How to get the most out of the Needs Nurturing stage

One of the most overlooked stages in Cortex is the Needs Nurturing stage. We include this stage in our first training with new brands as it’s one of the most versatile and wide reaching stages we have. We are going to give you a front seat to a walkthrough session of this stage, share helpful tips and tricks, and show you a few advanced strategies you can implement. 


What is the Needs Nurturing stage?

In Cortex, the Needs Nurturing stage has the greatest reach of all standard lifecycle messaging. Both users who have not purchased but have moved through the welcome email without making a purchase AND former customers who have reached their maximum window within lifecycle stages are eligible to receive Needs Nurturing emails.

Don’t forget about me

It is the widest net you can cast and, if used correctly, can be a powerful tool to reach less engaged subscribers.
The Needs Nurturing stage will help you continue the conversation with customers until they eventually move to other stages. Many of the brands we work with duplicate high performing templates and keep them in Needs Nurturing to create extra engagement touch points. You can learn more about the basic implementation and how to get started with the Needs Nurturing stage in this helpdesk article. 

However, there are two especially powerful uses for Needs Nurturing that tend to fly under the radar. One of these involves using Needs Nurturing as an extension of your Welcome Flow. The other one allows you to reach out to consumers when they are most likely to churn. 


Using Needs Nurturing emails to extend your welcome flow

Any savvy marketer understands the importance of a Welcome Flow—sending emails right when your consumer expresses interest in your brand and opts in—as well sharing your brand story and encouraging them to make a purchase. 

One of the questions we receive from brands is what happens to these customers after they exit the Welcome Flow without making a purchase? They will, of course, continue to receive any of your blast and newsletter communications, as well as emails if they abandon their cart. 

However, if you activate Needs Nurturing you can also continue to reach out to these consumers with extended Welcome messaging. This includes successful elements such as the first order discount, your brand’s differentiation, or any aspect of your brand story you know consumers find especially compelling. 

According to email marketing specialist Tarzan Kay, your Welcome Series should do the following: 

  • Slowly introduce them to who you are and what you do
  • Share one or two of your core stories (make them emotional and really engaging)
  • Start thinking about getting them to buy whatever thing you want them to buy

Adding a fourth (or fifth!) touchpoint in your Welcome Series allows you to flesh out one or more of your core stories, continue to introduce them to who you are, and reach consumers who may need more time to buy what you want them to buy.

Extending your welcome series


How do you Create a Non-Purchaser touchpoint in Needs Nurturing?

  • Segment out your non-purchasers by attaching the non-purchaser segment to the email you want them to receive. 
  • We also recommend creating a segment that combines non-purchasers with only more recent subscribers (within the past 45-60 days) to keep the messaging fresh and welcoming.
  • If you are planning to only make this a one-time touchpoint, remember to set the toggle to “send only once” button in the template settings. This would more closely mimic the behavior of a one time Welcome flow.

Segment out your non-purchasers + recent subscribers


“send only once” button for one-time touchpoints


Using Needs Nurturing to Target Your Churned Customers

Another great use of the Needs Nurturing Stage can be to target consumers at points when they are most likely to churn. 

This graph from one of our apparel brands shows that consumers are most likely to churn before the first or second purchase. Once we get them to a third purchase we create a loyal customer.

To respond to this, we’ve used Needs Nurturing to create messaging specifically targeted to consumers that have made 1 or 2 purchases. We found that we had the highest conversion rate—almost 10%—from the Needs Nurturing emails sent to those consumers that had only made 1 purchase. 

You can run a similarly successful experiment with your brand by treating the messaging as an insider message that goes specifically to 1 or 2 time purchasers. Use messaging that highlights your bestsellers and incorporates our dynamic recommendations to suggest specific items. 

Nurturing your churned customers


How do you create a Repeat Purchaser touchpoint in Needs Nurturing?

  • Create separate segments for specific numbers of purchases. Analyze where you see the highest drop off in repeat purchases—Is it after the first purchase? Second purchase? 
  • Target those consumers with personalized recommendations and reinforce any special incentives (like free shipping).  
  • If you are planning to only make this a one-time touchpoint, remember to set the toggle to “send only once” button in the template settings. 
  • If you are not planning to toggle “send only once,” remember to have a large variety of templates in this stage since it is a high volume stage (at least 7-9 email templates).

segments for specific numbers of purchases


Things to keep in mind while using the Needs Nurturing stage

  • Remember to use good list hygiene. Because Needs Nurturing can reach so many dormant users it is important to practice responsible list management, otherwise your brand risks harm to its sender reputation. For example, use engagement guidelines to avoid reaching consumers that have not opened or clicked on an email for over 6-12 months.
  • Plan to have a high number of templates in this stage that include reviews from customers or influencers, as well as any additional links to social media to increase engagement across multiple channels. Fresh content will get your users back on site. 
  • Use a minimum of 3 dynamic recommendations per template, especially if you plan to reach churned purchasers. By the time a user reaches Needs Nurturing, it is likely that we will have browsing or purchase history, and we can use product recommendations that are targeted based on their behavior, the purchase behavior of similar customers, the popularity of items in the catalog, and more. Take advantage of our data to predict the preferences of each individual and target them with the best recommendations. 
  • As a shortcut for creating a ton of new content, we recommend finding previous templates (newsletters, blasts, or templates from your original Welcome series) that worked very well and refreshing those before upcycling them in Needs Nurturing.


Unleash the potential

Needs Nurturing, if used correctly, can be used for highly segmented and diverse audiences: your consumers that never purchased, your lapsed consumers, and anyone that needs an extra touch in order to get back on your site and get shopping. When you take full advantage of the Needs Nurturing stage, you can witness an increase of CLV and reduce churn rates. Of course, like all our stages, it is important to remember that segmentation and the proper balance is the best combination to keep your unsubscribe rates low and your conversions high.

Do you need ideas for the Needs Nurturing stage? Do you feel confused or lost? Want more strategies? Contact the helpdesk, or reach out to your Client Success Manager and we will be happy to help!

Brought to you by Jennie Fernandez, Enterprise Client Success Manager at ReSci
Jennie provides strategic marketing support to our enterprise clients, focused on growth and client satisfaction.


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