As a business owner, there is, undeniably, no better feeling than attracting someone new into your business. Which is one reason why “new customer marketing” often gets more attention than customer retention strategies, but it is not the most glamorous or efficient way to grow your business.
New customer marketing is not a very cost effective way to grow a business, which is why I am always surprised that more and more local companies ignore customer loyalty as a growth strategy. If you’re wondering how to best increase customer loyalty, look no further than email. It is a very economical and effective way for you to grow your business, and it is one of the best ways for companies to “grow” their business over the long term.
Don't sleep on Customer retention
While a lot of businesses focus time and attention on growing their customer base, customer retention increases your customers‘ lifetime value and boosts your revenue! It also helps you build amazing relationships and customer loyalty with your customers. Mastering customer retention goes a long way to growing customer trust with you amd their money because you give them value in exchange.
Onboard New Customers and Subscribers
Many companies make the mistake of ignoring customer loyalty until customers are about to leave. Your plan to keep customers should start from the very beginning of the relationship and last until after they have gone. Yes, you read that right, “after they have gone”.
The first email you send should be a welcome email, but there could be more, we will talk about later. Once you’ve welcomed your new customers, consider getting them to engage with your brand in different ways.
Offering them a discount code or coupon to get them to make a follow-up purchase.
Ask them to respond to questions, so you can segment your list and send emails that feel personalized.
Ask them to write a review
Ask them to connect with you on social media
What about when someone buys for the first time or signs up for your list?
Ask them to answer questions so you can segment your list and send an email that feels personalized. If your subscribers do not open or engage with your welcome mail, you should consider adding a follow-up email.
Sometimes it can work to offer a discount or voucher, but beware of customers who have never bought from you. You don’t want them to think of you and your business as a discount brand.
Send Emails Based on Customers’ Behavior
The question of when to contact a customer by e-mail is a big one for small business owners. I think one of the best ways to do this is to use customer behavior as a trigger for your emails. When a customer reaches a certain point in their journey with you, send them a survey asking them for their opinion so far.
For example, say a customer has just bought one of your products. You may want to consider sending a confirmation email that suggests up-sell or cross-sell products to them. If you choose your product recommendations wisely, you might end up with a bigger sale – and a customer who’s more committed to your brand than they were before you emailed them.
Here are some other examples of behaviorally triggered emails:
Ask them to review your product or service.
Send an email reminding them that they have items in their shopping cart.
Send an email suggesting products based on their previous purchases.
Emails like these can benefit your business in several ways. First, they offer an affordable way to acknowledge a customer’s activity and let them know that you care about their business. Second, they can help you gather valuable information about what kinds of emails your customers want to get. And finally, each time you “touch” a customer via email, you’re solidifying their opinion of your brand and – hopefully – increasing their loyalty to you.
Segment Your Emails to Increase Their Appeal
Email can benefit your business in many ways, but it can also benefit you as a business, especially if you use it positively. When you reach out to your subscribers, you should do so in a way that is tailored to their individual needs and desires.
Let’s look at an example. Say you own a sporting goods store. If you collect information about which sports and equipment customers are interested in, you can use that data to send emails that will appeal to your customers’ personal interests. A customer who is interested in winter sports might get emails when you have a sale on ski gear or introduce skate sharpening to your store.
You may even market one product in three different ways focusing on different benefits and uses for it. The specifics are up to you, but the main point is that segmentation can help you provide relevant email content to your subscribers.
There are some details, but the main point is that segmentation can help you deliver relevant email content to your subscribers.
Send Re-Engagement Emails
What do you do when you know or sense a customer is about to drop you? You can get depressed about it or you can look at it the way I do – as an opportunity.
Customers don’t always drop a brand because they’re dissatisfied, They might be cutting back on their spending or they might think they’ve seen everything you have to offer.
Here are some suggestions for bringing them back into the fold.
Offer them an upgrade or a freebie. Sometimes, injecting a little bit of excitement into the relationships is the way to go. A customer who’s using a basic product may appreciate the added features of an upgrade and re-engage with your brand.
Solicit feedback. A dissatisfied customer may need to know that you care about their business, and the feedback you collect can help you improve your products and services.
Offer value. Sometimes, a long-term customer might need a reminder of why they bought from you in the first place. Let them know about updated features and products or give them some tips for using the products they’ve bought.
If you can take a customer on the verge of leaving and re-engage them, you can give your sales a boost and improve your retention rate at the same time.
Send Exit Emails
What happens when you know that a customer is leaving? There’s nothing you can do to stop them but that doesn’t mean you should do nothing.
I suggest sending an exit email. It may be useful to:
- Collect information about why the customer is leaving
Keep the door open for a future relationship
Leave things on a positive note
The last thing you want to do is make customers happy they’ve left. Be gracious and express gratitude for their business and let them know that you’ll be there if they decide they want to re-engage with you.
I hope you see the benefit of using email to increase customer retention. Retention may be less glamorous than new customer acquisition, but it’s also less expensive – and it’s also the best growth strategy I know.
Lastly, business owner to business owner, entrepreneur to entrepreneur while email is a proven tool for success in your business you don’t want to tackle even the emails mentioned above without some sort of automation. Without automation for these types of emails you will find that trying to send these emails in addition to all the other emails you send and receive on a daily basis is a losing proposition. It’s only a matter of time before someone falls through the cracks (you forget to send an email) and you don’t want that to happen.
With the simplicity of tools like Ontraport (shameless plug for the platform we use), GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, etc… there really is no excuse NOT to implement this basic level of automation in your business. In my opinion, the time saving alone makes sense to invest in email automation in your business.