Running an e-commerce business is like navigating a minefield of challenges – rising customer acquisition costs, social media overload, and ever-increasing supply chain expenses. And let’s not forget the looming threat of inflation and a potential global recession. With this scenario before us, one thing has become more important than ever: customer retention. In this article, we will explore how e-commerce businesses can lean into retention marketing channels like email and SMS to boost customer retention, strengthen brand loyalty and thrive in this competitive landscape.
Why is it necessary to lean into retention marketing?
On one hand, with skyrocketing media ad costs, increased competition for consumer attention, and new tracking limitations for targeted ads, customer acquisition can feel like an uphill battle. On the other hand, long gone are the days when businesses could rely on social media organic reach to connect with their customers or leads. Right now, branded content reaches a very small percentage of its intended audience thanks to ever-changing social media algorithms.
But don’t throw in the towel just yet. Retention marketing channels like email and SMS, enable you to have more control over who you reach out to and when. Plus, with the right deliverability strategies, you can almost guarantee that 88-99% of your email subscribers will receive your messages and 98% of your SMS contacts will receive your texts. And let’s not forget about the financial benefits – the average ROI through email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent, while SMS marketing can bring in an average of $25 per $1, according to SMS Bump.
But it’s not just about the numbers – email and SMS are also great for setting up flows/automations that can bring in recurring revenue and strengthen brand loyalty to increase customer retention.
How to leverage Email and SMS for Customer Retention?
1. Set up the essential automation
Step into the world of effortless marketing with automated flows. These are customized sequences that allow you to engage with your audience at the right time – whether they’re subscribing, browsing, or making a purchase.
Think of email and SMS flows as the ultimate marketing toolkit. You can use them to segment your subscriber list and target your audience more effectively, turning leads into loyal customers and boosting customer retention. Start with a welcome series, tackle abandoned checkouts and carts, and follow up with post-purchase flows. Scale your efforts with replenishment, sunset, and winback flows.
Check out our article for all the details on The WHAT, WHY and WHEN of Email Marketing Flows.
2. Create a content strategy for email and SMS campaigns to drive customer retention
While your flows are up and running and generating tons of revenue for your business, leverage email and SMS campaigns to build awareness, keep your audience engaged and push sales.
A great starting point to develop your content strategy is answering the following questions:
- What message do you want to share?
- What’s your ultimate goal?
- What does your audience crave from you?
Based on your answers, create custom content that speaks directly to your audience. Offer flash sales, deals, and exclusive promotions to drive sales. Don’t forget to educate your leads and customers about your brand, products, and benefits through valuable, non-promotional content. Build a loyal community that feels connected to your brand.
If you need more ideas, here are 7 Types of Email Campaigns You Can Add to Your Content Strategy.
3. Grow your list but don’t forget about your subscribers
Once the essentials are set up, scale by adding new subscribers to your list. Utilize the power of pop-ups, landing pages, social opt-ins, and more to gather email and phone contacts. Acquiring new leads is crucial for growth.
But don’t forget about your existing subscribers – keeping them engaged is a top challenge for 45% of marketers. Remember, customer retention is key to success. It’s easier and more cost-effective to keep your current subscribers happy than to constantly chase new ones. Don’t let them slip away!
4. Be smart about segmentation
Don’t make the costly mistake of ignoring segmentation. It’s the cornerstone of a successful marketing strategy. Without proper segmentation, your email and SMS campaigns can suffer, leading to lower deliverability, decreased engagement, and lost sales.
If you need more specific ideas on how to power up your segmentation strategy, check this 101 Guide on Segmentation (with examples!).
5. Optimize your strategy for customer retention
To keep your subscribers engaged, you need to continually innovate and optimize your marketing tactics. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test different elements, such as subject lines, preview text, call-to-action, offers, send times, design, and copy tone. Embrace the power of A/B testing and keep your marketing strategy fresh and effective.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to put your customer first
To truly resonate with your audience, you need to understand their thoughts, challenges, and pain points. Gone are the days of generic marketing tactics. Personalization is the key to success, and the numbers prove it: 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that offer personalized experiences, and 9 in 10 marketers see improvements in customer retention, revenue, and loyalty from personalization efforts.
Make your customers the center of your marketing by leveraging data on a regular basis. Take advantage of “Get to Know Your Customers Day” every quarter to gather valuable insights through surveys, quizzes, and other data collection methods.
But don’t stop there. Use the data to inform your email and SMS campaigns, creating tailored content for each unique customer based on their needs and preferences.
Customer retention is a crucial aspect of running a successful e-commerce business, especially in today’s competitive and ever-evolving market. Email and SMS marketing remains the best retention marketing channels to forge strong customer relationship and create loyalty.
By setting up essential automation, creating a targeted content strategy, growing your subscriber list, being smart about segmentation, and continually optimizing your tactics, you can build a loyal and engaged customer base.
With the right retention marketing strategy, you can thrive in the competitive e-commerce landscape and achieve long-term success. Are you ready? Book a free call with us.