Lifecycle planning: How to map your customer journey

A customer’s lifecycle of interaction with your company can be complex and multi-staged. Sending them the right message at the right stage in their journey is crucial to creating that engagement and keeping it.

Without the right planning you could find yourself just guessing with your message in the hope that it may resonate with certain readers. The problem with this method is you end up irritating the masses with emails they don’t want, leading to high drop outs. So what to do?

Almost any lifecycle can be broken down in to these three basic stages:

  • Engaged prospects
  • Lapsed customers/clients
  • Engaged customers/clients

Once grouped you can use these stages to create three automation streams. These streams allow you to send relevant messages to each group, keeping them engaged and ensuring you deliver results.

Here’s what you do what you can do with each group:

Engaged prospects

They have shown interest in your company but are not yet customers/clients

Your aim with this group is to draw these prospects in, get them further down the sales funnel and ultimately turn them in to customers.

Email campaigns in this stream should:

  • Drive engagement through welcome program
  • Educate about your brand/product
  • Build trust
  • Drive conversion with ‘added value’ offering
  • Build a relationship

Lapsed customers/clients

These are customers/clients who may not be buying/engaging with your company

To get them spending again these customers need bringing back to the fold.

Emails campaigns in this stream should:

  • Re-engage
  • Offer incentives: “Come back, we miss you”
  • Use surveys to uncover why they lost interest
  • Remind them what they’re missing

Engaged customers/clients

They’re engaging with your company/buying your products

This group requires a different angle. Your aim here is to get them to spend more and do more.

Emails campaigns in this stream should:

  • Build loyalty with ‘added value’ offers
  • Tempt with exclusive offers and promotions
  • Cross-sell/up-sell product recommendations
  • Provide user generated content/events
  • Offer refer-a-friend programs
  • Offer renewal programs

Mapping out this route is an essential success factor when you’re planning your marketing automation program. As you are mapping out your customer lifecycle and all the key points during that cycle, you can use marketing automation to help influence behavior.

Take a look at an example from dotmailer of a simple customer journey mapping we undertook, following a sign up to our 30 day trial. We’ve mapped out all possible outcomes with each node as a touchpoint.

You can see how each path and action or decision, leads to an opportunity to send an important marketing message that helps nurture trialists.

Customer journey2

Creating a map like this will help you form a plan for your own email marketing automation program. Doing this will in turn drive your data and content plan.

Mapping content

Using the decision tree above we can easily plan out the email marketing messages we need to write and the emails we need to produce for each event.

Mapping Content2

I hope you found these tips helpful, mapping your customer journey like this will be invaluable when you come to automate your emails.

To learn more about using marketing automation in your own strategy, we recommend reading the whitepaper ‘Navigating the 5 stages of marketing automation’. Download it here.

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