In eCommerce, a great deal of work goes into getting that first conversion: Turning a casual visitor into a paying customer. Once that happens, we often consider it a success. We've done what we wanted to do -- we've made real money.
While a conversion is a great thing, such an outlook might be missing out on a great deal of value from that same customer. After all, if they bought from us once and were happy with the product, why shouldn't they buy again (and yet again)? The lifetime value of a regular customer can be measured in thousands of dollars -- just from that one loyal customer coming back time and again to buy at our store.
Customer retention and loyalty is a huge, multi-faceted subject. It consists of excellent customer service, great prices, a keen understanding of your own product, and many other factors. But one important part of it is simple: Maintaining a relationship with the customer, and keeping them informed and excited about what you do.
After all, if a customer buys something and never hears from you after receiving the product, they may well forget about your store within a week or two. But what if you had an awesome newsletter reminding them you existed, and bringing them back to the store time and again?
Let's look at some of the things that can go into a fantastic newsletter.
An Exciting Subject Line
The subject line is the first thing most users see, before they even decide whether or not to open your newsletter. Your subject line can't be something dull like "Newsletter 41". Come up with an exciting, compelling subject line that you think will really get a click out of the user, and lure him into the full newsletter.
One technique is referring to the content of the newsletter briefly. Let's say you're offering holiday packages: Instead of "May Newsletter", why not go with "Holiday News: Sunsets in Maui, Festivals in Europe"? Be creative!
Product News and Special Offers
Got a great new product? Offering something on special sale? Your newsletter is the perfect place to announce it to the world. You should open the newsletter with a large, inviting banner sharing the best you have to offer.
A Personal Approach
Avoid overly commercial writing. Each business has its own voice, and you know your voice better than anyone else, but don't go for slick marketing clichés. The customer reading your newsletter is giving you their time -- make it worth their while by being humble, succinct and to the point.
Customer Stories and Tips
Your newsletter can be a fantastic venue for product information that doesn't fit on the catalog. Did you get a great testimonial from someone using your product? Make that person famous on your newsletter! They would be thrilled (people love seeing their name up in lights), and your newsletters subscribers would get extra value out of the story.
You can also share tips and tricks for your product, invite users to provide feedback, and generally foster a sense of community. These people are already on your team -- they are paying customers, so give them extra value (not just empty marketing talk, as we just covered under A Personal Approach).
The Right Frequency
Don't exhaust your customers: Sending a newsletter once every month is usually enough to stay in their minds. Sending a newsletter weekly can easily become too much for customers, and may cause them to unsubscribe.
A high-quality, monthly newsletter can do wonders for your image, customer retention, and sense of community. Try it out and see!