Email as a tool to grow repeat customers

Posted by Spike Email Marketing, Online and Retail, Opinion and commentary

Spike Scale 300x184 - Email as a tool to grow repeat customersIt’s often said that it’s much easier (and cheaper) to gain repeat business than it is to find new customers. However, so often the focus remains on acquiring new buyers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that new customer acquisition isn’t important. But all too often we neglect our repeat customers, who make up approximately 80% of our business. For example, telcos offering an exceptional deal to new customers signing onto a plan, but not allowing existing customers the opportunity to access the same deal.

Email is an important channel

It’s time that we find some balance and start taking care of the customers that we already have. Email is an important channel that can be used to do just this – building engaged, loyal customers and positive brand advocates.

On the most basic level, it enables you to keep in touch with your customers and provide consistency. Which then helps to engender a consumers trust – because you’re doing what you said you would sending relevant and valuable content to them regularly. This not only shows that you care but also further reinforces that you know what you’re doing (and talking about). Simply put, email marketing keeps your business top of mind with your customers. Though beyond this, email marketing works in a vital relationship-building sense.

Email for traditional bricks and mortar stores

The potential of email to engender repeat sales online is great. This can be done, via the use of ‘you might also like’ emails and special deals or discount codes that only go to your email database. The potential of email for traditional bricks and mortar stores, or retailers with both foot and online traffic, is also significant.

Consistency, trust, loyalty

Our mantra is “consistency leads to trust, which leads to loyalty, which leads to people talking about you at bars and BBQs”, which is what you want. Email marketing allows you to prove consistency to earn that trust and allows you to give customers the positive stories that they need to share. It’s an opportunity to reinforce your points of difference, highlight why they should want to come back and share exclusive sales. There’s no shortage of kinds of emails that can be sent to encourage repeat business. It’s also a valuable way to collect additional data through competitions and surveys to members of your list.

How often show I email?

A question our clients often ask is: How often should I email?

With lots of marketing messages out there, there is a need for increased frequency of message sharing. While email is now far from being considered ‘spam’, for many, there is still hesitation around emailing too often and ‘bothering’ people. The reality now is that your database has opted in – they want to hear from you.

We believe that the right email frequency for your business depends on your customers’ buying cycles. If, for example, you are selling luxury cars you will know that your customers are only likely to buy a new car every 3 to 5 years, at most. In this case, a monthly email would suffice with perhaps some trigger-based emails after key milestones, i.e. a month after they have bought their car when it’s due for a service, or with an upsell offer, like a towbar if you know their vehicle doesn’t have one. If you were selling a product which gets used up often, you would increase the frequency, to suit.

70% of their sales from repeat customers

Spike’s own retail clients get more than 70% of their sales from repeat customers and achieve huge returns on the investment they make in email marketing.

As a parting thought, I would urge you not to undervalue your database. And if you haven’t started gathering a database, it’s never too late – 94% of adults online have an email address, as well as 73% of 12 – 17-year-olds, the buyers of the future. Either way, you are missing out if you’re not emailing. Contact Spike to start building a customer list today.

Originally published in the June 2013 edition of New Zealand Retail Magazine