As a savvy ecommerce entrepreneur, perhaps you already know that it’s cheaper and more cost efficient for a company to remarket to an existing customer than win over a completely new one. According to SalesForce’s Desk.com blog, “a 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by up to 125%,” and “it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.”
These numbers serve as steadfast proof that it pays for ecommerces to invest substantial time in strategizing an effective customer retention program and while Ecommerce Rules does have 3 Simple Strategies to Increase Customer Retention, we’re going to narrow in on one aspect of successful customer retention here and that’s through well-tailored and executed email marketing campaigns.
Despite what you sell and the quality of your online store’s products, people will often forget to shop with you. It’s the nature of online shopping: there are many competitors on the internet and because virtual shopping is a somewhat removed activity since customers aren’t physically walking through your store, it’s easier for them to forget it. This is why email marketing campaigns are so vital––to serve as reminders for your previous customers (and those who almost bought from you) of the excellent experience your online store provided, the amazing deals offered, and your wonderful products.
While Practical eCommerce found that “only 5% of new customers that make a purchase with a company return to the site, and only 3% make a second purchase.” They also found that consumers who recently made a purchase are more than twice as likely to browse your store and buy again after receiving an email from your company.
So then, let’s talk about what makes good email marketing. The most effective campaigns focus on sending hard-hitting, tailored content to targeted markets in a timely manner. There are 3 main types of email marketing campaigns which we will go into detail in this post. Here are advanced email marketing campaigns for your online store.
1. Behavior-Triggered Marketing Emails
The number one way to get your customers to return to your website and shop with you again is by crafting your email campaigns to correspond to their actions. With this type of email marketing strategy, your customer base will get emails depending on their recent behavior and interactions. It plays directly into increasing customer retention; keeping your current customers happy and encouraging repeat purchases.
The most effective of behavior-triggered marketing emails are those that target abandoned shopping carts and the people who almost made a purchase at your store but have yet to fully commit.
Abandoned Shopping Cart
Abandoned shopping cart-triggered email campaigns are the most effective at encouraging future purchases. These types of emails prompt people to return and browse through the site again to finish their order.
The number one selling point of an abandoned cart email campaign is how straightforward and direct the message is for customers; simple to understand and to act on, the timeliness of it (send an abandoned cart email to customers who have kept items in their shopping cart but haven’t purchased within 48 hours) is also key. No need for the design to be fancy; it’s just a reminder that there’s still a great product waiting for them in their shopping carts.
2. Lead Nurturing Marketing Emails
The second most effective email marketing campaign is known as lead nurturing and its purpose is just as it sounds––to generate sales leads to increase conversion rates. Lead nurturing marketing emails are a series of emails sent at intervals to remind consumers about an upcoming event.
This type of email campaign can also be effective for turning secondary conversions into primary ones, meaning someone receives information or a free product from your online store that eventually leads them to making a purchase.
For instance, if your ecommerce is an mp3 store and you allow a consumer one free download in exchange for their email, you may then generate a lead nurturing campaign and send a series of emails letting them know that the artist whose song they downloaded has a new CD coming out. Then, within interval emails counting down the arrival of the new CD, if that consumer enjoyed the free downloaded track––and with the reminder about the new CD––they’re more likely to go back to your website and purchase the CD.
The more common usage of lead nurturing emails, however, is to nurture repetitive business in the form of renewals (or repurchases), and reminding customers about approaching deadlines.
Countdown to Renewal
Monitoring your consumers’ past buying behaviors allows you to reach out to them when they need to make a repeat purchase. With lead nurturing emails, you can remind them of impending deadlines at set intervals, such as 10 days before, 5 days, 2, and then 1 day before.
This tactic is an effective remarketing approach for ecommerces whose businesses run on a monthly (or quarterly, yearly, etc.) timeline, such as prescription contacts, for example. By keeping track of when your customers made their first purchase of monthly (or daily) contacts, and following how much supplies were purchased, you are able to craft a campaign offering a much-appreciated reminder that they’re about to run out and that serves as a push to repurchase. Lead nurturing marketing emails, when done correctly, hit consumers at their time in need and certainly plays to the seller’s advantage (time-wise, but also to the buyer’s advantage who needs to be able to see!)
3. Newsletter Marketing Emails
By far the most common marketing email campaign is the newsletter, whether that’s monthly, quarterly, on holidays, or even yearly. These consistent means of communication and reaching out to consumers is attractive because newsletters can be sent to a wide base of consumers, non-repeat customers as well as past purchasers. Though it is worth mentioning that newsletters are also known as one-off emails because they’re not tied to any triggers, such as a customer’s behavior, and consequently are the least effective.
Because they’re sent so regularly, customers know to expect them and this type of marketing often loses its appeal. It is more likely that a customer will delete the monthly newsletter than open it or browse through. The impact of incentivize discounts, sales, and promotions are lessened with newsletters. Customer’s often think along the lines of “well, if I don’t use that 20% off coupon this month, another one will just come next month and I can use it then.” But the problem is that this sentiment will carry over month to month.
With all of this in mind, newsletter can still be an effective means of email marketing when strategized carefully. The key is to relay promotions that aren’t expected, or can not be anticipated, as well as including information that customers would want to read. Special offers such as overstocked items at reduced prices as well as new incoming product at discounted rates are promotions that a customer would have no way of knowing without the newsletter. It’s not a consistent 20% off coupon in their inboxes every month but instead a dynamic sale that requires them to open the emails to gain wind of.
Email marketing campaigns are a vital component for a successful ecommerce though it is a complex process that requires timing, savvy crafting, and strategy. Too many online stores fall back on outdated means of communicating with consumers and end up spamming customer inboxes, a tactic that will only guarantee turning off potential buyers and causing many to unsubscribe. Remember these 3 types of email marketing campaigns and the smart ways to use them so that you engage your customers, encourage repeat business, and most importantly, so that consumers enjoy interacting with your company and listening to what you have to say.