Having an effective email marketing automation strategy is essential for improving customer retention rates and conversions. The toughest part when getting started is figuring out what automation flows to use and what content to put into each flow.
Companies often think of email marketing as an outdated form of digital marketing. However, email marketing has an ROI of 4400%. That’s on average a $44 return for every $1 spent, making email marketing by far the most profitable marketing channel.
Despite being one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, email continues to be the most preferred medium of communication with customers. One of the best parts about email is that it has the potential to become fully automated after being set up, bringing lasting value to your business and saving you time in the process.
Let’s dig into the 5 must-have email automation flows every e-commerce store needs:
1. Welcome Newsletter Email Series:
An effective welcome email accomplishes 3 things:
- Welcomes new subscribers.
- Give users an incentive to purchase.
- Set the right expectations going forward.
Welcome emails should go out anytime someone subscribes to a list or makes a purchase from a website for the first time. Most people have grown accustomed to these emails and expect them immediately after buying something or subscribing to your list.
The biggest mistake e-commerce stores make with the first email in this flow is attempting to hard-sell. Your welcome email should set expectations going forward and entice subscribers to open the next email.
The main goal of your welcome email should let the customer know that they did opt into receiving emails from you. It’s the perfect time to welcome new subscribers and introduce them to your brand. Our team often crafts a few emails to help tell the story of the brand, and what sets it apart from its competitors.
Give users an incentive to purchase:
If you offered an incentive in exchange for an email address then make sure to include the coupon code in the first email as well. There should be a clear call to action that makes users want to redeem the coupon on your website immediately.
2. Abandoned Cart Email Series:
On average 69% of online shopping carts are abandoned by users. When you don’t follow up with these potential customers, you’re leaving money on the table. Luckily though, 10.7% of individuals that receive abandoned cart email reminders return to make a purchase.
To get the most out of this automated flow, you should send out multiple reminder emails. Once this email series is created, anyone who leaves an item in their online shopping cart will receive multiple emails (over a span of time) attempting to re-engage them to purchase. If you want to drive your conversion rate up, you could offer the user a discount, like free shipping or a percentage off their purchase.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how many add-to-cart emails to send and in what timeframe to send them. We recommend the following until you gather data and learn what is best for your store:
- Email 1: send 24 hours later.
- Email 2: send 48 hours later.
- Email 3: send 72 hours later.
3. Email Nurture Series:
Lead nurturing is when you develop and guide a potential buyer through each stage of your sales cycle, eventually driving them to purchase from your store. At FSA, we use what we call the 3/47/50 rule for lead nurturing:
- 3% of your visitors are ready to buy now.
- 47% of your visitors will not buy immediately but will buy sometime in the future.
- 50% of your visitors will never buy.
The 3/47/50 rule is a general rule in the e-commerce world, not a scientific fact. This rule is useful and essential to keep in mind when developing your nurture campaigns.
Companies often put their focus on the 3 out of 100 visitors who are ready to buy immediately. They forget about the 47% of visitors who will likely buy some time later in the future.
A nurture campaign is built to help keep your brand relevant to that 47% and drive them to that sale.
However, this does not mean you should blast these people with promotions every week. You should try to think about how you can add value without offering a discount.
Subscribers are people just like you. They may love your product, but most brands can help them out in other ways. Being able to do this sets your brand apart from your competitors and establishes you as an authority in your niche.
We typically start our partners with a three email series:
Email 1: Educate Subscribers
An email that teaches customers about your product or something about your brand. For example:
- What makes your product different?
- Educate subscribers about something that can make their lives better.
- Why choose your brand?
These are just a few ideas, but feel free to add on to this as you see fit.
Email 2: Show Subscribers Who You Are
The welcome flow introduces your brand to the subscriber. This email nurture flow is where you expand on your brand story. Craft an email that tells your whole story and ties your brand to a larger purpose.
Email 3: Utilize Storytelling
People buy because of storytelling. Find a notable story from a customer about your product or brand and tell it in this email.
Make sure the story is both exciting and relevant to your brand. Stories are very useful because they help humanize your brand and shoppers relate to you more.
4. Re-engagement Email Series
A re-engagement series is an automated email campaign geared towards subscribers who haven’t opened your emails in a while. The purpose is to spark interest in your brand again. Email Monks found that 24% of disengaged subscribers read re-engagement emails, making this a great customer retention tool.
There are multiple ways to build this email campaign. Here are a few fundamentals to remember:
- Begin with an awesome offer/discount.
- Warn subscribers that you’re going to delete or unsubscribe them soon.
- Unsubscribe inactive users.
We typically create a three email flow for this series. We send it to subscribers who have not opened an email in 75 days.
Email 1: Meaningful Discount
This email sequence may be your last chance at selling to this person. That being said, how big of an offer can you make and still make a profit? Your offer could be a discount, a gift with purchase, or free shipping. There is no better time than now to offer a steeper discount than usual, but be sure to keep your margins in mind.
Email 2: Removal from List
Respectfully let your subscribers know that they will be deleted if they don’t click on the email or make a purchase. Give them a specific period of time to engage with the email to create some urgency. This email is also a perfect place to remind customers of the offer you made in the first email.
Email 3: Unsubscribe
If they still have not opened your emails, follow through with what you said and unsubscribe them from the list. This email should let them know that they have been unsubscribed and will be missing out on all future offers. Be sure to include a link where they can easily re-subscribe.
5. Post-Sale Emails Series
Post-Sales emails are where you have the chance to turn new buyers into lifelong fans. Making the post-sale seamless and transparent helps customers become avid fans of your brand.
Ideas of post-sale emails include:
Thank You Emails
Send a thank you email or video to every customer, thanking them for buying from you and what to expect going forward.
These emails include the customer’s order confirmation, shipping information, and arrival notification. You want these to have a cohesive look that matches your brand.
A few days after your product has arrived, ask the customer how likely they are to recommend your product. Give them the option to add a review based on stars and an optional description. These reviews can then be turned around and used in your marketing as social proof for your products!
Start Creating Your Automated Email Campaigns
Now that we’ve covered the five essential automated campaigns your store should be using, start implementing them yourself. Once they’re all set up, analyze the results, and optimize as you go. Remember every day that you’re not running these flows, you’re leaving money on the table as these flows help generate hands-off sales!