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Email Marketing Automation

6 Must-Have Email Marketing Automation Campaigns for eCommerce

Email Marketing Automation is not just for bigger players that need to save time anymore. It’s becoming a mainstream necessity to stay in the eCommerce because it’s the way to offer personalized customer experiences. Drip Campaigns

We notice most merchants think only of abandoned cart messages when talking about automation. For any online seller who wants to grow their business, automation workflows make it possible to reach out to all customers as needed (and stay sane). 

However, there are so many other uses of triggered marketing campaigns that can make your life easier – and amp up your marketing.

They are the answer to all prayers for less work, more revenue, better personalization, more accurate timing, and relevancy. They help build better brands.

Some examples of smart emails include:

  • personalized newsletter
  • product recommendations
  • recover abandoned carts
  • email retargeting

In this article, we’ll look at a few automated email campaigns – when they should be used, how to set them up and what to be careful about.

Why do you need to use Email Marketing Automation

 

If you’re not sure, we have a few reasons for you.

No spam

Email Automation works on trigger events – you set them up and emails are sent only when someone matches the criteria. This means you won’t be blasting messages just because – you’ll have a good reason.

The recipients won’t be annoyed because they’ll see the connection, which should increase the open and click rate.

Timing

With automation, you control at what moment your messages reach the audience – when they’re involved with your products, in buying mode, in need of something new, etc.

Why waste marketing effort when it’s not welcome? Smart emails actually answer to interest expressed by the target customer.

Targeted emails

Because they’re based on rules, automated emails never engage more people than they need to. The parameters of a campaign make sure the right message reaches the right people just as many times as you want.

Personalization and relevancy

One step further, rules are based on browsing and purchasing behavior. This way, each visitor or customer gets only the messages that are relevant to them and fit their buying habits.

With just a little set-up effort on your side, you’ll be providing customized customer experience to all. People will see only what they care about and won’t be dragged into a standard funnel.

As we’ve talked about before, it’s better to let the customer lead the way and tailor your offers on what they already show interest in. So you won’t be losing profit on pushing deep discounts on people who paid the full price before.

The positive effect on your overall Email Marketing strategy

All of the above will make your emails better accepted by recipients and therefore – will get you more opens and clicks. At the same time, you won’t be clogging your email sender  with countless messages nobody wants.

More on sender reputation

Sounds silly, but the better your emails perform (thanks to increased relevancy), the higher your sender reputation will be. And what this means is increasing your chances of getting into more and more people’s inboxes.

We’re firm believers that it’s not the quantity that gets result in ecommerce email marketing, but the quality.

Does the size of my online store matter?

No. At any size, there are benefits.

For All Business Sizes

For starters. Smooth email outreach and maximum relevancy make people feel like being treated exclusively and like you’re going out of your way to take the best possible customer care.

For small stores. Even if you’re not set out to conquer the world, you don’t need to do all email marketing manually – even with a manageable number of customers, it’s tiresome (and boring) to go over data and act individually on each action. You need to take a break sometimes. :)

In growth stage. Scaling personal attitude gets tricky as customers increase. It’s the time to start automating or outsourcing anything that you don’t absolutely need to touch with your own hands. Do you really want to continue checking the database for cart abandoners every day when you could be just registering the orders coming in from the automated abandoned cart messages?

For large eCommerce businesses. Without Email Marketing automation, you’re doomed. We can’t think of a smarter way to manage a large customer base and deliver tailored offers.

Examples of Triggered Marketing Campaigns

Now, we’ll look at a few drip campaign examples. Of course, you should decide which ones fit your way of doing business and adapt the suggested time periods to your purchase cycles and so on.

Also, we talk about the idea behind each type of campaign – the technical set-up depends on your email platform.

After 1st purchase series

When: After an order is completed. Possibly a few days after delivering the order so they’ve had time to try the product. The simplest way would be to do it about 10 days after the order if you ship for about 3-4 days.

Why: Naturally, you should keep communicating with the customer after they buy from you – it’s not an one-order deal! :)

First, you want feedback. It can be a simple question like, “Hey, how’s X so far? If you need any help getting it started, let us know,” or it can be a lot more complicated. The point is to show that you care.

Then, give them something more for even better customer experience. It can be a tip on use or a repurpose tutorial – anything that shows your product’s functionality and many benefits.

How to set up: Since your usage tips will be product-related, it’s good to have automatic emails for each one. Choose only the people who buy that specific product and schedule it as explained above.

When to stop: You can either make it a series of emails or have just one. You’d want to stop the drip campaign if customers make another order before they’ve seen all your messages in the series (then another “feedback campaign” might start).

How to set up an after 1st purchase series in Metrilo

In the Automation Tab, start creating a new campaign.

Step 1: Setting your trigger
The trigger for it is “Places an order”.

Add a customer filter for people with number of orders equal to 1.

Step 2: Creating the email flow
Now load the email(s) to be sent out. It maybe 1 for thanks/ feedback email right after the order and 1 more with a use tip on the next day. Timing is set from drop-downs for each message separately.

By the way, you get to use the same flexible mail composer Metrilo offers for the normal emails.

How to send cool, effective emails in Metrilo

Email automation tactics to win back customers slipping away

When: Just after the time when your customers usually place their next order.

Why: You know customers often slip away and retention is hard. Sometimes, they slip away not because they don’t like you. Maybe they had other things on their mind or hadn’t time to check what’s new on your site.

That’s why it doesn’t hurt to send them a little automated message as a reminder.

How to set up: First, look at your Time between orders – that’s how long people take to make a repeat order. Of course, the average number is expected to vary a lot across products and niches.

If you don’t know it, here’s a free Time between orders calculator (you’re welcome :)).

Then, trigger emails when people take longer to place their next order than the average X days. Those emails can be a simple coupon, product recommendations, a piece of content or invitation to peek inside your new product line.

On his Nerd Marketing Podcast, Drew Sanocki gives the following example from his own experience: customers who buy baby cribs, come back for bedding (sheets, etc.) about 2 weeks after.

So he uses that and sends an automated campaign with bedding suggestions at that time mark to make the ones who haven’t come back yet think, “Oh, yes, that’s a good idea.”

Show me more Content Marketing Ideas

When to stop: Well, that’s tricky. We’re not huge fans of being too spammy so we say 1 email at the border line between active and inactive, and maybe 1 after a month is enough. In case you’re using discount offers, it’s time to stop when you hit the maximum discount you can make.

If you still want to keep reminding them about yourself, an automated newsletter might be a good idea.

Otherwise, set the campaign to stop when a new order is placed.

How to do a reactivating drip in Metrilo

Have your Time between orders number of days calculated.

Step 1: Setting your trigger
In the New Campaign Tab, set the trigger to “Places an order”.

Step 2: Creating the email flow
Your message should be timed for after a period longer than the Average Time between orders. For example, if people typically order again after 15 days on average, set this email to go out after 16-17 days. You can enter the number of days in the timing options for each email.

As we said above, if you really want, another reminder can be sent in 2-3 days after the first. Metrilo counts from the trigger event on so all periods should be entered in reference to that moment. So you type in 18 days for the second email (for instance).

The exit event is  – not surprisingly – “Places an order”.

Cross-sell

When: Some time after people have bought from you.

Why: People like to see that you don’t just push any products at them, but ones that fit their preferences. Triggered Marketing campaigns will help you reconnect with these old friends and get them excited once more. Look at it like a reengagement campaign. 

Cross-selling is about suggesting a complementary product to what they already bought, but the trick is to really offer something matching their taste (we recommend to look at product correlations when picking the matches).

No matter how wide your selection is, try to offer only relevant items to your customers. Yes, they might never see your other stuff, but they’ll be driven right to the ones that matter to them. As we know, narrowing the choice actually makes people more willing to make a decision.

This tactic is well-received because it really is helpful to customers – interesting products come to them: “Oh, I really need a belt for that new dress!”

And it can be applied to all kinds of products like fashion, accessories, kitchenware, food, cosmetics, etc.

How to set up: Make sure the cross-sell products really fit in style, use, target customer, etc.

Then, use a rule that picks people who buy a specific product and craft irresistible emails – if you got step 1 right, this should be easy.

(Why product by product? You’ll be able to talk about it specifically and really show the connection between the two products.)

One way to go is to have only one message with a few suggestions. Another is to set up a series of product recommendations (don’t repeat them). Just be careful not to get too pushy with 10 emails.

When to stop: Either if the customer buys again or after running through the whole series.

Cross Sell Example

vwo.com

Up-sell with automatic emails

When: Shortly after customers make a purchase.

Why: You definitely have star products that sell very well. Sometimes, though, they’re not very profitable so you need to add something on top.

Up-selling to a higher-margin product through triggered marketing campaigns might be your solution. It can come in different forms:

  • Installation/ Set-up of the product purchased;
  • Consultation – for example, advise the customer on the best place to hang the wall art they buy from you as well as other decor suggestions;
  • Tutorial – like a video class (for a small fee) with the order of related DIY materials;
  • Maintenance – a clever way to get extra cash even before providing the service;
  • Add-ons/ Supplies – think filters on top of the coffee subscription or a cosmetics bag with makeup.

Note:

Before you ask, the main difference between cross-sell and up-sell is that up-sells act as upgrades of the purchased product, not adding other individual products to the order.

Usually, they look a deal, but improve your margin thanks to the second product that is cheap (or no cost to you like a consultation) but adds a ton of value. Think bundles. 😉

Extra filters with the bag of coffee every time is an up-sell; a mug with one of the orders is a cross-sell.

It’s good to give yourself more opportunities for up-sells – think of how you can add to your products and margins.

How to set up: Immediately after an order of a specific product is placed, smart emails can offer the relevant upsell to be added to the cart.

When to stop: How about after 1 try? You still have a reengagement campaign, cross-sells, targeted newsletters and so on in your email marketing strategy, right? Sometimes, it’s good to show class and take no for an answer. :)

The Nerd Marketing Podcast has a different take on up-selling -Drew suggests following up an order immediately with a great basic offer to add to the order. Read more about his bounce-back campaigns here.

How to do up-selling and cross-selling in Metrilo

Step 1: Setting your trigger
The trigger event is “Places an order”.

Narrow the selection down with the additional parameters.  Select “Product is” and the specific product you’ll be cross-selling/ up-selling.

Step 2: Creating the email flow
When cross-selling, your message can wait a little longer – like a day or two. You’re offering a new item so they might need some time to make a buying decision again.

In this case, you can add a discount coupon to your email, for example.

When up-selling, your message should hit the customer’s inbox immediately after they placed an order (set it to a few minutes after). If you want them to basically add on top of their order, you have to be fast and catch them still in buying mood.

In both cases, we suggest you go with one email instead of a series.

Set the campaign to stop if the customer places another order.

Recover abandoned carts – Example 1

When: Soon after a customer leaves without completing their order.

Why: Sometimes, cart abandonment is not intentional – the boss came in, people remembered they needed to pay the bill before shopping and so on. It doesn’t mean they don’t want your products and it’s worth trying to recover abandoned carts.

Email retargeting actually can make up to two-thirds of all conversions, according to Internet Retailer.

How to set up: Trigger the message or series almost immediately after the cart abandonment happens. This way, they’ll still remember you and if the issue that got in the way is resolved, they’ll be very likely to complete the order. You can still cover up the message as a concern: “Did you had trouble at checkout? Or the wind messed up the connection?” :)

In this case, it’s a good idea not to give a discount right away – just give them a nudge. Increase the urgency in the emails to follow (if any).

When to stop: At an order or after all hope for getting them back is gone.

Abandoned Cart Emails

Recover abandoned carts – Example 2

When: A few days after customers have abandoned a cart.

Why: You want to look less creepy or intrusive for saying directly that you know everything people do (nobody likes being reminded of that). Abandoned cart messages can get quite pushy sometimes – after all, people might have sound reasons not to buy – it’s out of their budget, they have to check something before buying, etc.

So you mask it as a coincidence that this particular item is going on sale or running out of stock.

It’s true many savvy shoppers already know that they can abandon a cart and wait for a discount. But 1 more order is better than none, right? :)

How to set up: Most email marketing platforms let you choose cart abandoners easily. We suggest you schedule this email campaign about a week after the event to make it look more casual.

When to stop: Either when you receive the desired order or after 2 emails sent. As we said before, when everybody has 6-message sequences to recover abandoned carts, the best way to stand out is to spare your customers.

How to create an abandoned cart recovery series in Metrilo

Start a new campaign.

Step 1: Setting your trigger
Choose “Adds to cart” as a trigger event.

Step 2: Creating the email flow
Variant 1: Craft your message along the “What happened?” lines. Time for about 20 minutes after the trigger event. This is more than enough time to complete an order so if they don’t, a cart recovery email is ok to be sent.

If you want, you can have a discount series here. Time them for different days from the drop-down options.

Variant 2: Go about it the same way as Var. 1, but set the timing for a day or two after they abandon the cart. The campaign won’t run if they complete the order anyway.

As for the contents of this particular message,with the Metrilo composer you can add CTAs leading to a special “sale” landing page, pull products right from your database or add a coupon.

Exit event is “Places an order”.

However, to spice things up a bit, you can split this automated campaign for different customer segments (chosen in the “also filter customers by” step) – high LTV, number of sessions, location, etc.

These were our starting examples of email marketing automation that can turn around your customer interactions.Automated Emails

As one of the trends that’s here to stay, automation is being offered by an increasing number of providers. The key to doing it right, though, is the ability to do powerful segmentation of customers – so choose wisely! :)

And those of you who already are using it, tell us what other email campaigns you automate. What’s worth seting up and what would you never give up doing manually?

 

About the author

Dimira is the Words Pixie of Metrilo. A daydreamer and a coffee junkie. Can’t live when a comma is misplaced. A dog lover with a geeky sense of humor.

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