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How to Stay Connected With Customers After the First Purchase

By Curt Hilliard, CMO, DirectBuy

Curt Hilliard, CMO, DirectBuy

Effective digital marketing does not end when a customer purchases a product. In fact, for power brands and industry innovators, that’s when the real work begins. Creating a relationship with a customer once they’ve purchased your product is integral in building a solid customer foundation from which you can expand.

You’ve heard endlessly that keeping an existing customer costs less than acquiring a new one. But were you aware of how much? The costs associated with finding new customers are five times higher than those of attracting existing customers back to your brand. The numbers don’t lie—the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is much lower: five to 20 percent. Yet, only 18 percent of all companies spend more money on retention than acquisition. Correct this mistake within your own brand by staying connected with existing customers using these proven methods.

Strike Post-Purchase

The data reveals that there’s no need to wait to reach out to a new customer—in fact, customers that have just purchased a product or service of yours are more likely to be receptive to personalized and friendly marketing. The open rates for email are twice as high post-purchase as opposed to that with standard promotional emails.

"In order to increase the amount of reviews you receive, offer a discount or another incentive for your customers to complete your reviews"

Ultimately, customers want relationships—the incorporation of social media into a customer’s everyday life has romanticized and normalized the notion of maintaining a personal relationship or at least nursing soft spot for a name brand. But if you send a bland, perfunctory email post-purchase, that only works as a receipt, you’ve already communicated to your customer that they are no more than a transaction in the eyes of your company.

Instead, send an email with an active and entertaining tone that introduces the customer to your unique voice. By affirming that they’ve made an excellent purchase and featuring some deals or incentives to sticking with your brand, you’ll lay the foundation for a great customer-brand relationship.

Play Light and Think Cross-Channel

The ultimate error you want to avoid, obviously, is crossing the boundary of “reaching out” to your customer to the land of “hounding” them. Consider the timing of your follow-up emails, and don’t come across as if you’re begging for another purchase. Nothing will get your brand sorted into junk mail faster, which is the customer equivalent of a breakup.

Instead, keep your tone light and playful in emails. And, increase the visibility of your brand by softly encouraging customers to visit your website or to follow you on social media. Phrasing your copy as “see what’s new” or “explore our updates” sounds more enticing than “look at our latest products.” Feature your most engaging social media content to entice customers into following you— you’d be surprised how high conversion rates are from well-composed social posts.

Request Reviews

Product reviews are gold for online retailers. Multiple reviews significantly boost SEO, allow your company to collect helpful feedback, and can boost conversion rates directly. In addition to these tangible benefits, requesting for a product review rightfully appears as thorough customer service to your customer, and is a great reason to follow up and keep your brand visible.

If you execute correctly, reaching out for a product review can lead to another purchase. In order to increase the amount of reviews you receive, offer a discount or another incentive for your customers to complete your reviews. And as tempting as it may be, do not over-indulge with your questions—keep review forms short and sweet so your customer can breeze through them, whether it’s via mobile or a desktop.

Receiving a negative review or a review with a complaint can actually be beneficial for your company. By giving the customer a way to address their concerns to your company, you can correct any misunderstandings and right any wrongs that may prevent them from purchasing from you in the future.

Pave a Path to Future Purchases

In all of your communications with existing customers, you must focus on the long game. You’re establishing a relationship, and you want to constantly sow seeds without getting greedy or impatient. However, you do eventually want a subsequent purchase, and there are numerous methods for achieving this.

One soft method that is proven to be effective is to cross-sell related items in a transactional email. Consider the soft-sell, an art form—by including a “You May Also Like” section in a receipt email, you are not pushing for a purchase, but rather personalizing a customer’s experience by making their lives easier.

Used infrequently, sending specialized promotions or offers can entice existing customers who may be laying dormant or largely forgotten about your brand. Seasonal discounts or offering free items for customer referrals (tell your friend, get your next purchase free!) are just a couple of ways to accelerate a customer toward a future purchase. In the end, it’s always cheaper to retain customers, even if it takes a little creative thinking to accomplish.

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