How to design a great customer journey which keeps people engaged

Good marketers know there’s more to business than focusing on short-term sales. To get your customers coming back again and again you need to create a relationship.

Thanks to the widespread acceptance of online, those relationships are often conducted online. But there’s an art to a virtual relationship. You can’t smile, they can’t feel, taste or touch the goods. And your competitors are always just one click away.

So how do you keep your customers from clicking away? Well, when it comes to email marketing they use something called the customer journey. Simply put this is holding your customer’s hand from the first time they visit your site to the till point and beyond. By capturing the customer’s attention, through a series of emails sent at key points in their journey, you can keep them hooked.

And there are some very practical steps you can take when it comes to deciding what to send your customers. Here are our top tips to designing an email strategy that keeps customers engaged and loyal.

Step 1. Get the post-it notes out

If you’re designing a communications strategy from scratch then get the post-it notes out and head to a blank wall in your office. Mark out the key points in the customer’s journey – starting at their first visit, purchase and ending at with the customer losing interest.

Step 2. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer

Don’t ever send an email because you think you should. If the email doesn’t serve a purpose or meet a need for the customer then it won’t produce results. Always think about things from your customer’s perspective.

Step 3. Keep in the loop

A customer’s purchasing journey is circular (McKinsey). It’s composed of four stages – consideration, evaluation, purchase and post-purchase experience – think about what would be useful for the customers to receive during those phases. Remember the post-purchase phase is not only your chance to build loyalty through a great after-sales experience but also to create brand advocates who tell others about you.

Step 4. Get your timing right

Think about how many emails you’d like to receive between being introduced to a website and your first purchase. Don’t bombard customers – play it cool and communicate with them on their own terms. Don’t send sales emails to a customer who’s only just purchased – make sure your emails are relevant to where the customer is in the purchasing cycle.

Step 5. Don’t let customers lapse

It’s tempting to focus all your marketing efforts on active customers but don’t forget your ex-customers. These are people who haven’t purchased with you in a while but were interested enough to buy from you in the first place. It can be easier to reignite a relationship than start a new one from scratch. Create a set of re-engagement emails that are focused on tempting old customers back. Incentivise, remind and tempt them back through your email programme.

By using these principles you’ll be able to create an engaging customer journey or revise and tweak your existing strategy.

If you’re a retailer looking at designing a customer journey then don’t forget to read our post on essential ecommerce emails.

Download the Pure360 Guide to the Email Maturity Model