We know that email marketing works. After all, email is the most preferred form of contact for the majority of customers. Studies have found that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can expect to receive $40 in return!
What makes emails even more effective, time-saving, and profitable for online businesses is automation. Automated marketing is one of the biggest advantages retailers have in today’s digital landscape, and can truly do wonders for businesses of all sizes.
Many people assume that setting up automated emails is complicated, requires lots of time, effort and money. While this may be true in B2B, when it comes to ecommerce, nothing could be further from the truth. Automation is a critical part of building an ecommerce website.
Let’s discuss some good practices retailers can use to set up a high-performing email strategy in a few simple steps.
Create an Exhaustive List of Triggers
Utilizing a trigger-based email marketing system can lead to higher conversions and click rates. Triggers can be action-based (such as a confirmation email sent to someone who has just purchased a product) or time-based (such as an email sent a week after someone has subscribed to a newsletter).
However, this task can get a little complicated. In order to create one that works, you will need to establish an exhaustive list that encompasses multiple stages of the buyer’s journey. Your customer lifecycle should aim to attract, interact, engage, and finally, convert. Break down each of these steps and decide what is the best action that should trigger an email response.
During the attraction stage, these can include things like clicking on a Facebook ad, an organic search, or anything else that might lead people to your website. If they sign up for your newsletter or follow your social media page, send out an email explaining the benefits or how you are a reliable expert in the field.
For those who have previously engaged with your business, use emails as a strategic way to keep them moving down the sales funnel. For example, if you’re an online retailer, your ecommerce platform will let you set up automatic follow-up emails to shoppers who place items in their cart but don’t go through with check out, like this reminder email from Bombas:
Just be sure not to overwhelm your customers with emails, but do establish an interactive campaign that keeps your company at the forefront of their minds.
Always remember to create content and automate the email distribution based on what is relevant to the customer’s position along the journey. Don’t push for the sale right away, as this can easily turn customers off. The majority of your customers will find your product when they have an issue, so position your brand as a solution to their problem and a source of valuable information.
Write Personalized Messages
Want to know the secret that will make your customers open up the emails you send? Add in their name. Personalized emails have an exceptionally higher open rate and can lead to up to 20% higher sales.
Personalization goes well beyond the customer’s name – the first step is to segment your email lists so that each subscriber receives emails that correspond with their habits and preferences too. You can do this by following this workflow:
- Create personas for your ideal customer
- Identify their demographics, location, interests, and intent
- Place them on the appropriate stage of your funnel
- Refer to their past purchases if any
- Trigger emails based on their actions – remember how Facebook emails you when
- ou haven’t logged in for 5 days?
This is the simplest – link to your website from your emails! To be more precise, embed a prominent link (Call to Action in marketing parlance) to the campaign landing page that the email is promoting.
Help your customers make decisions by having your call to action (CTA) buttons visible and accessible. Most likely, your CTA will be to purchase an item, but it could also be to check out new products, follow your social media accounts, or leave a review of a previous purchase. No matter your strategy, the best way to make it work is to embed clickable links that lead your customers where you want them to go.
You can easily automate your current email campaigns to include the right CTAs with the built-in templates of email marketing suites such as MailChimp or GetResponse. These allow you to customize the look and language of all your emails.
Make your CTA buttons highly visible by using larger, bold text and colored boxes. Give your customers several options to click throughout the email by including multiple links, like Adidas did here:
Constantly Track Results
Finally, the most important thing you can do when implementing an automated email campaign is to test its effectiveness. There is no point in spending time creating a trigger list and designing emails if they don’t improve sales or traffic.
Do some A/B testing with your emails when you start off. This means you create two or more designs to send out, and you keep track of the results to determine which was more effective.
You can use Google Analytics to track your email campaign results by creating customized URLs for your embedded links. This allows you to see how many links were clicked, which CTA buttons performed the best, and which emails led to the highest number of sales.
Retailers can also see if their cart abandonment emails were really successful in bringing back customers.
Automation doesn’t mean you just configure an email tool and then forget it. Knowing when and when not to automate tasks can be tricky. In fact, for big brand retailers, it is critical to control multi-channel marketing campaigns with close coordination among the different marketing departments – SEO, content, PPC, social media – as well as the sales and customer service teams.
Using these simple, strategic tips will help you create an effective campaign that is sure to bring major results.