If you’ve ever been to a rock concert, you know the drill. You get pumped up about who will take the stage, spend a few hours screaming, yelling, and singing with delight. Then you leave and there’s this oddly comforting ringing that hums in your ears, reminding you of the awesome music you just heard. You don’t mind the ringing because it’s a constant reminder of what you just experienced. And the next day when people ask you how the concert was, you proudly proclaim, “Amazing, my ears were ringing for hours!” Follow-up marketing should give your customers a similar feeling: they got what they came for, but there is a persistent, yet welcome, connection to your business. Leave a happy ringing in your customers’ ears with a focused email follow-up strategy.
Email #1: thank them for their purchase
It sounds simple, maybe even trivial, but saying, “Thank you,” to new customers is a critical aspect of follow-up marketing. However, not everyone does it. Anytime someone makes a purchase from you, the very first correspondence that follows should be a thank you email. In the subject of your “thank you,” start with something a little mysterious:
- “Wait, one more thing…”
- “I have something to say”
- “Don’t go yet, I have to…”
Sending the email isn’t enough; your customers have to open it, so grab their attention with an enticing subject line. Once they’re in, give them something more than, “Thank you for your purchase.” While the sentiment is there, the personalization or “wow” factor is severely lacking. Instead, try one of these ways to say thank you:
- Send a picture of you with your cheesiest grin on and tell them, “Having you as a customer makes me so happy.”
- Create a video so they can hear the words “Thank You” actually come from you.
- Tell a story about what their purchase does for others. Whether you donate to charity or build a community with your customers, consumers like to know when their purchase is a part of something bigger.
Email #2: send them a how-to guide
As a small business owner, the ability to do hands-on training for every customer with a question is unlikely to fit into a balanced work schedule. Your customers will always have questions that nobody knows the answers to better than you. You may not be able to take on every phone call or email, but you can take preemptive steps to mitigate questions, especially of the basic or repeat variety. Whether you send regular tips to your customers in your follow up marketing campaign or provide step-by-step instructions on how to get the most from their purchase, your customers will appreciate that your concern beyond the shopping cart.
Email #3: give them a success badge
If implemented properly, most products or services come with a satisfactory end result or accomplishment. If a customer signs up for tax software, filing their taxes successfully and receiving their return is an achievement. If high school student buys a prom dress, wearing it on their special night is a successful use of the product. And no matter how mundane the success may feel, people like being recognized for accomplishing something. Determine a success metric for your customers and reward them for their interaction with your business. This honeymoon registry site deemed the passing of the wedding date as a success metric for their customers, so in addition to congratulating the married couple, the site offered the bride assistance in changing her name.
It’s important that both you and customers are clear on when success with the product is achieved. This will open the doors for continuing a relationship with them according to how their life has (positively) changed since they purchased from you.
Email #4: direct them to more resources
In the example above, the honeymoon registry company marked their customers' success and offered another resource. Being helpful shouldn’t stop after you fulfill a customer’s need just once. Be diligent in reminding your customers that you are there to help, not just sell them again. A steady dose of useful resources in your follow up messaging will keep your brand fresh in their minds, with a positive connotation. You can share a number of resources without intruding:
- Relevant blog posts
- New uses for the product they purchased
- Coupons for items that will help them purchase a complimentary product to your primary service
For this stock photo site, providing more resources means educating their customers on particular design trends.
You can offer more ways for your customers to enjoy your product without overwhelming them with sales pitches.
Email #5: invite them into your circle
Is there a community where your customers live? Is there a forum you provide where they can discuss your product or common interests around it? If so, invite non-members to join. Whether you have a LinkedIn group or an active Facebook following, make sure all of your customers know how to become a part of it and the reasons why. Open discussion can be great for your small business in a number of ways.
- Your customers can help solve each others’ problems and questions
- Excitement for your product or service has a place to live
- Ideas for product improvement, service revisions or new additions to your offering can be shared
People like being a part of something bigger, so give them the chance to be more than just a one-time buyer. If you want to resonate with your customers long after your product has rocked them, you need to amplify your worth beyond the sale. Doing so will not only help insure customer satisfaction, it can also help drive referrals towards your business.