With the launch of Campaigns this month, we have given our users incredible flexibility to create any automated, behavioral emails they can imagine. If you already have sophisticated behavioral email programs up and running, then…good news…you don’t have to read any further.
However, if you are just getting started with your behavioral messaging programs, this post should really help. The goal is to highlight some basic email campaigns that will serve as good starting points for your behavioral programs.
How to Organize Your Behavioral Email Campaigns
A good way to frame your potential email campaigns is by using your business’s growth funnel.
If this represents the major steps of your growth funnel, you should plan to have behavioral email campaigns for each of these steps – the goals of each being to try to get people to the next step. Eventually, you will have multiple campaigns for each step in the funnel (because you are likely breaking down each step into more granular elements), but as a start – this serves as a very good framework.
And that’s just how we’ll organize the suggestions in this post. See below for sample campaigns – and specific emails – for each step in this growth funnel.
These are emails built to turn hot prospects into actual customers. Obviously, you can’t email people for whom you haven’t captured an email address – so for these campaigns, you will be targeting those prospects who have become engaged enough to provide you with an email – whether that be by signing up for your newsletter, downloading an ebook, or signing up for a free trial of your product.
Once you capture that email address, you can start driving those prospects toward purchase. Here is an example of a specific message you can send in this phase:
Email: Need help deciding? email
This email is designed for people that have shown a high-level of interest in your marketing site and seem on the verge of making a decision.
Once a user signs up and begins to use your product, they enter an “activation” phase. The goal of any email that you send during this phase is to guide them through initial setup and usage. Many times, you will be trying to get a user from signup to “first value.” For example, Facebook is famous for trying to get users to invite 7 friends in 10 days because that is what they know will lead to activation and long-term engagement.
Some people might call emails during this phase ‘onboarding emails’ – which is fine. We prefer to tie the messages to a goal of activation, but either is fine. Typically these emails will come in a series (or a ‘drip’) based on (a) when a user signs up; and (b) what activities they have – or have NOT – completed. An example, 3-email, drip might look something like this:
Email: Welcome email
This email is sent upon a new user signing up. The goal is to introduce the user to your product and/or help them take their first step toward activation. This is a very important email – not only does this email help to get your users close to becoming active with your product, but it also introduces them to your brand. In many cases, this will be the first time your users will have received an email from your company.
Email: Follow-up 1a – after user successfully takes next step in activation
If your Welcome email is successful and your users take the next step in your activation process (this could be by creating a profile, adding a friend, connecting data – or whatever is the important next step for your product), you will likely want to send an email to get them to the next step.
Email: Follow-up 1b – to users who did NOT successfully take next step
For those new signups that DON’T make it to the next step, it is important to give them a reminder – a little nudge – to get them beyond a simple signup.
Of course, these activation drip campaigns can (and should) be much longer than this example. The length and nature of your activation campaigns will be dependent on your product and the specific steps your users will need to take in order to become “activated.”
Ongoing engagement campaigns
Once you have activated users, the next challenge is to keep them fully engaged so that they stick around for a long, long time. Ongoing engagement emails go beyond just simple activation messages and work to get your users engaged with all your important features.
A typical email for ongoing engagement would be a feature release announcement.
For any feature announcement, you shouldn’t settle for just one email. You should always schedule follow-up messages – both for users who have tried the feature and for those who haven’t. You could even have a third group of users who just kicked the tires – (i.e. – those users who only used the feature once).
Ongoing engagement email campaigns will be your main channel for communicating with your existing customer base. Doing this effectively – using actual product usage to target them in a relevant way – is essential for driving continued loyalty and engagement.
Yes, it’s true. Every software product has inactive users. It’s just a reality.
Which makes re-engagement campaigns an essential part of any messaging program. The goal of re-engagement campaigns is to – you guessed it – re-engage customers who have potentially lost interest and become inactive with your product.
There are many different approaches for re-engagement campaigns. Some companies use these emails as a last-ditch effort to try to show an inactive user the value of their product; others use discounts or other offers to entice people back; others try to get inactive users on the phone with a sales or customer success rep; and others accept the loss and use a re-engagement email as a way to gather feedback from an inactive user (in a somewhat subtle way to try to…re-engage them).
You should choose an approach that works best with your product, but whatever you do, don’t ignore re-engagement emails. It’s very important that you leave customers – even those ‘on their way out’ – with a positive experience. Their reasons for leaving may have nothing to do with your product. Yes, there is a small chance they will be back – but there is a significant chance that they will talk to future potential customers of your product.
Spend time building out good re-engagement campaigns. Your immediate conversion rate will be low, but they will pay off in the long run.
An example re-engagement email:
Reward emails are an oft overlooked, but highly effective emails. Unlike win-back emails that target users when they are inactive, reward emails target users when they ARE active. In fact, they are designed to reward users based on their activity. Reward emails are meant to make the recipient feel good about their activity. They should generate a shot of dopamine, generating positive feelings toward your brand.
Reward emails can be triggered based on specific activity, like using a feature for the first time; or based on time, like an anniversary. When used effectively, reward campaigns can be some of the most engaging programs you will run. We highly recommend building some reward campaigns into your engagement plans.
We hope this post has helped offer some ideas for starting points for your engagement email programs. The next step is simply to start building…and start shipping. All the emails described here are completely possible with Kissmetrics Campaigns. You can find more details on building your first campaign in this help doc, but it should be very straightforward.
Go forth and engage!
About the Author: Derek Skaletsky is the Head of Product and Services at Kissmetrics.