May 25, 2010

Lifecycle Email Marketing


Hostway Team

By Samantha Gluck

Lifecycle email marketing involves promoting meaningful and relevant communication with customers throughout the business relationship cycle. Different from the old-fashioned methods known as "batch and blast," lifecycle email marketing takes a more modern and methodical approach to allow you to become more personal with your customers.

Lifecycle email marketing seeks to build strong customer relationships through analysis and research into what customers really want and when they want it. The method employs email audits and customer surveys to gain a better understanding of what the customer feels is relevant. The information for the various email marketing campaigns may be obtained through a variety of communication platforms such as email, voicemail, direct mail or Short Message Service (SMS).

The Five Stages of the Customer Relationship Lifecycle

Five primary stages exist to the customer relationship lifecycle with a brand or company.

  • Acquisition — This stage involves acquiring prospective customers. It seems fairly obvious, but companies often misunderstand best practice methods for this stage or mishandle the fragile new customer relationship. This is the knowledge and information building stage where companies should gain knowledge about prospective clients and why they became interested in the brand.
  • Conversion—The practice of compelling customers to take action and buy a product or service offered by your company creates revenue and provides the opportunity to conduct a customer survey. Surveys help companies learn what things customers like about their services and what they don’t like. Newly converted customers are usually more than happy to offer information about their experiences with customer service, products, delivery methods, etc.
  • Growth—In this stage, companies must grow or deepen customer relationships. They build on the basic knowledge gained in the first two stages by adding to the information known about each individual contact or client over the relationship lifecycle. Taking this stage seriously and growing the relationship in meaningful ways can dramatically improve the relevance of customer email communications as well as deepen the customer’s feeling of satisfaction.
  • Retention — While gaining brand new customers should always be a goal, retention of current customers should be paramount. Success in this stage of the lifecycle involves building loyalty by only sending emails relevant to each particular customer’s desires and interest. Of course, you may have a segment of customers with similar interest and they will all receive similar communications, but the one-size-fits-all approach of email marketing no longer makes the grade with technically savvy customers of today.
  • Re-engagement — This stage involves reactivating past customers who have stopped buying your brand, product or service. A robust lifecycle email marketing database can be utilized to forensically ferret out the things that are meaningful to these clients. Taking this data and adding to the email campaign products and services that may be derivatives of what they bought in the past can once again call them to action by stirring their interest.

Consulting with business peers about their lifecycle email marketing experience may deepen your understanding of what is needed for success.

About the Author

Samantha Gluck has had over a decade of experience helping businesses better focus their Web sites to enhance ecommerce and Internet presence by utilizing Web analytics, relevant design elements and marketing campaigns.

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