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What's the secret to sales success? Courting your existing customers just as much as you do new ones. According to an Econsultancy report, attracting a new customer costs five times as much as bringing existing ones back into your store. Another post from Shopify notes "increasing customer retention rates by 5% leads to an increase in profits of at least 25%." How do you make sure your existing customers always want to come back for more? Creating a fantastic post-purchase communications strategy. Here's how.

START WITH EMAIL

We've talked before about how email should make up the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. Customers love it and it's highly effective. For example, every $1 you spend for email marketing can generate up to $38 in ROI.

Email should also make up a large portion of your post-purchase communications. Start at the simplest point: the receipt.

Conversio notes that receipts have a 50% higher open rate than average marketing emails. And every electronic receipt you send out earns an additional $0.25 of revenue, and that adds up!

In your email receipts, make sure to:
• Advertise your social media accounts with fun graphics or enticements to "follow"
• Ask for feedback on the items they purchased
• Encourage them to check out other related products they might love
• Promote any upcoming store events or sales

Then, think beyond the receipt. Create personalized, segmented email message campaigns to:
• Remind customers of abandoned carts
• Welcome new customers with additional discounts
• Remind customers to replenish or reorder any items
• Announce upcoming sales or promotions
• Share updates about new stores or product lines
Make these updates valuable for your customers and you'll keep them coming back for more.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE ORIGINAL INBOX 

Even though digital efforts should drive your marketing strategy, there's still plenty of room and value in traditional, direct marketing methods.

Direct mailers that are done well generate new opportunities for sales, creating deeper emotional connections than email can. For top-purchasing customers, consider sending out hand-written thank you notes at the end of the year. Or, send direct mailers to existing customers when a new store opens up in their area (and make sure to include a coupon!).

When you design direct mailers that go beyond spam and are directly targeted to the recipient, you create value and extend the conversation with your customer far beyond their first purchase.

KEEP IT GOING WITH SOCIAL 

Social media, of course, is one of the best ways for brands to communicate with their customers. When designing your approach, think beyond awareness only.

You can help bring existing customers back to your store by:
• Sharing news about loyalty programs that can give them points on their purchases
• Offering discounts for customers who show a receipt from a previous purchase
• Encouraging them to leave reviews for your store online
• Asking them to tag you in photos of their store purchases

Social media is a great way to meet new customers, but it's also an important way to get them back to your store after they've made their first purchase.

TAKE POST-PURCHASE COMMUNICATION FURTHER 

Direct mailers, email marketing, and social should all be foundational parts of your post-purchase communication strategy. There's so much more you can do, though, when it comes to keeping the conversation going with your customers. You can:  

  • Create a series of blog posts on your website that tackles common customer questions (for example, how to properly clean high-end dishware or tips for decorating a holiday table)
  • Run site re-messaging ads that encourage customers to come back to your website after viewing an item
  • Send out predictive mailers based on your loyalty program data to showcase products that a customer may be interested in buying
  • Host customer appreciation parties with deep discounts and fun in-store entertainment

Remember, you already know existing customers liked your products enough to buy them. Create a relationship with them and you can encourage them to buy even more. As we noted, increasing those customer retention rates by as little as 5% can lead to a 25% (or more) increase in profits. It's one of your most powerful strategies for driving continued sales and profits.

What techniques do you use to keep the conversation going with your current customers?