During an economic downturn like the one we’re currently facing, it’s more important than ever to maintain contact with your supporters and existing customers. They are your bread and butter right now—your support system. So what is the best way to maintain and strengthen your relationship with your repeat customers? Email—and we can show you how to get started.
Customer retention is extremely important to the survival of any business. These customers regularly boost revenue and will often refer new business based upon the trusting, established relationship you built with them when times were good. It’s also easier and more cost-effective for a business to retain existing customers than to gain new ones. In fact, studies show that it can cost 30% more to acquire a new customer.
To keep that connection strong, you need to keep your business top of mind for them when they need your particular product, service or specialty, as well as be helpful and available however you can. Email is a great way to stay in touch when cash is tight.
How Can Email Help?
Email is one of the most effective marketing methods for customer retention. It can reach a wide audience all at once directly, it’s familiar to users (everyone’s used to getting promotional emails), and it’s fairly inexpensive (you aren’t paying to print thousands of printed pieces). It is also effective because (depending on the email platform you use) you can usually track user data, and then use that knowledge to increase your odds of making a sale and keep that client returning for more.
Successful Email Strategies
There are a variety of things to consider when crafting a retention email strategy:
- What type of retention email will you create? You want to keep customers engaged in the time in between their transactions with you, as well as just keep in contact, so you’ll want to think about what type of email to send. Some ideas: a welcome email for new customers, an email sent after a purchase showing the products’ benefits, abandoned cart reminder email, major milestone email (one year since you became a customer), encouragement to re-engage (it’s been awhile!), or a thank you note. The type will determine the content, length and timing.
- A few email must-haves: The more successful retention emails include personalization that fit your customers’ preferences (i.e. writing style, format and using their first name if you have it) and good timing (how often you send and what time). A good general rule of thumb is to email them once a week so as not to become an annoyance, but still stay fresh in their minds. Especially now when consumers are cautious, it’s important not to overdo it. One last—and important--must have: Make sure your email is mobile friendly!
- Consider your email’s tone: The tone of your messaging is also crucial. Everyone is aware of the difficult times we all face, and it is important to acknowledge the change in times and the situation—you don’t want to give off the impression that you don’t care or aren’t in the loop. But don’t linger on it. Consumers are more likely to interact with businesses that are positive, helpful and empathetic. Focus on being a company that cares, not a business that just wants a consumer’s money. You also want to be clear—avoid vague wording.
- The subject line and preview text matter! Make sure to put thought into both of these texts. If they aren’t compelling, readers won’t open your email. If you find a particular email is getting a low open rate, wait a week and then try again: apply a different subject line to the same email and see if that helps. Wording can sometimes make all the difference.
The last thing to consider is the platform you use to help you implement your strategy. For marketing purposes, CRM software with marketing automation features is your best bet. It makes it easier to send bulk email and helps gather data to help you improve the effectiveness of your emails. We recommend HubSpot’s free and low cost (entry level) marketing tools. They offer an inexpensive Marketing Starter package, which includes email.
Wordpress and Mailchimp are two other commonly-used email platforms. Like HubSpot, they have a lot of great templates, guides and tips, in an easy-to-use and easy-to-setup system. They offer some CRM software as well, but not on the level that HubSpot does.
Finding retention email success is no easy feat, but it’s worth the hard work involved. If you need any help in crafting your content, analyzing your customer data, or setting up your email platform, we at Front Burner Marketing would be happy to help you develop your strategy and get you organized and moving! Also, retention emails are just one element we recommend when trying to market during a recession. For more ideas, click below to get our complete Guide to Recession Marketing.