Three Ways to Transform Email into a Retention Powerhouse

Throughout COVID, many retailers saw an increase in online sales, establishing 2020 as the year of customer acquisition.

Numerous businesses are now battling to retain them. Customer loyalty and email marketing teams must convert new customers into long-term revenue streams.

Because email is the most frequently used method of communication with new online customers, businesses must take advantage of it.

Additionally, it’s an excellent way to learn a great deal about your customers through their interactions with your messages. Additionally, your list is owned by your business (rather than a third party such as a social network), and it is more personal because it is an opt-in relationship — quite different from targeted advertising or junk mail.

Email can be an effective retention tool with the right strategy and execution.

Three things that leading retailers are doing with email in 2021 to retain new and valuable customers are as follows:

1. Tailor content to changing customer interests

When individuals identify with the content, they are more likely to engage. If email marketing teams can deliver personalized content to customers — rather than “universal” content — they can improve engagement and connection.

Customers are not immobile entities; their behaviors and interests evolve over time. Historically, this has made personalization difficult. By gaining insight into customers’ preferences through their email interactions, you can significantly improve your ability to predict and adapt to their behavior.

It assists you in avoiding simply classifying them into a segment that will remain static until the marketing team updates their database, which could be years from now, or perhaps never.

The effect is visible in open and conversion rates.

2. Provide an experience, not just advertisements

A second factor that contributes to customer retention is an experiential approach.

Personalization solutions are typically analogous to a salesperson that notices you looking at an item and follows you around the store, screaming at you about that one pair of shoes that is on sale. You may have noticed this when online advertisements offered recommendations for a product you previously reviewed.

That is not the most efficient strategy. It becomes tedious and ignores factors such as changing tastes and needs.

A better way to think about personalization is to imagine yourself walking into your neighborhood retailer. As you enter the store, they may recognize you by name and can make recommendations based on what they know you like (based on previous purchases), as well as suggest products that may be of interest but have not yet been purchased.

If your business is constantly sending the same promotions to all of its email subscribers, many customers will become fatigued with the content. It is a waste of time and resources, increases the rate of unsubscribes, and undermines retention efforts.

Rather than that, think of email as a personal shopper who sends customers items that might interest them. This way, they’ll receive content that they’re excited to open on a consistent basis.

3. Customize the time of delivery for each customer

The time required to send an email is frequently underestimated. Often, the same timing is used throughout.

It does not take into account customers’ unique routines, which dictate when they are most likely to open an email you send.

By customizing the send time, you can be even more precise with your creative assets. If you know the optimal time to send an email to a customer, you can be confident that you’re sending your best content. The best content can be prioritized and given additional exposure at the optimal time.

Personalization at the send time (STP) creates a profile for each subscriber by determining when they are most likely to engage with emails.

Over a three-month period, one of our clients discovered that using STP for low- and moderate-engagement email subscribers resulted in the following increases:

  • an increase of 2.6 percent to 4.2 percent in openings;
  • clicks increased by 6.8% to 11.8 percent; and
  • conversions, which increased from 6.4 percent to 11.7 percent.

The following chart illustrates the send distribution for a customer before and after they implemented STP. Previously, all of their emails were sent at 7 a.m. After implementing STP, their emails were distributed more evenly, resulting in an increase of 3.7 percent in revenue per email.

This type of strategic shift can have a significant impact on the bottom line and increase customer loyalty.

Following a turbulent 2020, retailers have an incredible opportunity to retain new customers and grow them into larger and better shoppers.

Retailers must maximize the retention potential of email, as it is the most frequently used method of communication with customers.

They must, however, take a measured approach. By using a data-driven approach to tailor content to customers’ changing interests, create an experience, and personalize send times to reach customers at their most receptive times, marketers can build relationships and retain customers like never before.

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