[22] Have You Thought About Your Customers Lately? – Email Growth Society

[22] Have You Thought About Your Customers Lately?

CWEG 22 | Customer Retention

We spend so much time acquiring new customers. So. Much. Money. But did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, not to mention the benefits 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%.

It's time to pay attention to our customers and define our customer strategy. I give you 5 ways to do that - now's the time to build more loyalty within your brand.

Have questions after the episode? Send them to conversations@emailgrowthsociety.com.


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Have You Thought About Your Customers Lately?

I hope you're all doing well and staying safe out there as we seem to be in a Groundhog Day cycle with COVID. Back to school seems to be underway still, which is great, but one thing I do want to emphasize is the importance of agile email marketing. While you may have your back-to-school emails all ready to roll, you may want to take a moment and use this as an advantage of the situation. We were thinking COVID likely was starting to be behind us. Knowing now what we know, understanding that parents, while they're still sending their kids back to school, they're nervous.

If you can find ways to incorporate return back to school safely, or plugs for the list of essentials like sanitizers, masks, you get the idea here. This is a great way to go beyond the feeling of a canned email and be a little bit more agile with how things are in the situation. For this episode, this one comes from more of a place of observation as a consumer, myself and a lot of disappointment. In order to set the scene, I'm going to tell you a story, and while I do, I'd like you to also put yourself in the shoes of a customer and instead of the mindset of a business owner. We can plug those connections later.

I'm an avid runner, so I tend to run the marathon and that is my major hobby. Right before COVID shut the world down in 2020, I had a bad race. I couldn't finish the marathon. I walked off the course at mile fifteen. It was a feeling that I had never felt before but I largely blamed nutritional imbalances. After seeing great reviews and influencer support on a supplement called Athletic Greens, I decided to give it a go myself.

For those of you who have never heard of the brand, Athletic Greens is a greens powder made up of 75 highly absorbable nutrients. It’s like a daily dose of health insurance. I felt that it would be able to fill the gaps in my nutrition, so I bought the kit. It came with a beautiful canister, greens, and a shaker bottle and I was on subscribe & save because that's how it was set up, so I didn't skip a beat. The first thing that struck out right when I signed up was there was no how to best take this onboarding content that came my way or any check-ins to remind me about consistency.

Regardless, I did feel better and I stayed the course. The emails that I get from Athletic Greens are as follows. First, the reminder that my subscription will renew. This is helpful because I can go update my information if I need to. Two, shipping notifications. Again, helpful. Three, a once per month email that is geared more towards the first-time purchaser. For example, why would you send me a customer an email about the benefits of Athletic Greens with a CTA that says, “Shop now.”

I am a subscribe and 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. Congrats on taking control of your health,” in the past few years. Not even customer-only content or a discount here and there, I was on a run feeling disappointed. They work so much harder for those that have never purchased but once they finally get you, you don't seem to matter. The underlying problem is this is a commoditized industry.

Companies work so much harder for those that have never purchased, but once they finally get you, you don't seem to matter.

Every time I'm on Instagram, I see either an influencer or an ad about another greens product, not to mention the samples at races. As time goes on, I'm feeling less and less loyal 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 and as time goes on, if I feel I found one of the newest, hottest, greatest things, I'm likely to jump ship.

My question to all of you out there reading is, have you thought about your customers lately? The answer, sadly, is likely no. Here's the reality. We hustle so hard on the lead acquisition side. We grow our lists, we push our ads, we 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 benefits 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% to 95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60% to 70%, while a success rate of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%. At Email Growth Society, when we look into the numbers with all of our clients, it takes so much work to get non-purchasers to convert. The bulk of the revenue comes from the customers, so why don't we focus on retention more.

Retention consists of many moving pieces, channels and metrics but overall, it boils down to one main goal. It’s 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. When customer acquisition is slowing down a little bit, those relationships are more valuable than ever. I want to run through my top five ways you can lean on email to keep customers. We’ve got to flip the hat and we got to start focusing on these customers. We've got to keep our customers and we’ve got to keep them happy.

First, go through and 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.

If I was Athletic Greens, I would certainly be looking through going, “What if I did an onboarding flow right upon purchase to be able to help folks understand what's the best way to take this product, when should you take it, and that sort of thing?” Those are all the little things, “What about an accountability chart that I can put in there to say, ‘For 30 days straight to build your accountability, here is the asset you should use. If you post it on social and tag us, we'll be your accountability partner.’” This is what I'm talking about here, guys.

CWEG 22 | Customer Retention


Here are some customer first email examples that you can take and move into your nurture for the next level so you can always add in thank you and appreciation emails. Those can go out any time. You can even build this out for a year and say, “On months 3, 6, 9, 12, I'm going to send a thank you in an appreciation email.” Don't forget about your birthday emails and your anniversary emails. Being an email marketer, I was constantly looking for my anniversary email. Time and time again, brands fail to send it. It's such an easy one and it's automated.

Make sure you maybe think about check-ins or milestone emails. If you have a company where you can have milestones, please do that. If you've got a SaaS or an app, what about usage and digest reports? There are also feedback emails. Customers love giving you feedback, so by sending it out, they start to feel heard. These are some ways that you can do after you do an audit of your automated emails. You can tuck in some of these that are quick wins. You should do them. They'll make all the difference.

Another thing you should be doing is build your segmentation based on customer activity. We're all being inundated with emails. We know that so we want to double-check our list segmentation or adjust the levers to make sure we're not overwhelming folks who aren't as engaged with you right now. Don't worry, there's an opportunity to bring these guys back but according to research by 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 your customer engagement can be a helpful way to slice your audience with retention goals in mind.

Here are the top three ways you can do that. First, identify your promoters, active users or active buyers. Your biggest fans should get red carpet VIP treatment with personalized emails based on their actions or purchases. If you're a company right now that, in the worst case, is lumping your customers in with your non-purchasers, frankly, shame on you. If you're also a company out there, that's lumping all of your customers together, and you've been doing this now for a year, shame on you. Your active buyers must take priority.

Next, you've got your passives or your semi-active users, your occasional buyers. These 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. The idea here is, what would make your passives turn into loyalists? How do we get the passives into the promoters? Last, you need to know your detractors, your inactive users or 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 the site is an effective strategy for all types of businesses, especially if you've got a blog that has supporting content. Remind them of the value of your product and how easy it is to get started. These are people that you may have purchased in the past or they could be gifters and you need to know who these folks are and remind them. It's almost like when they get to the detractor or infrequent buyer stage, they almost lost momentum.

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than just retaining an existing customer?

With Athletic Greens, I am starting to be more in this detractor phase. While I'm still on subscribe and save, puts me as an active buyer, but I'm becoming a detractor. My behavior is starting to be less and less. I don't open my emails from them anymore because when I read the subject line, “This is another canned email.” You do have an opportunity to stand out here with this group.

Next, 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 always listening and learning. If the current times make it hard for you to drive revenue, then 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.

We're looking to educate our customers. We want to provide helpful resources that go above and beyond our products. We also want to take moments to show how our brand takes responsibility. What does your brand do to support your team and community? Customers are less likely to leave if they support your mission. Use the power of email to show how your brand is making a difference. I know in my episode about Gen Z, I specifically said that they are a generation that you have to create a cult culture in that they are rallying behind you even during times of purchase laps.

Next, you want to think about leaving on a good note, so whether you're in SaaS, hospitality, travel or retail, many companies are losing customers right now. We are in a period of time where brand loyalty might be almost completely out the window because we've moved more to an eCommerce digital shopping environment and we have so many options in front of us. There are ads for days. Why not choose another brand? We're curious. That loyalty is thin.

While seeing a customer leave might hurt now more than ever, it's crucial that you're handling this step of your customers' lifecycle with grace and empathy. If you lose a customer, you want to optimize your cancellation confirmation emails. You never want your customers to leave with a bad taste in their mouth so ensure your cancellation confirmation emails are friendly, thoughtful, and offer opportunities for your customer to get in touch with you. You want to give your customers the chance to let you know why they're leaving.

Feedback, 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? Are they leaving because your product didn't meet their needs? Knowing this will heavily impact future reactivation campaigns and it provides that feedback loop that you need. This is another example of being thoughtful and caring about your customers. It’s not just like, “Sorry to see you go,” but you're saying, “I’d love to have your feedback because it would be great to improve our brand.”

CWEG 22 | Customer Retention


Lastly, think about how to bring lapsed customers back when the time comes. Here's the good news. Some of the customers that turn will come back and you've got to have a plan for turning churn 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 with them providing a good cushion with your retention and activation goals.

The best win-back are reactivation campaigns founded on good segmentation. You may want to use the general list detailed out earlier in step two, to create this or understand churn indicators or move folks into a cancellation bucket. Here are a couple of good ways that you can use win-back emails. You can use the, “We miss you.”

Sometimes 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. You can try giving them incentives and discounts, maybe exclusive ones and this works great for folks who were high purchasers in the past. They may have been your best purchaser and whatever happened there now in the turn phase, you're in the wind back. Try it.

If you're a SaaS company, consider an incentive or discount for someone that selected a cost. Cost is a reason for canceling. Product updates. If you've made big updates or addressed customer feedback, why not let them know they might not come back, but staying on top of mind is important. This might be the nudge that the lapsed customer needs to come back. Even more icing on the cake, if this customer has given this feedback in the past and you've addressed it. You're likely to get them back simply from that feedback loop.

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 have to start with making tough decisions to put your customers first and you can back that up with first-class marketing.

Don't be Athletic Greens. Try not to be that brand that now you're reading this episode and you're like, “I haven’t done anything for my customers lately.” You can change that. Let me know if you have any questions. You can send them my way to Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. Until next time, happy emailing everyone. Bye, folks.

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