Managing an eCommerce business is fun and fulfilling. But it can also be challenging at times, especially if you don’t have the right tools. Imagine overseeing everything from product development, to inventory, finances, and operations. Marketing is a whole different story. It involves creativity and lots of engagement with current and existing customers. Basically, it takes quite a lot of time. If only there’s a way to make it easier, right? Well, here’s something you need to know… you actually can! With email marketing automation, get ready to take your eCommerce business to another level! Email marketing is still the number one tool for increasing sales. Globally, 30% of marketers say that email marketing has the highest ROI. 81% of small and medium enterprises also rely on email for customer acquisition and retention. Sure, social media helps too. Almost all eCommerce brands focus on social media presence. But, this doesn’t make email marketing less effective and valuable. If you’re aiming for direct reach and conversions, email marketing is your best bet. A large percentage of the world’s population uses email. Research shows that as of 2018, there were 124 billion business emails sent and received per day. There were also about 111 billion consumer emails sent and received per day.
Challenges in email marketingOne challenge for marketers is to stand out in a crowded inbox. So how can you do it? You can start by personalizing your emails. It’s a strategy used by many email marketers today–and with good reason. Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%. Conversions also improved by an average of 10%. Personalized emails stand out because they cater to each customer’s preferences. We’re no longer just talking about the first names. We’re talking about behavior, demographics, and online activity. Sending generic announcements and newsletters is not the way to go anymore. Sending email blasts can cause your subscribers to get annoyed and unsubscribe. Here lies another challenge in email marketing – time. Where do you get the time to study each customer and personalize their messages? Thankfully, technology gives another gift in the form of email marketing automation.
What is email marketing automation?Here’s a scenario. Imagine a new customer who decides to subscribe to your list. He or she will receive a welcome email. Imagine doing this for each new subscriber. You’ll go crazy! Enter email marketing automation. Put simply, email marketing automation is using software to send relevant, timed, and triggered emails to subscribers. You can set up automated actions way ahead of time. It’s all about saving time without sacrificing communication and personalization. This allows you to stay in touch with customers, welcome new subscribers, or send out updates. It’s efficient, relevant, and personalized without much leg work. As technology becomes more rampant, more companies are turning to email marketing automation. In 2014, 70% of brands were already using a marketing automation platform. Research shows that more than 75% of email revenue is from triggered campaigns and not generic email campaigns. Automated email campaigns were also responsible for 21% of email marketing revenue.
How does email marketing automation work?Marketers can create email workflows for various scenarios. These are automatic emails sent to subscribers when triggers are activated. Basically, email marketing automation makes use of customers’ data to create personalized and relevant content. Here are some of the email marketing automation terms you need to know: Triggers are specific actions or behavior. For example, if a customer has visited a lot of pages on your website but ended up buying nothing. Or when a customer buys an item for the first time. There are a lot of other triggers and customer scenarios. The best way to go about this is by putting yourself in the customers’ shoes. Automation flows are real magic. These are the emails or email series that get sent out after a trigger. Let’s say one of your customers is celebrating their birthday. You can filter the birthdays of your subscribers and send a personalized birthday greeting. Automation flows help you communicate with your customers. You can focus on other business aspects and have your automation working behind the scenes. Opt-in is where it all begins. When someone decides to “opt-in” they are giving their permission for you to send them emails. Did you know that some businesses engage in list buying? It’s an easy way to gain tons of subscribers. However, this is wrong and definitely not advisable. First, the people on these lists did not ‘opt-in’ to receive emails from your business. Second, some of these lists can be illegally harvested. Next, you can come across as a spammer and this can damage your eCommerce brand’s credibility. So grow your list organically. You can do this by providing valuable content and resources for people who choose to opt-in. Make them feel that they made the right decision. Now, it is important for marketers to come up with engaging welcome series automation. That way, new subscribers won’t end up being inactive or unsubscribing.
Benefits of email marketing automationReach the full potential of your business. Invest in email marketing automation! Here are the concrete reasons why.
Increase in efficiencyImagine replying to each subscriber manually. How about scouring through subscribers’ data to get their birthdays and recent purchases? Sounds like a lot of hard work, right? Email marketing automation will increase your efficiency greatly. You will only need to set up the triggers and tasks and you’re good to go! Say goodbye to your worries about manually communicating and nurturing customers. Email marketing automation can lead them down the conversion path. You don’t have to be directly involved. Instead, you can focus on other business stuff you need to do.
Increase in transactionsAutomation means you can do more in less time. Sending manual invoices or order confirmations will only get you nowhere. Email marketing automation gives you the liberty of being able to manage and process transactions all at the same time. Subscribers also tend to interact more with transactional emails. Transactional emails have eight times more opens and clicks and can generate six times more revenue! As a result, marketers use them to encourage customers to make another purchase. They do this by sending the recommended products or free discount coupons.
Bigger impact due to segmented emails83% of companies said that the biggest benefit of email marketing automation is the ability to send more relevant messages. Email marketing automation segments customers and subscribers into smaller groups. These groups are based on interests, buying behavior, online activity, or demographics. By doing so, you can make sure that the recipients receive content they are interested in. Segmentation and personalization go hand in hand. Email marketing automation makes this possible and easy. As a result, segmented campaigns drive a 760% revenue increase!
Keep leads engagedIt’s important to continuously engage and communicate with your new leads. Generating leads is great, but you have to stay relevant. One way to do this is by setting up drip campaigns. A drip campaign is a series of automated emails sent to leads on a regular schedule. It’s a great way to make your brand’s online presence felt by people who show interest in your products. Email marketing can help a lot in keeping leads warm, preparing them to buy. Guess what? Drip campaigns generate 80% more sales at lower costs!
Examples of automation flowsThese are the different kinds of automation that you can set up.
Customer AcquisitionThese are the automation that you can use for new subscribers. These include the opt-in message, as well as the welcome series. As mentioned, it’s important to make sure that your new subscribers do not regret that they opted in. According to Klaviyo, a good welcome series has the power to generate revenue. Best practices include offering discounts and time-sensitive promos. Nisolo welcomes new customers by offering free shipping but only for 48 hours. The result? The welcome email is performing 12 times better!
Cart recoveryCart recovery refers to the emails triggered by cart abandonment scenarios. Okay, we’re all guilty of this at some point in our lives. You keep adding items to your cart, but you end up not checking out. There are a lot of factors why cart abandonment happens. They could have found cheaper options, or they could have felt guilty about shopping. Each customer is different, so personalize those cart recovery emails! They can start off as simple reminders and can end with a discount to complete the purchase.
Browse recovery flowThis refers to subscribers who have opted in and visited your site. They want to buy, but they don’t. They browse through your products but they don’t end up buying anything. It can be that they found better deals or were distracted. In reality, this happens more often than you think. According to Cision, 92% of the people who visit your site for the first time are not there to buy. The challenge lies in converting them. Browse recovery flow emails serve as reminders that they were interested in something. It’s a great tactic to tempt them to go back to the site. These types of emails actually have high open rates because of their timeliness and relevance.
Customer nurture flowThis type of automation flow is for customers who have already placed their order and are currently waiting for it to arrive. They’re excited and they want to know where their order is! The technique is to continue engaging them even after they have purchased. One way to do is by using tools like Aftership. By doing so, customers are regularly updated about their order’s status. It keeps them excited!
Repeat customer lifetime value flowRepeat customers are those who have already bought twice. They already trust your brand, and your goal is to turn them into loyal fans. You can do this by creating awesome customer experiences and rewarding them with more value. Thank them and make sure they know how much they are appreciated by the brand. Thank you emails, surprisingly, have a 352% higher open rate than a traditional email campaign. Why not include a personalized e-card coupled with a discount or reward points? Remember, you want their customer lifetime value to keep increasing.
High-value customer flowWe cannot stress it enough. It’s perfectly normal for businesses to focus on lead generation and getting new customers. But it’s also important to keep taking care of your high-value customers. Contrary to repeat customers, high-value customers are true fans and brand advocates. It also costs more to get a new customer than to keep an existing customer. So go all out and make sure that your high-value customers stay loyal to your brand. Offer them freebies, invite them to exclusive events, or gift them with huge discounts.
Customer win-back flowThey are the exact opposite of high-value customers. These are customers that have gone cold. They may have purchased before, but that was a long time ago. The goal of a win-back flow is to encourage cold customers to return to your site and buy something. You can leverage on their interests and send them emails asking where they have been the past months. Update them on what they have missed, and you can also offer an incentive. Finally, remind them that they can unsubscribe if they no longer wish to receive anything from you.
How to set it upSetting up email marketing automation is easier than you think. You don’t even have to be too technical.
Set your goalsAs with everything business related, you should always have a set of objectives. Goals must be SMART.
- to increase revenue by 10% by the end of 2019.
- to increase the list of subscribers by 30% at the end of 2019.
- to reduce unsubscribes by at least 20% at the end of June 2019.
Create a planBring out your creative juices and start conceptualizing. After coming up with your goals, how do you plan to execute them? It is important to create tasks and deadlines to be able to meet your timebound objectives. Here are some examples of the things you need to plan on:
- Your target audience and segments
- List-building tactics
- Your email scheduling
- Types of emails to send
- Kind of content will you produce
Choose your toolsOf course, you can’t implement your ideas if you don’t have the email marketing automation software. Likewise, having a dedicated and focused team will help greatly. There are a lot of options for service providers:
- Optin Monster
- Graphic artist
- Email marketer
- Bonus: Lead specialists and multimedia artists
- Or, you can also hire an email marketing agency for eCommerce businesses!
- Open Rate
- Clickthrough Rate
- Conversion Rate
- Bounce rate