Courtney Eckerle

How Used Email to Maximize Lifetime Value

April 15th, 2016

How do you turn a name on a list into a loyal and engaged subscriber?

Ecommerce site has accomplished this by establishing a community of customers and “Angel” members. These customers fund independent wine makers in return for access to hand-crafted wine at a lower cost.

At the MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 Media Center, Julia Fox, Marketing Manager,, spoke about how her team wanted to maximize member lifetime value during the early phases of the customer journey.


“Since we’re all ecommerce, email is obviously a huge part of our success,” Julia said, adding that most of the company’s revenue comes from these “Angel” members, which means nurturing new customers into Angels through this channel is especially important.

About 70% of customers sign up to become Angel members during their first visit, she said, adding that the company acquires another 10-15% of them down the road after they receive their first order.

Angel membership has become so popular that there is a waiting list.

“During that process, we’re educating them about what it means to be an Angel and what’s great about our business model,” she said.

Julia and her team have found that people who end up being the highest quality customers for the company are those who are engaging in the internal social platform by interacting with other members and wine makers, as well as rating the wine itself.

According to Julia’s session at MarketingSherpa Summit, prior to developing this onboarding process, new members would be on their own to navigate the site.

But by immediately immersing new customers in an onboarding email campaign, “they get more value, they see that we are really different than any other wine company out there, and then they’re much more likely to be more loyal over time,” Julia said.

The team at developed a five-series email onboarding campaign, with each email asking the customer to complete an action. For example, one of the emails promoted the app and encouraged customers to download it.

The team even added an incentive for new customers to engage – after all the calls-to-action in the emails were accomplished, the customer would get a free bottle of wine with their next order.


Review data to find the right path for your customers

The biggest takeaway from this effort for Julia was that marketers starting a similar process should, “take a step back and look at your data.”

“Without doing the full analysis, I might have taken a different path,” she said. “When I took a step back and looked at wider analysis, what we found is that the largest difference between customer quality wasn’t in acquisition, final or first-order spend … it was actually in how they were engaging downstream.”

In this campaign, found that people who had read the onboarding email about the app download were 125% more likely to download the app than people who hadn’t, according to Julia.

“But we’re not going to stop there. We’re going to take another step back to do some more analysis,” she said.

Get free access to a video replay of Julia’s session from MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 along with more than 30 other sessions from the event.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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