Automated Subscriber Onboarding
For most publishers, the primary goal of onboarding new subscribers is to cement the new relationship, with the initial objectives being subscriber engagement and communication of benefits and/or cross-selling of other publications.
How, when, and what is communicated will do much to determine the extent to which new subscribers take advantage of and appreciate the wide range of potential benefits of and this and potential future purchases. This directly impacts whether or not they will choose to remain subscribers and/or purchase additional products (such as other publications or paid webinars).
“The Truth About Customer Experience” (Harvard Business Review, 2013) supports the notion that thinking about and improving the entire customer journey is enormously beneficial to companies across the product and service spectrum, and an onboarding email campaign is an ideal vehicle to educate new customers, set their expectations, and direct their journey in the most positive direction possible:
“In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, and increased revenue,“
The key to effective onboarding campaigns is relevance – new subscriber communications that have been tailored according to each recipient’s preferences and interests will resonate much more directly and will be more effective in guiding new subscribers to the product offerings that will be most appealing to them.
The “customer decision journey” concept put forth by McKinsey & Co in 2009 consists of five stages, and Marketing Automation can help optimize your ability to excel at each:
- Consider: What brands/products do prospects have in mind as they contemplate a purchase?
- Evaluate: prospects gather information to narrow their choices.
- Buy: prospects decide on a brand and buy it.
- Post-purchase experience: new customers reflect on the buying experience, creating expectations/considerations that will inform a subsequent purchase.
- Advocate: customers tell others about the product or service they bought.
- Bond: customers skip or short-circuit the evaluation process and decide not to switch brands.
For purposes of this brief, we will focus on how onboarding campaigns can help with the final three (those that take place after the initial purchase).
Beginning at the moment of subscription, timely email messages relaying information that is directly relevant and appropriate to the individual recipient serve as reliable and cost-effective touchpoints along the ideal subscriber journey. The concepts are familiar and most publishers know exactly what they would like to send to each type of new subscriber and at what time. The challenge has been the execution of tailored and timely message campaigns.
2015 brings good news: Marketing Automation was purpose-built to do this. EXACTLY this.
Real Magnet’s Marketing Automation solution has pre-built “Welcome” campaigns that will automatically send the right onboarding message to the right new subscriber at the right time.
It can read the appropriate field in your subscriber database and use that information to launch a campaign that includes whatever messages you’ve chosen. Further, it sends each individual message at precisely the intervals you’ve selected – all without requiring any involvement of staff.
This automated campaign provides valet-level service to each new subscriber and frees staff to focus on other projects.
With such compelling benefits, one might ask why all publishers aren’t already using Marketing Automation. The answer is ease of use. While Marketing Automation has existed as a technology category for over a decade, systems available thus far have been extraordinarily complex and difficult to use. Real Magnet undertook to address this by developing from the ground up a system that was so easy to use that a first-time user could create and launch campaigns without needing training or assistance.
One of the innovations we employed to achieve this was use of a templated approach. To create a Welcome campaign for new subscriber onboarding, for example, simply select “Welcome” from the publishing-specific drop-down menu shown below, and you’ll be guided through the setup process with a short series of simple questions.
How many messages would you like to send?
At what intervals should each message be sent?
Which messages would you like to send?
Who should receive these messages?
That’s it! Simple.
Every new subscriber will receive this campaign with exactly the sequence and timing you’ve chosen without anyone on staff having to remember to run the new subscriber report, set up the email send, and then launch it. Marketing Automation lets you set it and forget it!
For details about how we’ve simplified Marketing Automation, please read Part I of the Real Magnet Solution Series: “Have We Automated Marketing Automation?”, view a recording of an April 8th, 2015 webinar we conducted with Publishing Executive titled How Marketing Automation Can Accelerate Publisher Audience Development or contact us to see it for yourself!