The previous post in our Leveraging Retention to Optimize Customer Acquisition series highlighted some quick tips for improving (and accelerating) customer activation. To help drive home those suggestions, we thought it might be helpful to run you through a sample activation series.

We like to think about two opportunity buckets for activation marketing. First, the welcome series (in other words, your messaging to new users) and second, ongoing ad hoc attempts to drive first-time purchases even after the user has been around for a while.

Warning: this type of general approach has worked well for many of our clients, but we still encourage you to conduct your own experiments to determine the cadence and messaging that will yield the strongest returns for your own brand!

Sample Welcome Series

• Day 1 – Welcome

• Day 2 – Top Brands (if your site aggregates different brands, borrowing brand equity will always prove an incredibly powerful tactic)

• Day 5 – Member Favorites (while you build up information on each individual user to ultimately fuel 1:1 marketing, leverage your existing audience to drive more general recommendations)

• Day 7 – Modest Discount Offer

• Day 10 – Prompt to Download App (app shoppers almost always post higher lifetime values!)

Two big points here that often go overlooked: It’s typically best to suppress users from other sends during the welcome series. Users are already most likely to opt out in the first 30 days, so there’s no need to add extra fuel to that fire! Also, be sure to remove users from the welcome series once they buy (or hit whatever behavior you are trying to drive – e.g. app download). You look disorganized by continuing to hit them up after they’ve engaged.

Post-Welcome Messages

• Day 30 – Deeper Discount Offer (aka deeper than Day 7)

• Day 45 – Non-Activation Survey: as discussed in our last post in the series, these surveys can be incredibly valuable for identifying activation roadblocks

• Ongoing – Once per month, consider trying different activation techniques for all users who have been subscribed for 60+ days but who still have not purchased. Stay focused on addressing misconceptions for those who are generally disengaged, and leverage special offers/discounts and popular inventory for those users who are active browsers, just not buyers.

Now that you’re ready to deploy some tactics for improving activation, it’s time to start thinking about retaining those customers; in our next two posts in this series, we’ll focus on driving lift to customer lifetime value, namely by improving overall purchase frequency and increasing your average order value (AOV) – stay tuned!