Do you want an ecommerce marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to increase your profit?
These days, if you’re a marketing director for an ecommerce brand, you’ve got plenty of “growth hacks” to choose from to perfect your marketing strategies. Probably too many.
Google Shopping ads.
Pinterest and Instagram.
Native advertising on Taboola and Outbrain.
… And the list goes on.
But when it comes to ROI, there’s only one ecommerce marketing strategy that gives you all of these benefits:
Generates revenue almost instantly
Leverages automation so you can “set it and forget it”
Personalizes content for anyone in your target market for increased conversion rate
Nurtures repeat buyers, who statistically spend 67% more than first-time customers
That high-quality strategy is email automation.
Here’s how online retail consultant Austin Brawner sums up the email opportunity:
“Most ecommerce brands are just scratching the surface of their email marketing potential. On average they could generate 20% more than they currently do.”
There are some serious numbers behind that claim.
In 2015, the Direct Marketing Association found that email got an average return of 38:1—a 50% jump from 2014, just the year before. For one in five companies, email gets an ROI of $70 for every $1 spent.
Part of the magic here is that your email subscribers are as “close to the sale” as it gets.
Think about it: If a subscriber hasn’t already purchased, they’ve at least visited your website, checked out your product pages, and decided to sign up for your email list (which 98% of website visitors never will). These people are at the BOTTOM of your funnel. They’re ready to buy, provided that you’re sending them the right emails with conversion rate optimization in mind.
And in this guide, I’m going to help you do just that.
I’m going to show you three email workflows that are guaranteed to convert more subscribers into sales.
If you only have a day to work on this, this is the 20% of effort that will drive 80% of your revenue growth. With just these three campaigns, your ecommerce email marketing will get you closer to your customer base, which means bumps in engagement, loyalty, and average order spend and frequency.
Let’s dive in.
1. Holiday Promotion Email Resend (Setup time: 2 minutes)
The holiday season is a lucrative time for any ecommerce business. And if taking advantage of this buying frenzy isn’t already part of your marketing plan, it’s time it is.
There’s more noise, so you can get away with emailing your list more frequently. But you’re never 100% sure if a given holiday email will crush it or leave you feeling disappointed.
With the Holiday Promotion Resend, you can stack the deck in your favor.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
In a popular article called What’s Your Normal Open Rate, Noah Kagan shared his hack to boost email open rates by 30% on any of your email campaigns.
“Step 1. Take the SAME email you sent and CHANGE the subject line to something new
Step 2. Email it out a week later JUST TO YOUR NON-OPENS
The results speak for themselves:
1 minute of work = 7,028 more people read my email.
You may think you have an insanely good open rate on your emails but… 50%+ of the people ARE NOT OPENING your emails.”
Here at Drip, we liked Noah’s tip so much that we baked it into our product.
As it turns out, the average U.S. worker receives an insane 121 emails per day. So you shouldn’t assume that your subscribers (even your most loyal customers) open every single one of your offer emails.
This campaign will help you maximize your reach—without ever hitting the same potential customer twice.
Let’s take a look at how to set this up.
To start, you want to choose a sale that spans several days. This will give people a couple of days to read your first email before Drip re-sends it to them with a different subject line.
That said, you can get creative here.
Amazon recently announced that it will extend certain Black Friday deals until December 22nd in the U.S. That’s over five weeks after Black Friday. So if you’re prepping for a sale on Halloween or the New Year, you can probably get away with sending a follow-up email a couple days later.
Bonus Resource: Borrow this holiday calendar to brainstorm email promotions.
Email Send Time Hack: After extensively testing email send times, the VP of Marketing at Dollar Hobbyz, William Harris, found an interesting pattern. It turns out, Dollar Hobbyz generates 4X more sales when they mail on Thursday evening—a.k.a. “payday eve” for most consumers. Your mileage may vary, but sending offer emails on Thursday evening is definitely worth a test.
Finally, if you’re a Drip user, make sure to check your email reports to see all the extra opens, clicks, and revenue you generate from “smart” re-sends.
2. Shopping Cart Abandonment Recovery (Setup time: 3 hours)
When someone adds a product to their shopping cart and leaves the checkout process without buying, you need to follow up with them. Period.
Here’s a solid example of a cart abandonment email from liquor subscription store Flaviar:
You’ve seen these emails before. You’ve gotten them from Amazon. And, hopefully, if you’re a business owner, you’re already sending these for your store. (If not, you’re probably losing 3% to 10% or more of your store’s total shopping carts.)
But you and I are going to take things one step further.
The thing is, cart abandonment emails have become table stakes for growing an ecommerce store.
So, the real question is, how can you squeeze as many conversions as possible from your shopping cart abandonment campaign and increase sales?
The answer might be as simple as sending more reminders.
According to Soundest, sending a series of three abandoned cart email reminders brings 131% more orders than a single email.
So, if you currently only send one email, you can more than double your recovered sales by upgrading the abandonment series in your ecommerce marketing strategy.
And what do you say in those extra emails (so you don’t annoy customers)? Well, you have a few options. For starters, check out the results of this 2012 survey from Worldpay on the top reasons consumers abandon online shopping carts.
Those are 14 possible objections to overcome in your recovery campaign.
If you prefer to start with a template, Drip has a done-for-you email campaign blueprint for cart abandonment, with proven, tested language to address (and remove) these top objections.
If this sounds like it’s right up your alley, just head into Campaigns, click “New Campaign,” and make sure to click “Browse Our Blueprints.”
You’ll notice that there are a lot of email campaigns fit for ecommerce in there, but for recovering stray potential customers, you’ll want to select the Cart Abandonment Recovery blueprint.
In this campaign, you’ll notice three emails that fit snugly into your ecommerce marketing strategy:
Your shopping cart misses you
Questions about your order?
Save 10% when you complete your order
Inside each of these, you will find pre-written copy (that we’ve tested) as a starting point. All you have to do is fill In the blanks with information like your online shop’s name and a couple links to your shopping cart.
Once you’ve set this up, congratulations! You’re now primed to more-than-double your cart abandonment recovery.
But if you want to create a truly comprehensive shopping cart abandonment recovery strategy, we now have pre-built shareable workflows exactly for this scenario that you can install in one click.
All you have to do is plug in your Shopify information (or other ecommerce integrations) and Facebook information, and you’re ready to roll.
Plus, with Drip’s integration with Facebook custom audiences, you can sync email subscribers to audiences for automated Facebook advertising. This lets you retarget customers both via email and Facebook ads—multiplying your touch points with potential buyers.
This fully automated ecommerce workflow lets you send the right message, to the right person, at the right time through email and on Facebook.
As an example, imagine the following scenario. Someone abandons your Shopify checkout flow. Over the next few days, they see a sequence of Facebook ads mirroring the messaging in your emails, all of which stop when the potential customer returns and buys.
Check out the ad below for an example of a Facebook ad that might mirror the offer you make in your cart abandonment recovery email campaign.
Click here to learn how to set up Facebook advertising with Drip. (Hint: It takes three clicks. And any marketer on your team can do it.)
The more transactions you process, the more compounding profits you’ll get over time from tweaking this campaign. It’s worth some time invested to set this up properly.
3. Upgraded Order Confirmation (Setup time: 30 minutes)
A few years ago on FourHourBlog.com, Derek Sivers wrote a post called The Most Successful Email I Ever Wrote. In that post, Sivers breaks down the uncommon order confirmation email that drove a ton of growth for CDBaby.com (before he sold the online retailer for $22 million).
Here’s that confirmation email:
Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
“That one goofy email created thousands of new customers,” Sivers wrote.
This just shows you that transactional emails (order confirmation, receipts, and the like) don’t have to be so boring. Your emails don’t have to look like this.
Here’s the brutal truth: If you’re still sending plain vanilla order confirmation emails like the one above, I can guarantee you’re leaving ROI on the table.
That’s because transactional emails get much higher open and click-through rates than regular broadcasts.
That sentence is so important, I’m going to write it one more time:
Your transactional emails are getting significantly higher open and click-through rates than broadcasts.
Take advantage of these extra eyeballs to get folks to “take the next step.” You can do that by building an engaging “come back soon” story like CDBaby. Or you can test different calls-to-action to achieve other goals.
Here’s a perfect “upgraded” order confirmation from BarkBox, a subscription ecommerce company.
Image: Blue Stout
Notice how BarkBox adds Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter share links at the bottom of the email.
There’s also a “Refer a friend” button. This points customers to BarkBox’s customer ambassador program.
Worth noting: CAN-SPAM in the US has some restrictions on transactional emails. In general, if your subject line and the first 80% of your email are “transactional in nature,” you can safely add a call-to-action in the final 20%. The BarkBox email above is a good example.
The important piece is that you “upgrade” your order (and shipping) confirmations with a call-to-action for people to take the next step. This is one of the easiest—and most overlooked—ways to boost your ROI from email.
Drive Huge Ecommerce Revenue Growth with Marketing Automation
According to Shopify’s Mark MacDonald, “email marketing is the key to ecommerce success.” And he makes a compelling case that it’s true.
Here’s what’s really exciting:
eMarketer forecasts that ecommerce sales in the US alone will nearly double from 2016 to 2020. That means there’s never been a better time to start nurturing your customer list and gaining a head start on your competition with your ecommerce marketing software.
If you haven’t yet tried ecommerce marketing automation with Drip, now is a great time. You can join Drip, connect ecommerce integrations like Shopify or WooCommerce, and start testing out every feature, absolutely free.
Question for the comments: What’s your single-best ecommerce marketing strategy? Leave a comment below and let us know!