Email marketing automation is perhaps the most powerful tool that eCommerce companies have at their disposal. It allows them to communicate and stay in contact with their customers in a personal way, without the time consumption that would be required with sending communications by hand.
A study from VentureBeat showed that companies earn an average of $38 for every dollar invested in email marketing, making it the channel that delivers the highest returns in digital marketing.
Still, many eCommerce companies don’t have all of their bases covered when it comes to building out their automated email sequences and connecting with customers at critical points in the buyer’s journey. You can use automated email sequences to connect with first time buyers, encourage repeat purchases, and reduce your cart abandonment rate.
However, great email marketing isn’t just about the short-term bumps you’ll see in those numbers. It plays a critical role in your ability to connect with your customers and develop deeper relationships with them over time.
Here at Elastic Email, we work closely with many eCommerce companies to help them build out eCommerce email marketing campaigns that foster those relationships and facilitate measurable improvements in key performance indicators. The seven email campaigns that all eCommerce companies should be sending to their customers include:
Welcome Email Campaign
A welcome eCommerce email marketing campaign that is delivered to all new subscribers (not necessarily customers) is an important investment. It’s the first interaction that a customer receives after they join your mailing list and it serves as a basis for all future interactions with your brand. It’s also the email they are most likely to return to at a later date.
According to a study from Omnisend, welcome emails are opened an average of 45% of the time, a considerable jump over the 18% average of typical promotional emails. This makes the welcome email extremely critical. It provides you with your best chance of connecting with new subscribers and setting the stage for your relationship.
Your typical welcome email campaign will contain between one and three emails. You don’t want to overdo it, and your first email in the sequence will always gain the most traction. The number of emails that you should send to new subscribers depends entirely on your goals for the sequence and the expectations of your customers.
Take a look at this welcome email from Huckberry:
This is an excellent welcome email. It provides insight into their company, thanks to their new subscriber for joining, and directs them toward the next step that they need to take on their journey to becoming a customer.
New Customer Email Campaign
Your new customer email campaign is perhaps the second most important email sequence on this list. These are the emails that you send to a first-time customer. Foregoing this sequence could leave significant amounts of money on the table and represent a missed opportunity to further your relationship with someone that has already shown they are willing to spend money with your company.
The goal of any eCommerce email marketing campaign delivered to a new customer is to build upon the small amount of trust that is already in place. They trust you enough to buy from you, but any new customer is wary about buying from a new company. They are likely to have had some negative experiences on first-time purchases with other companies and are analyzing their interactions with you to determine if you are a company they would like to continue to buy from.
A new customer email campaign typically contains a few individual emails:
- Welcome email. The email delivered immediately after the purchase is made. It usually contains information relevant to the order like shipping information, return policies, and contact information. This is a trust-building email.
- Check-in. Check in and make sure that the customer is happy. Make sure they don’t have any outstanding questions.
- Delivery. Once the product has arrived, check-in again. Make sure that they are satisfied with the product and give them a chance to voice any delivery issues that they ran into throughout the process.
Your new customer email campaign is a critical juncture in your relationship with each customer. Going above and beyond will facilitate better outcomes.
Nurturing Email Campaign
Nurturing email campaigns are designed to improve and deepen your relationship with current customers and yet-to-be customers alike. According to veteran sales guru and author Chet Holmes, only 3% of your visitors are ready to buy when they first visit your store. The rest will require more trust and a sustained relationship with your company before becoming a customer.
A nurturing sequence allows you to place your focus on the 97 out of 100 visitors that aren’t ready to buy right away. Too many eCommerce companies place all of their focus on the 3% that are ready to buy, neglecting those that will need more interaction before they take the leap of faith.
Nurturing eCommerce email marketing campaigns typically include between 3-7 emails, educating your customers on your company, products, and industry before calling them to action to make a purchase. The more personal that you get within the campaign, the deeper of a connection you will create with those prospects.
Abandoned Cart Email Campaign
Customers can abandon their cart for any number of reasons. Maybe the shipping costs brought the total to an amount higher than they expected. Maybe the shipping times were too long. Maybe you didn’t offer their preferred payment options. Why they abandoned is important, but so are the actions that you take after a customer leaves a full shopping cart sitting in your system.
According to a study from Baymard Institute, most large eCommerce companies see cart abandonment rates well above 50%, with some reaching higher than 80%. Business Insider estimates that retailers will lose more than $4 trillion due to cart abandonment.
Delivering an automated email campaign that reminds customers that they left a full shopping cart or inquires about the issues they experienced can be a great way to bring down cart abandonment rates and help your company to build stronger relationships with apprehensive customers and first-time shoppers. Abandoned cart campaigns are delivered at critical junctures where the customer
Repeat Customer Email Campaign
For most eCommerce companies, repeat customers make up a disproportionate amount of revenue compared to their customer base. According to a report from Stitch Labs, repeat customers generate almost 25% of revenue while making up just 11% of the total customer base for your average eCommerce company.
For that reason, repeat customers can and should be treated differently than first-time buyers. They already have trust in your company and are more likely to come back and spend their money with you in the future.
Creating an email campaign that occasionally checks-in with repeat customers that you haven’t heard from in a while can help you push them toward making a new purchase. Additionally, you can target these customers for promotions and discounts on product categories that are related to previous purchases that they have made.
Re-Engagement Email Campaign
Over time, your customers and subscribers will stop engaging with your emails. It's just a fact when it comes to email marketing. The goal of a re-engagement campaign is to recapture their attention.
Not only will initiating re-engagement with these customers increase the likelihood of them making a purchase, but it will improve the deliverability of your emails as a whole. In a 2014 interview, a Gmail representative stated that the Gmail Anti-Abuse team wanted to “see evidence that your recipients love, or at the very least, want your messages.” Bringing dormant subscribers back into the engagement fold will improve the quality of your list and help your standing with email service providers.
Email Campaigns Build Relationships
The main interconnective tissue between all of these different types of email campaigns is the fact that they encompass one goal — to improve your relationships with your customers and subscribers. Automated email campaigns allow us to save time and money while engaging customers at very specific points in the buyer’s journey to facilitate positive relationships and grow sales.