Email marketing software will allow you to define the norm for the lifestyle of your typical subscriber so that you can, within limits, predict their behaviour. You can then intervene at opportune times to keep them purchasing.
Like most things in email marketing you need to plan and measure so here are some ideas.
Trigger: Customer subscribes to your email marketing list.
Action: Send an email confirming they wish to subscribe. Include a link to a reduced price offer as a ‘welcome’.
Time: Immediately on subscribing.
Purpose: A double opt-in and to get the customer into buying mode.
Measure: The number of unsubscribes and those clicking through.
Note: Also use for subscribers to e-newsletters with a clink-through to a pitch to join the email marketing list.
Trigger: First purchase.
Action: Send a coupon offering, say, 5% off next purchase as a thank you, perhaps for consumer items for the product.
Time: Two or three days after they have received their first purchase.
Purpose: To encourage further purchases.
Measure: Rate and time of second purchase. Take-up of offer.
Note: Including a questionnaire is an option.
3. Not responding
Trigger: Inactive for a period.
Action: Highlight other available services, such as an e-newsletter, help page, forum or knowledge base. Include a coupon or perhaps a questionnaire as to what improvements they would like.
Time: The time of sending should be significantly before that which the email marketing software indicates would mean the customer would not buy again.
Purpose: To get them to reengage or to change the way they are dealt with.
Measure: Purchases, confirmation that they are inactive.
4. Failing to bite
Trigger: No response to 3/ above.
Action: Continue with the email for 3/ above. Move the customer onto a separate email marketing list and lower the frequency of the email.
Purpose: To remove the unresponsive from your email list proper where it will not corrupt the returns.
Measure: Any response or change in buying habit.
Note: There should be a period after which the person is removed from all email lists.
Trigger: A subscriber browses certain items or pages in your website.
Action: Send a marketing email with an offer on items similar to those browsed.
Time: It is essential that you do not send one too early as they might merely be trying to get the purchase price together. However, you do not want to leave it so late that they go elsewhere. No one said it would be easy.
Measure: The conversion rate.
6. Happy whatever
Trigger: An anniversary. This could be a year after they subscribed, or their first large purchase. Consider birthdays.
Action: Send a marketing email with an offer that is an anniversary present, or as a reward for remaining on your email lists, although use the phrase ‘loyal customer’.
Time: Again, accuracy is needed. If they bought something in June last year then they were probably thinking about it in May. Get in when circumstances suit your customer rather than you.
Measure: Which ‘anniversary’ buyers respond to most frequently.
Automated responses save you time and effort but still should be used judiciously. Assess their success and then modify the wording or timing every now and again just to check.