eCommerce Email Marketing: How Our 350 Customers Use Email To Generate $200M+
Rejoiner has long known the value of data driven and targeted eCommerce email marketing campaigns, as evidenced by the tremendous amount of revenue our customers have recouped.
In this guide we’ll talk about what lifecycle email is and why it’s an essential marketing tool. We’ll also look at ten different types of lifecycle email campaigns and show you how Rejoiner customers have generated over $200 million using them.
Sending the same emails to everyone on your list is wrong and hurting your growth.
With the level of advanced email tools available to date, batch and blast emails should be a small portion of the emails you are sending. Subscribers become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of these blast emails and the sender’s message loses it’s effectiveness. This mentality of quantity over quality is no longer effective in today’s email marketing world. Sending more emails doesn’t necessarily mean more opens, clicks and conversions, and can actually hurt your ROI.
Email marketing today is all about sending well timed and relevant emails to the right people at the right time.
It is highly customer centric. Leaving behind the batch and blast mindset and focusing on lifecycle marketing is the key to increasing ROI from email.
What is lifecycle email and why is it important?
Data-driven lifecycle campaigns designed to deliver triggered messages to customers when you know they will have maximum impact is what works. Now more than ever, marketers have the ability to be precise and explicit in their email marketing techniques.
At any given time a customer is at a different point in their relationship with your product or brand. Think of the customer’s lifecycle as a journey. Lifecycle marketing happens when retailers send customers emails that are relevant to what stage they are at in the customer lifecycle.
Rather than sending bulk generic emails to any and all customers, lifecycle emails are targeted to specific customers at crucial points in their journey.
We previously discussed the customer lifecycle curve in terms of customer value, but it can also be applied to lifecycle marketing. Marketers today need to be sending the right message to the right person at the right time, and we do this effectively by understanding where our subscriber/customer is on the lifecycle curve at any point in time.
Here are 9 lifecycle email campaigns we’ve created so our customers can maximize email ROI from new, existing, declining and lapsed customers.
Entering customer base
New Subscriber Welcome Email Series
When people give up their email address, they expect something in return. This something is a new subscriber welcome email and it’s often the first email contact you have with them. A new subscriber welcome email will send immediately after someone opts into your product or service, but is not yet a customer.
This welcome email from Kate Spade is a great example of eye catching design and a clear call to action. The recipient is rewarded with a “treat” of 15% off and free ground shipping. There is also urgency however as the offer expires in two weeks. This email makes the subscriber feel welcomed, special and incentivized to make that all important first purchase.
Welcome emails are hugely important for a number of reasons. The beginning of your email relationship with a possible customer is crucial in solidifying your reputation and setting the stage for a purchase. Welcome emails have a 42% higher read rate than other types of emails.
With this type of visibility you are in the perfect position to introduce your product and spark engagement with your potential customer.
They have taken the first steps and shown interest in your product. This is your big moment to create that first purchase and forge a meaningful connection with a new customer.
It’s not enough to simply introduce your brand and warmly welcome a new friend. Remember the goal is to provoke that first purchase, so offer something to increase your chances. Pop up windows are great tools.
Welcome Email Series for First Purchase Customers
Rejoiner customer Mossy Oak Graphics uses a welcome series to tell the story of their brand. Welcome series emails should trigger immediately after the customer has made their first purchase. Here, Mossy Oak is inviting their new customer to the family with a discount and a targeted narrative. Welcome series are usually made up of one to three separate emails sent at different times. The first two emails introduce your company and brand, while the third email asks the customer for that all important second purchase.
1st email - A personalized welcome with a strong brand statement begins by telling the company’s history to establish credibility and trust. Links to social media–Twitter, Youtube, Instagram-- help to carry engagement over to other channels. More importantly, letting people know the story of your company makes them feel a part of something bigger and better – rather than thanking them for simply buying a product.
2nd email - You may want to send a second email in your Welcome Campaign whose goal is to have your customer learn more about you, and engage with the content you create in other mediums. You can also ask them about their experience with shipping, etc. If you decide to do the later, these “checks up” on the customer’s new product are done in a friendly, casual way. You want to make it so that your customer wants to give you feedback with a well placed CTA button. Testimonials with visuals further solidify the brand’s reputation. Links to product literature help ensure continued engagement.
3rd email - This is where the next discount will be offered. In the example we’re using, we have a 10% discount which gives the customer incentive to make that second purchase. More importantly, Rejoiner has timed this email to match the frequency with which customers usually make their second purchase after becoming a part of the Mossy Oak family.
Giving a discount is key in getting your customers to make a second purchase and turn them into a repeat customer.
Note that you want to avoid placing the discount in the first email. This allows you to carefully craft your brand image and familiarize the customer with all the best aspects of your company. They shouldn’t expect an offer in every email. This is vital to covering the customer acquisition cost and moving them up the lifecycle curve towards becoming a loyal VIP.
So now your customers have forked over their hard earned money and they are buying your product. Congratulations! This is an important event. It demonstrates that your marketing tactics thus far are working and creates an opportunity to secure that second, third and fourth purchase etc.
Remember that a customer who has purchased more recently is more likely to buy again in the future.
If you can time the first purchase welcome series and trigger subsequent emails off of this event, you have a good chance of making the customer come back for their second purchase. Remember recency, frequency, monetary (RFM)? The recency of a first purchase is a massive moment to capitalize on and drive subsequent purchases.
You can also check out these examples we created for one of the biggest theme parks in Australia, Dreamworld.
Here we convey the exciting nature of Dreamworld’s brand. The visuals are eye-catching and the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” offer is prominently displayed to get the reader to click-through. We also incorporate social media by asking the customer to “share your happiness,” which is a good way to encourage engagement on other channels.
entering customer base
This email from Rejoiner customer, Autoplicity, demonstrates an effective browse abandonment strategy. Autoplicity is inviting this browsing customer to come back and be “part of the Autoplicity family,” making the potential customer feel like more than just a dollar sign.
Remember that one of the biggest lessons we learned from the litmus 2015 conference is that your customers are people. A shipping discount is offered and the call to action button can’t be missed. In addition, displaying Better Business Bureau accreditations and other security features are also good ways to establish the credibility of your company, increasing trust from potential customers.
Browse abandonment lifecycle emails are targeted to customers who have registered to your site through an email or newsletter. They have not added items to their cart but have expressed purchase intent. Purchase intent is the probability that a customer will purchase your product. It’s important that you define purchase intent as it relates to browse abandonment. You don’t want to be bombarding people with emails who have only visited or clicked on something once.
Using Rejoiner, you can define purchase intent several different ways:
Looking at the same item more than once
Looking at multiple items in the same product category
Clicking on a certain product in an email
Searching your site for a specific product
This type of lifecycle email allows you to target customers who aren’t too far down the funnel but they are giving off other signals that show they may purchase in the near future. We recommend tailoring your browse abandonment emails to product categories and not specific products as it opens up a wider range of possibilities.
The message of these emails is crucial. Encourage the customer to pick up where they left off and remind them of all the great products they were browsing. Make sure the products you feature in your email are based on the customer’s browsing history.
Browse abandonment emails are an important part of any lifecycle email campaign. We all know that over 60% of shopping carts are abandoned, but a larger number of shoppers don’t even make it to the cart. Browse abandonment emails are a great way to remind the customer of your great products and nudge them into that first purchase.
Peak Design uses Rejoiner’s segmentation feature to send targeted Feedback Request emails. This campaign directs their customer to Amazon where they can add a review. This is a great strategy that creates a smooth process for the customer while also providing valuable feedback points for Peak Design.
This type of campaign steers customers toward taking a survey that tells you what their buying experience is like. You can’t monitor a customer in real time as they’re purchasing and checking out on your site, so you must rely on customer feedback to let you know what’s going on.
Feedback regarding friction points are crucial to targeting your future marketing plans. The best qualitative data about your checkout process comes from customers who actually went through it, so be sure you don’t overlook this crucial email campaign.
Post-purchase emails asking customers for qualitative feedback via reply or survey on how their shopping experience was is the simplest and most effective way to get valuable data straight from the horse’s mouth.
This email from Rejoiner’s customer, Kayser Lingerie, asks the question “Why Wait,” to entice the shopper back to their wishlist. They are reminded of the free shipping offer and given specific details of the products on their wishlist. An easy link for any questions is visible and a big pink CTA button makes it effortless to turn this into a purchase. A wishlist is similar to a shopping cart in that the customer puts items they want to purchase in it.
Many eCommerce retailers allow shoppers to bookmark items they like but aren’t yet ready to purchase.
A wishlist campaign is another great remarketing tool. At this stage in the lifecycle, a customer has expressed purchase intent and has even made a neat list of all the goodies they have in mind. This makes your job easy. They know what they like, but haven’t made up their mind. Sometimes, customers may forget that they have items on their wishlist, so use this to your advantage and send them a reminder.
If you feel extra dedicated to this type of campaign you can send them a reminder as soon as the item is running low, or perhaps when it’s on sale. Another technique may be to offer them a small discount, or free shipping to seal the deal and make their wishes come true.
VIP - Most Valuable Customers
Below we have some examples from J. Crew that are effective VIP emails. The first email opts for simplicity over visuals with a bold offer taking center stage. They are acknowledging VIP’s as their best customers and establish a special relationship. The second email is an exclusive offer from a head designer. Better yet, it tells a story and doesn’t feel gimmicky or contrived.
VIP campaigns target your best customers and make them feel appreciated.
You’ll want to gauge VIP status by measuring total spend or total number of times they have ordered. After this set number of purchases, an email should be triggered that lets this customer know how special they are to your company. Remember that 80% of total revenue comes from just 20% of your customer base, so the retention of these VIP’s should be a top priority.
These emails from Rejoiner customer, Rockin’ Wellness, are examples of effective replenishment campaigns.
Consumables–products that are used, consumed, etc-- need to be replenished at some point. Think food, household products, pet products, grooming, health and beauty products. The list goes on.
Replenishment emails are strategic because you already have valuable information about the customer. You know what they need and when they are going to need it.
Here, Rockin’ Wellness knows that this customer bought a one month supply of a supplement. They use this information in their email to restate the product’s benefits and remind them that they might be running low. This should create the need for another purchase. Rockin’ Wellness uses personalization and a “We’d Hate for You to Miss Out” angle in their message. The email focuses on the energizing qualities of their product to create urgency.
Rockin’ Wellness uses 30 and 60 day replenishments. If the product is meant to last 30 days, a replenishment email is sent out 20 days post-purchase. If it’s a 60 day supply, an email is sent out on day 50.
If the product you are selling is consumable in any way, shape or form, you want to make sure that you aren’t leaving any potential revenue untapped. Replenishment email campaigns provide a great source of recurring revenue if triggered at the right moment.
These campaigns work best with products that have very predictable usage patterns. Identify the consumable used and build campaigns that target the exact moment the product is scheduled to run out.
In the examples above, Rockin’ Wellness makes their message known right away and the call to action is clear. There should be no friction in the reordering process. Make sure all payment information is stored and ensure the customer that they are only a couple clicks away from reordering your amazing product.
Below we have a personalized and targeted win-back email from VetRxDirect does several things to re-engage a lapsed customer. Right away the customer knows they are sorely missed. VetRxDirect also emphasizes their 5 star customer rating and makes some cute four legged friends the visual stars of the email. A discount is offered as well as a personalized narrative.
Sadly, we all know that customers go inactive for some reason or another. Win-back campaigns are crucial when this happens. They are designed to do exactly what they say; win back defective customers and motivate them to purchase from you again.
Win back campaign emails trigger on a period of purchase inactivity or latency. Measure the length of latency, or time between purchases. If a customer has been latent for 35 days, send an email on day 36 that offers incentive to return. You’ll need to analyze your customer dataset to determine the average time between first and second purchases. Use this data to trigger the win back campaign so that it reaches the customer as they begin to appear at risk for churning.
This is the most important post purchase campaign, and for good reason. It costs more to obtain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, so you’ll want to reach deep down in your bag of tricks for these win back offers and incentives. This is a no brainer.
Customers are more likely to purchase again if there’s something in it for them. This could be a discount, a coupon, free shipping, or a free gift. Make sure you convey urgency in your offer however. Let them know that this deal has an expiration date.
We’ve said it several times already, but this campaign is so important in retaining your valuable customers and keeping them happy. You’ll want to pull out all the stops with these offers and make sure your emails are eye catching and your copy on point. Once a customer decides to leave you for good, it can be nearly impossible to get them back.
The Right Message at the Right Time Always Wins
Non targeted batch and blast email sending is not an effective email marketing strategy, and can even hurt your bottom line and reputation. Marketers who still send these generic, mass emails are no doubt seeing their ROI from email stagnate or decrease.
At Rejoiner, after sending millions of emails, we’ve found that targeted emails based on where a customer is on the lifecycle curve get better results and increase ROI.
Lifecycle email campaigns drive customer retention and spark quality engagement with new and potential customers. Given all the data on the success of lifecycle emails, it’s surprising to learn that they still only make up a small percentage of eCommerce emails, with daily, calendar-based, and transactional emails being the majority.