Think back to the last time you wanted to buy a smartphone. If you’re an Apple user, there’s a high chance that you’ll consider them again. Whether it is the interface, usage, or customer support, you’ve had a good experience with an iPhone. Even if they are more expensive than other options, you’ll probably still head directly to an Apple store for your replacement smartphone.
That is a case study of customer loyalty. And you are not alone, many consumers feel attached to certain brands that they don’t want to buy from any other companies on the market. That is also the difference between a long-lasting company and a short-lived one.
The good news is that learning how to build customer loyalty is not difficult as it may seem, especially with a powerful tool called email marketing. Let’s see how to keep your customers happy with just some right emails at the right times in this article.
What is customer loyalty & How to measure it?
First, let’s start with the definition of customer loyalty.
With the traditional business model, your most loyal customers are those who keep returning to buy from you. An example is how your mother would only buy sausage from the meat store down the street for 30 years.
But, in the digital world, the loyalty of a customer has much wider implications.
For some organizations, it can show in the metric of how frequently their customers purchase from them. For others, such as online retailers, it can be the measure of how often customers write favorable reviews or feedback on the website. Others view loyalty customers simply as who are always open to receive marketing communications.
In definition, customer loyalty is a measure of a consumer’s likeliness to repeatedly do business with a company. It is the result of a positive buying experience, satisfaction, and overall value of what a customer receives from a business.
A standard metric for measuring customer satisfaction is on a scale of 1-5, with above 4.5 being taken as completely satisfied.
Marketers use these metrics to shape the content of email campaigns by delivering different messages to different groups, depending on their loyalty scores.
Why do you need to create a customer loyalty program?
While a customer loyalty program is often used to attract new customers, it is also an outstanding tool to retain current customers and encourage brand support.
Now, there are some obvious reasons why a customer loyalty program would benefit your customers, such as:
- Build a brand’s reputation: With a positive reputation, your customers will keep coming back for more, and more likely they’ll recommend your brand.
- Boost company growth: A customer loyalty program encourages people to keep spending and optimize the shopping experience. From there, a brand can grow financially.
- Significantly increase sales: Current customers are likely to spend 67% more, with a loyalty program, than new buyers to your brand.
Businesses that prioritize customer experience and build an excellent customer loyalty program often see an increase in revenue, reputation, and growth. That increase can be between 4-8% higher than other competitors in the brand’s market.
Those numbers are enough to prove that you should start building a customer loyalty program right now.
How can eCommerce email marketing help build customer loyalty?
In the last decades, email has evolved from being a simple communications tool to become the most popular and effective method of communicating with customers.
Over 293 billion emails are sent out daily by all kinds of organizations, from eCommerce giants to local charities, with different open rates for different industries. With the rise of technology, the relationship between emails and recipients has grown even further, thanks to smartphones. And the results for digital marketers have been impressive.
Email communications are highly effective in building customer trust, satisfaction, and intimacy. These are critical factors that create support, loyalty, and ultimately advocacy from your customers.
Therefore, knowing how to build customer loyalty with email marketing is a must for any eCommerce business.
Best eCommerce practices to increase customer loyalty by email marketing (with examples)
Let’s look at ways you can use email marketing to boost customer loyalty and ultimately grow your business.
1. Tailor email campaigns to customer groups
Segmenting your audiences into groups based on their behaviors and purchase patterns is one of the most effective ways to boost retention and loyalty. This is especially true when customers receive emails according to their position in the rewards program.
With the data you have, you can craft personalized and highly-relevant emails that communicate directly to specific groups of people.
Four types of data that you can use to segment your customers are:
- Demographic data: Age, location, gender, and more can be immensely useful to craft targeted emails.
- Purchase frequency: How often your customers shop with you gives the most insight into how they prefer to shop with you. If you notice they are low on purchase frequency, you can run special events to attract them.
- Top referrers: Focusing extra attention on the top referrers is worthwhile because they are a huge source for new customers. You can send them thank-you emails or offer additional reward for helping your business grow.
2. VIP programs
A VIP program is one of the most versatile customer loyalty programs to recognize your most valuable customers are. These customers spend big at your store and are most engaged with your community, making them extremely valuable to keep engaged.
In most cases, VIP programs simply include sending emails for customers to sign up for an exclusive list that gives early access to special deals, new product releases, and access to special events.
3. Discover the breaking of trends
Loyal customers are the best buyers you could have for your business. They often generate the most revenue for your company so you need to keep them coming back as long as possible. But what if a customer all of a sudden stops returning to your business? How can you recognize this trend in your data and learn to react to it?
An email marketing app will help you discover the trends of your subscribers based on their activities during a period of time. If people don’t react to your email, you can create a more personal approach or send special deals to inactive users.
4. Turn almost loyal customers into loyal customers
With email marketing, you can make your almost loyal customers even more loyal and try some up-selling at the same time.
For example, you can reward everyone who has an order size of 70 dollars or more with a 20% discount on the next purchase. With people spending less, you can send them an email stating that with just a couple of dollars more, they can earn a discount of 20% on the next purchase.
This approach encourages customers to spend more while allowing you to introduce new products that they can add to carts.
5. Send incentives to inactive customers
Inactive customers are actually some of the most valuable because they are already interested in your product or brand. Which means it is much easier to re-engage than to find new customers through expensive marketing ads.
The key is to turn your emails into a valuable asset for these customers. They might have disengaged in the first place because they no longer find your business valuable.
Reminding inactive customers that a free gift, a discount reward, or bonus reward points are waiting for them to come back. This demonstrates your commitment to provide customers value and let you understand what they need.
6. Make your content more relevant
By looking into the behavior of your customers, you can have insights on their interests. For example, if you notice that a particular customer only orders male clothing, then don’t send him emails introducing new female clothing.
Have a good look at the product categories that you have in your eCommerce shop and automatically adapt the emails to the interests of the recipients. Also, try creating specific email campaigns. Someone ordered a pair of size eight shoes before may be interested in your discounted size eight shoes.
7. Build emotional connections through value-add marketing
It’s easy to think that building loyalty is all about rewards and free stuff, but that’s not true. Customers want to engage with brands who succeed in developing real, emotional connections with them.
With so many companies focusing solely on transaction-based loyalty programs, you have the opportunity to create a better shopping experience that goes above and beyond what consumers expect.
You can do that by having the following types of content in future email campaigns:
- User-generated content, like testimonials or Instagram photos
- Blog content that tells recipients more about your brand values
- Entertaining features (like images or videos) involving your customers and employees
The connection these types of campaigns can create makes them more effective to establish strong loyalty in current (and new!) customers.
Email examples to build customer loyalty
Now, let’s look at some email examples of brands engaging with their customers to build loyalty. These are a good source for inspiration when you create your loyalty program email campaigns:
Sending out emails on customers’ birthdays is one of the easiest ways to increase loyalty. With Simons, they congratulated their customers with 2x points for the largest purchase they make during the birthday month.
Hampers With Bite shares exclusive coupon codes with their VIP members on Mother’s Day. They also have several product recommendations to further encourage recipients to visit the website and use the VIP coupon code to make a purchase.
Mori sends this email to ask engaged customers for their feedback on services, but you can use this for reviews on products, rewards programs, and more. It is a fantastic way to include customers in your brand experience and offer them rewards for participating.
Email plus loyalty is a winning combination for you to reap the benefits of engaged, excited members who are committed and ready to share your brand with others. This guide will ensure that you foster as much loyalty as possible using email marketing in an easy and effective way.
It is time to start working on your next loyalty program email. But if you have any questions, feel free to share in the comments.
About the Author
Chance is a content executive at Mageplaza, whose goal is to never write a boring article. His enthusiast for eCommerce has spanned over two years of writing – making him an expert in the field. He also enjoys drinking tea and playing Exploding Kittens.