In the past few years, customer retention has come to attract quite a bit of attention. And while retention may not be as sexy as acquisition, the ROI is far more appealing.

By the Harvard Business Review’s account, it costs between 5 and 25 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current one—making customer loyalty efforts an obvious investment.

To help you start a customer retention program that pays off, the loyalty experts at Annex Cloud and the email experts at Maropost have come together to show you why and how you need to use email marketing to start crafting your customer loyalty strategy.

 The Bottom Line:

Customer loyalty is an incredibly cost-effective way to generate revenue—and so is email. With an average ROI of $44 for every $1 spent, email more than earns its keep in your marketing arsenal.

But ROI isn’t the only reason loyalty programs and email marketing work so well together. Education and engagement are central parts of any loyalty program, and email has made incredible advancements here. Fuelled by in-depth data collection and analytics, email allows for advanced automation, segmentation, and ongoing personalization—to keep customers coming back for more.

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The Basics:

But setting up a successful loyalty email strategy involves more than just knowing that email is a great choice for producing personalized experiences—you need to know what kinds of campaigns to send.

If you do nothing else, these three series are a great place to start:

– Welcome series: The best place to begin winning customer loyalty is, well, the beginning. But don’t just take it from us, 48% of shoppers say the most critical time for a company to earn their loyalty is when they make their first purchase. However, 85% of loyalty program members haven’t heard from a company since they signed up. Using an automated email campaign, you can set up your welcome series to launch right after a customer makes their first purchase or first joins your program, to engage and educate when they’re already interested.

– Abandoned cart emails: Not every purchase happens on the first try, which is why abandoned cart campaigns are so crucial. Win back would-be customers by using web tracking to trigger an email reminding them what they left in their cart and encourage them to take the next step. Loyalty also plays an important part in abandoned cart emails, by reminding customers about the rewards they could be earning on that purchase.

– Post-purchase follow-up: So, your customer made a purchase, now what? Don’t stop there, use their purchase as an opportunity to send personalized product and content recommendations, or increase your UGC efforts by encouraging reviews on their purchase. Here, loyalty can come in in a number of ways. If your goal is to thank customers, highlight loyalty points earned and their next reward. If you’re looking to earn reviews or referrals, leverage loyalty points as an incentive.

By incorporating these three types of emails into your efforts, your loyalty program is off to a great start.

Getting Personal: 

A customer is more likely to stay loyal if you’re sending personalized messaging. In fact, 41% of consumers say they purchase more from retailers who use behavior-based personalization in emails.

So, once you’ve got the basics covered, it’s time to leverage the extensive personalization capabilities available in many email marketing tools to connect with customers on a personal level.

To start, use segmentation to break your loyalty members into relevant groups—this could be by geography, gender, purchase patterns, stated preferences, level of loyalty, or any other custom segment—then create relevant messaging to reach each segment.

Loyalty programs can be especially powerful when addressing customers based on purchase history. You can even identify customer segments who used to purchase frequently but have recently dropped off and use loyalty incentives to earn their attention again.

But because personalization takes effort, you’ll need to automate this process as much as possible. Automate everything from behavioral triggers for abandoned cart emails, earned reward notifications, loyalty offers, to personalized product and content recommendations, and more—for scalable personalization.

Staying Relevant:

Now that you know how to start an email-centric customer loyalty program, it’s time to face a hard truth: even the best loyalty program will fail if you can’t keep your members excited.

To up your email loyalty program even further, keep these tips in mind:

– Create a sense of urgency: emails including limited-time loyalty offers and countdown timers encourage engagement in customers that might otherwise skim your emails.

– Reengage lapsed members: sending out reengagement campaigns complete with high-value rewards for once-active customers can reignite their excitement about your brand.

– Make something more of email: incorporating email into a larger cross-channel strategy offers a variety of ways to engage with connected customers—and provide them with a connected experience (more on that next time!)

Now you’re ready to send, engage, and keep your customers coming back for more with your email loyalty program!

About Annex Cloud 

Since 2010, Annex Cloud has provided more than 250 leading brands and retailers with the ability to engage tens of millions of customers one-to-one at scale.

Annex Cloud’s customer marketing platform provides fully integrated Customer Loyalty, Referral Marketing, and User Generated Content solutions. Each solution works together to optimize the customer journey and deliver a unified customer experience, a greater quantity and quality of referrals and content, and more high-quality and resilient customer relationships. Get in touch with a marketing expert to launch a better loyalty program today.

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