Email marketing. It’ll help you sell more! It converts like crazy! It has the best ROI of any marketing channel!
These are all true statements about email marketing, but you’d be forgiven for thinking email is always about selling, selling, selling.
Sure, email is a powerhouse sales channel, but it can also help you build customer relationships after you’ve closed that sale.
Your brand-new customers are ready and waiting to become fans, and you can use email to help get them there a little faster. Plus, with the number of new customers you're expecting this Black Friday Cyber Monday, the time to implement these emails is now—before the rush.
The best part? Increasing your customer retention rates—by turning one-time customers into loyal fans—has an oversized impact on your business.
Research from Bain & Company showed that depending on your industry, an increase of just 5% in customer retention can increase your profits from 25% to 95%. Seriously.
An increase of just 5% in customer retention can increase your profits from 25% to 95%.
So yes, creating fans might not be the same as upping your conversion game, but it's still important for your business' bottom line.
Here are eight emails you can use to turn more of your new customers into forever-fans of your brand.
1. Thank you emails
It seems like the most basic advice you can give when it comes to building customer relationships—say thank you.
However, an on-brand, amusing, or interesting thank you message can help you stand out when you’re top of mind for your customer: when they’ve just handed over their payment information, and committed to their purchase.
Everyone expects a basic confirmation email, and transactional emails get great open rates—up to double the average open rate of promotional emails. So if you can inject personality into yours, you know it’ll get in front of even more eyes.
You can do this with just text, like Jesse Phillips from NeuYear. Here’s the message he sends out when someone orders one of his full-sized wall calendars.
You. Are. a Genius.
You have just taken an essential step to achieving your goals! Science tells us that planning your work DOUBLES your odds of success.
Next year you're going to sit around the fire with your friends, remembering what an awesome year it's been and how you achieved your dreams by planning goals and taking action. Good for you.
But don't be selfish by keeping all this goal domination-ness to yourself. You know better. Tell your friends how they can dominate too. Quick... Facebook right now... don't you like your friends?
Seriously, thank you so much for ordering this calendar. If you have a minute, please hit me back and let me know how you heard about NeuYear! And, if you have any ideas/questions/problems, totally email me.
He signs off with his contact information, in case you do want to follow up.
Or, if you want to really go above and beyond, you can send a quick video saying thank you to every new customer, like Ryan from Popov Leather. Recently, he's started using Bonjoro to send a quick, personalized video thank you to every new customer—here’s just one example that made an impression on one of our team members.
2. Shipping notifications
When a customer orders something online, one of their most pressing concerns is when the order will show up at their door.
Shipping notification emails are not only helpful, they’re expected, but you don't need to stop at standard “Hey, your order is on its way” emails.
If you use Shopify Shipping, you can customize your email notifications to include your brand color, logo, and even the phrasing of the notification. You'll find those options under Settings, in the Notifications section.
Once you're there, you can add in your logo, set its size, and add in your brand color.
To customize the text, you’ll need to know a bit of HTML to make sure you’re not editing the template—but it's not too hard to do.
Open up one of your templates, like the Shipment out for delivery template, and find the text that you want to edit.
Let’s say in this email you wanted to add some snappy copy to go right after "Track your shipment to see the delivery status."
To find that part of the email, hit Command-F on your Mac, or Control-F on your PC. That will open up a search box in your browser, and you can type in the exact text you want to find. Your browser will highlight that text in the code, so you can see exactly where you want to add that snappy extra bit of copy.
FURTHER READING: Not convinced phrasing matters? Copywriting can be a big boost to your business—here's how to start with a solid copywriting research strategy, and use it to increase your sales.
And as a bonus, you can go beyond your automated shipping notifications and follow up with your customers a few days after their order arrived to see if they have any questions, or need anything else. It’s a nice touch to make sure that they’re happy with their order, which is the foundation for turning a customer into a fan.
3. How-to information emails
No matter what you sell, there are going to be people who need a wee bit of extra help to make the most of it.
For example, Harry’s sells men’s shaving products, and they’ve found that sometimes men need a bit more information to get a great shave. That’s why they send out helpful content, like this guide to post-shave routines.
Information that can help your customers make the most of their purchase is great to send after they’ve had their product for a few days or a few weeks. You could send:
- Existing blog posts. If you’ve already covered the topics on your blog, why not repurpose them for an email, or send people a link to the post?
- New how-to content. Listen to your customers, and check your support emails. Is there a question you frequently get asked from new customers, or something most people usually miss?
- A tutorial series. If your product is very in-depth (knitting patterns and technology products come to mind) could you send multiple emails to help make sure new customers get the most out of their purchase?
As you’re generating ideas of helpful how-to content, make sure to keep your audience in mind. Think about what they already know, and where you can helpfully fill in gaps in information related to your product. After all, you're the expert in your industry, so think about what advice you could offer them.
- If you're in fashion, you could send out outfit pairing examples and advice.
- If you sell home decor, you could email customers helpful advice on styling different rooms.
- If you sell food or cooking supplies, you could send out recipes.
- If you sell pet products, you could send out helpful articles about pet care and pet training.
- If you sell art prints, you could help people figure out how and where to display their art in their homes.
The examples could go on forever, but the point is that no matter what your products are or what industry you're in, there's helpful information you could offer your customers.
4. Reminder emails
There are all sorts of reasons that someone might have stopped using what they bought from you—or never started in the first place.
Maybe you sell supplements to go with a workout program, and they slipped up in week three and feel like they can’t get back into it.
Maybe you sell a digital product, and you know people tend to get busy and stop working through it after about a week.
Whatever your product is, think about whether there are any reasons your customers might stop using it before they get the intended effect.
Whatever your product is, think about whether there are any reasons your customers might stop using it before they get the intended effect. It could be something as simple as helping them style an item for a new season, but sending out timely reminders to help them get the most out of their purchase can be a great way to build relationships—and make sure they get their money’s worth.
5. Survey emails
There’s this thing corporations like to use, called the Net Promoter Score. It sounds complicated until you realize it’s based on a single-question survey, and all it asks people is to rank how likely they are to recommend your product on a scale of 1 to 10.
After someone’s had time to get to know and like your product, you can email them your very own net promoter survey using a tool like SurveyMonkey or Typeform. All you have to do is ask a simple question:
"How likely are you to refer Your-Product-Here to a friend?"
Here's an example of a great net promoter score email from Joyus, a women's home goods and skincare brand.
You can play around with the wording, and add additional questions if you want to. You could even offer your customers a discount for filling out the survey, like Anthropologie did in this example.
But no matter what kind of survey you send out, the real value is in how you act on the results.
If someone is very likely to recommend the product (they answered with a 9 or a 10) you can follow up with them to share affiliate or rewards programs you offer based on their referrals.
If they’re very unlikely to recommend the product, now you know—and you can do something about it. When you get answers that fall under 5, you can follow up directly and ask if there’s anything you can do to fix the issues your customer is having.
Sometimes the answer will be no, but you might be able to turn some quietly-disgruntled customers into fans with a simple fix like a replacement or a discount on their next purchase.
If you never ask, you’ll never know.
6. Customer information emails
When a customer orders from you, they give you a fair bit of information about themselves. You've got their name, address, order history, and you might even have tracked their behavior using marketing software.
But you can always learn more about your customers, and one of the easiest ways to do it is to just ask.
That's what Bespoke Post did. They sell themed subscription boxes for men, so they want to make sure each box is tailored to the interests of each customer. Instead of guessing, and potentially sending out boxes that aren't a good fit, they just asked—using an email to current subscribers.
You don't need to sell a subscription box to make this post-sales email work for your store. You can ask your customers anything that will help you segment your emails better. That might be anything from:
- Which product lines they typically buy
- What activities they enjoy
- What sizes they wear
- How much they know about a specific topic
Once you have that information, you can tailor your emails so that they go to the most relevant customers—and the ones who are most likely to take you up on your newest offer, sale, or product.
7. Surprise and delight emails
At any stage of your business, you’re going to have customers that stand out above the rest.
Maybe they’re incredibly active on social media promoting your products, or maybe they’ve bought 5x more product than your average order volume. Whatever your metrics are, and however you measure who counts as a superstar customer, once you know who they are you can use email to go above and beyond right back.
There are a lot of ways you can offer exclusive perks to your best customers. Here are a few to choose from, based on what you think they’d appreciate most.
- A personalized note. This can be as easy as writing out a simple, heartfelt email from your personal account to say thanks, and including why you're thanking them.
- Exclusive access to you. Maybe you have the bandwidth to offer a select few best customers the chance to connect with you one-on-one, if that makes sense for your customers and your brand.
- A free gift. Maybe you want to send them a bonus, surprise freebie, or offer them a code to apply to their next order to claim their gift.
- A coupon. You can also set up a special discount for your best customers—and now, with Shareable Discount Links, they don't even need to remember the code to take you up on it.
8. User-Generated Content Emails
It’s not easy to build loyal fans out of your customers, so once they are fans of yours, why not have them share the love? As part of your follow-up emails, you can include an email asking them to share your products on social media platforms like Instagram.
Here’s one example from Lush Cosmetics, prompting their customers to share photos with a hashtag specific to a single product line, in exchange for a discount.
To build your own email to encourage your customers to share the love on social, consider:
- Which platforms are the best fit for your product and your audience?
- Do you want to include an incentive?
- What hashtag will you use to find their posts?
Once you know the answers, you can craft an email to ask them to share their stories about your product. You could even segment your customers by the product they bought to make more specific requests, or segment them by their answers to your survey if you’ve imported that data into your email system.
FURTHER READING: Find out more about how segmenting your email list can help you drive sales and increase customer engagement.
As a bonus, if your customers do post content, you can use their photos on your relevant product pages. Black Milk is a brand that excels at using their user-generated content to level up their product pages, like this example from their Marauder's Map skirt.
Is this all I have to do?
These eight emails are a great foundation for building campaigns that will turn new customers into raving fans, but they’re just one part of your overall fan-creation strategy.
To really dig into building a great customer experience at every touchpoint—not just email—you need to look at everything from your customer service practices to your shipping strategy.
Especially in ecommerce, every interaction you have with your customers is so important to build a relationship, since you’ll likely never meet every single customer in person.