Everyone has their preferred method of segmenting email marketing lists, be it age, location, purchasing history or [put your favoured way here]. How about trying a more sophisticated method, one that often gives a better ROI.
The evidence strongly suggests that splitting email marketing lists according to the lifecycle of subscribers is one of the most effective methods of targeting. It requires a little bit of work, but once completed, it is easy to slot your customers into their correct list. The number of stages will depend to a great extent on your product. You should pick as many stages in a lifecycle as will benefit you. For this article, we’ll run with five.
1/ Newly signed up
A brand new subscriber is a precious thing. They’ve already shown an interest but they’ll have expectations that you need to fulfil, at least to an extent. Whilst these will vary, it is probable that they will not include getting a bland ‘Welcome to our email marketing list’ email.
You’ll have to experiment to an extent, but try telling them what to expect, such as ‘Our first offer will be sent within the next few days’. How about also including a gift, ‘In the meantime, please find attached a thank-you for trusting us’.
2/ First purchase
It will be a relief to know that you’ve guessed right as to what interests them. Many companies have a ‘special’ offer in the first email. It need not be valuable. Something they’ll use regularly is best as every time they open it your name is reinforced.
Now’s the time to try to establish their preferences. Ensure you ask for subjects which will not be revealed after a couple of additional purchases. Target the questions in the same way you target marketing emails.
3/ Steady buyers
Once the subscriber has settled into buying, you will know their likes, dislikes, preferences and taste. You will be able to send an email at the time they are most likely to open it. Avoid the temptation to push them too much, particularly by sending too frequent emails. A regular purchaser is money in the bank. Mind you, experimenting is not only allowed by advisable. It might well open opportunities. Take care though.
4/ High value buyers
Ah! The gold standard of email marketing. These need husbanding but without cutting into the ROI so much that the profit margin suffers. They might expect reduced prices on occasion – ‘Specially for customers who have shown loyalty’ sort of thing. Something not valuable in itself can be just as effective, such as their own area of the website, or named people to contact if they have a problem.
5/ The lapsed
It is tempting to throw special offers at all those who suddenly cease buying from you. Given the cost of acquiring subscribers, this is understandable, but sometimes it is best to admit that they’ve gone. You’ll have to experiment a bit to discover those who might become regulars again, perhaps responding to a ‘last chance’ offer. If they don’t buy, remove them from your lists.