My colleague Loren McDonald wrote an article in June on Welcome Email Programs that should move beyond the typical solo welcome email to include a series of emails that would involve brand awareness and sales oriented messaging triggered over time, effectively replacing the traditional welcome email currently in production at most companies.
Loren was spot on in his thoughts, but I would like to add a level of sophistication to his thinking that most companies may not be thinking about when it comes to on-boarding subscribers. Companies should move beyond the welcome email and the welcome program and think about letting the behavior of the subscriber drive the welcome messaging over the course of time. Rather than have a static Welcome email 1, 2 or 3 where the company takes the subscriber down the path of educating them on the brand, the social channels and company history, the email series should be driven largely off the interaction of the subscriber across the email, site and offline.
First, if in the first welcome email, the subscriber clicks on the email and browses on the site, the 2nd welcome email should contain a browse behavior message while leaving the traditional 2nd welcome email content as a secondary call to action and driving the subscriber back to the site. In the same example, if the subscriber clicks on the email, carts and then begins the checkout process and abandons, the 2nd email in the series should have messaging around the checkout abandon and nothing more. At this point, you have an engaged potential customer and the traditional 2nd email doesn’t mean as much revenue $$ as the checkout abandon email would. Setting up frequency caps and messaging changes are not impossible things to do with the right technology, but it boils down to how “relevant” you want to be with the subscriber in the first few touches.
A second scenario whereby having a behaviorally-driven welcome program would benefit the subscriber experience would be to trigger a 2nd or 3rd email based on pre-defined links in the email. For example, if in the first email you largely want to drive social awareness or mobile app engagement and are able to tie back the subscriber to either liking or downloading your mobile app, the next email in the series should be specific to their action, even if it’s as simple as a thank you. Oftentimes, organizations miss the value of a simple thank you in the inclusion of a welcome program or at any stage of the lifecycle.
Last, but not least, is the ability to drive the 2nd or 3rd email in the welcome series through offline engagement. If a call to action in your welcome series drives the subscriber to a brick and mortar location and they convert, the next welcome email in the series should have some inclusion or acknowledgement of that engagement. Who doesn’t want to hear from the company where they just purchased with a simple yet highly targeted email?
Welcome emails are a good start while welcome series take it to the next level. However, a welcome series driven from the behavior of the subscriber across multiple channels (although adding a small layer of complexity to the program), dramatically increases the revenue potential while combating potential subscriber complacency at the most critical time in the lifecycle. The possibilities are endless with these types of programs and since marketers love ideas and creating things, this is where it becomes fun and quite possibly, really profitable.
This types of programs always sound good in theory like I have written above, but they involve a tremendous amount of thought for each company. There is no silver bullet and these programs are not for everyone. They require patience, resources and most of all a sophisticated ESP and Web Analytics integration to pull it off. Tread lightly on pulling this off yourself..or contact us to see how we can help.
Talking about relevancy is one thing, but letting the subscribers drive that relevancy in the beginning of the relationship is ultimately what organizations should strive for. Don’t be complacent with static content about what you want to talk about, show them that you love them more by letting their actions dictate what comes next. The highest engagement in your program happens at the beginning, seize it.