Email marketing has been king in terms of ROI for a few years now, raking in a median ROI of 122% in 2016, and chances are that will be even higher once the 2017 numbers are in. The number of email users worldwide is expected to be nearly 2.9 billion by 2019. This means the reach of email marketing is only going to get bigger.
However, in order to get that sort of crazy ROI from email marketing, your email marketing has to do two key things:
- Reach the right customers.
- Be delivered at the right time.
A strong suite of triggered emails will address specific behaviors associated with each stage of the customer lifecycle. This targets customers at every potential buying point, and increases the lifetime value of each customer.
These are the eight triggered emails that will take your email marketing to the next level, and help you get the most out of every dollar spent on marketing.
Send browse abandonment emails to exploit customer interest
Window shopping is alive in the digital age, it just looks a little different now. Customers go to ecommerce sites, and look at products they want all the time. Window shopping demonstrates interest, which is the first buying behavior that you can exploit with email.
The crux of a successful browse abandonment campaign is collecting email addresses. Offer a sign-up incentive to get more first time subscribers. Additionally, make it as easy as possible for customers to sign into their account and and use pre-submit tracking. This way you can personalize your browse abandonment emails as much as possible.
Lastly, use an exit intent popup to prompt window shoppers to sign up with their email address before they leave your site.
Once you’ve got email collection set up, here’s how you create a great browse abandonment email:
- Send the first browse abandonment email within an hour or two of browse abandonment.
- Include pictures and links to the products the customer viewed in the first email.
- Send a second email 3 to 5 days after browse abandonment, but only if the customer didn’t make a purchase after the first email.
- Include pictures and links to products in the same category as the products the customer initially browsed, but not the exact same products.
- Use the most popular items from those categories and highlight limited stock to build scarcity into your second browse abandonment email.
Use welcome series emails to get more initial purchases
Customer acquisition cost is a huge deal for any company. So it’s critical to filter your leads efficiently and spend the fewest possible dollars on uninterested prospects.
Your welcome series reduces customer acquisition costs by only targeting your most promising prospects (those who opted into your email list). This helps capture more first purchases, so you can capitalize on repeat purchase probability. Welcome series emails also give you an opportunity to make a value proposition that helps reduce first-time buying friction.
Here’s how to create a great welcome series email:
- Send the email immediately after the customer subscribes to your mailing list.
- If you offered an email subscription incentive, deliver it in this email.
- Include any free gifts or services you offer (free consultation, inspection, review, product sample, etc.).
- Include a first purchase incentive.
- Use only one or two calls to action in the email (one for the free service or sample, and one for the first purchase incentive).
Welcome new customers with a new customer welcome email
Once customers have made an initial purchase, there’s a 27% chance they’ll come back. After a second purchase, there’s a 45% chance they’ll make a third purchase. The likelihood of a fourth purchase? 54%. Then, customers make a fifth purchase 70% of the time!
So, customers who’ve made one purchase from you are incredibly profitable marketing targets. Use your new customer welcome email to plant the seed for a third purchase, and exploit repeat purchase probability. New customer welcome emails are also a great customer service opportunity that can save money in other areas as well.
Here’s how to create a great new customer welcome email:
- Time the new customer welcome email so that they get it just before or on the same day that their product arrives. Use your average shipping times to determine this (usually between 2 and 5 days after purchase), or use your order tracking system to match the email send date with the estimated delivery date.
- Start the subject line with, “Welcome to..” or “Thank you for…” to increase open rates.
- Welcome your new customer to your company family in the introduction of the email.
- Introduce your brand message in the body of the email.
- Provide links to your company social channels like Instagram and Facebook.
- Direct the new customer to instructional videos on how to use and care for their new product, and frequently asked questions. This will help minimize strain on your customer support team.
- Provide some suggestions for products that compliment the one that they’ve already purchased.
Recover lost revenue with abandoned cart emails
Cart abandoners are customers who were very deep into the buying cycle when they decided not to buy. This means the potential ROI from targeting this segment of your customer base is very high.
The average cart abandonment rate in 2017 was 76.9%. Email marketing research indicates that you can expect about a 5% conversion rate from your abandoned cart emails. If that doesn’t seem like a lot, collect some data, and find out how many customers are abandoning carts. You might find your abandoned cart email campaign could perform this well:
Since over three quarters of customers abandon carts, converting just 5% of those to sales could generate a lot of revenue.
One perk of running an abandoned cart email campaign is that it uses the same infrastructure you set up to collect email addresses for your browse abandonment email campaign.
In addition to recovering revenue, an abandoned cart email presents other opportunities for:
- Excellent customer service.
- Collecting information about why customers abandon carts.
Take a customer-centric approach to your abandoned cart emails so that even if you don’t win the sale, you’ll still get valuable information and leave a great impression that might lead to future purchases.
Here’s how to create a great abandoned cart email:
- Send the first email 1 hour after abandonment with a subject line that focuses on customer service like, “Was There a Problem?”
- Start by asking if they forgot about their order or if they’re still interested. Dynamically insert a specific product from their cart here to personalize the email.
- Use session regeneration to provide a link to a cart that is already populated with their order to reduce buying friction.
- End the email by providing access to customer support and offering a survey to collect information on why they didn’t buy.
- Send a second email 1 day after cart abandonment with a helpful subject line like, “Just In Case You Forgot.”
- Structure the second email similarly to the first, but with more focus on that you’re just reminding them.
- Send a third email 3 days after abandonment with a one-time discount. Shipping costs are the top reason for cart abandonment, so free shipping is a great discount to offer in this email.
- Use responses from the survey you include to optimize your checkout flow and improve your discounting strategy.
Use cross sell emails to increase customer value
Cross sell emails are one of the simplest ways to get more lifetime value out of a customer. This email is simple to build and can add value to your other marketing emails since it brings customers back to your store.
Once a customer comes back to your site, there’s a strong chance that they’ll get a browse abandonment or cart abandonment email. This increases the value of those campaigns, since they’re targeting a customer for a second, third, or maybe even fourth purchase.
Cross sell emails work best with products that complement each other. Running shoes and running socks, waterproof shells and insulating mid-layers that zip together, stereo head units and speaker systems are all great cross sell candidates.
To get the most out of cross sell emails, take two of your products that complement each other, product X and product Y, and identify customers who have purchased X, but have not purchased Y. This is your target segment.
Here’s how you build a great cross sell email:
- Send the cross sell email after the customer has received their first purchase.
- Use a subject line like, “This Would Work Great With Your [Product]!”
- Start by thanking them for their first purchase, and let them know you’d like to help them get the most out of product X.
- Tell them the added benefit of purchasing product Y, and include a link to the product page.
Target your most valuable customers with VIP emails
Most business people are familiar with the 80/20 rule at this point. But many may not realize that the 80/20 principle is fractal. This means that not only will 20% of your customers generate 80% of your revenue, but 20% of your most profitable 20% will produce 80% of that total 80%.
That’s a bit complex, but it breaks down to mean that 4% of your customers will produce 64% of your overall profits. So, marketing that targets your most valuable 4% of customers is excellent use of your marketing budget.
The tricky part is identifying the 4% that’s generating over half of your revenue. This segment will be different for each business, but these are some common metrics you can use to identify your most valuable customers:
- Total number of purchases
- Average order value
- Total dollars spent
- Purchase frequency
- Subscription duration
The key with targeting your most valuable customers is to offer them something better than just another discount. Offer exclusivity.
Exclusivity isn’t always easy to give. These are some good ways to offer exclusivity:
- Invitations to help test new products
- Invitations to product launches
- Early access to new products or new stock of products that frequently sell out
- Exclusive access to certain products
If a discount is your only viable option, just make sure that it’s a discount that you never offer to other customers, and that your VIP customers know it.
Here’s how to build a great VIP email:
- Use a subject line like, “Here’s a Thank You For Being One of Our Best Customers!!”
- Give some recognition for their buying with you in the introduction.
- As thanks, detail any exclusive offers you have.
Create recurring revenue with replenishment emails
Since repeat sales are the most valuable, getting customers to set-and-forget repeat purchases will net you tons of revenue. This is where replenishment emails come in. Obviously this works best for businesses that sell consumables, but there’s a way to make it work for other products as well.
First, you need to time your replenishment emails so that they arrive just before the customer runs out. You can automate this by determining how long on average a consumable product lasts, and use the purchase date to find out when the customer will need a replenishment reminder. Proper timing will ensure that your replenishment email open rates are high.
If you sell non-consumables, the replenishment email will sound more like a checkup. Replenishment emails are also a great opportunity to solicit feedback about your products and your service. If you happen to sell something that requires maintenance, a replenishment email would be a maintenance reminder.
Here’s how to create a great replenishment email:
- Send the first replenishment email 3 days before the customer would run out of their product with a subject line like, “Just a Heads-Up, You’re About to Run Out of [Product].” For non-consumables, use a subject line like, “How’s Your [Product] Working for You?”
- Use their order history to provide a link to a cart that’s already populated with exactly how much they bought last time.
- Include a subscription link.
- Send a second email on the day that the customer runs out with a subject line like, “Uh Oh! You’re Out of [Product]!”
- Provide another link to a populated cart.
- Include a subscription link. Use a call-to-action like, “Never Run Out Again.”
- Send a third email a 2 or 3 days after they run out with a subject line like, “Are You Sure You Don’t Need More?” Include the same links as in the second email.
- Provide a link for the customer to give feedback to find out why they didn’t repurchase.
Extend customer lifespan with win-back emails
No matter what, at some point every customer’s buying behavior is going to slow down. The critical part of a win-back email campaign is not to send the email too early. If the customer was going to come back for another purchase anyway, it’s essentially order cannibalization and wasted marketing budget.
Before you send any win-back emails, study your customer behavior and determine the longest purchase latency that is normal for your customers. Only send a win-back email once a customer has exceeded the maximum purchase latency.
Since this customer behavior indicates that the customer is ready to defect, or may not make another purchase, the win-back email is the perfect place for your strongest offer. Marketing research has found that offering a discount in terms of dollars, rather than percentage, is the most effective.
Only send one win-back email. A second email may feel excessive to a disinterested customer, which decreases the chance that they will change their mind later, since their last interaction with your company was negative.
Here’s how to create a great win-back email:
- Send the email as soon as you identify excessive purchase latency with a subject line like, “We Miss You.”
- Hit these customers with your highest dollar discount.
- Provide a link for customers to give feedback about why they didn’t purchase again.
- Regularly recalculate your normal purchase latency to ensure that you’re not inadvertently targeting customers who don’t need it.
Start integrating these emails.
Whatever your email marketing strategy is, if you use these eight emails, you will get more return from your marketing dollars. These emails create an email marketing ecosystem that reintroduces your customers to the buying cycle any time they exhibit buying-averse behavior.
These eight emails also increase marketing efficiency, since most of them utilize the same data collection infrastructure.
So, if you want to use the most profitable marketing strategy available, start sending these eight emails now, and start getting crazy return on your marketing budget.
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