Email marketing tips for building customer loyalty

24th Jan 2017

Only 5% of people who make a first purchase from your site will return to that site again. And only 3% will actually make that second purchase. This data comes from a study of 600,000 consumers and reported by Practical eCommerce. That same study said that you can turn these numbers around with a great email marketing campaign.

Email marketing is the one form over which you have total control. You can decide what content goes to which groups of your audiences; you can deliver your content, customized and personalized; you can deliver an amazing newsletter right to their doorstep rather than hoping they see that blog or social media post. And this control is a powerful thing, if email campaigns are done right.

When email campaigns are done right, customer loyalty is built. And when customer loyalty is built, your revenue increases. So, exactly how do you put together email campaigns that promote customer loyalty? Here’s how.

Make the Customer Experience The Top Priority

Of course, you want to sell your product(s). But that isn’t the first thing on the mind of a potential customer. They want to read/see something interesting and/or valuable; They may want a little levity or entertainment.

You have an audience that is made up of segments – those that are leads but have never purchased; some who are not even leads yet; some who have visited your site, put things in a cart and then abandoned it; and some who have made a purchase but no more. Each of these groups has different needs, and it is your job to figure that out and then to give them the customer experience they want in your emails. A few examples:

  • How about an explainer video to those who have never visited your site? Make it short and humorous (e.g., explainer video – Dollar Shave Club home page). Then offer a new-customer discount.
  • One crafty email marketer found the old Dean Martin/Perry Como rendition of “Return to Me” and used it as the opening of an email that showcased new products and provided big discounts to customers who had been absent for a while.
  • Create humorous memes for those cart abandoners – offer an incentive like free shipping for a click to their cart and finalization of that purchase. Make it easy with just one click.
  • You can highlight happy customers and tell their stories – then offer a discount or a free trial of those same products.

The point is to give your audience an experience, not just a sales pitch. You want them to see you as the “sender” and then to want to open up your email because there will be “goodies” in there.

Types of Emails

Basic Marketing

The above ideas are all a part of basic marketing and re-marketing email campaigns. They are providing an experience and a value, based upon where that individual is in your sales funnel.


Another type of email that is also pretty key is the newsletter. Once you get a subscription to a newsletter, you have a little piece of gold that you can polish carefully with your newsletter content. Here are the things a newsletter can do.

  • You can re-publish your blog posts, so that the reader does not have to access your blog to read them.
  • You can give tip and tricks that are related to your niche and that will solve problems for your readers. If you sell interior home design products, for example, you can give tips on making awesome wall arrangements; you can showcase unique color combinations they might want to try. If you sell gardening products, your newsletters should be full of gardening and landscaping tips with photos.
  • And you can run specials with promo codes and a single click to get to that special.
  • Always have two things in those newsletters – one-click methods to share content and one-click ways to send you feedback, suggestions or a comment.

Appreciation Emails

Dump the canned and automatic, “Thank you for your order” email. Technology now lets you personalize these, so do it. Mention the specific item(s) they purchased; call them by name in an informal greeting. Let them know you appreciate their business. And offer an across the board discount on the next item they buy.

And after the customer has had the product or used the service for a while, send an email that asks for feedback. If they complete your survey, they get a special price on the same or another product.

Nurturing your current customers and getting them to return is so much cheaper than developing new leads. In fact, research shows that it can cost up to 16X more to get a new paying customer than it does to “re-activate” and existing or dormant one.

It’s The Little Things That Add Up

In addition to providing amazing customer experiences, to segmenting your audiences, to using an email automation service, and to coming up with great content for the different types of emails you send to those audiences, there are also some specific tips and tactics that will get more of those emails actually opened.

  • Spend time on those subject lines. Everyone gets emails with promotions or sales announcements in the subject line. Get creative so that you pique interest or intrigue. You want the customer to be curious and to open.
  • Give early and exclusive deals to those who have purchased once from you – call them your VIP rewards
  • Create some urgency by sending an email reminder when a redemption is about to run out.
  • Send out random emails with no sales purpose whatsoever. These can go to all of your audiences, and might include secular holiday greetings; you can send a Monday morning “blahs” email with a joke to get through the day; you can send a “hump day” email with a humorous message. These random acts make people feel warm about you, and when they need the product or service you sell, they will buy from you.

Remember this: Email marketing campaigns have one purpose for you – getting and retaining customers and increasing your revenue. They mean something totally different to your recipients. They want value; they want a connection with you; and they want to believe that their feelings matter to you. Honor these things and the reward will be loyalty.

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