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The Email Marketer’s Guide to Boosting Customer Retention

Email isn’t dead. Although social media is the reigning medium for advertising, email is still going strong, often being leveraged as an incentive via social media efforts. The ROI for email marketing software is among the highest for every dollar spent. After the pandemic, businesses saw their subscription lists boom, and with billions of emails still sent daily, no one can say there’s no value in using your customers’ inboxes as a marketing platform.

The Email Marketer's Guide to Boosting Customer Retention

You already know how to get people to become subscribers, but what happens after that? Many brands struggle to maintain relationships with their customers after they’ve converted. The primary focus of most marketing efforts is the target audience, that special group of people who are interested in what you have to offer and most likely to buy what you’re selling. After they’ve made their purchase, though, what is your company’s follow-through? As an email marketer, it’s your job to ensure clients at every stage of the sales funnel are tended to. You might be scratching your head wondering how customer retention can really be done solely through email, but don’t worry! This guide has you covered. We’ll explore the following:

  • Understanding the Customer’s Journey
  • Improving Content Delivery Through Audience Segmentation
  • Creating Meaningful Campaigns
  • Showing Your Appreciation

Understanding the Customer’s Journey

In marketing 101, you learn about the buyer’s journey and sales funnel. The former explores the entire experience a person has from first learning about your business to becoming a customer. The sales funnel, however, focuses on the specific points in the conversion process, and it differs from company to company. These are principles of inbound marketing, a methodology established by HubSpot. The focal point of inbound marketing is connection. Rather than intrusive messages that your target demographic likely don’t want, you use the inbound approach to crafting relevant content that resonates with people at different stages of the customer’s journey. The inbound methodology breaks down the process into four stages:

  • Attract
  • Convert
  • Close
  • Delight

Attraction and conversion are likely easy enough for you at this stage of the game, but you may be wondering what happens after you close. How exactly do you delight your audience and keep them coming back for more? The answer lies in recognizing the unique characteristics of different groups of consumers. These qualities, known as psychographics, help you create more accurate content for the right people.

Improving Content Delivery Through Audience Segmentation

If you aren’t already segmenting your consumer audience, then you’re missing out on opportunities for higher open rates and repeat conversions. A 2020 study by Boxever, now acquired by Sitecore, found that 78 percent of respondents to a UK survey reported feeling frustrated by irrelevant advertising efforts. By 2027, the email market value is expected to hit $17.9 billion. Segmentation will be one of the most versatile and useful strategies marketers have at their disposal.

When you segment your audience, you break the whole down into smaller groups. These groups have shared qualities that you rely on as you craft more personalized, targeted content. These characteristics can be people who opened your last few emails relating to a particular campaign, people who live in the same region or clients who previously bought the same products. The secret to good segmentation is goal setting. Before you break down anything, you have to set objectives. Then, you can choose relevant criteria that help you achieve your goals more easily. There is no point in audience segmentation without any underlying goals on the business’s end. Also, consider improving email deliverability using the SPF record checker and following email security practices.

Creating Meaningful Campaigns

Campaigns have to mean something in order to be effective. Flashy graphics and enticing headlines only get you so far. If the emotional note of your messaging falls flat, then you’re wasting time and money marketing to your consumers. One way to improve meaning behind your messages is to learn about your audience. Engage with them on social media, host polls, and encourage responses in comments. Sending out surveys is also an easy way to get information about what matters most to your readers.

In addition to knowing what your subscribers like, ask yourself what they want and need from you. This could be better delivery options, more flexible payment arrangements, or greater customization over their packages. Whatever is most relevant to your company, utilize that and see how it can align with your consumers’ desires.

One of the best ways to keep track of all your customers’ data is through a Customer Relationship Manager (types of CRM). These tools are available for both small business owners and enterprises. Regardless of your company’s size, this is invaluable software well worth investing in. If you’re running your own marketing service, then you might find the initial cost hefty. In that case, while financing options through companies aren’t available, you may consider personal loans from a private lender. These are flexible tools you can use to grow your business’s resources without draining much-needed capital. You should also perform follow-up satisfaction surveys that let you know what consumers loved about their experience. These allow you to get answers to specific inquiries and avoid making unnecessary changes.

Showing Your Appreciation

Appreciation goes a long way, especially in business. With so many corporations dominating the digital sphere, it’s hard for consumers to feel like they actually matter to any brand. The bottom line at the end of the day is always money, which unfortunately comes at the expense of humanity and authenticity. Contrived representations of care and compassion online do not work, at least not in the long run. Email may be a marketing tool, but it should only be used to reach out from a genuine place of interest in your customers’ satisfaction.

After someone completes a transaction, whether it’s signing up for your list or making a purchase, send a thank you. For long-time subscribers, send routine loyalty perks or discount offers. One caveat to note is that only leveraging their loyalty as a means for self-promotion can backfire; you want to give them benefits for sticking with you as a token of gratitude. Avoid taking advantage of someone’s long-term presence and using it solely to make a profit.

For many companies, the struggle between connection and conversion is a difficult one to resolve. On the one hand, you want to speak to your audience’s heart without pushing anything on them. But without any promotional efforts, your company doesn’t grow and you can’t be sustainable. Success has to come from a strong strategy rooted in positive values and aligned with measurable objectives.

Putting It All Together

Now that you know some of the core elements to boosting customer retention, try them out for yourself and see where the results lead you. One of the most exciting parts about being a marketer is that there is always room to improve and grow. Your business is a living entity, and it has to reflect the changes in your audience’s needs and goals. As your relationship with your consumers continues to evolve, so will your marketing efforts.

Start small and identify two or three areas you would like to improve in the next 30 days. Then, develop an action plan, set your KPIs, and plan to perform routine analysis that will guide you toward more effective solutions. Both short-term and long-term implications will stem from optimizing your customer retention strategy. You will likely decide to launch entirely separate campaigns from your usual efforts to sustain results. Ultimately, the changes you make will not only improve your consumers’ loyalty but also strengthen your brand’s entire reputation.

Jason Wells is a professional writer and occasional contributor to various business and technology blogs.

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