Let’s take a break from the customer acquisition grind to talk about the most cost-effective way to increase customer lifetime value: A post-purchase email campaign. It costs about 7x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, and repeat customers account for almost a quarter of revenue across retail industries. Post-purchase campaigns are your opportunity to capitalize on customers’ high engagement following purchases, turning one transaction into a lasting connection. In this post, we’ll lay out the framework every post-purchase series should follow to develop loyal, repeat customers and provide tips to take your automated post-purchase email campaign to the next level.

Post-purchase email campaigns in thirty seconds

A post-purchase campaign is a triggered email series following a customer’s final transactional message (order confirmation, shipping notices, etc.). They start within two weeks following a purchase, when customers are most likely to open your emails. “Triggered messages always perform better than standard promotional emails,” Boggs said. “You should be seeing double and triple compared to your standard metrics.” The series should be three or four messages, spaced two or three days apart. Unlike transactional messages, post-purchase emails focus on promoting initiatives rather than purchase-specific information. “With the post-purchase, the goal is to be engaging and helpful,” said Boggs, noting that they’re the perfect time to ask for reviews or inform them of programs such as loyalty programs. “But the end game is to get them to come back and make a second or a third purchase.”

How to structure your post-purchase email campaign

You should test what works best for your brand, but this is a general timeline of what an effective post-purchase series looks like, beginning a few days after the final transactional message. Each message should be relevant and personalized, and if possible, include product recommendations. Remember to avoid list fatigue — segment your post-purchase contacts and throttle your regular marketing messages. During this high engagement phase, make sure you’re targeting contacts with the right emails. And resist the temptation to load it with marketing materials. Follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your transactional messages are about the purchase, and the last 20% can be sales focused.

Day 1: Say thank you with an incentive

Saying thank you is always a good practice, but it’s a post-purchase best practice to say thank you and offer an incentive. Engagement is highest immediately following a purchase, so you want to capture their attention right away. “The biggest thing to recommend is putting the incentive in the first message,” said Boggs. Offer a discount or thank you gift and mention it in the subject line. If a discount isn’t possible, then show them a how-to video or product care instructions.

Day 3: Provide helpful materials

Would your customers benefit from registering the product, or is there a customer service option they should be aware of? “This is building that positive customer experience, but what other value-adds are there?” Boggs said. Take the opportunity to touch base and also tell them about your brand or loyalty program.

Day 5: Check in and form a connection

This is an opportunity to connect with your customer after they’ve had enough time to experience your product and their excitement is still high. Ask customers for a product review. Or invite them to join your social media community. Either way, this is the time you want to solidify the emotional customer connection. “This is a way to know your customers better, another outlet to be engaging and helpful,” said Boggs. And of course, feel free to include personalized, relevant product recommendations. “Using recommendations is where you take post-purchase to the next level,” said Boggs.

Day 7: Remind them of the incentive, or share another program

Assuming they haven’t acted on the incentive from your first email, remind them of it here. And if you don’t have one to offer, try some other initiatives, including:
  • Share your brand story
  • Refer-a-friend programs
  • Customer service awareness
  • Reorder reminders
  • Birthday club
  • Update preferences

Getting your post-purchase series started, or start improving it

Boggs’ advice is to dive right in, starting with a single post-purchase thank you email that has an incentive. If you’ve already got one in place but it’s not getting the results you’d like, step up your personalization. “When engagement is lower than expected, I always ask how we can personalize, because that’s usually the problem,” she said, adding that brands often have issues with their post-purchase messages when they “keep it vague and make them wonder what it’s about” instead of speaking directly. At the end of the day, a post-purchase series helps strengthen your relationship with your customers. Doing so will help differentiate your brand from competitors and build stronger customer experiences that will grow revenue and increase engagement.

11 initiatives to promote in your post-purchase campaigns

  • Loyalty programs
  • Incentives and coupons
  • Registering a product
  • Get reviews
  • Share your brand story
  • How-to videos
  • Refer-a-friend programs
  • Customer service awareness
  • Reorder reminders
  • Birthday club
  • Update preferences
Need help crafting the perfect post-purchase series with Bronto? Schedule a free consultation to see how our experts can help.