13 E-commerce Email Campaigns You Should Be Planning Right Now.

Remember that your email marketing efforts are a journey. So there are no shortages when it comes to the creative campaign types you can try.   As you read through these, think of your own shopping experience. You’ll realize just how familiar these are to you. Regardless of what type of product or service you sell, these are 13 basic transactional and trigger campaigns to test out.

Thank you confirmation:  

A minimum to have in your arsenal. This thank you confirmation email is key to creating that immediate relationship.  If you look in your own inbox today, I guarantee you have them.  

Companies and consumers use this as both confirmation, receipt and information all rolled in one.  Say you purchased a book, you see the price, tax, final price. You also see information about you, your mailing address and potentially expected delivery.

What’s your opportunity?

Putting extra tips to help the consumer utilize the product you just sold them could be a way to drive further engagement.

Shipping confirmation emails:

This email confirms expected date of arrival or information regarding how long it may take. This often times can be integrated into your Thank you confirmation email. However, if you utilize a 3rd party service to handle some of the operations and you need to confirm details before confirming exact date of arrival, this is the perfect way to follow up.

The shipping confirmation email can also take the form of any expected late arrivals. For instance, if an unexpected surge in product sales occurs and this product may be on back-order (think holiday gifts), you may immediately prompt your consumers with a message that confirms shipping information along with a possible delay.  

What’s your opportunity?

This is your opportunity to do a little up-sell while you wait. While you wait Mrs/Mr Customer, you might want to check out this. The thing you are up-selling doesn’t have to be a hard sell.  You can share more information about what you’re preparing to use the product for. For example, say a consumer purchased a new entertainment gadget for their house. Cool. So, your message could share tips to get their room ready. Better yet, if they don't know, share videos or pictures that show  how other consumers who have.)

Shopping Cart Abandonment:

This email is really snagging the window shoppers. I am one of them. Yes I love to shop but I often place items into shopping cart so that it reminds me that I considered it. If you’re like me and browsing through pages of products you may want, you will not always remember them.  Customers use the shopping cart as both reminders but also filtering/sorting tool.  So a shopping cart abandonment email is a triggered email you deploy a few days later as a nice reminder you left something in the cart.

What’s your opportunity?

Many retailers use a discount offer to lure the customers back into the shopping cart funnel. Some customers have become savvy buyers and will wait but even savvier companies have gotten wind of this and are no longer playing the game.  Remember that at some point the customer was interested in this product. Reminding them of that reason is a good way to start the email message.

Here’s one added layer of complexity when it comes to shopping cart abandonment emails.  In order for you to send a Shopping Cart Abandonment email, you have to have their email address! If they are a former buyer, great! If an unknown buyer, this is a bit trickier.  There are a number of ways you have to engage the prospect buy to sign up.  We’ll dive into email capture soon.  In the meantime, have questions, hit me up!

Review Your Product/Tell us your experience:

This is one of the best emails to have in your arsenal. It serves so many awesome benefits for both you and the customer. This triggered email should be timed specifically for your product because usage can vary greatly. A book purchase can be timed for 2 or 3 weeks after shipment arrival. But if you’re looking at a gadget, they may have utilized it more immediately.

The ultimate goal is to get the customer to engage with you and tell you how awesome the product was. You can market with it to obtain more and more customers.  But it does serve some additional benefits.

It can also act a reminder for your customers to use the product as well. The more usage, the more they may rely on your product, the more they may love your product.  It can also serve the company to know if customers are rating it poorly. It’s important to learn the feedback so you can create a better product, better messaging or even better customer service.

What’s your opportunity?

You don’t have to deploy an email at all. This can also be served directly through your ecommerce ecosystem.  Allow your customer to rate the product directly on your website. If they are big fans, offering incentives discounts could be a great way to thank them for rating your products.

Recommended for You:

This can be one of your best sales drivers but it requires information about your customer and other customers like them. This triggered email can be deployed  any time after initial purchase. It should include a selection of products that could be complementary or similar in nature.  

There are a couple of ways you can select these products. What are your best sellers, what products are typically purchased together, what products typically work together, what are products most likely to be purchased by a particular type of customer? This triggered email campaign is an opportunity to showcase the breadth and scope of what they have to offer.  

If your company does not offer more than one product or service, this is the perfect opportunity to find partners. By up-selling a recommended product, you can gain incremental revenue from the same customer, utilizing the same sales funnel.   

What’s your opportunity?

Similar to Review Your Product, You don’t have to deploy an email at all. This can also be served directly through your e-commerce ecosystem.  At purchase funnel, you can test a variety of ways to place recommended products. This is really your testing environment. Does your product up-sells perform better.

We Miss You emails:

It happens to all of us. We get busy. We forget. We stop engaging with a company. I’m a devoted shopper (yes, my credit card never gets a rest) but even if forget to visit some of my most favorite online retailers. So every once in awhile you need a reminder, something simple to make sure they are still on my radar.  

There are a number of reasons why the We Miss You campaigns can be good for your business. 1) Up-selling - If you’re selling individual products, a reminder with newly added products can be a great reason to reach out.  2) Re-engagement - Yeah it worked. Your customers visited your site again and is re-engaging with you. 3) Learning more about your customers - If you attempt a win back campaign and you don’t succeed to getting them to purchase, you have one more piece of data and customer behavior to make a decision on.  Perhaps one approach to this customer may be to reduce the number of email engagements so that you can follow up only when you think it’s necessary. Another approach is to ask them whether they want to remain on your email list.  

There is a subtlety to this so it’s important to tread carefully here.  You don’t want to unnecessarily remove people from your email file if you don’t have to.

What’s your opportunity?

We Miss you campaign can and should be tested. When you are preparing to launch this type of effort, consider multiple types of We Miss You so you can learn which is most effective is triggering the type of response you are looking.

Transactional /Account management Upsell emails:

All of the previous email types we have discussed can essentially be considered up-sell emails. There is also an opportunity though to disguise an up-sell email.  There are any number of reasons to ensure your customers accounts are up to date. Whether it’s a reminder that your product or service is up for renewal or any new upgrades that have been added to the service.  

So leveraging this type of transactional/account management email as an opportunity to upsell is a sneaky way to get more promotional opportunities into the pipeline.

What’s your opportunity?

Start to explore what type of account management communication you currently already do. If you don’t do any, review your customer service que. Are there certain key frequently asked questions that you could use as an account management type of communication, such as Best Features you should explore today.

Celebrating existing buyers:

Like any buyer, you want to be remembered and treated like a special buyer. But to do that you have to have data. It doesn’t always have to be personal data though. Remember that when they become a buyer with you, you’re starting a new relationship with then. So an anniversary celebration with them on the day they became a buyer is just one way of engaging them on a different level. Any reason to celebrate the “member” that we remember you.  If you couple it with consumer data that you may have compiled over time, you can make some amazingly compelling engagement opportunities for yourself.

What’s your opportunity?

There are a number of ways to make these email campaigns more customer-centric.  If you have collected their birthday info, send them personalized presents (discounts or special credit). If they are avid buyers, reserve a special exclusive sale opportunity (preview friends and family extended just for them) or create even packaged bundles only available to select customers. While you are up-selling them you are also telling them that you value them differently.

Help them create Wish List:

Companies often create these opportunities but they often forget to get creative with them. If you offer a wide selection of products and services, your customers may not be able to make a purchase of them all in one sitting. Enabling them to add it to their wish list will allow them to remember products or services they wanted to buy.  

However, just because you built this function in your e-commerce ecosystem doesn’t mean your consumers know to use them. Companies naturally focus on building the function, making it work, they narrowly focus on how to get customers to engage with it.

What’s your opportunity? 

Make your customers dream. They may never be able to purchase all of your products but helping them to get one step closer will encourage them to come back over and over again. Why are there so many slideshows of multi-million dollar homes? Because there are people waiting to line to buy them? Probably not. They are not always selling the home, they are selling the dream, selling in some ways parts of the home. Bring a little piece of heaven into your world.  So let your customers dream. And when available, offer the right incentives to help push them in the selling mindset.

Special Offer testing:  

Every email we have discussed so far is really a combination of some kind of offer testing. This particular type is really determining what and how you test the offers. There are numerous ways of slicing offers that include discounts, credits, buy-one-get-one free, free shipping, free upgrades, etc. You can name them in any kind of way, July 4th, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Father’s Day, Friends/Family sale. Your goal is ultimately discover what kinds of “offers” work and what kind of named sale celebrations resonate with your customer base. But take your offer testing one step further, what kind of offer/message works best for targeted  “audiences” within your customer base. Certain expectations have already been made for certain key milestones such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday so expect that you might save your best or major discounts for those days.  

What’s your opportunity?  

With any marketing effort, you want to develop your hypothesis and create an operational test plan. Analyze the data to understand how to maximize revenue and profitability, rather than just understanding which offer or message may have generated the best open, click or response rate. A discount that shouting 80% offer will always likely win over the 50% offer.  You would need to acquire more customers at the 80% to make the same money with the 50% rate.  At what cost did this have on your overall bottom line and what expectations did you establish by doing so.

The final 3 are all related to testing at a specific time.

These all provide short burst of energy when  integrated with your existing campaigns.  All of these email campaigns has to be operationally well-planned and well-executed. You want to be able to isolate the target audience with these opportunities as to not confuse your customers with potentially conflicting messages. You also want to make sure that you are operationally sound. Don’t offer a real time discount only to not be able to execute it. Don’t set a timed end date to your sale if you can’t actually ensure you have an end date.  Otherwise these all leave your customers with a feeling of confusion and you will lose valuable credibility.

Pre-selling to existing buyers as a preview:

Think of how Apple creates a feeding frenzy at the release of their new phone.  They alert the masses but in many instances they pre-sell to existing customers in a lot of ways. And they don’t always do the work themselves. Because they have retailers who are also incentivized to sell their products for them, they promote it. Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile all do the work for their phone partners.  Apple also gets the media world excited and waiting for this prospect. They are pre-selling your need and the sense of urgency.

Real-Time Promotions:

This particular opportunity is commonly saved for an event that is already well recognized. Cyber Monday is a perfect example of how you know there is only one Cyber Monday. There is no other such date. So as a countdown during that day, companies can use a real time ticker to show that time is running out, 8 hours to go, 5 hours to go, etc.  This is selling your product with a high degree of urgency.

Incentivized time and limitation constraints:

While this is very similar to Real Time Promotions, this is a slight variation. You are alerting customers to something that will happen. All of those marketing flyers, catalogs, brochures, etc that are sent to you prior to a major event are all setting the customer up for specific conditions. You have only this much time and only these many units of this product will be made available.  

The key challenge to all of these time-based email activities is that customers have become extremely savvy around companies tactics. They know more than ever than sales are never the last sale.  

Did this article help you? Think I'm missing something or have questions, shoot me an email at Jkim@mkinceptions.com.  I would love to hear from you.