Existing customers are more valuable than new ones. In this tutorial, I’ll explain how we increase customer retention with email automation. You can set these automations up yourself in software like ConvertKit or whatever you already use and enjoy more retention on auto-pilot.
If you own a business or if you’re in charge of business development, you’re probably aware of this constraint: there are only three paths to growth.
- We can get more new paying customers.
- We can increase how much we charge for any given product or service so there’s a higher average transaction value.
- Or we can get our customers to buy from us more often.
So much of marketing would have us believe that number one is the most important; that marketing is, in fact, getting new customers.
But the truth is that 80% of our revenue will come from just 20% of our customers. Those are the customers that will buy more often and when they do, they’ll spend more.
Retention is more profitable than acquisition, but you need both
Big businesses know this so research shows that the world’s largest corporations spend more to retain a customer than they do to acquire new customers.
You’ve probably seen statistics on the value of an existing customer, the profitability versus a new customer. That’s why big businesses have entire departments to devote to retention.
What about small or medium businesses?
Well, small and medium businesses, even if they have few resources and little time, can turn new customers into repeat customers and even into advocates who will grow your business on autopilot and
I’m going to show you how.
How to use automated email sequences for retention & growth on autopilot
Email is the #1 way to stay connected with your audience and keep delivering value.
With the right retention emails, you can increase customer lifetime value and nudge loyal customers to leave reviews that sell your solution on autopilot.
There’s one particular email automation that helps you do all of this.
To get the full details, check out this talk I gave on the topic for the Mississauga Board of Trade. It’s geared to businesses that are newer to email marketing yet, so I cover the basics, like triggered emails vs. broadcasts.
Or skip the video and get straight to the essentials, below.
Too long, didn’t watch?
I feel you. Here’s a quick synopsis.
Retention & Growth on Autopilot via Email
There are three components to this customer retention email automation I’m recommending:
- A welcome/onboarding sequence for new customers
- An NPS survey sequence
- A review request sequence
These three email sequences can be strung together in your email marketing software, as automations. That means each sequence will be triggered by a specific behaviour of your subscriber.
Let me break down each sequence.
1. Set Up Automated Onboarding Email Sequences
You can set up your “welcome” or “onboarding” email sequences to send when someone subscribes (whether they’ve bought or not) or when they become a customer.
Definitely, as soon as we gain a new customer, we should be tagging them in our email marketing system as a buyer and sending them a series of onboarding emails. (Check out our post on ConvertKit for more on how to tag and write Welcome sequences.)
In this sequence of onboarding emails, you most likely need to:
- Indoctrinate them to your brand
- Teach them how to use your solution
- Share tips and tricks
- Help them see the benefits of your solution
- Show them case studies or customer reviews
- Point them to related offers
We’re following a three to one rule here when it comes to giving free value vs. selling or promoting.
I think I learned this from Joanna Wiebe at Copyhackers, but as a general rule, you should be giving value with your emails (sending pure, non-promotional content) about three times for every single time you send a promotional email.
2. Use the Net Promoter Score Survey in Automated Emails
The next question is, did they really get value?
The only way you know is if you ask and again, you can use email to automate this process.
As a subsequent email sequence (or as part of your onboarding sequence), you’re going to start asking customers what some people have called the “ultimate question” from the Net Promoter Score.
It’s a deceptively simple but powerful question.
“On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to refer us to someone else?”
And then include the survey scale in the email so they can easily click.
When should you send the NPS email?
It depends on how long it will take them to start using and getting value from your solution.
What are we going to do with this information?
Use NPS Scores to Segment Your Customers
You’ll set up a rule in your email software that tags or segments customers based on the score they gave you.
- Your detractors are those who scored you only a zero to six out of ten. Those are people who are at risk of doing damage to your business.
- The passives, those who scored you seven to eight are fairly neutral, satisfied but they are at risk of detraction as well if another company comes along and delights them.
- But then your promoters, those who scored you nine to 10 are delighted and they are ready to promote you, but they need to know how and we’ll talk about how you help them promote you.
Create a Custom Survey Thank You Screen
After scoring you inside the email survey, you’ll send respondents to a custom screen based on their score.
Call it a thank you page, but it’s a follow-up question.
For those who scored you zero to six, you’re going to be asking what you can do to fix the situation and getting their contact information to follow up.
Addressing issues early is one way to turn detractors into promoters.
For your passives, for scores seven to eight, you’ll ask what else you could offer to make them even more satisfied.
Their answers will help you spot opportunities to create new offers that customers value. (Upsells, cross-sells, “profit maximizers”.)
For scores nine to 10 (your promoters), you’ll ask them to explain what made their experience so positive.
3. Automate Your Online Review Requests
The next step in the automation is to turn promoter scores into five-star reviews. Those reviews are how you’re going to attract and convert new customers.
The unfortunate truth is that often people who leave reviews are disgruntled.
Those you delight may go on their merry way and completely forget to leave a rave review. So, we’re going to level the playing field.
As soon as your promoter has entered their answer on the thank you page (why they’re so satisfied), you’ll either show them a subsequent screen or send them an email asking them to take the next step and leave a review.
You’ll give them the links to post reviews. You can even feed them back their exact words, so it’s easier to immediately post their review online.
After you ask, don’t forget the three to one rule. You have so far asked your list of new customers to respond to a survey and you’ve asked your promoters to also leave a review. Now, you have to follow up with more value, more content.
Recap of this Automated Email Retention & Growth Strategy
Once again, there are really just three automations to set up here:
- Onboarding or welcome sequence
- NPS Survey email
- Review request email
Hot tip: Set these emails up in your software to re-send to those who haven’t opened, but with a different subject line. You can often get significantly more opens and clicks the second time.
These email automations are brilliant because:
You not only indoctrinate new customers, which is great for retention, but…
- You get more social proof online, automatically
- You get feedback on what else your customers want (and would likely pay for)
- You follow up with detractors proactively, to fix the problems
- You show your customers that you really care about their feedback
Need help writing your email sequences? Learn more about Conversion Copy Co’s services.