4 Simple Email Types to Increase Customer Retention

Ivan Kreimer

Ivan Kreimer Content Marketer at Foundr

Friday, August 23, 2019

Every business wants to boost sales and using email to target existing customers is probably one of the easiest strategies to implement.

Article

I've got a quick question to ask you:

Is it more profitable to retain customers or acquire new ones?

That might seem like a common-sense question. Retaining a customer costs little while acquiring a new one can be mighty expensive. In other words, retention is more profitable than acquisition.

Yet marketers spend 6x more on acquiring customers than they do on retaining them.

Statistically speaking, retaining a customer isn’t just 90% cheaper than acquiring a new one; it also brings in 67% more revenue. Put simply, this means businesses are losing a lot of potential income by disregarding customer retention.

Fortunately for you, you can (and will) do better. The 4 email types below — including one with an average open rate of 75% — will help you retain customers without spending much time or money.

The post-purchase offer

Purchase confirmation emails, also known as “digital receipts,” have open rates of as much as 75%. Compare that to regular emails, which get opened less than 25% of the time (that’s 3x less). This is great, except for one problem.

Digital receipts are the end of the customer journey (or your sales funnel). By the time a user receives them, they’ve already bought from you and they may not want to do so again immediately.

As a result, the 3x uptick in open rates mentioned before is usually wasted on delivering a boring receipt that drives no leads, no sales, and no organic traffic.

The good news is, there’s a better way to do things — one that will help you retain customers and guide them further along your funnel.

All you do is take an offer linked to another product (or funnel), then attach it to the digital receipts you’re sending out. The offer can be for:

  • A specific user action (a social media like, a lead magnet download)
  • A product you’re promoting as an affiliate or partner
  • A product you’re selling via your own ecommerce store 

All that matters is that you’re engaging your users and retaining customers by driving sales. Here’s an example of how Uber uses this strategy to give existing users a discount while building their customer base: 

If you want to focus on retention specifically, you may want to include an offer that focuses on previous customers (and qualified leads).

The time-appropriate email

If someone has bought from you recently, then you’re all but guaranteed to know a few things like:

  • When the customer bought your product
  • Why the customer bought your product
  • When your customer is likely to run out or otherwise need more of your product

And using this information, you can put your product in front of interested prospects just as they’re considering their next purchase.

For example: let’s say you sell printer ink. Why not segment your customers according to when and how much they bought, and send a reminder to re-stock at the right time? This way, you’re all but guaranteed to retain a previous customer’s business!

Here’s an excellent example of Nike using time-appropriate emails to put Summer sportswear in front of fitness enthusiasts and athletes:

Notice how Nike added faux-buttons to the image, making the email feel like a store page to drive more clicks. This is a tactic you can easily replicate in your own emails.

The suggestion email

A lot of the time, past customers simply don’t know what else to buy. Why not help them out with appropriate suggestions?

This way, you retain a customer and get them to make an instant purchase. Conversely, if someone else beats you to the punch and gives an appropriate suggestion first, you risk losing a quick sale and a long-term client.

For an idea of how powerful suggestions can be, consider this. Amazon makes 35% of its revenue from suggestions. Many of them are sent directly to past customers via emails like this one:

And similar to the time-appropriate emails described in the previous point, suggestions allow you to drive immediate sales while improving customer retention.

If that’s not a win-win, what is?

The feedback email

Receiving feedback is helpful for customer acquisition as well as retention for two major reasons.

First, learning about negative customer experiences helps you do better going forward. It also makes your clients feel like they’re being heard. Both factors improve customer retention.

Second, positive feedback, when made public, is very powerful. 88% of people trust online testimonials as much as they do personal recommendations, and tapping into that helps acquire new customers.

The best part is that you can collect positive and negative feedback easily via email marketing. All you have to do is send a straightforward email asking customers what they think of your offer.

83% of consumers are willing to give a reference after a positive experience. Meanwhile, over a million customer service reviews are posted on Twitter each week — and 4 in 5 are negative.

Clearly, consumers enjoy speaking their mind, whether negative or positive, so why not give them a constructive platform to do so? You’ll be improving customer retention and acquisition with just one simple email.

Conclusion

And there you have it: you just discovered 4 simple, effective email types that will improve customer retention, contributing to your overall marketing strategy. Let’s recap what they are:

  1. The post-purchase offer
  2. The time-appropriate email
  3. The suggestion email
  4. The feedback request

Now that you know these four simple email types that will help you increase your customer retention, it's time you get started.

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