It can be tempting to spend all your time trying to acquire new customers or close bigger sales. But any good marketer knows their work has only just begun at the initial purchase.
A customer’s lifetime value is far more important than any singular sale. Boosting loyalty—converting first-time purchasers into repeat buyers—is something you need to master in today’s market.
With new direct-to-consumer brands popping up everyday, it is more important than ever for marketers to attain loyalty before their customers are distracted by the next big thing. The good news is: you have many channels at your disposal, from direct mail automation to social media, to foster lifetime customers.
Here are 5 customer retention tactics that keep people coming back.

1. Email marketing: Turn your transactional emails into sales emails.

With email click-through rates continuing to decline, you might hesitate to rely on this channel to improve retention. However, transactional emails perform better than general marketing or promotional emails and this makes them a great place to cross-sell and upsell.
Transactional emails are more likely to be opened than promotional emails because they are anticipated and personal. The list of potential transactional emails depends on your business, but it may include:

  • Order confirmations
  • Shipping notifications
  • Account statements or updates
  • Receipts
  • Password recovery
  • Cancellations or returns
  • Account verifications

In the example below, Grove Collaborative cross-sells additional items (pictured below the receipt), and encourages referral business.

customer email retention grove

2. Direct mail automation: Share value for free.

Direct mail is more likely to be opened than email, so don’t ignore this channel when working on something as important as retention. Direct mail continues to dominate even in an increasingly digital world.

Using Bizo and Epsilon data, the Data & Marketing Association found that direct mail has a 4.4 percent response rate compared to email’s .12 percent.

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Sending direct mail is an ideal way to nurture relationships with new customers, build loyalty and leverage your brand. Capitalize on the implicit emotional appeal of this tangible medium by sharing value for free via postcards.
For example, a restaurant delivery service could mail postcards educating new customers about how long to safely keep leftovers. It is not as aggressive as a promotional campaign, but it gives you an opportunity to showcase your products; keep your brand front and center (likely stuck to the fridge indefinitely!); and encourage customers to take an action (such a joining your Facebook fan page to learn more food safety tips).

Inkit’s software allows you to personalize your direct mail and automate it as you would email, using a tool like Hubspot or Drip. (Learn more about Inkit’s new integration with Drip here.)

3. Social media marketing: Boost customer retention with user-generated content.

One of the most effective ways to boost loyalty is to encourage brand evangelism. And one of the best places to do this is your social media channels.
Turn your customers into brand advocates by encouraging them to engage with you on Facebook or Twitter. Think of creative ways to drive your existing customers to create user-generated content on these channels, such as running a contest that asks customers to post a photo or creating a hashtag for customers to show the brand some love.

Customer retention social media

In this example above, Thirsties cloth diaper company shared a brand advocate’s post on its own Facebook page. New Thirsties customers coming to this page will see how customers are enthusiastically using the company’s products in real life, even calling themselves “groupies.”
Make sure to use your thank you pages, transactional emails and direct mail to invite new customers to check out your social media pages.

4. Customer service and branding: Create an amazing unboxing experience.

An oldie, but a goodie: To encourage new customers to come back for more, simply wow them with your customer service. Direct-to-consumer brands can do this by shipping products in well branded packaging with extra touches. Consider including a handwritten thank you note and surprise exclusive offers for new customers.
This is the same thing you are doing when you optimize your transactional emails, except this is perhaps even more important. You know your customer is going to open this delivery. Make an impression. Include a memorable marketing message.

5. Remarketing: Continue the conversation.

Remarketing isn’t just for converting prospects. Done well, remarketing allows you to continue the conversation with new customers and stay top of mind, encouraging repeat purchases.
This isn’t to suggest you bombard new customers with ads for months on end, effectively turning them off. Instead, maintain some visibility by displaying ads that are specific to each new customer, encouraging future purchases of complementary items and letting them know when their favorite things are on sale, for example.
Try integrating personalized postcards with a remarketing campaign to cash in on the high open rates of direct mail. For example, you could create a targeted postcard mailing encouraging recipients to check out a landing page that is tied in with Facebook retargeting, for example.
With an integrated, multichannel retention marketing approach, you can provide relevant content to your customers, reinforcing their decision to buy—and inspiring them to buy again.
Do you have any other ideas about how to turn new customers into repeat buyers? Let us know in the comments.
Are you inspired to launch a game-changing direct mail campaign?

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
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