to visit the site. Although they have a similar setup and message, they understand that their readers may not remember all the details and want to make sure they aren’t missing out on something spectacular.

Ideally, the follow-up email will be enough to get your lead to head on over to the store and make a purchase. Although, if it’s only good enough to get them to the website and viewing products, then a good next step is a cart abandonment email.

This example from Adidas was brilliant because, while it was a cart abandonment message, they made creative use of their subject line and email body text to truly pique the reader’s interest.

Creative cart abandonment email message

Source: Really Good Emails

When done correctly, an abandoned cart email or email series can help you recover anywhere between 5-15% of your abandoned carts.

4. Purchase to post-purchase

If you’ve reached this point, then congratulations. You’ve officially turned your new lead into a customer. Where the traditional sales funnel would’ve ended here, lifecycle marketing takes it another step.

Once a conversion has been made (a purchase, download, signup, etc.), you should always follow it up with a “thank you,” at the very least. In the case of a purchase, you should always consider including an automated transactional email to the mix.

Transactional/post-purchase email example

Source: Really Good Emails

In the example above, not only does the brand thank the consumer for their payment, but then follow it up with details about the transaction. In this case, the details include the order dates, the order number, and the order/payment amount.

Other transactional emails may include important shipping or tracking information that may be relevant for the consumer.

5. Post-purchase to advocacy

Once the purchase has been made and you’ve thanked them for their support and provided any pertinent information to them, it’s time to encourage them to advocate for your brand. Encouraging brand advocacy can be as simple as asking for a review of the service or product that your consumer received.

An excellent example of this can be seen in the following post-purchase email from Walgreens.

Post-purchase advocacy email

Source: Walgreens

Walgreens is not only asking for brand advocacy in this email, but it’s showing its consumers that they genuinely want to hear the opinions of shoppers by initiating this post-purchase email contact.

While consumers have no problem leaving negative reviews when they’ve had a bad experience, they also enjoy it when a brand checks in on them and asks for their honest opinion about a product or service.

6. Back to awareness

Whether your consumer leaves their review or not, the cycle still doesn’t come to an end. The final step is to re-engage your subscribers and keep them interacting with your brand.

This can be through regular newsletter updates, holiday well wishes, or product launches/sales updates. It’s your responsibility to continue nurturing the relationship between you and each of your subscribers.

For example, Grammarly keeps its users engaged by providing them with regular tips and tricks to help them continue improving their writing skills.

Email newsletter example

Source: Really Good Emails

Bonus: inactive subscriber re-engagement

Now, what if you’ve been sending automated messages, yet you haven’t received any interaction from a subscriber for some time?

While it’s true they may have become inactive because they received whatever it was they wanted from your brand, there could be other reasons why your subscriber hasn’t been around.

That’s why you should always consider re-engaging with a subscriber before you write them off as a lost cause and remove them from your email list.

 Re-engagement email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Wrap up

Defining lifecycle marketing and how to map to email campaigns isn’t as difficult as you may think. Simply keep in mind the following six steps:

  • Engage with a potential lead
  • Pique the lead’s interest, so they’ll consider acting
  • Encourage action
  • Follow up once the lead makes the conversion
  • Encourage brand advocacy
  • Re-engage with your consumer

Curious how small businesses should be utilizing lifecycle marketing in their email campaigns? Check out our short guide on lifecycle email marketing for small businesses.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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