Your store is going to be seeing a lot of holiday shoppers this Black Friday, particularly if you’ve followed our email marketing tips.
Making sure everyone has a pleasant and safe shopping experience should be priority number one. But retailers also need to take time to think about how they can encourage customers to keep coming back.
Making a great impression on the day is ideal, but it’s not always possible. That’s why savvy retailers thoughtfully and strategically follow-up with first-time customers in the days, weeks and months that follow. Here’s how you can build real relationships with new customers in the wake of Black Friday.
Put Your Best Foot Forward on the Day
Customers still expect great service, even during the holiday season, says Romany Reagan at DTC Daily. It doesn’t matter if you and your staff are rushed off your feet, it’s important to make the best impression possible. Doing so can lay the foundation for ongoing and profitable customer relationships.
With more sales being made online, it’s crucial to demonstrate what sets local retailers apart. As a brick and mortar store, this is your opportunity to provide a level of customer service that no website can match, writes Leena Thampan, chief product officer at payroll app Wagepoint. Aim for service that is “personal, meaningful, and worth coming back for.”
This starts by looking after your own employees, says FranklinCovey’s Sandy Rogers, co-author of “Leading Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion.” “The way employees are treated has a direct impact on how customers are treated.”
Your employees may well be tense and stressed on Black Friday, so make sure they have the support they need to succeed.
Follow Up With a Thank You Email
Leaving customers feeling positive about their sales experience is crucial, according to Rohan Ayyar at customer service platform ZenDesk. But don’t forget to follow up the purchase with further communication. “A ‘thank you’ email after a first time purchase shows the user that you value the purchase and look forward to seeing them again.” Make sure the email is personalized, or go even further by including a handwritten note with their purchase.
Remember to get the tone right too.
“Not every email you write has to be sent with the intention of boosting sales,” says Kaleigh Moore at eCommerce platform WooCommerce. “Part of building a long-term relationship with your customers is letting them know you appreciate their support.” It’s a great way to show just how much their patronage means to you and demonstrates your commitment to serving them in the future.
And don’t let your “thank you” emails get mixed up in the deluge of Black Friday and Cyber Monday messages, warns the team at Shippit. Wait a few days before sending out your email. When you do send, you can use it as an opportunity to introduce your brand and your story.
Be Helpful in Future Communications
Marketing writer Abby Heugel recommends that you don’t stop at a thank you email. “Follow up with information that’s useful to them and not just promotional for you.” You can provide informative blog posts, entertaining content or links that your customers might find interesting.
Certainly point customers to engaging blog posts if you’ve already created them, says Red Stag Fulfillment’s Jake Rheude. But don’t just focus on your products or niche. “For example, if you sell shoes, don’t just write emails that are solely focused on shoes, instead offering advice on how to create a jaw-dropping outfit that’s bang on trend.”
If you want to get promotional, make sure that your suggestions are personalized for individual customers, advises Meredith Wood, vice president of marketing at small business financial solutions marketplace Fundera. “You can and should also write them with offers to help them finish up an abandoned cart, notifications about items back in stock, and limited-time offers.”
This goes for all other informational and promotional content that you send customers, too. Personalize everything as much as possible, says Wood. Rather than sending out a uniform newsletter, try to segment your audience and send bespoke newsletters to each group. Don’t overlook touches like personalizing each email with the customer’s name.
Reward First-Time Customers with an Awesome Loyalty Program
With a customer loyalty or rewards program, you have the chance to impress and delight customers every time they interact with your brand, writes Kirsten Burkard at loyalty program provider Smile. “These positive experiences lay a foundation for strong, emotional relationships that only improve every time they engage with your brand.”
If you’re going to build loyalty through a customer rewards program post-Black Friday, you need to promote it strategically, says B2B copywriter Alexandra Sheehan. Customers are busy: Anything that complicates the sales process is going to be considered a drawback. Joining needs to be easy and immediate.
“Train in-store sales associates to promote the program directly to customers, as they enter the store and at checkout. Integrate it seamlessly into the shopping process, so you don’t create too much friction and dissuade customers from joining.”
“Loyalty programs could be a real client engagement magnet,” writes Sandra Wróbel-Konior at payment platform SecurionPay. Whether it’s a points system or some form of gamification, everyone loves to be rewarded. It doesn’t have to be for purchases, either, she says. Customers can be rewarded for sharing product images online and writing reviews.
Incentivize Customers to Keep Coming back
Incentivizing customers is the best way to keep them coming back, says lifestyle blogger Jordan Landes-Brenman. “That means either issuing them a promo code, discount on their next purchase, buy one get one free if they return, or putting some sort of membership in place where they receive regular discounts on purchases that grow every time they purchase something in-store.”
“CMO Whisperer” Steve Olenski advises retailers to think carefully when planning future discounts. Offering a discount on their next purchase is a great way to get customers back through your doors, but make sure it’s relevant.
“For example, if a customer bought a gaming console, you can send him emails about the latest games and available discounts. It’s understandable that someone who just bought a console would be interested in purchasing games. The key word here is relevance.”
And the sooner you can get customers back through the door after the holidays, the quicker you can start forging those long-term relationships, writes digital marketer Kelly Shelton. A discount on future purchases is smart, so give every Black Friday customer a coupon that’s good for purchases made in January.