Content for the Customer Journey

Last week I wrote a bit about some personalized customer marketing gone wrong. In this post, I want to showcase an example of customer marketing done right.

A Cult Cure

Curology sells subscription prescription skincare for the Instagram generation. They caught my attention with a pretty ad in my social media feed and won me over with their web app that worked so well on my phone, I forgot it wasn't native. And, I'm not the only one falling for the hype. A customer recently gave their product a shoutout on Bustle's #myeverydayfive, placing Curology alongside cult favorite beauty brands Benefit, Glossier, and NARS.

While I've yet to confirm whether Curology is working wonders for my skin—it's too soon to tell—I can confirm that their proactive, personalized customer marketing is on point.

About three weeks after signing up for their service and diligently applying the recommended two pumps each day, I was beginning to wonder, "Should I order more of this stuff?"

I searched my inbox and found this:

curology email

A Formula for Proactive Content

This email is spectacular because it:

  • Anticipates customer needs. The subject line echoes the question that I'm asking in my head, hitting a key point in my customer journey.
  • Executes low-key personalization flawlessly. I see my own name right away. It's nothing fancy, just a simple Intercom user variable, but it's working as designed. No %%valued_customer%% code hanging out, here.
  • Sets expectations. The copy states when I'll receive my next product, how I'll be billed, and what to do if I need to expedite things.
  • Provides helpful information. The flashlight trick they described totally worked. When my new bottle came in the mail, I couldn't remember which one was the original bottle and which one was the new one. I sat them each on top of an iPhone flashlight and the old bottle had a faintly visible horizontal line in the middle, whereas the newer bottle did not. Magic!
  • Ushers the customer forward with one, clear CTA. This email offers me a single next step: log into my account via the "My Dashboard" button. There are no links to blog posts that could distract me out of the email before I finish reading it. There's not even a footer or a prompt to share something on social media. This email wants me to log into my account, which is exactly what I do next.

old bottle

See the difference between the darker upper half and the brighter bottom half of the bottle?

new bottle

The new bottle looks bright, through and through.


If you're looking for a quick formula to build a helpful email for part of your customer's journey, try following this model:

  1. Anticipation - anticipate a need
  2. Personalization - personalize at the most basic level
  3. Expectation - reassure about what to expect in the future
  4. Education - provide helpful information
  5. Navigation - direct the customer to action