2024 is shaping up to be a challenging year for marketers. People are spending less, the channels are changing, and the competition for people’s attention is tougher than ever.

There was a time not too long ago that we could just spend our way to profitability. Brands like Harry’s, Bark Box, Warby Parker, and Casper grew huge businesses by capitalizing on cheap social ads, but those days are behind us.

There is one audience, however, that is engaged, available, and nearly free to connect with: Your existing customers.

That may sound obvious, but over the past few months, we’ve worked with several businesses that were looking to grow their sales, and in each case they found that they had significant growth available to them by simply focusing on the people who already know and love what they’re up to.

Now, I’m not talking about spamming your email list, or pestering people to buy more. Instead, it’s about respecting and appreciating the fact that there is a group of people who have chosen you and your brand. They agree that your product or service is the best one out there to solve their problem, so it’s on us to reciprocate that love by giving them experiences, content, and other touchpoints that makes their lives easier, and make it easier for them to become loyal advocates of your brand.

A couple of examples popped up this week that illustrate that idea:

Yeti Focuses on the Post-Purchase Experience

We all know Yeti for their high-quality content, influencer partnerships, and retail experiences, but the premium cooler brand shared with Retail Dive this week that a major focus for them this year is the post-purchase experience.

Something as simple as the emails people receive after they checkout can have a major impact on their likelihood to graduate from one-time buyer to loyal brand ambassador.

Yeti turned their creative might to the sequence of emails that people receive before and after delivery, and were able to achieve some pretty impressive numbers, including “an average open rate above 80% and an average open-to-click rate above 43% for its post-order confirmation emails.”

OK, people are opening confirmation emails. So what, right?

Instead of thinking about that audience, and those emails, as being purely transactional, when we reframe them as an audience like any other, we see that there is no more valuable brand impression we can make.

People who have just checked out are excited about their purchase, they want reassurance that they’ve made the right choice, and, if we do our jobs well, they’re the most likely source of the best type of marketing: word-of-mouth.

SSENSE Increases Sales by Reducing Checkout Friction

The retail marketplace, SSENSE, is up against some of the biggest and best marketing teams in the world. Nordstrom, Net-a-Porter, Farfetch, even Amazon are aggressively competing for the same audience’s attention, trying to convince them to shop on their websites.

Rather than focusing entirely on maximizing the number of people it can get to click to the site, SSENSE is working to make the last step as simple and pain-free as possible. Checking out, after all, is the most important step in an online retail journey, and they know that every improvement they make will not only increase the number of people who make it to the end, it will also cause people to come back.

In a recent interview, the Director of Product Management at SSENSE shared that they had managed to reduce the total time to checkout by 70%, which had a direct impact on checkout rates, and therefore total sales.

So What?

You may not have the brand awareness of Yeti, or the traffic volume of SSENSE, but you do have an audience of people who are shopping, booking, or buying from you.

Rather than spending all of our best ideas on how to get a few more views on our videos, or clicks to our website, we each have an opportunity to direct that creativity to the people who are most valuable.

Here are a few places to direct those ideas:

When done well, the value we receive in return shows up in ways that are so difficult to achieve with any other audience. Better online reviews, more user-generated content, more frequent return purchases, and ultimately, lower costs to attract and retain customers.

So, the next time you’re planning where to focus your creative energy, consider the people who have already chosen you and how you can make their lives a bit easier – they’ll thank you for it.