Practical Ways to Use Lifecycle Emails to Get More Customers

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Stuart McKeown’s Picture

Stuart McKeown

Join us as we explore how to delight your customers using transactional and lifecycle emails.

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In this post we’re going to look at how you can leverage personal, lifecycle emails to new customers to help drive more engagement with your product and grow your email list.

Why Should You Send Lifecycle Emails?

In a world run by big brands that often send boring generic emails to customers, adding a personal touch can go along way. Consider the following two emails, which one would you more likely respond to?

woobox-welcome-email

The first email from Woobox is designed to be more informational, they give you the information you need to get started & then give you the information you need to get support.

gleam-welcome-email-1

This is an email we’ve been using for a few weeks, it goes out exactly 24 hours after you’ve signed up for Gleam. The email itself comes directly from me, users can reply to me, I also ask them a number of questions to try & open up a conversation with them. I also leave a note at the end to reply anyway & let me know more about their business.

As your business gets bigger it becomes harder to add that personal touch, if we were sending out 1000+ welcome emails per day then chances are it’d be hard to me to reply to all of the email. However, whilst your business is still growing you can really build some valuable connections & get honest feedback about your processes along the way.

To Improve Your Relationship With Customers

As a business we often have funny relationships with our customers, in the past you had big faceless corporations that made it difficult to even speak to a human, but the rise of social networks is forcing brands to have more one to one relationships & communications.

You can use email early in the communication cycle with customers to let them know all the different ways to contact you. Here’s an example of an email I got from Chris over at GetVero:

vero-email

When I got this email I instantly thought, did Chris really email me from his iPhone? He must really care about his customers to take the time out to email me individually.

As it turns out this is just one of the many triggered emails that Chris tests when you signup, he also sends it from his own personal address so you can reply directly to him.

To Get Product Feedback

Your first customers will be instrumental in providing feedback that can help drive your product roadmap. It’s pretty easy to schedule a quick email after a predefined period of time, or you could also incentivize them to fill out a survey.

Many companies also ask for feedback during the cancellation cycle, we recently swapped from Airbrake to Bugsnag & this was the email I received:

airbrake-email-cancel

This type of email allows Justin to collect feedback on the main reasons why people cancel. In our case Bugsnag better suits our needs & allows us to post various things to Hipchat in real-time. If that particular reason happens across a signification number of customers then you have your validation to build that feature into your product.

The important thing to remember here though is to prioritise feedback properly & not just jump at the whim of every customer that has a request. The last thing you want is building features for just a single person, rather than many people.

To Educate Customers

When a customer signs up to use your product there’s often a lot of information you want to give them in order to get the most out of your features. Many products deal with this by providing documentation that the user can consume at their own pace, however if a user doesn’t do that then you risk them not engaging enough to get the most out of their subscription.

You can use timed emails to slowly educate new users about your core features, you’re helping to answer common questions they might have before they even ask them, perhaps also letting them know about tips & tricks that offer more advanced functionality in the process. In essence you’re trying to slowly create more power users of your product through smart education.

You can take this to the next level & design education based on the actions that users are taking within your app. For example, if someone creates a campaign but doesn’t push it live you might have an email that goes out with tips on how to get their campaign going.

To Improve Conversion Rates

A gym builds their entire business model around people paying for something they never use, for any online business you need user adoption (especially if you offer a free trial).

You need to use emails to achieve a few core goals:

Get users addicted to your product: This is first stage during any free trial, if you can’t get people using your product then ultimately it will be more difficult to convert them.

Segment your active & inactive users: Most trials will get active users that will respond well to educational content, and inactive users that will need a different approach. Why are they not using your product?

Build tension: You can use email to let people know when critical things are about to happen which might require them to make a payment. For example credit about to run out, trial about to run out, about to reach their limit of some metric or something in their account is about to expire.

Survey inactives: As mentioned above you really want to connect with people that don’t get the most out of your product. Is there a specific reason? Do they prefer a competitor? Are you too expensive? All of this information really helps you refine your strategy to keep more users engaged.

Engage non-converting trials: If you offer a free trial of your product, or perhaps a premium version then properly executing a lifecycle campaign can vastly increase your free to paid conversion rates. Once you get handle on your conversion rates you should get an idea of what percentage of people convert from free to paid. Even at a high conversion rate there’s more than likely anywhere from 50% to 95% of users that don’t convert at all.

Decrease Customer Churn

Email is a great way to get in touch with unhappy or unengaged customers before they churn away from your product. You can do this by seeing which customers don’t meet certain criteria each month.

Some simple examples might be:

Haven’t logged in yet: Send them an email showing them all the things they are missing out on & how to get started quickly.

Haven’t installed the tracking code: Send the user the tracking code in an email with instructions.

Haven’t upgraded from the free trial: If someone hasn’t upgraded from a free trial then offer them a discount.

When Should You Send Email?

Lifecycle marketing is all about sending the right email to the right users at the right time. The types of emails that will work for each business vary greatly, but the beauty of these types of emails are that you can test test test what works & what doesn’t work.

Welcome Email

When a user signs up to your product or service the first email that you send really sets the tone for the rest of your communication.

Action Based

Triggering emails based on a specific action is one of the best ways to engage your users based on what they actually do.

Zapier know what kind of Zaps you’ve setup therefore sends you timed communication around those services:

Livechat knows that you still haven’t added the tracking code to your site & acts accordingly:

Event Based

Send emails based on events that you have coming up in your calendar, it could be new product launches, newsletters or upgrades:

Time Based

Drip feed emails to new users based on preferences over time, Wistia send beautiful emails over time to help you get to grips with their platform:

Notification Based

If you have an important notification it’s important to communicate that with users, Namecheap also uses this message as a trigger to renew your domains sooner to avoid additional costs:

Software You Can Use to Send Triggered Emails

There’s a few SaaS applications that can help you schedule emails depending on your requirements:

Vero

Vero is a fellow Australian company, built up in Sydney (we’re in Melbourne). They allow you to send emails on time based or action based triggers. Pricing based on number of emails sent.

Customer.io

Customer.io is a SaaS application that allows you to automate segmented newsletters, transactional emails & lifecycle emails. Pricing based on number of customers.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is a feature rich application that allows you to turn insights into actions. Build lists based on dynamic activity, do cohort analysis & build profiles on individual users. Pricing based on number of customers.

Totango

Totango helps you onboard more users with trial conversion tools, lifecycle campaigns & customer success solutions.

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