Building and retaining deep customer loyalty is a big job that very often comes down to small things.
Too many brands ignore these seemingly insignificant details – and if you understand them correctly, it’s a chance to create a competitive advantage. Personalized email is a great example. It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when marketers think of customer loyalty, but maybe it should be.
With the right data and technologies in place, a personalized email is a “little” thing that can create a lot of goodwill – and customer loyalty – over time. Here are three ways brand marketers can leverage their treasure troves of data and email personalization to turn ordinary customers into loyal fans.
1. Give them a compelling summary of how they use your product or service.
It’s a great way to develop a fun, personalized connection with customers – send them a great “year in review” or similar summary of how they used your product or service.
Spotify has a great example of this tactic at work. His Spotify wrapped offers music streaming platform listeners a year-end roundup of their favorite artists, songs, and other data. He became extremely popular and something people look forward to. Even better, they share it widely on platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and other social media.
You don’t have to be in the streaming business to do something similar – fashion/apparel, travel, food and drink and most other consumer-focused brands can do something similar. similar. When you have good data, you can use it to highlight the most compelling points for individual customers.
Email personalization is the cornerstone of this type of campaign. It’s a great regular reminder in customers’ inboxes of what they’re getting by using your product or service. And the email is personal to them and them alone – it’s not the generic “Thank you for your business” message; it speaks directly to their habits and preferences. Social sharing links embedded in the email trigger a cascading effect. When people start sharing with friends and followers, they want their own version.
Annual or year-end summaries are common, but depending on your brand and business, any reasonable interval — monthly, quarterly, seasonal, or even weekly for certain types of apps and services — can work. Just don’t overdo it and dilute the impact.
2. Make recommendations based on what you know about them.
If you’re a big brand, your customers regularly give you information about themselves – likes, dislikes, and all sorts of other data. Behavioral data is constantly flowing through your database. Use it to send them personalized recommendations that seem handpicked for them as an individual.
This can be both first-party data (the information customers give you indirectly based on their behavior, such as website visits and purchase history) and zero-party data (the information customers give you directly when you request it, such as in an account profile, survey or other source). You should have a lot of both, so use it to make informed, personalized recommendations to people about other products or services they might like.
Amazon is a classic example, but so are many e-commerce brands: what you see when you go to their homepage is based on what they already know about you. And you can use this kind of personalization and proactively send it to customers via email (which you also have direct control over). Restaurant recommendation emails from OpenTable and job search recommendation from LinkedIn are also good examples.
While there may be drawbacks or pitfalls – especially if your data and/or recommendation engine isn’t great – people generally appreciate this approach because it recognizes them as a returning customer or visitor. A personalized recommendation email “sees” them – rather than treating them as one of millions of other possible people. This breeds long-term brand loyalty and repeat business.
Another benefit: These types of personalized recommendation emails should continually improve over time, as you (and your marketing tools) are constantly adding new data and learning from it. As the quality of your recommendations improves, you generate greater loyalty, as people tend to understand that they are getting better suggestions and better service from their continued engagement with you. It’s a type of customization that a lot of brands do, but not as much, so it’s an opportunity to stand out.
3. Segment your loyal customers into their own email audience.
One of the best ways to build loyalty is also the simplest: let people know you appreciate their loyalty! This is, of course, something most marketers already know – the vast ecosystem of loyalty rewards programs attests to that.
But this gets overlooked, especially in email marketing: don’t send your most loyal customers the same emails you send everyone else (unless they’re really a type message “everyone”).
Fashion brands often do a good job of this, either giving loyal customers the first chance to launch a new product or accessing a sale that isn’t open to the general public.
By identifying and segmenting your customers based on your own internal loyalty metrics and other data, you can send them emails that recognize this long-term relationship. Send them content and offers that you don’t send to everyone – presales, special discounts, first previews of new products, invitation-only events, etc. At virtually any mainstream company, you can find these “extras” for your best customers and send them via emails specifically designed for these segments.
This is another “little thing” that is actually very important – and customers will reward you for doing it right.