Jacob Sappington, Manager of Retention at 4X400 and writer of Email Isn't Dead, visits Pitstop to tell Lucas how e-commerce brands can see big savings and higher conversion rates by relying on good old, tried and true email.
Social media promotional buys and Facebook ads may seem like an attention grabbing, high-risk for big-potential reward gamble, but it's the dependable and cost-effective email that consistently pays the bills and keeps the lights on.
Says Jacob Sappington, too few business owners really understand the importance email plays in the majority of their sales, or how to properly utilize them. Despite having healthy and productive email systems, or investing in optimizing their email systems, too many e-commerce brands will chase the better promises of Facebook ads rather than work on the good email offers.
The Truth: Facebook ads have consistently been getting more expensive, while not offering a better, more targeted service
Email however has only gotten cheaper and easier to automate. It can be near-infinitely adaptable, for whatever the needs of your brand or customers, at a fraction of the cost of paying a social media provider to generate new potential leads, and with much greater creative and market-responsive control when you do land a new contact.
Centring your marketing campaign around a cost-effective and efficient email strategy allows you to:
- Stay in touch with your customers at your whim or need
- Allow you more flexibility in providing and promoting special offers
- Create a closer sense of producer-brand-consumer relationship through an ongoing conversation
- Remain in control of your assets, and where every cent of your promotional budget is spent
- Give you more content for every dollar, allowing you to generate far more content and connections
No one is going to cut off all spending on social media promotions, every brand needs a constant stream of new customers, and you have to generate your lists somewhere if they're not already visiting your store.
However, by supplementing your Facebook and social media spending with email marketing, using social media promotions just for the initial draw and not continued contact with customers, you can drastically cut down on costs while increasing engagement and conversions.
Keep More Customers With Retention Marketing
4X400 and Email Isn't Dead's Jacob Sappington returns to Pitstop to tell Lucas about his true focus, and the one thing businesses often don't put enough work into: Retention Marketing
Too often, business owners think about retention as having to go out and drag customers back so they can shop at your store again, says Sappington.
They design a few basic single-use messages, or automatically repeating discount offers, then assume everything will work out for the best, and if the customers don't come back, that's just how their consumers behave.
You get what you put into your retention marketing
Instead, consider retention to be the basic goal of any customer-outreach, be it a special offer, new product or dynamic and engaging discounts.
Try to keep the conversation going post-purchase by refining contact and engagement to their interests through email marketing:
- Present products and sales list data shows they are interested in
- Keep them updated about your brand, and familiarize your business
- Challenge them to share your brand or product on social media for a prize
- Ask for reviews
If the contact between customer and business never really ends, then you'll rarely if ever have to turn to the old retention methods again.
What if I haven't been keeping up, and want those customers back?
You're never too late to start engaging with your customer lists. Why not start with a friendly hello and reminder that your store exists?
Begin slow, don't bombard them with offers and discounts, just get them interested again and some, more than enough to negate the low-cost of the message, will inevitably return.
Should I use SMS for retention marketing?
There's nothing wrong with using SMS, says Sappington, but you have to know your customers well to do it. SMS is a much more intimate for of communication, so your messages should reflect that, and not seem like automatically generated blanket offers.
You should also use them sparingly, as too many and too oftenly-repeated messages from brands can annoy customers, driving them away.