Customer acquisition and retention are the traditionally advertised benefits of email marketing. Automation software makes keeping in touch with customers at every stage of the buyers’ journey simple and cost-effective. Yet, an often overlooked potential for email marketing is the ability to transform your list from passive readers to active promoters. Brand ambassadors are born after the sale. Sadly, many companies don’t take advantage of the full scale of possibilities inherent in email marketing. They end relationships with customers after check out. The thank-you email or shipping confirmation signals the end of the journey. Other companies may continue to send monthly promotional emails to stay in the forefront of consumer consciousness, but these companies still fail to develop the true potential of email marketing. Forward-thinking businesses understand that to leverage the power of email properly, and convert your customers from purchasing to engaging, you need to consider the overall experience. Branding, proper targeting, ethical email practices, relevant content, and effective re-marketing strategies will turn a static email list into a dynamic fan base happy to promote your business, unprompted, through word of mouth. Untapped Potential Statistically, you have 100 days to solidify customer opinion of your business. The countdown starts at initial awareness and means every communication you have with the customer vital. The strategy begins with the opt-in. The first few days are crucial for brand awareness. A perfected welcome email makes customers feel valued and comfortable. Also, consider that 67% of first time customers who add items to a shopping cart will abandon it. Rather than viewing this as a negative data point, see this as an opportunity. With an additional $36 of revenue generated per click on an abandoned cart email, it is imperative to send one within 24 hours. Abandoned cart emails that contain a discount code further increase the likelihood that the customer will return to complete the purchase and also establishes a baseline of trust. Once the purchase is made, the strategy to convert your new customer into a brand ambassador begins. Branding Every email sent to your list needs to succinctly communicate your business philosophy. From welcome emails to renewal notices, tell customers how important their satisfaction is and how you intend to keep it that way. Businesses who have crisp, clean, and clear tag lines, logos, and mission statements embedded in their email communications embed their brand into consumer consciousness. By communicating your business philosophy, you are giving consumers the ammunition they need to promote your business. Brand promoters don’t just identify businesses by product offerings. They describe them with emotion. This is why it is essential to communicate the emotional side of your business to the customer at every opportunity. They will likely share both their experience as a customer and your company’s mission statement with others. Targeting Customers are not created equal. Not everyone has the potential to become a brand ambassador. Using targeted emailing, analyze your list for purchasing behavior and look for repeat customers who have shared or forwarded your emails to others in the past. Repeat customers are the most likely to become promoters. Another demographic to target is customers who have clicked on embedded social media links to share your emails, discount codes, or content. This indicates a high likelihood of them becoming a promoter. Proper identification and targeting of this demographic with post-sale email marketing will encourage them to evolve from an occasional sharer of information into a full-time brand promoter. Once they have been identified, give those customers their own segmented list and be sure to send them VIP and loyalty emails as well as relevant content, discounts, and surveys. Ethical Email Practices The quickest way to get unsubscribes is to bombard customers with irrelevant or tricky emails. Use open rate data from A/B testing to determine the best times and frequency to deploy email campaigns and make sure the content of your emails aligns to your subject line. If customers feel tricked by catchy, but irrelevant subject lines, they will unsubscribe so they won’t hear from you in the future. The perfect welcome email will make your customers feel appreciated and comfortable at first contact. To create brand promoters, consider inviting them to join a VIP list where they receive special offers or are the first to know of upcoming events or sales. Predictive marketing is another tool that works well to facilitate an emotional connection. Showing repeat customers similar items that they may enjoy, illustrates they can trust your judgement. You are showing them that you know them well enough to predict their tastes in product. Supportive Content Continuing to provide customers with post-sale support and information through content is one of the best ways to create brand ambassadors. Consider maintaining an active blog on your website and email them articles or videos that they may enjoy. This is especially effective if the content is related to past product purchases. Sending them relevant, informative content is an excellent way to show customers your loyalty to them long after a purchase is completed. Include a well-placed call-to-action in your emails encouraging them to share the information with friends. People respond well to clear directions. Tell them what you want. If they forward your emails or share your content on social media, they have become unpaid marketing specialists for your company. To increase the likelihood of them sharing, offer a freebie, contest, or discount code if they do share. Re-marketing The key to re-marketing customers is under-selling. Taking them back to step one of the buyer’s journey is impersonal and shows a lack of understanding or consideration on your part. Instead of re-sending template emails from the beginning of the funnel, make sure your emails abide by the 80/20 rule allowing you to stay in their immediate consciousness while feeling special. You must appear to be genuinely thankful for their previous purchases, while subtly encouraging them to return often and buy more. Whether you are corresponding with a first-time customer or repeat-buyer, no one likes a hard sell. Don’t focus your emails on the sale, focus instead on the relationship you have established with the customers. the 80/20 rule states that 80% of your email content should be about the customer and their needs. The remaining 20% can strategically place your products and services as a solution to their problems. Effective re-marketing is intended to maintain trust and loyalty. When a company does what is best for the customer, they will come back for more. Conclusion Turning your email list into brand promoters isn’t difficult, but it does require strategy and thoughtfulness on your part. These customers are unique and deserve to be treated as such. Establish a relationship with them early using ethical email practices. Continue to anticipate their needs and be responsive to their concerns at all times. Keep the purchase process simple and be genuinely thankful for their business. Most important of all, continue nurturing the relationship long after the sale is complete with well-timed, supportive content that is useful to them. Following these simple rules will have customers singing your praises online and through word-of-mouth - and that’s the best marketing strategy of all.