Let’s kickstart this guide with a few eye-popping statistics about the beauty industry:
Projected 2021 earnings industry-wide: $511B
Year-over-year earnings growth: a staggering 5%
Total projected earnings by 2025: $716B
Every year, marketing dollars in the beauty sector exceed the previous year
WOW, those are big numbers that indicate two things: huge opportunity and an extremely competitive marketplace.
So how does a beauty brand find what differentiates them from the crowd? Price? Formulation? Packaging? Or newer approaches accelerated by the necessities of both DTC ecommerce and the pandemic: artificial intelligence and “smart” beauty such as virtual try-on.
So what's the answer to the ever-important and ever-present question? The answer isn’t new and isn’t changing: developing customer relationships is essential and instrumental for beauty brands to thrive in the DTC ecomm space.
Even more importantly, what’s a marketer to do? Optimize the channels that give your brand direct access to your customers: email and SMS.
Our focus for this article is email marketing, the foundational strategy that every beauty brand needs to invest in and optimize now.
The beautiful thing about email marketing is that the backbone of a good strategy relies on automated emails. These are the 7 emails you should absolutely have in your brand's automated email repertoire:
For ecommerce brands, a welcome email is your chance to start building a relationship with your customer. Beauty customers are even more motivated to purchase (and repurchase) based on the relationship they have a brand, so a welcome email is a necessity for any beauty brand. As soon as someone joins your email list, a welcome email should be on its way to their inbox sharing all the things that they'll love about your brand.
If your subscriber opt-in includes promises of a discount or content, make sure your first email includes that and is triggered to send immediately. You also want to introduce your brand and what it is all about, share social proof, and seed top seller products, and bundles or starter packs.
Want welcome email inspiration? Go here, or look to Drip customer Saint Jane Beauty who has won the welcome email game by using Drip’s pre-built templates. Get the full scoop here or get ready to have your jaw drop with these highlight stats:
Saint Jane Beauty - Welcome Email Stats
73.3% open rate
40.0% click-through rate
28.3% conversion rate
$118 average order value
33% increase in orders from email
How does that stack up against other brands? Industry averages are 16.65% for open rate and 2.62% click-through rate. So, they’re doing something very, very right…
Abandoned cart series.
Once you’ve welcomed new subscribers to the party, they’ll likely start shopping around and may even put some things in their cart… without checking out or completing the sale. In the biz, that’s called an abandoned shopping cart. While it is endlessly frustrating to see all those lost carts, it is also an enormous revenue opportunity.
Abandoned cart emails have a significantly higher open rate than regular email sends. This automated email series sends within a designated time frame after a shopper leaves their cart. Ideally, the first email arrives inside of an hour after abandonment and if a purchase still isn't completed is followed up within 24 hours.
Abandoned cart emails should Include images of the product your customer was browsing, as well as similar or complementary items that might round out a purchase or pique interest.
If a customer doesn’t complete their purchase after 24 hours, you can even sweeten the deal with a discount to get them through the checkout lane.
Drip customer Haute Hijab uses the pre-built abandoned cart playbook and, with some of their own testing and experimentation, can celebrate open rates over 48% that have led to $200K+ in total revenue from the strategy.
So don’t let abandoned carts get you down, simply get to work implementing your recapture strategy and you’ll be on your way up, up, up.
Hooray! An order! Once someone makes a purchase of your beauty products, send an order confirmation with order details and a confirmation number. But don’t stop there, take a moment to personalize and brand this email. Since most customers will open their confirmation email, this is a good opportunity to connect. Include content about your brand values, links to blog posts on your website, ways to use the products, or other elements that will increase excitement and deepen knowledge of your brand. Keep reading for a strong example from Refreshments below.
Customers like to be kept in the loop, so automate your shipping notifications to include a tracking number and shipping carrier. This will also help you get ahead of any potential delivery issues since customers can flag them before delivery. Updates also help your customer stay excited about receiving their purchases, and feel like you are keeping their order top priority. Is your fulfillment backed up? Give your customers a heads up, it’s better they hear it from you rather than having to ask when they'll receive an order.
A post-delivery email is a good time to share relevant purchase content (usage instructions, tutorials, ingredient highlights) as well as collect reviews, testimonials, or offer help with any issues.
Reviews are essential for beauty brands, so asking for them or offering to help resolve issues before a poor one is given is a good practice that every brand should utilize.
Reviews are so important that it’s worth considering extra incentives to get your customers to share. This is helpful especially for new products, those that are selling slowly, or ones whose reviews took a dip for any reason.
Consider offering a “next-purchase” discount, a gift with purchase code, extra loyalty points with the next purchase, a discount of a specific item, or a credit to use on their next purchase. All will help you realize your goal of building social proof while motivating a follow-up purchase from your customer.
Looking to time your post-purchase email to a pivotal moment in your customer's product use experience? We shared a top-notch example from Hers below.
Refill and repurchase reminders.
Many leading beauty brands are dialing in their time-till-you-run-out estimates so that they can prompt a reorder email at just the right moment. This helps your customers stay stocked (because who wants to run out of a favorite product?), and catches them before they have a chance to get curious about something new. What's more, it drives repeat business and creates an opportunity to upsell and cross-sell so that you are increasing your AOV and boosting CLTV.
New product releases.
New products = new purchases. Your email list should be the first to know when you release a new product or promotional bundle; they’re your inner circle and get first dibs at purchasing.
When you announce new products, be sure to highlight what makes them special and unique as well as why it is an essential addition to your collection that builds off the brand values they already know and love.
Make suggestions on what it pairs with, the different ways it can be used, and the benefits so you'll be speaking directly to your customer needs while cross-promoting products and highlighting your brand values.
First you email, then you analyze...
Now it’s time to get into an oh-so-important part of email marketing: looking at outcomes and evaluating your analytics.
For some, this is the fun part. But if your eyes start to glaze over and look for the nearest exit, we’re here for you and it's easier than you think with Drip's analytics hub.
Here are the key metrics to look at which will help you make informed decisions on how to improve your email marketing efforts. Want more? We go deep on ecomm metrics here.
Open rate is a great starting point, as the percentage of your customers that open your emails is important. However, it doesn’t always tell the full picture. Just because people open your email doesn’t mean they read it or take any action on it. This is becoming even more true as changes in consumer data sharing impact the accuracy of these metrics (iOS15, we’re looking at you.)
Nonetheless, knowing your open rates is a good temperature check for your email send efficacy.
Click-through rate is essential and is where things start to get interesting. This metric indicates at what rate your email motivated your customer to take action and want more.
Even a purely content-based email (like a newsletter) should have an opportunity for further engagement, so include links to more info, blogs, or other elements that support your message.
Click-through helps you gauge how well your email is holding your customer's attention, how interesting your message is to them, and if the email itself is designed in a way that makes it easy and enjoyable to comprehend.
Now we’re talking about the good stuff! Conversion rate for email is calculated by the percentage of subscribers who complete an action after reading your email.
Not all conversion goals are sales; an email can be inviting reviews, promoting a webinar to get signups, or prompting a customer to read a blog post.
Your conversion rate will help you determine the effectiveness of your email marketing and ROI.
Subscriber growth (or attrition).
Let’s make this short and sweet: Is your email list growing, or is it shrinking?
If it’s growing steadily, keep doing what you’re doing by delivering value to your readers. If you’re seeing email list attrition, it’s time to make a change.
Keep tabs on this number, especially when you see jumps or dips; both merit investigation so you know what does or doesn't work with your customers.
Average order value.
Average order value (AOV) refers to the average cart size of each completed purchase on your website.
You want to grow this metric by upselling and cross-selling products, bundling products, and making suggestions on complementary or synergistic products in your collection.
Increasing your AOV means that you can have the same amount of orders and be making more money... so it's a useful metric to optimize!
Customer lifetime value.
How much are you earning from customers in total? You want your customers to buy more and stay longer, which is why this metric increases as AOV and repurchase rate rise.
Take special care of first-time customers so they become repeat buyers.
Of those who frequently purchase, invest in their happiness, get their feedback, create rewards programs, give them early access and exclusive deals, and do everything you can to thank them for their business. They’re the customers who will help your business thrive and naturally become your ambassadors, advocates, and amplifiers.
Customer acquisition cost.
CAC, or customer acquisition cost, is how much it costs in marketing dollars to get a new customer to make a purchase.
You need to determine the best CAC for your business by weighing Average Order Value and Customer Lifetime Value.
Ideally, CAC is lower than AOV and for obvious reasons it needs to be less than CLTV. However, if your customer retention is strong then you might be able to budget a higher CAC because it will balance in the long run.
Test don't guess.
Now you know what to look for after you hit send, so take that insight and start to think through A/B tests. This is an essential part of email marketing because it provides you insight into what works with your particular email subscriber list.
Copy or message.
Email messaging is an art, that’s why companies are searching for quippy writers that can write copy to converts. But there is another way: A/B test your body copy, CTAs, and subject lines. You'll get a sense of the language style and approach that works, and be able to refine your brand voice and copy style.
Design to shine.
Design influences how customers interact with your email sends. You want something visually appealing that’s formatted correctly for the device it’s being read on.
Drip makes this easy with our library of designer-created, prebuilt email templates that are fully customizable and optimized for both desktop and mobile.
Go deep on the subject of email design here, then test your emails using different design elements, layouts, or button placements.
Which CTA works best? Split-test your call-to-action and find out.
Your customers may prefer direct and to the point, or want a more conversational and relaxed approach.
Beauty biz, beautiful sends.
You’ve got the basics under your belt, and now it’s time to apply that insight to your brand, products, and specific customer needs. Here are a few examples of beautiful emails to inspire your own email campaigns.
Drip has ready-to-use, fully customizable, designer-created templates that are the perfect starting point for every send. Learn more about design here, once you’re ready to get started.
But first, a little inspiration...
Hers: post-purchase email.
This email is notable as a post-purchase email that is specifically timed to a pivotal moment in the post-purchase customer experience. The timing and content help build trust between customer and brand, get ahead of potential customer service inquiries, and help prevent churn from an issue that is “part of the process.”
Moon Juice - social proof fueled sales email.
Social proof - aka reviews, testimonials, and referrals - work. That’s why they can be instrumental in upping the conversion rates of your sales emails.
Moon Juice employees (called “alchemists”) share their take on key products and in doing so invoke the power of social proof while also legitimizing the products; when the people who get to look behind the curtain love (and use) the products, a recommendation hits a little harder.
Plus, this email is simple, concise, and has clear CTA “shop now” buttons.
Refreshments - order confirmation.
An order confirmation might be your customer’s first introduction to your email presence. If they love you on your website enough to purchase, they’re hoping to see the same elements carry over into your emails. Creating an order confirmation email that is fun, engaging, and offers valuable content tells your customer that future emails will also follow suit and are worth opening.
Bathing Culture - sales email + social proof.
Sales emails that help solve customer problems and inspire new ways to use a product are powerful. This email is an example of such an email, and while showing multiple uses also activates the “if it works for them maybe it will work for me” mindset that will help customers click, add to cart, and check-out.
Why email? It’s pretty clear...
Email marketing for beauty brands make it possible to satisfy the modern consumers desire for a deeper connection with the brand they buy. In such a competitive marketplace, building enthusiasm, loyalty, relevance, and staying top of mind is key to customer retention. Email allows brands to do all of these things, and build relationships with more depth through tutorial content, product use inspiration, or support at pivotal points during the customer journey.
It’s a beautiful thing! And we know you’ll reap the benefits, so get started with Drip’s ready-to-use templates and proprietary testing capabilities. You’ll be glowing with success in no time.