As an eCommerce entrepreneur, one thing is for sure: You’re busy almost all the time.
Between managing inventory, communicating with suppliers, marketing, and 101 other things, there’s not a whole lot of time left to take it easy.
But what if there was a way you could take a massive chunk of your marketing efforts and put them on auto-pilot?
Enter email automation.
Email automation allows you to send highly relevant and personalized emails to your customers based on their behavior or specific pre-defined triggers.
It’s a potent marketing tactic that’ll allow you to deliver the right message at the right time and get more sales.
In this post, we’ll run through 4 of the easiest (and most effective) email automations you can set up for your store to start making more profit today.
Sounds good? Let’s jump in!
The Welcome Email
Like your parents used to say, first impressions are everything. And the humble welcome email is a force to be reckoned with.
But what is a welcome email? It’s simply an email that’s sent to subscribers when they join your list. It could contain:
- A discount on their first purchase
- A simple hello and warm welcome to your brand
- An offer to follow you on social media
- Links to your best content
- An outline of what subscribers can expect & more
Here’s an excellent example from bed-linen retailer (and all-round eCom superstar)
Brooklinen keeps things simple by delivering the incentive (10% off) promised for signing-up. They also outline a few of their unique selling points with eye-catching graphics to entice customers to visit their store.
But you don’t need to have fancy designs or massive discounts for your welcome email to work. Sure, they’re nice to have, but if you’re just starting, a simple ‘hello’ and ‘thanks for joining’ can be enough to get you and your customers off on the right foot.
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The Nurture Email
Ok, so you’ve sent your subscriber a welcome email. They’re starting to warm up to your brand. Now is the time to show them how awesome you are. Enter the nurture email.
Nurturing emails are the ones you send in the days after your subscriber joins your list. They typically provide value to your customers and subtly showcase your products USP.
These are the emails that can differentiate you from your competitors by cementing your brand’s unique personality in the minds of your readers. They’re also pretty good at driving sales if you do them well.
Here’s a fantastic example from men’s shaving store Harry’s:
In this nurturing email, Harry’s shows customers how a presumably bedraggled and tough-skinned grown man can obtain skin resembling a baby’s once more. And at the center of this grooming guide? Yup, you guessed it, Harry’s products.
Again it’s important to stress here, you don’t need to hire a graphic designer to create custom designs. You just need to apply the underlying principle of delivering value. So, here’s what to do:
- Figure out who your ideal customer is
- Identify a problem they’re having
- Write an email that helps them solve that problem (it can even be plain text!)
- Set up an automation that delivers your email 2-3 days after people join your list
- Sit back and watch your new subscribers fall in love with your brand.
Easy peasy right? Well, if you want to kick things up a gear, you can even create an automated nurturing flow. This just means you’ll deliver 2-5+ emails to customers over a couple of days/weeks.
Of course, this involves more planning and you’ll need to have additional topics to address too. But when done right, a nurturing flow provides you with greater opportunities to deepen your relationship and develop real trust with your subscribers.
The Abandoned Cart Email
When it comes to sheer revenue, there is no other email automation that compares to the abandoned cart email.
On average, these profit-pumping emails recapture between 3-4% of sales lost due to people abandoning their carts.
In real terms, that means if your AOV is $100, for every 100 customers who abandon their cart, this automation will make you $300-400 back!
Now imagine 1,000 customers abandon their cart each month, that’s an extra $3,000-4,000 of revenue for your business thanks to a simple automated email. An amazing return for what is a relatively small amount of effort.
Here’s an excellent example of an abandoned cart email from supplements brand Ritual:
Ritual keeps things super simple here with a clear CTA, brief copy, an attractive GIF and a great headline. It’s not fancy, but you can bet your bottom dollar it works.
Here’s a checklist to help you create your own high-converting abandoned cart emails:
- Start with a killer abandoned cart subject line: Use curiosity, humour, personalization, or urgency to get people clicking. Check out our guide to cart abandonment subject lines and swipe file if you’re stuck.
- Choose a low commitment CTA: ‘Return to cart’ or ‘View Cart’ usually work better than ‘Buy Now’
- Keep your copy short: Nobody wants a fill of prose in your abandoned cart email, chop your copy down to 2-3 sentences.
- Add some social proof: Reviews and testimonials are a powerful way to convince others to buy.
- Include product images: These help to remind people exactly what it is they were looking at.
- Add support options: If something went wrong or customers have questions, make your support easy to reach via your email.
- Add a dash scarcity: You can’t keep holding your customers cart forever, let them know they need to act now.
- Include an incentive: Free shipping, 10% off or a complimentary gift are all excellent ways to entice customers back to their cart.
Just like with the ‘nurture’ email automation outline above, you can also think about sending multiple abandoned cart emails to increase conversion rates further. For instance, you could do something like this:
- Email #1: Sent 2 hours after cart abandonment – a gentle reminder to customers that their items are still in their cart.
- Email #2: Sent 24 hours after cart abandonment – an offer of 10% off to complete their purchase within the next 48 hours
- Email #3: Sent 2 days after email #3 – a reminder that their discount and cart are about to expire.
Whatever approach you decide to use, make sure you’ve got these set up and running before you drive traffic to your store. They could just be the difference between making a profit and making a loss.
The Win-Back Email
Over time people who were once engaged with your brand, may start to lose interest. The win-back email is designed to re-engage such customers before it’s too late.
If customers respond to your win-back email that’s great, you’ve drawn more potential customers back towards your brand. If they don’t respond, that’s good too, because you can remove them from your list to keep your open rates high and spam score low.
Typically win-back emails are sent around 4-6 months after a customer hasn’t purchased anything and has stopped opening emails. Again, a win-back campaign is often sent as a series of emails to increase the chances of customers seeing it.
Usually they’ll include an incentive for customers to re-engage with your brand. For example, here’s a win-back email from cosmetics retailer HQ Hair
The copy speaks directly to the customer with “Hey, we need to talk…” while the offer of 20% off and a free gift combine to drive nearly-lapsed customers back to full-engagement.
Win back emails like this are the cornerstone of customer retention. And when you consider that it costs up to 16x more to acquire a customer than to keep an existing one, it’s fair to say win-back emails need to be a part of your marketing strategy.
Setting up simple email automations is one of the best ways to make more sales and sure-up your bottom line. The four automations outlined in this post are an excellent place to start.
Once final caveat is that you should never stop testing your campaigns. As with most things in eCommerce, email automations are something that you’ll have to keep tinkering with until you find a formula that works well.
Don’t be afraid to run A/B tests in which you modify email timing, sales copy, subject lines, number of emails in a sequence, product offers and more.
It may seem like a hassle in the short-term, but once you’ve got your email automations firing on all cylinders, you’ll be pulling in generous sums of additional revenue without lifting a finger.
This is a guest post from Fintan Meagher & the team at StilyoApps. StilyoApps is the development agency behind Carti Abandoned Checkout Boost – the easiest way to start sending emails, SMS and push notifications to recapture abandoned carts on your Shopify store today!