Ben Clark is the Head of Lifecycle Marketing at Hairstory— the DTC brand that’s been shaking up the hair care industry. They’re known for their shampoo, New Wash, that’s free from detergent and helps you save water. 🚿
Ben’s primary mission is to keep newly acquired customers engaged and turn them into loyal fans. He looks for ways to improve the customer experience and ensure the brand is continuously growing their repeat subscription revenue.
Keep reading to discover Ben’s tips for improving your customer lifecycle campaigns and making sure your customers keep subscribing to your products.
🎧 Listen to Ben’s interview on the Ecommerce Marketing 101 podcast.
🎥 Watch the full episode on YouTube
7 ways Hairstory boosts repeat purchases
Looking for ways to boost repeat purchases for your brand? Take a leaf out of Ben’s book and discover 7 ways he uses email, data and ecommerce tools to ensure subscribers come back, time and time again.
Focus on engaged prospects and customers to improve email click-through rates
Ben was the first lifecycle marketer at Hairstory, so there was lots of untouched data and untapped potential to dig into. He began by assessing the overall performance of the brand’s channels—particularly email and SMS.
He quickly saw that open rates and click rates were falling below the benchmark, so he set up analytics to understand conversion metrics for prospects, customers, and subscribers. He also segmented his audiences to make them easier to report on and to create strategies for the most engaged contacts.
From here, he started sending different email and SMS flows based on each segment.
“We saw some good growth by just starting to restrain ourselves a little bit and only target the audiences that are engaged and showing interest. But just because we were reducing volume doesn't mean we were reducing conversion and engagement rates. Instead we were only focusing on the people that we thought had the highest likelihood to convert.”
And it was a positive result! Open rates increased from 45% to 60%, and click rates increased from 1% to 2.5%. 🙌
Key takeaway: If your click-through rates are falling below the benchmark (around 2.07% for ecommerce brands), dig into your email lists and focus on your most engaged prospects. This may sound simple, but it could make a huge difference to your CTRs.
Refine your email messaging
Whilst putting audience segmentation in place, Ben looked at the content in the old email and SMS campaigns. He saw that the old creative assets and copy weren’t quite aligning with Hairstory’s brand identity. And the emails were very, very long.
“Previously, our emails were extensive and almost resembled landing pages. While this approach sometimes works, I realised that the goal should be to direct people to experiences on the website rather than overwhelming them with information in the email.”
Once he’d worked this out, the emphasis shifted towards ensuring emails are concise, clickable, and exciting. He also made sure the reader understood what action they needed to take. This involved asking fundamental questions about the email's intent and what specific outcomes they wanted to achieve.
Key takeaway: Do an audit of all your automated emails. Make sure your copy and creative assets still align with your brand. And always ensure it’s really obvious what action you want your reader to take at the end.
Use data to predict recurring revenue opportunities
If you want to increase your email click-through rates, the answer is not to send more emails. A better tactic is to use data science to understand your audience and discover when they’re more likely to convert.
To do this, Ben uses the ecommerce tool Relo. This is a repeat-revenue platform that predicts when customers might be ready to reorder, try a new product or start a subscription. Once it’s identified those people in your contact list, it syncs with Klaviyo to push out personalised emails to your audience.
“Every month, when we send emails, we're starting to identify more people who are ready to convert. It's one of those things that as you continue to build on it, you'll start to see more and more results. Relo continues to learn, continues to get more data, and continues to identify new cohorts of audiences that can fall into it your email flows. I feel like Relo could help you no matter what type of brand you are.”
And the results? Hairstory has increased their campaign revenue by an impressive 34%!
Key takeaway: Use a tool like Relo to predict when customers might be ready to reorder, try a new product or start a subscription. From there, you can send super personalised messages to encourage sales.
Send product recommendations to high-intent website visitors
Ben and his team want to be really specific when talking to potential customers. They use a tool called Wunderkind that’s able to identify user-intent and send personalised product recommendations via email to people who’ve viewed Hairstory’s website.
So, instead of sending generic messages like: "Hey, we saw you looking around," Ben and his team try to be more specific. For example, if they see someone has been looking at Hairstory’s styling products, they’ll suggest similar items like styling balms and explain why they might be a good choice for them.
Similarly, if someone leaves something in their online basket, Ben makes sure their abandoned cart emails are personalised to the product or category that person was looking at.
However, it’s important not to send too many messages. This is where Wunderkind is super useful. It knows what the different levels of intent are. So you’ve got product categories in the lowest intent tier, products in the middle and cart-abandonment in the highest. The higher the tier, the more personalised the messages can become.
“It's essential to avoid overwhelming customers with messages. We have structured our outreach in a way that ensures we only target individuals once they transition into the next highest intent tier. This approach helps maintain a balance, preventing us from bombarding customers with messages unrelated to their current interest.”
💡 Learn more about how Hairstory use Wunderkind.
Key takeaway: A tool like Wunderkind is really useful in identifying users with the highest purchase intent. You can send personalised text messages or emails to people who’re more likely to purchase.
Understand your customer acquisition strategies
Ben works closely with Hairstory’s customer acquisition team. He says lifecycle marketing and customer acquisition goes hand in hand so it's really important that they’re communicating with each other.
“Think of it like this: we're spending money to drive people to our website, but obviously not everyone's going to convert on that visit. So it's my job to target the people who have some interest, but aren’t yet fully committed. I need to capture their email or SMS and help educate them and, ultimately, drive them down the funnel.”
The collaborative aspect is crucial because effective conversion depends on insights from the paid side. This includes understanding success factors such as what creative elements are working well, and what copy is working in paid campaigns. These can then be translated to enhance email strategies.
Key takeaway: Regularly communicate with your customer acquisition team for insights into how prospects are coming to your website. These will help inform your email and SMS messaging.
Provide a strong onboarding experience
One of the challenges for the team at Hairstory is to help customers understand how beneficial their products will be in the long run. Just like switching to natural deodorant might take some getting used to; natural hair products will be a big change for anyone used to traditional shampoo. To make this transition as easy as possible, Ben says it’s important to provide a really good onboarding experience.
“We want to provide our customers with a better-quality hair care solution. But to make sure they stick with us, we need to provide the best onboarding experience and get them to understand how to use the product properly. This way, they’ll have the motivation to keep coming back and to tell their friends about it.”
Ben says the objective of onboarding is to reinforce the customer’s purchase decision. Each new customer is put into a 30-day onboarding experience which will be slightly different depending on the type and size of product they’ve bought.
During this time, the team works to collect feedback from customers to make sure they’re getting the most out of their product. For anyone facing challenges, they’ll get directed to customer service. And people having a positive experience will get sent motivational content like testimonials and how-to videos to generate excitement.
Key takeaway: First impressions count and if customers are having a rubbish experience with your brand, they’re unlikely to come back. Make sure you provide them with all the resources and tools they need to get the most out of your products.
Surprise and delight your loyal customers
It’s really important to pay close attention to key moments in your customer’s subscription journey. At Hairstory, subscribers get a three-day notice before their first payment comes out. This moment might come as a surprise to people not keeping tabs on their subscriptions (oops - guilty!). So, Ben makes sure to recognise these important moments by adding occasional free, mystery gifts into their packages. In turn, this enhances the overall experience for valued subscribers. (I mean, who doesn’t love a freebie?!)
Key takeaway: Once you get people to subscribe to your product, that doesn't mean your work is over. Keep them engaged with your brand by sending free gifts in their orders.
Ben’s key takeaways for boosting repeat revenue for your DTC brand
Ben has loads of great advice for helping you boost your brand’s revenue. But, if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here’s a round up of his key takeaways that you can use for your brand’s strategy.
(Or, scoot down for links to the full podcast episode.)
- Focus on engaged prospects and customers to improve email click-through rates (CTR): If your click-through rates are falling below the benchmark (2.07% for ecommerce brands), dig into your email lists and focus on your most engaged prospects. This may sound simple, but Hairstory’s CTRs improved from 1%-2.5%,
- Refine your email messaging: Do an audit of all your automated emails. Make sure your copy and creative assets still align with your brand. And always ensure it’s really obvious what action you want your reader to take at the end.
- Use data to predict recurring revenue opportunities: Use a tool like Relo to predict when customers might be ready to reorder, try a new product or start a subscription. From there, you can send super personalised messages to encourage sales.
- Send product recommendations to high-intent website visitors: A tool like Wunderkind is really useful in identifying website visitors with the highest purchase intent. You can send personalised text messages or emails to people who’re most likely to purchase.
- Understand your customer acquisition strategies: Regularly communicate with your customer acquisition team for insights into how prospects are coming to your website. These will help inform your email and SMS messaging.
- Provide a strong onboarding experience: First impressions count and if customers are having a rubbish experience with your brand, they’re unlikely to come back. Make sure you provide them with all the resources and tools they need to get the most out of your products.
- Surprise and delight your loyal customers: Once you get people to subscribe to your product, that doesn't mean your work is over. Keep them engaged with your brand by sending the occasional free gift in their orders.
If you’d like to listen to Ben’s full episode, head over to our podcast Ecommerce Marketing 101 on: