Episode 4: Improve your retention rate with these tips from Fuel Made

Episode 4 image

On the fourth episode of Retention Chronicles, Sarah and Mariah are joined by Lisa Oberst, Director of Email Marketing at FuelMade, and Cristina Donati, Senior Marketing Manager, also at FuelMade. On this specific episode we chat about so many different things as they pertain to customer retention, like making a good brand impression, valuing and knowing your customers, customer first data, personalized surveys and quizzes, and so so much more. We have a really rich fact check so be sure to have your pen at the ready! We share a ton of laughs along the way so be sure to learn- and laugh- along with us! Be sure to subscribe and check out Malomo on your favorite social media to share your thoughts!



Mariah Parsons, Tina Donati, Sarah Leitz, Lisa Oberst

Mariah Parsons 00:02

Hello, and welcome to Retention Chronicles, a podcast sponsored by Malomo, a shipment tracking platform that helps ecommerce brands turn order tracking from a cost center into a profitable marketing channel. Here at Malomo, one of our core values is to constantly be learning about something new. So our Marketing team consisting of Sarah Leitz, our Head of Marketing here at Malomo and I, Mariah Parsons, an Orr Fellow working with Sarah on the Marketing team, have set out to do exactly that. And we hope that you join us. We will be discussing everything that surrounds customer retention, what it is, why it's important, how it fluctuates, how it grows, what you can get out of it, and so much more. Today, we are joined by Lisa Oberst, Director of Email Marketing, and Christina Donati, Senior Marketing Manager, at FuelMade. They are an awesome partner company of ours, and we absolutely adore working with them. They're so much fun. So, on this episode, we chat about so many different things as they pertain to customer retention, such as making a good brand impression, valuing and knowing your customers, customer first data, personalized surveys and quizzes, and so, so much more. There's also, like I said, a ton of laughs, a ton of fun on this episode, so be sure to learn- and laugh- along with us. So welcome to Retention Chronicles. Today, we have Lisa and Tina here with us from FuelMade and they're an agency that we love to work with. So first, I thought it would be wonderful if both of you could share a little bit about your positions, what you do for FuelMade, and then we'll dive into FuelMade and how you guys help ecommerce brands grow.

Lisa Oberst 01:50

Sure, thank you for having us. We love working with your team as well. And so I'm Lisa and I am the Director of Email Marketing at FuelMade. To give you a little quick background on FuelMade, we're a Shopify design and development agency that also offers email marketing on Klaviyo. So I head up the Klaviyo email marketing side of things at the agency and we we have a whole team of experts, copywriters, designers, developers, Klaviyo email experts who work together and we offer a turnkey solution to our brands.

Tina Donati 02:23

Hey, I'm Tina. So I lead Marketing at FuelMade. And just to kind of bridge off what Lisa already said, so we have the website development side of our agency as well. So we do a lot of really beautiful website designs and user experiences and just conversion rate strategy over there too. And the whole mission of FuelMade is really just to help ecommerce companies grow. So that's really what we're here to do.

Mariah Parsons 02:47

Yeah, thank you both. So amazing, again, to be here and I really am so excited to dive into those strategies that FuelMade helps brands grow and really dive into. So I was hoping, you know, you guys mentioned the email marketing, and like web design, creating a beautiful experience for the customer. So, you know, how important have you found it to be when you're making an impression on each customer? Of- making it have- having it be an everlasting and really important experience for the customer? Customer and how does that, you know, play into conversions and retention?

Lisa Oberst 03:28

So I think it's something that's really important when you're thinking about about retention is many people might think, 'okay, I just got a sale check, I'm done. That's a win'. But actually, that's really not, not all, like you have so much more work to do after that. And so think about retention, there are so many opportunities for a customer, even though they might have just placed an order, they could still get a negative experience and negative impression. And so everything you do after that first sale is very important. And that's where the the trust building comes in. And where you have strategies to really establish a relationship that's going to last long and and create loyalty..

Tina Donati 04:08

Yeah, and I think just to build off that to like what works so well with us on the agency side of having like the email marketing team, and the web development team is like, retention strategy is really all across the board. Like it doesn't just work with one channel, you really have to have this implemented on your website, in every email you send, in your SMS flows, like it is just like across the board. So that's what's so nice about our team being able to work so closely together too because we can just help customers build that in every interaction that they have with their customers.

Lisa Oberst 04:40

And the goal really becomes not about just bombarding your your audience or just sending out emails. The goal really is to build that stronger relationship. And you can do that very well with that one on one communication that email marketing makes possible.

Mariah Parsons 04:56

Yeah. And would you say you know, I think one of the important things is trying to build that important relationship and finding a balance between you know what works for each brand. So how do you advise brands to try and find that balance of, you know, email marketing and communication with their customers to not be overbearing, but then to also make sure that they're being communicative with their customers?

Lisa Oberst 05:24

Yeah, so I think one, the most important thing to think about here is that you can send 10 emails that are very valuable, or you can send 10 emails that bring nothing to the person reading them. So the most important thing is to think always, okay, I'm about to send an email or starting to plan an email, what value is it going to bring to the person opening it? And so that's the question we always ask is, how can we make the customer experience better? So yes, some brands might be more comfortable sending, maybe a welcome experience, that's five emails, while others would send 15 emails, and it doesn't really matter, as long as everything brings value. So maybe the 15 emails are a bootcamp experience, where you're helping the new customer, learn everything they need to know about how to grow their beard, we've done that in the past. And so they're learning valuable experience. It's not all about yourself as the brand, it's about what they need to learn and want and care about. So that's the, I would say, the most important thing that we consider when we're coming up with very tailored strategies for our clients is, what does your audience want to hear, need to hear? And how can we communicate value?

Tina Donati 06:41

Yeah, and I think a lot of that comes from taking the time to actually get to know who your audiences too. So you know, just actually implementing strategies across your site and in your emails to learn what people are interacting with the behavior that they have, how long they're spending on different parts of your website, messaging that they seem to, like, listen to, or interact with more than other messaging, like all those things can kind of tell you a bit more about your audience. And I think that really like that's almost step number one is to really just make sure you know who your customers are, and what is actually going to be valuable to them before you just decide, okay, this is what's valuable. And this is what we're going to be sending in our emails.

Lisa Oberst 07:18

And there are so many different strategies to start to learn about your audience. I don't know if you want to dive into zero party data. But that's obviously top of mind these days.

Mariah Parsons 07:29

We would love to.

Lisa Oberst 07:32

Well, so that's a great example of how that so on the email side of things, we actively ask customers, what do you care about? So we're obviously step one is collect their email address so that we're able to start a conversation, often that's done via a pop up, maybe an exit intent pop up. And so we asked them, hey, re you interested in a treat for your pet? Yes. All right, well, do you have a dog or a cat? And so we collect that information, it's directly relevant to them, because they want to tell us which one so we'd give them something that's actually helpful, and that their pets gonna love. And then next, we're able to just segment them in every communication we have with them. And it's just much more personalized.

Tina Donati 08:13

Mhhmm. Yeah. And I think a lot of people, I mean, I've been seeing a lot of people talk about recently, like zero party data and first party data. And both of those, they're very similar, but they are a bit different, where zero party data is really like that intentional information that customers are sharing with you by filling out pop ups by answering surveys and quizzes, that first party data is more about, like the interactions customers are taking and are sharing in a different way with their post purchase experiences where they're behaving on your website. So those two things together combined are what's considered customer first data. So customer first data is what we typically aim for is collecting that just because it gives you really like a full well rounded picture of who each individual segment of customer is that shopping at your store. And then, as Lisa said, like you can take that information then and really just create super personalized email flows that are going to be relevant with good product recommendations, the right messaging, and it's really just going to drive up your engagement rates in the end.

Sarah Leitz 09:11

So Lisa, and Tina, how do you get brands to get their customers to fill out those surveys? You know, how do you make them engaging to make people want to give you that information?

Lisa Oberst 09:23

I think even the the example I gave about the dog treat or cat treat like that is directly going to improve the customer's experience. So they this is about building trust and showing that you care enough to put in the effort to share valuable content. So maybe you're selling apparel, and you take the time to ask them 'Hey, are you actually interested in clothes for male or female or both?' And then the customer knows, okay, well, if I give you that information, most likely you're not going to bombard me with information on female apparel when I really couldn't care less. So it's showing that you're not just asking because you want to use up their time and collect data. For the sake of collecting data, it's because you're going to tailor the experience directly to them. And also just the fact of showing the customer that you you're giving them a voice and turning this not into just a one way, you know, I'm taking your email and then asking you for your money and all that it's actually a two way conversation where you're saying, all right, we have put in systems so that you can tell us how you feel what you want, and share your feedback. Mm hmm.

Tina Donati 10:33

And on the quiz side, some things that I've seen some brands do is well, with quizzes, there's literally so many different options with the type of quizzes you can create. So for a lot of clothing brands, I'll see them create like fit finders or style finders. So it's kind of like a helpful, almost consultative customer experience. With beauty brands, I've seen like routine finders or bundle builders so they can kind of put together like a full skincare routine. And then they'll typically share that in a pop up or they'll have a pop up on their site saying like, you know, take our quiz to create your routine or your bundle, they'll add it to their email flows so that they can collect more information about customers they've already captured an email from, or even just sharing it on your social channels to say, hey, like we just built this quiz. I've seen I saw the founder of Glamnetic. She like took a video of herself, and she's like, we just launched this super cool quiz, like go to our site and take it and when it comes from a founder like that, it just feels like more of like that personal invite to come talk to the brand so that they can learn about you too. So that seemed to work really well for them. And then yeah, all that stuff, you just automatically have all this information about your customers preferences, your their sizes, their color preferences, their style preferences, all these things that can then just help you to know which products you should be recommending to to which group of customers too.

Lisa Oberst 11:51

And another way that you can also implement that, and that bridges a little bit between email and the website, is having a page where the customer can update their preferences, because they might tell you, they're interested in something one day, but then they change their mind or they evolve in their, in their journey with your brand. So for example, we have one customer that sells supplements for your journey to motherhood, obviously, that's going to evolve. And so if this brand wants to stay relevant, and really help out their customers all along the journey they had to build out a page where the customer can go and update their their preferences. And so all that helps you stay relevant as a brand.

Sarah Leitz 12:31

That's awesome. And I think maybe it's just me being a marketer, but I am a sucker for a good survey. If I see a survey on a site, I'm probably gonna take it there because you're already interested. And you're right. Once you once you give them the information about you, then you know you're not going to be spammed about products that you don't care about and probably won't ever buy.

Tina Donati 12:54

Mm hmm. Yeah, like thinking about all those BuzzFeed quizzes like which Disney Princess are you, which Harry Potter character are you? I'm always willing to take those. And so actually, like speaking of that, one of the best ones I've seen from a brand was from INH Hair and it was which Carebear character are you? And all the questions were like, what would you do if your friend was in this situation? Like what type of food do you like spicy, like, they were just very, very personal questions. And then at the end it like recommended a hair product that was related to the Carebear match that you got. So me being Funshine Bear, I got like a very fun hair product. And I loved that because it was just it was almost like the BuzzFeed style quiz. It was super fun to take. But then I thought about after I was like now INH Hair like knows what I would do in a situation with my friend. They know how I'm spending my spare time. They know what my favorite flavor is food. So I was like, they just got so much information about me and they're gonna be able to email me like all the best personal recommendations.

Mariah Parsons 13:54

That is so awesome. And I also I love BuzzFeed quizzes, I think they're it's just so fun to you know, think and reflect about yourself. And oh, what would I do in this situation, like what ifs are so entertaining. And it's I love that we're talking about, you know, customer experiences with surveys, because I recently just got some Briogeo haircare products, which I know is a brand that we both served. So you know, through the whole thing, I had a consultation that I could get, you know, and I I have not really use advanced haircare products before. So it's like, I have no idea what I need. So it's just so great to see a brand reaching out and saying, you know, we know that navigating all these different products can be tough. Here's someone to help you along. And kind of gives you product recommendations based off of what you're saying. And I love the Carebear example as well because that's something that's fun. So, you know, it takes five minutes in your day but you really remember it right? Like we're talking about it here. And I think that just plays into part of the customer experience and knowing you know your customers and being able to say Oh, I think this will really add value to to their own experience with our brand. And then on top of that, you're also continuing to establish that relationship.

Lisa Oberst 15:07

And I think the gamification aspect of the surveys also plays a big part. Because it's just fun. You're creating a fun five minutes break for your, for your audience, and they appreciate it. Same with content and in all the communication you send, if you can make it something that stands out, because it's entertaining and different than you, that's a win.

Sarah Leitz 15:28

Absolutely. And I think I'm gonna go find out what Carebear I am now too.

Mariah Parsons 15:33

Yeah, I might have to also take that.

Lisa Oberst 15:35

Well, we should all do it, and post our results at the conclusion.

Sarah Leitz 15:38

Yeah, we'll do that in the fact checking.

Mariah Parsons 15:46

It's an obligation now. And in all seriousness, you know, I would love to also still talk about these surveys, but how do you find is for each brand, the best way to send these surveys to customers? You know, is it the pop ups, is it through emails or SMS? Have you found you know, there's usually a trend that's more consistent with success in getting engagement with these types of surveys and quizzes.

Lisa Oberst 16:12

I would say the very important thing to think about is just making it very obvious that if if your survey is going to help someone who comes to your store for the first time, understand where they need to start, then make sure someone who comes to your store for some can easily find it. If it's a survey with a goal of getting someone to come back and maybe subscribe, then you're going to need to make sure that that survey is served after an order when your customer is ready to place another order but might not know it yet. So it really depends a little bit on the goal of the survey, and what your goals are the brand are. But there are so many different ways of showing off the survey, if you're going to put work into creating it, then definitely think of how you're presenting it.

Tina Donati 16:59

Spoken like a true marketer, Lisa, it depends.

Mariah Parsons 17:06

Yeah, that is a very common theme that we have.

Lisa Oberst 17:10

Yeah, if it was just a copy paste solution for everyone, then that would be too easy.

Mariah Parsons 17:16

I think that also goes along with the answer of it depends for each brand is, you know, it all, of course, relates to each other, but being able to understand your customers, you know, and understand their needs, putting yourself in their shoes, which is something that we've also discussed multiple times, you know, in this podcast is being able as a brand, to understand your customers and hear from them. I think that also builds the trust with customers. And I believe Lisa, you mentioned earlier, the, you know, it was a two way conversation of having, you know, the data that a brand is receiving, but then also the customer feels heard. And so I'm curious with that, you know, how, in addition to surveys and communicating with customers, how do how does FuelMade help brands really continue to establish that trust, because I think it's something that you have to continuously work on, right? You can't just have one touch point with a customer, and then say, oh, you know, that's, that's a relationship. So how can you keep on developing, you know, that trust with customers?

Lisa Oberst 18:22

So it depends. Well, there are a lot of different strategies that you can implement, depending on the brand and the audience and the product, but one that I really love and that brands tend to get really excited about is using Klaviyo and the historical data from Shopify and all that great data that you have to really tailor the educational content that you send out to your customers. So going back to someone placed an order- you're not done, you need to help them. Let's say you send them a shampoo and actually it's best to, I don't know, double plans with the shampoo and someone doesn't know that and you can just improve their experience so easily but by sending them a quick video, you know, they bought this specific product, here's how to use it, bam, they they get the information they didn't even know they needed and then they now trust you as as a source of helpful education on that topic. And so they're gonna more naturally come back to you when they need to address that same haircare need later. So, so sending out educational content in the right way at the right time, I think is a huge way of building that trust long term.

Tina Donati 19:47

I think to like one thing I always think about with brands building trust with me when I'm shopping is just being clear with your communication on you know, was my order confirmed? Have you shipped it? When are you shipping? When can I expect it to arrive? Like, I don't know, I'm sure everyone's had the experience of purchasing something online and never getting that transactional email. And I immediately I'm like, okay, I just got scammed, like, I'm never getting this product, they have my credit card information. So I think just being very clear with your customers, and communicating everything with them is super important to building that trust too. And then the other thing as well, like, I think, I think must have for brands everywhere now is to have product reviews and user generated content. This just shows, you know, obviously, for even acquiring new customers to that, when they're landing on your site, and they're looking for your products, obviously, other people have had a good experience purchasing from you before. So that kind of just helps them go, okay, like, if they've got a five star on this product, it must be good, other people like it, I can probably purchase it too, and it'll be fine. And then just seeing that user generated content as well can just show you like more realistic pictures of a product. And if it's closely aligned with the product photos that are already on the website, then that just shows the customer, okay, like this is the real deal. Like I can actually expect to get what I'm purchasing here. And then one of my favorite things is like, yes, that works on the acquisition side. But I love when people take that and use it for their retention too. So when they send it in there, like welcome email flow was some of the product reviews, as part of that flow to just to kind of you know, keep building that trust as you keep communicating. I really like that approach too so like, user generated content, product reviews, is an absolute must for E commerce these days. And you can use it for both acquisition and retention.

Lisa Oberst 21:32

And you touched on this, Tina, but I think just having great transactional follow-up emails and communication, so that your customer knows what's happening. That's, that's amazing. That's almost a must these days, but also doing more than just that. Because yes, you can turn on the notifications and Shopify and okay, your customer will know that their order is confirmed. But what if you had a really cute photo on that email that's going to make your customer smile and think, okay, great, I'm really excited that I just ordered this. And I love this brand, because they're taking the time to send me something that I actually appreciate. And then you can in all those transactional emails, they tend to have a much higher open rate than others, almost around 70%, on average, versus maybe 20%, for marketing content. So you can take advantage of that and just, you know, send a little bit of information on your brand, let the customer know that you're easily reachable by I don't know, phone chat, however way so that they know that you're a real human and that you're there for them, maybe show off some other products they might want to buy immediately. Those transactional emails actually do have conversions associated with them sometimes, which is surprising, but a nice surprise. So there's a lot that you can do, especially when you use tools that are connected to Klaviyo because you can, you can just brand it any way you want. And customize it.

Tina Donati 23:01

And you actually just made me think of the importance of customer service to when you mentioned, letting people know when they're transactional emails that you're available by phone or chat or whatever. Yeah, just having exceptional customer service is really important these days, as well. I know, I've seen stats recently about how quickly someone will decide they're never purchasing from your brand, again, just based off one bad customer service experience. So you want to make sure you're just being super helpful with customers, if it's what they're shipping, if it's what their returns anything. Just be helpful, make it easy, be quick to respond and just be kind to people. And that'll really help your brand stand out too.

Lisa Oberst 23:41

Yeah, and you can show off the face of your team also in that way by you know, you're sending out a follow up. Maybe it's an abandoned cart email. We love doing that with abandoned cart emails where we, we follow up, it's a plain text message. It looks it's very human, it's very helpful and help first like, I'm here, my name is Lisa, I am I have a photo. So you can see that I'm a real human. And you can click respond to this email and I'll be available. So that's how that's a great way of showing off your customer support, availability and humanity.

Sarah Leitz 24:14

I think that's a really good point too- to go back to when you're talking about making sure that you send really good transactional emails, because they just trusted you enough to purchase from you. And even if it's a cheaper product, I did get scammed over COVID. It was funny because my friend got this like paint by numbers and you know, you want to do puzzles and paint by numbers and all that kind of stuff. And she got it and it arrived for her. But when I ordered it, I don't know if they just had trouble fulfilling and they just kept receiving orders or whatever. But they kept saying, oh yeah, it's going to come it's going to come it's going to come and finally I had to contact my credit card company and be like, I don't know what just happened here but I don't think this is coming and please cancel my order. And that's that's just crazy time where you have to make sure that you have really good expectations. If they would have told me it was a two month lead time or something, then that's something that you can prepare yourself or be like, I'm stuck inside for six months, so two months is not that bad. It's just making sure you set those expectations, I think it's really important too.

Lisa Oberst 25:20

Yeah, because as long as you communicate that your customer understands that you're maybe a small brand dealing with, you know, COVID or, orther issues. And so they will be much more willing to cut you some slack. If you just take the time to let them know, sorry, you're not going to be painting by numbers for another two months. But tell me. So. Yeah, I think you need to think of it.

Tina Donati 25:46

Yeah, I think it does impact like more than just the person shopping too. Because I had a very similar experience, I purchased a custom photo of my dog that was painted. And a friend of mine wanted the same one, I sent her the brand, you know, total word of mouth. I was like, love it, like you should get it too. It took her so long to get it. They never emailed her. And she was messaging me like, when is it coming? Like, when did you get yours? Like, I don't think I'm getting mine. And immediately I was like, okay, I'm never recommending that brand to someone else now. So like, it doesn't just impact the person shopping in that moment. It also impacts the ability of, you know, your customers referring you to their friends and family too. So it kind of really like it's a it's a definitely a bigger deal.

Sarah Leitz 26:30

Yeah, you're right. I mean, the word of mouth is so big, and people trust their friends more than some random stranger online. So it can work both ways. Like, if they have a great experience, you're gonna recommend it to all your friends. And if you have a bad experience, it's gonna go down too.

Mariah Parsons 26:46

One important thing to really like with word of mouth, I'm the same way, you know, my friend says, oh, this is a great product. I'm like, okay, I'll order it right now. You know, it's, there's almost no hesitation, right? To get the products that your friends and family recommend. And I think it's even more interesting, just with the power of the internet and social media with trusting, you know, sometimes if you don't have a friend or family who refers you to a brand, then seeing even more and more groups pop up where it's really strong advocates or ambassadors, whatnot for different brands. And it's not even a paid, you know, influence or anything like that. It's just someone who's really passionate about these brands and their customers that they review things online, just out of, you know, their own willingness and passion for the brand. And I think that's something that's really awesome. And I think that's, you know, where this market is going more into that user generated content and really to see those reviews, I think it's going to be custom practice almost that if it'll be more alarming, you know, if you don't have these customers who are reviewing your product, and if a brand isn't showing that those reviews, you know.

Lisa Oberst 28:01

Yeah, and you can definitely use, you know, marketing to get more of that extremely valuable content. For example, you could segment your top customers and reach out to them in a very personalized way, saying, hey, like we, we love you, thank you so much for your support, it means a lot to us, we would love it, if you would take a second to record yourself, reviewing your product. And I mean, maybe you give them something 10% off or something like that, or you just ask them, because they might want to help you- it depends on the brand and on the audience. Or you can turn it into a fun contest. But just the fact of asking, you know, you can wait for people to review you. But most likely most people aren't going to do that unless they had an amazing or terrible experience. But if you just plant that seed and ask them directly, that's a really good way of getting content that you can then use in your communication to new subscribers and show them that they want to buy.

Tina Donati 29:02

I do think email is like the best channel to do that for sure. Because a skincare brand that I purchased from that's a DTC brand, they sent me an email a couple of weeks after I've received an order for every item, and they're like, hey, like, will you give us a review, we'll give you 10% off your next order. And then one time, they actually took it one step further. And they said, if you take it before and after photo, we'll give you a 30% off your next order. And if you share that, so like there's different levels that you can do with it too. And I just I wouldn't have known that that was an offer unless they had communicated that with me. So I do think email is a really good channel to do that. And I even see people like if they don't want to run deep discounts. I see people offer like bonus loyalty points, if they share those reviews too, or if they refer a friend or stuff like that too. And that that usually works as well.

Mariah Parsons 29:48

I think to social media as well- email I know I like religiously check my email, right and I think everyone everyone knows that. And really make sure that you're communicating the, you know, loyalty points or whatever it may be, I think that is you guys are both exactly right. That is how you grow, that user generated content, and really aid in expanding the touchpoints that you have with each customer. And along with that, you know, I'm curious with FuelMade, as in terms of, you know, optimizing for the best experience and continuing to maybe tweak the brand experience, what are, you know, some KPIs or some indicators that you both look at to analyze, you know, how things are going with different brands.

Lisa Oberst 30:40

So because we are talking about retention, something I like to to dive into, for brands that are selling products that you can buy multiple times. I really like to see if we're able to move the needle from people, mostly buying just one time to them coming back again, and again, and again. And so the post purchase experience that we create through email marketing is going to help with that. But also, there are a lot of things that we can do also on the website of things such as set up, like a loyalty program. And that definitely helps move that needle of getting people to just become loyal fans. And then of course, like open rates and click through rates, but also placed order rates is the most important because at the end of the day, you're creating experiences where you do want to reach a goal of having a new customer, so you want to focus on that. And Klaviyo is very good at tracking all these data points. So those are important KPIs.

Tina Donati 31:37

Yeah, yeah. And I would say like looking at, like your customers lifetime value and calculating a retention rate are good things to do. And, you know, you can obviously compare those to industry standards that you can, you know, I think Shopify kind of sends like updated stuff like that all the time they do industry reports like that. And you can kind of compare it to some of the industry standards to see where you sit. And then yeah, as Lisa mentioned, like having a loyalty program, having a subscription program, if you're a CPG brand is really beneficial. And obviously, it's like the more people sign up for those things and engage with them. That's obviously a good telltale sign of success if you're seeing growth with your loyalty and subscription program as well from when it started. So I would say yeah, just looking at growth overall, in that sense, and comparing to some of the industry standard rates that you can find.

Lisa Oberst 32:26

And those actually, a lot of brands that we're working with right now, they have set up subscription programs and loyalty programs. And an important goal that we have been working on, is making sure customers are aware of them and all the value that they bring, because you can set up really creative loyalty programs where you're bringing some really some exciting things to the customer. Tina, I know we have one one good example, Cocokind, that you know a lot about their program.

Tina Donati 32:57

Yeah, I can touch on it. Um, so and yeah, sorry, to their subscription program that I love so much. So they like one thing I kind of always am suggesting to people when it comes to like building a subscription program is like offer more than just a 'subscribe and save'. Because there are so many other ways that you can just provide valuable benefits to your customers. And that'll just make it seem like the subscription program is worthwhile. So the reason why I love Cocokind's is because it offers a birthday discount, it offers free shipping, obviously the Subscribe and Save access to free products. First, with every purchase, you get a free site trial size product, you get free merch when you sign up. So like, there are just so many benefits to joining the program. Oh, and I think access to like exclusive events too. So if you're like a really big fan of a brand, like if I was someone who just used Cocokind every single day like to me I'm like, okay, that is very beneficial for them to provide all of this free stuff for me and the discounts and the free shipping. So that's kind of what I suggest when it comes to subscription program is like you have to keep reminding customers of like, why it's valuable for them to be spending money to stay on this subscription program. So usually 'subscribe and save' isn't really too too much that, you know, they might just not continue to see the benefit in that. So yeah, definitely taking like a Cocokind approach and just offering all these extra perks for those customers just shows them 'hey, like we appreciate your loyalty. We care about you. You're awesome. So like we're giving you all this awesome stuff. And like let's just continue to nurture the relationship with each other.' So yeah, I do love that one as an example.

Lisa Oberst 34:38

I always like I always remember when I think of subscription programs, I always remember how I was trapped in this one subscription program and I just could not get myself to, to sign up to cancel it because they were so smart about their benefits. And I was very aware of what they were doing but it's actually it's a brand called Adore Me and they sell bathing suits And the longer you stay on their monthly subscription, the more you accumulate points towards a free product. And I was so close to the free product, even though I really did not need a subscription on bikinis. But I always think about that one because they really kept me so I would obviously I would, monthly I would skip or I would go on vacation, like for three months, but I never get one, I mean, eventually I did but yeah.

Tina Donati 35:33

It's so yeah, it's so smart. Like, my favorite, I swear 90% of my closet is from the same clothing brand. And it's because of their loyalty program. Because I really wanted to be a VIP customer, I wanted it so bad. So I spend so much money to get that to that tier. And now whenever I spend, I think it's whenever I spend $200, I get 15 15% off every $200 I spend, they give me a coupon like that, and like for my birthday, obviously and stuff like that, but I'm like, just wanted to be a VIP so bad I get like the event invites now for being a VIP, I get that like discount with every so often I spend and it's it's a trap, I only will buy clothing from this brand now. So like it's very smart.

Sarah Leitz 36:16

I know that status, it gets you.

Mariah Parsons 36:20

I think that's such a such a relatable topic. Because even as I think about it, you know, subscription, some, if I know myself and like canceling is just going to be such a hassle. So it's like, do I even sign up, but I really do want to have that status and be, you know, get those perks that they're offering. And I think that is such an important, you know, thing to be aware of when you do have that subscription model and Cocokind that sounds phenomenal. Like even now I'm gonna have to look into it right there subscription model. And, you know, one thing that I'm seeing more and more of with subscriptions is the flexibility of allowing, you know, tailoring that experience even more to customers of saying, hey, you know, I might not use this every day. So instead of monthly subscriptions, maybe it's a three month or whatever you need. I think that's also another great way, you know, maybe not to only allow customers to cancel their subscription, but to give them that flexibility to keep customers coming back and, you know, feel like they're able to have their own experience. And they're not being forced into the subscription. But instead, they're choosing, you know, every two, three months to be a part of it.

Lisa Oberst 37:35

Yeah, to me, that is so important, because you can quickly go from having someone on subscription because they love your product, or having someone stuck on subscription and hating your brand because they can't get off. So you definitely don't want to force anyone to be on your subscription, what you need to do is send them reminders of why they signed up how exciting it is to get invited to VIP events, and how sad you're going to be when you don't get your free bikini. So if you just use the tools available, you can have those communications go out. And then you can also, you know, give them reasons to stay on maybe more points if they stay another three months or something like that. And what I really love is a recent development with the Recharge and Klaviyo integration is you now can use Recharge is the tool for a subscription that a lot of customers use and a lot of brands use. And so you're able to send out emails, maybe three days before their next order is going to be going through and just let them know, hey, by the way, we're going to charge you for this because you're sign up. But if you want click here, skip this month, or click here, add another product, because you didn't have enough last time, or you have all these different options that are one click away and that really adds a lot of value.

Tina Donati 38:58

Yeah, and Mariah, like what you said, as well with, you know, being able to customize when your subscription is fulfilled again. So, you know, I know a lot of people will end up canceling their subscriptions because they just feel like they're being sent the products too often. And then they're like I have this giant stock of like concealer just sitting here that I don't actually need. So yeah, I do like, I like the ability of being able to customize like, okay, I don't need this every month, but I do need it every three months. And also one thing that I've started seeing brands doing more that I really like too is like if you're kind of if your subscription is more of like a bundled product, being able to select what is going into that bundle. So it is actually customized to your routine, your skincare routine, your style routine, whatever it is, is a much more valuable subscription for people when they have the ability to customize it to their liking as well.

Lisa Oberst 39:50

Yeah, and something to remember is that customers actually see a lot of value from your subscriptions. If you do it right. Like we had one, one brand that sells supplements. That started implementing subscriptions and they started sending out emails to their to their list saying hey, like this is coming up. And they got a lot of customers saying thank you so much. This is amazing. I need these supplements. Now I don't have to think about running out because of the subscription venue implementing so it's a people love it if you know if you do it right.

Sarah Leitz 40:21

Yeah, and I love, I love recharge Lisa, to your point, it's so awesome to be able to give people that notice beforehand, we were talking to one of our other brands, Ned, and they were talking about how detrimental it can be if you ship somebody a product when they're not ready for it, and they don't need it. And just being able to give them that control- so they don't feel like they're as stuck in in that subscription.

Lisa Oberst 40:45

Yeah, I mean, I remember that feeling of receiving a product and I'm like, oh my God, I just got used, I feel like I've- or like- you just feel like oh, shoot, I clearly don't have my life together, because I should cancel this. So you don't want your customers feeling that way.

Mariah Parsons 41:00

I completely agree. You know, I think it is extremely relatable to be to have that obligation of oh, I signed up for this subscription. I wanted it at some point. But if it's really hard to cancel, you know, you take something that's good, and start to turn it into a negative experience. And it can be so, so detrimental. I know I have my own personal examples of brands like that. And you know, one thing we like to ask, ask, our guests is any, you know, as we've been speaking about customer retention, and email marketing, and all these different techniques that brands can use to really grow their retention, what is one piece of advice, you know, that you try and focus on or take with you, as you're advising brands, on how to grow their customer retention? It can be anything, you know, from a resource to something you've heard. Just your own perspective on it.

Lisa Oberst 41:54

So tempting to say it depends .

Mariah Parsons 41:58

I knew you were gonna go there, Lisa.

Lisa Oberst 42:03

I think, I mean, this is something we've touched on, is a really think we always have to ask, what value is this going to bring? I know I've mentioned it already, but it applies all the time, to every brand, in all scenarios. What are you about to send? Who are you about to send it to? And do they would you want to interrupt their day for that? It's especially important now that we're- that SMS marketing is really growing, and you cannot bombard people with SMS texts all day long, the way you might be able to do with email, they're going to unsubscribe immediately. So you have to be really respectful and always think of your customer as someone whose time you can't waste and that wants to trust you, you know. So, that would be my tip, I guess.

Tina Donati 42:59

I love that. Um, I think I'll go back to saying kind of what I said at the beginning where I just think it's so important to collect data, you know, put those heat maps on your website. But those quizzes, those pop ups, you know, collect customer first data, but also collect that behavior data so you can just really learn your customers before you build any retention strategy. And speaking of like resources that I love, I am a big Twitter fan. So there are so many awesome people on Twitter that you can follow that are constantly tweeting about DTC best practices. So like Val Geisler, Kristin LaFrance, Nick Sharma, like all of those people are super awesome to follow. And there's actually slack communities that they've built too like Kristin LaFrance has a Slack community called DTC Fam. It's full of brands and people from different tech companies and agencies and everyone's just constantly asking questions and helping each other out and that's one reason why I love the ecommerce and DTC community so much is it is the nicest community to be a part of honestly, everyone is so helpful. So yeah, definitely always recommend like get on Twitter and join some of those slack communities and just start engaging with people because they will help you if you have questions when it comes to your retention strategy.

Lisa Oberst 44:17

I also really love the Really Good Emails newsletter and their YouTube channel. It's a little bit nerdy for email marketers, but they really dive into into comparing emails and pointing out why why decisions were made that if you're not in that world, you might not think that so much thought has been put into it. But it's really interesting and they keep it entertaining and fun. So you can get some good ideas for your own brand by watching those those videos.

Mariah Parsons 44:51

I love both of those suggestions. And now I'm gonna have to do a deep dive Twitter, Slack channels, you know, YouTube, everything. And then you know, in the theme of valuing our customers time, we want to value your time. But this has been such an amazing time to just really learn more. And you guys have really opened my perspectives on email marketing and everything that you can do in this space that creates such an intentional experience. So thank you again, you know, for being so willing to hop on and chat with us.

Lisa Oberst 45:24

Thank you for having us here. This was great.

Tina Donati 45:25

Yeah, this was so much fun. So thank you for asking us.

Sarah Leitz 45:29

Yeah, it's great talking to you guys.

Mariah Parsons 45:33

And now of course, it's time for our fact check. So as you heard, you know, there are a ton of fun stories during this episode that we share and a lot of brands that we talk about the first being one of FuelMade's brands, which is Beard Brand, and they make products, obviously, for beards. And then Tina mentions GlamNetics and the video that their founder shared about their new quiz and they're a brand that sells magnetic eyelashes. Lisa also mentions a company that sells supplements for expecting mothers, which is another brand that FuelMade works with and they are called Ritual. The next brand that we discussed is discussed at length. And that is the Carebear quiz from INH Hair, and you know, we said in the episode that we were gonna take the quiz and so like any commitment, we obviously have to keep our obligation to doing so and Sarah and I did in fact, take the quiz and we got Grumpy Bear and Funshine bears. So if anyone wants to know who is who you'll have to comment and let us know and we can share- other brands that we discussed are Briogeo Haircare with their quiz and their consultation, Cocokind and their seemingly endless subscription benefits and Adore Me bathing suits and their subscription model. So now it's more time for the facts. And there's a few that we briefly referenced in the episode, the first being how transactional emails have a higher open rate, then marketing emails, and you know, at Malomo, this is our bread and butter. We've seen 90+% open rates for some of our brands, which is phenomenal. And the other stat that we mentioned was actually one that Sarah mentioned in our first episode and Tina brought it up here which I thought was just awesome to see that cross-reference. And that is the statistic all about having a bad customer experience really turns away the customer and Convey Inc. published that finding that 84% of customers who have just one negative experience in shipping are unlikely to return to that brand. So like I said, this is a long fact check, but we're almost done. So as far as resources that Tina and Lisa recommended they had some great suggestions. Tina first recommends following a couple of people on Twitter, Val Geisler, Kristin LaFrance and Nick Sharma. They have some awesome advice that they're always tweeting out. And then Tina also recommended Kristin LaFrance's Slack channel, which if you missed that it is called DTC Fam. And then Lisa also recommended YouTube and email newsletters, and those are all about email marketing and where you can find that is Really Good Emails. So again, Really Good Emails newsletter and their YouTube channel. That's it for all of our facts. It was a lot I know. And there's some really valuable information in there. So if anyone capitalizes on that information, please let us know, share with us on social media. We love hearing from you all.