Is your email marketing program working FOR you and generating you revenue on autopilot?
Today we’re taking a deep dive into the automations you should have set up, how to use automation to save time so you can send less campaigns, and one email series most people aren’t talking about.
If you haven’t already listened to Episode 2 where we cover the B.A.D.A.S.S. Email Marketing Framework, go back and listen to that first. It will help set the stage and build the foundation for this episode.
What You’ll Learn:
- The 6 email automations you MUST have for your eCommerce Business
- How many emails each series should include
- What content you should include at each step in the series
- Special Tips, Tricks, and Cool Features of the Klaviyo Platform like the Expected Date of Next Order. (Note: You will need at least 500 customers who have placed an order before this feature is available in your account.)
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Read the Full Episode Transcript
Welcome back to the eCommerce Badassery podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today about email automation. This is how you make money on autopilot. This is basically a continuation of my previous episode where we talked about my B.A.D.A.S.S. Email Marketing Framework. The B in that stands for Behavior automation.
If you haven’t listened to that episode, I suggest you go back and listen to it because it will set the stage for what we’re going to talk about today and everything sort of ties together. I separated them just because I didn’t want the episode to be really long.
Using Behavior Automation in Email Marketing for eCommerce
Before we get into it; lets define what behavior automation is. These are emails that trigger based on the behaviors and actions that your customers take on your website. This can be viewing products, adding to the cart, starting check out; even leaving your website.
My favorite thing about email automations is that they are mostly set it and forget it; and I say mostly because you still have to go back and check their performance and make tweaks and adjustments as you see more data and collect more data from them. Maybe something in your business has changed or the customer journey has changed, so you can’t just forget about them forever… but you don’t want to make knee-jerk reactions to them either.
Let them collect some data and how long you have to collect data, really depends on how many people are running through them. You at least want a hundred people to go through the emails before you determine whether or not it is successful. Otherwise, it’s really just not statistically relevant.
So today, we’re going to dive deep into each of the behavior automations that you want to have in your email marketing program. We’re going to talk about the emails that are in them. What kind of content you want to include, what the expectations for those are and everything in between.
I’m super excited to share this with you because I know the power of email automation and it’s one of the things that I love about email marketing overall.
Writing a Welcome Series For eCommerce
So first, let’s start with the welcome series. It’s the first email that you should set up at a minI’mum. If you have nothing else, you should have a welcome series so that when someone signs up to your email list, they know they’re actually signed up!
What is the Goal of a Welcome Series Email Flow?
In any email, and in any automation, you should always start out with what your goal is. So as an eCommerce store, your welcome Series has two main goals. To create a relationship with your customer and to get them to buy.
Remember, that the first purchase is the hardest one to get. So if you can convert them right after they’ve signed up for your list that’s a huge win!
Don’t be afraid of giving a discount at this step. It can be small like 10%. It’s just to get them comfortable with taking the plunge and buying from you. Constant sales and promos are more likely to train your customers to wait for sales than a welcome discount. So, don’t be afraid about that.
What Emails Should Be in a Welcome Series for eCommerce?
Here’s how I generally lay out a welcome series.
The first email delivers the discount and I’ll always put an expiration date on it because you need that sense of urgency. Whatever date you put on it, whatever the time frame is make sure it makes sense with your typical path to purchase.
If you sell mattresses, three days isn’t going to be long enough to make a purchasing decision. Whereas clothing is generally more of an impulse buy, depending upon the price point, of course. Think about your customer, your product and what makes sense for your specific situation.
The second email should be about you and or the company depending upon how much of yourself you’re putting into your brand. Make sure it’s still valuable for them. So whatever messaging you put in there, let them know that you give a shit about them as a customer and telling them your why behind what you do will accomplish not only explaining to them who you are so they feel more comfortable buying from you, but also explaining how that’s actually a benefit to them.
Give Your Subscribers a Way to Tell You What Kind of Emails They Want
Once you’ve wined and dined them a little bit with those first two emails, you guys are getting to know each other better, now you can actually ask them for something.
The first thing you’re going to do is ask them to update their email preferences. You also want to position this by what is what is in it for them. And in this case it’s so that you can send them better and more relevant emails instead of just spamming their inbox with a million things that won’t matter to them.
If you offer a birthday discount or you’re thinking about doing this, add the birthday to the managed preferences and I would use that in your subject line to get them to open the email request.
So just saying like, “Hey, want a birthday treat? Update your email preferences;” “Tell me when your birthday is, ETC… something along those lines.
So those are those first three and once they’ve gotten those emails, if they still haven’t made a purchase, I’ll send a discount reminder and just say, hey, don’t forget your discount it’s about to expire! Give them you know, however many days are left etc. and then include an invitation for them to reach out to you if they need help. For every one person that does reach out to you through your customer service email or your online chat, there’s probably 30 others who just don’t… Unless you give them that invitation and tell them it’s okay.
How to Extend Your Welcome Series
What happens after that is really dependent on your business. If you do have a longer path to purchase or if you’re a one product store, you can use the welcome series to send out evergreen content over a longer period of time so you don’t have to worry about setting up campaigns to stay in touch with your customers.
For instance. I have a client who created a waterproof enclosure for your car to protect your vehicle during a flood. Once someone purchases this, they’re really not going to need another one of them for a while, plus it has a shelf life of five years or something; but you still want to stay top-of-mind so that when they come across someone who might need your product they still remember you and may mention it to someone else or share it with her friends.
The avenue we went was to build out a long welcome series that included evergreen content about preparedness for natural disasters, what to do after you experience one, things like that.
It can seem like wow, I really don’t have all that much to say, but if you go back to the add value piece and your brainstorm of what you could talk about, maybe instead of worrying about how every week I need to set up a campaign or every month, you can just stick it in your welcome series, and then you know everyone will get it.
If you want to get really fancy and if you have a big list, you can even split the content they receive based on what they told you in their managed preferences center. Don’t worry if that feels overwhelming or like too much, you know, if you’re just getting started really digging into your email marketing. That’s not super Important, but it is something that you can do as you start to grow.
Browse Abandonment vs. Checkout Abandonment
Okay, let’s talk about browse abandonment and check out abandonment and I’m putting these together because I want to be able to explain the difference and I’m really using Klaviyo terminology here.
So if you are on Shopify and you hook up Klaviyo, the checkout abandonment doesn’t really get registered unless they hit the button that says start check out on Shopify.
That’s when they put their email address in and all of that stuff and they check the box to say. Hey, I want to be on your email list.
Browse abandonment on the other hand will catch them before they even add anything to their cart. So if it’s someone who was already on your list and comes to your website and is looking at a product but they don’t take any action on it. Klaviyo will still register that and be able to send them an email to say “hey, I think you were checking this out.” a little reminder to bring them back to the website to look at the products.
For checkout abandonment, they already added to their car and started check out and they were going through that process. So those people are further down the funnel and closer to buy.
Browse Abandonment Emails for eCommerce
So let’s go back to browse abandonment really quick. One thing to note about this is the code to track when customers view products is not automatically installed between the Klaviyo and Shopify integration.
I do believe it’s automatic for Big Commerce and WooCommerce, but you can just reach out to Klaviyo support and they can help you get this setup. It’s really not that hard.
This will allow you to send those browse abandonment emails. It will only work for people who are already on your list because they haven’t taken any action. They didn’t start checkout. So if you don’t already have their email Klaviyo won’t have their email to send to.
That I usually just do one email and I’ll do it two hours from when they viewed the products because I want to make sure if they do end up starting checkout that the checkout abandonment gets prioritized over the browse abandonment emails.
Checkout Abandonment Emails for eCommerce
For the checkout abandonment. I generally do a three email series here.
The first one is just a reminder. Hey, you left us in your cart. I’m sure you’ve received these from other companies before super simple. No discount needed. Some people really do just get distracted.
Feel free to add some personality into this if it’s right for your brand or your voice. You still want to make it an email that they enjoy receiving.
The second one; I will generally split based on the value of the cart. So, if they have already hit the free shipping threshold, I will remind them. “Hey, you have free shipping,” and then the other people who haven’t hit that mark you can either offer them free shipping or it’s just a second reminder.
The third email is where I will put the discount, and this will really depend on the business. If you are a one product store, it’s probably just one email with one discount. If you’re a boutique or you sell a wide assortment of products where people have the opportunity to add a bunch of items to their cart and you have a wide range of order values between customers. Maybe you split that up based on how much they are spending. So the higher the cart value the higher the discount you might want to offer because that sale is going to be worth more for you.
The other thing is you’re going to want to put conditions on these emails, so they’re not getting them every time they abandon a cart. In Klaviyo, there’s a really easy way to say, don’t send this to anyone who has been in the flow in the last X number of days. I usually do 30 or 60 days kind of depending, and then you might even want to limit that third discount email only to first-time customers; because you don’t want to train people to just wait to abandon their car and always get that discount email.
When to Send Cart Abandonment Emails
Okay, one more note about the cart abandonment. A lot of people ask when you should send the first cart abandonment email and I will do it an hour after they abandoned checkout. It’s long enough to not be obnoxious, right if they would literally just like got up to I don’t know, attend to their kid and were planning on coming back but not so long that they’ve completely forgotten about you. So I say start with an hour and test it out; see how it does.
Post Purchase Email Series for eCommerce
Okay, let’s dive into the post-purchase email and this is not your order confirmation. That is something separate that will be sent by your eCommerce platform, if you’re on Shopify, Bigcommerce Etc.
This is additional communication with the customer about your product; just because you made the sale doesn’t mean your job is done!
What is the Goal of a Post Purchase Email Series?
The goal of the post-purchase email series is to give the customer whatever additional information they might need to make sure that they have the best possible experience with your product. This is especially Important if its something that’s more complicated to use; we can use that car flood protection as an example. So her post purchase email links them to a video showing them how to set it up and how easy it is to use on your own.
What you do for yours is just going to depend.
I’ll give you another client example; she has a multiple product subscription box and so each of those needed a little bit of different information on how to use and stuff like that, but we didn’t want to split it up in two different emails because some people do by all three items. Klaviyo has this really cool feature called dynamic blocks and what it lets you do is, sections in your email, you can tell it to only show to specific people based on criteria either from their profile or from the event that you’re triggering off of.
So in this case the purchase event obviously recorded what items they bought. So if in that purchase they bought product A, they saw block A, same thing for B,C. It’s a little bit more advanced but it’s the easiest way to do it.
You could, if you were afraid of that tech, you could also just split your flow or maybe you are just sending them to some more general basic information. It’s totally going to depend on your business and it will take a little bit of research and effort on your part to get that right.
This is also a great time to invite people to come and follow you on your social channels to share the product and all that sort of stuff as well. Think about what you would say to a customer as they were checking out in an actual retail store. How would you want to follow up with them? What do they need to know to come and give you a positive review after receiving and using your product? That’s really the goal of the post-purchase.
Extend Your Post-Purchase Email Series With Evergreen Content
One other tidbit here is just like we talked about on the welcome series, how you could extend it with evergreen content to stay in touch with your customers without extra work on your part; you can do this in the post-purchase too.
I would choose maybe one or the other or make sure that the content is different enough, right because maybe for the welcome series you are educating them about why your product matters and about things that are related to your product. Whereas after the post-purchase now you’re talking to them about how they can incorporate that product into their life, what other products you have that are complementary to that, things like that.
So, like I said, all of this is going to take effort on your part to really brain dump and research and think it through because it’s not a one-size-fits-all; because your customers are not the same. It just depends on your business.
So we’ve got two more of the basic automations to go. Hope you’re still with me here!
Never Purchased Email Series
Let’s talk about a never purchased series and this is something I don’t hear a lot of people talking about. Admittedly, this is not going to be a huge revenue driver for you, but it’s going to pick up a few extra bucks along the way and a few extra bucks is never really a bad thing.
People who have never purchased. These are people who sign up to your email list, go through your welcome series, maybe they even poked around your website. 30-60 ish days go by and it’s going to depend on your business and path to purchase and all that but 30 to 60 days go by and they still haven’t placed their first order.
I will send this group of people a specific special email for them and usually put an offer in it because if they haven’t purchased at this point, there’s you know, a ton of reasons why, but having that incentive always helps, right if someone is hesitant about trying something new and I’m like this, maybe you’re this way too… if you’re a little unsure about something they send you a discount and you’re like okay, that kind of lowers the risk and makes it easier for them to take the plunge.
Marketing Your Value Propositions in a Never Purchased Email Series
You’ll also want to include whatever other value propositions you have and why they should buy from you. So maybe it’s that you offer free shipping on everything or you do, have a low shipping threshold, you have easy returns and exchanges. You want to talk about that stuff, by the way, all the time, right and just because you have it posted on your website doesn’t mean anybody is reading it, and just because you put it in every email doesn’t mean everyone is reading it.
In the never purchased series is where you want to kind of amp up that messaging to give everything you’ve got to trying to get that sale because the truth is if at this point, they don’t buy from you… It’s pretty unlikely that they will. And not everyone on your list is going to buy from you. That’s just the way it is. So do what you can to get as many of them to take the plunge.
This one can be, you know, one two three emails. Maybe the first one is inviting them to come shop. Here’s a discount and my value props. The second one can be a little bit less salesy. And then the third one can be a reminder of the discount.
I will also always put an expiration on this discount and make it even shorter than the welcome. So if my welcome is 14 days, I’ll make it 7. If my welcome is 7 days, I’ll make this one three. You really want to put that sense of urgency and that fire under their ass.
Lapsed Purchaser Email Series for eCommerce
The last one is your lapsed purchaser. So this is someone who has made a purchase from you, but they haven’t been back in a while. So, the time frame that you set this up at is completely dependent on your business. If I know that my customer shops with me every 3 months, then at like the 96th day mark, maybe the 100th day, something like that, is when I’m going to have this lapsed purchaser email trigger. You can decide what’s right for you and your business. Maybe the first one is just a hey, how are you, we miss you? This is what you’ve missed while you’ve been gone. You can talk to them about new arrivals, try to make it as specific to their previous purchase as possible.
This is really easy to do in Klaviyo, with their automated algorithm. If you want to offer a discount, you can. Send it in the first email if you want, or send it in the second. You can do it in the second email, play with this one, do whatever you’re comfortable with and then see what works. Maybe even test out, you know, you can do a test for the first email one with a discount one without a discount. Of course, the discount is going to perform better, but maybe it’s not performing better enough to justify the margin that you’re giving away. So you’ve just gotta put it up and see what happens!
Klaviyo Expected Date of Next Order
If you’re using Klaviyo, there is a special feature to help you do this and it’s called the Predicted Date of Next Order
Now, depending upon the size… It’s not the size of your list, it’s the number of orders you had… so depending on how many orders you have, you may or may not see this option. I do not know what the threshold is off the top of my head, but I will get the answer and put it in the show notes for you. (Threshold is 500 orders)
But, if you have enough orders, Klaviyo built an algorithm based on all of your customers, all of the data and each individual customer and how often they come back… and when they are expected to come back and make another purchase.
So you can set it up based on that date and it will be unique to each person. If they don’t have enough data on that individual user, then they will just use like the general average. Now. There are a lot of people who use this successfully. I was at a Klaviyo workshop where they walked through the data and went through some case studies. They talked about the algorithm, all the testing that they did before they released it and how accurate they found it to be. I have used it without success. My standard 90-day lapsed purchaser generates more revenue for me. So I switched back to that but I did test it for about 3 months, but I had many weeks of 000 so we changed it back.
If you have enough orders, I suggest you try the feature and see. Maybe it will work better for you, but you won’t know until you try.
Must-Have Email Automations for eCommerce Recap
Okay, so let’s go back and recap all of these quickly and I’m going to have a cheat sheet for you with all of this kind of laid out. What the goal of each email is, the goal of each series, a general idea of what emails are should be included in that etc.
The link to download that will be in the show notes, or you can go to eCommercebadassery.com/03 and it will be there for you to download.
Okay, so you have your Welcome Series. This is the most important one. So if you have no other automation, make sure you get that one setup. Even if it’s just one email. You just don’t want someone to sign up and get nothing until you start bombarding them with campaigns. That’s very awkward.
Then you also want to do a cart or checkout abandonment. The platform that you are using will dictate this. On Shopify, it’s checkout abandonment.
And then if you have a browse abandonment option, and if you’re using Shopify and Klaviyo, or any platform with Klaviyo, then you have browse abandonment.
You have your post purchase. This is where you are giving your customer, whatever information they need to have a good experience with your product. So they come back and give you a good review.
You have your lapsed purchaser, so someone who has made a purchase with you but hasn’t been back in a while.
Then your never purchased, the people who signed up for your email and 30 to 60 days go by, and they still haven’t purchased from you. So you want to send them another email.
Now, there is a lot more that you can do with email marketing automation. This is the baseline. So if you do nothing advanced, but you want to do more than just the welcome, these are the ones you want to start with.
I will talk more about email automations and different things that you can do in other episodes of this podcast, but this is really the beginning foundation. Get it set up, let it run. Let at least a hundred people go through each email, evaluate, test, tweak etc.
Most of your email marketing platforms,( and Klaviyo definitely does this) you can test subject lines and content in your automations as well. You have to test here just like you do in your regular campaigns.
I’m going to leave you with that today. Thank you so much for hanging out. I hope you found value in this. I hope you get your booty into your email marketing program right now and set that stuff up!
Until next time my friend, see you on the flip side.