Picture this:

It’s 1936, and the Great Depression is in full swing.

Times are tough, and Henry Ford’s once-thriving car empire is on the brink of collapse.

Ford’s been sticking to the old-school way of doing things, cranking out the same old Model T for years. 

Hard-earned customers are leaving. And cash flow is going down week by week.

But that’s not even their biggest problem.

Because their rival, General Motors, led by Alfred P. Sloan, is rapidly climbing to the top with a secret weapon up its sleeve.

General Motors is changing the game, focusing on what customers really want by offering a range of cars for different tastes and budgets.

Not only that, but they’re now also keeping them hooked with regular updates. Something that very few companies are doing at this time.

The competition’s heating up, and Ford’s sweating bullets.

They know they need to switch gears (pun intended) and find a way to retain their customer base or risk losing it all.

It’s time for a change – a change that would put the customer front and center. 

CVO: The One-Way Ticket to Customer
Loyalty & Retention

It’s no secret that Ford is still a thriving company to this day. 

The brand is still leading the way in customer-centric innovation by continuing to adapt and evolve, embracing the principles of Customer Value Optimization (CVO).

If this is your first time hearing about the concept, here’s what it means:

In essence, CVO is a process that aims to create an amazing customer journey and maximize the ROI for all your marketing activities. By focusing on optimization throughout the customer lifecycle, you’re not just improving brand loyalty, but you’re also creating customers for life.

CVO is not limited to just one marketing channel though.

In fact, it’s when you take a holistic approach, injecting it through your entire marketing strategy, that it sets your brand apart.

But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

I say you do it with your most powerful marketing channel. And here’s how:

3 ways to apply CVO to your email marketing to make customers fall in love with your brand

1. Send more relevant emails & offers with RFM segmentation

You know that feeling when you open your inbox and find a perfectly tailored email that makes you think, “Wow, they really get me”?

That’s the magic of RFM segmentation and email personalization.

Because contrary to popular belief, personalization has almost nothing to do with merely injecting a first name tag into your emails.

Instead, by using RFM scores to analyze customer behavior, you can craft personalized emails that speak to their unique needs and interests. Here’s what RFM stands for:

  • Recency – how recently a customer made a purchase (how much time has passed since the last purchase)
  • Frequency – how frequently does the customer buy (how much time passes between repeat purchases)
  • Monetary value – how much money does the customer spend on his purchases (how much revenue does the customer bring in)

And here’s how it works:

Each customer gets a score from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) for each of the three variables. Customers then get divided into purchase-behavioral sub-groups according to their score.

Once you’ve got the segments, it’s easy to see what types of emails and offers work for each one. For example:

The high recency, high frequency, and high monetary segment

These are your most loyal customers, and they deserve all your love. Surprise them with emails/offers like:

  • Free shipping, no minimum order required
  • Early access to new products or sales
  • Birthday or anniversary rewards
  • Invitation to special events
  • Loyalty programs 

The high recency, low frequency, and high monetary segment

These are your newest customers with great potential to become repeat buyers. For that, you need to make a strong first impression (aka, a seamless onboarding process). Send things like:

  • Educational content (e.g. best practices/guides for using your products)
  • Limited-time promotions tailored to what they bought in the past
  • Behind-the-scenes stories 
  • Replenishment reminders
  • Creative campaigns

Do the same for each combination of the RFM scores and you’ll unlock a whole new approach to your email strategy. 

One that’s guaranteed to set you apart and win more customers over in the long run.

No more one-size-fits-all blasts that lead to low engagement.

And no more discounts thrown randomly into the mix in hopes of getting a few more sales (at the expense of lowering your profit margins).

Instead, this advanced segmentation technique helps you send more relevant emails to the segments that need them, with zero guesswork involved.

2. Build a brand worth staying loyal to with email storytelling

Think about your favorite brand for a second.

Chances are, you feel a connection to them, right?

That’s because they’ve nailed the art of storytelling to create a parasocial relationship that makes you feel like you’re part of their world.

By incorporating compelling narratives into your nurturing campaigns, you can foster an emotional bond between your brand and your customers. The result?

Loyal customers who wouldn’t dream of switching to your competitors.

Here are a couple of stories you can send your customers depending on where they are in your sales funnel:

  1. Origin stories
  2. Product stories
  3. Metaphoric stories
  4. Behind-the-scenes stories
  5. Customer transformation stories

Many of us assume our customers won’t find our emails valuable unless they contain a flash sale or a new product launch.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

In fact, customers want to know that there are real people behind brand names.

And this report from Sprout Social proves it, with 70% of consumers feeling more connected to a brand when its CEO is active on social media.

When you open up and let your customers in on the behind-the-scenes action, you’re fostering a sense of trust and loyalty that can’t be achieved through sales pitches alone.

Instead, by incorporating storytelling into your marketing strategy, you’re not just selling a product or service.

You’re inviting your customers to be part of something bigger, a community that shares common values and aspirations. 

And that’s a big part of customer retention.

3. Optimize your pre and post-purchase automations

Step into your customer’s shoes for a moment.

Imagine you’ve stumbled upon a brand that has caught your eye, piqued your interest, and ultimately won you over.

But what if, after making a purchase, you’re left hanging with no follow-up or support?

That’s a recipe for a one-time purchase and little chance of customer loyalty.

But with the right pre and post-purchase emails, you can transform your customer’s journey from a transactional experience to a memorable one that keeps them coming back for more.

Here’s how you can optimize the customer’s journey within these powerful email marketing automations.

Pre-purchase emails:

  1. Abandoned cart emails: 

    The emails in this flow are not just for reminding your email subscribers they’ve left something in their cart. 

    Depending on what product you’re selling, you might need to educate them a little bit more about it while overcoming their objections at the same time.

    That’s because they might simply not have all the information needed to make an informed decision about buying your product yet.

    It’s your job to make them understand how it will change their lives. And answer any arising questions your non-customers might have.

  1. Abandoned browser emails:

    By analyzing your customers’ browsing and purchasing behavior, you can deliver tailor-made recommendations that speak to their unique interests and needs.

    It’s like having a personal shopper at their fingertips, making sure they find the perfect product every single time.

    Don’t just remind them of the product they’ve been looking at.

    Do what Amazon does — recommend similar or even better products they might want to bring home.

Post-purchase emails:

  1. Product usage tips and tutorials:

    Don’t let your customers’ post-purchase experience end with shipping updates.

    Instead, help them get the most out of their product with handy tips, tricks, and step-by-step tutorials.

    Build excitement for when their product arrives.

    Go the extra mile to make sure they’re satisfied, and they’ll come back for more.
  2. Review and feedback requests:

    The customer’s voice is invaluable for your brand’s growth.

    By inviting them to share their thoughts and experiences, you’re not only gathering vital insights but also empowering them to feel like they’re an integral part of your brand’s story.

    Make sure you’re giving them a reason to leave a review.

    Whether that’s to help someone else make a decision regarding the same product or to make your team’s day…

    Studies show that using the word “because” and then giving a reason results in significantly more compliance with the request you’re making.


Customer Value Optimization (CVO) is your secret sauce to make your customers stick around and keep coming back for more.

When you infuse your email marketing with CVO goodness especially, you create an unforgettable journey that turns customers into raving fans.

Nail that RFM segmentation, weave those heart-tugging stories, and give your pre and post-purchase automations a little extra love.

It’s all about taking your customers on a seamless journey and making them feel like they’re part of your squad.