Lifecycle Email Marketing: A Primer

EMail Marketing

At first glance, “lifecycle email marketing” looks like three nearly-unrelated words stirred haphazardly together into a lukewarm buzzword hash. But appearances can be deceiving: Chris Sturk at Mequoda has written an excellent series of posts on lifecycle email marketing that give great insight into something we could all stand to be doing more of, and better.

– Lifecycle email marketing is about creating a relationship between you and your recipient through well-timed emails. Sturk outlines seven points during the typical customer lifecycle that would be good times to send an email.

– But what goes in those emails? There are plenty of opportunities to offer rewards to prospects and customers alike for their engagement, but it’s possible to do it wrong. Would you like some tips for email reward campaigns? Who wouldn’t?

– Knowing the lifecycle is great and all, but it would also help to segment your audience, so you can send the right messages to the right people. One useful way to differentiate the crowd is by — you guessed it — engagement.

– Just as there are plenty of ways to slice an onion, there are plenty of ways to write a good email. Sturk caps off the series by offering some good examples.

Lifecycle email marketing: less of a buzzword hash and more of a nourishing strategy stew. If you’re ready to start digging in, and you want some help with the audience side — segmenting your users by engagement, for instance — feel free to get in touch. You know where to find us!

Building Smart Conversion Metrics For Freemium Business Model

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How do you grow from trial to paying users? The freemium business model is popular with many cloud-based companies but depending on company size, the user experience for trial users is different each time. We sat down to discuss smart conversion metrics for the freemium business model with Vik Chaudhary VP of Product Management and Corporate Development from Keynote Systems. Keynote is experimenting with free mobile apps to drive demand and leads for their paid enterprise solutions.


To read the full transcription of the video, click here

It’s important to figure out how deeply your trial users are using your product. Here are some metrics to consider:
– Are they downloading your software?
– Are they registering for your service?
– How often are they logging in to the service?

The ultimate goal is to figure what they are doing within your service and how to get them to upgrade to your paid features. Identifying the right conversion metrics will allow you to more accurately target your users and extend the lifecycle of your relationship with them.

 

Video Transcript:
Hi, my name is Vik Chaudhary and I’m VP of Product Management and Corporate Development at Keynote Systems. At Keynote, what we do is test and monitor the online user experience for companies that are online or have a mobile presence. When you talk about premium business models, there’s really two kinds of premium.

One is if you’ve got a product that’s used by hundreds of thousands or even millions of users. Starbucks is a great product for that. The other one is a product that may be a premium product used by a smaller number of enterprises. We’re talking about maybe tens of thousand of companies using this.

When you have a premium product for the latter, it’s a very different kind of experience that you have to measure. When we talk about premium business models, you really have to think about who is buying your product. On one end, it could be a product like DropBox, which is bought by consumers or by small businesses.

And that could be used by millions of users. On the other side, it could be a product that’s used by tens of thousands of enterprises. So when you think about a premium business model, you really have to think about who’s gonna be buying it and how do you build conversion metrics into the process of going from trial to paying users.

When we start thinking about how do enterprises evaluate and use our products, we really have to go for metrics such as downloading a product, registering for it. But how do they deeply begin to use the product? Are they creating a test script, for example? Are they begging to play back the test script?

How many websites are they testing? How many times are they logging into the product? So as we begin to look at our funnel, we’re really thinking about, what are the users doing here? They’re logging in. They’re logging in many times, they’re creating test scripts, they’re testing their own websites.

Are they coming from existing customers, or are they completely new to Keynote? Those are the kinds of conversion metrics that we think about.

6 Surefire Tips to Retain & Grow Customers

Totango-Zendesk Webinar-Slides Print Screen

Just a short while ago, I was co-presenting a webinar with J.D Peterson, VP Product Marketing of Zendesk.

In the webinar I gave 3 tips on how we accelerate revenue throughout the customer lifecycle and how to drive conversion from free to paid users, grow the lifetime value of the existing customers & boost retention!

Zendesk, which is one of Totango customers, is using Totango to find out how people who are trying their product or already existing customers are actually using it and how engaged are they with their product.

J.D. from Zendesk, was covering the other 3 steps, to complete the process of building customers loyally, form the customer-service and support angle.

Here are Totango slides from the webinar – please feel free to share or embed them in your website/blog:

View the Complete Zendesk-Totango Webinar

Totango Recognized for Revenue Performance Excellence

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Totango was recognized yesterday as a finalist for a 2012 Revenue Performance Management Excellence Award by Marketo!

We are super excited! See an excerpt from and link to the announcement below. Also remember to check out our session at the upcoming Marketo User Summit. I am very excited to be presenting on lifecycle marketing together with Jeff Wiss, VP Demand Generation from our friends at Zendesk!

Our session will be on May 24th at 11:20 AM in Imperial A of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Register here.

Here are the details on our session:

Three Steps to Accelerate Revenues from Existing Customers

Customers are using Marketo’s technology for much more than closing new deals. They are also using it to nurture their current customer base to score and nurture clients for upsell opportunities and renewals. Find out their secrets for success in turning the customer lifecycle into a revenue machine. Dominique Levin, CMO at Totango will present a three-step program to revenue acceleration using existing customer marketing.  In addition, Jeff Wiss, Vice President Demand Generation from Zendesk will present mind-blowing customer marketing campaigns that are boosting revenues for Zendesk.

Here is the excerpt from our press release:

Marketo Announces Finalists for 2012 Revenue Performance Management (RPM) Excellence Awards

“Revvies” Recognize Outstanding Achievement, Leadership in Companies Leveraging Innovation to Accelerate Revenue Growth

San Mateo, CA – April 25, 2011 – Marketo, the fastest-growing provider of Revenue Performance Management (RPM) solutions, today announced the finalists for its second annual Revenue Performance Excellence Awards. The “Revvies” recognize and celebrate customers and partners that are using Marketo’s marketing automation and sales effectiveness solutions to push outside the boundaries and away from their competition.

Adding six new awards this year, Marketo will honor 11 organizations and individuals that are true thought leaders and innovators in their respective industries.

The finalists for the 2012 Revenue Performance Excellence Awards include:

Most Innovative Integration with Marketo

American Public University Systems, Podio, Totango

“We are thrilled by the tremendous volume of submissions for our second annual Revvie Awards,” said Paul Albright, Marketo’s chief revenue officer. “The finalists are truly game-changing companies with leaders delivering amazing results across marketing and sales. It’s an honor to help provide the dramatic business impact evidenced by the stories submitted. Congratulations to each of the finalists for their achievements in driving revenue growth.”

Finalists were selected based on the following criteria: Innovation, leadership, success metrics and business impact and winners will be celebrated on May 24th, 2012 at the 2012 Marketo User Summit.

What is the Connection between Lifecycle Marketing and Automated Nurturing?

Robot and a Human Hand

Reading Fergus Gloster’s post on Marketo’s blog got me thinking how Lifecycle marketing has dramatically evolved lately.

Fergus states that Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) won’t turn into Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) by themselves – this phase can’t be automated and requires human interaction.

I agree with Fergus about the necessity of an additional role which businesses should consider. This role should help submitting qualified leads for the sales team. Mark Roberge, VP Sales at Hubspot has also talked about this by distinguishing the Hunter’s job from the Farmers.

I also talked in the past about the necessity of the Customer Success role in the SaaS industry new generation model.

But how would this function know which leads are qualified for their sales team? Well, Marketo is offering their scoring system, which based on user behavior on your website, which is a really efficient tool!
However, how would you know what leads are doing inside your APP?
For example, would you react differently if a new signup of yours signed up once and didn’t invite new users for your service rather than a user who logged in 3 times and invite 2 of his colleagues? Of course you would! You would like to invest more on the second user which reflects a higher level of engagement, won’t you?

And what if several users have entered one of your most important pages which suppose to lead for a sale and then signed out and never go back? you would probably want to look at that page again and figure out conversion issues, right?

This is why Totango service also offer the engagement score that would show you in-app engagement involvement.

But why compromise on one of the solutions – why not use them both?

This is why Totango and Marketo have joined forces and now Totango is also offering integration with Marketo’s services – this is how you could both know what’s happening in your application, get analysis on wha’t going on your app and then use Marketo strong nurturing tool to send your users exactly what they need to know by the stage they’re stuck on or need help with – the perfect match – Totango’s Lifecycle Marketing with Marketo’s automated nurturing – can you afford not to have it?

Communicate with your Customers from within your Application

CloudForce Interview DreamSimplicity

Interview to DreamSimplicity.com

I met Matt Childs from DreamSimplicity again at the CloudForce 2012 event and had another opportunity to share what Totango is up to lately. I wanted to share with you the interview I gave him at the show.

Full Customer Engagement Management

Totango is all about helping SaaS companies to increase their users’ customer engagement. With Totango you can listen to your customers within your application and then decide how you’d like to communicate back to them.

Introducing – The Appbox Application

In CloudForce, we chose to introduce one of our new tools that can help you communicating with your users from inside your application.

Appboxjs imageThe Appbox is basically an inbox that you can place within your app and which allows you to send messages to your users at all times – and of course it’s free, built in open source environment, available at your service and you can give it a try today!

View the complete interview to DreamSimplicity here:

How Zendesk and CloudBees Increase their User Engagement

SandHill Logo

Yesterday, the SandHill Magazine have published an article about Managing Challenges of Onboarding SaaS Customers and Converting from Free Software Trials where 2 of the very popular app services providers – Zendesk and CloudBees, were quoted about their success in increasing engagement level and therefore their free to paid conversion rate.

Both companies, who are using the Totango technology, managed to increase their visibility on what their users are doing in their application and therefore optimize communication with them to make sure they’re gaining value out of their product.

Many app services in the SaaS industry lack that visibility. This problem is especially in onboarding new customers and in converting free trial users into paying customers.

“Understanding user behavior is critical to success in the XaaS model”, states Sacha Labouray, founder and CEO of CloudBees.

Zack Urlocker, COO of Zendesk is happy that this solution exists and therefore saves the time on self development: “Rather than trying to build the technology to do this in house, we love the fact that Totango has already figured this out, giving us tremendous insight into what is going on with our users during that trial period.”

Zendesk’s goal was to increase customer engagement for their 30 days trial users and increase the free to paid conversion that way:
“We changed how people experience sending and receiving customer service tickets during the trial. Totango helped us figure out ways to try different approaches to highlight key features which and see ones got the most usage” says Urlocker.

Since Zendesk has massive amount of daily downloads and thousands of customers, they needed visibility into who to focus on in order to gain the most success and Totango is helping them to achieve that and thus increase their conversion rates.

Similarly, CloudBees needed to understand, in real time, how developers in its freemium model use their platform. “We need to see where they start using specific services and using multiple services,” says Labouray. “Before implementing Totango, we tried using analytics to track user behaviors. It gave us overall trends but no insight into what specific teams or specific users within a team or group are doing on our platform. You don’t know what you don’t know. Totango showed us what we didn’t know. We’re using those insights in working a lot of services and reaching out to our users.”

He says they had a big “aha” moment when Totango revealed an unexpected spike in usage all of a sudden. They then realized there is often a lag between when customers sign up for the freemium model and when they actually get ready to use it.

Creating value for customers is the most important activity for retaining customers longer, so all customer-facing teams need to align around that objective. With the right data, you can get real insights into which customers are likely to convert from free to the paid model as well as where those customers come from, their overall lifetime value and the customer acquisition cost and with all of that information, you can build an effective marketing/sales model!

We want to help ensure our customers not only improve their communications with their users but also gain the ability to drive to monetization and unified value-creating goals for acquiring and retaining customers.

 

What about you – have you tried our service yet?
Signup now for our free trial!


Zack Urlocker is chief operating officer at Zendesk and heads up Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Support. Zack came to Zendesk from MySQL, where he was Executive VP of Products. Besides building the business model for MySQL, he helped grow revenues to more than $100 million annually. He has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry and has held executive management positions at Active Software, webMethods and Borland.

Sacha-Labourey-CloudBeesSacha Labourey is founder and CEO of CloudBees. In 2001, Sacha joined Marc Fleury’s JBoss project as a core contributor and implemented JBoss’ original clustering features. In 2003, Sacha founded the European headquarters for JBoss and in 2005 he was appointed CTO. After the acquisition of JBoss by Red Hat, Sacha became co-General Manager of Red Hat’s middleware division until leaving in 2009 to eventually start CloudBees.

3 Steps to Lifecycle Marketing Success

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Introduction

Congratulations, as a marketing professional you’ve successfully recruited a qualified customer base: people who audited your product and ultimately chose you above the competition. It’s no small feat, but there’s no time to rest on your laurels – you’re only halfway there.

As your prospects cross the threshold and transform into customers, they continue to demand a certain level of nurturing, attention and engagement, dictated by need and identified through usage. With an understanding of your customer’s lifecycle profile, product consumption and usage, you can launch the right Lifecycle Marketing programs to reach out and expand customer value across your entire customer base.

What is Lifecycle Marketing?

Lifecycle Marketing refers to marketing and sales campaigns that address your customer’s needs and requirements as they evolve over time.

These programs offer great rewards because of two simple marketing principles:

  1. You can often generate more revenues from existing customers (as compared to prospective customers); and,
  2. The revenues you generate come at a much lower investment cost (so you enjoy much more profitable revenues).

With these two principles at play, activating Lifecycle Marketing campaigns to an existing and continually growing customer base significantly increases your chances for generating more revenues, over time.

How to be successful with LIfecycle Marketing?

Your customers’ needs run the gamut: newbies have different needs than veterans; small businesses require different attention than enterprise. By using the knowledge you have about your customer’s profile you can launch Lifecycle Marketing campaigns that serve each client’s individual needs. If you engage a broad spectrum of client needs with generic emails, at best your success rate will be hit-and-miss, at worst, just miss. Directing marketing campaigns to specific users based on who they are (their profile) and where they are in the customer lifecycle (their actual usage of your product) will transform your marketing campaigns into meaningful and engaging initiatives. Whomever the customer may be – timely, topical and encouraging emails will help your clients use your product successfully, as needs and requirements change over time.

3 Steps to Lifecycle Marketing Success

Lifecycle Marketing relates to marketing programs that are anchored to your customer’s needs and usage. Here are some basic steps for conducting Lifecycle Marketing programs with your customers. The first two steps can be implemented immediately with your existing e-mail marketing or marketing automation system, whereas usage-based campaigns can be configured with Totango’s capabilities.

Step 1: Value Communication
First and foremost, communicate with your customers regularly about the value you are generating on their behalf. This form of communication not only acts as a testament to your company’s and product’s ongoing improvement, it also expresses your dedication to continually deliver value to your customers.

Value-based Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns could include:

  • New features you have added, improved or bugs you have fixed
  • New content you have generated such as presentations, videos, white papers
  • Events that you are organizing or attending where customers might meet you

Many companies roll-up all of this information in a weekly or monthly newsletter on behalf of the customer.

Step 2: Product-based Upselling
Upselling works best when you offer additional products that speak to your customer’s needs and usage. You can learn a lot about your clients, based on which product they have purchased and how long they have been paying customers.

Product-based Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns:

  • Focus upselling campaigns on customers who have already purchased at least one product; customers who have already purchased a product from you are more likely to purchase another.
  • Offer a special purchasing opportunity based on seniority to customers using a paid product for a prolonged period of time
  • Generate a special complimentary bundling offer for a purchased product with a product not yet purchased.

Step 3: Usage-based Programs
If you know exactly how customers are using your product in relation to their usage cycle, you know exactly when to send them what message in regards to content, events, features or other offers. Totango monitors this type of product and feature usage and can trigger e-mail marketing campaigns to optimize your Lifecycle Marketing.

Usage-based Lifecycle Marketing campaigns:

  • Trials phase: customers who registered for a free trial but never logged in should receive a different value e-mail than those who are actively engaged during the trial. Those that started a trial and abruptly left should receive yet another message. By seeing exactly where a trial user gets stuck you can send helpful tips to move the prospect along. Very active trial users could receive content related to pricing or purchasing of paid licenses.
  • Onboarding: Regardless of how user friendly your product is, every user feels like “the new guy” when they start using your product. Some of your users may have trouble getting acquainted with your feature set, while others may not understand the best ways to the get the most value from your product. You can always stay one step ahead and recommend the next best action for your customer. If you pickup where new users are getting stuck you can e-mail helpful tips and assistance before distress signals are sent out.
  • Land & Expand: upselling campaigns are more successful if you can send the right offer at the right time. If you monitor how actively a customer is using particular features or the product as a whole you could identify the best time to initiate the conversation about additional purchases.
  • Customer success: identify a decline in usage as a preemptive measure for alerting you of customers at risk of abandoning your product. Use this knowledge to reach out and proactively retain your customer base.

Conclusion

Rallying in your customers and generating a customer base is more than half the battle. Once they’re in your domain, Lifecycle Marketing programs help you optimize revenue potential by engaging customers as their relationship with your product builds over time. Start with the basics of value communication and build up your programs to product and usage-based initiatives. Your customers will feel that you’re catering to their needs, and your business will reap the rewards.

Presenting – the SaaS Resource Center

Resource Center Screen Shot

This week we’ve added a section into our website which I believe would add value to the SaaS Community – I present our SaaS Resource Center!

The Resource Center is a place where we update the most important/informative/valuable articles on 7 of the hot categories that are most current these days in the SaaS industry and I believe this knowledge base would assist many beginners as well as veterans in this industry to learn on new trends in their fields.

Resources Print Screen

Here are the categories the Resource Center approaches:

  1. SaaS Best Practices – Will consist our latest SaaS business models and SaaS best practices and is updated with the hottest topics facing SaaS software and Cloud app vendors today.
  2. SaaS Sales Tips – B2B sales tips on different sales models such as low touch or zero touch, sales metrics and the best practices to build the ultimate sales machine.
  3. Lifecycle Marketing – Drive the usage and adoption of your application and maximize customer lifetime value. Nurture existing customers based on their specific needs and wants and their use of your application.
  4. Customer Analytics – Perform customer, conversion, cohort, funnel, usage or churn analysis. Discover how big data and customer intelligence can increase SaaS revenues.
  5. Free Trial & Freemium – Free trial tips, benchmarks and best practices and the way to optimize trial conversion and freemium conversion.
  6. Customer Engagement – Increasing customer/user engagement and customer lifetime value and reduce churn through lifecycle marketing and other techniques.
  7. Customer Retention – New strategies to increase customer lifetime value and reduce churn for SaaS businesses, how to identify customers at risk and how to implement customer retention strategies.

If there is a topic that we haven’t addressed and you think is worth mentioning, please don’t hesitate to comment on this post with the subject and we promise to consider it.

Also, if you’d like to guest-post in one of our categories, please feel free to contact me through this form and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Cheers,
–Guy

Successful Lifecycle Marketing through Innovative Marketo & Totango Integration

Marketo Logo

We are excited about our integration with Marketo to help companies with lifecycle marketing (marketing to existing customers).

Combining the capabilities of Marketo with Totango leads to the automatic customization of content, timing and type of Lifecycle Marketing campaigns targeted at existing customers.

Account nurturing should not stop when a customer buys from you. On the contrary: revenues from existing customers can far exceed revenues from new customers and these revenues are less costly to attain. Therefore, use Totango to understand how your existing customers are using your software and to automatically create usage-based cohorts.

Totango significantly enhances the native capabilities of Marketo, helping to drive adoption and usage of SaaS products. The result: better relationships with clients, increased revenues, customer success and lifetime value.

Lifecycle Marketing: Challenge & Solution

Challenge:
Oftentimes, customer nurturing activities abruptly stop when a prospect or customer starts using a trial or paid service. To continue to nurture the relationship with customers, businesses must create effective Lifecycle Marketing campaigns that engage, support and serve customer needs as their usage evolves.

Challenges in creating successful Lifecycle Marketing campaigns:

  1. Accurately assessing customer needs and behaviors; and,
  2. Following through with timely, relevant customer engagement initiatives.

Solution:

Totango – Marketo: Working Together

Totango automatically calculates a customer engagement score for each account, based on real time streams of user actions (showing how people are using the service and where they get stuck), and customer demographics collected from CRM systems, help desk systems and billing systems. This score, as well as specific customer actions, can be used to segment users into activity-based cohorts, which in turn can be leveraged for automated and customized sales and marketing campaigns.

Totango Marketo Integration

Examples of activity-based cohorts include:

  • Users who signed up for a trial but never activated
  • Users who are more active than the average activity
  • Users who display similar behavior to the most successful customers
  • Users of a particular feature
  • Users who logged in once but never returned
  • Users who referred other customers

Totango Marketo use case examples:

Trial Conversion: Trial users still active on the 3rd day of a trial are 4 times more likely to convert into paying users. Checking in with these active trial users increases trial close rates by 70%. Totango identifies who the most active trial users are, and Marketo reaches out to them at the right time with the right message.

User Onboarding: Totango analyzes where customers are getting stuck while using the product or service, and Marketo sends helpful tips at the right time to get them back on track.

Upselling: Totango finds users who are using a particular feature and are likely candidates for purchasing additional module(s) and/or finds highly engaged users who may be interested in expanding their deployment, and Marketo executes the upselling campaigns.

Customer Success: Cancellations are almost always preceded by a period of non-use. Totango identifies a drop in usage for a particular customer, and a Marketo campaign can be used to proactively reaches out to the customer before it’s too late.

Totango, a Complimentary Platform to Marketo

Totango serves businesses who operate in a no-touch or low-touch environment. We aim to help businesses gain a better understanding of their clients, so that businesses can serve their customers better. While Totango aggregates data and translates it into meaningful insights, Marketo translates Totango’s insights into meaningful actions. Together, the two platforms create a holistic, customer-centric work methodology that encourages context-driven, customized and automated marketing and sales intitiatives targeted at existing customers.

Marketo/Totango Integration Details:

With the Marketo and Totango implementation, Marketo smart campaigns are created to target certain behaviors, detected by Totango, by users of the cloud-application. The two systems seamlessly communicate through Salesforce.com.

  • Once installed on the cloud application, Totango monitors user actions and determines the nature and level of engagement of each user. When a configured behavior is detected (such as first usage of a specific application module or a drop in usage) the Totango record is updated with the appropriate Totango Insight.
  • Totango synchronizes information with Salesforce.com in near real time, updating Leads and Account with Insights as they happen. Marketo, in turn, seamlessly integrates with Salesforce.com and uses this information (alongside any other) in campaigns and programs.
  • A Marketo email campaign is created using Totango Insights as part of the campaign’s Smart List.

For more examples and documentation, please visit this Lifecycle Marketing article

View ebook on Totango-Marketo Integration, The New Generation Lifecycle Marketing: