Many years ago in another life before dotMailer, I worked at a major bed retailer. It was good work (and I certainly knew my futons) but, thinking about it now, it’s represents a great example of a business that was really missing a trick with email marketing.
Let me explain…
At its best, email marketing is targeted, personal and measured. But so many companies are still sending emails to customers and are totally ignoring the other data they have on them that could improve email effectiveness.
For example, if you just bought a bed, you’ll probably not be in the market for another bed for quite some time – even with 50% off. Sending sales emails to customers who have just purchased the very same ‘one-off’ product (and least in products like beds) will yield little to no returns.
So what could this bed company do instead? It should focus on building relationships with this customer to increase word of mouth and encourage them to buy other or complementary products in the future. And with some more sophisticated email marketing techniques, achieving this is much easier than you may think.
Let’s take a look at the various touch points where you can make a difference:
Step one – respond to the order
A day after the customer has ordered their bed and mattress, send a quick email through to confirm delivery date, item description and information on why choosing the right type of bed is so important. The average bed costs around £500 – it’s a big decision for a lot of people so don’t underestimate the value of reassurance.
Step two – keep the customer updated
Three days before delivery, get in touch again. Beds often take two weeks to arrive so a quick reminder will always be helpful. Even better, consider including a ‘what to do’ guide for when the bed arrives.
By outlining best practice – i.e. clearing space for the bed – the customer will have a stress free introduction to the product and more affinity toward your brand.
Little touches solidify the message – “Orange four-posters are our favourite too” – and offering advice on how to dispose of the old bed will help too, even with links through to the nearest disposal location (or even your disposal service!)
Step three – arrival!
The big day arrives; this is when they’re going to be seeing their brand new bed for the first time…and putting it together! Here you need to provide an extra set of instructions for the specific bed alongside some really useful care instructions.
Finally, don’t forget to include a “Would you recommend us?” – the big question, this is what it has all been leading up to. Having built up all that goodwill, it’s another opportunity to encourage them to endorse you to their likeminded friends. While they might not want to buy another bed soon, their friends might.
At the same time, collect more information about this customer: who they are, what they have and what they think of the brand. Be clever about what you ask at this stage, too much will stop them dead in their tracks.
Step four – after sales glow
It’s three weeks after delivery; time to get in touch! Offer some more information and crucially give the opportunity to leave more feedback. Ecommerce sites have such an opportunity here to enrich their site with this material.
There’s also a brilliant future of opportunities to sell complementary products like pillows and mattress protectors. Maybe your customers don’t even know they needed these?
Use the subject line offer up some friendly advice as a tempting lure:
“Your bed needs turning”
As much as we would like you to buy a new bed each year, we just want you to know it’s about time you turned your mattress to make it last longer. If you already have, great!”
At this stage, if all goes well, you will have built a really strong rapport with the customer alongside a range of information including what products they have and what area they live in.
In part 2, we’ll look at how to get customers back on track if they drop out at any of these stages…