The Amazing Follow-Up Benefits of a Welcome Series Email

One of the more interesting psychological phenomenon surrounding sales is the concept of the post-purchase regret or “buyers remorse.” Buyers remorse is a common experience after making a significant purchase. When we invest in a major decision, it costs us, either in terms of a hefty loan or a significant amount of money, and we wonder if we made the right decision.

To salespeople, this is one of the most critical steps in the process. Even though it is post-purchase, it is the experience that cements the decision process of the buyer and also develops the nature of a long-term relationship.

Interestingly, this sense of remorse is quickly removed when an assurance is made soon after the decision. This is why you will receive a call from that friendly car salesperson about 1-2 days after you drive off the lot. They know that buyers remorse hits you around that time, so their reassurance and your re-stating your decision help to alleviate any remorse. It will never be as strong as you feel it in those first few days. Afterwards, the rationalizations have been made and you forge ahead.

For a B2B buyer, changing from a long-time provider or taking a chance on a smaller company will inevitably produce this same feelings of remorse:

  • Should I have stayed with the same company?
  • The big, established company was a safe bet. Am I taking too much of a chance?
  • No one ever got fired for selecting Provider A. Even though they are bigger and much more expensive, will it cost me more in the long run?

Logic & Emotion

The decision to purchase is most likely an emotional one, yet propped up with research and facts. So, the follow-up must be a mixture of reassuring the buyer that they made a logical decision, based on their research and data, but also they need to “feel good” about the benefits of the purchase. The follow-up language must be coached in both logical and emotional terms to satisfy the basis of remorse.

This is also the time when a smart company acts quickly to communicate their value, stability and rewards. In a study by Eccolo Media, 80% B2B buyers said that  follow-up, education, and information post-purchase is important to the business relationship.

Simple Sales Techniques: Applied Online

In today’s modern marketing, one of the best methods of follow-up is the Welcome Series Email. As a means of follow-up, it provides touch points at critical points in the follow-up post-purchase process.

Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software. After signing up for a subscription, the new user receives a series of scheduled communications. The emails present Prezi and the benefits of the purchase the same way as the sales process, yet in educational terms.

Email 1: Purchase +0

The Prezi initial welcome email is focused on the “How to” aspect of getting started using the software. The Email is titled: Welcome to Prezi: A Getting Started Guide. The email outlines three simple ways to get started: start from a template, import an older presentation, or start from scratch. It is very simply presented and links to the respective landing page. The landing pages are not for sales, but for post-sale education!

In many purchases of software, the critical part is getting the engagement of the buyer early. If the engagement is never reached, the buyer cancels his subscription and revenue is lost.

Similarly, in many other business relationships, if the buyer sees no value, there will not be an ongoing relationship. Establishing the value of the product post-purchase is just as critical as before the sale.

Email 2: Purchase +7 days

Now, I am not sure if this was the regularly scheduled email, or did I receive this because I had not yet used the program. Either way – it was specific and targeted to get me into the program. Discarding the 3 ways to get started approach, the email focused on getting started in an even simpler method – video. Go watch the video, see how easy and get started!

Video is a powerful engagement tool, especially for post sales of software or any other product or service that requires the customer to use it correctly for best results. Seeing HOW it is to be used can often make or break a company.

Email 3: Purchase +14 days

This is why I love this example. The two prior emails were focused on getting me started in the product. Now that I was using the product, I got an email for a free trial of the paid desktop version. This is an excellent use of the programmed email, as it educates, then asks for another commitment, an upsell, a “hook.”

This is an excellent template to follow, as ongoing communication enables the customer to know that the company is in contact with them, they are not far away and silent, but active, informing and educating. As a buyer becomes more active and engaged, a message can be tailored to them that asks them to take another step in the engagement level. An upgrade, a review, a recommendation – how can you ask a customer to deepen the relationship with you and your company?

This is the time when a customer is at their highest level of excitement and engagement. Buyers  remorse has worn off, and they are starting to see results or benefits to their decision. As engaging emails are helping them to get more out of the product, why wouldn’t you ask them to do something that is an upgrade, up-sell or recommendation?

Email 4: Purchase +60

After a little over a month of using the product, the shininess starts to wear off. If it hasn’t become a habit to use the product consistently or if it is not a part of our daily routines, it may start to sit on the side, underused and possibly forgotten.

This is a good time to get back in front of the customer and remind them of additional features and benefits. In this case, Prezi showcases a product benefit that may not be obvious to the customer – it is a multi-tasking tool and can be used in other ways! The email highlights templates to generate ideas within the reader. Prezi presents itself as another tool in the arsenal of the customer – increasing its value and relevance.

Email 5: Purchase +120

The final email in this series was perfect. A questionnaire.

Also, the question itself is a typical question that you may have seen before. It is based on a simple premise, but the implications are foundational to a company and their customer perception.

Based on the book The Ultimate Question this question and the rating scale is intended to provide a NPS – Net promoter Score.

If you rate the likelihood of referring the company to a colleague or friend, a 9-10, then you love the product. You are a Promoter.

If you rate the likelihood of referring the company to a colleague or friend, a 7-8, then there is something holding you back. You like the company but don’t want to be seen holding hands. However, you aren’t negative on the company. You are a Passive.

If you rate the likelihood of referring the company to a colleague or friend, a 0-6, then you do not like the company or the product. Generally, people tend to rate things higher (being nice, not negative), but there is a problem. You are a Detractor.

Based on these ratings, a company can learn a lot about how they are perceived and how to address issues with the product, the service, or the company.  It is the most fundamental feedback a company can receive – the importance of a referral.

 Questionnaires and Feedback

By asking for my opinion and rating, I am now a participant in the process. I am a part of the improvement, and my responses can be used to better the company and the product. Even more, my investment may increase in value as I provide valuable information in return.

I was surprised that there were not more opportunities to provide explicit information back to the company.

For a product like this, I would certainly be interested as to:

  • Who is using it?
  • How many presentations do they make a year?
  • How many people are listening to the presentations?

Why? So I know who my power users and my influencers are. Someone who uses the software in public will be a critical part of the word-of mouth growth of the company. Knowing who they are would be a valuable key in the ongoing customer advocacy and marketing of the company.

Follow-up after the sale

welcome-series-benefitsHow critical is the follow-up to handle buyers remorse? A study by Inbox Group showed that a welcome series email campaign averages 4x the open rate, 8x the click-through rate and 5x the revenue compared to other email campaigns.

Why? Because alongside buyers remorse is also excitement. Excitement at a new provider, at maybe taking a chance on a smaller, more agile company or maybe a chance to get noticed for making a forward-thinking decision.

A new buyer is an excited buyer. Feeding the customer the information they need to keep them hungry and excited creates advocacy and referrals. It creates loyalty in a customer who knows that this company communicates well and often, and maybe “reads my mind.” A welcome series prolongs the honeymoon and leverages the excitement of the customer and the openness to follow-up communications.

Companies that recognize the buyer’s risk, address the remorse and educate their customers to get the most out of the product will not only increase the long-term relationship with the buyer, but also increase their bottom line revenue as well.