Cutting Back on Ad Spend? Here’s Your Email Marketing Playbook for Success

Maybe your company decided to cut variable marketing spend in half this quarter. Maybe you’re one of the 800 companies boycotting Facebook this month. Or, maybe you’re a solo marketer looking to save some cash. If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that there’s no telling what tomorrow brings. Whether it’s a global pandemic, an economic downturn, or a social justice uprising—the future has proved unpredictable at every turn. With companies laying off employees, slashing budgets, and taking a stand against behemoths like Facebook and Amazon—it can be an uphill battle for a marketer to say the least. 

There’s no way to make light of a world in turmoil, so at Drip, we’re offering something different: An email marketing playbook for success when you’re out of ad spend. We know a thing or two about being scrappy and resourceful, and we want to help you use what you have. Drip’s powerful marketing automation empowers every ecommerce store to build genuine, authentic customer experiences through email.  

  1. Personalization is (Still) King

  2. Step One: Segment Your Audience

  3. Step Two: Introduce Yourself

  4. Step Three: Move People from Casual to Loyal 

  5. Step Four: Celebrate Your Most Loyal Customers

  6. Market Smarter


Personalization Is (Still) King

Personalization is the name of the game in email marketing. Luckily for marketers, the inbox is one of the best places to reach your customers. 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses via email, and 99% of consumers check their email every day. So if you’re out of ad spend, or boycotting putting your dollars toward a company who refuses to curb hate speech (ahem), not to fear! Email remains one of the most effective messaging channels; 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months.

Creating a slam dunk email marketing playbook is no easy task for the most experienced marketers, and if you’re someone who’s shied away from email in the past, you’re not alone. There will be trial and error, there will be uphill treks, and there will be wins to celebrate! Email is the holy grail for small business revenue because it’s a direct line to the consumer. Doubling down on your email marketing strategy is also a great way to decrease small businesses' dependency on social media and Facebook ads. In this blog post, we’ll cover the essentials for your email marketing playbook with zero ad spend.  


Step One: Segment Your Audience

When it comes to selecting your email marketing platform, we’re partial to Drip. However, this blog post isn’t a sales pitch, and you can read our honest, no-nonsense competitor comparisons on our website. Once you select a platform and import your data, the first step in your playbook is to sort your audience by purchase status. Sorting your audience by purchase status allows you to send segmented, personalized emails, and helps ensure that your messaging is super relevant. It also makes you more money! Marketers who send segmented campaigns see as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

In Drip, you can easily sort your audience by purchase status using Segments. Segments are smaller groups of people pulled from your main list; they allow you to make groups of people who have things in common, such as email engagement, purchase history, or purchase frequency. Most email marketing platforms allow you to sort and save lists, but Segments pack more power than a traditional list because they’re dynamic instead of static. This means that if the criteria defined by the Segment are added or removed from someone, the Segment will automatically update and that person will be added or removed from it accordingly, unlike lists, which stay the same unless you make tedious manual changes, and nobody has time for that. 

Segment your audience by the following purchase statuses: Non- purchasers, one-time purchasers, and people who have purchased more than once (your most loyal customers). It’s crucial for marketers to understand their customers’ shopping habits, so you can plan your strategy accordingly. Send a follow-up email with related products two months after somebody makes their first purchase to drive that second purchase. Or, entice people with a coupon to drive their first purchase. The possibilities are endless!

Step Two: Introduce Yourself

Welcome and Drive First Time Purchase workflow template.

Drip customers: Select your ecommerce provider and single click to install a welcome and drive first-time purchase workflow template into your Drip account. View workflow templates.

It’s important to nurture the relationship with your customers, especially within the first 1 to 60 days. A welcome & drive first-time purchase strategy helps you nurture the relationship and drive people who haven’t made a purchase off the fence to make that first purchase. This is the time to introduce your brand’s unique value proposition, set expectations, and double-down with some solid customer reviews or social proof. 90% of consumers look at product reviews before making a purchase! 

Providing information about your company ethos and products before somebody goes to look for it on their own helps you gain their trust, and instills confidence in your brand. You already know why your products are the best and what sets you apart from your competitors, so why not let people know right off the bat? This strategy is painless to implement, timeless, and requires zero ad spend. If that’s not enough to convince you, consider the fact that the average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50%—that makes them 86% more effective than standard newsletters. 

Automated emails are an integral part of your email marketing playbook for success. They’re proven to be more effective than broadcast emails—automated emails get 152% higher click rates than broadcast emails. Marketing automation is all about catching people at the right moment when they’re ready to act—and it works.

Step Three: Move People from Casual to Loyal 

Get Second Purchase workflow template.

Drip customers: Select your ecommerce provider and single click to install a Get Second Purchase workflow template into your Drip account. View workflow templates.

Repeat buyers are key to your store’s success. They spend 3x more and are 9x more likely to convert again than one-time shoppers. Cracking the one-and-done buyer problem is one of the most difficult problems to solve for ecommerce marketers. A second purchase strategy is vitally important to crack the one-and-done buyer code. There is no “one size fits all” second purchase strategy, but Drip’s Get Second Purchase strategy provides a great jumping-off point for your brand. 

The three most important things to understand to solve the one-and-done buyer problem are your customer, their behaviors, and your products. 

  1. Understand the ideal window of opportunity for driving second purchases, as well as the products that are most likely to help drive those purchases. 
    • The first 100 days after a customer’s first purchase are the most critical. 60% of second purchases occur within 100 days after the first purchase.
    • After those first 100 days, the chances of a second purchase falls to below 10%
  2. Look up the window of opportunity based on your product category.
    • Determine the likelihood that customers will make their second purchase from the same product category as their first.

    • Use this information to send automated, targeted emails to drive second purchases from one-time buyers. 

  3. Start with the average time to second purchase. Drip shows the average time to second purchase on the account dashboard.
    • Include recommendations based on if they will purchase again from the same or different product category. 

    • Look at co-purchase patterns. 

This might sound overwhelming. Don’t fear! Drip’s Get Second Purchase workflow does most of the heavy lifting for you. The workflow template includes the necessary logic and time delays, and all you need to do is tailor it for your brand. Capitalizing on this opportunity can lead to significant revenue growth in the short and long term by bringing in more orders and laying the foundation for customer loyalty. 

Step Four: Learn From Your Most Loyal Customers 

Celebrating Loyal Customers workflow template.

Drip customers: Select your ecommerce provider and single click to install a Celebrate Your Loyal Customers workflow template into your Drip account. View workflow templates.

Building a loyal customer base takes time and effort (and maybe a few g&t’s). We promise it’s worth it. After you’ve segmented your audience, and set up targeted automation emails at each stage of the customer journey, the icing on the cake is celebrating and learning from most loyal customers. People who have made 2+ purchases from you are your brand fanatics; they will advocate for your brand and they are 9x more likely to convert again. It’s important to understand why they love your brand so you can take those insights and incorporate them into your marketing strategy. 

Similar to moving people from casual shoppers to lifetime loyalists, there’s no one size fits all for gaining insights from your most loyal customers. Here’s what we recommend: 

  • Invite them to your best social channel. This allows you to get organic engagement and brand recognition. 

  • Gain customer insights. Send a note asking why they love your brand, and take what they say resonates with them and incorporate it into your messaging strategy. 

  • Show your appreciation with a personal touch. Set up an automated notification email every time one of your most loyal customers makes another purchase. From there, you can set up an interview or send a handwritten thank you note. 

The best part is that you can show your appreciation and gain valuable insights all through email, and without spending any extra money on ads. 

Market Smarter 

If you’re looking to decrease your dependency on social media and Facebook ads, email marketing is your bread and butter. Email marketing is here to help you: 

  • Deliver targeted, personalized messages.

  • Convert subscribers into customers, and turn customers into lifetime loyalists.

  • Build authentic relationships with customers. 

  • Retain customers. 

We all have that one brand we’re obsessed with. Who knows just the right time to hit us up with a promotional email; who’s best in class products and timely content brings us joy. This email marketing playbook provides you with the tools and knowledge you need to be that brand for someone. And don’t forget: you’re not in it alone, and celebrate your wins because you’re laying the foundation for growth in the short and long term. 

Do you want to give this email marketing playbook a try? 

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