The secret formula: Creating a brand advocate using email
Have you ever fallen in love with a brand and couldn’t help but tell your friends about it whenever the opportunity presented itself? We call that brand advocacy and that’s what every ecommerce store should be working towards. According to Branderati, brand advocates are 2X more likely to tell people about their purchases than non-advocates.
Creating a brand that your customers rave about takes time and planning — part of that preparation needs to be put into your email marketing.
There are five key stages in the journey from new subscriber to brand advocate:
- New subscriber
- Relationship building
- Repeat customer
- Brands advocate
Getting to stage five is easier said than done.
To help you create more brand advocates using email, here are a couple of emails for every stage. Keep in mind, a lot of these emails can (and should) be involved in every stage of your email marketing strategy.
Stage 1: New subscriber
The brand advocate journey begins with the new subscriber — a visitor who takes the leap and signs up to receive your newsletter. Making a good first impression could make or break your relationship with this potential brand advocate.
A well planned welcome series should make a memorable introduction to your brand, and start the all-important connection with this new subscriber. A welcome series is most commonly triggered by someone signing up for your newsletter and explains the benefits of your product, or tell your subscribers how your product will benefit them.
Studies demonstrate the effectiveness of a good email welcome series. According to Experian, a welcome “Thanks for Joining” email generates 21X more revenue than your typical promotional email.
To learn more about welcome series, check out these top 4 converting welcome emails (with the data to prove it.)
Stage 2: First purchase
You’ve created a good foundation for your email welcome series, and your new subscriber has visited your site multiple times. And now, it’s time to get them to make their first purchase.
But how do you do that? By sending them relevant content based on how they’ve interacted with your store… and maybe a nice discount.
Two emails every company should send during this stage are:
1. Browse abandonment email
Browse abandonment emails focus on what the shopper has viewed. Browse abandonment emails are similar to abandoned cart emails, but are triggered when a subscriber visits a product page and does not complete a purchase. If they’ve been browsing a specific product, send them a browse abandonment email that offers a discount on that particular product.
Klaviyo customers are seeing an average return of $1.35 for every browse abandonment email they send To learn more about browse abandonment emails, check out our data-filled post on everything you need to know about browse abandonment emails.
2. Abandoned cart email
If for some reason they’ve added a product to their cart but didn’t purchase, don’t panic. There could be many reasons for them not buying besides not being interested anymore.
This is when an abandoned cart email should come into play. We have found that stores sending an abandoned cart email see an average open rate of 41.18% and revenue per recipient of $5.81.
Check out our abandoned cart benchmark report to find out how many abandoned cart emails you should send, what subject lines work the best, and whether or not a discount works.
Stage 3: Building a relationship
Your relevant and timely emails worked — they purchased!
Now it’s time to build and develop a fruitful relationship. After all, your goal is to turn these subscribers into brand advocates, rather than just people who make a purchase and move on.
There are two types of emails I’d like to highlight here:
1. Relevant newsletter
To keep subscribers engaged, consider sending a regular email newsletter. Depending on your communication strategy, these newsletters can include content about product improvements, new products, upcoming events, and more.
Make sure to ask your subscribers what types of emails they wish to receive and stick to those requests. Sending only content that they’ve expressed interest in will give your brand a sense of personal connection, rather than a brand that just sends emails blasts.
2. Anniversary emails
Take your relationship one step further and send your customers anniversary emails. Anniversary flows you can send include:
- Birthday email
- First purchase anniversary
- Newsletter anniversary
These emails let your subscribers know that you’re thinking about them on the days that matter the most to you and them. It takes the relationship to a more personal level. To learn more about anniversary flows, check out these 3 anniversary emails everyone should be sending.
Stage 4: Repeat customer
Once you’ve built a relationship, you need to nurture it through the repeat customer or retention stage. The goal for this stage is to make every possible effort to keep subscribers coming back to your store.
Focusing on retention is well worth your time. A 2013 study from Sumall found that the likelihood of a customer returning increases with every purchase.
- After 1 purchase: 27% chance of returning.
- After 2 purchases: 45% chance of returning.
- After 3 purchases: 54% chance of returning.
And if that isn’t impressive enough, remember it costs 5x more to attract a new customer than it does to retain a current one. Thus it’s vital that you have a strategy to increase customer retention.
There are two emails I’d like to highlight during this stage:
1. Win-back email
If your customer purchased in the past but hasn’t been back to buy for a while, it’s a good time to send a win-back email. This email is designed to turn inactive customers into repeat customers. Often, a discount is added to this email to entice your subscriber to make a purchase.
On average, win-back emails have made our customers $0.84 for every email they’ve sent.
Quick tip: the best subject line to use is “It’s been awhile.” Our customers saw an average open rate of 35% when using this subject line. That’s a good return for an email to and inactive customer!
To learn more about win-back emails, review our deep dive into creating a high performing win-back campaign.
2. Product recommendations
They purchased in the past, and you’re trying to get them to purchase again. Use customers’ past purchase data to your advantage by recommending related products.
If they purchased kitty litter, then maybe they’ll need litter box liners in the near future.
Stage 5: Advocacy
When your subscribers hit the advocacy stage, relevant emails will keep that affiliation strong and reward your advocate for their brand selection. Two email types ensure your customer and your brand are getting the most out of this valued relationship:
VIP emails reach out to your most loyal customers, who have made multiple purchases and have been active with your brand for a long time. Acknowledge that they’re VIPs and ask them to post something positive on their social media accounts or to leave a review. In return for their honest feedback, you can provide a discount, free gift, or early access to a new product that’s coming out.
If you’re unsure who your VIP customers are, learn how to identify your most loyal customers.
Ask your brand advocates to refer a friend — whether it’s to join your newsletter, make a purchase, or simply visit your website. This could be through email or through a survey on your website. In exchange for the referral, you can provide a discount or free products.
There’s no full proof method for turning new subscribers into die-hard brand advocates, but targeted, relevant email marketing goes a long way to creating a positive relationship between customers and brands.
Creating a brand advocate takes a lot of nurturing and relationship building. Targeted, personalized, relevant email marketing creates a positive relationship between customers and brands that goes a long way in turning your new subscribers into advocates.