Retention Lifecycle Programs: Options and Considerations

  |  May 26, 2011   |  Comments

Four things post-conversion email can do for your brand and your email marketing success.

A post-conversion or retention email marketing program, although sometimes overlooked, should be a very powerful component of your overall marketing strategy. So much focus is directed to email acquisition and driving the first conversion that what happens next is ignored. That is a mistake because the next stage of the lifecycle provides clear opportunities to set up some quick-win email programs.

A lot of my retail customers would define someone who has made one purchase a "trier" only and not a customer. People become customers once they have made that secound purchase. If this is you, what email programs do you have in place to drive that second purchase?

Let's look at what post-conversion email can do for email marketing success and your brand:

  • Keeps your company top of mind and encourages repeat conversions. Using post-purchase email optimization to drive a one-time purchaser to make a second or third purchase.
  • Makes it easy to share product information and guidance. Email is a great method to alert your new customers about any customer service opportunity. Use email to show your customers where they can view product instructions, or direct them to your community. Include links to any resources that you have available, including one to your customer service site.
  • Builds brand, develops evangelists, and creates stickiness. Similar to customer service messaging, you can use post-purchase communication to develop evangelists. Within all post-purchase emails, give your customer the option to be socially positive. Include links to your social pages and provide "refer a friend" options. If your customers had a good experience, they will want to share it.
  • Encourages product reviews. Use post-purchase communication to solicit a product review or recommendation. Consider giving your customers a chance to win a prize if they write a product review.

    Be mindful of timing here, and make sure that your customers have received their purchase and have had the time to use it.

There are three programs you should optimize and put into place today:

  1. Transactional messaging optimization. Don't be afraid to develop your transaction message to include information above and beyond order details.

    For example, for purchasers that have not opted in for email, include a "Sign up for email" call-out, preferably with reasons why to subscribe.

    Finally, make sure that your transaction message is reflective of your brand and has consistency across your promotional emails.
  2. Review solicitation program. This is a very easy email to set up and a great way to get product reviews. From a setup perspective, you can use a generic email creative and send to all post-purchasers at a certain time period after the conversion. I recommend testing this email using an incentivized message vs. a non-incentivized one. If you can associate a product purchase with a particular buyer, dynamically merge that information into the pre-header or body of the email.
  3. Second-purchase program. This is more of a retail-specific program, but its elements can be modified for B2B programs. Its purpose is to drive a second purchase. The timing between when the first purchase was made and when the second-purchase email is sent is critical and will depend on your type of product. Use cross- and up-sell product affiliations to drive the second purchase.

Post-purchase communications should not be overlooked. They are vital to ensure repeat purchases and customer retention, and are great for building brand awareness, creating stickiness, and keeping your company top of mind with your customers.

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Matthew Hayes

Matt Hayes is the director of services strategy at Lyris. With experience in the e-mail industry both in the U.S. and in the U.K., Matt has deep knowledge and experience working with clients in the strategy and development of welcome programs, lifecycle campaigns, list retention and growth, Web behavior segmentation, and e-mail design. Matt started his e-mail career at a U.K. agency that became Lyris UK and was instrumental in managing e-mail marketing campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the U.K. Matt's background is specialized in high-end fashion retail where he set up revenue-driving campaigns. In 2009, Matt moved to San Francisco to manage a team of campaign specialists and drove e-mail marketing strategy for clients in the U.S.

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