Any good marketer knows that getting a customer is only the first step. Keeping the customer beyond that early engagement is a challenge in itself, one that shouldn’t be ignored in any business-to-customer marketing strategy.
The five automated retention marketing campaigns compiled in this article have been used with great success throughout the marketing world. From engaging new customers to reaching out to those who’ve lapsed—and rewarding the ones who stick around—these are must-use strategies for any business-to-customer marketing professional.
Onboarding Drip Campaigns
Introducing new customers via marketing emails is tricky. You don’t want them to miss any key news or announcements, but you also can’t overwhelm them by filling up their inboxes right away. One way to find the balance is by creating a drip marketing campaign, a steady flow of automated emails that are sent out in response to specific events—for example, whether or not they’ve opened the first email.
Web app integration service Zapier sums up drip marketing as “giving people the right information at the right time.” This might mean a welcome email after a customer signs up for a service, which could then drip down to informational videos, ebooks, and tech demos—whatever fits the brand. Drip marketing also helps you separate uninterested customers from ones who actually engage, so you’re not wasting time emailing the wrong people.
Lapsed Customer Reengagement Campaigns
Even with the best marketing pros on the job, email databases tend to degrade by almost 25% a year. That doesn’t mean inactive customers are a lost cause, but marketers must figure out how to spark new interest when engagement fades away. Remind customers of what they’re missing by sharing what’s knew or offering a special deal for coming back. At the very least, send a standard email giving customers the option to opt in to further emails so that your database stays active and up to date.
According to Scott Cohen, recently named one of the “75 Email Marketing Influencers You Need to Follow,” reengagement campaigns “reduce list churn rates and boost incremental engagement. Re-engaging your inactive subscribers can enhance or at least help you maintain inbox placement rates for your emails.” Aside from keeping customers connected to the brand, this is also important because maintaining engagement helps prevent internet service providers from marking the brand as spam or low-quality.
Support Request Received Emails
The way a company interacts with customers when something goes wrong is critical. It determines if people experiencing technical difficulties will continue to use that service or write it off entirely. There are several ways smart marketers let customers know they’re being heard and minimize any damage done; the first step is usually an automated email letting them know that their request has been received and help is on the way.
While an automated response is a solid first step, there are ways to get more out of these emails and increase customer loyalty. Provide a timeline of when the issue will be resolved. If an FAQ of some sort is available, providing a link helps customers troubleshoot on their own time, which is sometimes quicker than waiting for an official response. Of course, for any of this to happen, the support email address needs to be easy to find on any business’s website.
Curated and Personalized Recommendations Based on Prior Purchases
Let’s say your customer has just nabbed a new computer on sale. Great! Now it’s time to follow up with purchase recommendations based on what they’ve just bought. Sending marketing emails with other laptops or incompatible software wouldn’t make much sense in this scenario, but a curated list of accessories—a wireless mouse, perhaps, or a USB adapter—is much more likely to get clicked.
Basing recommendations on previous purchases is a smart way to keep customers engaged with the brand while using that ever-important personalized approach. It shows you care about your customer while bringing them closer to their next purchase. These emails can focus on one recent purchase in particular or the customer’s buying history as a whole, and the suggested products should be thoughtfully gathered for maximum impact.
Rewarding Customers for Continued Business
One of the reasons customer loyalty is hard to achieve is that for any given product or service, customers have a wealth of suppliers to choose from, many just a click or two away. So when someone does use your business, again and again, that should be rewarded. Whether it’s an occasional freebie, a special members-only sale, or a points-based reward system, there are many ways to show your customers that you appreciate their business, and these perks will keep them coming back for more.
Starbucks is one major brand with a well-known rewards program, which allows members to earn “stars” toward free food or drinks with every purchase. If you’re going to get a cup of coffee anyway, why wouldn’t you get it from a place that will eventually give you that cup for free? Similarly, Sephora gives customers points equal to the dollar value on every purchase, as well as other goodies like free samples and promo items. Implementing a program like these lets customers know their business is appreciated, and if they know their purchases can earn them something in the future, that’s just one more reason to choose that brand over any other.
It’s not easy keeping a contact list active and up to date, but with the methods detailed above, B2C marketing professionals have successfully kept customers engaged time after time. Thoughtful email campaigns, great customer service, and providing timely, relevant information are key to keeping a brand’s engagement high and customers happy.