Most of the eCommerce businesses undertake their marketing from random flash sales, sponsored Facebook posts and bulk email campaigns. All these promotional activities can be effective. But in the long run, incoherent marketing actions won’t create a real value for your brand. What your business truly needs is consistency. Consistent promotional actions are impossible without a precedent preparation and knowledge about your customers. And this all together merges into a marketing strategy.
Things like targeted messages, repeated customers, converted first-time visitors can become a part of your daily routine. But it would take forever to build an email routine around communicating with your customer without email marketing automation. In this article, we’re going to tackle the best strategies for using email marketing automation for eCommerce.
Nowadays, when so many merchants compete for customer attention, a relevant marketing message becomes crucial. Only by gathering the data about your customers and breaking them down into the segments can you achieve that. At the moment you get your customer attention, you can convey your targeted message. Unfortunately, many online stores are still missing this opportunity and leaving a lot of money on the table. Moreover, customer segmentation empowers you to provide your audience with highly relevant content they are interested in. This helps to build a strong and beneficial relationship with your customers.
The following are a few scenarios to start your customer segmentation with:
- Re-engage your inactive customers.
You can do this simply by creating an email campaign with relevant copywriting as well as an incentive to buy, and send it to all your customers who haven’t bought from you in the last 90 days (or less, according to your buying cycle).This strategy would be even more advanced if you set up the automated workflow with a series of three re-engagement emails. So, you wouldn’t need to repeat your campaign every time you wanted to re-activate your drowsy customers. An automated series of customer reactivation emails would do that for you.
- Convert promotional buyers into repeat buyers.
Create a segment of single-time customers that have purchased from you during the recent big sale. Don’t let them fade away. Make a special offer and send to them immediately. It will entice them to buy from you again.
- If it’s only relevant to your products, initiate gender-specific sale for Valentine’s Day.
The copywriting, gift ideas, even the subject line will be significantly more relevant if you know to whom you’re sending the message.
Note: Customer segmentation becomes effective if you have at least 1000 subscribers on your list.
2. A/B Testing
Human beings often are unpredictable creatures. You never know what will bring better results or the desired reaction. That’s why “always be testing” is a mantra of most developers, marketers, as well as service providers. Regular testing is necessary for any kind of activity related to customer behavior. A/B testing for your email marketing strategy is not an exception. It allows you to save time and try out more than one idea at a time. Furthermore, after testing with a small group, you can launch your winning campaigns to the rest of your customers. This little trick helps to achieve greater results.
Here are several ideas you can use to start your A/B testing from:
- Test the subject line with and without emojis. The emojis in the subject lines can be the hidden opportunity to increase your email open rate.
- Test if the time-limited offer makes an impact on the open rates.
- Test if sending emails from a person or using your business name results in better open rates.
3. Marketing Automation with Most Effective Series of Emails
By starting to automate your marketing messages, you can improve your sales up to 3X, and sometimes even more. You set up them once and leave them alone for a while to do their work for you. It’s like money making while you sleeping. Sounds like a plan, huh?
To begin with, pay attention that we are speaking about a series of emails, not a single email. The data shows that a series of emails results in 69% more sales than a one time message.
3.1. The Welcome Series
Did you know that 74.4 % of customers expect a welcome email when they subscribe? If you still haven’t launched this workflow, you definitely should do it now. A welcome series of three emails in a row helps to introduce your new customers to your brand, strengthens your business credibility and encourages them to make their first purchase within a targeted period of time. Trust me, a welcome series can bring great results. And what is most important, you can see those results in a short period of time.
3.2. The Birthday Series
Birthday emails are the automatically sent emails on the customers birthday or around that time. Usually, they show personal attention and offer a discount to customers to spoil themselves and buy something as a birthday gift.
Salesforce research revealed that 75% of companies that send these kinds of emails assess them as very effective, and only 6% see little or no value in them. A series of birthday emails should contain two messages. You can try two different scenarios and come back to us with your feedback on which one works better:
- It might be two emails: the first email with congratulation and invitation to shop, the second one – as a reminder to redeem the discount.
- First, you send a text message/SMS with congratulation and the hint about the gift in the inbox. Later that day you send the email with the discount. This scenario would lead you to the omnichannel approach which is even more promising and advanced.
If welcome automated workflow can be launched whenever you want, with birthday workflow this is different. You have to collect the data first. This can be done by adding extra fields into your popups to collect the birthday date and phone numbers of your customers. Without this data, you won’t be able to launch your automated birthday workflow.
See the example below of popup with additional fields.
3.3 The Abandoned Cart Series
The abandoned cart series consists of three automated email messages sent to a customer who has recently added products to the shopping cart but left the store without buying them. This kind of emails is groundbreaking. If a bulk email campaign averagely results in 0.2%-0.5% order rate, the cart recovery series brings a conversion of 4.64%.
The main components of such emails are:
- A catchy subject line, for example, “Still shopping?”, “Make your day by saying YES to yourself!”, etc.
- Images of the abandoned products
- Short descriptions with price included
- A BIG and CLEAR call-to-action button which links directly to the shopping cart with products inside.
Actually, some email service providers offer ready-made cart recovery workflows with good copywriting and everything working out of the box. So check out yours, maybe your ESP’s default emails are great and you don’t have to do anything with them but launch.
All in all, this automated workflow will definitely enrich your marketing arsenal and help to increase sales significantly.
4. Omnichannel Approach
When your audience is thinking about your brand, they aren’t thinking about your emails separately. They are thinking about your brand’s overall communication – your style, your visuals on social media and emails, voice tone, etc. So you should focus on carrying a consistent, specific message to your customers, no matter what channel you will have to get that across. Don’t limit yourself with a single email channel. For doing that, you can invoke other marketing channels into your marketing automation workflows. Text messages, Facebook, Google retargeting might perfectly work. Just make sure that your communication through all these channels is integrated, smooth and consistent.
For example, a great start to omnichannel strategy could be the automated birthday workflow that I have already mentioned before. Also, an exclusive subscriber-only promotion sent via SMS, via email and repeated via Facebook ads.
Summing up, some of these strategies need time to implement, some of them can be initiated immediately. Try at least several of them and you will see some significant achievements in your eCommerce business, including branding, customer loyalty, and sales. Email marketing automation isn’t just about getting the right message out, but doing so efficiently so you can focus more on building your core business.