After an existing customer enrolls in an email marketing campaign, it’s important to remember that this is another touch point with potential shoppers – but it doesn’t automatically suggest they will buy again from your small business. Using email marketing is a strong way to drum up interest from consumers, whether they’ve bought from you previously or not, as the channel opens an SMB up to more than 93 percent of the market. However, as with any other online marketing campaign, it’s critical to reassess campaigns and ensure that content is targeted to the correct audience.
Too often, SMBs create email content aimed at their entire prospect and client pool. When using email messages to retain existing customers, it’s important to remember that different content and language is required than when trying to sell someone for the first time.
Recently, ExactTarget released a report that found businesses of all sizes are typically ill-prepared to handle email marketing campaigns aimed at retaining customers. While there isn’t a magic bullet solution that small business owners can apply to ensure they’re emails are well received by existing customers, there are some steps SMBs can take to alter their messages to reach those they’ve already worked with.
It’s quite common for customers to stop responding to email marketing messages without unsubscribing. ContentLEAD recently reported that 54 percent of SMBs still send messages when users stop interacting. However, few change their approach to find success and re-engage these audiences.
Altering language, shared content, calls to action and regularly reassessing can help small businesses appeal to their existing customers and encourage them to make purchases once again. Here are some points to consider if you want your email marketing efforts to build customer retention:
Include relevant website content to re-spark interest
While many consumers look for email marketing campaigns to offer discounts and other deals they wouldn’t see otherwise, it’s important for small businesses to include links to relevant website content in their messages. These links can bring recipients back to your site – where they’ll have conversion opportunities.
Nothing is going to spark interest like the ability to save money, but think about the reason a prospect became a customer in the first place. They felt comfortable with your company and were swayed by a product or service you offer, whether they found it on your site or were introduced to it by an employee. Recreating that feeling with descriptive emails showcasing your service guarantee, your top-of-the-line customer service, new products and more can inspire them to buy again – and by giving them site links to “read more,” you’ll direct them to a place where they can convert.
Moreover, an engaging industry article or research-heavy white paper can remind customers why they need your services and help you re-generate demand through timely updates about trends in your sector. This approach also affirms your commitment to doing more than just making some sales through an attempt to provide subscribers with information that matters to them. Moreover, including seasonal elements in campaigns is an effective way to show off a product or service a recipient may be unfamiliar with.
ContentLEAD reported in February that email campaigns that lack anything more than some product information are unlikely to generate much interest. Pairing email with content marketing efforts can help attract existing customers and help guide them back to the website to further research a potential purchase.
In general, reconsider the content being sent to ensure that it’s relevant to particular audiences with different buying histories, and create articles or blog posts that make them feel like you’re discussing their first purchase while advising a second.
Personalize messages, make content more welcoming
When you ask a customer to enroll in your email campaign, there’s a chance they provided you with information beyond their email address. Even the most basic traits can be used to drive a recipient click through to your site again.
The user’s age, sex, income level and other characteristics should all be used in deciding which content they see in the email campaign you send them. Of course, it’s impossible to make these messages entirely personal, but hitting on a few points that might matter to specific demographics will help convey a greater sense of interest in your customers.
Seventy-nine percent of small businesses fail to do so for customers who subscribe after an ecommerce order. Overall, a vast majority of SMBs are treating email subscribers the same without any nod to their history with your company.
Remember that personalization goes beyond using a subscriber’s name. It can even go beyond pulling website content for messages based on demographics and buying history. In general, small business owners are sitting on a massive glut of information related to their audience that they are failing to include in their email campaigns. Fixing this can be as simple as sending a customer an email on their birthday or a message on the six month anniversary of their purchase with a special offer.
Reconsider the frequency of messages
There is a chance that the reason your customers aren’t engaging with your content is because they’ve grown frustrated with a different element of your email marketing. Even if content is relevant and they’ve become repeat customers, they may be frustrated with the frequency of the messages.
According to ExactTarget, 34 percent of SMBs using email marketing sent between five and 10 messages to subscribers in the first 30 days. This was by far the most common response, with the next highest being the 21 percent that sent between one and four messages over the course of a month. While it was unclear whether or not these frequencies frustrated consumers, 17 percent of companies sent at least 16 emails in the first 30 days.
Customers are increasingly sensitive to spamming as email becomes more important, especially as more consumers use smartphones. Sending excessive email content to customers is among the easiest ways to turn them off entirely. Moreover, many won’t unsubscribe from a campaign. Instead they’ll mark a message as spam, and it’s unlikely that they’ll see it again.
To overcome the challenge of deciding how often to send, your business can ask recipients how frequently they’d like to receive emails. Using the data collected when a customer enrolls to then inform the campaign is most likely to result in repeated purchases and a positive experience.
Like most forms of web marketing, prospects are open to engaging with the SMBs they enjoy buying from. However, interest doesn’t automatically mean sales. Knowing this and regularly adjusting campaigns to ensure success is critical to turning an email campaign into a successful driver of conversions.
Email marketing campaigns must be adjusted to help small businesses reengage with subscribers that haven’t become repeat customers.