Welcoming a new customer to your website, service or publication is one of the most important conversations you can have. It sets the tone for the rest of your relationship together – get it wrong and it’s very difficult to claw your way back. Get it right and you have a far better chance of a profitable relationship.
It’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all welcome journey – your product is different to mine. Your onboarding might be long and complicated, involving 3rd party suppliers, cooling-off periods and equipment dispatch (such as in the phone & broadband industry) or it might be short and simple (like welcoming you to follow this blog). Your channel mix may vary – it may be entirely online, involve a sales person, a physical welcome pack, a gift… but whatever your situation there are some basic rules to follow.
- Make every communication count – build your journey around relevancy
If we send a communication when we have nothing to say, we damage not this part of the journey but the whole of the future relationship. In the case of email, we’ll diminish the open rates of all subsequent emails.
Building relevancy requires significant work – it will require investigation as to precisely what the customer needs to know at every stage of the journey. It may also require significant content development (online help articles for example).
- Ensure everything is benefit-led
Sounds simple, but in a complex welcome journey, it can be tempting to send purely functional communications. As a good marketer, you can turn that functional message into a benefit led one, can’t you?
Your customer has shared lots of information with you – it makes sense to play that back to them. If you know their name, use it. If you know their communication preferences, use them. Use conditional content based on customer behaviour. Do everything you can to make the customer think they are having a conversation with you and not receiving an off-the-shelf welcome pack.
And you can use the welcome process to build your customer knowledge – using quizzes and surveys for example.
- Make it measurable
Can you measure everything? If not, why are you doing it? What can you learn from it?
I recently worked on a journey which was deemed to be failing. The first measurable email had an open rate of 25% (we should be looking for 50%+ for a welcome email). It turns out that the system sent a number of text only emails before the first marketing email was received. Once we were able to track the first set of emails (sure enough, getting 50% open rate), we were able to see that it was the content of this email that was disengaging customers, leading to the reduced open rate for the rest of the journey.
- Check your sat-nav
Is it a journey or is it a collection of communications? Does the customer have a clear picture of where we’re taking them? If there is no sense of journey, there’s every chance they won’t reach the destination.