This is the forth installment in our “Email Marketing – The Only Bailout Your Business Needs” e-Book.
In the previous three chapters, we’ve discussed the blocking and tackling of email campaigns. How to stay on the right side of the law, how to create emails that won’t annoy your customers, how to provide valuable information to your contacts via on-going emails and how to engage prospects so that you’re the one they buy from when the time is right. Click here to read the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd chapters.
We’ve all heard how much more profitable it is to sell to your existing customers compared with acquiring new customers. Its true of course. And if it makes sense to engage and nurture prospects with email, then doesn’t it make even more sense to strengthen your relationships with existing customers?
Best of all, if creating a campaign that’s truly engaging to prospects can seem daunting, providing useful information for your customers can be downright easy. After all, you’re an expert at doing what you do. There are countless tips and tricks that can help your customers get more value out of what they’re buying from you. These are a great place to start. You probably have documentation that you’ve spent lots of time and money preparing to guide your customers through the use of your products and services. Of course, your customers probably don’t read it all. They wait to need a specific piece of information, then go looking for it. A well timed email campaign can highlight crucial tips at just the right time.
The art of the “post-sell” could be a book unto itself. In short the idea is to help your customer avoid “buyer’s remorse”. The natural human process of questioning one’s decision can be an opening for canceled orders. The most important objective in post selling is to express your gratitude for your customer’s business by reconfirming your commitment to deliver on your promises to them. A simple thank you email is a good start. However, you can assure the customer that they’ve made the right decision best by reminding them why they bought. Detail out how they should expect to benefit from their purchase and ensure them that you’re going to be there to guide them through the process of realizing these objectives.
While you may have focused on the intrinsic qualities of your product during the sales process, it makes sense now to highlight the services you offer to help customers use your product. Let them know what challenges are most common for new customers and how you can help with those challenges. Tell them how to reach customer service and when they’re available. Direct them to set up guides, training programs, etc. Help them see the road forward more clearly.
Of course, selling more to existing customers IS very profitable. There are surely additional options or upgrades to what has been purchased. You may feel that you reviewed these options with the customer thoroughly during the sales process but, don’t assume that their decision not to purchase those options at the time meant they don’t want and need them. Very often, it just means that the initial purchase was enough of a leap for them. They don’t know what they don’t know. Now that they’ve purchased the basic product and are beginning to implement or use it, they’re seeing more clearly how your additional products and services could benefit them.
You can weave your up-sale into your post-sell if you stay focused on the objectives the customer has. What are they trying to accomplish with your product or service? If there are additional products and services that will help them get there, its completely appropriate to bring them up. Of course, some of these things will be installation, implementation or training services. These can all be highlighted in the “we’re here to help” spirit.
In your business, you may have supplies and replacement parts that customers will need. Start letting them know when they should expect to need their first new supply or replacement and how to get it. Customers may frequently out grow entry level models or services and need an “upgrade”. Help them understand the things they should look for to recognize its time to upgrade.
Another opportunity is to identify additional needs for things you sell within the same organization. Find ways to let your first customer in a large organization connect you with their colleagues. At a minimum, give the customer an easy way to “invite” others to receive your emails. These may simply be the actual users of the product. More points of contact are extremely valuable. You may want to evolve to having different campaigns for different roles with in the customer organization.
Of course, whether you sell your customer anything else or not, you want to keep their business and ensure they’re pleased with their purchase. A great way to strengthen a customer’s bond with your company is to let them have some input. A simple survey can be very valuable in showing the customer you care about their opinions are experience with your company and helping you improve your company’s offerings.
In addition, just as it makes sense during the initial sales process, providing useful information that helps your customers do their jobs establishes your expertise and causes them to look forward to your communications. Continue to keep customers engaged using industry news and educational content even after the sale. You can be more specific now because you know they are the proud owner or user of a certain type of product or service. Safety tips are easy and appreciated.
News about your company should be part of the mix. They depend on you now and they want to know where you’re heading. Upcoming developments in your business should be of genuine interest. Planned improvements to your products or services – new models, expanded service hours, etc. – are all things that customers want and need to know about.
If you have subscriptions or contracts that renew periodically, create a sequence of emails that alerts them to the upcoming renewal early, so they can plan for it, then walk them through their options step by step.
One of the most valuable ways to strengthen your customer’s relationship with your company is to ask for referrals. Again, they have come to depend on your company and therefore, its in their best interest to help you grow and remain strong. However, asking for referrals is a great “gut check” on the relationship. If there are hidden frustrations, asking the customer to recommend you to a friend or colleague will generally bring those frustrations to the surface. Better to know now while there is still time to address the problems. Take any negative feedback very seriously and take aggressive action to remedy the situation to the customer’s satisfaction. By doing so, you can turn a minor frustration into a major bonding moment between your customer and your company. More often though, you’ll be surprised at how willingly customers will provide you with referrals. Be clear and specific about the kind of contact you’re looking for. Help them help you.
Overall, building a series of email campaigns to nurture, retain and up-sell your existing customers may be a great place to start your email marketing efforts. Its often more familiar subject matter and you can ask your customers what they’d like to see. In any case, it should not be over looked. Nurturing clients should be on-going throughout the customer life cycle.
In our next installment of “Email Marketing – The Only Bailout Your Business Needs”, we’re going to focus on building your list and taking the first steps to get your campaign underway. Register to receive the entire eBook here.
“Getting Started” will appear here at Sell, Sell, Sell! on June 22. So stay tuned!
Sp ecial thanks for contributing to this installment go to Steven Greene. Steven’s written and managed lead generation and nurturing campaigns in industries from banking to boating. His input on email marketing is invaluable. To learn more about Steven click here.