Retention Marketing

There has been a steady increase in the overall customer acquisition costs for B2B as well as B2C companies and it has risen almost 50% over the last five years. Also, existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products and spend 31% more than the new ones. These statistics emphasize the importance of retention marketing and maintaining a strong customer relationship.

While there are several marketing channels available for the modern marketer to retain the existing customers, an email goes a long way in retention marketing because it facilitates personalized communication with the customers. Marketers can send out more relevant messages to customers through emails, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversions.

That said, let’s delve deeper into how to use retention marketing in your emails.

1.    Segment your list

To start with retention email marketing, you should learn about your customers and their buying patterns, at first. Identify the way in which they interact with your products or services while browsing through your store to segment the lists.

Segmented campaigns perform remarkably better than non-segmented emails.

Source: Mailchimp


Prepare segmented lists based on the demographics, geographical location, and purchase history.

For example: Did the customer use a coupon for their last purchase? Offer a coupon code to this segment.

Similarly, you should keep tabs on your highest-value customers and incentivize them with an exclusive VIP offer to reinforce loyalty and encourage them to purchase again.

2. Personalize the emails

Whenever you send an email to the existing customer, it is most likely that you know basic details about the customer and the past purchases. In addition to using first name personalization, you should also use details like past purchases and kind of products purchased. Let’s say a customer has purchased a mobile phone from your e-commerce store. You can send out mobile accessories as product recommendations to these customers.

Take a look at this email by International Military Antiques.

They send a coupon code along with stuff to buy for the next time. Now, that’s quite a personalized experience for the buyer.

3.    Send the customers periodic activity emails

If you are a marketer in the service-based industry, you would surely be having a good number of customers who are still using the free version of your services. You should send a periodic email that talks about how the customer has used your services in the past few days. It reflects that you care for the customer’s success.

Grammarly sends out a weekly progress report to let the users know how productive they have been. They share the activity metrics in this email and subtly promote their premium services. Also, take note of the header image that celebrates the user’s success by showcasing his or her achievement. It builds your brand reputation as a thoughtful brand and keeps you at the top of their brand. No wonder, Grammarly grew its way to 6.9 million daily active users by 2017.

4.    Build a Cart Recovery Program

In 2018, 74.58% of online retail orders got abandoned. There are several reasons for cart abandonment which includes a complicated checkout process, hidden charges, security concerns, and technical issues to name a few. Cart recovery emails come into the picture here as they remind the customers about the abandoned product and encourage them to complete the purchase.

See how ASICS sends a series of compelling cart abandonment emails to bring back the cart abandoner. In the second email of the series, they have even showcased their bestsellers to convince the customer to complete the purchase.

You can even ask the customer if they need any help with placing the order and learn what’s holding them back. This will instill a sense of trust in them and motivate them to buy from you.

Here’s an example from Peel. See how they have asked the customers to get in touch if they have any questions and prompted them to “return to the cart” through a clear CTA.

Source: Really Good Emails


Another idea is to create a sense of urgency in your cart abandonment emails. BOOM by Cindy Joseph does it quite well by writing an engaging text that reflects the scarcity of the products.

5.    Incentivize the Loyal Customers

Make your loyal customers feel special and appreciate them for their loyalty towards your brand. Incentivize them with reward points or discount coupons to entice them to purchase again. In addition to such rewards, you can also go a step ahead and send a curated list of products or services based on their previous purchases.

Take a look at the loyalty email by DAVIDsTEA that would surely draw the recipient’s attention and compel them to make the purchase.

6.    Ask for Feedback in Post-purchase Emails

Post-purchase emails can be used to inspire impulsive purchases from the customer. You can ask for the customers’ feedback and let them know that customer satisfaction is the highest priority for you. It will make the customer feel important and give you a chance to improvise on your products or services, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Here’s an email by Chewy that asks for feedback for the recent purchases and lets the user contact them if they have any concerns.


7.    Implement Referral Email Marketing

Referral email marketing is a great idea if you want to acquire new customers while retaining the existing ones. Offer a referral incentive to the customers who get referral business for you. The incentive should be large enough to motivate your existing customers and small enough not to hurt your profit margins. Moreover, incentivize the new customers who are being referred to.

Handy presents a perfect example of a referral email by offering Handy credit to each referral and a great deal on the first booking.

8.    Send re-engagement emails to the inactive customers

It is difficult to keep your customers engaged throughout the buying cycle. There will be a certain group of customers who will not read your emails. So, how will you draw their attention and make them open your emails? The simple answer to this is sending reminder emails that can reengage the long-lost customers. You can follow the 9-word email hack devised by Dean Jackson and revive the dead leads.

For example: Ask them questions like “Are you still looking forward to the learning German language?”.

You can also send them an email that allows them to set their email preferences or a survey email to know more about them.

Another great idea is to share the updates you made while the customer was away. Lowe’s sends a nice email to convey this message to their inactive users.

9.    Keep an Eye on the Competitors

While developing your retention email marketing strategy, keep tabs on your competitors and how they are going about it. Identify the competitors and collect their emails to understand their retention strategy. Analyze the emails and get new ideas for your strategy.

10. Test your emails ALWAYS

Whenever you implement a retention strategy, test your emails before hitting the send button. Make sure it renders well and imparts a smooth experience to the reader, irrespective of the device and email client they are viewing the email on.

Bonus Tip: Analyze your Email Campaigns and Optimize Them

The most important step is to analyze your email campaigns and optimize them for the best results. Keep track of the open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes. If there is a sharp dip in the open rate, work on the subject lines and from the name. In case you notice a spike in the bounce rate or unsubscribes, you should check your list and remove the invalid email addresses or disengaged subscribers.

Wrapping Up

As a marketer, it is imperative to enhance your customer base and at the same time, retain it. Implement the aforementioned tips in your email marketing strategy and see how your sales and profits soar high up.

We would love to hear from you in the comments below if you have anything to say.

Author Bio:

Chris Donald is the Director of InboxGroup, A professional email marketing agency that specializes in providing result-driven email marketing services. He has worked directly with Fortune 500 companies, retail giants, nonprofits, SMBs and government bodies in all facets of their email marketing services email audit and marketing automation programs for almost 2 decades. He enjoys sharing his distinctive thoughts and insights into email marketing best practices at his blog.

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