Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How To Keep Your Customers After The Holidays [PART 1]

How To Keep Your Customers After The Holidays [PART 1]

It happens all too often at this time of the year: eCommerce store owners get whipped into a frenzy trying to get everything ready for the holiday season.
A list of questions races through their heads. Are my holiday promotion emails written? Does my drop shipper have everything in stock? Are my ad campaigns (Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Retargeting, etc.) set up and ready for the holidays? Do I have enough customer support?
The list of questions goes on — I know because I am one of those store owners right now.
With all the madness of the holiday season it can be easy to overlook possibly the biggest opportunity that comes with the holiday sales rush: The opportunity to turn your new holiday customers into repeat customers down the road.
Setting your store up for repeat business is one of the easiest ways to increase your bottom line. In the 1-month period shown in the image below, more than half of our visitors to that site (13,601) are returning visitors (people who visited the site at some point before the selected time period).
These returning visitors generated 56% of the revenue for that month. That means that over half of the revenue that month came from people who engaged with us sometime in the month (or months) prior.

So, how are we doing it? And how do you get your customers to come back, engage with you again, and purchase your products month after month?
Here are 2 strategies you can use to increase repeat engagement (HINT: Check the DM Blog for 2 more strategies next week):
#1: Introduce your customers to someone from your brand or company.
A good post-purchase customer retention/branding strategy should start immediately after the purchase.
Add a video on your Thank You page, and below it place a Facebook “like” box for your company. In the video, thank your customer for purchasing, and also encourage them to join your community on Facebook.
We are finding that roughly 50% of people will like a fan page straight from the Thank You page post purchase. And when you get your customers involved in your Facebook community, you’ll have the opportunity to share things of interest with them (we’ll get to that strategy later). Example:

#2: Include a package insert with your shipment.
If you are warehousing & shipping your own products this is a bit easier to pull off. That said, I have yet to run into a drop shipper who wouldn’t include a slip of paper along with all orders going out. Here are the main elements you should include on the insert:
a) Discount coupon for future order, with encouragement to share that coupon with friends.
b) Invitation to join your Facebook community by liking your company’s Facebook page.
c) A heads-up that you will be emailing them with content other than sales promotions (more on this in step 4).
The insert can be a simple piece of paper, a post card, or whatever you want. If you are going the post card route, we’ve found http://www.clubflyers.com to be a good low-priced printing service.
Set up a special coupon code that you only use on the inserts so that you can track the usage.
If you want your store to be around for a while, you must look beyond the point of sale. By creating relationships with your customers you can become a trusted source of information about the products you offer as well as related topics of interest. Broadening the scope of your interaction with your customers increases the significance your brand takes on their lives—and that makes the decision to buy from you instead of some other faceless store an easy one.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article! Please leave any comments or questions below!
P.S. Don’t forget to read  “How To Keep Your Customers After The Holidays [Part Two]!”

About the author

Ezra Firestone Ezra is the founder/creative director of SmartMarketer, an information hub for do-it-yourself entrepreneurs. He is also a partner in BOOM! by Cindy Joseph and the company’s head of digital marketing. He runs a private network of eCommerce websites and regularly consults for companies across the U.S and Canada. Ezra is also the head of We Are Family Manhattan, an all-volunteer, no cost of administration non-profit organization, Ezra organizes the re-distribution of surplus goods and food to those in need.    

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