5 Email Marketing Strategies for Customer Retention

Email Marketing


We are excited to introduce Jana Fung as today’s guest blogger. Jana is a marketing manager at MixRank. She is optimistic about the growth of online advertising and has a passion for helping online marketers execute campaigns. Connect with Jana on Twitter @jana_fung

So, you’ve just closed a huge deal for your product. Congratulations! Ring the sales bell! Besides the nice boost in revenue, you’ve also created a powerful sense of trust that drive additional value over time.  So how can you make sure that you are maintaining your customer relationships?

There are numerous strategies you can use to keep customers renewing contracts and converting repeatedly. Here are five email marketing tactics that you can use to retain customers and increase overall revenue:

 1. The Advocacy Program

As new customers come on board, it’s great to introduce them to your advocacy program which hopefully will include some fabulous rewards, give your brand more exposure to new prospects, and give your customers a reason to contribute to your marketing campaigns.  With new customers, send an email inviting them to the program, explain how it works, and offer some reward points just for signing up and being a valued customer. Similar to the way mileage programs expire within 24 months of inactivity, your advocacy program should have some expiration dates with inactivity so you can keep your brand top of mind for your customers.

2. The Thank You Gift/Promotional Code

After a customer’s first purchase, offer them either a thank you gift or a custom coupon code that can be redeemed with an upsell on their next month’s or next year’s purchase. Since every business varies, it’s hard to say exactly what kind of promotional coupon to offer. Check out a few awesome examples I’ve seen with this:

  • Google AdWords credits: spend $500 and receive $1000 in AdWords credits.
  • An upsell to a new plan: Receive 20% off the annual Enterprise Plan.
  • A lunch date with the Account Manager: I’ll be in San Francisco in 2 weeks. I’d love to take you out to Waterbar for lunch. When’s a good day for you?

It really depends what your business can afford and what you see fit for the customer. Remember these promotional offers and thank you emails should be customized for your customer, so be sure to take into consideration cost and lifetime revenue for each customer before sending this type of email.

3. The Friendly Reminder

A friendly reminder email should be sent whenever there is a major marketing event going on in the customer’s geographic location that you’re hosting or a major change is occurring with your product or service.  This type of email generates demand and trust between you and your customers, allowing them to take action if required.  Some examples of a friendly reminder email would be informing customers of an upcoming customer summit you’re hosting, a notification that their account will be closed soon without renewal, a notification that reward points from the advocacy program or the promotional code for their upsell will be expiring, or a product feature will be changed or shut down in the near future.

4. The Holiday Gift

I’ve sent out lavish holiday baskets in the past that made clients really happy but really ticked off the finance department due to the high shipping costs (oops!). I’ve also sent out holiday greetings in the form of emails to customers, but with the flood of holiday emails they often get lost in the mix due to vacation time and office closures. So, as a happy medium to ensure your customers will remember you and your finance team does not question your marketing budget, send an email with a holiday gift inside! Many vendors, like Starbucks and Amazon now have e-gift cards that can be sent via email to your most valuable customers.

5. The Market Research Survey + Contest

Emailing your customers a survey is always valuable to gain insight into their use-cases, top products requests, and more. But remember that with most surveys, the longer they are the fewer results are gathered. So, a simple survey email can attract more responses with an incredible makeover: pairing completed surveys with the chance to win a contest.  This not only gets customers excited about your brand, but will also drive more responses.   In order to make sure your customer reads the email, include the contest prize in the email subject and make sure the giveaway is a highly sought after prize like tickets to the Super Bowl, a trip to Australia, a $1000 shopping spree, or the latest iPad.

These are just a few of the strategies I’ve used in the past to retain customers, build a loyal fan base, and increase the customer lifetime value.  What email marketing strategies have you used in the past?  Tell us in the comments section below.