It’s great news – a new customer slid all the way down your sales funnel, and finally made a purchase! Don’t leave it there. The fact that you have a new customer means that you’re doing some things right, like lead generation and nurturing. Now you have a chance to convince your new buyer that there’s more to this than a one night stand! Help them see the growing relationship, and you’ll have the makings of a loyal, repeat customer.
My last blog was about missed opportunities for lead nurturing in eCommerce; this one is about an opportunity that many businesses miss, once that lead has become a paying customer.
Cost Effective Conversions
We all know that new leads are pricey, and require a lot of encouragement. This often means you have to spend big on ad buys and social media boosting, or offer discounts and special offers that cut into your profit margins majorly.
With first time buyers, you have a group of targets that are already as qualified as leads can be, clearly interested in your products or services, and obviously a part of your market. Considering this, it’s no surprise that reaching them is much cheaper than reaching new leads, since you’re not casting a wide net that includes hundreds or thousands of uninterested people. You also have that one key thing – contact details!
The Follow-Up Email
Ecommerce businesses have certainly perfected the art of the confirmation email, but far too many are just leaving it at that. Do you follow up with your first time customers to see what their experience was like? It may seem like a lot of work, but you can automate a big portion of this process once you’ve got it down to a science that works for you and your customers.
I’ve received follow-up emails recommending similar products to me, based on what I purchased. That’s certainly better than no follow-up email at all, but it can feel a little mercenary. Remember, this new customer is still learning about your brand, figuring out what you do and how it feels to do business with you. A wise marketer once told me that customers aren’t just buying a product, they’re buying into an experience – and they want it to be a good one. What kind of experience are you giving them? Will they want to come back?
Related Class: Email Copywriting and Content Essentials
Plan to check in with your first time buyers, either by email or phone call, a few days after their order would likely have arrived (if it’s a physical product) or a week after they’ve used your services, whether you’re a provider of online services (like us here at OMI!) or face-to-face services in the real world. Think carefully about setting the right tone in your email, because you want this to generate some majorly positive vibes.
Ask the Right Questions
The content of your email should be designed to do two things: gather more information, and cultivate a real relationship between the new customer and your business. This means you have to sound like you actually care about their answers to your questions! I often get emails from Target.com, asking me to review a product I bought. This does NOT make me think that Target cares about whether I’m actually happy with my purchase – it makes me think that Target wants some reviews so they can sell more boots like the ones I bought! I see through you, Target.
When you follow up with customers, make sure they know that you care. Ask if they’re happy with their purchase, the buying process, shipping times, etc., and tailor your content to sound personal to their purchase and their experience (e.g. asking about the quality of the boots they bought, vs. asking about the quality of the “product” they bought). Make sure it’s clear that you’re happy to help if anything isn’t up to snuff, but that you want to hear if it is, too!
Small and medium-sized businesses win major points if the email comes from a specific person (whether it’s Angie the Owner or Alex the Customer Service Agent) and a specific email address, instead of a general or ‘info’ email address. This helps the customer feel like they have a real contact at the company, if they have any questions or problems at this point or further on down the line.
Request a Review – the Right Way
As noted above, I’m not a fan of the generic review-request email. However, I do think there are ways to go about encouraging reviews of your products or services that can really make it a win-win-win situation: the customer feels like they’ve been heard, you get valuable feedback, and hesitant shoppers will have reviews to help make their decision.
An email requesting a review should make it clear that you’re genuinely interested in their opinion on the purchase – was it what they expected? Would they buy it again? Again, a personal email directly from a representative, tailored to the purchase, will go a long ways toward making this email feel more genuine. If your site is a bit bare when it comes to reviews, whether it’s because you have a new webshop, a new product, or few review-ready customers, that’s definitely something you want to fix, fast. Incentivize the review process for first time buyers by offering a discount voucher or free shipping on their next order.
Loyal customers are obviously a valuable commodity since they return and purchase again and again, but their value in terms of brand advocacy can be just as important. Don’t gloss over the first purchase – take this chance to create a relationship that can work well for both of you!