Most companies use Nurture strategies for marketing programs, with the goal of moving prospects through the sales funnel using emails, or social media, to offer content, promotions, and personal touchpoints. But sometimes we give short-shift to continuing this process once someone becomes a customer.
Harvard Business School found an increase in customer retention by just 5% can lead to an increase in profits by up to 95%.
The type of business you operate will determine how much time should be devoted to nurturing customer relationships versus lead generation and finding new clients, whether your business is primarily transactional or if you enjoy high repeat customers and recurring revenue. The BlueBird Marketing Nurture Lifecycle highlights the various stages at which email programs, or social campaigns, may be utilized for engagement. Here we’ll focus on engaging and retaining customers.
There are many ways to increase your engagement with customers to further opportunities for cross and up-selling, references, loyalty and renewals. Here are some key ideas to integrate email campaign tactics into your company’s customer relationship nurture process.
1. Customer OnBoarding . . .Welcome new clients and setting expectations for interactions.
A. Send a ‘welcome to the family’ email as well as a reach out from the account manager or sales rep. Include contact info & highlights about your key services and benefits.
B. Prepare touchpoint emails that allow clients to learn about the product or service they purchased. Include product instructions, how to get support, and ways to engage/learn from other customers.
C. If you offer complimentary products or services – begin to make suggestions to start the cross or up sell conversation.
2. Satisfaction or Product Improvement Surveys. Talk about what’s coming down the pike.
People love to be heard and listened to. Prepare a short survey to get their input.
- How did they experience the sales cycle, what would make it easier?
- How do they like the product? What suggestions or improvements do they have?
- Keep it brief – under 10 questions and less than 5 minutes. Make sure you tabulate your data too – it will be useful in many ways.
3. Loyalty and Referral a Friend Programs. Get them to be your spokesperson.
A. Prospects love to hear from customers. Ask your key clients if they will allow you to use their name and a quote in your marketing.
B. Offer to let them write/participate in a blog, article or case study on your behalf.
C. Start a Refer a Friend program. Add to your Customer emails/Newsletters and incent them with discounts/promotions or pure awards/gifts, depending on your product/price point.
4. Periodic Announcements/News/Product Updates. Keep your Customers fully informed.
A. Customer Newsletters or periodic updates about the product and your company. Has your Company reached a pivotal milestone?
B. Are you launching a new or updated product? How will it affect them? Did current clients help shape the new release?
C. Upgrade options and promotional discounts just for them.
D. Pre-Renewal communications to remove any obstacles at renewal time or with the process.
Overall, by deploying simple touchpoints, either through email, social, direct mail or in person, your customers will feel like they are important and valued, and it will keep them engaged with your company.
Direct Marketing News found that engagement/relationship strength has 12 X more influence on retention and repeat purchases than satisfaction. 
This article written by Carol Spillman, Sr. Best Practices Consultant and Amy Cole, Best Practices Consultant, Bluebird Strategies
BlueBird Strategies is a marketing automation and demand generation agency for fast-growing tech companies, including established firms and venture-backed startups. Our team acts as a flexible adjunct to client marketing and sales teams, finding and filling the gaps in demand generation and funnel management.
 Infographic by RightOn Interactive – https://d39a28rhl1iwx3.cloudfront.net/tu/final%20lifecycle%20movement%20jpg.jpg?ROIID=1009065 – http://hbr.org/  Infographic by RightOn Interactive – https://d39a28rhl1iwx3.cloudfront.net/tu/final%20lifecycle%20movement%20jpg.jpg?ROIID=1009065 – from http://www.dmnews.com/the-sales-funnel-is-dead/article/312056/