From search & buy to a customer relationship by Jordie van Rijn @jvanrijn

Email marketing: From search & buy to a customer relationshipA small exercise. Close your eyes and think about the products in the room. Do you know which brands they are and where they were bought? We don’t know the brands of most of the product we use.  Now how are those brands going to keep us loyal?

A cool story
Half year ago I bought a refrigerator online. I don’t buy a fridge every day, so I wanted to know more about it before I bought one. I searched online about the different types. I also went to a physical shop that week to ask one of the salesmen what to look for and to see some of the models.

Now I know everything about frost-free, dual thermostats and why transparent freezer drawers are a good idea. It was a whole new world opening up to me. I went online again, searched for the cheapest shop on a comparison site and ordered it from the comfort of my home. It was a “search and buy”.

What’s my name?
They brought the fridge on time, payment was correct and the fridge works like a charm. The service was good, so I was totally satisfied. They have an extra loyal customer. I would certainly buy with them again, even if they were a bit more expensive. But euhhh.. what was their name again? I would never know. Retailers, media and services that are only online, face a bigger challenge when capturing their audiences attention and keeping their brand top-of-mind.

Importance of contact
To all of those brands, take note. A competitive advantage based purely on price is a hard thing to maintain. Customers are not going to buy from you again if they don’t remember your name. And if it was a “search and buy”, they still need to get to know your brand áfter they bought from you.

Takeaway: How do brands become friends? By keeping in touch, preferably meaningful, helpful contact that sparks a positive emotion. A welcome (email) program then seems a bit more than just a way to do some cross-selling. For some companies it’s a pure necessity to get just one loyal customer.

Meet the author:

Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn

Jordie is an independent email marketing consultant with his company eMailMonday. He specializes in email marketing and event-driven campaigns, helping brands to get the most from their email marketing efforts. Selecting emailtools at email vendor selection website is another.

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  • Scott Davis
    September 15, 2010 at 4:52 am

    customer relationship is very important in email marketing….

  • Scott Davis
    September 15, 2010 at 4:52 am

    customer relationship is very important in email marketing….

  • Noah Fournier
    September 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Great post Jordie. It’s so true that many companies fail at keeping their brand on the top of customers’ minds. I read a study once that found repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers, and it’s also alot more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain current ones. That’s why welcome emails are a necessity. They are often the most opened email a company will ever send since it’s right at the beginning of the relationship when a customer is likely to have that company fresh in mind. It’s a great time to make a powerful impression.

    Jordie -This is great advice, particularly for small businesses in the current economic climate.

  • Noah Fournier
    September 15, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Great post Jordie. It’s so true that many companies fail at keeping their brand on the top of customers’ minds. I read a study once that found repeat customers spend 67% more than first-time customers, and it’s also alot more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain current ones. That’s why welcome emails are a necessity. They are often the most opened email a company will ever send since it’s right at the beginning of the relationship when a customer is likely to have that company fresh in mind. It’s a great time to make a powerful impression.

    Jordie -This is great advice, particularly for small businesses in the current economic climate.

  • Chief eMail Officer
    September 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Hey Jordie…

    I like the post but not sure how often I want emails cluttering my inbox from Joe the Fridge Salesman if I am not in the market for major appliances.

    Even if I did subscribe to periodic updates, I would think every 90 days would be too often.

    What is the right frequency for update from someone who you are not going to buy from?

    Jeff

    • Jim Ducharme
      September 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Good point Jeff!

      I believe it’s a whole other level when you get to major appliances with lifespans such as fridges right? I mean, it’s in it’s own strata.

      I’d like to hear from someone who deals with major purchases in email marketing about frequency too. Do you track the purchase then just before the fridge motor burns out in 10 years email them?

      Regards,
      jim

    • Jordie van Rijn
      September 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      I’ve actually been involved in several projects with product with long lifecycles. There are many ways to deal with frequency and lifecycles issues, but thats a whole other blog 🙂 I’d love to here some of the experiences of others too.

      As a starting point, Joe (the retailer) could have had more relevant touchpoints around the sale involving the product. I’m thinking a “thank you” message, maybe a customer survey, guarantee information and best ways to use, etc,etc etc. Just these moments alone would have dramatically increased the chance of getting to know the brand.

      The example could have been anything from a book to a bike to party-balloons, the main point stays the same. Brand recognition and top-of-mind isn’t possible if you don’t even know the brand.

  • Chief eMail Officer
    September 15, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Hey Jordie…

    I like the post but not sure how often I want emails cluttering my inbox from Joe the Fridge Salesman if I am not in the market for major appliances.

    Even if I did subscribe to periodic updates, I would think every 90 days would be too often.

    What is the right frequency for update from someone who you are not going to buy from?

    Jeff

    • Jim Ducharme
      September 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      Good point Jeff!

      I believe it’s a whole other level when you get to major appliances with lifespans such as fridges right? I mean, it’s in it’s own strata.

      I’d like to hear from someone who deals with major purchases in email marketing about frequency too. Do you track the purchase then just before the fridge motor burns out in 10 years email them?

      Regards,
      jim

    • Jordie van Rijn
      September 15, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      I’ve actually been involved in several projects with product with long lifecycles. There are many ways to deal with frequency and lifecycles issues, but thats a whole other blog 🙂 I’d love to here some of the experiences of others too.

      As a starting point, Joe (the retailer) could have had more relevant touchpoints around the sale involving the product. I’m thinking a “thank you” message, maybe a customer survey, guarantee information and best ways to use, etc,etc etc. Just these moments alone would have dramatically increased the chance of getting to know the brand.

      The example could have been anything from a book to a bike to party-balloons, the main point stays the same. Brand recognition and top-of-mind isn’t possible if you don’t even know the brand.

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