As an e-commerce business owner, you’re competing in a noisy space where finding and retaining customers is a daily battle. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
If you design clever follow-up strategies for your customers and prospects, you can build sustainable pathways that will lead people back to your e-commerce store again and again. To do this, you need to build a strategy that is personalized, consistent, and automated. Here are seven essential tools to have in place:
1. The welcome email
This may be the most important email you will ever send. When someone signs up for email communications, they are signaling extremely strong interest in your brand. Research from Experian Marketing Services shows that 58 percent of welcome emails are opened—compared with less than 15 percent for most other marketing messages. So what should you do with this valuable first contact point?
- Don’t waste this high-value moment on something generic.
- Don’t let days or even weeks pass before you answer their call. Email within the five minutes of contact.
- Do craft spectacular, education-rich welcome messages and automate these so they sent out on your behalf (further reading on that here).
2. The thank you email + post sales updates
One of the best thank you emails I ever received was from Ann Handley—the veteran author, speaker, and chief content officer of MarketingProfs—after I signed up for her email list. The subject line read “Thank you! And a question for you…” I found a warmly-written note, doused in humor, that made me feel close to her.
As you automate thank you emails and post-sales updates:
- Thank them, be authentic, and act human—you can find more good examples here.
- Include secondary links that lead to your site.
- Track their shipment with notifications and if you can, personalize and customize the messages—one moment of original humor along with the transactional info, can really make people smile.
3. Send helpful resources
Once someone has joined your email list or bought a product, automate their email to be added to an onboarding series, and move them into a nurture campaign. Start to send a flow of intriguing, educational content that directly speaks to their pain points and offers helpful solutions. Content marketing will allow your brand to stay top-of-mind for customers—in a non-annoying, long-term way. It can also help you expand your reach significantly.
One auto parts store created an infographic, “How Much Do We Spend on Cars?” which went viral. By aggregating information that is genuinely interesting to all car owners, it reached far more potential customers than advertising. By including an “embed this graphic on your site” it boosted its own backlinks, thus improving its SEO rankings.
4. Be social
New research from the global travel site TripAdvisor shows that in the restaurant industry in 2017, social media advertising has overtaken all other advertising channels. The same is occurring across industries. Plan out your comprehensive social strategy:
- Use a content calendar so that you prepare for major holidays and sales seasons months in advance.
- Push campaign messages across channels—share news of highly-viewed campaigns to your email list.
- If you’ve developed genius thank you and welcome emails, include social share buttons on these messages, so that a delighted customer can share it with all their friends, instantly.
5. Abandoned cart reminders
According to the Baymard Institute, there is an average abandoned cart rate of 69.23 percent. That’s a whoppingly large number of potential sales that you could be losing to distraction, pausing or forgetfulness.
Digitally savvy companies need to loop back to re-engage with these customers through a series of automated reminders:
- Set the first one to go out within 24 hours, while the buying impulse is fresh.
- Don’t let it end there! Automate another email or two to follow up at gradual intervals if the purchase still isn’t made.
- Personalize! Include photos of the item they nearly purchase, use their first name if you can, and draw from your CRM to add-in suggestions of other things they may like.
- Use humor to your advantage—Shopify has some good examples here.
6. Re-engagement campaign
This is an essential way to invigorate and clean up your email list. If your data is showing you that large swathes of people are not engaging with your messaging, automate emails to go out and ask if they’d like to remain connected. Arianna Huffington’s wellness company Thrive Global does this well with their email newsletter:
Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Automate these campaigns to kick in once certain metrics are met, i.e. no opens for the past three newsletters.
- Include a special offer as a way to attract people back for more—often it’s not because people dislike your brand, but that you’ve fallen off their connection radar.
7. Use an intelligent CRM for all the above
To do follow-up well, it needs to be fast, responsive and personalized. That’s impossible for businesses to do without the use of automation. Bring on board an intelligent CRM like Keap, to help you identify your top leads, your lapsing readers and automate follow-up communications that treat every customer as an individual.