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We are all familiar with the maxim that it is easier to drive sales from existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Yet, how come many businesses today are failing to leverage this in their email marketing strategy?

After all, whenever we hit the high street, a sales representative will suggest buying a special polish to go with those brand new shoes; but we seem to have forgotten to translate that experience to the digital world.

Or maybe we just don’t know where to start… how about here?

Always be mindful of timing and content

If there’s one tip to keep in mind throughout your planning it’s this – the key to delivering an impactful cross-sell program to your existing customers is being mindful about the timing and content of your email campaigns.

Why? If you include too much content driven from data about your customers that they didn’t know you had, the email could seem a little creepy. On the other hand, if you don’t include any data-driven content, or get the timing wrong, the email could seem like a lazy attempt at marketing.

Keeping this in mind, there are now three key steps that I’d recommend to:

1. Integrate your tech

There is nothing worse than receiving an email with a discount after you have made a purchase, right? So make sure your email service provider (ESP) can help you avoid this through a robust feed of transactional data from your point of sales system; make sure you have the most accurate view of every customer at all times.

A transactional data integration will make it easy for you to segment customers based on purchase date, product codes, value of purchase and many other data variables. You can then feed the data into triggered campaigns that contain personalised recommendations based on previous behaviour.

2. Leverage your data

Bringing your transactional data to your ESP is just the first step. Now you need to formulate a plan in order to make sense of, and truly leverage, the data you have. Can you identify patterns of complementary products, popular add-ons, and even potential future purchases? Amazon is the king of product recommendations, so spend some time analysing their strategy.

gambia-experience-logoUsing this insight, you can create a highly targeted cross-sell program for segments of customer with a certain purchase history and behaviour that you’ve identified and defined. This targetedcampaign example from Serenity Holidays resulted in an 88% increase in the click-to-sale ratio compared to a non-targeted email.

And don’t forget, if you sell any consumable products that customers are likely to need in the future, use their purchase dates to create simple replenishment reminders.

3. Automate your programs

mango-bike-campaign-previewThe best part of creating a cross-sell program is that technology allows you to automate a big part of it. Once you have set up your filters, customer segments and any relevant dynamic content, you can setup triggered campaigns to launch based on a time passed or certain subscriber behaviour.

With the help of marketing automation, you can really can nail the relevancy of your communications.  This final step is key to the success of your email marketing, customer engagement, and maximising the revenue opportunity from every customer. Mango Bikes used this strategy and achieved a 2337% ROI from their automated campaign.

Maintain their trust

Email marketing provides a solid foundation from which you can create cross-sell programs that make a real difference to your business; you’ve already earned the trust of your customers, as they have chosen to buy from you, but what are you going to do to maintain their trust and keep them engaged?