For many eCommerce stores, especially when you’re growing, a lot of effort goes into marketing to acquire new customers. This includes ads, promotions on other sites, website copy, videos, and more. Since you’re spending so many resources on customer acquisition, don’t drop the ball once the customer is acquired! The lifetime value of the customer can be much more than a single sale.

This is where lifecycle emails come in.

A customer who has already purchased from your store trusts your brand enough to have spent their money. It is up to you to grow this trust and build a community of loyal customers who will not only come back to purchase more products, but also recommend your products to others.

Lifecycle emails: Introduction and basics

Lifecycle emails are targeted emails based on specific points in a customer’s journey while interacting with your brand. The steady flow of emails over a long term can help keep your brand top of mind with customers and nurture a relationship with your brand. This can lead to more sales through higher order values, provide valuable feedback about your products, and generate further referrals.

Nurtured leads create 47% higher order values compared to non-nurtured ones.

Although people are spending more time on social media today than ever before, email is still one of the best marketing channels for conversion. In addition, their lifetime value is 12% higher than the average of different marketing channels.

In this way, lifecycle emails can not only build customer loyalty, but also increase sales. In a previous post, we discussed how emails can become a useful tool for customer service. Today, we’ll go over different stages in a customer’s journey when you can send automated personalized emails, and a few plugins that can help you manage lifecycle emails.

One important thing to include in your emails is the unsubscribe link. Most email marketing platforms have this functionality right out of the box. The option to unsubscribe makes sure that you are not “spamming” customers who don’t wish to receive these emails. In addition, more customers would be receptive to ongoing emails knowing that they can choose to unsubscribe whenever they want. Including the unsubscribe link is also required by law in many countries, like Canada, with the penalty of a fine if you don’t adhere to the regulations.

Let’s look at examples of when you can send customers emails, and some plugins that can help automate lifecycle emails.

Lifecycle emails: Points of engagement

Based on your business and customer journey, you can pick different points at which to send customers an email. Here is a list of a few stages when we recommend sending customers an email:

First-time purchase

When a person purchases a product on your store for the first time, try to send them more than just the automated receipt email. If you want to streamline the number of emails you send, you can also customize your receipt email to include a thank you message, a discount for additional purchases, instructions on how to use a physical product, or to start a conversation.

first time purchase lifecycle emails

Email for first-time purchase of a physical product

When a customer receives something that adds value to their purchase, the customer leaves with a positive experience of your brand.

If you use WooCommerce, you can easily trigger emails for first-time purchases with the AutomateWoo plugin.

Welcome email

One of the most important lifecycle emails is the welcome email. The welcome email can be for customers who make a purchase, sign up for your service, or simply create an account on your store. Welcome emails create long-term engagement from customers as you can tailor the email for a specific action.

Welcome emails increase customer engagement with a brand by 33%.

You can create different types of emails with different tones based on your brand. Below are two examples of welcome emails – one from Stripe and the other from Buffer.

formal email lifecycle emails

A more formal welcome email with instructions

Emails can be formal in tone, especially when you are selling to enterprise customers. You can also include instructions or next-steps on what the customers can do, and point them to the FAQs if you typically receive questions after customers purchase your product or services.

Your welcome emails can be more informal in tone and layout as well. This tone can be more inviting for conversation with your customers. In addition, an automated email signed by the founders/co-founders can make customers feel more valued and that their feedback or concern will be taken seriously.

informal email lifecycle emails

Emails signed by an individual helps give a face to the interaction

Take a look at some more examples of welcome emails by leading brands to get ideas for your own welcome emails. One thing to always include is to thank customers/members for signing up with their email.

Left a review

You can automate sending an email each time a customer submits a review for your products (this is another place where WooCommerce stores can benefit from using AutomateWoo).

You can consider including a reward for the time they took to leave a review, whether favorable or not. If you want to go this route, giving out store points for a review can be a great reward. If it was a positive review, you only take the experience further with the reward. If it was a negative review, you get an opportunity to create a positive experience for that customer.

Remember, people trust word-of-mouth, reviews and testimonials of other people who have purchased your products. Reviews can be a strong marketing tool for your store. An email thanking people for their review will go a long way in making them feel appreciated.

2-week follow up

Schedule an email 2 weeks after a customer receives your product to ask for feedback and their experience. This gives people enough time to get used to your product and develop some useful feedback.

This feedback can help you not only see what you are doing right, but also address customer concerns, improve your products, and find areas which are pain points for customers. For example, the customers may be happy with your products, but may have had a bad experience with the courier company you use.

For shipped products, note to send the email 2 weeks after the customer has received the product, not made the purchase.

Order value

You can send customers a thank you note and a reward for spending over a certain amount on your store.

Discounts and new products

Send customers emails about discounts and promotions at your store throughout the year. For an existing customer, it can be annoying if they missed out on a sale because they weren’t informed, or if it was advertised elsewhere and not to them. You also get a buy in for emailing customers as they know they don’t have to check your website again and again to avoid missing promotions.

You can inform customers not only about promotions, but also about new products that you add to your store or service. This keeps them in the know of what is happening with your brand.

new product email lifecycle emails

Email about Uber’s new service

Lifecycle emails: Useful plugins and apps

Both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads several helpful extensions that can help you create and manage lifecycle emails for your store.

  1. AutomateWoo (WooCommerce) – starting at $99
    The AutomateWoo extension for WooCommerce lets you send and track emails based on abandoned carts, new discounts, follow ups, order values, wishlist-on-sale, and more, making it super-useful for lifecycle email automation. You can also automate sending SMS notification to customers based on specific triggers.

  2. Follow Up Emails (WooCommerce) – starting at $99
    The Follow Up Emails extension for WooCommerce allows you to automate and create lifecycle emails. You can also track engagement by seeing the number of clicks, opens, etc. to see which emails get the best results. Emails can be personalized by using merge tags and you can customize the layout and design of each email or campaign.

  3. Receiptful (WooCommerce, EDD) – starting at $19 per month
    The Receiptful extension for WooCommerce, or the corresponding EDD extension, gives you the ability to modify your receipt emails to include special messages, promotions and sharing options. You can also automate emails for abandoned carts, follow-ups, and more.

  4. EDD Conditional Emails (EDD) – starting at $29
    The Conditional Emails extension for Easy Digital Downloads helps you create emails that are automatically sent to customers based on triggers like pending payments, abandoned carts, etc.

    Read more about Conditional Emails in our previous post.

  5. EDD Product Updates (EDD) – starting at $49
    The Product Updates extension for Easy Digital Downloads is a powerful plugin that lets you customize and automate personalized emails to customers when you release an update for a product. You can preview the templates and send test emails to ensure they look the way you want them to on different devices.

Lifecycle emails: Summary

Great customer experiences happen when it’s not all about the sale. If customers are being pitched a sale every single time you contact them, then their value is only as good as the sale. When you email customers, try to give them value, rather than ask for value. You can even exchange value for something in return that is not a sale.

Use lifecycle emails to engage customers after they’ve made their purchase or signed up, and build loyalty. Loyal customers are much more likely to shop again and recommend your brand to others. This will lead to more sales, and more importantly, even more engaged customers.

What do you use to stay in touch with your customers? Have you seen a rise in revenue because of it? Tell us in the comments.

Posted by Jai Sangha

Jai is a regular contributor to Sell with WP, and helps merchants improve their WordPress eCommerce businesses with plugin reviews, marketing or customer service tips, and tutorials.


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