How Email Marketing Can Boost Retail Customer Retention


There is more to marketing than just acquiring new customers. What’s vital to the success of any business is something called client retention.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer location, or a B2C ecomm seller, or even an adult brand manufacturer, making customers come back over and over again after their first purchase is a challenge. As marketers, we are always thinking of new ways of capturing a customer’s attention. However, with more online adult retailers launching sites, simply putting a focus on acquisition just doesn’t cut it anymore. We need to engage our customers so that they will come back.

Don’t Underestimate Email Marketing

We all know email marketing is a proven way of reaching new customers but we can use it to keep them coming back. It is not going away any time soon. According to Campaign Monitor, email is the big cheese of the marketing kingdom with a whopping 4,400 percent ROI and $44 for every dollar spent. The average order value of an email is three times higher than that of social media.

One reason why email is so effective, especially within the sex toy industry is because of the limited advertising on one of the largest marketing channels — social media. If you’re strategically planning out an email marketing program for your customer base, it can make up for the lack of revenue generated on social media.

Another reason why email marketing is so effective is that customers who are reticent in sharing sexual wellness content on social media are more willing to share via email forwarding.

Think Journey, Not Destination

Just as you would need a marketing plan to acquire a new customer, you should also have a plan for keeping them.

By implementing a customer retention marketing strategy, you can have a mutually beneficial situation.

  • You provide more value to your customers and increase their satisfaction when interacting with your brand.
  • You acquire organic brand ambassadors and repeat purchases. Also, you maximize your revenue from current customers.

Where to Begin

No matter if you’re selling products in a physical or virtual space, capturing someone’s email is vital — without it you may lose a potentially loyal customer. For brick-and-mortar locations, it’s really important that you obtain their email during the checkout process. Ask them if they want to receive your company’s newsletter and make it enticing with interesting content.

For virtual spaces, a pop-up as well as email required at checkout is imperative. With pop-ups you want to offer your customers something other than discounts and promotions — gated content is your honey pot. People love having exclusive access to special content that is not widely available. They get something after giving something.

Once you have those emails you can segment your list and send your audience the material they requested.

There are plenty of cost-effective programs you can use for creating a subscriber list. For smaller retailers or brands, you can use companies like Mailchimp and Constant Contact. Their costs are based on the number of subscribers you have on the list. For larger and more robust lists, you may be better off using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software company. Keeping best practices in mind, you always want your customers to opt-in so that your emails along with their content arrive in their inbox.

A List to Rule Them All

The health of your subscriber list is vital when it comes to sending out the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Subscribers who do not open or click can be labeled as dormant. Those who have not made a second purchase in 12 months can be referred to as lost customers. Do not delete them from your list, instead use re-engagement such as a brand reintroduction to see if you can win them back. Engagement emails are about nurturing the relationship and letting the customer know that they are still valued and that you are there for them whenever they are ready to come back. Using a sense of humor in the subject is a great way of getting lost subscribers to open. Keep your customers engaged with your band by repeating touchpoints that make you special.

Pick and Choose

Your customers can go into what we call email marketing fatigue when they get too much of a good thing. Just because your loyal subscribers may love your brand does not mean bombarding them with email day after day. You can avoid serious unsubscribes (and abuse complaints) by giving your customers a choice of what they want to get and when. If they sign up for a content newsletter, refrain from sending them flash sale emails. Leverage the knowledge you have on subscribers and develop the right kind of content.

It’s Not Always About Sales

Remember, you want to engage your customers and not beat them to death with irrelevant sales and promotions. As a manager of a robust subscriber list, lifecycle emails are all part of the plan. Sending the right message at the right time to the right person is critical. What I’ve discovered is some the highest-performing email campaigns have nothing to do with product sales or promotions. What loyal customers really want is relevant content. Connecting your company blog and converting into an email newsletter is one of the best ways of building credible reputation. You want to sell more butt plugs? Why not incorporate a blog article that shares information on how to use one or touts online reviews. Having links inside the article can help increase the conversion rate since the customer does not have to go back into the email. Constantly sending out promotions and discounts does not always help in increasing your ROI. In fact, it’s a great way of alienating your audience and increasing your unsubscribe rate. And once that happens you will never get them back.

Data and Storytelling

According to Content Marketing Institute there are over 3 billion email users worldwide, making email marketing, still, a major player within digital space. Combine that with customers subscribing to an average of 20 brands, that makes for a whole lot of noise in their inbox. When a subscriber opens an email they want to experience something transformative. (Why else would they open it?) One way of honing in on your audience’s preferences is through A/B testing. The data derived from testing is extremely valuable when it comes to truly understanding your subscribers. This is why one-size-fits-all email blasts are no longer effective. Using segmented and targeted content can really help forge your brand story and create an active and trusting relationship with a customer.

The Sky’s the Limit

Sometimes the hardest thing to remember is that email marketing isn’t about you; it’s about the dynamic needs, tastes and wants of your customers — which are always changing. Being flexible and consistent will not only keep your customers happy by improving their experience with your brand, but it will also draw them close while keeping you on your toes. And there’s nothing like having happy and satisfied customers that keep coming back.

How Email Marketing Can Boost Retail Customer Retention by Angela Lieben originally appeared in XBIZ

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