Build loyalty and turn prospects into customers through your email campaigns.
In the old days, email marketing was about sending regular news and product focused email campaigns to your entire database. Also known as batch and blast.
And then data became king. Member data was used to create highly targeted and personalised messages. With more relevance, we saw more conversions. You can check out our email marketing tips if you want more info on setting up your database.
However, personalisation can be time-consuming. Unless of course – you automate it. With good data, it’s as simple as identifying events in your sales funnel that will initiate a relevant and timely message. For example, someone subscribes > a new email address is entered into the database > welcome email triggers. The customers birthday is today > birthday email triggers. A customer has not engaged with you for some time > a re-engagement email triggers. Basic campaigns like these help convert, build loyalty, sell more and bring people back to your brand. All running in the background and freeing up your time to focus on other things.
Many ESPs have made life simple for marketers by enabling basic drag and drop automation set-up. For our post today, we are going to share 4 automated email campaigns to help engage your subscribers.
The welcome email
If you speak to someone and they don’t answer you – how do you feel? The same applies when a person interacts with your brand. If they have taken the time to give you their details – you need to acknowledge them. But it doesn’t end there because first impressions last. So what’s in a good welcome email?
- Personality – Welcome your new found friend in your brand’s tone of voice. This is the beginning of your one-to-one relationship so be sure to make them feel they have made a good choice. There is no right or wrong text – but keep it short.
- Set the scene – what can they expect now they have given you their email address? Weekly emails? Special deals? A birthday offer? As with any relationship, setting the expectations at the beginning increases your chances of an ongoing happy relationship.
- Offer – if you’ve incentivised your subscription with an offer like a voucher code – your customer will be expecting to receive it in this email.
- Call to Action – open rates for Welcome emails are generally pretty high with many seeing in excess of 60% opens. Don’t miss this opportunity and create a clear call to action. Eg: Shop Now. Read More.
How many emails?
For a welcome email – only one. However, if subscribers and account holders (or customers) are classified differently on your e-commerce site – you’ll need a different welcome email for each. Subscribers (with no account) should receive content similar to what we have outlined above. Whereas account holders that haven’t subscribed should simply receive a welcome email with their account details.
Typically this email is sent in real-time (particularly for customer accounts or if you’re using a double opt-in). However, there are circumstances where you could consider delaying a day. Like if you’re literally sending a “welcome” message. Often when subscribers sign up, they are in a consideration phase. They are already spending time on your site. By delaying the email by a day, the welcome email will help trigger them back on to your site when they could be closer to a purchase decision.
As mentioned above – you can expect pretty high open rates (over 60%) from welcome emails. That’s because the email is triggered directly from an action of the customer so they are expecting it.
Following the welcome email – your new contact is still hyper-engaged. Before dropping them into the cycle of campaign emails, spend time further connecting with them. This is your opportunity to strengthen the relationship and to warm up your prospects into becoming customers. Onboarding programs are typically a series of emails. Here are a few things you could do within your program.
1. Collect more info about your customer’s preferences
At this point it’s likely you have some bare bones info about your new contact. However, if you want to increase your chances of actually connecting with them, this is a good point to get them to share a little more about themselves.
The wall that so many organisations run into at this point, however, is what to collect. There are so many cases where data is simply being collected for the sake of it. One rule. If it’s not something you are going to use – don’t ask.
Some things you might want to consider for basic segmentation purposes could include gender, birth date & postcode.
Beyond this, you could also ask customers what they like hearing about to shape the type of content you include in your emails. The results could be used in one of two ways. The first is to only send them content that matches their choice. The second is to simply use the insights from a group level to start shaping the type of things you will communicate. Whichever method you choose, set the expectation with customers when you collect the data.
Over to the mechanics, you’re going to need a couple of elements to get this part of your onboarding program up and running
- The “update your profile” email
- A form that customers go on to complete (that feeds into your database)
- A confirmation email (required if you have an incentive linked)
In terms of the email content, start by sending it without an incentive so you have a baseline to report from. Observe your results and then test and compare the impact if you dangle a carrot (add an offer) in the content.
2. Build a deeper connection with your brand
Consumers choose to spend their hard-earned dollars with companies not only for the products or services they can buy – but also for what the brand represents. This is a great opportunity within the customer lifecycle to create a deeper connection between your new contact and your brand.
This part of your onboarding program isn’t product focused and should not be about directly driving sales. It’s about growing engagement. And it’s achieved through content.
Take your subscribers behind the scenes. Talk about your values. About the charities you’re behind. Share articles, photos, videos – it’s all about connecting. And of course about sharing so be sure to include social sharing options.
3. Convert prospects into customers
If you’ve integrated your email program with your e-commerce platform – you’ll have insights into who your prospects are (those that have not purchased) and who your customers are (those that have purchased). At this point, you can consider splitting your onboarding program into two directions.
For a customer, it might be the end of the onboarding experience. For a prospect – you want to look at converting them into a customer. Give them a little more reason to buy. Address any pain points that could be a barrier to purchase such as delivery and returns. Include some testimonials. Add an offer. Test a variety of versions with different content to see what sparks the highest conversion rate with your audience.
How many emails?
If your content is engaging, you can send as many as you like. Typically an onboarding program would be staggered over a number of weeks and could include anything from 3 emails and up. If you build out your program based on real-time behaviour (for example, members that are not opening the emails may go down a different path to those that are opening) the number of emails can also vary on a member level. The beauty of digital is the ability to test and learn. So if you’re finding that certain emails in your onboarding program are not delivering the results you want – you can change or remove them.
This will be dependent on the number of emails you choose to include in your onboarding program and the type of content. As above – to find your optimal timing simply create a baseline and then start testing and measuring the impact of changing this.
Expect the first one or two emails to retain high open rates but don’t be surprised by the subsequent decrease over time. This is natural. What you do want to keep your eye on is the dramatic drops in open rates. This should trigger you to review whether that particular communication should be optimised or removed from the set. You should also by now be analysing the results beyond simple open rates. Depending on the content of the email, you will be interested in click through rates and most importantly conversion rates – be it form completions, transactions, visits to a store page etc.
A customer has been on your site, added something to the cart, proceeded to the checkout and then disappeared. Many have no intention to come back. They have found what they want on another site and have purchased there. Or they have genuinely changed their mind and no longer want to purchase.
Others, however, are still in the consideration phase. And with a little nudge – you might be able to get them back to your site to finish what they started.
The abandoned cart email is designed to remind these customers to come back. It brings the idea of purchasing from your site front of mind. Many marketers use images of the cart contents within the email to help trigger the connection. And the need to complete the purchase.
This is a good chance to highlight features that will assist in the conversion. Things like ease of returns, delivery features and payment options. If you’re sending a reminder email – you can use it to create a sense of urgency. Such as – your cart will be emptied. Or limited stock.
How many emails?
You can send up to two emails – the initial “you left something in your cart” email and a reminder email. Any more is overkill.
The first email can be sent pretty quickly, it’s not uncommon to receive this type of communication within the hour of abandoning a cart. The second can follow a couple of days to a week later.
Abandoned Cart emails are star performers and can deliver e-commerce conversion rates upwards of 10%. And because these emails are automated, the ROI for running this type of campaign is typically quite high.
Because everyone loves to be acknowledged and loved on their birthday! And with all those happy juices flowing, your customer might be in the mood for spoiling themselves – especially if you have sent them a special birthday offer.
How many emails?
One every year
This varies from sending a couple of days prior to sending on the customer’s actual birthday. Assuming your email platform allows AB Testing – trial both and select the winning result.
Given this is a set-and-forget campaign – it’s absolutely worth setting up as it will drive conversion rates of a few %. The success will, of course, be dependent on your product/service and the birthday offer.
Need some help setting up your campaigns? BluePixie provides assistance with email marketing strategy and template design & coding. Get in touch to discuss your project details.
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