Enhancing the Customer Journey With Email Marketing

by Alyssa Nahatis

posted on 09-13-2016

Email-marketing campaigns are the backbone of your interactions with customers. Done right, email is a great way to gain new customers, reach out to existing ones, and build loyalty and trust in your business.

However, today’s email-marketing campaigns must be responsive to the demands of new, digitally sophisticated users who will no longer tolerate batch emails addressed to them by name as the only form of personalization. Today’s email readers want truly personalized, contextually relevant interactions with the businesses they embrace.

Meaningful personalization that will engage your customers can only be developed if you have a complete understanding of how customers and potential customers interact with your brand at every touchpoint and on every channel.

There has been plenty of talk about the customer journey lately; however, much has changed, and customers have become very demanding in their desires for amazing experiences. But, just how do you go about mapping out those journeys? Read on to receive eight great tips for mapping your customers’ journeys.

1. Create a Map of all Possible Touchpoints.
Start, literally, with drawing a map of your customer’s journey with your brand or through your digital-marketing program. Map out every possible touchpoint customers may utilize to interact with your brand. There are many ways organizations have drawn their customer-journey maps. Find the one that works best for you.

Today’s users interact with brands through three to five different screens (smartphones, tablets, fitness trackers, desktops, smartwatches, etc.) and can begin their journeys with brands through any of them. To develop the best, most highly personalized, and responsive email campaigns, you have to truly understand where to direct your reader when and wherever the email is opened.

2. Try to Involve Your Entire Organization.
Every department should be thinking about satisfying the conscious and subconscious needs of your target audience and delivering the right message at the right time in the right channel to the right customer. This effort will, undoubtedly, involve departments that may not normally work together. The finance department, for example, often designs processes based on what is operationally efficient for the department rather than a user’s needs. However, payment-system touchpoints can completely shape a customer’s perceptions about the company. Customers have little tolerance for entering the same information repeatedly when a site database should be doing it.

3. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel; Use the Data You Have.
Most likely, you already have tons of data about your customers. Look for online reviews, call-center logs, returns, purchasing histories, website analytics, and anything else you can find.

4. You Have One Chance to Make a First Impression.
In mapping out your customer journey, imagine each touchpoint being experienced by totally new customers — and, that each point may very well be their first interactions with your brand. Write down what impressions you think they would have and what you think the customers’ emotional states are at each stage in their journeys. You could even have a colleague go through the sign-up, welcome, and marketing series processes and provide feedback.

5. Create Personas.
A persona is a model that represents the different types of customers you have. Create a number of different personas that tell the stories of the different people who are interested in your brand. Include names, ages, jobs, families, hobbies and interests, and how they feel about the value and quality of the things they buy.

6. Identify “Moments of Truth.”
In the creation of your map, you will most likely identify points where the desired customer experience doesn’t match what they receive. This is where you must work to improve the process.

7. Create Recommendations.
What recommendations do you have based on what you have learned? What steps should be taken to improve the customer journey? What does your brand promise your customers?

8. Plan Your Email-Marketing Makeover.
With a more complete understanding of your customer journey, you can plan how this knowledge will affect your email-marketing campaigns. Here are a few elements you may need:

Once you have mapped your customer journey, you will find great satisfaction in knowing you have gone a long way toward aligning your company goals with your customer needs. It can be a dramatic shift that will breathe fresh air into your organization.

Topics: Campaign Management