How to get repeat customers without being annoying

Getting repeat customers is critical to your company’s success, but there’s one common way to mess this up: being annoying. Here’s how to not be annoying when converting new customers to repeat customers.
Written by Ruth Chen

Note: This is article #2 in the The Ultimate Guide to Creating Repeat Customers

Sending a follow-up email to customers is a good way to keep in touch and remind your customers that you exist. However, this can get annoying pretty quickly. As you can imagine, constantly getting emails from a company you made only one purchase from is not going to make you want to run back into their arms.

It’s hard to convince your customers to come back if they think you’re annoying. Even worse, you only get one chance to show you’re not annoying. Once a customer thinks you’re annoying, it’s difficult to convince them otherwise. For example, in a recent Microsoft study, participants were more likely to quit an online task when they were shown annoying ads on the side of their screen. These results can be applied to your business: a customer is likely to leave if they’re annoyed.

Point is: don’t be annoying! While this may seem like common sense to you, it’s a lot easier said than done. Here are 5 things you can do to minimize your chances of annoying your customers:

1. Be specific and personal

In my opinion, this is the most important thing you can do to not be annoying. Mass emails are annoying, and customers can easily tell if an email has been sent to ten thousand other people. If you constantly send a customer automated mass emails, he or she will feel like just another poor customer who is trapped in a sales assembly line. Instead, make the customer feel like you wrote the email specifically to him or her. Highlight specific parts of your previous conversations in your emails to show that you actually remember the customer. Be creative and do some research on your customer so you have relevant conversation starters that you know will get a response.

2. Make sure your emails are useful

Your customers shouldn’t feel like you’re wasting their time by clicking into your email just to read irrelevant information. Instead, include specific tips, tutorials, and other meaningful advice. This way, customers will be incentivized for reading your emails--they’re gaining useful knowledge. Sending emails with special discounts and offers is not only a valid excuse to email your customers, but it’s also a great way to encourage your customers to make another purchase.

3. Condense your emails

If you can say multiple things in one email, do it. Try to limit the number of emails you send to your customers so that they don’t feel like you’re constantly spamming them. For example, in my article about repeat customers from last week, I mentioned emailing the customer 1 month after the original purchase to offer a discount on future purchases. I also mentioned including information about a loyalty program, and the time frame I gave for this was “anytime after the customer receives the product.” In this case, you could condense your emails by writing one email to include both the discount and information about the loyalty program. My personal advice is to limit your emails to only 3 pieces of information per email, as it could get harder and harder to read with the more information you include. Be sure to follow the previous tip (making sure your emails are useful) to further increase the chance that your customers will read your emails. 

4. Try a different approach

If a customer isn’t responding to you, try a different way of contacting them (without being annoying). One way you could do this is to switch from emails to Twitter interactions. As I mentioned earlier, customers get many emails in their inboxes every day. It’s easy to miss an email nowadays. Moving the conversation to Twitter could be beneficial, as there are many ways to engage your customers on social media sites, such as asking open-ended questions to your Twitter followers. If you’re not sure which social media platform you should be using, check out this article for helpful advice.

5. Always remember: No means no

If a customer responds saying he or she is not interested, do not keep emailing. It might not seem like much to lose a prospect, but if you annoy the customer even after they turned you down, word could spread and damage your reputation. Also, honoring the customer’s wishes of not being pestered by your emails is still leaving the door open--if the customer ever changes his or her mind, he or she can come back to you since your relationship hasn’t been severed.

Customers hear from many annoying companies on a daily basis. Being the company that actually reaches out to customers with useful, personal, and relevant things to say will distinguish your company from the rest!

Posted on Jul 13, 2015
Filed under Repeat Customers
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