Email (or customer) journey mapping is a super simple method you can use to level-up your email marketing campaigns.
Although sending one-off email marketing and newsletters is all well and good, it is now more important than ever to use email marketing for the creation of customer journeys – the ongoing dialogue between you and your customers via email marketing.
Email journey mapping is an easy way to tick one of the most important boxes when it comes to email marketing: personalisation. Customers want to feel like the email they are receiving from you was meant for them, only them and nobody else.
Using email journey mapping, you can easily bond with your customers or clients and build up stronger relationships.
Many email journeys can be triggered by specific events which you define, such as the visiting of a certain product, and this is what makes them personal – they are emails sent on the unique action(s) of a customer.
With the number of e-commerce customers expected to exceed 2 billion by 2020 – perhaps earlier – it is more important than ever that your email marketing campaigns influence subscribers and convince them to make purchases by being personable, engaging and informative.
This is where email journey mapping can really help you, and what this guide is for. In this guide, I am going to teach you everything which you need to know about email journey mapping from start-to-finish.
It does not matter how far along your email campaigns are, whether you need a little bit of help or would like me to take care of your entire email marketing campaign, my team and I are here to help you get the best results from your email marketing campaigns.
I have put together lot of useful resources and guides which can teach you how to build successful email marketing campaigns. By following my email journey planning guide, I can guarantee that you will see great results!
My name is Murray Dare, and I have been working in digital marketing for over ten years. Throughout my time in the industry, I have helped thousands of people realise the potential of their email marketing campaigns, design their websites and improve search engine optimisation.
I have built websites from the ground-up, led a team of web developers and managed projects for major clients, including large-scale migration projects.
I hope that my guide will help you curate your email journey map for your email marketing campaign, and that all of my other email marketing-related resources on my website help you build amazing email marketing campaigns which deliver the results you are both capable of and deserve.
I believe that I am unique as a digital marketing professional in that I teach regular people – just like you – the ins and outs of email marketing; I do not just explain them.
If at any point whilst reading this guide you feel lost or confused, or simply would like some guidance about creating an email journey map, feel free to reach out to me via email. Remember, I am here only to help you achieve better results from your email marketing campaigns.
Enough about me, though, let’s get to the important stuff!
To put it simply, email journey mapping is the way you can map out the journey your customers are taking when they open your emails and interact with them, and it is a useful tool to personalise an individual customer’s experience with your brand or business.
With email journey mapping, you can cleverly pinpoint exactly what your customers are looking at or what they are interested in, and then send them where they need to go through a simple marketing email which is tailored to that customer.
Email journey mapping works using marketing automation whereby emails are sent automatically when your customer carries out an action which activates a pre-defined trigger.
Instead of sending blanket newsletters to all of your subscribers, you can set up these triggers to automatically send emails to subscribers when they meet them. So, for instance, you could set up a trigger for a customer to be sent a marketing email for a specific range of products when they visit a certain part of your website.
Using email journey mapping and market automation, you can easily create marketing emails which are saved and then sent when they matter the most, and are most likely to be engaged with.
It is a simple and effective method of curating personalised emails which drive up conversion rates and lead to repeat sales, whilst building brand identity and trust among your subscribers.
The best way to think of email journey mapping is as a story; it is the dialogue between you – the vendor – and your customer. It is your personal story with the customer from the very first day they become one, and it is your job to keep it going!
Email journey mapping has endless opportunities and it gives you the chance to get very creative if you want to. You can also keep it simple with these five classic examples of effective email journey mapping –
The best way to kick off your customer’s email journey is with a simple welcome email. Whether a subscriber has come through your sign-up form or they have made a purchase, the welcome email is the best way to start. Even if your customer has not yet made a purchase but has signed up to your email list, still send this welcome email to make them feel valued – it increases the likelihood that they will indeed end up making a purchase.
There are multiple ways you can go about sending reminders to your customers:
Sending a reminder based off a key date is a great way to deliver a timely piece of marketing to your subscriber, encouraging them to make a purchase.
Depending on the products you sell, you could send a reminder email to remind them to buy a refill (i.e. if you sell shaving products). No matter what you are selling or what service you are offering, always send some form of follow-up reminder email to a customer, even if it is just an invitation to a survey.
Much like your welcome email, include a call to action at the end so that the customer can do what you are suggesting with ease.
The classic example of these are birthdays – sending a special offer or discount code is a very effective way to encourage repeated customer purchases.
Collecting information about a customer’s birthday is very easy and it’s a great piece of information to have. There are lots of ways you can go about collecting this, such as obtaining it through content such as pop-ups which entice visitors to enter their date of birth in return for special birthday offers.
When you have got a customer’s birthday in your databank, you can schedule an email to automatically go out on that date. Be careful, though, and make sure the overriding theme of the email is to wish your customer a happy birthday! Including a cheeky discount code thereafter is fine, though.
Sending emails on a customer’s birthday can be a very powerful marketing strategy, especially if you have segmented your email list right down to the specifics, as it will end up more personalised. Remember – the more personalised an email, the more actionable it is!
Winning back customers who have dropped off of the grid can be as easy as sending a simple re-engagement email which is as personalised as you can make it.
After all, the customer decided to make a purchase or subscribe to your email once, right? In that case, there is very little standing in the way of you re-engaging them and having them brought back on board.
Sending a range of automated emails (not too many, though) to re-engage your customer and have them make a new purchase can be a good way to increase sales and conversions.
These emails should be interesting – use these re-engagement emails as a way to show your subscribers what the brand has been up to, any new products you have on offer or any upcoming special events.
If you have a customer who was once buying lots of your products, but seems to have slowed down a little, why not give them the VIP treatment? It costs a lot more to acquire new customers than retain previous ones, so making customers feel that little bit extra special can really pay off.
You can set up a trigger to send an automated email to a customer who has not made a purchase in X amount of time. In this email, go the whole nine yards and make the customer feel like they matter to you – divvy out the VIP treatment with some personalised offers, or enrol them in a VIP club if you have one (another great idea!).
As you can see, pulling together the content for email journey mapping is actually very simple. You may even be sending some of these emails already, or sending emails in addition to your standard marketing emails which could be used as a part of your email journey mapping.
Now that you have an idea of what email journey mapping is, you may be wondering how to set it up.
It’s pretty simple to do and doesn’t take too long. If you’ve already created some email marketing materials, you are already well on your way. Should you need any help with any aspect of email journey mapping, feel free to fire me an email over.
As with a marketing campaign, email journey mapping requires planning. By having a plan in place, you will know what you are trying to achieve and how to go about achieving it.
Before you get to making your email journey mapping plan, make sure you are collecting data from your customers and subscribers with which you can actually make an email journey.
If you are not collecting data, then rectify this by optimising your website and/or email subscription forms to include more data fields.
Birthday, reminder and other triggered emails require you to have some data on your customers and subscribers. Some useful pieces of data for email triggering are –
When you have got data collection sorted and you start having valuable information flooding in, your next step is to decide what your goals are for your email journey.
Do you want to use your email journey map to convert non-customer subscribers into customers, or would you like to remind your current customers of key dates and deals? Perhaps you would like to re-engage long-lost customers instead, or have your current subscribers spread the word about you.
Deciding on the right goal(s) for your email journey map is to have them meet your marketing plan’s goals. Take a step back and see how your goals for email journey mapping fit in with your marketing and then go from there. The end-result is to deliver valuable content to your subscribers no matter what your goals are.
With your goals clearly defined and data flowing in, you are in the right position to start drafting your content.
Trying to convert subscribers into customers? Try with email content which welcomes them to your brand, thanks them for subscribing and offers them some form of a discount on their first purchase or another special offer.
Trying to encourage repeat customers? Send emails which demonstrate some of your newer products and explain what’s being going on behind the scenes recently. You can also offer a special offer here, too, if you wish.
Trying to increase your exposure? Entice your subscribers to spread the word about your business or brand through the use of social sharing buttons and high-quality actionable content which promotes an emotive response and is worth reading.
Plan out the content of your email journey in the context of your goals and the data which you are harvesting. By doing this, you will only be creating emails which are focused and drive results.
Now that everything else is in place, you can define your triggers – the events which will cause your automated emails to be sent out.
Your email triggers define your email journey and cause the emails to automatically reach your subscribers. The specifics of each trigger will depend on what the goal of each email is, and so the rules relating to each trigger will slightly differ.
To go back to our example of your goal being to convert subscribers into customers, your trigger would be a new subscriber joining your email list through the subscription form, and the rule would be to send the welcome email to that subscriber. These triggers are not complex, and they are totally customisable, providing you with complete creative control over your brand’s email journey.
For a date-orientated email, the trigger would be the date and the rule may be to send an email a few days prior to the date in question (i.e. a birthday) to give its recipient the chance to look at your website before their big day. Another example may be to send an email to a customer a few days prior to a subscription or service starting or renewing, such as a car insurance policy or an annual subscription to a magazine.
When everything is set, set the wheels in motion and see how your email journey performs. Keep optimising it by making tweaks and adding extra content, data points and triggers to benefit fully.
The results from your email journey will not be instantaneous, though, so be patient and check your email analytics after around a week or two, if not longer. By their nature, email journeys take longer than typical pieces of email marketing to be interacted with.
Believe me when I say that you will notice when the results start coming in! So long as you are patient and persistent in your tweaking and addition of new content, there is no reason why an email journey cannot have a significant impact on your conversions and sales in the long-term.
If you are having a little trouble piecing all of this together, have a read of this example of an email journey in action.
Let’s suppose you run a website which sells running shoes and you have an email list to whom you send newsletters and marketing emails.
One day, a new visitor to your site pops their email into your email subscription form and are added to your email list. Your visitor then leaves your website. A couple of hours later, they receive an email welcoming them to your email list and thanking them for subscribing, including a discount code for 30% off their first purchase.
Later that week, this person comes across this email and notices your code. They visit your site again and place a pair of shoes in their basket before, again, leaving the site. A day or two later, they receive an email reminding them that there are items pending in their basket.
One evening, the visitor once again sees your email and remembers that they did not actually buy the shoes they liked and that they still have your 30% off code. They then visit your site for the third time and complete their purchase using the discount code.
Happy days! Your customer has gone through one of the most basic of email journeys and has been converted from a subscriber into a paying customer.
As you can see, the email journey is a very simple, very lucrative way to convert your subscribers into first-time and repeat customers. There are so many different ways you can use email journey mapping to convert leads; this is the very basic and most simplistic example.
Email journey mapping allows your creativity to run rampant and you can do pretty much anything with it. It is an incredibly simple-to-deploy marketing solution which is personable, powerful and actionable.
By now, you should have an idea of how you can use email journey mapping to transform your email marketing campaign. It is very simple to do; it does not require any specialist knowledge, fancy tools or technical ability.
Companies have been using email journey mapping for years to engage their subscribers and drive up their sales. There is a reason for this – because it works! You could get your very first email journey map up and running within a matter of hours and then use it as a means to develop further, more complex email journeys as you learn more about it and collect more data.
I don’t think you are going to have any trouble with this at all and you could soon be well on your way to dramatically improving your conversions and sales. Should you have any questions, feel a little confused or want to clarify a few points, feel free to reach out to me.
Myself and my team are more than happy to provide you with a helping hand and get your email journey mapping off to the right start.
It does not matter at which point your email marketing campaigns are at, or if you even have one yet. There is no right time to start an email journey map off and there are many benefits associated with starting it off alongside your general email marketing campaign.
Make sure you check out my blog to learn more about email marketing I regularly post lots of insightful and useful resources here relating to all aspects of the email marketing process.