Contributions to Profit Discover the Power of Confirmation
By Jim Gilbert
One major value of the Internet and e-mail is the power to keep customers involved and informed throughout the purchase cycle. From confirming receipt of an order, to notifying customers of back orders or shipments, event-triggered e-mail tied to your customer database can build your brand, create positive relationships and generate sales.
Below, I've put together some effective ways to use e-mail:
1. Use e-mail sign-up confirmations. Although the industry numbers are increasing, there are many companies that don't send out confirmation e-mails when I opt in to receive their newsletters, sales materials and the like. A simple confirmation e-mail is the perfect vehicle to set the tone for your brand and the first sale. If you don't send out a confirmation via e-mail, I have one word for you: Start. If you do, you might be able to do more by adding in some content about your company and the products you sell. You may even want to use this e-mail to stimulate the initial sale by offering a discount off the first order.
2. Confirm all catalog requests placed online. While we all can put up a confirmation screen on our Web sites stating, "You'll receive your catalog shortly," this is a prime opportunity to deliver a message via e-mail with creative that affirms your brand, and/or an offer to drive the first sale.
3. Extend the retail experience. I was in a retail store recently that had to order an item for me that was not in stock. Earlier this week, I got a very nice call from the salesperson saying my product was in, and thanking me again for ordering.
4. Send e-mails after your customers have ordered and after their orders have shipped. Much in the same way, I love to get confirmation e-mails after I order and also when my order has been shipped. I like the way it connects me to my purchase and the company I'm buying from. It's also an excellent forum for cross-selling items that are complimentary to my purchase.