You Had Me at Hello…How Email Marketing and the Marketing Path Can Create Lifelong Connections.

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“Look, I just want to track your journey so I can engage with you better…”

Aug 10, 2023

 We all understand that nailing the art of email perfection hinges on getting that just-right message to the perfect customer exactly when they need it…

And that’s where the magic of email marketing and the Marketing Path come together. It’s like a match made in heaven.

There’s no doubt that mapping out pathways for your business which can explain how someone goes from not knowing you exist to being your biggest fan will be of benefit to your business.

Every potential customer embarks on a journey, starting from somewhere and heading towards a goal. And guess what? Each one of those potential customers is in the process of forming a bond with your brand.

They’re on their unique journey, building a connection step by step. This is why it is key to create a clear pathway that guides them through this journey.

You can aid and empower your subscribers by providing the appropriate information at each stage of their journey, enabling them to achieve their goals.

This content usually provides information about the problem your product or service can solve.

Which will propel them to the next phase of their pathway or journey.

Be it, a purchase, referring your services to a friend, or giving a new product a test run.The key is delivering content that matters at every touchpoint.

Keep reading as we explain the Customer Pathway and the different stages. You’ll learn how to identify where your consumer or potential customer is in their journey and what sort of content to offer at each step.

1. The Stages of the Customer Pathway

Using the customer pathway as a guide means that you can understand what state of mind a customer is at each step of the path…

…and thus what you should be saying at each step, what you should be trying to do, and how you should be saying it.

But first, let’s talk about the customer path and what it is.

This is the journey that a potential customer takes from not knowing you exist (or even that what is offered is possible!) through to being your biggest fan.

There are eight “stages” along the customer path.

Here’s a bit more detail on each state…

Innocent – They don’t know you exist as someone who can solve their problem.

Aware – They know you exist, but don’t know much more about who you are

.Suspect – They are now looking into you and have taken some form of action to learn more, such as reading a blog post, watching a video, or following you on social media.

Prospect – They’re now demonstrating that you are definitely someone they are considering to solve their problem, by making a commitment towards you, such as giving you their email address or putting time aside to attend a webinar.

Lead – They’re getting great value from their investment as you are really “over-delivering” and they are really considering your core product.

Customer – They’ve bought your core product

VIP – They’ve bought lots of your product

Advocate – They love you so much they tell others about you

Read more about the Customer Journey here:

2: Understanding Your Customers at a Deeper Level

Ok, so this is going to be cheesy but bear with me…

Because the best way to understand your customer’s pathway and what stage they are in is to compare it to a romantic relationship.

Just like how two individuals develop a connection over time, your customer’s interaction with your brand also evolves into a relationship of its own.

It’s all about forming meaningful relationships.

So let’s have a look at how your ‘relationship’ can evolve along the 8 stages of the pathway.

  1. Innocent – Attraction
  2. Aware – Discovery
  3. Suspect – Interest
  4. Prospect – Courting
  5. Lead – Commitment:
  6. Customer – Relationship:
  7. VIP – Loyalty long term
  8. Advocate – Partnership

If you can understand and nurture your prospects’ journey, you can create strong bonds, leading to loyalty and advocacy, much like the love and support shared between two committed partners.

By demonstrating to your audience that you care about their pain points and struggles, you’ll in turn – make them feel seen and heard which will ultimately establish trust and strengthen your relationship.

And at the end of the day isn’t that what everyone wants in any relationship?

3: Tailoring Your Content to Each Stage of the Pathway

In essence, your content should be tailored to each stage of the customer pathway, providing the right information and value to guide them along their journey with your brand.

Just like a romantic relationship evolves, your emails should adapt and nurture the connection at every step.

Step 1

Innocent – AttractionEver locked eyes with someone across a crowded room and felt an instant spark? This is the innocence stage.

Your potential customer has become aware of your brand and is developing a sense of curiosity.

…However, there is limited awareness or knowledge about each other.

Content-Type: Brand Awareness

Content Focus: Engaging and informative blog posts, social media content, and videos that introduce your brand’s mission, values, and unique selling points.

In terms of email, you might want to send them engaging and intriguing emails that catch their attention. This could be an engaging welcome series highlighting what makes your products or services unique, sparking their interest to learn more.

Step 2

Aware – Discovery

This stage is like the early days of a new relationship where both of you are starting to learn about each other’s interests, values, and personalities.

Just like how your potential customer starts to explore and learn more about your brand, products, or services.

Content-Type: Educational Content

Content Focus: In-depth guides, whitepapers, and webinars

Sending informative and helpful content can help them discover the value you provide.

Step 3

Suspect – Interest

Here, the potential customer shows interest in your offerings and may start to express curiosity or engage with your content. In a relationship, this stage can be compared to when you start showing more interest and investment in the other.

Content-Type: Comparison Content

Content Focus: Case studies, customer testimonials, and comparison articles that showcase the benefits and advantages of your products or services compared to competitors.

In emails, you can share success stories, case studies, and testimonials to build trust. These emails can highlight how your offerings have positively impacted others, making your prospect feel more confident about moving forward.

Step 4

Prospect – Courting

The “Prospect” stage see’s the relationship move into a more intentional and committed phase. Both individuals actively court each other, investing time and effort to build a stronger connection.

Here, your potential customer is actively considering your products or services and may be evaluating them against alternatives.

Content-Type: Product-focused Content

Content Focus: Product demonstrations, interactive tools, and free trials that allow prospects to experience your offerings firsthand.

This content aims to convert prospects into leads by showcasing the value of your products or services.

Send them personalised emails that cater to their preferences and needs. It could be emails showcasing specific products or services based on their previous interactions.

Step 5

Lead – Commitment

This is where things start to get heavy…Both individuals agree to be in an exclusive relationship and prioritise each other’s needs and desires. They express loyalty and work towards building a future together.

In the “Lead” stage, the potential customer takes action and becomes a committed prospect. They may provide more contact information or show a higher level of interest, indicating a willingness to engage further.

Content-Type: Nurturing Content

Content Focus: Email campaigns, personalised content, and targeted offers that keep the prospect engaged and informed about your brand. Nurturing emails should focus on maintaining engagement and addressing their specific needs.

Your emails can focus on providing them with the necessary information to enable them to make a decision.

Step 6

Customer – Relationship

And the relationship is solidified…It’s official! The couple becomes official partners, acknowledging their commitment to each other publicly. They develop shared experiences and work together to overcome challenges, much like a customer fully engaging with a brand and its offerings.

This marks the beginning of a formal relationship between the customer and your brand.

Content-Type: Customer Support and Loyalty Content

Content Focus: Knowledge base articles, FAQs, post-purchase guides recommendations, free resources. Email content can include onboarding guides, tips for getting the most out of your products, and personalised thank-you messages.

Keeping the customer ENGAGED is crucial at this stage.

Step 7

VIP – Loyalty long term

In the “VIP” stage, the relationship has matured into a deep sense of loyalty and appreciation. Both partners prioritise each other’s well-being and happiness, celebrating milestones together and supporting each other’s growth.

This is where the customer becomes a loyal advocate, making repeat purchases and recommending your brand to others.

Content-Type: Exclusive Content

Content Focus: VIP newsletters, exclusive offers, and sneak peeks into upcoming products or services that make VIP customers feel special and appreciated.

Email campaigns can emphasise their importance and show appreciation for their continued loyalty. This helps retain VIP customers and encourages repeat purchases.

E.g. Subject: Exclusive Offer for Our VIP Customers: You Deserve the Best!

Step 8

Advocate – Partnership

Finally, the relationship reaches its peak – the Advocate stage.

The customer has become an advocate for the brand, sharing their positive experiences with friends and family. They feel like true partners in the brand’s success. It’s like being in a strong partnership, where both parties support and uplift each other.

Content-Type: User-Generated Content and Testimonials

Content Focus: Customer success stories, referral programs that encourage satisfied customers to share their positive experiences with your brand.

These are the customers who absolutely love your brand and are willing to spread the word.

Take advantage of that.

Encourage them to refer friends and family through referral programs. Feature their testimonials in your emails to showcase real customer experiences, which can help in building trust with new prospects.

4: Making that Perfect Match

So, you see, the customer journey and a blossoming relationship? They have a lot in common.

Think about it, just like in matters of the heart, the customer journey is all about discovery, growth, and forming connections that can last a lifetime.

Drawing parallels between how a customer progresses and a romantic relationship can give you some seriously insightful ideas.

I mean, every single phase in the customer journey is like a step forward in a relationship – starting from that initial attraction and going all the way to a solid and long-lasting partnership.

Using the above as a guide means that you can understand what state of mind a customer is at each step of the path…Without missing or jumping any key steps along the way…(such as not saying “I love you” two minutes after you’ve met)

And here’s the thing – much like in a relationship, what matters is keeping the channels of communication open, building trust, and consistently showing that you’re adding value at every twist and turn along the way.

Because let’s be real, it’s these fundamental elements that team up to nurture a strong and unbreakable connection.

They’re what help to build trust and nurture that special bond between you and the customer.

Final Thoughts
In a world where email perfection can make or break a customer’s journey, the alliance between email marketing and the Marketing Path is certainly an invincible force.

This is why crafting pathways that guide individuals from mere strangers to dedicated advocates can seriously benefit your business.

Remember my cheesy analogy from earlier?

Well, comparing the customer pathway to a romantic relationship isn’t as corny as it sounds.

Think about it – just like building a connection over time, your brand’s relationship with customers grows. It’s all about meaningful connections.

This journey should mirror a growing connection, and like any relationship, needs tailored nurturing.

You nurture their journey, and guess what? You’re building unbreakable bonds.

Loyalty, advocacy – it’s like building the kind of trust that only comes from truly understanding and caring.

Your email content should be at the heart of their journey, guiding your customers from first interaction to lifelong love. Just like a relationship, you’re adapting, evolving, and always adding value.

When you make your customers feel heard, when you solve their pain points, you’re crafting something beautiful.

Because remember, it’s not just about selling – it’s about building connections that stand the test of time.

And that is the true power of the marriage between email marketing and the Marketing Path.

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Liz Seymour

Liz Seymour

Queen Chimp Of Marketing

Cheesy as it sounds, Liz is the biz when it comes to  Mailchimp & Email Marketing.

She's worked in Marketing for around 20 years when she went to uni and studied Multimedia Technology…That's where her love affair with all things Marketing began. 

Since then she has worked for household names such as Wickes, The Rank Group, Nuffield Health, Snappy Snaps and Marriot. Not to mention a great variety of businesses and agencies.

Here at Chimp Answers she deals with all things Marketing focusing on the Content and Copywriting side of things such as Blog posts, Emails and landing pages. Liz is Certified in Direct-Response Copywriting, Google Digital Marketing Fundamentals,Hubspot Inbound Marketing,Hubspot Social Media and Mailchimp Foundations.



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