The ability of any company to make money comes down to one thing: customers. However, customer acquisition is just one aspect of running a successful business. The other crucial aspect is customer retention.
Customer retention is crucial because:
- It is 7X more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.
- Existing clients spend 31% more on average than new ones.
- The probability of converting an existing client is 60%–70% and only 5%–20% for new clients.
Customer retention is incredibly important, especially in today’s competitive markets where customer acquisition costs (CAC) are increasing and customer loyalty is at a premium.
The good news is that it is possible to retain more customers and earn their loyalty. The secret is to go beyond their expectations, satisfy their needs, and show them that the brand shares their values. And all of this starts with engagement marketing.
What are Customer Retention and Customer Engagement?
Customer retention refers to how well your brand can keep customers returning. It is a measure of customer loyalty. And loyalty matters because even a 7% increase can increase a customer’s lifetime value (CLV) by a whopping 85% and because the most loyal top 10% of customers spend 3X more per order than the lower 90%.
To earn customers’ loyalty – and ultimately boost retention rates and profits – you must engage with existing customers instead of simply selling to them. Engagement is about forging emotional connections that go beyond fleeting transactions. It means understanding their needs and delivering connected and personalized experiences at every touchpoint.
Email marketing is a great way to achieve these goals. But to implement personalized customer engagement strategies via email, you need a holistic 360o view of every customer. You also need a world-class ESP to design and deliver email campaigns that engage, impress, and delight. Enter Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC).
Read on to learn how you can leverage the power of SFMC to spruce up customer engagement and increase retention.
#1: Focus on the entire customer journey, not just on individual touchpoints
Continuous engagement throughout the customer journey is essential to growing and maintaining trust-based customer relationships that lead to retention. Assess first-party data from SFMC to understand customer behaviors and interests. Use these insights to refine customer journeys and accordingly tweak email communication.
SFMC’s Journey Builder tool will help you build 1×1 customer journeys across all channels, including email. Visualize each subscriber’s journey and experiences as they move down the sales funnel from brand discovery to purchase. Create subscriber segments, craft customer personas, and design personalized emails to engage with each subscriber, deliver greater value with every interaction, and guide them towards re-purchase.
Leverage Journey Builder and its Path Optimizer feature to power your engagement goals by:
- Testing various paths for a subscriber’s journey
- Selecting the winning journey path based on the metrics that matter to you: opens, click-throughs, unsubscribes, etc.
- Testing campaigns before sends
- Experimenting with content, sending frequency, and other aspects with SFMC Email Studio and Einstein AI
#2: Personalize every email and every experience
Successful customer retention and engagement stem from delivering personalized messaging and experiences to each customer. Research shows that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Unfortunately, 66% also feel that brands treat them as numbers rather than as persons. Generic email marketing is easy. But it’s also the last thing you want to do if you are trying to increase customer retention.
SFMC provides multiple tools to create personalized email campaigns for every segment and even every customer. Segmented campaigns and personalized emails create an “audience of one” so you can better engage with existing customers, share useful content, make them feel special, and earn their long-term loyalty.
This well-structured email grabs the subscriber’s attention with its simple design, compelling text, and personalized recommendations.
To inform your personalization needs, leverage SFMC’s Personalization Builder. Its predictive analytics and modeling will enable you to understand subscribers’ preferences and tailor your email content accordingly. Einstein AI engine will help you to build subscribers’ behavioral profiles, predict which content is most likely to appeal to them, and design personalized messages with tailored offers, Calls to Action (CTA), subject lines, etc.
Further, Email Studio’s Content Builder simplifies the creation of personalized content while Content Detective removes spammy words to increase email deliverability. You can also automate many kinds of email campaigns with Email Studio and built-in SFMC campaigns. Automation is a great way to scale up your engagement strategies while saving time and reducing manual effort.
#3: Re-engage customers with triggered emails
Triggered emails “follow” the customer. So every time they buy something from your eCommerce store, update their account, or sign up for your newsletter, they receive an automated email that acknowledges their action. Such acknowledgments show that the brand is paying attention to them and appreciates their loyalty.
Triggered emails provide a powerful way to:
- Engage with existing customers
- Leverage more opportunities for cross-sells and upsells
- Reduce cart abandonment
- Increase customer retention
Grammarly does a great job of upselling without being aggressive. If anything, the email provides useful information that will attract the subscriber and increase the likelihood of repeated purchases.
In SFMC, it’s possible to set up many different kinds of triggered email campaigns to improve customer engagement and retention. For example, you can send a thank you email once they complete a purchase with details of the item, price, shipping dates, etc. You can also send automated abandoned cart emails with a gentle reminder to complete their purchase.
To get started with triggered emails in SFMC, select and set behavioral triggers in the Journey Builder navigation menu. Then use Email Studio, Content Builder, and built-in SFMC templates to quickly set up triggered emails for each use case (welcome, purchase, cart abandonment, account updates, etc.). You can even set up triggered emails for birthdays, milestones, holidays, etc.
For maximum engagement impact, make sure that every triggered email:
- Is personalized for each recipient
- Contains valuable content that’s less salesy and more meaningful
- Includes attractive creatives and a clear call to action (CTA)
- Is optimized for mobile devices
#4: Share useful content through newsletters
Customers who are constantly bombarded by aggressive, in-your-face sales messages are unlikely to remain loyal to a brand. If anything, they see these brands as selfish and money-grabbing, which is a huge turn-off and the opposite of what you want to see for your brand. To engage with and retain customers, it’s important to show them that your brand cares more about them and less about your sales. One way to do this is by sending them useful content via newsletters.
SFMC’s Content Builder, pre-built templates, layouts, and content blocks will help you create responsive and memorable newsletters and emails with zero coding. SFMC also offers personalization strings, dynamic content, and AMPscript to personalize emails to increase audience engagement and encourage returns. You can also continually optimize newsletters to retain subscriber interest with Einstein AI features like Copy Insights and Content Selection.
This newsletter effectively combines a sales pitch with non-sales information to engage with subscribers and encourage purchase.
This email is not a newsletter but it still does a great job of engaging with the reader via its simple structure and compelling copy.
To create and deploy newsletters from SFMC:
- Import your subscriber list into a sendable data extension
- Build content using Content Builder and Email Studio
- Proof newsletters with Subscriber Preview in Content Builder
- Perform A/B testing and test sends
- Send newsletters manually using Send Flow or automatically via Email Studio
Make sure that every newsletter is visually appealing, personalized, includes a clear CTA, and aligns with CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and other laws. Also monitor newsletter performance based on open rates, click-through rates, conversions, spam complaints, or other metrics that matter to your brand’s engagement and retention goals.
Take advantage of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and its user-friendly capabilities to build unique and memorable email campaigns that will impress customers and encourage them to stay loyal to your brand. We hope you found this article useful. If you need more tailored advice for your brand’s email marketing/customer engagement program, get in touch with the Email Uplers team.