How to Turn Your Subscribers Into Loyal Customers

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By Greg Zakowicz, Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst, Bronto

Consumers are checking their email more often, and on more devices, than ever before. It’s not hard to see that email remains one of the most effective ways to reach customers. For savvy marketers, meeting consumers at this vital touchpoint is an opportunity that can’t be ignored.

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But when it comes to consistently growing subscriber databases and maintaining subscriber engagement, the struggle – as they say – is real. Marketers often make the mistake of focusing on acquiring the sign-up, and then reverting to a generic batch-and–blast messaging strategy. But this causes your subscribers to disengage earlier. They expect you to send them relevant, personalized experiences. And if you don’t deliver, you can wave goodbye to those subscribers you worked so hard to acquire.

So, how do you grow your list size in a way that will help you collect the right customers and keep them engaged?

Be Consistent – and Creative

When looking to steadily grow your contact database, you need to take a consistent, multi-pronged approach. There are a few ways you can do this. First, include a sign-up above the fold of your homepage, or even better, on all pages of your site. This gives consumers an easy way to sign up while browsing on your site. This is especially important if they link directly to a product page from the web. Limiting the signup to only the homepage decreases your ability to secure a new subscriber.

You’ll also want to consider popups, dropdowns, and ribbons. These strategies are front and center to new visitors and are routinely the most effective list-growth tactics. Of course, don’t ignore other areas of growth: Include social pages, co-registration partnerships, and brick-and-mortar stores.

Now to address the elephant in the room: Should you offer an incentive for singing up? The answer is – it depends. Be wary of training your customers to wait for discounts to make purchases. You can always get creative when it comes to what to offer: A free gift with their next purchase, a weekly or monthly raffle for a gift card or other prize for new signups, or even partner with a cause that is meaningful to your subscribers – which is another great way to personalize.

For example, if your brand sells men’s underwear, consider supporting a testicular cancer foundation. Promote and communicate this cause on your website, and ask them to sign-up to receive more information on how they can help get involved. You can even provide a “coupon code” to use at checkout that will allow that discount to be donated, rather than taken off the purchase price. This way the consumer becomes emotionally connected, and the brand can track the effectiveness of the campaign.

Get Personal

You’ve acquired new subscribers. Now it’s time to personalize their experience. Regardless of the products you sell – men’s underwear, cookies or car parts – personalization (even on a small scale) can have a deep and lasting effect. It can be the difference between keeping subscribers engaged – or having them hit “unsubscribe.”

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The good news is that difference is entirely up to you. Even if you are using a batch-and-blast email strategy, look for areas where you can maximize personalization and create a bond with your customer. This could be acquisition source (on-site), email or purchase behavior. If you know your subscriber signed up to receive emails while viewing men’s shoes, your welcome message or series should have a high focus on men’s shoes. Include intuitive product recommendations in your batch-and-blast messages – making them immediately more relevant. If users click on a maternity link inside of your emails, they should be sent emails focused on maternity items. If they are a recent purchaser, helpful tips on how to care for a newly purchased product is a great way to build trust and provide value to a customer.

The best part of all of this is that this can all be automated, taking a large burden off your team.

Make Them Believers

Commerce marketing isn’t about acquisition versus retention – it’s a combined strategy. You want to acquire the right customer and then engage them effectively along the way by showing that your brand understands them.

Focusing on your overall strategy will help get the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. This is where using segmentation, automation, send frequency and personalization can help.  

Remember: One-size-fits-all might work for concert t-shirts, but it rarely – if ever – works for email.

Oracle + Bronto arms high-growth retailers with sophisticated marketing automation to maximize revenue opportunities. The Bronto Marketing Platform powers personalized multichannel content that generates the higher engagement needed for retail success. Keenly focused on the commerce marketer, Bronto continues its longstanding tradition as a leading email marketing provider to the global Internet Retailer Top 1000 and boasts a client roster of leading brands, including Rebecca Minkoff, Timex, Lucky Brand, Theory, Brooks Sports, Ashley Homestore and Christopher & Banks. For more information, visit bronto.com.

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*Partner content. To work with Retail Insider, contact Craig Patterson at: craig@retail-insider.com.