One of the biggest challenges businesses face is winning new customers. When a new customer makes a purchase or signs up for an e-mail list, you're immediately presented with a one-time opportunity to impress that customer. What you do next could make the difference between losing that customer or creating a long-term relationship.

To kick off things in a positive way, many businesses send a welcome e-mail to any new customers. A couple years ago, a generic e-mail that simply incorporated the customer's name in its greeting was enough. But today's customers are growing increasingly accustomed to personalized marketing. A letter following this example might be sufficient to convey your gratitude for the new business, while also expressing contact information, but it feels as though it could have been sent to any customer.

Sure, you could take the time to personally craft an e-mail to every single new customer, but chances are, you don't have time for that. Luckily, today's technology can provide that same personalized feel without taking hours away from your busy schedule. Here are a few tips to help make sure your customers know they're important to you.

Include Behaviors

Using autoresponder software, you can capture customer behaviors and create e-mails based on those behaviors. Notice a customer showed a particular interest in your line of golf shirts? Your welcome message can reflect that by mentioning how often your business adds new golf shirts to its inventory and promising to notify that customer when something arrives that might spark his or her interest. As an added boost, you could include an offer for a discount of that customer's next purchase on a particular item to show you're dedicated to winning that customer's loyalty.

Use Geography

By using information a customer enters or capturing IP address information, you can create a customized message that incorporates his or her location information. This allows you to mention items of interest to people in that customer's geographic location, special events at any of your bricks-and-mortar stores in that customer's area, and other items of interest. Even the weather can be tied into the welcome message, especially if it relates to a special line of seasonal products or services you're selling.

Include a Call to Action

Every good welcome e-mail ends with a call to action. Whether you use a special offer to encourage the customer to check out your site or watch a video to learn how to use a new service, ideally this call to action will match the customer's interests in your service. If your business is a cloud-based app and the customer has recently signed up, for instance,your e-mail should include links to tutorials specific to the parts of your app your customer will likely be using. 

Both businesses and consumers are learning the value of personalized marketing. By customizing your welcome messages, you'll be able to directly connect to each customer, making the important first step toward a lasting relationship that will hopefully continue for many years.

February 4, 2014

Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. You can contact him on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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