If you own an ecommerce business and sell products or services through an online storefront, then you should be using email marketing to acquire leads, convert them to sales, and turn them into repeat customers who drive word-of-mouth marketing for your brand.
In my book, Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business, I explain how automated email marketing works. One benefit: Many tools make it easy for you to create messages that send automatically when contacts on your list meet a pre-defined condition. Another perk? Automated email marketing can save you a lot of time because you set it up once and it runs until you stop it.
The goal is to leverage active behaviors and related emotions at specific times in the marketing funnel and consumer buying cycle to improve your business’s relationship with recipients, increase revenue or push consumers further through the marketing funnel. If you email relevant information to consumers at the right time, it stands to reason they’ll be more likely to notice that information and act upon it.
If you’re looking to get started with automated email marketing, here are five essential messages that every ecommerce business should consider using.
1. Welcome Message
Your welcome message is sent immediately after someone joins your email list. This is the first contact between your brand and new subscribers, so ensure the message is consistent with your brand promise and sets accurate expectations. It’s a good idea to explain how often consumers will receive messages from you, what kind of content you’ll include, any special benefits they receive as subscribers and how to contact you if they have questions.
In addition, you can include links to your company website and social media accounts. You could also include a special discount as a thank-you for subscribing with a link to your online store. Just be careful not to make the message entirely self-promotional, or you might annoy your new subscribers.
2. Abandoned Cart Message
Re-marketing can be very effective in pushing people at the bottom of the marketing funnel to make a purchase decision and buy. If someone visits your online store, puts items into their shopping cart and then leaves your site before completing their purchase, you want to encourage them to follow through on a purchase decision. You can do this by setting up an automated email message to encourage them to complete the purchase.
For example, your message could include a special offer such as free shipping or a discount on their entire purchase. The key is to understand that people who abandon their shopping cart almost completed a purchase. Do your research and try to figure out when people abandon their carts. The problem could be with your checkout process, your shipping fees or something else entirely. Until you can address the problem, you can try to recapture people who abandon their carts with automated email marketing messages.
3. Cross-Sell Message
When a customer purchases something from your online store, which of your related products or services might naturally complement their purchase? Identify those groups and pairings, then set up accompanying automated email marketing messages that go out when a customer purchases a product.
For example, if a customer buys puppy food from your online pet store, it may make sense to send an automated message offering puppy treats, toys or carpet cleaner. You can include a discount with these items if you want to try to increase conversions, but it’s always a good idea to test cross-sell messages with and without discounts to see if discounts actually convert more successfully. (There’s no reason to lose money on discounts if you don’t have to.)
4. Anniversary and/or Birthday Message
If customers have provided you with their birthdays, you can set up an automated message to wish them well every year by way of a special discount or offer. You can do the same thing on the anniversary of their first purchase with you or, if they haven’t made a purchase, the day they subscribed to your mailing list.
These types of automated messages can help deepen your brand’s relationship with customers. Acknowledging birthdays or thanking people for being a customer or subscriber every year can lead to increased loyalty, additional sales and brand advocacy.
5. Re-Engagement Message
If subscribers on your email marketing list aren’t opening your messages, then you likely don’t them on your list. Why? Unengaged subscribers can hurt the deliverability of all of your email marketing campaigns, meaning your future messages will make it to fewer inboxes overall. You need to try to re-engage your subscribers or remove them from your list to increase deliverability.
How often you send a re-engagement message depends on how often you send messages to your subscribers in general. If you only send one message per month, then setting up a re-engagement message to go to any subscribers who have not opened a message from you in six or 12 months is reasonable. If you send messages weekly or more often, then you could shorten that timespan to three months. The goal is to remove people from your list who aren’t interested in your content or offers because their lack of engagement could be keeping your messages from getting into the inboxes of people who are interested and will buy.