First impressions matter in any relationship. The first date. The first job interview.The first haircut at a salon.
Marketers hope to leverage momentum from the first experience towards a second purchase. The one-to-two purchase conversion is the first step in what hopefully turns into a long-lasting, repeat-buying relationship.
The numbers back it up. Two-time buyers are 9 times more likely to repeat than first-time shoppers. Granted, there is some debate around this figure. How much of the 1x-to-2x conversion is 'nature' (acquiring great customers) vs 'nurture' (an effective welcome series). It's nearly impossible to tell, but most marketers agree it's a combination of both.
As a result, the welcome series has become a critical component to every retention marketing game plan. The welcome series — an aptly named (and relatively easy to set up) succession of automated emails that introduce a new customer to a brand— is a great start and a clear improvement to the alternative of doing nothing.
Most marketing teams create a single sequence of emails designed to help new shoppers learn about the brand and product portfolio. Teams set-up the series within their Email Service Provider so all new customers have the same “new customer experience.”
The ideal next step would be to start personalizing the series. In theory, the team would craft a special sequence for every unique shopper. Each sequence would show the right categories of products, hit the right creative vibe, contain the right language, and be sent when most likely to be opened. However, personally tailoring each welcome series is challenging for two main reasons:
1. Limited data (only one purchase)
2. Creative constraints
Without a magical ability to hand craft a unique experience for each customer, most marketing teams create a generic welcome series — and in some cases they'll layer add a little product personalization. Product personalization is obviously an important component in creating a relevant message, but it's far from the only one.
Simply personalizing the SKUs displayed in an email helps, but the impact is marginal. Fortunately, more can be done. This brings us to the ~Spectrum of Personalization~.
Dynamic SKU's only move you a few notches up on the Spectrum. Fortunately, more can be done.
It might sound old-school in this age of 1-to-1-single-view-of-the-customer buzzwords, but our trusted friend, segmentation, can take us closer to "Paul Rudd level" communications while striking the right balance of creative effort.
Let's say there's two "types" of shoppers within a customer base: "athletes" and "trendsetters."
While it's not realistic to have the creative team design an email for every single customer, it's not as far-fetched to create two versions of each email in the welcome series — one for the athlete and one for the trend-setter. The narratives for each series could leverage different creative assets, language, and tone. While there's a cost to investing in these creatives, the relevance of the email can improve so much that the return on investment makes it more than worth it.
To read more about addressing the one-time buyer problem, check out our book.