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Sending Post-Purchase Emails: How and why (with examples)

How often does a business email truly catch your attention?

If your email inbox is anything like mine, you probably receive hundreds of emails weekly from companies you’ve done business with. 

Marketers can find it difficult to cut through the clutter in such a competitive medium.

It’s almost 2023, and now it’s a good time to think about what makes a successful post-purchase email. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at what post-purchase emails are and the benefits of using them. We’ll also share the essential factors in creating post-purchase emails with genuine impact.

What is a post-purchase email?

A post-purchase email is any email you send to a customer after they’ve bought something from you. It’s as simple as that.

In email marketing, it’s not always best to send a blast of emails to attract new business. While customer acquisition is a fundamental element of any business venture, customer retention is far more important to generating a steady revenue stream.

Post-purchase emails can vary from simple order confirmation messages to special tailored offers generated using sophisticated segmentation techniques. Handled well, they can be an excellent opportunity to reach out to customers and have several key benefits. 

What are the benefits of post-purchase emails?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 87% of B2B marketers use email for organic content marketing distribution. That puts it in second place as a medium, just 2% behind social media.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

Of course, the customer journey doesn’t end once a purchase is made. Ideally, the first sale is only the beginning of a long conversation. 

Here are some of the benefits of a continuous conversation with your customers:

Increased engagement

Customer engagement involves empowering the customer to interact with your brand in a way that makes them feel good. It’s all about developing an ongoing relationship that works for them and you. Emailing your customers to keep them informed or offer deals is an excellent basis for building that kind of relationship. 

Purchase confirmation emails can be a perfect opportunity to drive engagement. That’s because the peace of mind they offer means that most customers open them.

You should take advantage of this captive audience to encourage additional customer actions. For example, you might ask them to sign up for a mailing list or send them a discount code for another product.

Trust-building

While building trust with customers starts with an excellent product and top-notch customer service; there’s a lot more you can do to get them on your side.

The more you deliver for your customers, the more they trust you. Nurturing this relationship is vital for your business, and reaching out by email is an excellent platform to achieve this. Simple steps such as asking for feedback or delivering carefully personalized offers can make all the difference.

Repeat business

With increased engagement and trust — hopefully — come repeat orders. This depends greatly on which line of business you’re in. Some companies lend themselves to repeat business better than others. Prompting customers to return for more using an email strategy tends to work best for:

  • Businesses supplying high-value goods that require accessories. Once a customer has splashed out on the initial product, they may be interested in buying companion products as well.
  • Online services that offer a premium option. If the customer is satisfied with your product, they might prefer to upgrade.
  • Providers of consumables. If you sell items that need to be replenished regularly, identify how often customers return to make another purchase of the same item. Then time your emails to be sent out at those intervals.

Establishing an ongoing relationship

Ideally, you want to foster lasting customer relationships. Everybody wins when the customer is happy — including your bottom line.

Post-purchase email campaigns can help achieve this if you plan them well. It’s also crucial to remember that how you talk to your customers is equally important as what you tell them. Brush up on your email etiquette, so you don’t risk annoying anyone and bringing the relationship to an abrupt end.

How to create post-purchase emails that convert

Okay, so sending post-purchase emails is a clear good idea. But how should you do it? Here are a few vital guidelines to bear in mind.

Get the timing right

We’ve already floated the idea of timing an email to appeal to anyone looking to make a repeat purchase. This is just one example of how to think about timing.

There are other considerations too. For example, did you know that email open rates vary from day to day?

According to Campaign Monitor’s 2022 Email Marketing Benchmarks Report, Monday was the best day to send marketing emails in 2021. The average open rate on Monday was 22.0%, whereas, on Sunday, this dropped to 20.3%.

Another crucial aspect of timing is frequency. At Encharge, we recommend those getting started with email automation gradually build their email volume, starting by sending emails only to customers who have made a purchase in the previous 30-day period. You can read more about this in our guide to email sending best practices for new accounts.

Personalize the message

Everyone loves to feel special. 

It’s great to get a little of that exclusive VIP treatment. And although you’re conducting a wide-ranging email campaign targeting many customers, that doesn’t mean your messaging has to feel generic.

The best approaches for email personalization are:

  • Segment your audience by the demographic, device used, buying habits, and level of engagement.
  • Use a catchy subject line: subject lines should be between six and 10 words in length for maximum impact.
  • Tailor your messages according to where your customers are in the purchase cycle. For example, you could send a discount offer to customers who have abandoned their cart. Since they’ve already shown purchase intent and may just need a small nudge to finalize the transaction.

Bear in mind that personalization means more than automatically changing the name at the head of the email. There are more subtle approaches to personalization that can be surprisingly effective. The great advantage you have is that as soon as your customer has bought something from you, you immediately know a lot about what interests them. So use that knowledge.

Engage your customers with content they’ll find useful and that’s tailored to them. For example, if you provide legal software, you could invite them to download a free waiver template that’s appropriate for their region. If you supply clothing, you might send updates with images featuring models wearing the same size of clothing the customer previously bought.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

So important I had to say it three times.

I can’t emphasize enough how vital ensuring your emails go out with zero mistakes is. Anything less looks slapdash and unprofessional.

Free to use image sourced from Unsplash 

Every email message needs to be proofread by at least two people. A golden rule of any publishing platform is that writers should never be responsible for proofreading their own work. So make sure to place sufficient resources to enable an efficient and effective content creation process.

Make emails engaging and interactive

Of all the different types of marketing emails out there, the ones with an element of interactivity pack the most punch when it comes to engagement.

This can take all sorts of forms. It could be something simple like a feedback survey or an invitation to write a review. Or it could mean inviting the customer to join a mailing list or offering some relevant content for download. 

Whatever you do, don’t be boring.

There’s nothing worse than a dry, lifeless email dropping into your inbox. It just leaves the recipient with a feeling of “so what?” and reaching for the delete button. Use bright images and engaging language to get your point across.

Include incentives 

Post-purchase emails are a fantastic opportunity for cross-selling. Include a discount code for another product or service, or encourage your customer to upgrade to your premium offering.

Sending exclusive offers to selected loyal customers is a great idea. It can be much more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, so keeping the customers you already have happy is the right move.

Common types of post-purchase email campaigns

Let’s now look at a few examples of the sorts of campaigns you can run.

1) Order and shipping confirmations

We’re all familiar with these. Sometimes, an order confirmation will be the first email your customer ever receives from you, so it’s crucial to make a good first impression.

As far as the customer is concerned, the principal purpose of confirmation emails is reassurance. After all, they’ve trusted you with their payment and need to know the transaction was successful. 

As we’ve already established, however, this is an excellent opportunity for promoting further engagement. Take a look at these confirmation email examples to help inspire you to craft a vibrant and compelling email.

2) Product use and maintenance tips

When customers buy a product or service, their experience of using it must be good. They’re far more likely to return and make a follow-up purchase.

Emails that include tips on how to get the most out of a just-purchased product develop the conversation between business and customer. This could be anything from style ideas for using a make-up palette to a guide to the best way to get started with a new software suite.

Genuinely helpful guidance will be well received. So start thinking about those top tips!

3) Discount codes and coupons

Everybody loves a bargain. 63.6% of respondents to a US consumer survey said they wanted to receive post-purchase brand emails about special deals or discounts.

So what better way to draw your customers back than email them a juicy offer? This can be particularly useful for re-engagement. If a customer hasn’t visited you for a while, sending them a personalized deal can tempt them back. Don’t forget your loyal buyers, though! 

A crucial point to remember here is that offers should be tailored by product preference. For example, there’s no point in sending discounts for meat products to a vegetarian. 

4) Reorder reminders

This won’t apply to all products or services. Some tend to be bought as a one-off product. If you’re in the wedding planning business, for instance, sending clients a follow-up email a year after the big day asking whether they wanted to plan a second wedding would not exactly be a great look.

However, for many businesses, sending reorder reminders is possible and a terrific way of encouraging repeat business. Identify the average length of the purchase cycle and send your reminder emails one week before your customers would be due to make another purchase.

5) Product review requests

Asking customers to contribute a review is a terrific way of getting them involved. People feel more affinity with a brand they positively engage with, so everyone wins in this scenario.

Sure, it can be great for keeping your visibility going on review sites. But don’t overlook the customer comments. Genuinely engaging with constructive criticism is necessary to keep customer satisfaction high.

You could ask for more general feedback too. Sometimes, seeking customers’ ideas for new products or services can throw up unexpected but brilliant suggestions.

6) Promote updated products

Product updates are a superb opportunity to re-engage with customers. If you supply products or services upgraded every few months with new features or functionality, this is one not to miss.

Let’s say you develop documentation software. Anyone who has previously bought a contract writing suite will probably be interested to hear about your best digital signature tool add-on. Or if you supply high-tech equipment, your customers will probably expect to be informed about the new generation of models.

Maximize your post-purchase email impact

With an estimated 333 billion emails being sent each day worldwide, email marketing is a medium you can’t ignore.

Getting your post-purchase emails pitch-perfect is worth the time and effort. The small details customers notice will keep them engaged and returning to buy from you repeatedly. You’ll have built the foundation for a brilliant relationship if you can offer them a useful, hyper-personalized, and enjoyable experience.

So get creative, get personal, and get going!

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