Adopt Automated E-mail Tactics for Follow-up Orders

Feb 20, 2008 1:30 AM  By

We’ve all heard that the most important sale is the second one. And that the sooner you get it, the more valuable that customer will be to your brand in the long run.

So why not leverage your database and automated e-mail tactics to your advantage to encourage new customers to make that second purchase right away? Your efforts can be a simple approach for getting a second sales or a more complicated effort tailored to each specific customers buying pattern. However in each case the idea is to use the inexpensive cost and programmability of automated (triggered) e-mail to get in front of your customer at the right point in time with the right offer.

Let’s look at the possibilities. The keys are making a strong offer and timing of your e-mail.

Timing is critical in that the e-mail needs to arrive within a few days of the arrival of that first order at your new customer’s home. This timing allows you to capitalize on the good feelings that your new customer has about their purchase and hopefully in your brand.

Setting up a triggered e-mail to execute 10 business days after product ships for regular delivery and five business days after rush delivery will assure the e-mail gets in front of your new customer in a timely fashion. Triggered e-mail makes that part a simple task.

With the programming in place, what kinds of offers/approaches make the most sense? The simplest is with a special offer tied specifically to making a second purchase of any kind. Whether 10% off, free shipping, or some other incentive, the offer should be linked to the first purchase – the new customer should see it as a thank you and sense of appreciation.

A somewhat more complex means of making this second purchase offer is to tie the offer to the new customer’s first purchase. In other words, offer a product that closely aligns with the initial purchase. If the new customer bought shoes, offer a discount on another pair of shoes or boots, if he bought a comforter, offer a discount on the matching sheet set. To make this kind of customized offer you need a good database with proper product associations.

One middle ground between the more generic promotional offer and a truly customized offer is to offer a discount, free shipping, etc. for a purchase within the same category of the original purchase. Another middle ground approach would be to offer a discount for a purchase on any one of three specific items within that category they purchased. Of course the items offered should be the most popular and likely to be desired by that new customer. But tailoring the category or items should increase response beyond a generic offer.

For any of these offers, it is also important to include a deadline for no more than two weeks after the triggered e-mail is delivered to create a sense of urgency. In addition, your triggered e-mail could be more than one e-mail. In other words, the initial e-mail followed by a reminder e-mail, reiterating the deadline and encouraging response.

Getting that second sale is an important marketing task for any brand that hopes to retain the new customer for a long time. Using these automated (triggered) e-mail tactics help ensure you are able to execute that marketing task consistently for each new customer acquired.

Shari Altman is president of Altman Dedicated Direct, a direct marketing consultancy specializing in customer acquisition, catalog, continuity, DRTV, and loyalty marketing. She can be reached at 336-969-9538, or SAltman@AltmanDedicatedDirect.com.