Post updated 3 May 2020
The journey beyond the first purchase
You’ve got your killer web copy. The product photographs are a thing of beauty. Your website is slick, fast, and mobile optimised.
It all comes together to bring a brand new person to your website. They’re not a subscriber to your mailing list – they have no prior relationship with you.
But you still get them to buy something because you have what they need. They’ve made their first purchase. Well done you. You’ve landed a new customer!
The answer is usually nothing.
That’s why people don’t often come back. In fact based on our experience between 70%-95% of customers NEVER purchase from your again.
We talked last week about the importance of staying in touch with customers. You don’t want to be that person who schmoozes a buyer only to disappear when the money changes hands.
And marketers often talk about the AIDA sequence. First, you grab your prospect’s Attention. Then you pique their Interest. You get them to Desire your offering. And then you prompt them to take Action.
There should be another letter on the end – R, for Relationship. Because you need to build one if you want them to buy from you again.
So how can we get customers beyond the first purchase?
Remember, our old friend Pareto and his 80/20 rule. 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. It’s a rule that doesn’t seem to have been embraced by marketers it’s such a shame.
It’s much easier to get an existing customer to buy than a brand new one.
You’ve already broken down the barrier and persuaded them to buy.
Provide excellent service and get to know them, and you’re well on your way to the old ‘know, like, trust’ factor.
Yet, so many of them are just treated the same way after the first purchase.
Just added to the email list. No wonder so many don’t come back.
The chart above is too typical. It’s such a shame, a waste. Especially after all that time and effort on all those PPC campaigns and social media efforts.
Luckily for you, with a little focus is easy to change.
And it’s a change that makes a huge difference. In fact according to Harvard Business School, a 5% uplift in customer retention can boost your profits between 25 and 125%
So how do we build that relationship with our customers?
Start with a simple thank you note.
Take yourself back to being a kid again. Your grandparents buy presents for eight children every Christmas. But you know their favourites get the best stuff. How do you become a favourite? Stand out in their mind. If you’re the only one of the eight who sends a thank you note after Christmas? You’re getting better presents next year!
We can apply the same thing to marketing.
The open rates for post-purchase emails are double those of ordinary promo letters. Take advantage of that initial buyer’s goodwill. Send your ‘thank you’ note as soon as they’ve bought something.
Because let’s face it, system-generated order confirmations are not sexy.
You can rewrite your order confirmation email at the first purchase point. Make it sounds like an actual human wrote it. It’s even better if you address them by their first name (not Customer). Use your copy to get them excited about whatever is on the way.
And you might be tempted to use the email to sell a second product. Don’t go in for the hard-sell straight away. It looks needy.
Instead, tempt them back onto your website where they may buy something else. Or get them to follow you on social media where you can continue building the relationship.
You can include links to other website content at the bottom of your thank you email. Think about highlighting brand new products, or tutorials for how to use your items.
Or ask them to check out your hashtag on whichever platforms you use. They’ll get to see other happy customers showing off their products.
It all helps add to the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling you want them to have about your brand.
You can move these links to your shipping confirmation email if you prefer. They’re excited to know their item is on the way, so grab that goodwill while you can.
Think beyond the ‘thank you’
Some companies will ask for a product review in the order confirmation email. It’s pointless. The customer hasn’t tried it out yet.
And do you think a customer will go looking for that specific email once their product arrives?
Instead, send them a gentle nudge a few days after their product arrives. If you’re in the travel business, ask a few days after their trip (you know, when they’re back at home).
Tell them you hope they’re enjoying their product. Then ask if they’d like to leave a review on your site (or wherever suits you best). It’s good to offer a discount for writing a review.
After all, you’re getting the social proof of the review out of them. You want to make sure there’s something in it for them, too.
You can also weave subtle ‘you may also like’ boxes into your review request. It’s a good way to highlight other products without looking salesy. And it gives them ideas about what they might spend their discount on.
Now think long-term, beyond the first purchase
See if you can weave a way of getting your customer’s birth date into your emails. Birthday emails (personalised, of course) can have up to 5x the transaction rate of ordinary emails.
Set up triggers that will send out emails at the right time. Think of emails letting you know a product is about to run out.
Notify your customers of a sale. Make-up brand Illamasqua promises early access to their Christmas sale to subscribers. Many products sell out before the public ever sees the sale.
Send the right content for your subscribers.
That might be product tutorials. Or holiday guides. You could send gift-buying tips.
Whatever it is, you want customers to open these emails. You stand a better chance of that if they liked their initial dealings with you. Customer loyalty should be your aim.
Get your process right from the beginning
The point when money first changes hands is crucial. What you do next will define you as a brand for that customer forever.
If their only contact with you between the sale and your next promo email is their order confirmation? You’re missing a golden opportunity to be more than ‘just another company’ to them.
Sure, feel free to add them to your mailing list and send them the same promo emails you send to everyone else.
Or use some of these suggestions to 1-up your email automation. Start turning customers into loyal fans from the first purchase. Take advantage of segmentation to help make sure they get the right email at the right time for them.
If your email marketing platform doesn’t help you do that, then speak to us. We can get you set up with Websand, a data-driven solution to help you 1-up your email marketing game.
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