Digging Into Emails As A Consumer – Email Growth Society

Digging Into Emails As A Consumer

I am going to start off this article as a consumer. And a lot of disappointment.

So in order to set the scene I am going to tell you a story:

I am an avid runner. Right before COVID shut the world down I had a really, really bad race. Like I couldn’t finish the marathon - walked off the course at mile 15. It was a feeling I had never felt before. But I largely blamed nutritional imbalances. So, after seeing great reviews and influencers support Athletic Greens, I decided to give it a go. For those of you who have never heard of the brand, Athletic Greens is a greens powder made up of 75 Highly Absorbable Ingredients. Like a daily dose of health insurance. And I felt that it would be able to fill the gaps. So I bought the kit - it came with a beautiful canister, greens and shaker bottle and I opted into subscribe & save, so I didn’t skip a beat.

First thing that stuck out to me was there was no “how to best take this” onboarding content that came my way or check-ins to remind me about consistency. Regardless, I felt better and stayed the course. The emails I get from Athletic Greens are as follows:

  1. Reminder that my subscription will renew - this is helpful
  2. Shipping notifications - again, helpful
  3. A once-per-month email that is geared more towards the first-time purchaser.

For example: Why would you send me the email about the benefits of Athletic Greens with a CTA: 'Shop Now'. I am a subscribe & save customer and have been for over a year. That brings me to my last point - I have not gotten anything from the company about “Happy Anniversary” or “Congrats on taking control of your health the past year.” Not even customer-only content or a discount here and there.

I was on a run a few days ago feeling really disappointed. They work so much harder for those that have never purchased but once they finally get ya, you don’t seem to matter. And the underlying problem is - this is a commoditized industry. About every time I am on Instagram I see an influencer or an ad about another greens product, not to mention the samples at races. As time goes on, I am feeling less and less loyalty to Athletic Greens. It doesn’t matter that they have a referral program or that I still get the product, I don’t feel the connection. They have lost me as a brand ambassador.

So my question to you all out there is, “have you thought about your customers lately?”

Likely no. We hustle so hard on the lead acquisition side. Grow our lists. Push ads. Send emails. We want all the new customers. But customer retention marketing should take as much (or more) of your focus. Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, not to mention the benefit customers will produce for you when you can activate a referral loop via loyalty programs. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.

At Email Growth Society, when we really look at the numbers, it takes so much work to get non-purchasers to convert. The bulk of the revenue comes from customers. So why don’t we focus on customer retention more?

Retention consists of many moving pieces, channels, and metrics, but overall it boils down to one main goal: increasing engagement and deepening your customers’ connection to your brand.

Email is your most powerful marketing channel and one of the best ways to strengthen your bonds with customers—and now, when customer acquisition is slowing down, those relationships are more valuable than ever. So let’s run through five top ways you can lean on email to keep customers.

  1. Audit your automated emails - Take a look through the copy and tone of your automated messaging to make sure it matches the tone of the current times and speaks to your existing customers. This is also a good time to evaluate your current customer journey and every outgoing campaign through the eyes of an existing customer to see if you can provide any extra support or thoughtful touches via email. Here are some customer-first examples of emails that could take your nurtures to the next level.

    1. Thank you and appreciation emails

    2. Birthday Emails

    3. Anniversary Emails

    4. Check-ins or milestone emails

    5. Useage digest reports

    6. Feedback emails

  2. Build your segmentation based on customer activity - We’re all being inundated with emails right now. Double-check your list segmentation or adjust your levers to make sure you’re not overwhelming folks who aren’t as engaged with you right now. Don’t worry, there’s an opportunity at the other end of this to bring them back into your world, but for now, err on the side of caution. According to MailChimp, list segmentation has an incredible effect on overall email marketing engagement and keeps your lists healthy, wealthy, and wise. There are so many ways to segment your audience, but segmenting by customer engagement can be a helpful way to slice your audience with retention goals in mind. Here are some starting points for all kinds of organizations.

    1. Promoters, very active users, active buyers - Your biggest fans should get the red carpet treatment with personalized emails based on their actions or purchases

    2. Passives, semi-active users, occasional buyers - Those folks who aren’t super connected to your brand might need to learn more about you, and this gives you the chance to learn more about them, too. What would make your passives turn into loyalists? 

    3. Detractors, inactive users, infrequent buyers  - People who haven’t had a chance to get to know you or might be a little skeptical need a special touch. Using education to drive people back to your site is an effective strategy for all types of businesses. Remind your subscribers of the value of your product and how easy it is to get started.

  3. When you can’t use email to win their business, use it to win their hearts - As a brand marketer, it’s important to remember that while your subscribers and customers might not be buying right now, everyone is listening and learning. If the current times make it hard for you to drive revenue, think about ways you can use email to pay-in on the brand trust bank. Build an emotional connection with your subscribers that keeps current customers from leaving and makes prospects want to support you whenever budgets are available again.

    1. Provide helpful resources that go beyond your product

    2. Show how your brand takes responsibility - What does your brand do to support your team and the community in these trying times? Customers are less likely to leave you if they support your mission, so use the power of email to show how your brand is making a difference. 

  4. Leave on a good note - Whether you’re in SaaS, hospitality, travel, or retail, many companies are losing customers right now. And while seeing a customer leave might hurt now more than ever, it’s crucial you’re handling this step of your customers’ lifecycle with grace and empathy.

    1. Optimize your cancellation confirmation emails - You never want your customers to leave with a bad taste in their mouths, so ensure your cancellation confirmation emails are friendly, thoughtful, and offer opportunities for your customers to get in touch with you.

    2. Give your customers the chance to let you know why they’re leaving - Having good insights into cancellation reasons is the first step to successful win-back campaigns. Are your customers leaving because of budget cuts caused by COVID-19, or are they leaving because your product didn’t meet their needs? Knowing this will heavily impact future reactivation campaigns.

  5. Think about how to being lapsed customers back when the time comes - Here’s the good news though: Some of that churn will come back. What’s your plan for turning churned customers into active buyers again? When the time comes, having a strategy already in place to bring back your customers in a thoughtful, compassionate way gives you a chance to quickly ramp up your business again, providing a good cushion when retention or activation goals might still be less than desirable. The best winback or reactivation campaigns are founded on good segmentation. You may want to use the general lists detailed out earlier in this post as a starting point; or, if you have cancellation reasons that folks select when they leave, you may want to segment your communications by those reasons. Here are some good examples of winback emails based on segment.

    1. We miss you - Sometimes just a gentle reminder, with an incredibly easy way to sign back up or make a repeat purchase, is a great way to bring customers back whenever they’re ready.

    2. Incentives and discounts - This works great for folks who were high purchasers. If you’re a SaaS company, consider an incentive or discount for someone that selected cost as a reason for cancelling.

    3. Product Updates - If you’ve made a big update or addressed customer feedback, why not let them know? This might be the nudge a lapsed customer needs to come back.

Keeping customers is tough, but moving forward with empathy and reminding your customers that you’re here for them and connecting with them differently than those who have never purchased from you needs to be a priority, especially in this world where brand loyalty is getting slimmer and slimmer. Building a strong email program to support customers has to start with making tough decisions to put your customers first—and then you can back that up with first-class marketing.

Send your questions to conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com. And remember, customers come first!