This article is part of our series about tailoring your content strategy for the ecommerce sales funnel. Check previous installments for an in-depth look at how to cater your content for each individual stage of the funnel.
The AIDA model of the sales funnel — Attention-Interest-Desire-Action — has served merchants for over a century, giving them a reliable framework to understand their customer’s journey throughout the sales process. However, in modern times, especially in response to the rise of ecommerce, that four-step model seems to be cut short.
While Lewis’s initial four steps remain relevant today, his model disregards the importance of the post-sale period. Nowadays, it’s better to adopt a fifth stage during the after the sale experience to elicit reviews, reach new customers, rectify sales issues, and help encourage previous customers to travel through the funnel again.
So, we’d like the take the AIDA model and make it AIDAP, adding in a new, “Post Sale” stage. Here’s everything you need to know about tailoring your content strategy once the purchase has been finished.
Just because you sold something doesn’t mean you can stop selling. Your goals for the Post Sale stage are about laying the groundwork for more sales in the future. Each of the four goals below acts as a long-term strategy to satisfy old customers and attract new ones, even months down the line.
Encourage loyalty and repeat business.
First things first, you want to make sure your latest customers don’t regret the decision to buy from you. Every loyal, life-long customer begins as a happy customer who just made their first purchase.
For starters, you want to amicably resolve any issues that may arise with a purchase. Having a generous returns policy and an eager-and-willing customer service staff should help smooth out any wrinkles that may crop up with dissatisfied customers.
On top of that, continue promoting your store’s value propositions. Try to associate your brand’s main advantages with your brand identity. You want customers to think about all the reasons your business is the best option every time your brand is mentioned. You can also shower customers with special deals and promotions via emails or social media posts, which brings us to your next goal…
Increase email signups and social media followers.
Engagement is essential to building a loyal ecommerce following; if you don’t engage, your past customers may forget about your store altogether. The best way to stay on your customer’s radar is regular communication, and the best approaches for that are email newsletters and social media followers.
Your post-sale emails, which we go into below, are prime opportunities to get customers to sign up or follow you on social media. Don’t forget to offer incentives such as exclusive deal to increase your conversion rates.
Encourage word-of-mouth advertising.
If your customer is pleased with their purchase, they’ll start recommending your store or products to their friends. You should do everything you can to encourage this kind of social advocacy, from joining the conversation on social media to instituting referral programs.
Elicit positive reviews.
As we mentioned in our content strategy guide for the third stage of the funnel, Desire (or, “Decision-making”), customer reviews have a profound effect on shopper’s decisions to buy. G2Crowd statistics cited that 97% of shoppers are influenced by reviews and that 68% of Americans are more likely to buy a product with positive reviews.
One of your high-priority goals after a sale is to convince customers to leave a review. On their own, customers don’t usually return after a sale to leave a (positive) review, so online sellers should take the initiative on this — #5 on our 5 Tips to Improve Your Amazon Seller Rating.
At this stage, the customer’s state of mind isn’t as complicated as the others. They either enjoy the purchase, which makes them more suggestible to leaving reviews, signing up to your programs, or following you on social media; or they don’t, in which case your responsibility is to address their complaints and win them over.
After a purchase, your customer spends time evaluating both your products and your brand. Depending on the type of product and how often it’s used, they may immediately fall in love with what they bought, or they may take months to reach a verdict.
There’s little you can do at this point to sway their opinion on the product — it’s up to your product quality and store policies now. Aside from appeasing customer complaints, your efforts at this stage are better spent working with customers who already like what you offer.
Best Types of Content
The Post-Sale stage benefits most from personal exchanges with customers like emails or social media exchanges. Focus on these avenues:
- Order Confirmation Emails
- Review Request Emails
- Social media chats
Your post-sale emails are your best option to connect with your buyers since those emails have a high open rate and your customers have invested interest in what they say. If you want to learn more about how to write ecommerce emails, read our article on 5 Fast Ways to Improve Your Ecommerce Email Marketing and incorporate the optimal strategies below.
Say “Thank You”
Our first piece of advice is to listen to your mother and always say “Thank You.” It may seem insignificant, but a simple message of gratitude endears you and your brand to new customers, even if just slightly.
The Order Confirmation email makes the best “thank you” note. This is an email that customers are going to want to open, and it comes directly after a purchase, an appropriate time to show your appreciation.
“Tell a Friend” Referral Programs
It all comes full circle. We mentioned referral programs in our guide to the first stage of the sales funnel, and we mention it again here, albeit from the opposite side of the coin.
Before, we mentioned referral programs are a great way to attract new customers. Here, we mention it as an option to enlist previous customers to advertise for you. The idea is that you offer incentives like discounts in exchange for customers convincing their friends to patronize your business.
If your program benefits both parties as we recommended before, you only need to mention your referral program after the sale — again, emails work well — and your customers will take care of the rest themselves.
Time Review Request Emails for the Delivery Date
You want to proactively elicit reviews from customers, typically through an email. No matter the content included in the email, schedule it so that it’s sent around the same time as the package is set to be delivered.
Your customer’s enthusiasm is highest when your item first arrives. Capitalize on this excitement by asking them to write a review at that time; in other words, strike while the iron’s hot. You have a better chance of receiving a positive, or even gushing, review.
Include Special Offers and/or Surveys in Post-Sale Emails
There’s enough room in your post-sale emails to serve your secondary goals. In the interest of improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, you can use these emails to promote special offers, especially if they’re exclusive to existing customers. This email doesn’t have to be overtly promotional — it could be nothing more than a small, clickable box with enticing copy.
If you’re collecting customer data, post-sale emails are also a great opportunity to embed a survey. As long as you keep it brief, 1-5 items, most customers won’t mind completing it when they open the email. Check out #4 on our post, 4 Essential Ecommerce Emails Your Business Needs, for a great example of a survey email.