With hard work and a smile, you can use email campaigns to reduce churn and keep those valuable customers happy!
Your brand’s relationship with its customers can be a bit like a marriage. At first, everything seemed great. Your customers were in love with you.
However, over time, your customers start to see your faults. They start to wonder whether they made the right choice.
And, sadly, they may decide to leave you. Just like it takes hard work to maintain a happy marriage, it’s going to take a lot of effort to maintain a happy relationship with your customers.
But we all know just how valuable the results can be. If you’re worried about customer retention and are looking to reduce churn, then keep reading.
Today, we’re going to cover 7 ways to use email campaigns to reduce churn.
First, we’ll talk about how to make new customers and leads fall in love with your brand, then we’ll talk about how to keep them in love into the long-term.
By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to reduce your churn rate and keep your customers happy.
1. Cement New Customers with Onboarding Emails
Yay! You’ve got a new customer!
Just because a new customer is infatuated with your brand, it doesn’t mean they’re going to fall in love.
It’s up to you to take the next step.
You can do this by creating a welcome campaign that makes your brand stick in your customers’ minds. (Especially one with a good subject line)
Use these emails to remind customers why your product is unique, and why it’s perfect for them.
Worried that your competition is going to steal those new customers from you? Then get it all out in the open: show a direct comparison to your competition in order to prove your worth.
This sneaky preemptive action will help cement the decision in your customers’ minds, preventing them from switching to your competitor in the future.
A welcome email campaign should also show new customers how open and available you are. Invite them to ask questions, and give them helpful tips on how to use the product they’ve purchased.
2. Get New Leads Activated Quickly
What is the moment that activates a new lead?
For an e-commerce company, this would be a new purchase. For a software product, this could be a download, the creation of an account, or the first action taken within the software.
Identifying this moment and monitoring it can help you create another campaign that will help solidify new leads.
Here’s an example:
Dropbox needs you to install their product in order for you to become a truly active customer.
That’s why Dropbox started sending out this activation email to users who created an account but didn’t complete the install:
This email is short and to the point: It reminds the user why they created their account in the first place, tells them what benefits they’ll receive from using Dropbox, and gives a clear place to click and start this process.
How can you imitate this example?
Once you know what action is the spark of activation for customers, you need to make sure new leads are taking this action. For example, let’s say you run a project management software. You may find that your most accurate activation moment would be when the user creates a new task.
Now, let’s say a user creates an account but never creates his first task in your software.
Why not send him a friendly reminder? This email could include a reminder of the benefits of your project management tool over others. You might also use media to ensure the user knows how to create a new task, and some examples of tasks they could create.
This helps retain new leads and may turn them into long-term customers.
3. Personalize Your Email Campaigns
We all know that segmenting our email lists is an essential part of running a successful email campaign.
And it’s easy to see why: We all hate getting emails that don’t relate to us, so why should we expect our customers to enjoy it?
Segmenting your email campaigns is also helpful in retaining customers.
Imagine you’ve purchased a sweater online. Using your purchase history, the company sends you emails with products that are related to the one you purchased.
Now, instead of a generic email promoting new dresses, you receive an email that promotes other sweaters, or cold-weather accessories to go with your sweater.
How can you apply this?
Try segmenting your email campaigns to fit different types of people. You could personalize according to factors such as:
- Purchase history
- User preferences
- Behavior or page visits on your website
- Interactions with your brand
Using segmentation in this way helps customers see that your brand really cares about them, and understands their wants and needs.
Another way to retain customers through personalized emails is to remind them that there are real people behind your company name.
A great method that many companies have started to use is to send emails from a specific individual within your company, not just from the brand name.
This helps customers to see your brand as a personality, which gives them even more incentive to get attached to you.
4. Edu-tain Your Audience
What makes your company stand out in the mind of your customers?
What makes your emails any different from all the other branded content they get in their inbox every day?
You want people to remember your brand, and thus become repeat customers.
One great way to use email campaigns to build customer loyalty and reduce churn is to edu-tain your audience.
This is a combination of two essential factors:
To educate your audience, try showing them how to use your products, answering common questions, or giving real-life examples of how your product benefited a customer.
But here’s what will make this campaign stand out from the competition: Make your educational content entertaining.
If you’re using written content, simply be yourself. Write as if you were talking to someone in person. Your goal is to make them laugh.
You can also use different types of media to help edu-tain your audience. Adding a funny GIF can make any content entertaining. Videos, infographics, and screenshots are all helpful tools in creating email campaigns that people remember.
To monitor the success of these email campaigns, watch your click-through-rate. This will help you see what adjustments you need to make in order to really reach your audience.
5. Engage and Interact with Your Subscribers
Did you know that out of 26 unhappy customers, only 1 will complain?
The rest will simply churn, without saying a word.
This statistic, although slightly terrifying, opens up a whole new way to reduce churn: find out if your customers are happy or not before they decide to churn.
One great way is by creating an email campaign that specifically asks for feedback from existing customers. You can ask for feedback via a reply to the email itself, or by filling out a quick survey.
However, a word of caution is in order: when asking for feedback, be specific. Asking for general feedback won’t get as many responses because it takes longer to formulate a reply.
Instead, ask a quick question that can be answered in under a minute. For example:
- What did you like/dislike about your last purchase experience?
- What’s the one feature you’d add to our tool?
- What are your first impressions of our new update?
If you’re inviting responses by email, it’s important to stay on top of these. A good CRM tool will help you track conversations, and be responsive with your customers.
This will give your customers an added reason to stay with you.
6. Respond to Early Signs of Churn
Just like a failing marriage has visible signs, a customer relationship that’s going south can be caught in the early stages.
This means you have a limited time to respond, and thus reduce churn.
So, what signs should you be looking out for, and how can you respond in a way that could stop them from churning?
Fewer Website Visits
It’s easy to see that a customer is near churning when they stop visiting your website. This is a sign that they’re no longer interested in your content or your products, and they may not come back for another purchase.
How to Respond: Try attracting these lost customers with enticing content. Share some of your most popular blog posts, remind customers of your most popular products, or give them some great edu-taining content. This will help bring them back to your website and fall back in love with your brand.
Customer Payment Method Expiring
If your customer has a payment method on record and it’s about to expire, this could be an early sign of churn (or possibly an early sign of dementia). Either way, once that payment method expires, they won’t be making purchases.
How to Respond: A quick reminder can go a long way.
An incentive to update their payment information, you could also offer some sort of bonus, such as free shipping or a discount on their next purchase.
Declining Purchase Frequency
If a customer once made regular purchases, a decline in the frequency of their purchases could be an early sign that they’re getting ready to churn.
How to Respond: Incentives like coupons and special offers can help rekindle a lost love. One sure way to make this work is to make the deal completely exclusive as if this customer is part of a special club. This will make them feel loved and appreciated.
Complaints or Returns
When a customer complains, this is a very serious situation that you need to address. In fact, one study found that 39% of people will avoid a brand for two years or more when they have a bad experience, and 95% will share a bad experience with others.
How to Respond: When it comes to complaints, transparency is key. If your company made a mistake, own up to it. Apologize sincerely, and let customers know what went wrong.
Also, it’s important to be specific. Respond to their particular complaint, and be specific about what you plan to do to fix the problem.
Here’s a great example from Groove in response to a delicate situation:
Even though the issue wasn’t their fault, Groove’s CEO apologized sincerely and showed customers exactly what they were doing to fix the problem, as well as the time-frame for the fix.
This is a great example of an email that will help reduce churn.
Declining Product Usage
Especially with an online software product, a slow-down of usage could mean the customer is getting ready to churn.
How to Respond: Remind your customers why your product is invaluable to them. One way to do this is to show them specific usage examples, like case studies that show how your product improved other customers’ lives.
You can also show a customer what they personally have accomplished by using your software. Stats like this will help them remember why they signed up in the first place and will encourage them not to churn.
7. Show Long-Term Customers that You Care
Your long-term customers are a gold mine for your company. So, show them how much you appreciate them.
For example, you could send out little rewards for long-term customers or subscribers.
A great way to do this is by celebrating their anniversaries with your company, such as when they’ve completed their first month of subscription, or the year anniversary of their first purchase.
Another great way to reduce churn and retain long-term customers is to remind them just how useful your product is to them.
This is what Grammarly does with their weekly writing update emails:
With an email like this, you can remind users just how useful your product is, which will help them not to churn.
Conclusion: Are Your Email Campaigns Reducing Churn?
We said in the beginning that retaining customers can be like maintaining a happy marriage. It’s true that while it takes some effort, the results are worthwhile.
If you use these email campaigns to increase your customer retention rate by just 5%, that could mean a 25-125% increase in profits.
With hard work and a smile, you can use email to reduce churn and keep those valuable customers happy.
About the Author
Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote: a company that helps e-commerce brands engage their site visitors—without hurting the user experience.