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Trying to Drive a First Purchase? Remind Customers of Welcome Offers

Your welcome message is the very first interaction a customer has with your brand. As such, it better be good.

If you don’t currently have a welcome campaign in place or haven’t put much thought into implementing one, now is the time to improve it. When a new shopper provides you with an email address and begins browsing merchandise, it’s the job of the marketer to use that contact information to provide the best possible shopping experience.

Using email marketing efforts to construct a strong welcome email to new subscribers can make the world of difference for small business and large companies alike. Sending these out to your email list can be successful for a handful of reasons. Putting personal touches in the subject line or throughout the message, and having the email come through from the CEO or the founder are two ways to provide the warm welcome new customers need. While these seem small, they can make a big splash in results. Another way to lock in new subscribers is through welcome offers.

A welcome offer is one of the most effective ways to encourage new clients to make a first purchase. Research by Experian revealed that welcome emails containing coupons have up to 250% higher transaction rates, and eMarketer reported that 69% of customers who end up becoming loyal shoppers do so because the brand thanks them for their business and lets them know they’re appreciated.

To that end, many brands offer welcome discounts or offers as a thank you for providing their email address, which gets the customer relationship started off on the right foot. But a new shopper who’s browsing a brand’s website for the first time may forget that a retailer gave them a coupon or discount as a welcome and thank you. If a customer hasn’t made that first purchase yet, you’re missing an opportunity to further incentivize a transaction by reminding them of this offer.

Specifically, these three examples from three different brands we’ve created accounts with came to mind.

Good Example: “The Friendly Reminder”

A popular hobbyist brand specializing in home electronics gave us a $10 off welcome coupon when we created an account. After several days with no purchase, the brand sent a reminder email with the message: “This is a friendly reminder from [X Retailer]. For just a little while longer, we’ll take $10 off your next purchase with us!” Additionally, the brand went one step further by recommending that we revisit a product we’d looked at (a pair of earbud headphones) and purchase it using our coupon. The personalized recommendation/browse abandonment campaign, paired with the alert that we still had a discount, was hugely effective in terms of driving a first purchase.

Bad Example: “The One-Time Pop-Up”

On the other hand, a large percentage of marketers notified us of our welcome offer in the form of a pop-up, usually including a submission bar for our email address. While the fleeting nature of a pop-up is often a good thing, and while it makes sense to not provide the offer until your customer has actually provided their email address, in this case it can often lead customers to forget that they’ve been given a discount – especially if you don’t remind them afterwards. A clothing retailer we made an account with delivered a pop-up as soon as we provided an email address, offering 50% off our first purchase, but didn’t send us any follow-up reminders after we gave them our email address. Half-off is no small promise, and would have been a powerful incentive if the brand had leveraged it properly – but instead, they sent us a number of canned emails promoting sitewide sales, missing a huge opportunity to encourage that purchase.

Really Bad Example: “The Post-Purchase Welcome Offer”

Perhaps the most bizarre and least effective attempt to engage with a new customer was one we saw from a retailer specializing in novelty socks. The brand didn’t send us any sort of welcome offer or discount when we created an account and provided an email address – after we made a purchase, however, the brand sent us an email welcoming us to “the family,” and inviting us to check out an exclusive sale they had coming up. The fact that the retailer delivered this message only after the first purchase is not only ineffective in terms of engaging with your customer at the right time, it also makes a poor first impression – your customer isn’t going to appreciate feeling like you only care about how much money they spend, and sending a welcome/thank you message after the first purchase sends this exact message.

How are your welcome campaigns serving your customers?

Consider the fact that, according to MarketingCharts, 69% of a customer’s first-year spend comes from their first 30 days as a customer – given this fact, it’s surprising that not all brands utilize welcome campaigns to the best of their ability. It’s one thing to send a discount or coupon as a thank-you for engaging, but gently reminding your customer to take advantage of these offers – especially when they have yet to make a purchase – is critical to creating and fostering successful brand-user relationships. By highlighting the incentive to purchase, you can better help your customers meet their needs while encouraging the kind of long-term engagement that puts your shoppers on the path to loyalty.

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