With the explosion of e-commerce, retailers are constantly vying for customers’ attention online, and buying options seem limitless.  If you’ve already succeeded in getting people to purchase something from you, you can use email to leverage that connection to keep them coming back.  Meeting buyers where they are and anticipating what they want will help you optimize customer retention, an oft-undervalued component of marketing.

Invite them to come back.

If it’s been a while since their last purchase, send a friendly note to let them know that you haven’t seen them in a few months.  Personalize your message by mentioning what they last purchased, adding that you hope they enjoyed the product.

Pay attention to past purchases.

Instead of bombarding customers with emails every time a new product comes out, notify them when you have a new item related to what they’ve bought previously.  They’ll appreciate the personalized attention.  Likewise, you can provide information about other products that customers frequently purchase together.  Rather than just presenting the items, as many sites do, you can educate your customers about products’ special features and accessories.

Use what you know about the customer.

When using demographics to suggest items your customers might want or need, you aren’t limited to marketing according to their purchase history.  Understand your audience, and recognize when they are most wiling to buy.  Find creative ways to encourage them to consider a product or service.

Keep it simple when requesting feedback.

Think of the last time you were asked to complete an online survey or rate a product.  You may have opted out because you were tasked with answering volumes of questions or writing a lengthy review.  If you want feedback from your customers, make it easy on them by providing a Q & A format in which they can give their opinion with just one click.

Establish rapport.

When they give feedback, respond promptly to their questions, criticisms, and comments.  Thank them for their input.  Customers appreciate it when you provide stellar customer service without pressuring them to buy.

Marketing via email has been around for a long time, but developing a strategy behind it enables you to go about it from new angles.  The key is to know your customers.  Track their ordering habits and preferences to offer them what they want rather than just trying to make a sale.  Engaging with your customers  will keep them coming back.  Even better, satisfied customers will tell others about you, allowing you to expand your marketing platform.