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5 Powerful Customer Retention Strategies with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

5 Powerful Customer Retention Strategies with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Attracting a new customer can cost you 5-7 times as much as retaining an existing customer. (Source: & Also, the pro...

Attracting a new customer can cost you 5-7 times as much as retaining an existing customer. (Source: &

Also, the probability of successfully selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of successfully selling to a new customer is just 5-20%. (Source: Altfeld &

And yet, 44% of companies focus more on customer acquisition, versus just 18% that focus on customer retention. (Source:

Retaining customers can yield a number of benefits in terms of sales, revenues and ultimately profits. Then why wouldn’t you focus on customer retention or make an effort to devise customer retention strategies?

Now, if your organization is pivoting towards customer retention, you should consider email marketing as one of your retention strategies. With a 56% success rate (Source:, email marketing is more effective than social media marketing, content marketing, SEO and virtually all other kinds of digital customer retention strategies. With Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), you already have a powerful email marketing platform. And now, you can combine the power of SFMC and email marketing to create memorable customer retention campaigns and improve your customer retention outcomes. Here are 5 ways to show you how!

Strategy#1: Map Customer Journeys with SFMC Journey Builder

Smart brands make existing customers their #1 priority. And Customer Journey Mapping with SFMC Journey Builder provides a great way to start. With SFMC Journey Builder, email marketers can create a customer journey, and tell the story of the customer’s personalized experience as they progress through this journey along many touchpoints – all the way from initial contact to purchasing, and even beyond.

Use Journey Builder to:

  • Know your customers better
  • Get a unified view of them across every function, touchpoint and lifecycle stage
  • Create relevant, personalized experiences with Artificial Intelligence

Versatile yet easy to use, Journey Builder provides a number of SFMC templates to help you create different journeys for different customer retention campaigns – get them to sign up for an informative newsletter, re-engage them with abandoned cart emails, nurture relationships with birthday or anniversary emails, send event follow-up emails, and lots more.

Customer retention best practices when using Journey Builder:

  • Plan your data and content needs, and create an outline before you create the journey
  • Create the messages you want to send before creating a journey
  • Use Goals and Exit criteria in Journey Builder to measure success and to remove contacts from a journey
  • Stagger scheduled journey start times to reduce the demand and increase the processing speed of individual journeys

Strategy#2: Use Customer Data to Improve Your Email Segmentation

You might have gathered a lot of data about your customers. But are you doing anything useful with this data? If not, you’re wasting a goldmine!

Use your customer data to improve your segmentation and create personalized emails (covered in Strategy #3) that makes customers feel special. And the more special they feel, the more likely they are to stay on with you. Audience segmentation using SFMC Email Studio can help you deliver better customer experiences, generate more sales, and create brand advocates, all of which can increase customer retention.

Audience Builder is another segmentation tool in SFMC. Unlike data filters in Email Studio, it can filter across data extensions and append data to segments. It comes with an easy visual interface that’s ideal when creating simple or semi-complex segments. You can use data from any source within the Salesforce ecosystem and even offline data to build a single view of the customer in Audience Builder. Then using SFMC Einstein AI’s predictive scoring capability, you can target smart audiences based on what they will do next, not just on what they’ve done in the past.

To create memorable customer retention campaigns with SFMC, here are some recommended segments:

i. Converted users-Upsell

Create a segment of subscribers who bought something recently and send them customer retention campaigns with special or limited-time offer emails, reward point emails and loyalty program emails.

ii. Converted users-Re-engage

Create a segment of users who bought something a while ago and target them with re-engagement emails.

iii. Loyal Customers-Convert into fans

Create a segment of power users who engage more frequently with your emails. Let them know they’re appreciated with special offers, freebies, free trials and surveys. 

iv. Active Customers-Monetize

For active users who engage with your emails, but also frequently abandon their purchases, send cart abandonment emails with personalized recommendations or discounts based on their activity history.

Strategy#3: Create hyper-personalized emails that make customers feel (really) special

In 2020, the average number of emails in a person’s inbox is 200. When customers are so overwhelmed by emails, can you retain them with generic, non-personalized emails? Unlikely!

Email content personalization is one of the most powerful customer retention strategies and SFMC Email Studio makes it easy to create personalized content that provides real value to subscribers. Make use of SFMC templates with Content Builder in Email Studio or create your own.

Some useful content personalization tips for SFMC:

  • Create dynamic content in Email Studio to ensure that the relevant messages are reaching the targeted audience
  • Use Content Detective in SFMC Email Studio to identify and remove ‘spammy’ words before sending the customer retention campaign
  • Implement action-oriented Calls to Action buttons or links
  • Create mobile-optimized and browser-agnostic emails 
  • Create short, scannable and easily consumable copy

Use these Einstein AI tools to optimize your customer retention campaigns:

  • Einstein Content Selection to choose the right asset that’s likely to engage customers better
  • Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO) to determine the best timeframe to send a customer retention campaign
  • Einstein Copy Insights to create engaging subject lines
  • Einstein Content Selection to send personalized content for each customer when they open your messages

Strategy#4: Create interactive or real-time emails to increase engagement and click-throughs

With interactive content like image carousels and forms, your subscribers can enjoy a more engaging experience, which is more likely to encourage them to take action. Result – you retain them and keep them onboard for longer.

Two popular use cases for interactive emails:

  • Welcome emails: Gather the subscriber’s preferences and personalize subsequent content and interactions
  • Product interest emails: When a customer browses a specific product category on your website, send them an email with an image carousel to highlight the different features. Add an “add to basket” button to encourage immediate purchase.

Real time emails can also be part of your customer retention campaign. With these hyper-targeted and relevant emails, content is instantaneously adjusted to dynamically personalize every email for every recipient, ensuring that they get only what they actually want or need. This increases the likelihood of customer retention.

Some ways to implement real time email marketing to boost your customer retention:

  • Create dynamic content with banners, product recommendations, coupons, live prices, etc. that instantaneously adjust for every recipient
  • Use behavioral triggers with contextual images, countdown timers, ratings/reviews and popularity messages
  • Use a Live Weather content block for personalized images based on local weather conditions to appear when a subscriber opens an email
  • Include live social media feeds

Strategy#5: Track Customer Interactions to Understand Them Better

Data tells the story of your customer’s interaction with your brand. When were they last on your website or store? Did they purchase anything, did they simply browse or did they abandon a cart? Did they engage with your last email campaign? With SFMC, you can use all of this information to better understand your customers, respond to their needs and retain them for longer.

For example, you can see when a customer abandons their shopping cart, and make necessary adjustments to your website or email campaigns.

Likewise, if you notice that a subscriber has not purchased anything in a while, you can reignite their interest by sending them a special offer or discount.

After implementing a customer retention campaign, use these powerful SFMC features to analyze and improve performance over time:

  • Analytics Builder to gain insights into the behaviors and interests of subscribers
  • Standard Reports in Email Studio to track campaign effectiveness 
  • Einstein Engagement Scoring to target customers to maximize engagement and conversion
  • Einstein Engagement Frequency to identify the optimum number of email messages to send
  • Einstein Email Recommendations to observe customer behavior and build preference profiles

Wrap up

Customer retention cannot be a one-time activity. Customers leave for all sorts of reasons, but the only reason they stay can be encapsulated in one word – trust. To keep customers loyal for longer, first, make sure you don’t give them reasons to distrust you and second, use the customer retention strategies and customer retention best practices in this article. Customers are precious. Don’t let them go!

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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