The most important email you’ll send this holiday season

Email marketing is one of those things most small business owners know they should be using more, but one of the first marketing undertakings to take a back seat when the going gets, well, going.

You’ve got customers to help, returns to process, sales to manage, employees to look over, inventory to stock, payroll and other book management, as well as the many untold and unexpected responsibilities you have yet to prioritize, and that doesn’t take into account your personal and family duties.  

Don’t worry; we’re not suggesting you tackle your full email marketing strategy today. We are, however, suggesting you try to implement this one follow-up email this holiday season.

Send a Thank You email after a customer shops your store

A simple Thank You message may just be the most important email you will send this holiday season. It could turn first-time buyers into lifelong, loyal customers. Whether you’re sending this email to your best customers or you send it to your latest patron, this one email could pay dividends for the year to come. Customers who feel understood and appreciated by the stores they shop, particularly local businesses, will spend significantly more with those businesses. In fact, the average customer will spend upwards of 10 times what they spent in their first purchase.

The holiday shopping season is an excellent opportunity for local businesses to grow their customer base. It’s not just the season for big discount weekends and sales days. It's a chance to connect with your community, and if you correctly engage your customers, it will be the time of year you turn gift-buyers into lifelong, loyal customers.

Your email doesn’t have to be complicated. The more simple, the better. A simple format like this may be all it takes. 

  • Thank them again for their business - You're about to ask these customers for a light favor; don't forget to thank them first. 

  • Ask about their in-store experience - It will surprise you how many people will provide you feedback, most of which is positive when you ask them. And don’t be afraid to ask them how you could improve. Showing customers you’re dedicated to improving their experience in your store is one of the fastest ways to build trust with a customer

  • Most importantly, invite them to review your business -  Reviews are gold when it comes to future customer acquisition, and the more recent the review, the more impactful it will have for prospective shoppers. 7 out of 10  people will leave a review if you ask them to. Not only will this help you build your customer base (increasing your online reviews has a direct correlation with increasing sales and customer loyalty) but it will make them feel heard and let them know you value their opinion as well as their business.

  • Lastly, offer them a discount on their next purchase - Give them a reason to come back. Not just because you and your staff are nice, but because you’re committed to keeping their business.

Why this matters

This is an email you can’t afford not to send. Finding new customers is 6-7 times more expensive than keeping a current one. Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times their initial purchase. It’s no wonder that repeat customers spend 67% more.

The holiday season is one of the best opportunities local businesses have to grow their customer base. With the flood of first-time shoppers and a simple follow-up strategy like this one, you could be looking at the difference between a one-time visitor and a life-long patron. The only disclaimer: you have to win their loyalty quickly. A follow-up email a month or so later is too late.


Take action

Ask your customers to review and like your business online. Reviews are as good as new customers. The better your online reputation, the more likely new customers are to visit your store. An overwhelming majority of consumers (88%) trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

Even if you don’t have a full email follow-up campaign, a simple sign at check out may be all it takes to get some of your most loyal and trusted customers supporting and talking about your business where your future customers are looking.

Lastly, if you haven’t already, be sure you've claimed your listings on review platforms. Just because you’re not using them doesn’t mean your customers aren’t.