A well-developed email marketing strategy is broadly understood to be an essential part of successful business growth. Nearly 9 out of 10 companies use email marketing to some extent and receive an average ROI of $42 for every dollar they spend. Besides, almost 90% of marketers use it as their primary channel for generating leads.
Indeed, much attention and effort are put toward maximizing the conversion rate of marketing emails. However, less emphasis is placed on the value that effective post-sale email communication can provide.
Long-term email communication, even after sales have been made, can help enhance your business’s customer experience while simultaneously increasing retention and revenue.
It’s prudent to cement your relationship with a new customer as soon as possible.
The cost of maintaining the clients you have is significantly less than finding new ones. Welcome emails alone make customers more likely to upgrade to higher-end services. A simple, low effort gesture can easily translate into 320% more revenue from the get-go compared to other promotional emails.
Pleasant customer experience
While seamless customer onboarding is always important, it may be especially critical in the SaaS industry, where products can be a bit more complicated. The right email communication on the front end can help ensure incoming customers have a smooth experience while acquainting themselves with your product.
Effective customer communication in the SaaS industry is often an ongoing affair. And there are several situations you can seize as a reason for reaching out to better streamline the onboarding process.
Keep in mind that 78% of people that change software companies do so because they had a bad customer support experience. Not only will they leave, but they may also encourage others to do so. Another 13% of dissatisfied customers will mention your poor customer service to an average of 20 or more peers.
That being the case, it may be prudent to distinguish yourself as a helpful, hands-on business right out the gate.
What can you do?
Let’s imagine you notice that a new customer has yet to activate their account or has failed to complete the setup process. Use this opportunity to reach out via email with simple instructions that will make it easier to initiate or get the most out of the product.
Of course, outreach doesn’t begin and end on day one of the customer journey. Once the setup has been achieved, you can further solidify customer usage and success by pointing out your service’s best features.
For example, a virtual tour can improve clients’ understanding of your product, while also potentially generating excitement about the opportunities it can provide. Many companies find success with this model by providing quick, streamlined tours of their product during setup, then subsequently leaving the “tour tutorial” accessible later as needed.
After the setup, there are many natural customer journey occasions where a simple email follow-up is likely to be appropriate and appreciated. For instance, clients are hoping to see quick results. So, an email celebrating an initial success with your product may do well to improve the way they feel about your business relationship.
You may also periodically send emails to remind customers of key features or recommend premium products or services based on their purchase and usage patterns.
Naturally, clients won’t expect or want to hear from you every day. But with effective onboarding outreach, you can enjoy a productive long-term relationship with them.
Streamlined payment collections
Though modern recurring billing software does a lot to streamline payment collection, there are still occasions when obstacles might pop up. For example, credit card payments can fail for many reasons.
Credit cards tend to expire every three years or so on average, which means chances are pretty good this situation will occur with your customer base. And even though the problem itself may not be serious, it can represent an interruption of your revenue and harm your clients’ experience with your service.
One of the benefits of recurring billing software is that it can easily send out automated emails to remind customers when their cards will expire. This functionality — accompanied with features that alert clients about upcoming bills — helps avoid many payment problems before they occur.
How to retrieve lost revenue?
The process of retrieving lost or leaking revenue within the payment process is called dunning management. And as businesses already know, it can be frustrating.
Subscription-based services need to be particularly careful in how they conduct their “dunning.” Why? Because even though a point of tension has arisen in your relationship with the customer in question, the ultimate hope is that once payment is retrieved, your business relationship may resume. This may not happen if you’re overly aggressive in your efforts.
The key is to remain friendly but persistent. There are minimally invasive ways this can be done. For example, many payment errors can be rectified simply by retrying the payment method on a different day. This is the best-case scenario, as the customer may never learn there was even an issue, and you’ll recover the revenue.
But, assuming the retry approach is not getting you anywhere, it’s time to use email outreach. To keep things in order, try to be sure your outreach email accomplished several things:
- A friendly tone: Try to address the customer by name and keep the tone as friendly as possible. Though the situation can be awkward for both of you, chances are the client doesn’t even know there was a payment interruption, so try not to make them feel like a criminal.
- A simple call to action: Ensure the customer understands what’s expected of them and how they can quickly fulfill their obligation. For example, let them know how they can update their payment method or make their overdue payment.
- A reminder of what they owe: Clients probably don’t have a constant awareness of what your service costs them every month, so a gentle reminder can be useful.
- A due date: The customer presumably wishes to continue using your product. Consequently, they may be more responsive to messages that include a due date to avoid an interruption of service.
- A means of following up with you: The client may have questions. Provide them with a means of contacting you for clarification.
While this may sound like a lot to pack into a single email, all this information can probably be included in a couple of short paragraphs. Indeed, you’ll probably find that the shorter the message, the more likely the customer is to read it, comprehend it, and take action.
Both outreach efforts detailed above can serve to boost your customer retention rate. This is important because retention is among the most critical factors for business success — especially for companies using the subscription model.
Most businesses are acquainted with the notion that it costs five times more to get a new customer than it does to retain a current one. And while this may be true, it only tells part of the story.
It’s crucial to be mindful that a low customer-retention-rate — or high churn rate — will see your company hemorrhaging money. If you aren’t keeping your clients around long enough to cover the cost of their initial acquisition, what’s the point?
Increasing your retention rate by just 5% can boost revenue by 25-95%. And by maintaining a good relationship with your current base of customers, you’ll enjoy new opportunities to increase revenue.
For example, it’s significantly easier to upsell to a client that already knows and enjoys your products. While a stranger may have a 5% likelihood of investing in your premium services, chances of successfully upselling those same services to an existing customer are closer to 70%.
Though many factors contribute to whether a client will stick around, the experience they have doing business with you is among the most influential. People enjoy working with businesses they like. By making collaboration as pleasant and stress-free as possible, you position your company to capitalize on the many benefits of a long-term business relationship.
Doing it right
Of course, email outreach isn’t a perfect cure-all. There are ways to do it right and ways to do it wrong. Fortunately, telling the difference may be largely intuitive. Consider how you’d like to receive communication from a business, and you’ll get a good idea of how to conduct your outreach.
Remember that you’re not talking with a pen pal. If you reach out too often, your efforts may well prove to be counter-productive. Customers may at best delete your emails unread — which means wasted effort from your team — and at worst look for a company that’s a little less chatty.
It’s better to communicate sparingly, making sure every message you send holds a clear value to the client. Of course, people are busy and, therefore, not likely to suffer the abuse of their time for long. Though there’s no precise formula for how often you should email, a good rule of thumb is to limit your efforts to once or twice a month, unless there’s a compelling reason to exceed that limit.
Remember, the number one reason people unsubscribe from email lists is because they’re receiving too many messages. In the realm of customer outreach, simplicity, brevity, and pragmatism win the day.