Customers are more receptive to messaging when it resonates with their current situations. A customer who just purchased a software package will be more interested in a setup guide than a longtime client who hasn't made a similar purchase recently. In June 2010, Wasp Barcode Technologies decided to leverage this idea, creating and rolling out a campaign of nine timed emails aimed at new customers.
The company—which sells barcode technology such as printers, labels and accessories—wanted to reach its existing small-business customers with more timely information and offers, said Brian Sutter, director-marketing at Wasp Barcode Technologies. “Customer surveys indicated that time constraints were causing business owners to delay implementing [our] MobileAsset software after a purchase,” he said. “The campaign was conceived to improve the 'onboarding process' and encourage users to engage with the software immediately after activation, to increase the likelihood that small-business owners would recommend the software to their peers.”
The campaign took the form of nine triggered emails over a post-purchase; the emails went out after a customer activated the software license. Once the product was activated, the data was passed from Wasp's CRM system into the company's MarketFirst email marketing system (from CDC Software) and the campaign automatically initiated. (“Let's say [the customer] bought an entry-level product and upgrade within 60 days,” Sutter said. “Our system knows to move them to that upgraded product's list.”)
The first email—a message about the company's free training—was sent 24 hours after a customer activated the software, encouraging them to watch an online session or attend a live, one-hour Web training. “It really gets them started using the product,” Sutter said.
The next email, which provides details about tutorials that can be downloaded, went out three days after the first email was received. Emails three through nine were spaced 30 days apart. Each tried to improve a user's experience and satisfaction. For example, email No. 3 is an offer to buy an extended warranty. “Since people only have a 60-day window to buy an extended warranty, we want them to know about it before time is up,” Sutter said. Emails four and five offer more how-tos and tips; email six offers accessory upselling; and email seven offers a product upgrade. Email eight is a satisfaction survey.
The series has a low opt-out level, Sutter said, adding that the activation campaign opt-outs are 60% lower than in other campaigns. Even more significant are the open rates, which have yielded a 105% lift over previous efforts. Another perk: 50% of new testimonial leads have come directly from the email campaign, and click-throughs for complimentary products are averaging 25% higher than previous in campaigns.
“A big reason for our success is that we're sending relevant emails,” Sutter said. “We're not sending training help for a product that a customer has not purchased or has purchased a long time ago. By helping our customers get a return on investment, we are validating our product and our service commitment, and really creating a relationship.”