The Art Of The Follow Up: Turning A One Time Buyer Into A Return Customer

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The Art Of The Follow Up: Turning A One Time Buyer Into A Return Customer

March 19, 2015 by

When a visitor makes it all the way to your cart they will do one of two things: complete the checkout process or abandon their cart. If they’ve abandoned their cart, you need to find a way to follow up and get them back in the checkout process. For those of you who still need to deal with pesky cart abandonment check out my first post detailing abandoned cart follow-up strategies. As for those of you who have successfully converted this visitor into a customer, read on!

Congratulations, you got a visitor to convert and buy a product in your ecommerce shop! This isn’t nor should it be the last interaction with your new customer. In fact you are at a unique position to turn this buyer into a return customer.

Following-up with buyers creates more touch points. By increasing the number of touch points with your buyers, you increase their engagement with your brand. The real power comes from a segmented follow-up campaign that provides a personalized experience without over stimulating your audience.

Let’s break your buyers into two buckets (1) people already on your list and (2) people new to your list. For any customer that is new to your list, you should follow up with two separate emails sent at the same time. The first should be a ‘Welcome’ email that indoctrinates the new customer with your brand. For those of you that have major brand exposure, you can skip this step.

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The second email should focus on the deliverables they just purchased. If they bought a physical product you should include shipping and tracking information, confirmation of the purchase, and maybe a light cross-sell.  If the customer is already on your list, you only need to send this email at the initial time of purchase.

Both of these emails are a great starting point, but there are other ways to keep your company on your customers’ radar after the ‘Thank You For Your Purchase’ email.

1. Relevant Promotional Campaigns

After your customer buys, they are at the highest likelihood to buy more. This is why it is absolutely crucial to optimize your Thank You pages. However, even the best ‘Thank You’ pages don’t catch everyone and you need to use cross-sells & up-sells to create a relevant promotional series.

These campaigns should trigger after they open their first ‘Thank You’ email and they shouldn’t be receiving any other promotional or broadcast emails (except for newsletters).

The whole point of these series is to ascend a buyer from a one-time customer to a return buyer. Depending on your price points the number of emails you send will differ, don’t overlook this step there is a lot of opportunity here.

2. Follow Up Surveys

This might not turn one-time buyers into return customers immediately, but it is an incredibly effective way to get testimonials, identify brand evangelists, and increase brand affinity.

I’ve seen successful follow up campaigns sent over a series of 3 emails. After the 3-email mark, the customer shouldn’t be bothered by any more surveys and become a member of your standard broadcast list.

3. Use Broadcast Emails To Segment Your List

We all have a broadcast list, but we all don’t use it that well. We have the potential to overwhelm new buyers if they are receiving several different types of emails from a company they don’t know well.

In general, you shouldn’t add new buyers to your broadcast list immediately. Try to increase affinity with follow-up campaigns or increase sales with a relevant promotional series before leaving them in the general broadcast list.

Once a visitor is on the broadcast list, it is your job to find out what interests them! Each promotion, article, or any other bit of content you send out should be an indicator of how this visitor should be tagged for future campaigns. Constantly messaging a broadcast list is no better than throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks! Every broadcast should have two goals:

1. Provide useful and relevant content to the recipient

2. Become a means to segment your visitor for future personalized messaging

Make your broadcast list work for you as a mechanism to provide better content, better offers, and better service to your customer base.

Simply put, this all comes down to tagging and segmenting your customer/email list to provide the most relevant offers. If you aren’t harnessing this capability yet, you are leaving money on the table.

I’d love to hear about what you use for your follow-up series. Tell me more about it in the comments!

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