Many online businesses are so focused on PPC and trying to generate new leads that they neglect a large segment of their potential market: existing customers.

Big companies like Amazon have got their customer follow-ups down to a fine art, sending out carefully timed e-mails offering products that existing customers may like, based on their previous purchases and on-site searches. If they’re not pushing more products, they email to request product reviews. Their system seems to work – and Amazon claims a 50% conversion rate from their follow-up marketing tactics.

Naturally, Amazon has a sophisticated automated system to do all the work, but there is nothing to stop smaller businesses from using information gleaned from Google Analytics to leverage existing customers in a similar way.

Website activity is a good place to start. Monitoring this will give a clear overview of customer behaviour, the products being viewed, and how far along the customer is in the buying cycle. For example, a customer who is viewing prices is potentially ready to convert, and a timely e-mail with an incentive and a relevant call to action may well get a good response.

Previous purchases provide excellent leverage, which can be approached in a number of ways. The obvious one is making recommendations for additional purchases, usually based on previous transactions in specific business areas, such as accessories. For others, a little research into general purchase histories can bring up related purchase suggestions: ‘people who bought flying pigs also bought unicorns’, for example.

Overcoming Negativity

A sharp focus on sales and marketing campaigns can sometimes mean businesses neglect to spend enough time on the customer service side of things. Some don’t even bother to measure customer satisfaction in some way.

Negative customers are lost revenue, and it is well worth implementing some form of monitoring to prevent this happening. One easy way is to have a simple scoring system on a website that enables customers to rate the business. Analytics can then be used to discern where any particular problems lie, which makes it far easier to resolve them.

Summary

As a large business with numerous products, an automated marketing system that carries out the follow-ups will probably be the best way to retain customers and encourage them to purchase again. However, there is nothing to stop smaller companies from running similar campaigns manually,  and achieving equally good results.

As a rule of thumb, aim to keep current customers happy enough to refer you to others, and do everything possible to avoid any form of negativity developing through a lack of after-sales attention.

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About the author:

Alistair Harris is ClickThrough’s head of content. A double-award-winning senior journalist, Ali holds both the NCTJ and NCE qualifications and has more than ten years of experience in traditional press and PR. He has worked in digital marketing and SEO for the past three years and is passionate, enthusiastic and committed to quality.