Remember The Math On Chocolates?

A couple of weeks back I described an imaginary online business that sold personalized chocolates. And I asked you a question. Here, more or less, is what I asked:

“Assuming I have been granted permission to market, how soon after the first sale to a customer should I get back with a follow-up, promotional email?”

Well, I asked for feedback and certainly received it — about fifty pages at the last count.

If you don’t remember the first article, take another quick look. The quality of ideas that people came back with is outstanding — and you’ll appreciate them better if the original business description is still fresh in your mind. So, without further ado, here (in no particular order) is the combined wisdom of the ClickZ readership on “The Math On Chocolates.

(A couple of these ideas relate directly to my question. Others are just great marketing ideas.)

1. Test, test, test.

There is no easy answer to my question on timing. The best thing you can do is test. Simply test the response rates by sending out follow-up emails at different times — and doing the math. Here’s a sample test matrix to get you started.

The email 1 column represents the number of days between the point of purchase and the first follow-up email. The email 2 column represents the number of days between the first and second follow-up email. And so on.

Days After Purchase for Response


Test Cell


Email 1


Email 2


Email 3


Cell One

1

1

1

Cell Two

1

5

10

Cell Three

1

10

21

Cell Four

1

21

none

Cell Five

7

10

14

Cell Six

7

14

21

Cell Seven

7

21

none

Cell Eight

7

none

none

Cell Nine

14

21

28

Cell Ten

14

28

42

Cell Eleven

14

42

none

Cell Twelve

14

none

none

2. Send a coupon — real or virtual — with that first email.

Something like, “Thanks for your order, and here’s five dollars off your next purchase!”

3. Invite people to pre-fill future orders.

This is a great idea. It’s an addition to the conventional reminder service approach.

Imagine that you’re completing the reminder information for your mom’s birthday. Instead of just putting in the date, you can put in the gift order, the personal message and your credit card number — in advance. So when the reminder comes through by email, it includes your pre-order summary, and all you have to do is say, “Yes.”

4. Create newsletters.

Customize a range of newsletters according to people’s declared interests. Some people might be interested in the history of chocolates. Others might like newsletters relating to chocolates at particular times — like Valentine’s Day. Within every newsletter you’d include links back to the site.

5. Reward people’s generosity.

If a customer buys some chocolates for someone else, send a small package to the gift-giver as well. Maybe it’s just a small box containing four chocolates. But by rewarding the gift-giver, you’re more likely to convert them into a repeat customer.

6. “Ping” them early.

I just love this expression. I guess it refers to “pinging” with radar. Anyway, it sounds like a good idea. Don’t let too much time pass between getting a sale and emailing the customer with some kind of offer or thank-you note.

7. Build the customer profile step by step.

With each point of contact — or “ping” — see if you can collect at least one more nugget of psychographic information on each customer.

8. Insert a catalogue with every order.

When you ship the chocolates, ship a catalogue at the same time.

9. Send emails that don’t sell.

Give people a break. You don’t have to sell with every email. If they’ve just sent a gift to their mom, send an email that just says, “Hey, that was a nice thing to do.”

10. Send a free birthday gift to your customers.

As part of your reminder service, ask for the date of each customer’s birthday and send him or her a gift once a year. A small price to pay to retain that customer.

There were many other great ideas — but I’m running out of space.

And finally, “Marek, are you reading this?” I hope so. Marek is a guy who is putting together this exact online business right now.

I hope all this input helps.

Related reading

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