How to Reach People at the Right Moment with Customer Journey Builder

Automated, relevant messaging enables flexible paths to purchase for each customer so you can scale quickly.

As a business owner, it’s your job to guide each potential customer through their journey from the time they first encounter your brand to conversion and beyond. Each interaction should be relevant as customers move from browsing through consideration to buying.

Customer Journey builder makes this process easy—it helps you design dynamic paths for your prospects and customers regardless of where they are in their experience with you. Paths to purchase are not necessarily linear, so these journeys must branch based on customers’ behaviors.

“Our Customer Journey builder gives small businesses a way to design adaptable paths and messaging that guide customers where you want them to go,” says Sean Fletcher, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Mailchimp. “And then, automations execute relevant messages that increase your company’s marketing capacity.”

Mapping out your customer journey

With a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface, Customer Journey builder gives you the ability to design automated journeys that branch in different directions based on the actions a customer takes (or doesn’t take).

“Since there are endless possible paths, this is a way of letting you target people based on where they are in the journey, from learning about you to conversion,” says Trevor Wolfe, Director of Product Marketing at Mailchimp.

The automations you create to send messages to people at certain points on these journeys are on the clock 24/7, creating connections with prospects and customers, even when you’re away from the office or working on other business priorities. You can stay top of mind with your audience and increase your capacity to connect with people without manually creating new emails every time someone engages with you.

It’s key to craft a journey that connects with customers in a meaningful way at these 5 important stages.

1. Acquisition

At the earliest stage of your interaction, it’s essential to establish your brand as a reliable, go-to resource. Remember that your customers are also looking at your competition as they begin their research. A series of welcome emails can make a good first impression and help you steer customers toward the path you want them to take.

“Welcome automations can be based on different triggers to personalize the message,” says Trevor.

Include meaningful content in your welcome messages to introduce people to your brand, demonstrate expertise, and position yourself as a thought leader they can trust.

  • Use welcome emails to refer prospective customers to blog posts or pages on your website that educate them about what you offer and how much you know.
  • Share content about what you offer, but avoid a hard sell at this early stage.
  • Provide perks like discount codes, and try to gather more information about the customer for future marketing, such as their birthday, home address, or size information (if pertinent to your business).

2. Consideration

At this point, your prospect is still looking at several different solutions to their problem. This means that keeping them engaged is key, so you can continue to demonstrate why you’re the best choice and direct them toward the decision or purchase stage.

“If you know which emails they’ve opened—or haven’t opened—you can create appropriate messaging to further the conversation,” explains Trevor.

Marketing automations can bring a customer back to your website and keep them on the right path.

  • An abandoned cart email reminds people to come back to your website and complete a purchase.
  • A product retargeting email nudges them to come back and reconsider buying items they viewed on your website.
  • If someone opened an email newsletter but didn’t click through to any content on your website, a follow-up message could remind them of the opportunities they missed.

3. Decision or purchase stage

Now your prospect has narrowed down their list of potential vendors and is ready to decide. What they need is confirmation and encouragement that their decision is the right one.

Your potential new customer will have questions. A customizable Customer Journey map can help you create an automated path where they can access the information they want. This path can take them right up to conversion, and when they take that step, you can place them on a new journey where you thank them for their business and ask for feedback.

You can establish different types of outreach depending on how long someone has been considering your product or service.

  • If you’re a retailer, you might send a discount or free shipping code to those who’ve been on the fence for a while to convince them to finally buy.
  • If you offer a service, people earlier in the customer journey might be swayed by educational content like a white paper or webinar.
  • Thank-you automations and requests for feedback, reviews, or testimonials can be queued up to send right after a purchase.

4. Retention

Keeping customers satisfied so they’ll purchase again is the next essential step to growing your business. A product follow-up journey solicits feedback and makes recommendations for future purchases.

When you use tagging in your customer relationship management (CRM) system, you can easily determine the next best action to take to keep customers on the right path. Tags allow you to label contacts based on what you know about them, such as the last time they did business with you or what they purchased or viewed on your website. Automations based on what you know about customers can help you retain their business.

  • If someone is doing business with you regularly, an email with a special VIP offer may be appropriate.
  • If a customer shopped at your brick-and-mortar location but hasn’t purchased from your website, automated outreach could let them know they can buy online and ship to your store.
  • Automations that recognize special dates like birthdays or the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase by offering a special discount help you build relationships.
  • Customers who visit a business such as a restaurant or resort for a special occasion might appreciate automated reminders to make a reservation for their next celebration.

5. Re-engagement

Despite your best efforts to keep everyone coming back, sometimes customers stray. This is where having an automated re-engagement journey in place can help.

One way to re-engage lapsed customers is win-back automation, which focuses on whatever action you want them to take, says Sean. “It could be getting them to come back to your website to read content, make a purchase, or schedule a dentist appointment.”

Depending on your business, you may decide to send one re-engagement email, or perhaps a 3-email series, triggered to deploy 120 days after a subscriber’s last purchase, and then 240 and 360 days after that.

Re-engagement automation strategies can take many forms.

  • If someone typically uses your service every 3 months and hasn’t come back in 6, an automated email could provide a quick link to make their next appointment.
  • A “best of” newsletter could showcase content on your website similar to what they’ve previously engaged with and encourage them to catch up.
  • An automated email highlighting new products and offering a “welcome back” discount is a way to entice lapsed customers to purchase from you again.

Deliver personalized messaging at scale

Many small businesses struggle to find time for marketing. Mailchimp’s Customer Journey builder helps solve this age-old challenge by letting you design versatile paths for your customers that use automations to engage them wherever they are.

“Today, customers want more personalized touches, but small businesses have many demands on their time,” says Trevor. “With our Customer Journey builder, you can send the targeted messaging you know you should and still have time to devote to other aspects of your business.”