Effective Email Marketing at Every Stage of the Customer Cycle

Nov 21, 2017


min read

Selling something is easy. Inspiring brand loyalty? Not so much.

Nowadays, getting your brand to sell just isn't enough. Businesses don't sell products anymore - they're replaced by user experiences, and customers judge you not on how good your product (or service) is, but on how well you deliver the whole package.

Satisfying customers in every stage of the customer lifecycle is now the key to inspiring customer loyalty.

And with 77% of consumers who prefer receiving emails than other forms of digital marketing, email is still one of the most effective ways of growing a business. For your business to be able to deliver a seamless experience, knowing the five stages of the customer life cycle can help you level up your marketing campaigns and allow you to send the right content to customers at the right time.

For example, an email with a discount code for a new gadget may convince someone who’s already interested in buying the gadget to purchase from you. But it won’t have the same effect to someone who’s not even thinking of buying the gadget in the first place. These customers are in different stages of the lifecycle, and you need to send customized messages to get each in the next stage and ultimately make that purchase.

Knowing what stage your customers are in prevents recipients from clicking that ‘Mark as Spam’ button, which is an email marketer’s worst nightmare. Here’s a look at email examples you could send for each stage of the customer lifecycle:

Stage 1: Awareness

Awareness is the first stage in the customer lifecycle. In this stage, potential customers are just starting to recognize a problem they’re having, and it’s your job to reach them out and further educate them on how they can solve their problem. Email marketing is one of the best ways to do this.

In the awareness stage, you don’t want to sell your product right away, just like you wouldn’t ask someone you just met to buy your products without making sure he really needs it. Focus on giving value by educating your potential customers and setting them up for the next stage of the cycle.

In the example below, Strava, a social network for athletes, highlights the importance of having a community to bond with during workouts. They made readers aware of companionship, a vital ingredient that’s missing in their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Strava social network for athletes.

Other email ideas during the Awareness Stage:

  • How-to articles - to provide solutions and establish your authority in a topic

  • Links to related content – to further educate potential customers in their problem

Stage 2: Consideration

Once your potential customers become aware of the specific problem they’re having, they’ll move on to the consideration stage. In this stage, they’re focused on looking for solutions and comparing them side-by-side to see which one is the best for them.

Remember: you’re selling an experience, not a product, so sending an email that outlines why your brand is better than the competition is a huge plus.

Trouva, an online marketplace that specializes in unique finds from independent boutiques all over UK, goes the extra mile in their consideration-stage email and even outlines a map of boutiques that people can use to get to their favorite boutiques.

Trouva, email template.

Other ideas for the Consideration Stage:

  • Reviews and testimonials from existing customers

  • Free webinars to teach users how your product works

Stage 3: Decision

This is where your potential customers have sifted through her options, almost ready to make that decision. They just need a little push to tip them in the right direction - like sending them an email notification for your limited free shipping for Father’s Day. That’s what shaving equipment retailer Harry’s did in one of its email campaigns to make it easier for guys to click on that checkout button.

Harry, email campaign.

Other ideas for the Decision Stage:

  • Premium trial invitation - some users are skeptical, and the key to winning them over is letting them have a “free taste” of what you can offer for a limited time.

  • Offer money-back guarantee on online orders

Stage 4: Retention

In this stage of customer lifecycle, the emails you send focus less on selling something and more on nurturing the relationship that you’ve already established with your customer. Emails sent in this stage tend to be more casual and written on a personal perspective, like what Frank Chimero did to promote his online pop-up shop AOK.

Frank Chimero, email template.

Other ideas for the Retention Stage:

  • Holiday cards with exclusive promo codes

  • Collect feedback on your service through surveys

Stage 5: Loyalty/Advocacy

Having regular customers is great, but having loyal customers – those who are so passionate about your brand that they become unofficial brand ambassadors – that’s even more awesome. Using marketing automation to promote causes that you support is an effective way of improving brand loyalty and turning your repeat customers into brand ambassadors.

Frank Body, an Australian-based skincare company known for its signature body coffee scrub, used a simple email to encourage their customers to advocate the fight against breast cancer – and promote the brand at the same time.

frank body, email template.

Other ideas for the Loyalty/Advocacy Stage:

  • A special member discount as reward to brand loyalty

  • Personal messages from VIPs in the company (e.g., thank-you letters from the CEO)


To make email marketing bring high ROI to your business, you need to keep your bases covered and customize emails based on where your customers are in the customer lifecycle. Every business will have different recipes for success, but mixing the right amounts of creativity and powerful marketing automation can ensure satisfaction both for you and your customers.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Article by

Kimberly Maceda

Kimberly Maceda is a Content Writer for ActiveTrail. She comes up with brilliant content about email marketing and automations to keep customers updated with the trends. Activetrail is a leading provider of professional-grade email marketing and automation software for growing businesses.

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