Having emphasized how important email is to your business, it’s time to dive into some of the best ways you can take advantage of email. At the end of the day, all of us spend time, resources and energy on building mailing lists. You are most likely already sending your audience relevant and interesting content, but you can always find room for improvement when it comes to the engagement rates of the emails.
In fact, many marketers still consider Increasing Engagement Rates as their number 1 challenge and their goal is to consistently improve these rates. Many people still say that success in email is all about strategy. They might just be right, but sequencing of your emails is just as crucial, if not more.
E-mailing prospects at the wrong time can (most likely will) lead to people opting out of your mailing list (yes, the same one you’ve been tirelessly building) or sometimes they might even go over to a competitor and you’d probably like to avoid that.
Mailing your right prospects at the right time would help you not only have active and loyal customers, but also turn some of them into proud brand ambassadors. That’s what we are all aiming for, right?
So to help you achieve that, we will cover some of the ecommerce email campaigns you should be running, plus examples that you can draw inspiration from.
We will go through 3 different categories of emails with all the different emails that go with each category.
- Welcome/Greeting emails
- Trigger emails
- Retention emails
Your “Welcome” emails matter, even though you might think people are so used to those that they don’t even open it. The reality is, they matter and people do open them (they signed up, remember?).
You only get one chance to make a good first impression so you really have to do just that – a perfect first impression. If your first email fails to catch the eye of your audience, chances are your next ones would fail too.
What makes this specific email special and extra important is the fact that this is where you get to thank your subscribers for joining your company’s newsletter. You also get to set the tone and pace expectations for what’s to come. Done right, this should also simplify your overall sales process.
Experian also reports that “welcome” emails generate 3x times the revenue per email than any other promotional/marketing emails. This just shows how crucial the “Welcome” email is for your onboarding activities as well. Do this one right and you are well on your way to successfully onboarding new customers.
Let’s take an example for what is a very catchy and playful “welcome” email. Example included below, courtesy of Outdoor Voices.
What makes this email memorable is the playful and catchy copy that reminds readers that OV are human. Combined with a nice & simple design, plus action buttons that can send people directly to product pages this has all the makings of a perfect “Welcome” email.
Other companies would opt for a more “selling” first email. Example below.
Things to go for:
- Simplicity – design your email with simplicity in mind. For example, if you have a large product range, make it easy for people to understand your products (by categories or any other criteria). You must also make it as easy as possible for people to purchase a product they desire. See it as removing barriers to purchase. The lesser clicks needed to make a purchase, the better.
- Be authentic – Be bold and original. Try to always look professional, but also funny and human. There’s nothing people hate more than the feeling they get when an email sounds more robotic than Apple’s Siri. The above example from OV can give you a pretty good idea of what is considered human.
Remember that this is where you get your chance to make a perfect first impression. Whether you want to say a simple “Welcome/thank you for subscribing” or you are pushing straight for a sale, make it memorable and make it count.
Note: A research shows that the first interaction people have with an email happens on mobile, so keep that in mind. Also, people who had already interacted with your email on mobile are likely to open it again later (on mobile or different device) and click-through.
People like curated content, no matter what that content might be – articles like this one, music, movies, products, anything at all.
The curation email is quite popular in ecommerce, simply because people started understanding what folks prefer.
So what you could do here is to either include a curation of your best content from the last week/month or include your best-selling or new products in a visually appealing way.
Example for an email with curated items from a new collection.
Sending your subscribers curated emails works, simply because people like having the chance to choose what they would like to learn more about or what to buy.
This is also the reason you usually see online stores showing off their best performing products first or why you usually have the most read blog posts always visible and available on most (all) blogs.
What makes curated emails attractive to marketers as well is the fact that they can segment based on people’s clicks.
For example, imagine you have 5 categories of products:
- Category 1
- Category 2
- Category 3
- Category 4
- Category 5
You are sending out a curated email that includes your categories and you dig deeper into your data to find out that a significant part of people are clicking on Category 2. Knowing this, you can start sending them more personalized offers with items from Category 2.
This way a prospect can become a customer, a customer can become a repeat buyer and so on. You will also reduce the amount of people who unsubscribe from your mailing list.
The “Engage” email
You need to get people’s attention if you are to enjoy a successful email campaign. How to capture someone’s attention right away though? Especially when the average office worker receives around 122 emails a day. You can be sure they don’t read them all.
To get that precious visibility in people’s inboxes, you need to make sure your emails are engaging. In ecommerce you can encourage engagement by offering different stuff, such as free shipping for example.
In E-commerce, free shipping is one of the great ways to encourage people to interact with your offer. It’s well-known this is one of the biggest factors(shipping costs) that contribute to cart abandonment, so it will help for both boosting engagement and also fighting cart abandonment.
Trigger/ Transactional Emails
As the name suggests, trigger emails are triggered by some action that the recipient has taken (visiting a certain page for example). However, there might be other actions that trigger these emails, like a user changing their password, but that’s another story.
The primary objective of these trigger emails is to softly move recipients towards becoming a customer. They can serve as a smooth guide in the buyer’s journey.
Trigger emails also have 8x times higher open and click-through rates, which is understandable, but they also generate up to 6x times more revenue as well.
See the graph below (Source: Experian)
Now let’s go through some examples and ideas you can use for your “Triggered” emails.
The cart abandonment email
We’ve all been there. At some point we abandoned a shopping cart. Maybe we’ve returned and bought something, maybe we did not, the point is – people get distracted.
It might be an email notification or a knock on their door that gets their attention and..
… their carts are abandoned.
In reality, cart abandonment rates are quite high – 71% to be precise.
The reasons for it are plenty. Let’s list some of the most common ones:
- Unexpected & high shipping cost – this has been the number one reason for cart abandonment for some years now and it’s quite understandable. Nobody likes to see an unexpected, high shipping cost being added just as they are completing a purchase.
- Customer can’t find preferred payment option – This has probably also happened to quite a few of you. Even though we live in the age of debit/ credit cards, PayPal accounts, and all other sorts of click-and-pay services, sometimes we find this one special item we want and the site does not support our preferred payment option. “Yeah, I’ll do it some other time. (cart abandoned)”
- Security concerns – some sites fail at building trust, which is essential for online shoppers. How will someone in their right mind pay you for something they have not seen or touched, if your site looks “fishy” to them. Make sure your checkout page is trustworthy. Include company details plus all possible verifications for security.
- Lack of customer support – sometimes people might want to ask a quick question before they buy. Make sure they can find a quick & easy way to your customer support. Otherwise, prepare to lose them.
- Long and complicated checkout flow – No matter what you are buying, you’d always prefer it to be quick and simple. If you make people go through long and laborious checkout flows, don’t be surprised if they abandon their carts. Also, making them create a compulsory account (something they did not express any desire to do), while they are just about to give you their money, expect them to jump over to a competitor in a few seconds.
So there are some good reasons for people to abandon their carts. As said earlier, cart abandonment rate is estimated at around 71%, but research also shows that 26% of those can still come back and buy. They just need a little friendly nudge towards the purchase. This is where your cart abandonment email comes in play.
Below is a perfect example from Dollar Shave Club. Mind that knowing the lifetime value of your customers, will help you determine what sort of discount you can give them or whether or not it’s worthwhile pursuing them.
Here’s the example from Dollar Shave Club
What if you are not Dollar Shave Club, who by the way were said to have some of the best EVER digital marketing campaigns? What if your profit margins are too slim and you simply can’t afford to have offerings such as the one above?
You can ask for feedback. After someone leaves your checkout page, you can follow up with an email that simply asks “What went wrong?”. It’s very natural and human to ask for feedback so don’t shy away.
Of course, you won’t be able to convert every single cart abandoner, you won’t also receive feedback from everyone, but it’s still valuable info that will set you on the right track.
Order confirmation/ Receipt email
This is one of the “generic” emails you will naturally be sending as it’s only natural to send order confirmations to your customers.
However, receipt emails can also generate revenue. Conversio analyzed 100,000 receipt emails.
Well, it turns out that on average, each order confirmation email has a value of %0.25. This is actually quite incredible for an automated email. This means that sending out 1000 receipt emails might just get you an additional $250.
Not bad. Especially for an automated email.
Read more about email marketing automation
This is an email that everyone opens as well. You can be sure you’ll have people’s attention locked on this email as it’s just natural for people to check their order confirmation and details.
Therefore, this gives you the perfect chance to cross or upsell something, offer exclusive discounts or just remind people that buying from you was the right decision.
The upsell & cross-sell email
Most of you are probably well aware of upsell and cross-sell techniques.
If you’re not, here’s a quick reminder:
- An upsell is when you expose a prospect to a more expensive and superior item than the one they have expressed interest in. It’s an attempt to make a more profitable sale.
- Cross-sell is when you show and recommend a product that is usually cheaper and complementary to the one people are already interested in or are already buying.
It’s also why you always get asked “Would you like some fries with your burger?”. You’ve also seen it on Amazon as they always show you what items people tend to buy together.
So sending a cross-sell email to customers right after they order something might be a good idea. Your main message might say something like “Add something more before we ship” or something along those lines. This could help you increase order value of course, but it could also turn some of your customers into loyal ones in the long run.
In the example below, you can see order confirmation, plus trending items that people might decide to buy in the last moment.
It’s no secret to anyone that acquiring new customers is way more costly than retaining your existing ones. So how do you strengthen customer loyalty?
Sending emails that remind people you still care about them is one way to do it!
The re-engagement email
It’s normal and it happens to all of us. Along the way we lose some of the hard-earned subscribers we have. What’s even worse is when they detach emotionally from your emails as this will cost you money in the process.
Email lists naturally degrade over time as some people simply opt out. So re-engaging people right before they start emotionally detaching is crucial if you want to keep unsubscribe rates at a minimum.
You probably have been targeted by some campaigns and have not opened them for quite some time. If you open your inbox now, you might notice that the messaging from company X has slightly changed over time and now you may even have a special discount waiting for you.
Below is an example that probably won back some people.
The survey email
Regularly asking prospects and customers what they want will naturally help you understand how exactly to give it to them. Sometimes, you might find out that you are miles off with your offerings as survey results might indicate people want something completely different.
So in short:
If you don’t ask..
You don’t know.
In the real world, people won’t just take your survey simply because you’ve asked them to. You have to incentivize them and give them something of value in return.
What to give them?
- You could have a competition: Telling people they can win something by filling out your survey moves you one step closer to getting their feedback.
- Discounts – offering a discount coupon to people who fill out surveys is another way to get them to answer your questions
- Free shipping – you could give people who complete your survey free shipping for their next purchase.
Here’s an example
Note: Before you offer people heavy discounts or free shipping, check if you can afford to do it and keep your business healthy at the same time.
The “Thank You” email
Nowadays, people in general don’t say thank you as much as they should, or they just don’t mean it as much(especially in the digital world). It’s hard to stand out with “thank you” messages these days as customers have become more sophisticated and know this is all automated. This makes it hard to really thank them in a sincere and memorable way.
Thanking “your people” for subscribing to your newsletter or for placing an order is one thing. Thanking your customers and letting them know they are the reason your business exists at all is a whole other thing.
That’s probably why more and more ecommerce businesses have started writing sincere and “from the heart” messages to their customers every now and then. You could be emotional and open or you could just go for creativity and humor. It really is up to you and what your audience likes and responds well to.
Below is one of the most successful emails written ever (by Derek Sivers). It’s quite different so let’s hope it get’s you in the right mood.
Note: It’s an order confirmation email.
So next time you find yourself lost in your everyday struggle, just know that it may be a good idea to thank your customers in a more personal, funny and creative way.
Now that you have some ideas to use as templates, remember that the tone you use when communicating something to customers is crucial.
If you haven’t figured out your brand voice by now, sit down and do it. The copy matters, sure, but what matters even more is how you say whatever it is that you are saying.
If you are still unsure about your brand’s voice yet, keep looking for it. Sometimes it needs a bit of testing out, just like most things in your marketing activities.
Stephan is one of the marketing brains behind Metrilo. They strive to make life easier for ecommerce businesses by providing them with powerful, yet easy-to-use Analytics, CRM and E-Mail marketing solutions.
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