7 Strategies to Make Your Lifecycle Emails Work Smarter For You

One of my favorite learning moments this year was hearing from StatusPage.io CEO Steve Klein how getting your lifecycle emails right can increase your conversion rate and revenue to the point where you gain the breathing room to concentrate on other priorities.

Lifecycle emails give your business breathing room

In this tinselly time of year for reflection and resolutions, I’m reviewing our own lifecycle emails here at Customer.io and thinking about how we can make them work smarter for us. What better time to dig through our posts from the past year to round up our best tips and strategies for creating lifecycle emails that drive customer engagement and happiness.

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What Most Marketers Are Missing in Their Drip Emails

Marketing is like gardening or farming. Whether it’s leads, new users, or paying customers — your job is to nurture newbies to develop into great big fans. Your job is to cultivate.

It’s fitting that green-thumb marketers turn to drip campaigns, which relates back to the agricultural practice of drip irrigation. As Paul McFedries explains in Word Spy:

The phrase drip marketing may sound as though it’s based on the practice of water torture, but it actually comes from the phrase drip irrigation. This is an agriculture/gardening technique in which small amounts of water are fed to plants over long periods of time.

The concept is simple: provide value and care over time to grow happy customers. The problem is that marketers aren’t using email to its full potential to do so.

Drip marketing has been around a long time in various channels, but it gets messy when it comes to email. You’ll hear these terms used interchangeably — drip emails, automated emails, triggered emails, lifecycle emails, behavioral emails, autoresponders — causing confusion and misunderstanding.

We wanted to shed some light on what modern-day, sophisticated drip emails do and how to put them to work for you.

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Why You Should Use Video in Onboarding Emails

Dropbox was an incredibly novel idea — back in 2009. The concept of the cloud hadn’t quite broken into public consciousness yet and smartphones hadn’t reached its omnipresence. Explaining Dropbox to somone on the street in 2009 would’ve been met with confusion, misunderstanding, or disregard.

So Dropbox took a chance.

Rather than add lengthy explainers or detailed product descriptions to their marketing site, they changed the game for marketing consumer products on the web. Dropbox partnered with video studio Common Craft to make a 2-minute explainer video that cost them $50,000. They wiped the homepage slate clean to show only the explainer video and a download button.

old Dropbox homepage

Upon putting up the video, Dropbox’s conversion rate jumped up by 10%, resulting in 5 million new customers and $24 million in revenue. With over 25 million views today, the video played a huge role in getting Dropbox to 100 million users by 2012, with $0 advertising spend.

Video is one of the most effective ways to engage people — and not just as a way to drive product signups. Combine video with email, and you have a powerful engagement system on your hands, especially for user onboarding to educate, engage, and ultimately win happy customers.

Let’s dig into 3 reasons why video works so well in emails and the tactics you’ll need to incorporate video into your own campaigns.

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The Persuasion Playbook for Email Marketers

If you turn your Econ 101 textbook to the first page, you’ll find a definition of homo economicus: the economic man. It’s an old-school way to understand why people make the choices they do. This character is rational, self-interested, and thinks purely in terms of maximizing his utility. Nothing will persuade him except his own economic gain.

And as any marketer knows, that’s a totally unrealistic model.

Sure, we all value utility and economic gain, but we also chase rainbows, windmills, waterfalls, and that last cookie in the jar. Assuming that we’re 100% rational and self-interested is a myopic view of what actually motivates people. If your email marketing campaign is governed by this principle, you’re operating from an expired field guide.

how to email real people

You need to bring more to the table than a good product or a good deal. You need to persuade people to come and stay at your table in the first place.

What follows is our collection of 5 motivational principles to help make you a powerful communicator, no matter what message you’re trying to get across. We’ll dive into why these principles are effective and explore lots of ways you can apply them in your emails.

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