How to Use Marketing Automation to Turn Sporadic Consumers into Lifelong Customers
Last Updated: February 22, 2021
There is no doubt that email marketing punches above its weight regarding conversion rates since most people center their business day around their email account (the average person checks their email 15 times per day!)
Yet, opening an email is one thing; taking the desired action based on its content is an entirely different story.
Collecting customer email addresses at the point of purchase (whether online or offline) doesn’t guarantee that those people will always read your emails, let alone act on them.
In this article, we will explore how to turn an underperforming email campaign into a revenue-generating powerhouse using marketing automation.
Here are some email marketing automation statistics from the Data & Marketing Association that showcase the kind of numbers you could achieve for your business if you were to implement this strategy:
One of the most common misconceptions in small businesses regarding email marketing is that email subscribers are a monolith. They are not.
Some may have purchased product A before, but now they may be researching product B, or they may be looking at an accessory for product A that you also sell on your website.
They’ll also be at different stages in your marketing funnel. Some may be reading up information from your blog, perhaps a “how-to” post. Others will be at the comparison stage, reading up product reviews on your site, and others will be browsing product pages on your e-store.
So sending the same email offer to all subscribers all the time is akin to using a scattershot approach in the hopes of randomly hitting someone with the right motivation.
To create lifelong customers, you need to target subscribers and address their individual needs. You need to build a relationship over time to provide them with the information they’re seeking promptly.
Here are the five steps you need to follow:
Step 1: Begin by Developing Your Customer Avatar
Before you implement your email marketing strategy, you need to define your ideal customer. Your customer avatar is a composite of all your clients.
Your goal is to put yourself in their shoes whenever you sit down to write any of your emails. The more you understand your audience’s psyche, the closer you’ll be able to connect with them in your marketing emails.
How do you go about creating your customer avatar?
By looking at your current and past clients and then expanding your research online until you have enough information to develop your ideal customer profile.
This profile will be made out of the composite of all the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your target audience, rolled into a single audience member.
What kind of information should be contained in this profile? Here’s a comprehensive list:
Is your avatar a homeowner?
Any pets? Hobbies?
Any health or other issues?
What do they think, feel, hear and talk about concerning the products and services you offer?
What drives them? What do they value most, again, concerning the products and services you offer?
Now that you know your customer inside and out, it’s time to track the type of actions that they engage in online so that you can segment them to address their particular needs.
For this purpose, you’ll be using a marketing automation platform that will place a cookie on their device to monitor what specific pages or posts they visit on your website once a subscriber’s email is captured.
Then your job is to tag subscribers based on specific behaviors so that you can cater to their individual needs through a sequence of automated emails.
Let’s now look at the type of behaviors that can be easily tracked.
Step 3: Segment Your Subscribers Based on Behavior
What are the typical actions your subscribers may engage in?
Opening informational pages on your website
Opening product or pricing pages on your website
Reading specific blog posts that indicate where they currently are in your marketing funnel
Opening your emails
Clicking on particular links in your emails
Making a specific purchase in your eCommerce store
Each one of these behaviors will send a signal to your marketing automation tool so that you can take effective nurturing actions to develop a relationship of trust.
Step 4: Create Email Sequences that Match Those Behaviors
If a number of your subscribers opens an email, then clicks on a link to a relevant post, and finally visits a product page on your website, then you can create a nurturing path with a new highly-targeted email sequence just for them.
In that sequence, you’ll want to nurture those leads by guiding them down your marketing and sales funnel with the right information to nudge them towards a purchase.
Toward the end of that sequence, you can even begin to engage with them directly to bring the potential sale to a happy conclusion.
Depending on your business’s nature, you could take multiple nurturing paths, so what you need are flexible marketing automation tools that easily allow you to take care of any possible scenario.
Step 5: Automate Your Email Sequences Using Workflows
Now comes the fun part: making all this magic happen!
Once you’ve identified the nurturing paths relevant to your business, you’ll need to create an email sequence for each path.
5 examples of marketing automation workflows
Let’s now look at the marketing automation workflows that could be created to automate the above sequences. There are many excellent workflow tools out there. For the examples below, I’ve used Drip.
1. A customer makes a purchase and then browses your website for a complementary or add-on product
An email sequence for this example could be a series of 5-10 emails providing information about the add-on product: how to use different features, how to take care of it, suggestions on how to use it with the product they already purchased, etc.
2. A website visitor subscribes to your email list and then visits a product or pricing page repeatedly
An email sequence for this example could be a series of 5-10 emails beginning with a welcome email and followed by more in-depth information about the product in question, use cases, how features are priced, what usage caps, if any exist at different price points, case studies, etc.
3. A customer reads a sequence of blog posts that reveal a new interest in a different area of your business
An email sequence for this example could be a series of 5-10 emails expanding on specific angles covered in the blog posts, answering questions about that new area of interest, client accounts, white papers, etc.
4. A customer makes a purchase and accepts (or rejects) an upsell
In this case, you’d want to have two sequences. One for the upsell path, beginning with a thank you email and followed with information on how to get the most out of the purchase, how to use the product, etc.
The second sequence would cover the upsell rejection. It could include an email describing lower-priced alternatives to the rejected product, ways to get something similar from free sources on the Internet, etc.
5. An email subscriber reads several related blog posts that reveal where they currently are in your marketing funnel
An email sequence for this example could be a series of 5-10 emails that answer commonly asked questions from other people in the same position in the funnel, with each email exploring a different question.
Now you know the secret to high-converting email campaigns: targeted relationship building with clients and prospects that increases your trust level via automated marketing workflows.
The deeper you dial into their specific online behaviors, the better your conversion rate will be. By nurturing your email subscribers in line with their interests and needs, you dramatically increase your chances of making a meaningful connection with them.
And once you connect and keep doing so frequently, you create the type of bond that turns sporadic consumers into lifelong customers.
Marcelo Beilin is a Digital Marketing Consultant and blogger who helps clients take their online revenue to the next level. He also helps readers find the perfect tools to earn online income at BestTech2EarnOnline.com.