Don't damage customer loyalty before they even buy

Companies send really odd emails sometimes.

Yesterday I got an email from a service I tried out two weeks ago. It's subscription-based and comes with a free account.

This is second email I've received from the service. The first was a basic onboarding email two weeks ago.

The most recent email was asking if I had questions about the service (great idea) but then offered a 40% off coupon code for life. Okay... that's silly incentive to offer to a new customer right away.

Except the incentive would "expire" in 24 hours.

Okay... so now there's some time scarcity.

But the code is just a generic 40_OFF code. Something anyone can use.

Okay... so how is that generic code going to expire? Or is the expiration just made up?

This isn't the first time I've seen this sort of pushy tactic. I'm sure you've seen it too.

They create an automated email, send it on a schedule, and hope the reader sees the time scarcity and reacts before noticing that time scarcity is fake.

This type of manipulation poisons the customer relationship and prevents any sort of customer loyalty. The customer asks "if they are willing to lie to get me to be a customer, what else will they lie about?.

Even if the lie was a mistake, they're training their customer in ways they shouldn't be:

  • customers will buy only as long they get a deal (at least 40% off), never paying full price
  • priming the customer to jump to a competitor anytime they don't get a deal
  • have the customer wait to order until a better deal comes along

Not a great job building relationships or any positive customer behavior at all. With this sort of system in place, I'd bet the company struggles to retain customers and there's no signs of customer loyalty.

I don't want to just rip on bad emails (way too many for even me to write about). Instead, here's a few things they could have done differently that you can steal for your own customer relationship building:

  • Send more emails. Two emails in two weeks to a brand new customer trying out a service is too few. 6 or 7 emails would be a good idea as long as they are useful to the customer.
  • Vary the content. 2 of the 2 emails have the exact same purpose: "do you have any questions?"
  • Don't fake time scarcity. Either really have it or find a better way to motivate the customer.
  • Go easy on the bold and emojis. About half the (short) email was bold and there was bold or an emoji in every. single. paragraph. It reads as someone yelling "How do you do, fellow kids?"

Your customers and potential customers want to hear from you. They want to see your offers, deals, and new products. If they didn't, they'd unsubscribe.

Use tactics that burn customer loyalty and make the relationship into a transaction and you'll going to wonder why customers don't stick around.

If you'd like to have your customers analyzed, segmented, and then explore specific advice on how to build their loyalty, Repeat Customer Insights can do all of that for you.

Eric Davis

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Topics: Repeat customers Customer loyalty Email marketing

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