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Using Email Automation As Part Of Your Online Strategy

July 19, 2017 - fifteen

Recently I’ve been noticing that email software’s are getting a lot smarter, and the way you can now pin point a customer’s journey and use it to send them targeted reminders is astonishing. Software’s such as MailChimp and Hubspot are used in slightly different approaches to email marketing, but ultimately provide the same result: in-depth targeting of customers in line with their customer journey.

Which businesses should use email marketing?

Email automation needs to be done at the right stage for your business. By this, I mean that you need to have a sleek, responsive website that’s been optimised for search engines. When SEO has been done on your site and you’re in a good position to convert customers, it’s time to look at channels such as social media optimisation and email marketing.

Social media marketing and email marketing are good choices for businesses that are customer focused and looking for quick wins. These channels help to bring a large amount of relevant traffic to your site, and you can easily build up lists of potential customers that you can then remarket to and try to convert.

Businesses that provide one-off products or services are less likely to see a result from email marketing. Email marketing is very product focused, and certain modern algorithms can judge each person by their previous user journey on your website which we can track by using cookies. This way we can suggest similar products to the customer and the more they order, the more we know what they like and the better we can target them.

How to build up the ultimate business mailing list

You can gather email addresses in a variety of ways. For B2C businesses that are again, very product focused, one of the easiest ways to entice first-time customers into giving up their email addresses is by offering a small discount. For example, you’ll often see “5% off your first order when you sign up to our mailing list.” This is an easy way to find potential customers, they’ve shown they’re interested in your products as they’ve found their way to your site in the first place. They have then continued to browse and decided to apply for a discount code showing they’re considering ordering one or more item from your e-commerce site.

Other ways to gather email addresses includes using content. Content is an extremely market-y word, but we basically mean an item, either physical or digital that would be of interest to a customer. So, for Fifteen, we offer infographics, digital guides and cheat sheets. This would all be “content” that would be of interest to our client base. However, if a shop offered an infographic to their customers, they’d probably be some confusion, to say the least. For a fashion shop, a “Summer beauty guide” or “Top fashion trends 2017 guide” would probably go down a treat, and for nothing other than a bit of time spent creating the content, you’ve got some valuable email addresses to add to your ultimate mailing list.

Using email automation to pin point a customer’s journey

I’m going to talk through this in terms of a simple user journey, however, you could target people at any stage of this journey, should you wish to.

  1. Targeting people who are slightly interested.

Right at the start of your potential customer’s user journey, you’ll get an idea they’re interested. As discussed above, you’ll have gathered their email address already through various techniques, and you’re using cookies on your site to track your customer’s movements and build up a profile of which items they’re interested in. In this scenario, the customer has browsed a range of holiday clothes and then left the site. With integrated software’s such as MailChimp, we can then target this person if they haven’t returned after a certain time period, for example, 3 days, and we can set it to send a reminder including all the items they were interested in.

  1. Retargeting people who are slightly interested

After your last email, the customer returned to your site and browsed the holiday clothes section again. This time they picked 3 items added them to their basket, before browsing for more clothes. All of a sudden, they’ve bounced again and the purchases haven’t been made. Now we have 3 items we know they’re considering buying, as they’ve gone that extra step of adding them to their basket. In this case, we need to go a step further – just reminding them about their purchases isn’t enough. We’d wait a bit of a longer time period, just in case they are planning on purchasing the items but are waiting for whatever reason, then we’d try and entice them back with an item-specific offer.

Customers love being valued, and again with clients such as MailChimp, we can personalise emails to the point you’d never imagine they are done through an automation. We can include names, personal details, items browsed, items added to basket, their local store and so much more to make the email as personal as possible. So imagine their surprise, when you send them a personally tailored message offering to give them 15% off the items in their basket? Any doubt they may have suddenly drifted away, and they’ll find themselves ordering the items they’ve been dwindling over for a while. If you want to upsell and maximise profits, other offers that work well include a message such as “Buy the items in your basket and we’ll add in an item of x value for free!” Offering a free gift means you still get the full asking price for the items they wanted, and you can offer a smaller item that’s in line with the items they’ve been searching for a free gift to show you value their custom.

  1. Retargeting previous customers

Once someone’s on your mailing list, it’s your job to build up a customer profile for each user, and use it to your advantage to send super-targeted emails to them. Try to word your emails in a way that’s in line with your customers demographic to get a better open and click through rate. I’ve been discussing subject lines in the office recently, and I’ve been asking people which ones made them want to click and view the email content. A great example was from a clothes shop targeting young adults who sent an email with the subject line “Girl, you need some new jeans!” They used slang in a way in which makes them sound appealing to their target audience, and of course, she opened the email (and bought some new jeans, but that’s not unusual for my coworkers…).

As well as sending relevant items with catchy headlines to your previous customers, you want to make them feel valued as a customer. Offering vouchers or discounts exclusively to your mailing list makes customers want to stay subscribed and checking their emails from you as often as possible. Another common technique is to offer loyalty cards. By tracking your customer’s orders, and offering them a discount or free gift after making x amount of orders or after spending x amount of money makes them want to continue ordering so they become eligible for the discount, encouraging them to browse the new items on your site and order more in.

  1. Targeting previous customers using their personal details

So, you haven’t heard from a customer in a while. They haven’t ordered or browsed your site in several months and have stopped opening your emails… what can we do?! It’s time to use your special powers to remind them that they are loved and valued, and what better way than remembering their birthday. We’ve all been there before and been slightly freaked out when you get an email from your favourite fashion brand wishing you a happy birthday. But it honestly works. Offering a small “birthday gift” in the form of a voucher, offer, gift card or free gift gives the customer faith in your brand and shows them that your company cares about retaining their customer base. This works just as well with special occasions such as Christmas and Easter, where your customers are feeling festive and have a bit of spare money to spend. Having a warm greeting from a company via emails shows human values that customers take the heart, helping to convert them and generate further sales from the customer.

Email marketing strategy overview

To conclude, it’s important to get to know your customers. Find out their wants and needs, and use it to your advantage. Make everything as personal as possible, to show the customer their valued by your company and to help improve open rates. Think about subject lines, conduct split testing and establish a tone of voice for your brand. This will put you in the best position going forward and optimise your open rate as much as possible. Think of creative and un-intimidating ways to gather emails, and keep your list clean by doing regular checks to try and encourage more people to engage with your brand. Think of the customer journey and how best to target people at each stage. Review this regularly and conduct split testing to optimise results.

For more ideas about email marketing, or if you want to discuss how we can assist your company with email automation, contact the Fifteen digital team.

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