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While e-commerce businesses could reach their customers in numerous ways, email funnels and automation have been found to be the most common and cost-effective solution. With minimum expenditure, the companies could earn amazing ROI by investing in email marketing.
Read on to delve into email funnels and automation, ways to create the email marketing automation strategy, benefits of email automation, best automated email campaigns, how to automate emails, and more.
Let’s get started.
In simple terminology, email funnels are a series of strategized email campaigns focused on nurturing prospects and converting them into customers. The idea lies in crafting the email sequences in a way that resonates with the audience and results in conversions.
The implementation of email funnels, in turn, leads us to email automation. You can use the best automated email campaigns to ensure that the right emails reach the right audience at the right moment in an automated manner, without you being required to write or send out the emails each time manually. This is achieved using automated email marketing tools like Mailchimp. Email funnels and automation carry special significance in the e-commerce space.
Email funnels and automations offer several benefits, including:
- Increase landing page conversion rate
- Improved customer engagement and retention
- Enhancing the scalability of your marketing strategy
- Improved marketing workflows
- Increased revenue
Of the various email sequences, the welcome series focuses on engaging new customers or followers from the point they have gotten in touch through a lead magnet. It is one of the crucial elements of crafting a high performing automated email marketing strategy, as it is the first time you reach out to the prospect. The objective of the welcome series is to direct your new customer or prospect and enable them to make an educated purchase decision.
The best practice is to craft a series of four to six best automated email campaigns in this welcome sequence, each explaining a unique aspect to the customer. The idea is to ensure that your new customer or follower feels engaged but isn’t experiencing email fatigue or information overload. That’s why five emails in the series would be ideal.
Some of the primary goals you can achieve through the welcome series include - establishing your authority, carving a first impression, showcasing your expertise, initiating communication, developing interest in your products, setting expectations, and more.
Your welcome email sequences could essentially include the following:
Intro sequence - This usually delves into your company history, vision, and mission to familiarize the customer. You could highlight special aspects of your company's history or include interesting fun facts.
Education sequence - This offers useful information to the customer on your products and services, inculcating their interest. Considered a significant component in creating a good email marketing sequence, this works well for innovative businesses where the customer needs to be educated. It lets you portray your expertise and instill confidence in your brand.
Engagement Sequence - This essentially deals with letting the customer interact with your brand. Some ways to achieve this are - inviting them to a webinar, sharing social media posts, conducting surveys requesting feedback, etc.
Testimonial Sequence - This sequence involves sharing your customer testimonials with the new customer, encouraging them, and boosting their confidence. It plays a significant role in creating an email marketing strategy through social proofing, letting you establish your brand authority and gain customers’ trust and credibility.
Promotional sequence - The best automated email campaigns in this category bring your new subscribers close to your products and services. It usually attracts subscribers through discounts, special offers, coupons, etc.
Personalised sequence - This series uses email automation software to send personalized communication to subscribers based on their interests and preferences. It focuses on increasing the engagement with the new customer.
Abandoned cart recovery is essentially a sales acquisition technique that e-commerce businesses use to convert their abandoned carts into sales. This is one of my most recommended email marketing flows that should be created first, and you will start to see it boost conversions almost immediately. With regard to email automation, it refers to a series of best automated email campaigns for customers who abandoned their carts.
Usually, cart recovery email campaigns include attractive incentives like limited offers, special discounts, and more to encourage customers to complete their purchases.
Some of the benefits that abandoned cart recovery offers include - improving customer loyalty, boosting conversion rates, better customer experience, and adopting a cost-effective strategy.
Research indicates that abandoned cart recovery emails have an open rate of 41.18% and a conversion rate of 8%.
Retaining and keeping the existing customers engaged is as important to you as finding new leads. That said, emails are a highly powerful tool that plays a significant role. The greatest advantage is that email marketing is highly cost-effective and offers the highest ROI among various marketing channels. So if your ad budget is limited, then consider doubling-down on your email marketing as it will pay off.
By adopting email marketing funnels, you could make significant returns with little investment. Another benefit that email funnels and automation offer is the feature of segmentation and personalization of your customers. Email segmentation is splitting your customers into different groups based on various factors like age, gender, industry, demographics, and more.
This way, email funnels let you focus on the niche audience and send them the information that is relevant and useful.
Customers are interested only in information that pertains to their industry or challenges. Sending emails with generalized content will make the customers feel disengaged and lose interest in your brand. You could adopt email segmentation and focus specifically on groups based on their interests, preferences, buying behaviors, etc.
The email list could be segmented into groups and categories for different products and services, and accordingly, the automated email sequences could be targeted at them. Research suggests that businesses that embraced email segmentation faced a lower percentage of unsubscribes, higher open rates, and even increased revenue in email marketing.
In addition, personalization is also a key component in email funnels and automation. Personalization is sending out tailor-made email messages to the customers rather than being generalized. This creates a closer connection between your brand and your customer.
Email funnels and automation software let you simplify this process by removing the need to create individual emails for each customer at each touch point of their journey manually. You can create email sequences as part of the funnels and use the automation tool to schedule when the messages need to be sent.
Some examples of customer retention and engagement in the email marketing strategy include:
Making a good first impression is always crucial. Your customers need to sign up when they reach your brand for the first time. So, at this point, email sequences need to be sent out.
Engaging welcome sequences could go a long way in creating a long-lasting customer relationship. By framing your email messages at this stage, you introduce your brand, your expertise, your company’s goals, and your products and services to the new customers.
Retaining customers requires them to be engaged and interested in your services. To accomplish this, you could offer them special discounts, offers, and more. At this touchpoint, you could send email sequences that promote your products and services innovatively. Anyone would be interested in obtaining a discount or special benefits.
Use the opportunity to entice your customers by offering them special discounts, gifts, or such on special occasions like their birthdays, anniversaries, etc. In addition, make special holiday offers with free coupons or great discounts, free shipping, etc., to keep your customers engaged.
You have taken all the efforts to convince a customer and finally succeeded them in making a purchase. However, it doesn’t end here. You need to follow up with them. Post-purchase follow-up lets you carve a rewarding customer experience to make them shop again. Automated email follow-up options are extremely useful in this regard as they obviate the need for you to send out follow-up emails every time manually.
Some effective best practices could make the post-purchase experience beneficial to you. These are,
Transactional emails usually refer to email receipts or other formalities that the customers need to complete as a part of the transaction or process. They are triggered when customers perform an action and require little design time.
Most customers prefer brands that understand their buying needs and help in this process. Using AI-powered algorithms, several e-commerce brands keep sending out product and service recommendations to customers based on their earlier purchases, browsing history, and such. This creates interest in the brand, and customers will not only shop but even recommend your brand to their family and friends.
Personalization is the secret sauce for the success of customer retention in the e-commerce space. Make sure to include all the personalization techniques in your customer emails. Even addressing the customer with their first name could go a long way in fostering long-standing relationships.
It makes sense to include your customers as brand ambassadors. This could be achieved by letting them share their views and suggestions on your products on social media channels. All you need to do is include a CTA button to connect your brand on these social networks.
Besides transaction emails, you could opt for some of the best email automation strategies to boost your conversions in the post-purchase scenario.
Value addition: You could run post-purchase campaigns to add value to customer experience. This is particularly useful for brands selling luxury items that must educate their customers on various aspects of their products.
Feedback response: Once you have customers signed up and made a purchase, use the opportunity to ask for feedback from the customer. Use email automation to send out feedback survey forms and seek their opinions. This could help you improve your products and services and understand where to focus to gain a competitive edge.
Thank you emails: A simple automation sending out thank you messages is a great way to acknowledge your customers. Especially when you use personalized tailor-made emails, the customers feel encouraged and recognized.
Research suggests that post-purchase emails have an open rate of 40.5% and a conversion rate of 10.3%.
Upselling refers to selling an upgraded product version, while cross-selling refers to selling complementary products or services.
Some of the email automation strategies to use in upselling and cross-selling include:
One of the best strategies to successfully upsell or cross-sell is to segment the email lists into different customer groups based on their interests, preferences, and buying patterns. This way, you could upsell or cross-sell the right products or services to the right group of customers. Segmentation is the key to success in email marketing.
In addition, you could use lead magnets like free webinars, whitepapers, etc., that would encourage the users to sign up to your email.
To successfully upsell or cross-sell, your emails must first be opened and read by the customers. Not just that, they need to take suitable action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. This requires you to craft highly persuading subject lines like “Limited offer,” “Only 5 items left,” and more. Likewise, use powerful CTAs like “Shop now,” “Get a free sample today,” etc.
This is an important criterion, and it depends on the demographics of the customers. People have different preferences to read mail based on age, gender, location, etc. As a part of the email marketing strategy, study the email segmentation groups thoroughly and accordingly plan the email schedules.
In addition, the days of the week when a subscriber would check the mail also depend. While most business-related emails are read on weekdays, it is best recommended to send promotional emails on weekends.
Data analytics helps significantly in measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns. Using metrics like open rates, bounce rates, or click-through rates, you can analyze the customer responses to your emails and accordingly tailor your email strategy.
A/B testing or split testing involves sending out two versions of an email to different customer groups, and then the response is observed and analyzed. Its objective is to check which version works better and is more effective in attracting customers' attention. Based on the outcomes, you could modify your email content, subject line, CTA, etc.
Event-based email automation is a powerful way to reach your customers and keep them engaged. It becomes a quick and easy to send out event-driven messages to your customers.
Some of the occasions that you could use to send out automated emails include:
Birthdays - It creates a lot of positive effects on the customers’ minds when you send them gifts with automated email on their birthdays. This makes them feel happy and takes you towards a long-standing relationship with them. Instead of gifts, you could even share some coupons or special offers.
Anniversary - Sending an email on the customer’s wedding anniversary is also an amazing way to boost your engagement. You could offer the couple a free gift hamper or some unique gifts.
Subscriber’s joining date- You would certainly have the record of the date when your customer first subscribed to your brand service. Sending an email on this date each year to express the beginning of this special relationship could create sentiments in the customers and make them feel attached to your brand.
Sometimes, you may find that some customers aren’t actively engaged with your brand. Re-engagement campaigns, also known as win-back or reactivation emails, are a series of emails sent out to inactive customers who haven’t been responding to your emails earlier.
Some email automation strategies for re-engaging with dormant customers
- Call out the customers who have been away for a while
Use different subject lines, such as –
- A lot has changed since we last saw you - here’s something for you!
- We don’t want you to miss out on the new things in our brand
- Do you know, since we last saw you, X customers have signed up to our site!
Re-kindle their interest by focusing on new features on your site or new aspects of your brand.
- Make discounts and special offers
Use different subject lines, such as–
- Happy Birthday!
- This is exclusively for you! (gift inside)
- We always think of you!
By offering special coupons, discounts, or offers to inactive customers, you can re-create their curiosity and interest in your brand and make them actively participate again.
- Focus on the reason behind their interest
Use different subject lines, such as -
- The Y is the ideal product to solve all your problems
- Want to buy more? Use this 50% discount coupon.
- Don’t shy away from the best customer experience on the internet.
When you find some customers are turning inactive, you need to get them back. One proven strategy to achieve this is by reminding them of the reasons they initially chose you. This, in turn, offers you an opportunity to emphasize your strengths like a hassle-free customer experience, the core features of your product, and more.
Research suggests that re-engagement emails usually are read by 45% of the users who receive them.
Data-driven approaches are highly effective when it comes to email marketing. Various email marketing metrics are considered and analyzed to interpret customer behavior.
Some of the key metrics in email marketing include:
It is expressed as a percentage of the total number of email recipients who clicked on a link in the email to the total number of emails delivered. It is a highly useful metric most businesses use to analyze the success of their email marketing automation strategy. Click-through rates are important as they give a direct idea of how many people are engaging with your brand.
It is the percentage of emails that couldn’t be sent to the customers' inbox. It is of two types - hard and soft. Soft bounce refers to problems with a valid email address, such as a flooded inbox. Hard bounce refers to invalid or non-existent email addresses.
It is defined as the percentage of recipients who clicked the email and performed an action, such as filling out a form or buying a product. Conversion rate is closely related to your call-to-action as it aims at converting the prospect into customers.
It refers to the percentage of recipients who open an email. This is vital as unless the users open the email, there’s no question of converting.
Defined as the ratio of total returns to total expenditures, it gives an estimate of your overall return on your investment in the email marketing campaign. This is a very crucial metric as it shows the direction in which your email marketing campaigns are headed.
This refers to the percentage of email recipients who unsubscribe to your email list after opening the email. However, it doesn’t give a true picture of the success of your email campaigns. Sometimes, customers are tired of receiving emails, so they just click unsubscribe. Click-through rate and conversion rates are more accurate parameters to measure your customer engagement.
While there are various metrics, they find their true meaning only when used through comparisons. Considering one single metric to ascertain the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns is not appropriate. They must be used in conjunction with one another and analyzed and interpreted to understand the customer psychology and behaviors. Use these metrics combined and apply the results of the analyses to optimize your performance.
Best automated email campaigns play a significant role in the growth of e-commerce businesses. Various categories of email marketing strategies like Welcome series, Customer retention, re-engagement, and others can be smartly implemented to derive the best outcomes.
Enable automated email follow-ups to ensure you revert to your customers seeking their suggestions each time without missing out. Use metrics and data-driven techniques to optimize your email marketing and automation efforts. In addition, truly understanding how to automate emails can contribute considerably to the growth of your e-commerce business.
With 18 years of experience in the eCommerce industry, I have successfully launched and grown multiple e-commerce businesses, the 2nd one hit 7-figures in revenue within its first year. In 2022, I joined a European food technology equipment and IT service provider as their Head of E-commerce, overseeing 14 eshops across Europe and South Africa. Selljam is where I share all those ecommerce tips, tricks and hacks learned along the way that I hope will also help you on your journey to success.