We often hear that setting up email automations is intimidating, so we’re here to blow away the smoke and mirrors. In truth, setting up email automations isn’t so different from sending an email campaign. Both take a similar level of effort, yet automations work for you once they're setup, constantly driving revenue for you in the background.
"Automated emails drive 320% more revenue per email than regular promotional emails. Plus, they run while you sleep, and do all the work.
The beauty of an email automation is the freedom you have after setting one up – all you need to do is check in with reporting and occasionally make small optimizations. Email automations run while you sleep: they’re timely, they’re engaging, and they work.
Email automations are essentially email campaigns set to send when your subscriber(s) match a certain set of characteristics. The characteristics trigger the email to send and can be based on anything, from someone signing up for your list, to abandoning a cart, to entering a segment or not purchasing for a specific length of time. By triggering off of unique subscriber behaviour, these automations become hyper-targeted and personalized, guaranteeing the best opens, clicks, and conversion. As a marketer, you get more bang for your buck (read: better results from your hard work) from email automations. So why wouldn't you automate?
Leveraging automations is so powerful in any email strategy, and it's the key to building a customer journey that optimizes for long-term revenue. Automations help you email customers at exactly the right moments when they’re most likely to open and click your emails, meaning more sales and better customer engagement for your brand.
Welcome email automations trigger when subscribers first sign up for your email list, so recipients are a captive audience and ready to engage. They want to hear from you right away, with 74% of consumers expecting a welcome email when they subscribe to a brand’s email list.
" Subscribers want to hear from you right away, with 74% of consumers expecting a welcome email when they subscribe to a brand’s email list.
Not only are welcome email automations expected, they boost your engagement with three times more opens, clicks, and revenue per email compared to regular promotional email campaigns. There’s an average of 91% opens on welcome emails, making them a great way to start your brand’s relationship with a new subscriber while improving your overall deliverability.
A single welcome email will give you a great foundation, but a welcome email series has more potential to engage subscribers long-term.
This first email can be sent as soon as the subscriber signs up. It’s a great opportunity to share more about your brand and what subscribers can expect from your emails, whether that’s first access to sales or insider info.
Keep your first email concise with a clear CTA to drive engagement. Include a “Confirm Your Subscription” button that links back to your website to increase engagement on this email and send the signal to ISPs that subscribers want to receive future emails from you in their inboxes.
This email can be sent one week after your welcome email. Your brand has a lot to offer–it’s yours, and it’s unique. Use the second email in your welcome series to show subscribers why they should choose you over a competitor. What’s your company’s mission? What are your competitive advantages? This email is a chance for subscribers to connect with the story and persona behind your brand.
This email can be sent two weeks after your welcome email. Sharing user-generated content (UGC) and reviews from customers are some of the most compelling ways to show how great your products are. Even better, it encourages other customers to share your brand online. Use the third email in your welcome series to convince subscribers who are on the fence about why they should purchase from your brand.
With a little bit of effort, your welcome series will have subscribers feeling fully acquainted with your brand. Focus on clear information and CTAs for each email to start your sender reputation with each individual subscriber off on the right foot.
One of the easiest ways to up your repeat customers is by saying thanks. Think of the last time you received a ‘thank you for purchasing’ email from a brand–it probably made an impact!
With repeat customers being 8% of the average store’s base but accounting for 40% of its revenue! You definitely want to encourage new customers to stick around.
This email can be sent anywhere from one hour to one day after a customer makes their first purchase. It’s your opportunity to thank customers and let them know how important they are to your business. Let them know that they’re what keeps you going and ask them for feedback.
This email can be sent two weeks after a customer makes their first purchase. To incentivize further purchases, offer free shipping on their next purchase or share information about your referral program.
This email can be sent four weeks after a customer makes their first purchase. Make your customers feel cared for and get them ready to make their next purchase from you with a coupon for 15% off.
Setting up a new customer thank you email automation is one of the best ways to add a personal feel to your email marketing and help you differentiate yourself from other similar brands. Because honestly, nothing makes customers feel appreciated more than a little thank you! Making a point of letting customers know how much you care takes a little effort, but definitely doesn’t go unnoticed.
Abandoned cart rates have steadily risen, with an average of 75% carts abandoned in 2018. That’s a lot of potential revenue lost (two to four trillion dollars a year!) that you can recover with a simple abandoned cart email automation.
Abandoned cart automations are sent when a subscriber adds a product to their cart without completing their purchase. With an average open rate of 43%, click-through rate of 20%, and conversion rate of 10%, abandoned cart automations are a prime example of how you can leverage automations to boost engagement while improving deliverability.
To optimize for conversion, you can create an abandoned cart email series, where your automation sends multiple emails over a period of time. Setting up a three-step automation has been proven to bring in 69% more revenue than a single-step abandoned cart automation.
Here’s an example of a three-step abandoned cart email series:
This email can be sent three hours after a customer abandons their cart. It can be a simple reminder that includes the items the customer abandoned. Most ESPs will have template blocks that let you dynamically insert the abandoned items that a specific subscriber left in their cart. You can also include a cart recovery URL that will take the recipient right back to their cart for convenient check out.
Send the second step in your abandoned cart series one week later with social proof in the form of reviews or UGC that shows customers using your product. If a subscriber is on the fence, hearing from other customers can be the best way to convince them to make a purchase. This email is also a great place to reiterate quality guarantees, warranties, or free returns.
This third email can be sent two weeks after the subscriber abandoned their cart if they still haven’t made a purchase. Offering a discount or other incentive to purchase (like free shipping) is an effective way to get subscribers to take the plunge and finally complete their purchase.
Try setting up a one-step abandoned cart email to test out what works well from your brand. Once you feel the first step is performing well, play around with adding subsequent steps that include further incentive to purchase!
People who browse without making a purchase account for an average of 39% of your customers, whereas only 12% add products to their cart. To put it another way, you’re losing out on potential revenue from 27% of your customers by not setting up a browse abandonment email!
To no one’s surprise, browse abandonment emails average great engagement: a 37% open rate, a 14% click-to-open rate, and a 12% conversion rate. For every 1,000 visitors that leave your store, you could be making an additional six sales by sending a browse abandonment email.
Why wait when you could be recovering sales? Here’s an example of a two-step browse abandonment email series:
This email can be sent one day after the subscriber browsed without making a purchase. Have fun with the subject line– being a little cheeky is better than coming off creepy! In this email, you can include some of the items the subscriber was looking at with a browse abandonment block from your ESP. You can also include a section of other recommended products, for example, your best sellers.
If the subscriber doesn’t bite after receiving your first email, you can send them a second email one week later. This email can include an incentive to purchase, like a discount code or free shipping. Include a link to relevant items and reiterate any value adds you offer, like free returns or a lifetime warranty.
Browse abandonment emails are an easy way to remind online shoppers that they were checking out your store. Having fun with subject lines and including incentives to purchase are great ways to solidify your brand in a customer’s mind while also converting sales that would otherwise be lost.
Surprise: an average of 66% of email lists are inactive. Though it’s easy to treat these inactive subscribers like everyone else on your list, continuing to send marketing emails to them will damage your deliverability. But don’t say goodbye just yet! Winback emails can help you re-engage past customers, saving you time and money.
If a subscriber has received 10+ emails from you without opening any of them, the chances that they’ll engage in the future are slim. Enter winback email automations: 45% of subscribers who receive a winback opening a subsequent message. That’s 45% of your unengaged subscribers (that are currently negatively affecting your deliverability) that could be brought back with a relevant email.
" 45% of customers who receive a winback email open a subsequent message.
You can trigger your winback email on the last time a purchase was made (e.g. 90 days) or after a certain level of inactivity (e.g. after a customer hasn’t opened 10 emails in a row). Here’s an example of a three-step customer winback email series:
This first email can be sent as soon as a subscriber is deemed inactive. The content can be pretty simple–remind the subscriber why they may have subscribed in the first place. Do you send behind-the-scenes info about your brand? First looks at new arrivals? A heads-up on sales? A winback email is the perfect place to reiterate what you have to offer, and to let past customers know you want them back!
If you have a preference center where subscribers can specifically choose what you email them, this is a good time to link it. Let subscribers choose to receive emails less frequently or only subscribe to the lists they care about.
This second email can be sent anywhere from one week to three months after the first one, depending on your brand and email cadence. Some of your inactive subscribers may only purchase from you when there’s a sale or discount available. Since retaining a past customer is five times less expensive than converting a new one, it’s worth adding a meaningful discount here.
This email can be sent anywhere from one week to three months after the second, depending on your brand and email sending cadence. It’s up to you what you include in this email. You could offer a higher discount or add messaging along the lines of “Do you still want to hear from us?” with an explicit CTA to unsubscribe.
Don’t be afraid to let go of inactive subscribers here. Unengaged recipients have stopped purchasing from you, and if you continue to send to them, you’ll end up in the spam folder and further damage your deliverability to the subscribers who actively engage with your emails. If they don’t open or click this third email, it’s a good idea to move them into a segment that you no longer email or explicitly unsubscribe them in your CRM.
Winback email automations are one of the most powerful automations in this list–they take care of winning back inactive customers for you, while automatically churning your list so you don’t damage your deliverability. While it can feel like a loss to say goodbye to unengaged subscribers after they’ve gone through your winback with no response, think of it as a positive for your brand. Now you can spend more time engaging new subscribers who are excited about what you have to offer, while also taking care of your active, engaged customers.
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