Businesses work hard to build a customer base, and retaining those valued customers should be one of your top priorities. One of the best ways to keep them coming back is to reach out to them regularly through an e-mail newsletter and let them know just how valuable they are. It is one of the keys of any customer-retention strategy.
Sending a monthly or quarterly e-mail newsletter is probably the easiest way to stay in touch with your customers. It is a great way to keep your clients abreast of the latest developments in your business, including sales, new product offerings, and seasonal deals. Including newsletter-only specials or coupons is a great way to generate interest in the newsletter, increase your subscriber list, and drum up sales.
But because so many of us are already overwhelmed by the daily deluge of e-mail, your newsletter will need to be much more than just ads for your products. Including informative articles, interviews, or other information may help entice your subscribers to actually open and read your e-newsletter.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try and determine what kinds of information would prove valuable to them. If your company sells collectibles, for instance, a survey of trends in the market would be a great way to get your subscribers to look forward to each issue of your newsletter.
If you are not a writer, or if you don’t have the time to generate the content yourself, there are other avenues you can pursue. You can seek permission to reprint existing articles, or hire someone to write the content for you.
Even if you can’t commit to publishing a newsletter on a regular basis, you can still send out sporadic e-mails to inform your customers about your business, and to remind them you’re still there to meet their needs. This is a good way to add a personal touch to your business and let your customers know you appreciate them.
Many shopping cart applications include the ability to send out periodic e-mails, and you may be able to automate this process to save time. For example, you could have an e-mail that is sent out to your customers every three months, or more frequently if you run more sales.
No discussion of e-mail newsletters is complete without addressing the topic of spam, or unsolicited e-mail.
If you send unsolicited e-mail to your customers, you risk not only alienating them by clogging their in-boxes, but you may even be breaking the law. The CAN-SPAM act, which went into effect in 2004, imposes stiff penalties for sending unsolicited e-mail messages.
To maintain good customer relationships and to stay on the right side of spam law, make sure allow your customers to choose whether or not they want to receive your e-mail newsletters. Implementing a double opt-in policy will ensure that your mailings are both welcome and legal.
As the name suggests, a double opt-in policy requires users to say “yes” twice to their subscription request: once when they sign up (or make a purchase, if sign-up is integrated into your order process), and again to confirm the subscription. The confirmation usually comes in the form of an e-mail that requires a reply to complete registration.
The most valuable customer is the one you already have. In order to retain those customers, stay in touch with them and offer incentives for their continued patronage of your company.