The customer journey is no longer linear. While some consumers opt-in to an email list the first time they visit a site when they’re still in the awareness or consideration phase, many others subscribe during the checkout process – either online or at your physical location.

Many others never subscribe at all, but interact with brands through social and programmatic display ads. And others have unsubscribed from a brand’s email list but still receive SMS messages.

The new customer journey is chaotic, sporadic and crowded. And it differs for everyone. Consumers are in charge of when and where they interact with brands based on their intent, interests and where they spend their time and it’s up to marketers to ensure they reach them in the right channel with a personalized message.Doing so allows you to nurture and engage customers no matter what stage of the journey they are in – driving revenue, loyalty and increasing customer lifetime value.

How do you ease the path to purchase? How do you break down barriers? Listen to your current and prospective customers. Their behaviors, intent and interests are there for you to respond to. Through the consumption of these data points across environments, channels and devices you will be able to provide an experience that is relevant, timely and appreciated.

Why Personalization is No Longer Optional
According to a study from Econsultancy, 94% of businesses say personalization is critical to current and future success, yet Experian found that 70% of brands fail to personalize marketing messages. More importantly, 74% of consumers get frustrated when they receive content that has nothing to do with their interests, according to the Janrain Online Personal Experience study. You can find email more statistics on why personalization is so important on this post from Autopilot.

However, the main thing to remember is that Forrester reported that relevant and personalized campaigns drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast messages, on average.

Below are two emails sent from the same retailer. The one on the left went to 32% of its list and offered $10 off $50. The one on the right went to only 4% of its list and did not include an offer.

The one on the right – that went to fewer people and didn’t rely on an incentive – made 34% more revenue than the one on the left.

It's logical to think that an incentive such as a discount can drive significant revenue. However, as the evidence above shows, offering up merchandise suited to an individual’s interests drives conversion and revenue just as well – or better. Personalized content on its own makes the message relevant.

The timeliness of your engagement is critical to nurture and guide the consumer in their journey. Automated triggers take the burden off the marketer and place the customer in the driver seat on when the marketing occurs and what content is being placed in the messages.

Consider the Options

Welcome Series
A welcome series to introduce someone to your brand and your chance to impress them with all you have to offer. Think that it is too early to personalize these messages? Think again! As stated above, the customer journey isn’t linear. While some new subscribers might opt-in during their first visit to your site, others will opt-in during the checkout process, or after visiting your site through your Lead Ads on Facebook or Instagram, or through your mobile text to join campaign. You’re going to have more information on subscribers than you might think, and you can use it to your advantage by including product recommendations based on categories browsed or purchased. Also, include a fallback to show new, popular or gateway products to engage those first-time visitors!

Browse Abandonment
Browse Abandon campaigns remind a visitor of the great content and products they showed interest in – and they have quickly become one of the most anticipated emails by shoppers as they are useful. We’ve seen abandonment campaign revenue nearly double by adding a browse abandonment campaign in addition to a cart abandonment campaign. The key to these messages is the message. Some brands can be bold and use a headline that directly calls out the shoppers’ browse behaviors while other brands have to be more subtle, so test to find out what works best for your brand. Regardless of the message, the emails should highlight the last product browsed and additional product or content recommendations to get the shoppers back to the site.

Product Alerts
Back in stock alerts notify shoppers when an item that was previously sold out is available to sell again and what’s new alerts let someone know their favorite brand has new merchandise offerings. These messages are highly relevant to shoppers as they contain products in which the customer has shown high purchase intent.

Recurring Automated Campaigns
Recurring automated campaigns, also known as a What’s New for You email, are daily, weekly or monthly messages that are automatically populated with products based on product affinity gained through purchase and browse behavior. These messages are a great addition to your email blasts as they have similar engagement and conversion metrics but, because they are automated, they don’t take any time or resources to develop.

These campaigns are all triggered by the consumer based on what they have shown interest in either through browse or purchase behavior. The guess work out of what message to send has been eliminated!

It’s All About the Consumer
Brands rely on their online and or their physical stores for that final phase of making a purchase. But consider your conversion rate in relation to site traffic and unique visitors. Think of all those individuals who pass through your doors but never make it to the register. People are conducting research, get distracted or cannot find exactly what they are looking for. Extending your reach through programmatic advertising, creating Lead Ads in Facebook, and exposing your store buyers to your website enhances the path to purchase.

The two customers above are examples of going outside the inbox to reach a browser via programmatic advertising and bringing the digital and physical stores together. Bob is a site visitor that browsed but didn’t purchase, so programmatic display ads featuring the product he looked at onsite is served to him as he browses the Internet. Rick purchased in-store and signed up to receive text messages, then opted-in to receive emails through the Text to Join mobile program. Consumers who engage in more than one channel are typically your most valuable customers, so it’s time to stop thinking of channels as individual tactics and start looking at all of the opportunities you have to engage shoppers at different touchpoints.

Questions? Let us know in the comments section.

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