As business owners or marketing people, we work hard to get new customers through the door. We work so hard that we sometimes forget the customers we’ve already got.

Does it annoy you how unfair it is that new phone contract or mortgage customers get a great deal? A far better one than the loyal old customers who stay with the company year after year? Well, it’s the same with your own customers.

Except, in this case, it’s not (always!) about the money, but the appreciation.

Keeping a good customer relationship going after the first sale is one of the best moves you can make. After all, it makes a lot of sense. You don’t need to put the effort in to attract them to your site in the first place – they’ve already seen it. You know that they like your products – they’ve already bought at least one. But how best to keep that going?

The phrase “treat them mean to keep them keen” isn’t going to work here. Did it ever? Instead, it should be something like, “treat them well to make that sale”. Ok, that doesn’t quite work, but you get the picture. You need to show your appreciation to them, and keep on showing it in different ways. Make sure to say thanks.

Here are seven post-purchase emails to keep customers coming back for more.

1. Send a Thank You Message

The simplest way to say thanks is, of course, a thank you message.

Most of the time, it makes sense to automatically include this in the purchase confirmation email. As in, “Thank you for buying xx product, here are the relevant details.”

Some also choose to include a little greetings card or postcard in the package, when it arrives. Again, stating thank you, that you hope they enjoy the product, and that if there are any problems to get in touch. Just don’t forget to add contact details like an address or a business phone number.

As well as those confirmation emails, there are other opportunities. You can say thank you when a customer sets up an account with you, signs up for a newsletter, or leaves a review.

Personalize your messages each time. Use simple automation software to include their name and relevant details. Make it easy for them to interact further by adding a link for reviews. You can also direct them to other products they might like. These messages can be long or short, and include graphics or stay as simple as you want.

2. Reply to Reviews and Questions

No matter how well-crafted your marketing blurb is, many customers cut right to the reviews.

The opinions of real people reflect how they feel. They cover value for money, if the item has been well described, if it looks like the photo, and, above all, if they like it.

They will talk about customer service, if it was in stock, if it came on time, and other concerns. The review reveals all. And it is easy to get them, by utilizing post-purchase surveys.

Of course, a good review is what you are looking for. When you get these, reply via email and online publicly if possible. Say how glad you are that they liked the item. Personalize your reply if you can, so that they know it is not a cut and paste job. The customer will feel that you have a connection.

If they didn’t like the item, and gave a one-star review, you must also immediately reply. Don’t be offended, as it’s a valuable learning point.

Of course, some people like giving mean reviews with no real reason. Even if that seems to be the case, you should still address their points. Tell them that you are sorry that they had any problems, such as out of stock items. Direct them to get in contact with customer services to discuss their issues and give you a chance to make it right.

Order management software can make sure fewer problems like this happen in the first place.

The benefit of this communication is that potential new customers will see how open, honest, and transparent you are. Existing customers feel appreciated. You get to learn what people like and dislike about your products. You can tailor your output to be the best it can be.

Answering any questions swiftly is essential. No matter if you have already provided the relevant info in a product description or elsewhere.

Somebody will ask what you may think of as a silly question. Explain politely. In fact, it might not be a dumb question, and it may prompt you to add that information to the description. If one customer is unsure of something, chances are that others have the same query.

In either case, you must have meaningful interactions with your customers. That’s what inspires loyalty.

Giving Good Reviews In Return

Just as it’s important to us as businesses to gain good reviews, you must give the customer good feedback too when appropriate. This is more relevant to some business models and sales channels than others.

Email them to let them know you have reviewed them. On a marketplace like eBay, take the time to provide a quick but thoughtful review and star rating.

Customers have ratings to think about too. If you can help to ensure their reputation remains excellent, they will appreciate it. It’s also an extra chance to make a bit more contact with them. It keeps your store name in their heads, linked to a positive experience. After all, everybody likes praise!

3. Keep the Newsletters Coming

Newsletters are a traditional way of keeping in touch. Put the time and effort in, and a regular newsletter can be something that customers look forward to receiving. Something fun, informative, or thought-provoking can be just what the customer needs. It also breaks up a dull day.

As well as a great way to sneak in any offers you may have, it’s an opportunity to show you have personality, too. Mention what’s happening in the world. Hone-in on your audience. You could even add advice. Like “6 ways of going plastic free”, or “5 great copywriting tips.”

Take the time to write it well. You can even pay somebody to do it. Also, pay attention to the layout and graphics. Make sure you have excellent illustrations or photos. You can include information like new lines of stock or an item on the waiting list becoming available again. For that, you’ll need a good link-up with your ecommerce inventory management system.

A well put together newsletter can be your way of keeping in contact with all your customers at once.

4. Give Shop Credit

Shop credits are usually used when a customer returns an item. Instead of a refund, which can be a hassle, they receive a store credit. It’s an easy way to keep the money inside the business and ensure it does not get spent elsewhere.

If a customer returns an item, you might assume they are unhappy or dissatisfied. Why try to keep in contact if they are not happy bunnies? Well, it’s good to thank them for taking the time to give the item back.

Now it can be sold on to someone who will love it instead. That item isn’t going to the landfill. Returns are really easy with a good automated inventory system.

And if this sounds too worthy, you can also thank them for allowing you to serve them better. They can pick something from the store they will enjoy and get use from.

This is an opportunity to turn a disappointing customer experience into a great one. And you can make the most of it, simply by sending a thoughtful email.

5. Free Company Merchandise

Merchandise is a great customer loyalty strategy. An email offering a free item is something that pricks up ears. Branded merchandise is the kind of free gift we are all familiar with.

This could have nothing to do with the thing you are selling. Something small, like a pen or a keyring with your business name on it, is perfect. Stickers are also fun.

The items can be shipped alongside the customer’s purchase at minimal extra cost to you. The customer loves having a free item and will think of your brand every time they write with the pen.

If the gift is a t-shirt or tote bag, they will be advertising your brand every time they go out with it. Print-on-demand services mean that this kind of thing is much less expensive than you might think.

Another kind of merchandise you might want to add would be your own. After all, your customer has proved that they like your items. Why not give them a little free something?

It could be in the form of a taster or trial pack. Or, in the case of clothing stores, how about a wallet or pair of socks?

It’s a good way of getting rid of excess stock, too. You can track your stock levels with an inventory management system. The customer might love it so much that they go ahead and buy lots more socks, or whatever the taster was.

6. Reward Points

This is something that most shoppers will be familiar with. Reward points are a great thank you for loyalty. Most big brands, especially supermarkets, offer them.

But they can be used in any commerce operation; it’s a simple concept. Either every item in the store gains customers a point or you give points on specific things you want to promote. Some items might have double points as a special promotion. The points then translate into money off other items in the store.

Reward points are such a great idea because it gets the customer spending to get their discount. Ideally, they will want to build up so many points they get a free item.

For them, the beauty of it is that they can pick their own desired item. They don’t have to wait until you discount it or include it in a promotion. For you, the beauty of it is that they will spend enough money getting there that you won’t mind what they pick.

You can also use the points as a marketing opportunity, and create an email marketing strategy. Send out regular reminders that they have points waiting to be spent in the store.

Gift certificates are also a beautiful way to stay in touch. Not only in your personal life, but in business, too. Of course, in this case, the certificate is for your own store.

The actual form of the gift certificate is usually digital. But you can also create a printed one to add in with an order. The gift certificate can be a reward for several different types of behavior. They may have won a contest, referred a certain number of friends, or been a particularly loyal customer.

Gift certificates act as a great incentive, especially on social media.

7. Customer Referrals

Send existing customers emails suggesting that they refer their friends. It’s one of the best marketing moves you can make.

Word-of-mouth recommendations are a strong endorsement. You can encourage this by giving out referral codes. These give the existing and new customers money off when they make a referral. If not cash off, reward points, a gift certificate, free postage, etc.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be someone they know well. Word-of-mouth doesn’t have to be a literally spoken persuasion. It can also mean the customer sharing the referral code on social media.

This is an everybody wins situation. Your business benefits, and so do both the existing customer and the new one.

A small company can do this individually. With a loyal customer base and a good relationship, a customer may tell you when they make a referral.

The new customer might also mention who referred them. This usually happens with companies who have a smaller customer base. When it does, you can send the existing customer a thank you.

In this case, even an old fashioned bunch of flowers will do it. For larger companies, you can set up an automated referral program. It’s just as straightforward as a warehouse management system or other automated software solution.

So, as you can see, there are many effective emails you can send to existing customers. Making sure they are relevant and full of value is the key.