Keep ‘Em Hooked: 3 Emails You Must Send to Every Buyer

Customer retention process main

Ecommerce transactions can lack a personal touch. That’s why you should send these three emails to every buyer.

As a local business owner, your job is not done when someone buys your product. Now you have to ensure that the customer comes back. After all, depending on which study you read, it can cost six times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to convert a first-time customer into a repeat buyer.

This spring, I worked with TheraSpecs founder Hart Shafer to improve his customer retention processes. As background, TheraSpecs are precision-tinted eyewear that filter out the harmful light that causes eyestrain, headaches, and migraines.

We decided that there were three emails that were critical to send within one month of every online purchase.

1. Thank your buyer.

When you buy something at a physical store, the cashier thanks you. Unfortunately, ecommerce transactions lack that personal touch. That’s why you should send a heartfelt thank you to every buyer via email.

Be sure to include any special instructions for the product and invite the buyer to stay connected by subscribing to your email list or following you in social media. You might want to include the invitation to connect as a P.S. to avoid the hard sell.

2. Ask how you did.

A few weeks after the product ships, it’s time to check in. The simplest means of doing so is the Net Promoter Score approach. An NPS email asks the simple question “How likely is it that you would recommend our product to a friend?” The recipient then picks a number between 0 and 10. That’s it!

You get straight-forward, structured feedback that’s easy to act upon. And buyers are able to give feedback with a single click and get back to their days.

3a. Follow up with passives and promoters.

Anyone who scored you seven or higher is considered a passive (7-8) or a promoter (9-10). As part of your customer retention process, these folks should receive an email thanking them for their high rating and inviting them again to subscribe to your email list or follow you in social media.

You can even go the extra mile by offering them a discount code to share with friends or use themselves. Hey, if they say they’re likely to recommend your product, may as well give them a little nudge.

3b. Follow up with detractors.

Buyers who scored you below seven are considered detractors. Handle these folks with care. In an era of online reviews and ratings, they can really damage your brand. Email them to show your concern and ask what went wrong. If you’re willing to make things right for them, you might save the sale.

TheraSpecs buyers rarely score as detractors. But some do. One recent detractor explained that the lenses didn’t fully cover her eyes, allowing painful light through around the edges of the frames. TheraSpecs responded by exchanging her frames with a style offering more coverage. Within weeks, the detractor had become a promoter.

Boy, that’s a lot of emails …

As you can imagine, all these emails can be a bear to manage – especially if you do a high volume of business online. Not only do you have to remember when to send each email, you also have to track which buyer gave you which NPS score.

This is where marketing automation comes in.

Marketing automation solutions can be very expensive and very complex. Fortunately, for a simple email drip campaign like the NPS sequence described above, you don’t have to blow up your budget. In fact, I built TheraSpecs’ NPS campaign using ActiveCampaign, which costs as little as $9 per month.

Considering the cost difference between acquiring a new buyer and converting a first-time buyer into a repeat customer, $9 per month is chump change.

Will you try sending these emails as part of your customer retention process?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


  1. says

    Good article, Matt. Would love to see the flow diagram/funnel for the NPS campaign and the SaaS involved.

    ie I imagine something like
    Use a Zap to update a buyer from Gumroad (or other) onto AC ‘buyers’ list, with a hidden field for SKU. (Add a tag).
    Email them automagically with a Wufoo or AC form with the rating.
    If statements based on their answer.


    • says

      Great question! If I remember correctly, the client uses Magento shopping cart and a basic API integration with ActiveCampaign. The ratings (1 through 10) in the NPS email were hyperlinked to unique landing pages. When the user clicked the rating, the click was noted in his contact record within ActiveCampaign. That funneled him into one messaging channel or another based on his score. Damn I love this stuff!

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