Did you know it costs you more to obtain a new customer than it does to retain a current customer?
In fact, 70% of businesses in one study say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one. They also say they get a better return on investment when they do the leg work to build a relationship with their customers.
You’ve probably heard the term “low hanging fruit.” This is a thing or person that can be won, obtained, or persuaded with little effort.
The low hanging fruit, or customer, is the place to start when it comes to increasing customer retention. It is much easier to create and nurture loyal customers than it is to get a brand new one.
In this article, we look at how to use automated email series to increase customer retention. First, let’s talk a bit about retention.
What is Customer Retention?
For your business, customer retention means the number of customers that come back and purchase from you again and again. Its direct opposite is customer churn – this is the number of customers who don’t buy from you consistently.
Customer retention hinges on several key factors:
- It’s important to attract the “right” customers. This is your target customer – your ideal. The right customer has more potential to stick around.
- The first activation is integral. By this, we mean encouraging your customer to take the desired action on your landing pages. Initially this may not mean they actually purchase something from you. It is simply the first action they take with your business. This activates them on their buying journey.
- Follow up is also key to retaining customers. This is where lead nurturing and automated email is at its best. You want to do your best to spend time building a relationship with your customers to maximize retention.
Now that we’ve decoded customer retention, let’s look at how to use automated email series to increase customer retention. We’re going to discuss several types of automated emails that work to nurture your leads and increase customer retention.
The Welcome Email
You want to start right away building brand loyalty with your new email subscribers.
Even if your website visitor hasn’t made a purchase yet, they’ve liked your products or services enough to sign up for your email list. Start their relationship with you off right and send them a welcome email.
This first interaction is a great time to showcase your brand by telling your story and highlighting your most important features.
You can send more than one welcome email. Consider a series of three emails. The first one tells your story. The second one might highlight your current promotions, tell them what they can expect in future emails and provide a bit of engaging content.
Your third welcome email could direct email subscribers to a landing page where they can share their birthday, communication preferences and a wish list. By encouraging these actions, you’ll increase your conversion rate while ensuring you provide each customer with relevant information.
A report by Experian, shows that welcome emails enjoy four times the total open rates (57.8% to 14.6%) and five times the click rates (14.4% to 2.7%) compared to bulk email promotions.
This report goes to show that targeting your customer with automated email works.
The Recommendations Email
Customer retention often sees a lift when you send automated product recommendation emails to your customers.
If you’re selling products online, it’s vital to engage with your customer “where they are.” You’ll increase retention by sending customized marketing content to your customers.
Consider retail giant, Amazon. If you showed in interest in wireless printers, you can bet sometime in the next week or so, you’ll receive a customized email with product recommendations based on your browsing or purchase history.
These automated emails have a great potential to not only increase retention but to drive sales.
The Post Purchase Email
Post purchase emails are almost as important as the welcome email.
For example, a customer made a rather large purchase from an online gardening company. Not only did this customer not receive an email confirmation with an order number, but they also never received tracking information. This customer had to phone in to find out where their order was.
This is an example of what not to do. Immediately after a customer makes a purchase, while your brand is front and center, send them a post purchase email.
Things to include: a thank you, an order number, a tracking number and additional ways to connect with your brand such as links to your social media platforms or your blog.
The Customer Rewards Email
Rewarding your best customers through automated email also works to increase customer retention. Your best customers are the most valuable ones to you because they come back over and over to purchase from you.
Offering rewards to your best customers can strengthen relationships and encourage customer retention.
Rewards show you appreciate your best customers. You can offer special discounts, exclusive events, best-customer-only beta product launches and more.
You can show your appreciation in big ways with this form of automated email.
The Educational Email
With this form of automated email, you create value for your customers. You can create emails that personalize the experience for your customers.
Let’s consider the gardening customer mentioned above. She purchased tomato cages and floating row cover with steel hoops to keep the bugs off her broccoli plants.
Now, imagine that around the time she received her shipment, she received an email with instructions (written or in video form) on how to use the products she purchased.
The gardening company would have met her needs and provided her with the right message at the right time. They would be a huge step closer to a loyal customer and increasing the odds that she’d remain a customer.
Using triggered emails like this, you can provide your customers with informative product info and encourage their ongoing engagement with your brand.
Each one of your customers is at a different point in their relationship with your company. While sending broad-based emails is a widely-used technique, it isn’t the most effective way to market to your customers and increase customer retention.
Your best bet is to implement a life-cycle marketing strategy using an automated email series to address the varying needs of your customer-base.
Customer retention is about relationship building, increasing loyalty and engendering trust. By sending your customers timely, relevant and educational emails, you’ll go a long way towards increasing customer retention and ultimately driving sales.
Are you ready to squeeze more profit out of your website and increase customer retention by using automated email marketing? We’re here to help you optimize your landing pages to increase conversions from your email marketing. In fact, we promise you we’ll do just that.
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Image: Frank Marino