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How to Grow Your Email List as an Ecommerce Brand (A Beginner’s Guide)

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It’s important you recognize the significance of your email marketing strategy.

It’s an essential method of communication with your ecommerce customers.

Email will probably be your most profitable channel if you nurture it right.

Don’t believe me? Activewear brand Rone is able to generate $80,000 in sales during product launch purely from its email list.

But before you can start sending out emails, you need to build your list.

Not sure where to start?

Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered.

I have a ton of experience building email lists for my companies: Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, Hello Bar, and my blog.

While none of these businesses have an ecommerce store, you can still use many of the strategies I used in your list building.

I even have some other methods specifically designed for gaining exposure and increasing conversions on your ecommerce platform.

Here’s what you need to know before you start building lists.

Signup forms on the website

You’ve got to give your customers plenty of options to sign up for your email list.

Having a signup form on your website is a pretty standard option.

While it may not be the most effective way to build your email list, it’s a necessity and has to be somewhere on your site.

But where do you put it?

The most optimal location to place your signup form, which will show up on each page, is in the footer:

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While the number of companies using the footer form to solicit signups is slightly down in 2017 compared to 2016, the footer is still by far the most common placement for an opt-in location.

By the time your customers reach the footer, they have already had a chance to browse through your site and get a feel for your brand and product.

Now, they can make a more informed decision if they want to be on your email list.

This is different from having your opt-in form in the header because your visitors may feel spammed or forced to sign up too soon.

Chances are, joining your email list is not the first thing on someone’s mind when they visit your website.

The customer has other priorities and intentions.

So ease them into it, and put your opt-in form at the bottom of your page.

Here’s an example from the Adidas store:

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If you want to sign up for their email list, you can enter your email address at the bottom of their page.

Notice that Adidas also gives you an incentive to sign up.

Get news and 15% off.

It’s a great way to get more people on board.

We’ll discuss incentives in greater detail shortly.

If you have an ecommerce store and you’re just getting your feet wet with your list building strategy, adding an opt-in option to your footer is a logical place to start.

Use standard popups and incentive-based popups

Based on the graph we looked at earlier, popup ads are the second most popular method of gathering email addresses on websites.

I think they are more effective, so I’m surprised more ecommerce sites aren’t using this strategy.

Don’t believe me?

Well, the numbers don’t lie.

Brian Dean at Backlinko added a popup to his website, which looked like this:

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The results were undeniable.

The popup had a conversion rate of 3.42%.

Before implementing the popup, Brian was getting 35 people subscribing to his newsletter each day.

After he implemented the popup strategy, this number jumped to 75 subscribers per day.

He’s not the only one who had success with popups.

According to a case study by OptiMonk, companies like BitNinja got 65% more leads and saw a 114% improvement in their subscriber rates.

This was all done with a simple popup.

Companies may be hesitant to use popups because they have a bad reputation.

The word popup can sound like spam—something intrusive and unwanted by the users.

While this may hold true for harmful, malicious, or unwanted advertisement popups, that’s not the case with our list-building strategy.

The consumer is already on your website.

Your popup isn’t opening a new window or spamming them with irrelevant content.

In fact, the information may be extremely useful for the visitors, especially if your popup adds an incentive.

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“Sign up for emails” isn’t the most effective way to build your list.

Why should the consumer provide you with their email address?

You need to give them a reason.

Look back at some of the examples we saw earlier.

  • Adidas – “Get news and 15% off.”
  • Backlinko – “Get exclusive strategies for more traffic.”

What’s your incentive?

Forever21 offers customers 10% off with this popup strategy:

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Don’t think of popups in a negative way.

You should be using this strategy to build the email list for your ecommerce website.

Just make sure you give your customers a good incentive to subscribe.

Collect email addresses from customers making a purchase

People are hesitant to give out their information.

It’s understandable.

There’s a good chance your customers have had some negative experiences with other companies after giving out their email addresses.

A few bad apples ruined it for the rest of us.

They got a hold of their customers’ email information and abused the trust.

Spam.

Sending out way too many promotions.

Your customers do not want many emails.

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It’s the biggest issue reported by consumers.

After some bad experiences, people may not be so willing to hand over their email addresses to every brand that asks for it.

You may need to get creative.

Ask for your customers’ email addresses while they are finalizing the order.

But give them a reason.

You’re not adding them to your email list just yet, but you’ll need to send them an order confirmation.

Here’s a great example from SAXX:

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The email address is required to check out.

Why?

SAXX will send you a confirmation of your order.

They also don’t force you to create an account.

Forcing the customer to make a profile in order to check out is one of the top reasons ecommerce sites experience shopping cart abandonment.

So it’s an added bonus that this checkout form specifies that.

All right, let’s get back to building your email list.

You have an excuse to send them some emails now.

Specifically, you can email your customer four times before they officially sign up for your email list or newsletter.

Here’s what you send:

  1. Order confirmation message.
  2. Email stating that the order has shipped.
  3. Confirmation when the package gets delivered.
  4. “How did we do?” follow-up message.

Each of these emails is a chance for you to get these people on to your subscriber list.

Make sure you have an option in each message that allows the customer to join.

You already have all their information, so it should be a simple process taking only one or two clicks on the part of the consumer to sign up.

But keep in mind, the majority of people don’t want to disclose personal data.

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That’s why most of the top Internet retailers are only asking for email addresses and names.

Requiring too much personal information to join a subscription list could be the reason why a customer decides not to subscribe.

If your customers are hesitant, just ask for their email addresses while they check out and finalize their purchases.

Then you can send a drip campaign with subsequent messages about the status of their orders.

This is a prime opportunity to get more subscribers.

However, if the customer still doesn’t sign up, don’t keep harassing them.

You’ll have another opportunity to send the same drip campaign when they make another purchase in the future.

Develop a segmentation strategy

Once you add someone to your email list, make sure to segment the user into a specific category.

Not every message you send will be applicable to everyone on your subscriber list.

This is why a proper email segmentation strategy is absolutely essential.

These are some of the top benefits of segmenting your email lists:

  • increased open rates
  • improved unsubscribe rates
  • higher customer retention
  • fewer spam complaints

Email segmentation will ensure your content is relevant to each subscriber.

Let’s look at an easy example.

If you have customers all over the world, sending a promotion for the 4th of July is not relevant to everyone.

Independence Day in America is only relevant to your customers in the United States.

Geographic location is an obvious way to create segments, but it’s not the only way.

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The graph above shows you some other data you can take into consideration when developing your lists.

It’s a great reference to make sure your content is relevant to all subscribers in each segment.

So before you start building your email lists, think about some general segments you’ll want to use.

Keep in mind, as you continue to add subscribers, you may slightly change or tweak your segmentation strategy.

It’s not a perfect process, and you’ll still get some customers who’ll unsubscribe or feel like they’re getting irrelevant emails.

That’s inevitable.

But the key is making sure you minimize these instances.

It’s a difficult strategy to master, but it needs to be a top priority.

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Improving segmentation and increasing subscriber engagement are the top two initiatives for email marketers.

Engagement and segmentation go hand in hand.

Proper segmentation will ultimately increase engagement.

It’s important you recognize all of this before you start building your list.

Don’t just start mass emailing everyone until you can figure out what messages are relevant to each subscriber.

Create interactivity with your email marketing campaigns

Once you have customers on your email subscriber list, you’ll want to make sure you keep them there.

Don’t give them a reason to unsubscribe.

You spent all this time and effort acquiring their email addresses, now you need to keep them engaged.

How can you accomplish this?

Follow the trends.

Use interactive emails to stay relevant.

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This is the top email marketing trend of 2017.

Here are some of the best ways you can increase interactivity in your emails:

  • use real-time marketing
  • incorporate reviews, polls, and surveys
  • run scratch card advertisements
  • add menus to the message
  • incorporate videos within the email
  • use live shopping carts
  • add GIFs

These strategies will keep your ecommerce site relevant.

You don’t want to send dull emails to your subscribers.

Use interactivity to retain users who signed up for your messages.

Conclusion

It’s awesome you’ve recognized the importance of building an email list for your ecommerce site.

But before you jump in, think about some of the things we discussed.

If you don’t know where to get started, add a signup form to your page.

The most common place to include this is in the footer of your website.

While it’s a necessary feature, it’s not the most effective.

You also need to add popups to your website.

Just make sure these popups give the consumer an incentive to join your email list.

If your website visitors don’t take the bait signing up through your popups or footer, it’s not over yet.

Get their email addresses when they check out.

Develop an automation strategy, like a drip campaign, to send them messages about the status of their orders.

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You’ve got several chances to add subscribers during the following emails:

  • order confirmed
  • order shipped
  • order delivered
  • order follow-up

If this strategy doesn’t work, it’s okay.

Try again the next time this customer makes a purchase.

You need to develop a segmentation strategy before you start sending out emails to your subscribers.

Not every message is relevant to every subscriber.

Segmenting your lists will help you increase opens and conversions.

It will also improve your unsubscribe rate.

Interactive emails will help prevent customers from unsubscribing.

Creating interactivity will keep the subscribers engaged.

Follow these tips before you start building an email list for your website.

What popup incentive will you offer to your site visitors to encourage them to sign up to your email list?





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5 Essential Email Marketing Statistics You Should Check Often

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Email marketing is more than just sending out a message or two to your subscribers every week.

You’ve got to analyze data as well.

If you’re not checking the statistics, how do you measure the success of each campaign?

Look, I get it.

There are lots of numbers on the Internet, and you may not know where to start.

I’ll steer you in the right direction.

I can show you which statistics are important to check weekly.

Email yields a significantly higher return on investment than other direct marketing mediums do.

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Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Check your own data from each email marketing campaign.
  2. Compare this information to general email marketing trends.

Doing just one or the other isn’t enough.

You need to check both if you want to analyze the information effectively.

Why?

It’s always important to know how you are doing.

You may think you’re lacking in certain aspects of your strategy based on the campaign data.

In reality, however, you may be outperforming the industry standards.

It’s impossible to know this unless you compare statistics.

If you don’t, you could end up wasting time, money, and effort in an attempt to improve certain areas of your campaign that are more than satisfactory.

And you may end up neglecting the parts that actually need improvement.

These are the top 5 email marketing statistics you should check at least once a week.

1. Unsubscribe rates

You’ve got to see how many of your subscribers are opting out of your email list each week.

If these rates are high, you have to determine why your customers are unsubscribing from your messages.

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The above are the top reasons why consumers opt out of promotional emails.

Compare these reasons to those in your campaign.

Are you doing any of these things?

You have control over everything on this list.

Don’t spam your subscribers.

Emailing people too much is a huge turn off.

To prevent this, you can ask your customers how often they want to receive messages when they initially sign up.

Segment your customers based on their responses.

Do they want to receive a daily update, weekly newsletter, or monthly coupon?

Allow them to decide, and then you can avoid unsubscribes based on that top reason.

If the customer loses interest in your brand, that’s because you haven’t kept them engaged.

Ultimately this means you’re faltering in more than just your email campaigns.

You’ve got to stay relevant and avoid falling behind your competition.

Use competitor analysis tools to keep up with other players in your industry.

If your emails aren’t optimized for mobile devices, you are making an enormous mistake.

Mobile open rates are trending upward:

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More people open their emails on mobile devices than desktop computers.

You’ll lose subscribers if your email marketing campaigns are not optimized for mobile phones.

Check your unsubscribe rates every week.

Understanding these numbers can help you improve your campaign and retain subscribers.

2. Open rates

Okay, so you’ve spent some time crafting the perfect email message.

It’s got a ton of quality content. You can’t wait to send it out.

But here’s the problem.

Your message is useless if your subscribers don’t open it.

Checking your open rates each week needs to be a priority.

You can compare them to the average open rates in your industry.

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Aim to be better than average.

How can you increase your open rates?

Personalize your message.

If you have a personalized subject line, your email has a 22% greater chance of being opened than the one without it.

However, only 70% of businesses are personalizing their messages.

Why?

It could be for a couple of reasons:

  1. they don’t know how;
  2. they aren’t checking email marketing statistics on a weekly basis.

This is your time to shine.

Learning valuable information like this can help you increase your open rates, which can ultimately lead to more conversions.

Create a sense of urgency in the subject line.

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You can use the words on this graph as a reference while brainstorming the subject of each campaign.

Using a word like “important” can help increase your open rates.

There are other ways you can create a sense of urgency without using those trigger words in the subject line.

You can imply urgency with a timeline or expiration of something happening.

Here’s an example from JetBlue:

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It’s a highly effective strategy for getting higher open rates.

This subject line and message creates FOMO—the fear of missing out.

“The deal ends tonight.”

If the subscriber doesn’t open the message now, they will miss out on the deal that’s expiring in less than 24 hours.

Keep an eye on the number of subscribers opening emails from each campaign.

You can use some tips, like the example above, to increase your open rates.

Remember, your content may be great, but it’s useless if nobody is reading it.

Monitoring your open rates on a weekly basis is an absolute necessity.

3. Click-through rates

Once you get your subscribers to open your message, the next step is getting them to click.

Are they doing this?

Have you been tracking these statistics?

You should be.

Apparently, 15% of marketers do not track email clicks.

Only 23% of marketers track what happens after a subscriber clicks on an email message through integration analytics with their website and email software.

These numbers are very telling for a couple of reasons.

First, it seems like the majority of marketers understand the importance of tracking clicks.

Hopefully, you’re not in the bottom 15% who aren’t checking these numbers on a weekly basis.

If you are, that has to change immediately.

With that said, even though marketers understand the importance of clicks, less than 25% actually monitor what those clicks turn into on their websites.

How can you improve click-through rates?

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Give your subscribers a reason to click.

What’s the goal of your email marketing campaign?

Each message may have a different goal.

For example, one week your objective may be to increase the download rates of a free PDF e-book on your website.

Another goal may be to improve social media shares of your latest blog post.

For an ecommerce company, the primary goal would be to increase sales with each marketing campaign.

Regardless of your goal, it needs to be clearly established before you create and design your message.

Now, you can create a perfect call to action (CTA).

An effective CTA will improve your click-through rates (CTR).

The majority of businesses use CTR to measure the success of the email marketing campaigns:

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So, let’s take a step back for a second.

Obviously, you can’t measure the success of your CTR if you aren’t tracking it.

Making sure you check these statistics every week is the first step.

Now, let’s say these numbers are unsatisfactory or declining.

What can you do to improve this rate?

Create interactive emails.

Here’s an example.

Delta used real-time marketing to increase CTR by 132%.

How?

They gave their subscribers a reason to click within the message.

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This is a perfect example of how interactivity can increase clicks.

These clicks can ultimately increase sales as well.

It gives the customer a chance to click on a seat, which may be more expensive than their initial purchase.

But it’s so easy to do.

The subscriber doesn’t need to visit a website, enter their login information, search for their flight, and select a seat.

Instead, they can upgrade to a seat with extra legroom or a first class ticket with just one click.

Interactive emails can help you boost revenue through upselling in addition to improving CTR.

All of this can be accomplished by checking your click-through rate statistics each week.

4. Length of engagement

Your email marketing software may or may not track this information.

But it’s important you understand how long your subscribers stay engaged with each message.

Here’s an excellent visual representation of these statistics:

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What does this information tell you?

It looks like people have a short attention span.

If you send an email that’ll take 10 minutes to read, chances are it won’t get read.

That’s okay.

Use these engagement statistics to your advantage, and structure your campaigns accordingly.

Here’s an example from a blog post that I wrote.

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We can apply this method to your email strategy.

Let’s pretend the title is the subject line and the introduction is the message in the body of the email.

The goal of this campaign is to generate more views on this blog post.

We can generate curiosity with the email.

Don’t give out the answer right away.

I didn’t come out and say, “You should focus on SEO before PPC.”

In this case, the subscriber would have no reason to open the message.

They already know the answer.

Remember what we said earlier?

The average length of engagement is low. You only have seconds to capture the reader’s attention.

So the introduction to that blog post is perfect for the email message. It’s quick, and it still doesn’t give away the answer.

Now the subscriber is even more curious.

So they’ll click through to the blog.

Mission accomplished.

If you weren’t checking the recent statistics regarding the length of email engagement, you might not have known to apply this psychological tactic.

Stay up to date with this information on a weekly basis to see if there are any significant changes with the trend.

5. Bounce rates

Monitor your bounce rates.

Your email marketing software most likely has a feature that helps you determine the risk of a message getting filtered as spam.

Here’s an example of what it looks like on Constant Contact’s platform

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Make sure you check this before you send out your message.

If you have a high risk for getting filtered as spam, you’ll end up with a higher bounce rate.

Take a look back at your past campaigns to see what the bounce rates were.

If these statistics are high, it’s time to figure out what you’re doing wrong.

Here are some possibilities.

You might have invalid addresses on your email lists.

If that’s the case, it means your new subscriber rate is also thrown off.

Why are people entering an invalid email address?

Was it an honest mistake? Did they do this intentionally?

Look back at your subscriber acquisition strategy to analyze possible flaws in your system.

Emails could also bounce if the recipient:

  • has a full inbox
  • is on vacation with their auto-reply turned on
  • blocked your email address

Keep an eye on your bounce rate statistics each week.

If the numbers are too high, you’ll need to determine the problem.

Conclusion

You need to monitor email marketing statistics every week.

Compare your numbers to trends in the marketing industry so you can effectively measure your results.

This will help you determine how successful your campaigns are.

You’ve got to understand the tendencies of your subscribers, such as their mobile habits.

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Staying up to date on these numbers will make you a better marketer.

Here are some of the top email marketing statistics you need to check each week:

  • unsubscribe rates
  • open rates
  • click-through rates
  • length of engagement
  • bounce rates

If your unsubscribe rates and bounce rates are high, you’ve got a problem that needs to be addressed.

The only way to know whether you’re trending in the wrong direction is to check this data each week.

Even if your message gets delivered, it’s useless if the subscriber doesn’t open it.

Once it’s opened, you’ll need to make sure the recipient clicks on your call to action, leading to conversions.

Use some of the tactics I outlined in this post to increase open rates, lengthen engagement time, and improve click-through rates.

Which weekly email marketing statistic do you think is the most crucial to improving conversions in your business?





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How to Grow Your Business by Doing Less Work with UGC

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Here’s an idea.

Sit back and watch your business grow without spending money or putting in too much effort.

Sounds too good to be true?

User-generated content, also known as UGC, is an excellent way to promote your business.

This promotional concept will help you get customers without spending any money.

These are the top benefits of UGC:

  • inexpensive
  • doesn’t take much time
  • requires minimal effort

Easy, right?

Here’s the thing. You’ll obviously need to spend some money for and put maximum effort into other areas of your business.

So you’re not completely off the hook.

But UGC allows you to grow your company without occupying your time or hurting your bank account.

When executed properly, it can grow your business exponentially.

How does it work?

Let’s take a look at how UGC influences online shoppers.

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These numbers can’t be ignored.

Take this opportunity to engage with your customers.

It’s also an effective way to enhance the overall customer experience, which increases the perceived value of your customer service.

UGC means your brand is friendly.

You’re down to earth, relatable, and approachable.

Customers appreciate that.

Based on the data, 65% of customers agree UGC is more interesting than the content created by brands.

UGC is also a great opportunity to reach different market segments.

Your brand will be exposed to consumers who may be outside of your target audience.

Consumers will gladly participate and generate content for your brand.

It gives them a chance to express their opinions, values, and beliefs.

Depending on the content, it can also generate some awareness for a certain cause the consumer feels strongly about.

This is also a great chance for them to win a prize or earn a reward.

I’ll show you the best ways to grow your business with UGC.

Encourage reviews on every platform

Reviews are one of the best forms of UGC.

Customer reviews influence the purchasing decision in a positive way.

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Take a look at the graphic above.

There are six options, and only one of these comes from UGC: customer reviews.

It also ranked the highest compared to other forms of hearing about a new product or service.

How much do customer reviews cost you?

Absolutely nothing.

The content is completely produced by the consumer.

All you need to do is give your customers as many options as possible to write a review. Where?

  • Your website
  • Facebook
  • Yelp
  • Trip Advisor
  • Google Customer Reviews

If you have more options, it’s the best way to increase the chances of getting more reviews.

Customers won’t always go out of their way to leave a review unless they had a really great or really bad experience.

Obviously, you don’t want to have bad reviews about your company online, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

The trick is convincing the customers who had a good experience to review your products and generate social proof.

How do you do this?

Give them an incentive.

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If they leave a review, automatically enter them in a promotion to win a prize.

Make it easy for your customers to leave a review.

If they make an online purchase, send them a link directly to a review page.

Or even better, let them fill out the form in an interactive email.

Don’t make them go searching for review websites.

It will take too much time, and chances are they won’t go through all those steps.

You’ve got to give the customer some guidance.

Set up a profile on as many review platforms as possible, give your customers a reason to write a review, and make it as easy as possible for them.

This UGC strategy will grow your business.

Create a buzz surrounding your brand

Get people talking about your brand.

Run a promotion or a contest that will create a buzz.

It’s a great opportunity to increase customer engagement.

Plus, this will get customers to talk about your company even when they aren’t shopping.

How do you do this?

Run a campaign encouraging people to post photos of your brand and logo.

Starbucks ran a campaign that’s a perfect example of this.

It was called the #WhiteCupContest, and it encouraged customer engagement.

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Over 3 weeks, over 4,000 people participated in this campaign.

The concept was simple.

Design your own Starbucks cup, and post it on social media with their hashtag, #WhiteCupContest.

Think of it like this.

Let’s pretend each of these 4,000 people had 100 friends on social media.

That would mean Starbucks got exposed to 400,000 people in just a few weeks.

And it didn’t cost them a dime.

It’s genius.

You can follow their lead and run a similar promotion for your company.

Find a unique way to get people talking and excited about sharing your brand with their friends and followers on social media.

It’s an opportunity for you to reach potentially hundreds of thousands of people in a short amount of time.

Start brainstorming.

Let your creative team come up with a campaign that encourages users to share your content on the Internet.

Interact with your customers on social media

You should constantly be engaging with your fans through these platforms.

Like their posts.

Comment on their pictures.

They will return the favor.

Encourage your followers to share your content with their friends.

When it comes to customer care, consumers love social media.

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Users want to interact with their favorite brands.

If you make social media engagement part of your regular routine, the UGC will take care of itself.

If you think it’s a waste of time, think again!

Carbon6 Rings built a $1.7 million dollar business by providing top notch personalized customer service.

When a customer likes or comments on your page, it will show up on the newsfeeds of their friends, even if those friends don’t follow you.

It’s easy too.

You can control your social media pages from the mobile applications on your cell phone at any time during the day.

Put an emphasis on visuals.

A recent study found that people retain 65% of information three days later if it was paired with an image.

People only remember 10% of information three days later without an image included.

Engage with your customers’ images on their social media pages.

If they post an epic picture about your brand, share the content.

Thule does this on their Instagram page all the time.

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Awesome shot, right?

Look what this accomplishes.

Their followers can see the company posts user photos.

It encourages them to get out and take pictures with their Thule gear as well.

Users post a picture, tag Thule, and comment with a relevant hashtag, generating free advertising for the company.

Interacting with your customers on social media platforms promotes UGC.

Designate a specific area of your website for user-generated content

Encourage customers to create content directly on your website.

  • Forums
  • Discussion boards
  • User photo submissions

These are all great ways to get customers involved.

We just discussed the importance of photos on social media

Let’s piggyback on that topic.

Customers can submit photos directly on your website as well.

Here an example from West Elm.

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All of the images on this page come directly from customer submissions.

It gives customers a great reason to show off the new design of their homes with the furniture purchased from West Elm.

When prospective customers see this part of the website, it may give them some inspiration to make a purchase.

These future customers may also be inclined to share their photos after they get a room set up as well.

Don’t limit photo engagement to social media platforms.

Set up a page on your website for UGC as well.

Look for videos made by your customers

What’s better than photos?

Videos.

Pay attention to your fans.

50% of consumers say that UGC is more memorable than content produced by the brand itself.

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Encourage your customers to create videos.

This is a great way for customers to retain information and remember your brand.

People love videos.

In fact, 43% of consumers want to see more video content online.

Adding the word “video” to your email subject lines will increase open rates by 19% and CTR by 65%.

What can you do with this information?

Send an email to your customers telling them to submit videos while engaging with your products.

GoPro does this on its website.

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They have a section dedicated to user submissions.

See how easy it is to upload your video?

Just click the “submit” button in the top right corner.

Sure, GoPro makes cameras, so the concept of user videos may be more applicable and relevant for their brand.

But you can still come up with creative ways for customers to generate content with homemade videos.

Get those videos on your website or social media platforms.

Send a message to your followers encouraging video creation.

Send free stuff to people with a large social following

Who are your biggest fans on social media?

If you notice that the same people are constantly posting pictures about your company, send them a freebie.

I’m sure they will end up posting a picture of their gift as a thank you.

This can encourage their followers to do the same thing.

They may think, “Hey, if I start posting about this brand, maybe they will send me a gift as well.”

This turns into free advertising for your business.

The cost of giving away some gifts is minimal compared to the exposure it will give your company.

Try to get some celebrities or brand ambassadors on board with your company.

Take a look at how MVMT Watches did this with professional surfer and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Anastasia Ashley.

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Anastasia has over 1 million followers on Instagram.

So they sent her some free watches and got a massive exposure for their brand.

This will encourage others to do the same.

So go through your social media mentions.

Find out who your biggest fans are.

Take a look at their social following.

If you have some fans with a large list of followers, send them a free gift.

It’s quick, easy, and extremely inexpensive.

UGC creates social proof.

When you see people in large numbers doing something, you automatically assume it’s right.

The more people you can get to generate content for your brand, the greater the effect of social proof will be on other consumers.

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Ultimately, social proof will increase the shares and traffic across your social media pages.

Run a campaign that focuses on social awareness

Does your brand have a relationship with some sort of social movement or charitable cause?

This is an outstanding way to get UGC.

If people feel the same way about your goals, they will promote your brand.

Sharing the same charity goals can establish an emotional connection with your audience.

Create your campaign, and let the rest take care of itself.

Let’s look at an example with TOMS Shoes.

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Their concept is simple.

Buy a pair of shoes, and they will donate a pair of shoes to people in need.

TOMS stays relevant with social issues.

Take a look at one of their most recent campaigns on the website.

They are supporting the hurricane victims in the southern part of the United States.

If people have friends or family members affected by these tragic storms, they may be more inclined to share this message from TOMS.

Users can promote your business if they have an emotional connection with your cause.

Sell a lifestyle

Sell more than just a product or service.

Promote a lifestyle.

Lululemon does this with their campaign called #TheSweatLife.

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Sure, Lululemon sells fashionable athletic clothing.

But this campaign takes their brand a step further.

It promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Users have a chance to share their stories of physical and emotional changes in their lives based on a fitness journey.

It’s inspirational and encourages others to share their stories as well.

All of this creates a positive perception of the company.

Ultimately, this will grow the business and get people to buy more clothes.

Funny story.

This reminds me of how spending $162,301.42 on clothing made me $692,500.

Don’t put all of the focus on your products.

Emphasize what your brand represents, and sell a lifestyle.

This will help you get user-generated content for your company.

Question and answer boards

Let your customers communicate with each other on your website.

Question and answer boards are a great example of this.

Rather than reaching out to your technical support team, customers can create a discussion and get responses from other users.

Apple’s support communities are a perfect example of this concept.

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This encourages customers who are tech-savvy to contribute and help other users who may be struggling with their devices.

It also allows people to establish themselves as an authoritative source on certain topics.

If people have the chance to work out their problems without contacting your customer service team, it frees up your employees to help other customers.

This will lower the wait time for people who want to call or chat with a technical support agent online.

Apple is a pioneer and trendsetter in the digital community.

It’s always a good idea to take advice from companies with high success rates.

Take a page from Apple’s playbook and create a user-generated question and answer board on your website.

This will increase traffic to your page, helping you grow your business.

Conclusion

User-generated content is one of the best ways to grow your business without spending money or exerting too much effort.

It’s easy.

Let your customers promote your business for you.

Give them lots of options across multiple platforms to review your products.

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Interact with your customers on social media.

Run promotional campaigns that encourage people to post photos and share content with their friends.

This won’t cost you anything but can expose your brand to thousands of people outside your target audience.

Don’t limit these campaigns to just photos.

Videos are priceless.

Give away some products for free, especially if you have fans with large social followings.

This UGC strategy also creates a social proof of concept.

Don’t sell a product. Sell a lifestyle.

Let your customers share their stories on your website.

Set up a page that’s strictly for user content.

You can even create a question and answer board that’s completely handled by the users.

If you want to grow your business without spending money or trying too hard, you need to start implementing UGC strategies right away.

What kind of contest will you run on social media to encourage user-generated content with photos and videos?





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How to Build Your Email List Using Facebook Live

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How often do you use Facebook Live video streaming?

If your answer is never or not very often, you need to change that.

You can use Facebook Live for various marketing campaigns.

It can also help you add subscribers to your email list.

Leveraging your live video streaming skills the right way can help you multitask.

Obviously, you want to promote your brand, products, and services.

And you want to add more people to your email list.

Facebook Live allows you to do all of these things simultaneously.

One of the best parts of this live-streaming platform is the quality.

You won’t have to worry about lag time or stability.

During the 2016 Presidential debates, Facebook Live had the lowest delay time of all viewing platforms.

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That was with nearly 300,000 people watching the debates on Facebook at the same time.

Those are impressive numbers.

Concerns about video quality or lag are no excuse for you to be avoiding Facebook Live.

In this post, I’ll explain how you can use this marketing tool to grow your email list.

Give an in-depth explanation of different subjects

Facebook allows you to stream live videos for long periods of time.

However, there is a 4-hour time limit for each live stream.

Do you need to go live for 4 hours?

Not necessarily.

But longer videos generate more views than shorter ones.

In fact, last year, four of the top five most viewed Facebook Live videos were over 3 hours long.

There’s no magic number you need to reach that says you’ve been on long enough.

Generally speaking, long videos give you more time to attract a large audience.

Ask your followers to receive a notification whenever you go live.

Just have them click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of your stream:

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This will help ensure you get more viewers during the video.

Facebook Live streams get watched 3 times longer than regular videos on Facebook.

What should you do with all this time?

Take advantage of it.

If you’re trying to grow your email list, give your viewers a pitch for why they should subscribe.

What kind of value are you offering your subscribers?

They won’t just join your email list because you tell them to.

If you’re planning to be on Facebook Live for several hours, understand that your audience will change throughout this time frame.

Just because you plugged your email list during the first 10 minutes of the stream doesn’t mean you can’t do it again later.

Look, I’m not saying you should sound like a broken record. You don’t need to bring it up every five minutes.

But make a conscious effort to direct the viewers to sign up for your emails a couple of times through your broadcast.

Promote your products

Let’s piggyback on that last topic.

You’ve got lots of time to spend in front of your audience.

Use that time wisely.

Pitch your brand, products, and services.

Consumers would much rather watch a video about your product than read about it.

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Here’s a great opportunity for you to kill two birds with one stone.

The birds are:

  1. product sales
  2. email list growth.

Ultimately, you’re trying to add email subscribers so you can increase sales and conversions, right?

It’s not often you have a chance to add subscribers while promoting your product at the same time.

This is how you can do it.

Tell your Facebook Live audience about your product.

Now, tell them you have exclusive discounts and promotions for the members of your email subscription list.

It’s easy to accomplish this with Facebook Live.

As we already established, consumers would rather see your products in a video than read about them.

You’re giving customers exactly what they want.

This is a great way to create effective customer service.

Amazing customer service can help you double your revenue.

Pitch your products, and direct your viewers to sign up for emails so they can receive a discount.

Trust me, it will work.

Establish a personal connection with your viewers

Live video-streaming is the perfect opportunity for you to show off your personality.

Be funny.

Show the audience you’re a real person, not a nameless and faceless brand.

Be personal and personable.

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It will help you develop a longer relationship with your customers.

Facebook Live is the perfect platform to enhance the customer experience.

What happens when you establish a personal relationship with your customers?

They are willing to spend more money.

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Let’s take a step back to analyze this.

If a customer is willing to spend more money based on a personal connection with your brand, what else would they be willing to do?

Surely, they will join your email subscription list.

Just ask.

It’s free, so they should be on board with this.

Remember to bring up your email subscriptions during your live streams.

If you’ve got a good personality, your viewers will want to hear from you.

This is a perfect chance to promote your blog.

Establishing a personal connection is one of the reasons why every business should have a blog.

During your Facebook Live stream, you can say: “Unfortunately, I can’t be streaming live 24/7.”

If your viewers want more exclusive content, tell them: “Sign up for my email list, and you’ll get notified every time I release a new post.”

This will keep your viewers, readers, and customers interested in your brand.

It’s also a simple way to help you add subscribers to your email list via Facebook Live.

Use interactivity tactics

Get your viewers interacting with you during the live stream.

How? Through:

  • likes
  • shares
  • comments.

Facebook Live videos are native, meaning they play within your feed instead of linking to another site.

Native videos on Facebook have a 1055% higher share rate than videos with an outbound link.

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What does this mean?

Viewers are already more inclined to share your video and interact with you while you’re streaming. Encourage them to do more.

Let’s say you’re running a contest.

Randomly select a viewer who liked or shared the stream.

You can even run a contest within the comment section of the live video.

Encourage comments by saying you’re going to pick the most creative or funniest comment.

Here’s how you can translate these interactions into growing your email list.

After you select a winner and give away a prize, announce you’ll be running another online giveaway for the subscribers on your email list.

The viewers just saw you’re giving stuff away, so this gives them an added incentive to subscribe to your email list.

Facebook Live is the most popular live streaming application.

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Encouraging interactivity here is your best shot at attracting the most viewers.

If you have more viewers, you’ll have a greater chance of adding people to your email subscription list.

Dedicate a specific time each week to go live

Think of Facebook Live like of your own television show.

What’s your favorite program on TV? It doesn’t just come on randomly, right?

The show plays at a specific time each day or each week. That’s how it builds an audience.

You can apply the same concept to your live streaming.

You just learned that a larger audience increases the chances of getting more email subscribers, so make sure you go live on a regular basis.

What’s the best time to go live?

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Based on the graph above, the middle of the week is the best time for you to broadcast a live video.

Try to schedule your stream on Wednesdays if it works for your agenda.

The time of day when you go live matters too.

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Going live late at night increases the average number of total engagements.

Take both of these graphs into consideration when scheduling your live streams.

Based on the data from this study, late Wednesday night is the best time for you to go live.

You’ll increase your chances of getting a larger audience that’s more actively engaged.

It’s the perfect time to promote your email subscriptions and build your list.

Just make sure your content is fresh.

Media publications use Facebook Live the most.

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That’s because they tend to have breaking news stories on hot topics.

Don’t go through the same script every week.

Mix it up to keep the audience entertained and wanting to come back for more.

Use different platforms to drive traffic to your live stream

Promote your live videos.

Facebook has 2 billion active monthly users.

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But that doesn’t mean you can’t promote your live stream on other platforms.

Tell your current email subscribers about your live video schedule.

They may forward that email to a friend or tell people directly.

Promote your live videos on:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • your website
  • blogs

Use all your resources to drive traffic to these videos.

It’s worth it because your videos will yield a high return on your investment.

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It won’t cost you much money to broadcast a live video.

Sure, it will take some time out of your day, and maybe you’ll give away some products.

But both of these are marginal costs compared to other marketing campaigns you’re running.

This is especially true if you can convert your live video viewers into email subscribers.

The ROI for email marketing is extremely lucrative as well. On average, companies can expect to earn $44 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

This return is up to four times greater than returns on other marketing tactics.

It’s worth your efforts to promote your Facebook Live videos on other channels.

More viewers means more email subscribers and a high return on your investment.

Add captions to your videos

We know that 85% of Facebook Live videos get watched without sound.

Adding captions to your videos can increase the average viewing time by 12%.

This is important to know.

It’s likely that the majority of your viewers will be watching you on mute.

You can’t rely solely on your words.

Have some props and other visuals ready when you’re broadcasting.

Get some professionally made signs and posters with information about your brand.

You can hold these up periodically, depending on what you’re talking about.

I’d also recommend having some signs fixed in the background of your stream if you don’t plan on moving around too much.

Use a third party closed caption service, like Telestream or Ai-Media, to enable live captions.

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This way, everything you say will be transcribed on the screen for your viewers to read.

Since the majority of these people won’t be watching with the sound on, it’s a great way to increase viewer retention.

This will make it much easier for you to add subscribers to your email list.

Conclusion

Facebook Live isn’t going anywhere.

In fact, Facebook even paid people to go live in order to promote this platform.

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This is great news for you as a marketer.

You can use Facebook Live to build your email list.

Since this platform lets you stream for up to 4 hours at a time, it gives you a chance to go in-depth about certain topics.

Longer streams increase your chances of obtaining more viewers.

Tell your audience to “follow” you, so they receive a notification every time you go live.

Promote your products during a live stream.

Run contests and giveaways.

You can use these promotions as an incentive for the viewers to join your email list.

Show off your personality, and establish a connection with your audience. Customers are likely to spend more money with brands they trust.

The best time to go live is Wednesday nights. That’s when you’ll have the best chance for the most viewers and a high engagement rate with your audience.

Enable live closed captions on your stream since the majority of the people watching will have the sound turned off.

During your next Facebook Live stream, what promotion will you use to entice your audience to join your email list?





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How to Increase Revenue Without Acquiring New Customers

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What’s your company’s growth strategy?

Businesses need continuous development to get out of a plateau.

I’ve spoken to many people about their marketing plans, and most of them are trying to come up with new ways to add more customers.

While customer acquisition is great, it’s not always necessary if your primary goal is to increase revenue.

Focusing on your existing customers will save and make you money too.

Don’t believe me?

Calculate your customer acquisition cost:

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That’s how much money it takes for you to get just one new customer.

Was it higher than you thought it would be?

If you’re spending too much money on customer acquisition, it could bleed your company’s bank account dry.

Now, divide that number by 7.

Do you think that’s a little bit more reasonable?

Well, that’s how much it will cost you to retain an existing customer:

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Plus, it’s easier to retain a customer.

They are already familiar with your brand, products, or services. There’s no learning curve and no need for the proof of concept with these customers.

You just have to keep them engaged and give them a reason to keep coming back.

If your current growth strategy isn’t working, it’s time to put a new one to the test.

Instead of focusing on new customers, put more effort into your existing ones.

Emphasize the customer experience

Evaluate your process.

What’s the step-by-step procedure a customer needs to go through to complete a sale?

Put yourself in the shoes of a consumer, and build a customer journey map.

This will help you determine the strengths of your organization as well as areas needing some improvement.

Having repeat customers doesn’t mean your system is perfect.

Your customers may not be completely satisfied, but they’re waiting for you to make the necessary adjustments.

Anything you can do to make things easier for the customer will improve their experience.

That’s why nearly 90% of businesses say customer experience is a driving force for loyalty and retention.

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Here’s why that’s important.

Eighty-eight percent of consumers said they would pay more for a better customer experience.

That’s right.

Your existing customers are willing to pay more for your products and services if you can improve the existing process.

But here’s a problem I see all the time. Businesses don’t know how to identify those areas that need improvement.

Earlier I suggested building a customer journey map, but that doesn’t work for everyone. You need to ask your customers directly.

Create surveys.

Conduct interviews.

Give your customers an opportunity to speak their minds.

Even if they are complaining, it’s good for your business.

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For every 26 unhappy customers, 25 will leave without saying a word.

You still have the opportunity to salvage the relationships with the ones who complained.

Chances are if one customer has feedback about your company’s product or service, they aren’t the only one who feels that way.

Take the results of your surveys and interviews very seriously.

Here are some examples of improvements you can make:

  • simplify the checkout process
  • provide more personalized products or content
  • optimize your website for mobile devices
  • offer more discounts or promotions
  • adjust your customer service hours

I realize it’s tough to implement lots of changes at the same time. But don’t get overwhelmed.

Focus on one thing at a time, and make sure each adjustment improves the customer experience.

Enhance customer loyalty

Loyalty is a key factor in customer retention.

Just because your repeat customers continue to buy from your business does not mean they are loyal.

Your company may just be convenient for them at the current time.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario to illustrate my point.

Let’s say you own a local coffee shop.

You have a customer who comes in nearly every day for their morning espresso.

This customer doesn’t like going to national chains, and you’re the closest local spot to their home.

They don’t mind the 10-minute drive each day as long as they are supporting a local business.

However, a new local coffee shop just opened up, and it’s only 2 minutes away from the customer’s house.

A loyal customer will continue to make the 10 minute drive to your place.

See the difference?

It also depends on your industry:

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Look at where coffee is in this graphic.

It’s a retention-dependent industry whereas a low-frequency purchase, such as a vehicle, is more dependent on acquisition.

The average American has a car for 6.5 years. It’s difficult for an auto sales company to maintain customer loyalty over such a long period of time.

But it’s not impossible, especially if you can get that customer to keep coming back for regular maintenance and services on their vehicle.

What’s the best way to create loyalty?

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In the ecommerce industry, you have to have strong email and social media marketing skills.

Both of these channels keep customers engaged, allowing you to establish personalized connections with them.

I’ll elaborate more on these topics as we continue.

Master your email marketing strategy

Don’t make it complicated.

Email marketing may be simple, but it’s super effective.

Make sure your messages provide value to the recipient.

Don’t send emails just for the sake of starting a new campaign.

Consider the following reasons for contacting your subscriber list via email:

  • keep them informed (new product, website update, etc.)
  • news release
  • discount or promotional offer
  • shopping cart abandonment message
  • order confirmation (plus order shipped and delivered)
  • surveys

Don’t spam your customers.

Receiving emails too frequently can be a major turn off for them and cause them to unsubscribe from your list.

That’s counterproductive.

For retail businesses, email marketing had the most significant impact on customer retention rates:

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Here’s something else to consider.

Not all your current customers are subscribed to your email list.

Converting your existing customers into your subscribers should be part of your retention strategy.

You just have to give them an incentive to sign up.

Offer a discount.

Look at how Perry Ellis does this on their website:

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You can use the same strategy on your site as well.

Ecommerce stores can also include an opt-in CTA in the order confirmation messages to those who checked out as guests.

You’re contacting these people regardless, so it makes sense to give them this option.

To give the customer some extra incentive, you can include a discount or exclusive offer here as well.

Personalize your communication when contacting customers via email.

Include their first name in the message.

Consider your tone when you’re writing.

Your voice shouldn’t sound robotic (even though the message might be automated).

Which one of these opening lines sounds better to you?

“Dear valued customer,”

or

“Happy Friday, Susan!”

The second option is much more personal.

This strategy will increase your open rates.

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You can use your email marketing strategy to re-engage with customers who haven’t been active in a while.

This message will show them you appreciate their business.

If you can re-connect with a customer who hasn’t bought anything from your brand in the last 6 months, it will help increase your revenue.

Here’s an example from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:

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Even if your company isn’t a nonprofit organization, you can still employ the “we miss you” tactic.

Embrace social media to connect with your customers

If you want to have high customer retention rates, you can’t slack off in the social media department.

Consumers use Facebook for much more than just uploading pictures from their most recent vacations.

They want to interact with brands as well.

There are over 65 million local businesses on Facebook’s platform.

Your customers are significantly more active on these social channels than they are on your website.

It’s much more convenient for them to contact you here.

This goes back to what we discussed earlier regarding the customer experience.

If the only way your customers can contact you is Monday through Friday via telephone between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, that’s going to limit customer satisfaction.

But if you’re active on social platforms like:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube,

your customers have more options and can select one based on their preference.

If you can find ways to increase engagement with your current customers, your revenue will grow as a result.

Live video streaming can help you accomplish this.

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Consumers love live video content.

Compared to a pre-recorded video, people watch live streams three times longer, which means they’re engaged.

Think of your stream as a television show.

Don’t just come on randomly whenever you feel like it.

Schedule a time once a week to broadcast so your followers know exactly when they can expect to hear from you.

Getting weekly viewers can establish brand loyalty, which we discussed earlier.

Marketers who currently use live video to engage their existing customers believe it establishes a more authentic interaction with the viewers.

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Here are some additional social media engagement tips:

  • respond to all comments on your page
  • post every day
  • answer customer service questions as fast as possible
  • run exclusive promotions

That last point is one of my favorite techniques, especially if you’re trying to create an effective customer retention strategy.

Everyone loves to get something free. So, give the people what they want. Or at least give them a chance to win.

Starbucks does this all time:

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Their #RedCupContest encourages customers to design a cup and share their photos on social media.

It’s a brilliant strategy in terms of brand exposure in addition to the customer retention benefits.

Learn how to cross-sell and upsell

You can generate more revenue from your current customers by getting them to spend more money each time they make a purchase.

Here’s how it works.

Upselling encourages a customer to buy something similar to their initial purchase, but “higher end” (and more expensive).

Cross-selling entices the customer to make a purchase that will compliment something else they’ve bought.

These strategies are effective regardless of your industry.

It doesn’t have to be a tangible product.

For example, if you run a website to generate revenue, you can offer a more expensive monthly subscription to your users as an upselling strategy.

Businesses offering a service such as insurance cross-sell to their customers by offering home insurance as well as auto insurance.

Make sense?

Find out how you can apply these strategies to your business.

B2B companies have adopted this strategy too.

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The more products or services your customers buy from you, the more likely they are to become emotionally invested in your business.

This establishes customer loyalty, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

Conclusion

While getting new customers is always exciting for a business, it’s not the only way to increase your revenue stream.

Look at your customer retention strategy first.

It’s often easier and significantly less expensive to implement than the customer acquisition strategy.

The customer experience is vital.

Focus on ways you can make adjustments that enhance your current process, structure, and platforms.

If you’re struggling to identify areas needing improvement, ask your customers for feedback through a survey or interview.

You need to increase customer loyalty.

Recognize that repeat customers are not necessarily loyal customers.

It’s important to know the difference.

The top two ways to increase loyalty and retention are:

  1. email
  2. social media

Mastering these strategies will improve retention rates throughout the customer life cycle:

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Personalize your email campaigns.

Make sure your email provides value to the subscriber.

Try to get your existing customers to opt in to your email list if they haven’t subscribed yet.

When you’re interacting with customers on social media, you need to encourage engagement.

That’s why live video streams are such an effective strategy.

You can also increase revenue by getting your existing customers to spend more money each time they purchase something.

Cross-selling and upselling techniques can accomplish this for you.

You need to promote your most profitable products and services while learning how to recommend other complementary purchases.

If you follow these tips, you’ll generate more revenue without having to add new customers.

What kind of social media promotion are you going to run in order to engage your followers and increase customer retention?





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