They say there’s no second chance to make a first impression. Whether you agree or disagree, there are things you can do to make that first impression a good one.
When you meet someone for the first time, your first impression of that person determines how you feel in future encounters – and the lens through which you view any follow-up correspondence.
For example, you meet someone for the first time and you have a positive first impression of them. Let’s say that your impression was of a very pleasant or generous person. In your next interaction, the person helps you or gives you something for free – for example, making an introduction to a new customer. This reinforces your initial good impression. You’ll think that not only is this person is likable, you’ll add ‘trustworthy’ to that character inventory.
On the other hand, if your first impression was negative, future interactions may reinforce that negative firstimpression. Even if the person offers you something for free, you may doubt their motivation; thinking that the offer is motivated by self-interest, or an attempt to manipulate you into purchasing something down the road.
So that first impression colors your future interactions.
A bad first impression can be fixed and changed over time, but it’s harder to change a first impression is negative or questionable than it is to build on a good first impression.
The same is true for an onboarding email sequence. If your customers’ first impression of you is positive, they will continue to open emails from you. And they will be more open to doing business with you.
Remember buying something only to regret it a few hours or days later? That’s called ‘buyer’s remorse’ – when you get over the ‘high’ feeling of buying, only to question the value of the purchase.
This happened to me after I purchased the most expensive version of a design course I never really used beyond a couple of chapters. After I got over the buying ‘high.’ I no longer felt I made the right buying decision.
A better buying experience can substantially reduce that buyer’s remorse.
So how can you craft an on-boarding email sequence to make a good first impression with customers and keep them from feeling buyer’s remorse?
There are three rules, according to Ian Brodie at The Active Marketer Blog:
If your customers don’t get what they purchased, their first impression of you will drop significantly. Beyond that, you make a good impression by being attentive.
- Make sure customers get the receipt and transaction confirmation immediately. Otherwise they may worry about the transaction itself. They may ask themselves, “Did it go through?”
- Confirm that the product is shipped and notify the customer how it’s being delivered. Provide status of the delivery in follow-up emails.
- If a login is required to access your site, provide simple, clear instructions for logging in. Send them their username. Don’t expect that customers will automatically remember user names and passwords. Make sure they have the information and clear links to change those if they need to.
- Clearly show if customers are logged in to your store, or if they’re not, and clearly show purchase history. If customers don’t log in, send an email to check whether something is wrong, or if they need help.
2. Build a personal relationship
This binds your customers to you. If they feel close to you, they’re more likely to feel you’re on their side. Unconsciously, they will consider the personal connections an asset that can benefit them.
This can also help you retain customers. Even in the best organizations screw-ups happen. If you make a good first impression on customers, they’ll give you some leeway to fix things.
So how do you build that personal relationship in your first impression? One important way is through shared stories.
- Include your personal story in your welcome emails.
- Send a video of yourself talking about the product’s features of the product. A video will foster a closer personal relationship than just a document explaining the features.
- If your product is a paid membership program or SaaS, record a short greeting video, thanking them for joining, and explaining some of the features your platform offers. For customers who pay on a monthly basis, the extra effort of recording a short video just for them can create an extra bond that will keep them subscribed – or even make them decide to subscribe for a whole year in advance.
- Send a paper thank you letter or a small gift with your company logo. This costs little, but creates a tremendous connection that distinguishes you from competitors.
- Send a small candy, sticky notes, or refrigerator magnet with your brand on it. This will remind customers their (hopefully) positive experience doing business with you.
3. Deliver unexpected value
Making a good first impression also builds reciprocity. If you give customers good value, they’ll be more likely to give you something in return.
Research on restaurant tips has shown that the number one predictor for creating reciprocity and increasing waiters’ tips is not just doing nice things for customers – smiling or giving them something extra. What counts is when those things are unexpected extras. When customers don’t expect that extra – it could be a free appetizer or extra attentive service – waiters’ tips increased significantly.
It’s important to continue to deliver unexpected value for your customers after the first impression. Otherwise, they have what they want and they stop paying attention to you. If you surprise them with unexpected value, they will continue to open your emails— giving you the opportunity to continue to build a positive relationship that keeps customers coming back.