How important is customer engagement? It's tough to assign it an exact value, but it's safe to say the answer isvery. Experts estimate that it'll cost you between 3 and 30 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one.
Ezra Firestone is one expert who recognizes the value of converting a new customer into a lifelong customer, and it’s something he excels at. He talked to me about some of the strategies he uses for clients and for his own companies, including his very effective post-purchase engagement sequence.
Ezra's follow-up sequence is based on a concept he calls the cycle of engagement. Many companies launch straight into follow-up sequences that involve upsells and cross-sells, but Ezra says he prefers to complete a cycle of engagement with his customers before asking them to buy again.
“We acknowledge them for what they've done and what they've purchased before we start hammering them with additional offers,” says Ezra. “Then we move on to cross-selling, upselling, inviting them to back-end webinars, additional offers and stuff like that.”
He believes that doing this can actually result in customers who are more likely to buy again instead of just being a one-and-done purchaser.
Here is the post-purchase sequence that Ezra uses for his own businesses and clients:
1. The welcome email
Ezra recommends starting with a welcome email thanking your new customer for joining your family or becoming part of your community. This is your chance to start the customer-company relationship off on a good foot and make sure your message is heard loud and clear.
You can also engage your customers in different ways, so they can choose how they hear your message. Ezra’s emails include a video as well as text. The message is the same, but it allows customers to choose how they receive the information.
Finally, extend an invitation to join your social media community. Ezra always includes instructions on how to join his social media channels, so he can keep in touch with his customers and respond to their comments.
2. The pre-arrival email
So now your customer is stuck in that limbo between having ordered your product and having it in their hands. This is a great opportunity to engage that person again and keep them excited about the anticipated arrival of your product.
Ezra uses what he called the “open the box” email. It describes what the box will look like, what you will see when you open the box and what you should do once you receive yours.
You can use this email very effectively if you have a product or a service. If you’re delivering a digital product, which customers receive immediately, this may not be appropriate for your email follow-up sequence.
3. The social promotion email
Once your customers have received their product, take the opportunity to get them even more engaged and get some social proof for your product in the bargain.
Ezra’s strategy here is to run a selfie contest. He invites customers to take a selfie while holding their new product and send it in to enter the contest. He picks a winner each month.
Social proof can be a great way to improve your conversion rate. Showing that others have used your product, and are happy with it, does a lot to push people closer to hitting the “buy now” button.
4. The survey email
Customer feedback is invaluable to any company. So grab the opportunity right after your customer has received and used, your product, which is when they’re most likely to give you feedback.
Ezra sends out an email that lets customers give direct feedback in their own words instead of using a rating system or a multiple-choice questionnaire. His questions include:
- How did you find us?
- Did you enjoy your shopping experience?
- Is there anything we could have done better?
- Are there any products you think we should add?
“By reading these surveys, we get unbelievable ideas about things we can do to increase our business, different products we can add, and ways that we can make the experience better for our customers," Ezra says. "Several of the innovations that have turned into six-figure and seven-figure launches in our business have come from this post-purchase customer survey.”
5. The video review request
The final step in Ezra’s post-purchase sequence is to ask his customers to record a short video review in return for a $10 Starbucks gift card and the chance to win a drawing for a $250 Starbucks gift card.
His very specific instructions result in some great video reviews, which he displays on his website to promote his products.
Video reviews from happy customers on the BOOM! by Cindy Joseph site
Ezra mentioned that this strategy is paying off big time: adding video reviews has increased Ezra's conversion rate up to 13% in certain cases.
Ezra tracks who does and doesn’t open this final email in his post-purchase follow-up sequence using tools including Infusionsoft, Klayvio and Active Campaign. Then, he sends a reminder email to everyone who has opened the email but hasn't submitted a video.
Ezra says approximately one in five customers gives him either a video review or a selfie. And, although he can’t provide data on this yet (he’s still collecting it), he expects to find that the customers who participate in his social contests are more likely to become customers again.
While results will vary from site to site and product to product, Ezra told me that after implementing this follow-up sequence on one of his sites, BOOM! by Cindy Joseph, he increased his per-session value by 14 cents per visitor. While that may not seem like a lot, this site is getting approximately 9000 visitors a day, which adds up to an extra $1,260 a day or $37,800 a month.