What’s the most effective kind of marketing email you can send? According to Optimove research on more than 1 million email campaigns, birthday emails get the highest response rate compared to other customer communications.


“Whether the consumers received coupons, free delivery, a gift or any other incentive as a part of their birthday campaign, they all turned out to be highly effective,” Optimove reports.


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One reason birthday emails may be so effective is because customers who receive them have already purchased from the business. According to a report by Belly, 58 percent of people willopen emails from companies they’ve purchased from previously. Since the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, the added incentive of a birthday offer can easily tip the scales.


Of course, birthdays only come once a year — and you’d like your customers to buy from you more often. What other email tactics can you use to turn new customers into repeat customers, and keep your loyal customers coming back? Here are 7 email marketing ideas to build customer loyalty.


1. Make them feel welcome. When a customer signs up for emails, send a welcome email thanking them for signing up and helping them get the most from your business. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, your welcome email could tell customers to check out the “flash sale” section of your site where new products go on sale every Friday at noon.


     Related Content: The Importance of Timing Your Promotions


2. Go beyond birthdays. How about sending emails on your customers’ anniversaries (either their own wedding anniversaries or the day they began doing business with you)? Or build loyalty with offers on relevant holidays. For example, a Pilates studio could send customers emails in April encouraging them to get in shape for summer with a special “unlimited visits” offer in May.


3. Send relevant emails. Some 86 percent of consumers say email personalization plays a role in their purchasing decisions. Segment email subscribers based on factors such as previous purchases, pages they visited on your website, how frequently or recently they buy from you. The more targeted your emails, the more effective they’ll be. (After all, you want customers to stay “loyal” to your email list, too.)


4. Integrate email with direct mail. Using both channels can result in a 35 percent lift in sales compared to using just one or the other. Try using direct mail to emphasize a marketing message, surprise the customer, or deliver a special offer (like that birthday greeting). Make sure your direct mail piece reflects the same branding, look and feel as your email messages.


5. Ask their opinions. Don’t overload customers with a survey every time they make a purchase. Do periodically email targeted surveys to your best customers. Because they have a vested interest in your business, they’re more likely to respond. Let them know they’re receiving this survey because you value their opinion as loyal customers. You can also offer a reward for completing the survey, such as loyalty points or a discount on their next purchase.


     Related Content: 9 Ways to Discover What Your Customers Really Think of Your Business


6. Treat them like VIPs. Does it bother you when a company you patronize regularly offers special deals … but only for first-time customers? Don’t neglect your loyal customers when it comes to special treatment. Offering early access to a sale or to new products or services will inspire many recipients to open and act on your email.


     Related Content: The Small Business Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs


7. Keep them engaged in your loyalty program. If you have a customer loyalty program, use email to communicate with members about their status in the program, any special offers or events for members, or upcoming expiration dates for their points or rewards. Feature products you know they’ll be interested in or rewards that they have enough points to redeem.


Crafting emails for your loyal customers as carefully as you do for your new ones, helps you maintain their loyal fan status.


      Related Content: The Surprising Impact of Email Marketing and how to Maximize its Effect


About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

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Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


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