With the rise of fast-paced social media videos and interactive blog content, it’s easy to think that email might be a thing of the past. Audiences today have shorter attention spans than ever and are being conditioned to expect more exciting forms of content. However, is email actually irrelevant?
Thankfully, the answer is no. Whether you’re going on engagement, clicks, or straightforward sales conversions, email is still one of the most powerful marketing tools to have at your disposal — especially when it comes to building customer loyalty.
As the cost of acquiring new customers skyrockets, it’s crucial that online retailers and businesses of all shapes and sizes focus on sustainable growth. Email is one of the best ways to encourage customers to get engaged with your brand community because it’s accessible and highly visual, giving you the perfect opportunity to show new and returning customers exactly who your brand is and why they should fall in love with you.
Another survey by E-marketer discovered that nearly 60 per cent of marketers considered email marketing as an effective method of reaching customer retention goals. 7 Tips to improve customer retention via email marketing. To improve customer retention using email marketing, there are some tips every company can follow. Scaling customer.
Let’s look at six ways you can use email to boost loyalty, build engagement, and ultimately improve your bottom-line.
Segmenting your customers into groups based on their purchase patterns and behaviors is one of the most effective ways to boost loyalty and retention. This is especially true when you group customers according to their position in your rewards program. Whether you’re simply running a points program or incorporating VIP tiers, you have a lot of data at your fingertips you can use to craft personalized, highly-relevant emails that speak directly to specific groups of people.
In general, there are four types of data you should incorporate into your marketing campaigns.
Segmenting customers based on factors like age, location, and gender can be immensely useful for putting together targeted emails that speak directly to the needs of your customers. This is especially true if you sell a variety of products that appeal to a number of different audiences.
Knowing how often your customers are shopping with you will give you the most insight into how your customers prefer to shop with you. If you notice that most customers are only making purchases every 6 months, you can run special events and send them campaign emails to get them excited to attend.
This is especially useful if you’re running a rewards program. Bonus points events are one of the best ways to improve overall engagement with your brand and larger community and are a highly valuable addition to your regularly scheduled marketing efforts.
A VIP program makes it very easy for you to see who your most valuable customers are. These are the customers who spend the most at your store and are most engaged with your brand community, making them an extremely important group to keep engaged.
When you separate these highly active members from your disengaged customers, you can begin to craft personalized campaigns designed to motivate inactive members to take advantage of your program’s benefits. It can even be as simple as including each customer’s VIP status and points balance in every email you send. These small reminders can often be the difference between a customer exploring more of your program or falling off.
Referral programs are among the most powerful marketing techniques available, with 74% of shoppers identifying referrals as a key factor in purchase decisions. As a result, focusing extra attention on your top referrers is worthwhile because they represent a huge source of new customers.
Send your top referrers an email thanking them for engaging in your program, and offer an additional incentive or reward for helping you grow your brand community. Similarly, remind customers who haven’t made a successful referral what their unique referral URL is and what they can earn to motivate them to share your brand community with friends and family.
Over 90% of customers like receiving personalized content from brands. That’s because personalization helps customers feel truly valued as part of your brand community, helping them form strong emotional connections with your brand they might not experience otherwise.
Personalized emails build strong emotional connections between customers and your brand, involving them in your brand community.
This means you need to make personalized content a staple in your email marketing efforts. Whenever you wish a customer happy birthday or let them know about a relevant buying holiday like Mother’s Day, they form a positive association with your brand that will keep them coming back in the future.
You can send personalized messages on a number of different occasions.
Sending out birthday emails is one of the easiest ways to build loyalty. It shows your members that you care about them as an individual and want to share their excitement and join the celebration.
You can even sweeten the deal by offering them a special reward as a gift. Simons offers their customers double points on their birthdays, making it exciting for every customer to shop for something special on their big day. This type of incentive is great for reminding customers of the value of your program and getting them engaged in the year to come.
While it’s not a good idea to celebrate every holiday, you can send customers personalized emails on the holidays most relevant to them as a group. Consider who your customers are and what you sell to come up with a list of celebrations you’d like to share with them and design tailored messages for each of those events. These campaigns will provide another chance for customers to include your brand in their day-to-day lives and, as a result, for them to engage in your community.
It’s always nice to be acknowledged when you achieve something you’ve been working towards, and the same goes for your customers’ VIP status! When a customer enters a new tier, send them an email welcoming them to the next stage of their program and thanking them for their participation in your brand community.
This would also be a great opportunity to remind them of the benefits of their new status and how they can earn even more fantastic perks and rewards with your program.
Your rewards program’s inactive members are actually some of the most valuable. That’s because they represent a group of people that are already interested in your product and brand. That makes it much easier to re-engage than to devote more resources to finding new customers through expensive acquisition channels.
The key is to make your emails valuable to these customers. One of the reasons they might have disengaged in the first place is because they no longer find your program valuable. That means it’s your job to remind them of why they joined your community in the first place and get them excited to re-engage.
Reminding customers that a free gift, bonus reward points, or a discount reward are waiting for them are all easy ways to demonstrate your commitment to providing these customers value. In this example from Knitcrate, they remind their customers how many points they’ve earned and show them what they could spend them on, making the connection between both their program and products stronger and more valuable.
Through this value-add marketing, you make it easy for customers to see and understand what’s in it for them and get them to re-engage with your community as a result.
Asking for feedback is a great way to make your customers feel appreciated. The trouble is often getting them to actually give it to you. While customers want to be heard, they also want it to be worth their time and won’t necessarily seek out your contact information or look for you on social media.
That’s where email comes in! Sending emails that asks your engaged brand community for their feedback on your products, services, or rewards program is a fantastic way to include them in more of your brand experience.
To make this even more valuable for your customers, why not give them a gift for taking the time to respond? Mori offered their customers a significant reward in exchange for taking part in their survey, and encouraged both new and existing customers to share their opinions. Rewards show customers their opinions mean something, and imply that you are gathering feedback because you genuinely want it rather than as an arbitrary exercise.
One of the most exciting parts of a points program is watching your progress to the next reward. By incorporating gamification into the rewards experience, earning points becomes a game that customers can’t wait to keep playing. However, it’s only satisfying if you know what you’re working towards. Without knowing how close you are to the next reward, you can get demotivated pretty quickly,
You can solve this problem by sending emails to let your program members know how close they are to their next awesome reward. These messages don’t need to be complicated — even something as simple as “you’re so close!” will inspire customers to make that one more purchase that pushes them into rewards redemption territory.
Scout & Co sends regular reminders to their members reminding them how many Stars they have and how close they are to the next reward. These short, simple messages help turn the abstract idea of “Stars” into something tangible and make it easier to see how earning those Stars are adding value to their community experience. With these messages in their inbox, Scout & Co’s customers are motivated to keep earning and spending rewards, keeping their brand community active and engaged.
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that building loyalty is all about offering rewards and free stuff, but that’s not actually true. Customers are looking for opportunities to engage with brands who take the time to develop real, emotional connections with them. In fact, research shows that “emotional connection” is a stronger contributor to loyalty than popular “conversion” elements like “ease” and “effectiveness.”
With so many of your competitors focusing solely on these transaction-based features, you have the opportunity to create an incredible experience that goes above and beyond what customers expect. You can do that by including the following types of content in your future email campaigns:
This style of marketing is known as “value-add” because it goes beyond simply promoting products. In these campaigns, you delight customers beyond a simple purchase and end up building deeper emotional connections with customers as a result. This makes these types of campaigns more effective than many other to establish strong loyalty in existing (and new!) customers.
When customers are loyal to your brand, you reap the benefits of engaged, excited community members who are committed to engaging with and sharing your brand with others. Using the tactics on this list will ensure that you foster as much loyalty as possible with these valuable customers using a marketing channel that is still one of the easiest and most effective.
By introducing each of these email campaigns to your marketing efforts, you will dramatically improve not only your customer’s loyalty but your overall brand experience as well. With value-add marketing at the helm, you’re well set up to build stronger customer relationships that last.
Now, time to start working on your next email!
Chad Rubin is the CEO and co-founder of Skubana, an online suite of tools that helps ecommerce merchants manage, track, and update inventory while drawing insights from analytics reporting.
Today’s B2B brands invest huge amounts of time and money on perfecting their lead generation, nurturing and customer acquisition strategies. That’s all good because every business needs a healthy stream of new customers coming in – but many brands overlook the importance of customer retention during the constant chase for new buyers.
What’s wrong with that?
Well, research from Invesp has found customer acquisition costs 5X more than customer retention. That means you could be paying 500% more to sell the same product to a new customer than you would spend on selling it to an existing one.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, either. A customer who has already bought from you once should be more likely to buy from you again than a fresh new lead off the press will be. Likewise, you’ve already spent most of the money it took to get this customer on board and nurture them towards the initial sale. Customer retention expenses should be minimal at this stage – especially if your strategy is largely automation (and it should be).
Above all, existing customers should already have enjoyed a positive experience with your brand and be more loyal to you than people who are yet to trust you with their money.
Herein lies a problem, though. How can you build this kind of trust and customer loyalty if your customer retention strategy sucks?
The answer is simple: you can’t.
Without customer retention, your customers are going to become disinterested with your brand, look elsewhere and, ultimately, end up with one of your competitors that has a solid customer retention strategy in place – all before they ever get the chance to develop loyalty with your brand.
Every customer that gets away is a lost opportunity to develop a lasting, highly-profitable relationship.
Research conducted by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found that increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profit by anything between 25% and 95%.
Customer retention should be a priority for every business and, in this article, we’ve got seven email marketing strategies that are going to help you turn more buyers into loyal customers who buy from you time and again.
The first email you send to new leads/customers sets the tone for everything that follows – so make sure you get it right. Now, how this is going to work exactly will depend on how you capture leads and customers and there could be some overlap here (hence why I’m talking about leads and customers).
If you’re an SaaS company, for example, many of your leads might be customer right from the start if they’re signing up to your services or starting a demo/free trial.
Think of a company like Dropbox. In many cases, its first dealing with a new lead/customer is going to be when they sign up to the free version of its platform and then the focus is on turning them into paying customers.
Now, Dropbox knows people aren’t going to become long-term, paying customers if they haven’t even got the app downloaded on their devices and this is why the company sends out emails to new customers prompting them to do just that (if they haven’t done so already).
This is a great example of an automated welcome/first response email strategy.
Here at Venture Harbour, most of our leads come in the form of email signups and inquirers so we still have a bit of work to do before turning them into customers. We also have a lot of different leads types that require us to send out different responses, depending on what each prospect is looking for.
So we use Leadformly to get information about what potential customers need from us and automate our responses, based on the data they give us.
Another great example of an automated welcome/first response email marketing strategy.
Bonus tip: Make sure you respond to new leads/customers within the first 24 hours of them converting (or sooner) because leads turn cold fast in this game – as you can read in our How Fast do Marketing Leads Turn Cold? article.
Once you’ve turned leads into solid customers, you need to keep them engaged with your products, services and brand. Software companies have an advantage here as you can look user data to see how much they’re using your platforms and create engagement campaigns each group – eg: daily users, weekly users, monthly users, not used in the last 30 days.
For the rest of us, we have to take a more strategic approach to keeping customers engaged and this is where your email content really needs to add value to their lives and experience with your brand.
ProCopywriters sends out regular email designed to help its writers improve their skills and get more work. This includes free webinars from industry experts, recommended tools and business advice.
We also do a similar thing with our engagement campaigns here a Venture Harbour.
The key thing is to know what problems your customers face in their professional lives and provide content that’s going to help them overcome those issues. These problems need to be relevant to your brand, product or services in some way, of course, and you need to be able to establish yourself as an authoritative source of reliable information on these problems.
By adding value to your customers’ lives, beyond what you’re selling to them, you’re building a bond that established trust and loyalty.
Now you need to turn that loyalty into ongoing purchases.
The entire purpose of customer retention is to maximise the lifetime value of each customer by turning them into repeat buyers. Two of the most important tactics in achieving this are upselling and cross-selling – both of which should feature heavily in your email marketing efforts.
Just in case there’s any confusion about these terms, here are a couple of quick definitions:
Common examples of upselling would be a SaaS company trying to get customers to upgrade to a more expensive software plan or an insurance company tempting existing customers with more comprehensive coverage.
An example of upselling from video online video platform Vimeo
Cross-selling generally involves targeting customers with products related to the purchases they’ve already made from you. So a web design agency might offer customers hosting management or content writing services, for example. Whereas a B2B eCommerce brand might want to use a product recommendation engine to tempt customers with related products in a similar way that Amazon does.
If you want loyal customers, then it makes sense to reward them with customer loyalty incentives. Whether it’s money-off deals on their birthday, the occasional freebie to thank them for all their business or rewarding them for referring new customers to you, there are all kinds of rewards, gifts and offers you can send customers’ way to increase loyalty and boost sales.
A referral programme once run by TransferWise that rewarded customers for inviting friends to use the service (Source: GetResponse)
Here we have an example of a referral programme TransferWise used to run, which not only rewarded customers for using its platform but also incentivised them to invite their friends to the service and bring more customers on board for the company.
While this offer boosts engagement and gives existing customers added reason to keep using TransferWise, it turns these rewards into a lead generation strategy that more than pays for the relatively minor financial reward.
Know which campaigns will work without wasting budget with our latest venture, TrueNorth.
Earlier, I linked to a previous that explains how leads go cold within 24 hours or less and this gives you a good idea of how quickly you need to react when it comes to customer support. Now, keep in mind that leads are people who are looking to buy from you in the near future but existing customers who are having problems have already parted with their money.
Something is getting in the way of them patting themselves on the back for making the right purchase decision and this is bad news from a customer retention point of view. In many cases, when your customers rely on your product/services to run their business, every moment a technical issue runs on, they’re being hurt in the pocket.
Needless to say, you need to get things fixed as soon as possible and turn these people into happy customers once again.
The first step towards doing this is responding to customer issues now, not later. There’s no excuse for leaving customers waiting with the tools you have available these days. Automate your email responses so customers get an answer right away but don’t start sending out generic messages telling them you’ll be in touch once you’ve had a chance to look into their issue.
Use a tool like Leadformly to get information from customers about their technical issue so you can send personalised responses instantly. Tell them you’re looking into the issue as we speak and send them links to relevant support pages on your website and some simple instructions on what they can do in the meantime.
An example of BotXo handling a simple customer service issue.
Another option you’ve got is to use a chatbot to handle basic customer service issues and get things rolling. This will allow the bot to handle simple issues, direct customers to relevant information and send their case to a human member of your support team if the bot isn’t capable of dealing with any particular issue.
These are the kind of strategies you should be using to enhance your customer support email strategies so you’re able to offer instant support 24/7.
Loyal customers want to feel like they’re a part of your brand and a valuable member of a two-way relationship. Their opinions matter and reaching out to ask them for feedback is the best possible way to show them that you acknowledge the importance of their opinions and get valuable insights as to how you can improve.
Positive feedback is always great to receive but negative feedback can help you fix issues that could otherwise prevent customers from continuing to buy from you.
An email from Indiegogo asking customers for feedback (Source: GetResponse)
You might want feedback about your products, the quality of your content recommendations or even how your customer service team dealt with that last issue – sometimes, all you need to do is ask the question.
Sometimes, customer relationships flourish in the early days but turn cold once the honeymoon period is over. When this happens, you need to try and get these customers back on board and get them excited about your business again. It could be they’re not using your software platform as much as they once were or they’re not making as many purchases as they once did.
Whatever is, you need some re-engagement email campaigns to get them back on board.
Grammarly sends out emails to users who are writing less than usual and urges them to hit the keys again (Source: Hubspot).
Grammarly even gamifies this process by awarding a badge to people who stop using its tool and sending out an email urging them to start writing again. What it doesn’t do is simply let its customers disappear without putting up a fight – and neither should you.
If there’s anything to take away from this article, it’s that making the most of every customer should be a priority for every B2B business. Bringing in new leads is great but you’re never going to maximise business performance if you’re failing with customer retention.
We’ve given you seven tried and tested email marketing strategies in this article, to help you turn more customers into repeat buyers. So now it’s over to you implement them and continue getting results after the initial purchase.