Email marketing: Don’t stop at the sale by Mick Griffin @mickgriffin

Email Marketing: Don't Stop at the Sale

I know that lots of email marketers use autroresponders. I’m not going to sell you on the value of using an email marketing autoresponder, because I think that’s already clear. Using one effectively is what I’d like to talk about.

I see it happening in two different ways. I either get great emails prior to a purchase, then they stop. Or I get some “how to”, or up-sell emails after I’ve purchased.

‘Customer interaction doesn’t start or finish with the sale’

The Funnel

Many of you have heard of the sales funnel, which is still a great proven theory, however the funnel now has two cycles. As I mentioned way back in January, ‘Retention is the new acquisition’, so it’s very important to continue to engage with new customers way past the point of sale.

Most people will sign up pre-sale at the point of interest. This could be to a newsletter, or blog updates, or a free trial of your solution. At this stage, you’d continue to follow your sales and marketing plan to try and complete the sale. At the point of sale, within your email marketing campaign, you can ensure the customer is moved from pre-sale emails, into post-sales emails, or what I call the post-sales funnel.

Here are 2 good reasons to pay attention to your post-sales funnel. According to a report by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company:

  1. Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer, depending on marketing methods employed.
  2. Over a 5-year period unsubscribe rates could reach as high as 50% if databases are left dormant and new subscribers left out in cold.

Post-Sale Funnel Tactics:

Appreciation

This is a given. Once a sale has been made, make sure your follow-up email is relevant and send it ASAP. I know some of you have to also send invoices or something else, but try to combine this into your ‘thank-you’ email. Being bombarded with 3 or more emails directly after purchasing can be off putting. Remember, too-frequent emails is a major cause of unsubscribes.

Note : It’s important to make the unsubscribe option very obvious here, and to be very clear about what they will receive if they choose to continue. Mention the expected frequency of emails, and either a brief description of the topics or a list of the email subject titles, so there are no surprises.

Education

If the subscriber has chosen to stay, it’s up to you to ensure that he/she is getting the most satisfaction from their recent purchase with a series of follow-up emails. Between 3 and 7 post-sale educational emails is a good range, (depending on frequency standards and preferences). Surveys and multimedia are really useful tools during this stage to keep customers engaged, get feedback, and provide video tutorials for those who prefer it.

Note : Monitor the results of your emails daily. If one email in your cycle returns lower than expected results, it can have a domino effect on the following emails. So if you spot a decline, try to act fast. Analyze the content. Maybe split test for the next couple of days with something new and see if your results improve.

Support

At the end of the educational cycle, remind your new customer that you are there for them and inform them just how to get in touch. Include contact points like phone and email, but also your social links. We also highly recommend a second set of educational autoresponders for advanced users. Give your new customer the opportunity to learn more if they choose.

Note : The second set of autoresponders should be opt in rather than opt out. You’ll get much better results if your audience has chosen to receive additional information from you. After all the work you’ve put in, you don’t want a spam complaint!

Takeaway: It’s important to engage your customers throughout their experience with your company and your product. Helping a customer gain the highest possible value from your product or service will increase the chance of repeat business and overall satisfaction. So stay in touch with relevant, useful emails, but make sure you engage according to their preferences, not yours. And don’t forget to make it easy to unsubscribe from any email marketing autoresponder series. Use these guidelines, and you should fill that post-sale funnel with repeat sales and happy customers. Good luck!

Do you have your own post-sale tactics? Share them with us in the comments below! Your ideas are always welcome!

Until next time,
Mick

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  • Chief eMail Officer
    August 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Mick you make some great points about the post sales followup.

    You mention the option of offering a clear unsub from these auto responders. Have your clients had any experience with an opt-down (change the frequency of messages) versus an op-out?

    I would think that a couple of post sales emails would be great but if I got more than 2-3 I think I would be ticked off.

    Any idea as to what the market will bare when it comes to being entered into a series of messages?

    Thanks for the great post.

    Jeff

    • Mick
      August 10, 2010 at 3:53 am

      Hi Jeff,

      We don’t have any data on opt-down vs opt-out but talking from experience of our customers, the opt-down would really be a subscriber telling you that you mail too much. Sometimes they are not so honest, as to ask for less, but more likely to opt out in frustration.

      This is why frequency is key too any autoresponder, and email campaign in general.

      I’m just putting some data together on which email in an autoresponder series causes the most opt out or complaints. I will see if I can segment the data to post / pre sales as you also got me thinking 🙂

      Thanks for the comments Jeff

  • Eric
    August 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    If a customer has contacted you or done business with you, they like you and trust you, if you don’t continue to market to these customers through a this day and age preferred form of contact (email) then you will lose then to the competitors who do reach out and maintain contact with them through this truly beneficial form of marketing. If you don’t have an email marketing strategy in place do it today you have nothing to lose except the lose of increased business.

    ————-
    Thanks and Regards
    The Small Business Expert for americabusinesssolutions.com
    professional small business email marketing solutions

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