We all know how email marketing works, right? Its a relatively simple process, you create your list, spend some time crafting a great looking email and then you send it to everyone on that list. Once you’re done, you sit back and wait for the phone to ring or the orders to roll in on your eCommerce website. Simple right?
Actually, the process we’ve just touched on is what’s referred to as email blasting, which may or may not achieve your desired results. Its a tactic that works for some but not for all.
If you really want to make the most of your email lists and campaigns, you have to dig a little deeper. This means implementing some best practices and using some resources you might not be familiar with. Email automation comes with a whole heap of functionality that can take your business to the next level.
Here are just a few of the ways that automated email can improve your marketing efforts.
Achieving a consistent and fluid conversion rate is the main reason any retailer markets their products. The ideal is always to make sales and email is a valuable tool to help accomplish your goal. Some prospective customers need a little more persuasion than others to make a purchase. A well thought out and executed email strategy can provide the right level of engagement for someone to finally take that leap and become a conversion for you. A strong email campaign should include a level of automation.
One area that a lot of retailers negate to think about are what we call “Abandoned Baskets”. These are a group of visitors to your website that place items in their basket but don’t actually complete their purchase for whatever reason. Using email automation to recover that sale can add a significant amount of revenue for your business over the course of a month.
The way that it should work is that 48 hours after said customer has placed items in their basket but not followed through with the purchase, an email is automatically sent out to them with some form of encouragement to complete the action. Whether you, as the retailer, choose to use the automated email as a reminder or whether you choose to add some incentive such as free delivery or a percentage off if they complete their order there and then, recovering that sale can not only reap rewards for you but makes that customer feel like they are purchasing from someone reputable and someone that likes to look after both their potential and existing customer base.
There are slight drawbacks to an automated campaign such as this. You run the risk of a percentage of people wising up to how things work and they might then deliberately visit your site once a month, place items in their basket and wait to receive that email with a discounted incentive before paying for their products. Is this a bad thing? Not really. If you can work out an incentive you’re comfortable with offering, then as long as the sale is being completed your conversion rate stays in tact and eventually experiences a decent increase over time. They’ll still be your customer at the end of the day rather than going to a competitor and spending their hard-earned cash on their website.
Time is always a factor
Investing in email automation to enhance customer experience can build your brand reputation. If you’re just starting out or have a small team, order management and aftercare is always a time consuming exercise that needs a level of sophistication attached to it. Offering great customer service from the point that someone purchases a product from you through to the customer actually receiving their product is imperative and is likely to encourage customers to share their experience.
While there’s a lot to be said for taking a personal approach and taking on a lot of this work yourself, implementing automated email to inform customers of their order progress can be just as effective.
An automated email that is sent out as soon as a customer has purchased, confirming their order, their address details and the delivery times is always advised. Having further emails sent automatically informing customers that the order has been dispatched or is due for delivery on the specified date only helps to better a customer experience and is proven to play a part in customer retention.
There’s also nothing wrong with sending automated email for what you might perceive as negative purposes. For example, if a product was due to be delivered on a certain day but delivery has had to be delayed, an informative email or heads up to your customer, apologising for the inconvenience and advising them of when they should expect to receive their order goes a long, long way.
We’ve all experienced similar stories, you see a product on a website that you fall in love with and you remind yourself to check out the website later that day and place your order but by the time you get on there, the product has sold out or is no longer available. A lot of retailers are now using automation as a tool to manage customer expectations when it comes to stock.
Take this same example, you go to that website to order that product you were interested in, its not in stock, but, you are given the option to be notified via email as soon as it comes back into stock. If you love the product enough, you’re likely to enter your email address and opt in to receive the notification. For a customer, this is an attractive feature.
For a retailer, its a simple gesture that can impact significantly on customer retention and loyalty. An automated email in this instance would work simply, in terms of as soon as you enter the replenished stock levels against that product, an email is immediately sent to customers who asked to be notified and away they go to the website and place their order.
Again, they’re little things that can play such an important part in how your online business operates.
All of the above lead us nicely into segmentation. We mentioned at the top of this article that email blasting can work for some but not for others. One way of really keeping on top of how email works for your business is by embracing segmentation.
Build lists that are dependent on a customer’s actions.
An example of basic but good segmentation is if you send an email out to a list and part of that email incorporates a link that registers interest in a certain service or product. You can export all of the people that clicked on that particular link and place them in a separate list so that you can then market to them more effectively. Think of all the emails we receive on a daily basis, whether we read them or not. We’re all so much more likely to engage with an email that revolved around content or products we had previously shown interest in, than a bulk of emails where those same points of interest only formed a small part of a mass piece of content cluttering up our inbox. Its the difference between someone marking your emails as spam, deleting them straight away or actually opening them, reading them and clicking through to your website with some form of intent to purchase.
Segmentation is getting more and more significant. Recent studies have shown a huge increase in revenue generated from segmented email campaigns.
Perhaps the most under-utilised part of any email campaign. The idea is that you can automatically have a prospective customer’s name placed in an email, from the subject line through to the opening salutation. This can often create benefits such as an increase in the number of people that open or click through from one of your emails.
A lot of the statistics we see from the email campaigns we send out show that more than a quarter of subscribers to most newsletters are more likely to open an email that contains some form of automated personalisation within it.
A lot of food for thought. The way people are shopping online is ever-changing and customers like to see the value in not only the products they are purchasing but the overall experience they are served with. Placing the right levels of automation in place to serve your audience as efficiently and as re actively as possible can provide you with huge benefits, not just when it comes to revenue generated but customer loyalty too.
If you would like to find out more about email marketing and automation, or to talk to us about any of the other services we offer, please do contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org