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3 Advanced Email Marketing Tips For Incremental Ecommerce Sales
The strategies on this page will allow you to increase the value of every website visitor, subscriber, and paying customer for your Ecommerce brand in both D2C and B2B settings by leveraging advanced email and SMS marketing.
These tactics are working right now for online retailers of all sizes. We're using them for brands in various markets here at Ecommerce Intelligence, our email agency.
Here are the 3 strategies we'll be covering in this short guide:
You can apply some or all of these strategies in almost any market to grow your subscriber lists faster, turn more leads into customers, and encourage one-time buyers to become loyal repeat purchasers.
Optimizing your email and SMS program is a huge leverage point for any successful Ecommerce brand.
This is because when these channels are dialed in, every marketing and advertising dollar you spend in other channels delivers a higher ROI. All website visitors are worth more on average - no matter where they come from.
Now let's dive in to the 3 strategies.
1. Collect Zero Party Data to Deliver Ultra Personalized Marketing Messages at Scale
What is Zero Party Data? This is information collected directly from customers and subscribers by a brand, which can then be used to deliver highly relevant and completely personalized marketing and sales messaging via email - at any scale.
Zero Party Data is powerful because your competitors don't have it.
The best example in Ecommerce is collecting information from customers and prospects about their product preferences in your market, specific problems they're looking to solve, or any other data points which allow you to make personalized product recommendations to them.
We do this using quizzes in the pre-purchase phase and customer surveys in the post-purchase phase.
Let's take a quick look at the power of pre-purchase quizzes to collect Zero Party Data and deliver the most personalized email marketing communications possible.
Your Ecommerce brand typically has very little information about new potential customers who browse your website then leave, or subscribe via email or SMS but don't take any further action. Most website visitors leave without purchasing or signing up because they're not ready to buy right now. Or they just give you an email address, which tells you nothing about what they're truly interested in buying.
The Solution: Collect Zero Party Data
Building a lead-generation quiz with 5-10 questions gives new website visitors a fun and engaging way to tell you exactly what they're interested in, while signing up to your email list in order to see their quiz results. This strategy gives you multiple data points which can then be used to send potential customers highly relevant email sequences, based on their answers. It also captures people who are not ready to buy right now, and so would not have otherwise given you an email address in return for a coupon code.
Real world example: Beauty and cosmetics brand
Below, skincare brand brand JONES ROAD is using a quiz to ask potential customers about their needs, preferences, and problems related to skin health. Users click through a series of questions, enter an email to see their quiz results, then are presented with personalized product recommendations based on their answers.
What you don't see here is all of the segmentation which can happen behind the scenes.
If a user does not make a purchase they can be marketed to via highly targeted emails based on their answers to the quiz questions. Ideally, a brand will build several different welcome sequence automations to follow up with people, each one targeted to a specific set users with common problems or needs identified by the quiz.
You may of seen some brands using quizzes like this one.
These are often given prominent placements on the Ecommerce store homepage, which is extremely valuable real estate. Why do you think that is? They're doing this because quizzes are a high converting lead generation tool which also collect much more information on each person than a regular popup. This is valuable data.
Building a quiz with 6-12 questions is fairly simple using a tool such as Octane AI, TypeForm, or LeadQuizzes.
After a user has answered the various questions and given an email address to get their results they can be segmented based on their answers in your ESP. Here at the agency we use Klaviyo for this, in most cases.
If you're a skincare brand for example and you divide your products up internally by the skin type/condition they're most suited for, you might design a quiz with questions that lead people to let you know whether they have dry, oily, acne prone, or normal skin as the primary outcome of the questions.
You can then build 4 different automated follow up email flows each based around that skin type with appropriate product recommendations and customer testimonials.
Each new subscriber gets a completely personalized experience based on their own individual situation and needs.
2. Build Unique Post Purchase Experiences for Your Bestselling Products
Here is a question for you...
What does your post purchase marketing experience look like for new customers, particularly those who buy one of your bestselling products?
If you're like most Ecommerce brands then each customer likely goes down a fairly generic path after buying from you. They receive their purchase receipts, a welcome email, maybe a coupon to use on their next order, then after 1-2 weeks they'll get a review request email.
All fairly standard so far, but it could be so much more.
All customers have the same post-purchase experience and don't get tailored marketing and product recommendations based on what they've just purchased. It's up to them to come back and decide what to buy next when you send out an email newsletter.
The Solution: Custom post purchase experiences to increase repeat sales
We encourage brands to invest in intelligent post-purchase marketing strategies based on giving customers the most relevant product recommendations, deals, or offers based on their buying history. This isn't necessary for every product, but implementing this for your bestsellers will move the needle.
Real world example: Supplement company
Here we've identified one of a supplement company's top 3 selling products by total revenue, and worked with them to determine what the optimal post purchase email follow up automation would be for buyers of this item.
Ideally post-purchase sequences like this will be built for at least the 3 best sellers.
This company knows that certain products are complimentary and often bought together. They have an idea what buyers of their bestsellers are most likely to want or need in the future, and when someone is likely to run out of the last thing they bought. We can use this information to craft unique post-purchase experiences for customers covering the 4-6 week period after they convert.
In the example below you'll see the path which customers of a top selling Magnesium product are taken through in the weeks following their order.
Most people are purchasing Magnesium for benefits related to sleep and relaxation, so in this case it makes the most sense to promote complimentary products which can help customers achieve this.
Anyone who buys Magnesium will not get a number of relevant cross-sell promotions in the month following their order. The above timings and email examples could be adjusted in many different ways depending on results. This strategy also works both with and without discounting.
One thing to keep mind is how you'll decide which emails customers receive in the post purchase phase if they buy multiple items and then become eligible for more than one of your post-purchase sequences. Filters and segmentation will need to be applied to make sure each user gets the best experience and doesn't receive too many emails.
3. Leverage The Power of Strategic Plain-Text Marketing Emails
If there's one thing we could change the opinions of Ecommerce and D2C brands around, it might well be the use of text-only marketing emails.
These can be incredibly powerful in a number of situations but a lot of brands are hesitant to use them.
Recommendations of adding plain-text messages into an email marketing program are often met with objections such as "this isn't on brand", "this feels unprofessional", or "this is not what our customers expect from us"
However, there are highly effective ways for even the most premium, brand conscious Ecommerce retailers to use plain-text campaigns to great effect.
Let's take a look at the benefits and when to use this strategy.
Create a personal 1-on-1 feel in your marketing
When used correctly, plain-text emails look and feel as though they've been written and sent to the recipient as an individual by a contact at your brand. This could be the CEO, head of customer service, or another team member.
It is very easy to give the impression you're reaching out to a customer or subscriber personally. This is even more effective if you use a monitored email address for the sender/reply-to email as recipients are much more likely to reply if you use this tactic correctly.
When to use plain-text emails with a personal look and feel
Use case #1: In the abandoned checkout sequence.
Adding a personal touch to your abandonment campaigns can be highly effective. Most brands use a 2-3 email abandonment sequence showing the recipient's abandoned cart contents, maybe a coupon code, and a CTA to return and complete their purchase. This works well of course but adding a personalized plain-text email can increase conversions.
Try testing a plain-text abandonment email at the end of your sequence for orders which are well above your average ticket size. This could be email number 3 or 4 in your series.
Something like the below can work great:
I noticed in our system you were trying to purchase a few items earlier this week but weren't able to complete the order. Is there anything I can help you with?
If you have any unanswered questions, ran into technical issues, or would simply prefer to speak with someone before purchasing I'm always happy to chat.
Just reply to this email and I'll be sure to get back to you ASAP.
Your saved cart is available here: yoursite.com/cart
Head of Customer Service - [your brand]
The above email can of course be automated, but with a reply-to address which goes to a specific person in your customer service team. You might be surprised at how much you can learn from email interactions like these with potential customers.
Use case #2: Give your VIP customers the personal touch.
Plain-text emails are a quick and easy way to let VIP customers know how much you appreciate them. You can use these to welcome someone to the VIP tier when they hit the purchase/revenue threshold, or promotional campaigns with a casual look and feel which are obviously for VIPs only. Here's an example:
This weekend we'll be running a Flash Sale at [website.com] - Saturday and Sunday only. We expect our most popular items to sell out quickly so I wanted to give you a heads up and let you access the promotion early.
You're one of our most loyal customers and we appreciate you continuing to put your trust in us. Starting now you can get 20% off everything on our site using the code: LOVE20
We'll announce the sale to everyone else tomorrow morning.
Shop here >> yoursite.com/sale
Thanks and have a great weekend.
Founder, - [your brand]
Campaigns like the one above go along way to letting your best customer know they're recognized and appreciated. You can do this with early sale access, new product launches, or even create occasional promos for VIPs only which aren't advertised anywhere on-site.
Use case #3: Cut through the noise and hit the primary inbox during sale periods
Utilizing plain-text emails during busy sale and promotional periods can be a great way to maximize revenue during holidays or other times when customers' email inboxes are more crowded than ever.
You may sometimes notice emails are harder to get delivered successfully during these times. If you're running a big sale and have emailed your lists twice per day for the last three days while competing against dozens of other brands for inbox visibility, it is normal for deliverability to suffer in some cases. This is especially true if you're sending marketing emails to subscriber segments which are a little wider than normal - meaning the average recipient is less engaged in terms of recent email open rate and click through history.
Plain-text emails can help here and there are two main ways we like to use them to increase the results during sales.
Firstly, simply test replacing one of your regular sale email campaigns - which is likely a beautiful design-heavy template - with a plain text version. A couple of lines of text with one CTA link in blue will often do as well as, if not better than your regular sale emails.
Secondly, use plain-text emails as a 'last call' note from the founder to let people know your big sale is ending in a few hours. We've seen excellent results for brands in many different markets using this strategy to maximize revenue from big, time sensitive promotions.
Here's an example:
What a crazy week! We're so grateful for all the support our customers have shown during our Labor Day event. We couldn't do what we do without you.
If you didn't yet grab everything you need there's still a few hours left to save. Deals are live until midnight PST tonight.
Just use coupon LABORDAY at checkout for 20% off everything.
Shop here >> yoursite.com/labor-day
Appreciate you as always.
Founder, - [your brand]
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
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“Like an extension of our E-Commerce and Email team. Their expertise in Email Segmentation in Klaviyo, SMS in PostScript, and Retention initiatives have been instrumental in doubling the size of DripDrop’s total revenue year-over-year. They’re experts in Email and helped us set up our SMS Marketing Program, which is a massive and rapidly growing channel for us.”
Senior Marketing Manager, DripDrop.com
"The email campaigns have been very successful. We continue to see a high open rate, click rate, and conversion rate on our emails. Our workflow is very effective and convenient. The platform we use to communicate allows us to create To-Do’s for the agency and we receive progress updates as projects are worked on and/or completed. Whenever we have questions, they are responsive in a timely manner. They've been a great partner for all of our email marketing needs. They are very supportive and insightful whenever we have questions or concerns and always respond timely."
Ecommerce Marketing Manager, LiLash
“We were stuck half way through creating our flows due to an agency closing, our knowledge of Klaviyo was limited, and we still had a long way to go. Team came to the rescue. They reviewed our account, provided feedback on our current automated emails and worked with us on a roadmap to revamp the existing flows and build the remaining flows. Since implementation of our new flows (Cross Sell, Replenishment Flow, Abandoned Cart, Browse Abandonment and more) we have seen an increased LTV along with tiger AOV’s.”
By Ryan Turner
founder of ecommerce intelligence
Ryan is a 10 year Ecommerce expert who specializes in helping brands profitably grow sales with the latest email and SMS marketing strategies.