Email Marketing for eCommerce Part 2: Email Marketing Campaigns
In Email Marketing for eCommerce Part 1, we went over what goes into the perfect welcome email. This week we’ll be going over different types of campaigns that you can send to your potential and existing customers. When it comes to email marketing, there is no perfect time to send emails. I can’t give you a set schedule that you should try out. The reason for that is because every single company out there is different. You all have different customers, different products, different offerings, etc. All of these take a part in figuring out when to send out eCommerce emails.
The best tip I can give you is to look at when your customers read their emails. Check your historical data. If you don’t have any yet, take a look at your customer demographic. The thing about eCommerce email marketing – and regular email marketing – is that it’s all trial and error. However, once it’s perfected, you will see it pay off.
Most people read their email within 4 hours of receiving it so before sending out your email, really think about what your customers would be doing in those few hours. Are they going to have some free time to read them? Are they going to be in the mood to buy? Another big tip is to look at revenue and orders for the time of day. You can get an idea of when people like to purchase. These times will typically work best for sending emails. Once you’ve established when you want to send out your email campaigns, it’s time to figure out which campaign to start with. The best way to do that is to look at the eCommerce Funnel.
There are three stages in the eCommerce Funnel: interested, engaged, and lapsed. For each stage, there are specific email campaigns and triggers that can be used to achieve the goal of that particular stage.
Stage 1: Interested
In stage one, someone has signed up for a coupon or a guide, etc. through a form but they haven’t actually made a purchase yet. Your goal is to get them to make their first purchase.
The best email associated with this would be a welcome email. Welcome them to the family, introduce your brand to them and encourage them to make their first purchase. See Part 1 of this email to see what goes into the perfect Welcome Email!
Stage 2: Engaged
In stage two, someone has purchased a product, or several products. Your goal here is simple: get them to stay engaged and buy again and again, throughout time. Typically, this won’t be a difficult thing to do if they’ve had a good experience and love your products.
The best email associated with this would be a transactional email, or receipt email. Optimize the email to provide product recommendations based on what they just bought.
Stage 3: Lapsed
Stage three is where someone has stopped buying and stopped opening/clicking your emails. Your goal here is to get them to reactivate their accounts, buy something or open and click your emails.
For these people, send a reengagement email campaign that will unsubscribe them if they don’t respond to your very last email.
LEAD NURTURING CAMPAIGN
Once you’ve welcomed them, it’s time to keep the relationship going by sending out a lead nurture campaign. These emails should be in addition to the emails you’re already sending out on a consistent basis. The primary goal for this campaign is not to sell them anything. Maybe once and a while, you can “soft sell,” but these emails aren’t like the typical promotional emails that most companies send out. Your customers have other problems in their lives aside from the problems that your products solve. Most companies focus solely on selling products and they don’t care about the other problems that their customer has. This is where you can take the time to write email articles about the products you sell as opposed to specifically talking about your products. For example, if your company sells organic skin care, you can write about topics like:
- 17 dangerous chemicals in top-brand skin care (and 1 brand that doesn’t have these chemicals)
- How skin care has changed over the ages
- The 5 best skin care for sensitive skin
- Does the skin care you use matter, or is it all the same?
The point is, each of these ideas lead naturally into a pitch for a product. Topics like these could link back to your blog, getting them to your site. Despite the opportunity for selling, it doesn’t feel like a pitch, and therefore doesn’t leave people with a bad taste in their mouth.
Another idea you can try is entertainment. Funny cat videos, songs you’re listening to around the office, etc. Of course, what you post must go along with your brand, but providing entertainment is a great way to stand out from the hordes of boring companies out there.
A great way to nurture your customers is to tell them stories. Tell stories about your business, where and how it got started, and what drives you today. Tell stories about your employees or even your customers. A good story is worth being told…to the right audience!
A typical nurture campaign looks like this:
- Email 1: Welcome to the Family
- Email 2: Brand indoctrination Part 1
- Email 3: Brand indoctrination Part 2
- Email 4: Educational email (This should lead into a soft sell. Tell a story and add a link to purchase.)
- Email 5: Cool video relating to your industry
- Email 6: Limited time offer (ex: 48 hours)
- Email 7: Limited time offer (ex: 24 hours left)
Promotions for First Purchase Email
The goal with this email is to entice the people in the “interested” stage of the funnel to make their first purchase. Simply pick an offer, create an email and send it out. You want to target people who have only visited specific categories on your website so you can display their interest in a specific type of product. Offer them a discount, free shipping, a gift or points, etc.
Transactional Emails/Email Receipts
Transactional emails or email receipts are the first emails your customers receive after they make a purchase. They’re their shipping and order confirmations. Because they’re transactional (related to purchase), they get high engagement scores. Take your typical email receipt with the shipping and order confirmation and kick it up a notch! Add these to your email to get more interaction:
- Up-sells and Cross-sells
- “People who bought this also bought…”
- Brand Indoctrination
- You should really never stop showing your brand to your customers. Every interaction with your brand is another moment to reinforce your brand’s message and what makes you different
- Free shipping, your return policy, how and where to get in contact with support, etc. Never stop selling people on the benefits of doing business with you rather than the competition.
From time to time, you’re going to come across a handful of shoppers abandoning their cart. Before taking it to heart, here are some reasons why they abandon their cart:
- Getting distracted by funny cat videos
- Worrying about payment security
- Not seeing their preferred payment options
- Extra fees once they get to their checkout
- Bad user experience
In attempt to remedy this and get the customer to want to go back and complete their order, sending out a cart abandonment email campaign is a great solution. It may not overcome every reason people abandon their cart, but it can still deliver a substantial boost in revenue!
A typical cart abandonment campaign looks like this:
- Email 1: Friendly Reminder
- Email 2: Objection
- Email 3: Discount
Refresh their memory and show them a photo of the product that’s in their abandoned cart. Give them a link to return to your website and complete their purchase.
You haven’t given them a discount quite yet and you don’t want to in this email either. In this email, you want to attack one or more objections such as:
- Did they know you offer free shipping?
- Do they know why you’re the best in the market?
- Do they know what makes your products different and unique?
- Do they know why you’re more expensive or cheaper than the competition?
Why are you more awesome than the competition? Tell them here.
If they still haven’t bought from you yet, after an email reminder and an email about why you’re awesome, maybe they’re nervous about the price and a discount would give them that little push that they need to buy. You don’t have to offer a crazy deal like 75% off just to get a purchase. Be smart in your offer. Enough so that they’ll purchase but still enough where you still make enough of a profit so it’s worth the sell.
ONLINE RETAIL CUSTOMER CAMPAIGN
New Customer Campaign
A typical new customer campaign looks like this:
- Email 1: Welcome to the [brand.name] company! (Send immediately)
- Email 2: Is everything ok? (Send 3 days later)
- Email 3: Did your product arrive? (Send 2 days after product should have arrived)
- Email 4: Request a product review (Send 3 days later)
- Email 5: Time-sensitive promotion (Send 3 days later)
- Email 6: Time-sensitive promotion (Send 1 day later)
You don’t have to follow these exact time-stamps but you can see the general idea of how frequent the emails will be sent out. You don’t want to email them every single day but you don’t want to email them too far apart so they end up forgetting about you.
Repeat Customer Campaign
The people who have purchased from you multiple times are more exposed to your brand. The being said, when it comes to emailing these customers, you can go into “promotion mode” faster and they won’t be offended.
A typical repeat customer campaign looks like this:
- Email 1: Thanks for purchasing again! (Send immediately)
- Email 2: Request a product review (Send 2 days after product should have arrived)
- Email 3: Time-sensitive promotion (Send 3 days later)
- Email 4: Time-sensitive promotion (Send 1 day later)
You’ll notice that this campaign is almost exactly the same as the new customer campaign set up. The difference is:
- As mentioned earlier, you can sell them faster with a promotion since they’re repeating customers.
- The language you use with these customers can be much different than the emails sent to people who aren’t as familiar with your brand just yet.
Win Back Occasional Customers
Let’s say you have a customer that buys once a month. Send a promotion to your occasional customers — the people who buy less than once every three months. Like I’ve been saying throughout this guide, make them a “no brainer” offer, and be sure to tell them that it’s only for people order less than once every three months.
Special Promotions for Top Customers
Just as you want to create specific promotions for people who buy less than average, you want to create specific promotions for people who buy more than average. These are your top customers. Treat them like royalty, and make sure they know how thankful you are for their business. Create exclusive deals that are only available for your top customers. Depending on your market, you can consider things like events too.
Depending on what email software you’re using, you may be able to create campaigns that trigger based on what pages someone visits. For example, if someone visits your best selling product and doesn’t buy, you can add them to a custom 3-email campaign that focuses on selling that specific product. Or if someone visits your Careers page but doesn’t submit an application, or if they visit a specific category you can follow up with them via email.
Over time, people are going to begin ignoring you, stop opening your emails and clicking your links. Ultimately, that means they’ll stop buying your products. This is where you need to be creative and try to reengage people. The idea with reengagement campaigns is simple: set up strategic email marketing campaigns to go out to people who haven’t opened or clicked an email in 60 days. For reengagement emails, it’s a good idea to send one or more of these:
- Surveys – find out why they stopped buying or responding
- Offer Incentives for Visits – Get people clicking on links to get to your website, like a blog post
- Promotions – Instead of the typical 10% off discounts, try 75% in order to encourage the person to repurchase.
TIPS TO BOOST PRODUCT SALES
- Use A/B testing to optimize open and click-through rates.
- Reward your most loyal customers.
- Be prepared for product seasonality and retail holidays with a newsletter calendar.