If the term “lifecycle messaging” means nothing to you then you’re not alone. Even to many people in the email marketing industry, lifecycle messaging is not a particularly well-developed topic, even though most marketers could benefit from a better understanding of it. So what is it and why should you care? If you are a high volume message sender then lifecycle messaging can help improve your customer relations, and you should certainly consider leveraging it to enhance customer service. If you’re an end user, a better understanding of lifecycle messaging may provide some useful insight into how some commercial mail gets delivered and why.

Lifecycle messaging is the process of triggering a digital message to an end user based on one or more events, including previous actions on other messages. For instance, if you’ve ever bought something on eBay, a wireless router let’s say, you’re likely to get periodic emails alerting you to deals on similar or related products such as network cards or tablet PCs. Lifecycle messaging is not spam. In fact, lifecycle messaging is a foreign concept to spammers. They are primarily interested in blasting out millions of messages to any address they can get their hands on with the hope that someone will click on something and they can earn some cash from the click through.

Recipients might not always be highly interested in lifecycle messages, but done right, these kinds of messages will always be relevant. One way to ensure that is to construct lifecycle messages, or a message tree system that is actually a series of transactionally connected messages. Another use for lifecycle messaging is a series of information posts where a recipient needs to step through a process. This is useful in training or educational material where an end user can sign up for a training course that is delivered by email. In this scenario, part two of the course should not be delivered until part one has been completed and so on. With the Message Systems digital messaging platform, this is done though the advanced segmentation engine. If you have the Message Central component of the platform, then you can follow along below. If not – ask for a demo ☺.

Lifecycle Message Management in Message Central
This is one sample of how to set up a series of triggered, dependent mailings in Message Central. In this example we will initially trigger an event from a web site, then follow it up with 2 dependent mailings.

1. First create an API-triggered mail template as a “welcome email” in Message Central and save it. That will give you a mailing ID to work with – lets assume it is mailing ID #12.

2. Now create a web page for your site that will collect at least the email address of an end user. When the submit button is clicked, you should execute the trigger API with a POST to/v1.0/mailing/trigger?orgid=1&mid=12. The mail template you created will be sent to this user now. When the end user receives it and opens it, the “open” will be recorded in the Message Central system.

3. The next step is to create a new email template in Message Central as a follow up. For example: “Thanks for opening the welcome email.” So far this is pretty basic marketing mail. The magic comes in the targeting and segmentation bit. What you can do now is create a “segment” that specifically identifies only people who have opened the welcome mail. You literally select “OpenedMailing” and then click on the “welcome mail” you previously created. You can even select a time delay as in only people who opened the mail within the last 3 days.

The last step is just creating a new mailing incorporating that segment and the follow-up email. Voila! Lifecycle messaging. You can continue this theme with as many messages as you want, each triggered from the previous one based on delivery notice, open or click. The result is a set of logically delivered messages that are completely relevant to your end users. Even though it’s a highly automated process, the content and context will feel naturally informative, and ultimately gain you a more engaged customer.

In one of the early posts on this blog, Mike Hillyer, our head sales engineer here at Messages Systems, discussed the reasoning around why some growing companies might want to consider bringing their email sending capabilities in house. As Mike points out, a lot of senders start by using an email service provider (ESP) for their sending, and smartly so. ESPs have the infrastructure and know-how to handle enormous messaging volumes, and they can do so at good prices, which saves on the cost of  deploying and maintaining an email infrastructure.

Where that equation changes is when companies reach such high messaging volumes, or their messaging needs become so complex, that it becomes more economical to bring their sending operations in house, or at least some of their messaging. This is a pretty common scenario we encounter here at Message Systems. And for our customers who are bringing some or all of their capabilities in house, there are lots of issues to consider beforehand. In this short video, Mike talks about what these issues are and explains why a hybrid insourced + outsourced model works so well for a lot of Message Systems clients. He also talks about how clients can use our Message Central campaign origination system to integrate data from various sources to create more effective email programs.