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259. Yearly Review Series: Your Email Marketing Audit

259. Yearly Review Series: Your Email Marketing Audit

This week on our year end recap series we’re diving into your email marketing review. Whether you’re monitoring your email on a regular basis or you set up your automations 2 years ago and haven’t looked at them since… this episode is for you. 

First we’re gonna walk through some high-level numbers so you can get a quick sense of how your program is performing and then we’re dive into some of the nitty gritty so you know where to focus on improving those results. 

I’ve got some additional episodes to support you along the way as well so make sure you check the show notes for those when you’re ready to dive in and do the work, I promise it will make your life a lot easier. 

Prefer to listen to the episode? Click here.

Your Overall Numbers

What percentage of your total revenue comes from your email marketing? The average for a typical eCommerce store is anywhere from 20-30%. Some stores that really focus on email marketing as a main marketing strategy, have a bigger list and more built-in repeat business based on the product they sell, can see that get up to 40 or even 45%. 

Once you start getting significantly higher than the 40-50% range, that may mean you need more new customers… but it will also depend where in email that revenue is coming from. 

For instance, if you are trending on the higher end, but you see that a large portion of that is from your welcome series… well that’s actually a good thing because it means your new subscribers are converting into customers which is what you want. 

If however, you’re finding that most of it is coming from your campaigns to existing customers then you probably want to revisit your acquisition strategy. 

While having strong retention is super important and how you maintain and grow your profitability, you don’t want to stop focusing on attracting new customers or you might just bleed your existing people dry, ya know?

It is definitely a delicate balance, which I talk more about on episode 10 of the podcast. 

In addition to your total revenue coming from email, I’d look at what percentage of that is coming from automations specifically. Anywhere from 10-20% could be a healthy number here. It’s going to depend a bit on your business, how many new people you’re bringing, how many people you’re getting back to your site to trigger those automations, etc. 

What I will say is that if your automations are bringing in more than your campaigns… you probably need to send more campaigns. 

As an example. Let’s say you’re bringing in 30% of total revenue from email. 10% is coming from automation and 20% is coming from campaigns. That’s pretty healthy all the way around. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement… there always is – but there is nothing alarming there. 

On the other hand, let’s say you’re still bringing in 30% of revenue from email, but 10% of it is from campaigns and 20% from automation… that tells me you need to send more campaigns. 

Once you’ve got a handle on that, it’s time to start digging in deeper. 

First let’s look at your campaigns. 

Your Email Campaign Results

If you’re being consistent with your campaigns and sending lots of emails, you’re not necessarily going to want to look at those individually… that will take you forever. What I recommend you do is look for patterns. When do you see spikes in success, whether it’s open rate, click rate, or overall revenue. 

Now of course you’re always going to see spikes when you have sales and during specific times of year. You can note them, but I would also sort of ignore them because they’re not necessarily a true representation of a great email strategy. 

What I really want you to look for are those emails that performed really well when it’s somewhat unexpected. 

Once you find those outliers, take notes on things like the day of week and time of day it was sent. What type of content was inside, if there were featured products did they buy what you featured, or was it something else. What was the subject line and preview text, what call to action did you use. 

Record these on a spreadsheet and then start looking for patterns. 

For example, in my previous day job one of the best performing emails from a revenue perspective, not including discounts of course, was a simple blog post speaking to the number one problem our customers were trying to solve. The email itself just had a blurb to entice them to click to read more and that blog post had a handful of featured items in it.  If memory serves, there weren’t even products listed in the email itself. 

The other type of email that always did well was when I had a really strong subject line or internal headline that spoke directly to the problem they were trying to solve and then a handful of featured products to solve that problem. 

Sometimes it wasn’t even products that I curated, but it was Klaviyo’s internal product recommendations that did the trick.Those would be unique to each customer based on the data Klaviyo had about them. 

I also always saw that Sunday evening emails outperformed any other day of the week or time of day… except for super bowl sunday and the series finale of game of thrones. 

Ultimately, your goal here is to pull out a handful of findings that you can start testing against in the new year. You need your baseline. 

Now we’re not gonna talk much about testing today, I go deeper on that in episode 167, but I do want to mention this one this caveat. 

When you’re consistently sending campaigns emails to your list, and you’re following a general schedule. For example, I used to pretty much always send Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 6 PM at a minimum, you will start to train your audience. 

I had done a good amount of testing on this and even used a tool Klaviyo has to find your best sending time but it confirmed what I already knew. 

Was that because the manual testing I had done before was correct… or was it because I had already trained my audience to expect an email at that time? 

There’s really no way for me to know. But what I did know was that Sunday evenings my customer was most likely sitting at home on the couch watching netflix and scrolling their phones so it seemed like a good time for them to whip out their wallet and make a purchase and the data always backed me up. 

My point is, as much as I love data and am on a mission to get more eCommerce business owners to use dig deeper into their data, you need to balance that with knowing your customer and everything else you need to do in your business. 

Please do not hide behind your data analysis as a way to procrastinate sending the actual emails. A lot of us, myself included do this with our website design too. We tinker with all the things thinking that some minute change is going to bring a windfall of additional results. And it can… when we already have a lot of traffic, subscribers, revenue, etc. 

If you’re doing multiple 7-figures a year, yes.. Tiny improvements can bring big results. 

But if you’re still struggling to stay consistent with your email, getting people on your list, or don’t have all your automations set up yet… testing should not be your focus. 

Okay, once you start recognizing some patterns in your campaign results, it’s time to start digging into your automation. 

Your Automations

While I love email automation because you get to set it up once and have it run for you on autopilot, I like to say they’re set it and forget it-ish because you still need to check in on them every once in a while and if you haven’t done it lately… the end of the year is a really great time to do that. 

The first step is to make sure you have at least the MVP version of your must-have email automations set up. That’s your welcome, browse abandonment, checkout abandonment, post-purchase, winback, and never purchased. You can learn more about those on episode 143 and there is a freebie walk through in the resource library as well. 

If you don’t have all of them set up, that is definitely your first order of business. 

Next, you’ll want to dive into each of them individually and see how they’re performing. If you use Klaviyo, you can look at the benchmarks they provide, otherwise check out episode 19 of the podcast where I break these down by flow and industry. 

While you can go down quite the rabbit hole looking at your data here, I recommend you start by looking for outliers. What emails are performing really well, which ones aren’t converting? Is there a flow that isn’t cutting it? 

For example, if you find that your checkout abandonment flow isn’t hitting those benchmarks, that’s the first thing I would focus on. You work so hard to get people to your site and checking out your products… let’s make sure you’re not losing them because of a not-so great abandonment flow. 

You might also find that a specific email in a flow isn’t really getting much engagement. The engagement might pick back up afterward, or it might drive people away entirely. Either way, you’ll want to re-evaluate that and potentially remove it altogether. 

When it comes to what to fix, that’s going to depend on what the numbers tell you. Each metric is referring to something different. The open rate, that’s mostly the subject line. The click rate, it’s the content in your email. 

I break this all down in episode 167, so definitely go and listen to that one but let’s chat through a few typical fixes I see. 

  • Are you overcoming common objections your customers have in your emails?
  • Do your abandonment emails have screenshots of reviews?
  • Is your welcome series focused on your best sellers?
  • Is your winback series timed with the average days between purchases?
  • And when was the last time you updated this content or those delays?

Which leads me into some non data-specific things…

Email Automation Content Updates

You’ll also want to review your automations for some non-data things. Have you updated your branding recently, has your product assortment changed, is the tone of voice still right for your brand, did you change anything on your site that could affect the content in your emails, or maybe you just changed the way you message your products?

I worked with a client years ago setting up her email automations, A couple years later she went through a big website redesign that changed the way her products were set up and it broke all of the dynamic content I had created so we had to go in and refresh them. 

I had another client who went through a big rebrand and her main messaging and the journey she was taking her customers on changed, so her email automation had to change with it. 

If you’re a Klaviyo user I’d also check to see if you’re taking full advantage of the new email builder, the universal blocks, and taking advantage of their dynamic content feature. These all allow you to create kick-ass personalized experiences for your customers and if you’re not utilizing them you might be missing out. 

If you’re a Klaviyo user and you don’t understand anything I just said, check out my Klaviyo Badassery course where I teach you how to use all these features. This is getting a revamp in the new year and the price is going up, so now is a great time to snag it. Lounge members, you already have access to this and will automatically get the updates when they’re released, so you don’t need to purchase it separately.

Prioritizing Your Updates

Once you get a handle on what can use improvement, it’s time to prioritize 

When it comes to your automations, I always recommend you focus on the bottom of funnel flows first. Checkout abandonment, browse abandonment, winback. These are people that have already shown interest and shopping intent… let’s make sure we’re getting them to convert. 

For your campaign strategy, the first step is to get consistent and send more emails. I recommend you increase your frequency 1 email per week for 4-6 weeks. Monitor the results, and as long as your engagement holds steady, you can increase 1 more per week for another 4-6 weeks, etc. 

If you struggle with staying consistent, or knowing what to say in your emails… then snag Content Badassery. It’s a brand new product with 100+ content prompts, 140+ subject lines, and 200+ seasonal phrases and ideas to keep your content fresh and timely. Plus, I show you how to take one piece of long-form content like a blog post and turn it into 41 pieces of individual content for social media, show you how to identify blog ideas for SEO, and even give you the tools you need to generate your own content ideas for your business so you never have to buy another set of content prompts again. Short story… If you loved the holiday content bundle – you’re gonna love this. 

Revenue Per Subscriber

There’s one more metric I want to talk to you about before we go. Well, technically two, but there’s one I want you to focus on because it’s more telling than the other. 

If you’re a Klaviyo user you may have seen a metric on your dashboard called revenue per recipient and depending on the size of your list and the number of emails you send, it’s possible that number is less than $1. 

While looking at that metric and trying to improve it isn’t necessarily bad.. It can throw you off because that metric isn’t just based on the number of people that receive your email. It’s the number of emails you send multiplied by the number of people that receive it. If you send me 3 emails, that’s counted as 3 recipients. 

So if you start increasing your email sends, even if you start making more money from that increase, your revenue per recipient might decrease making you think you’re doing something wrong. 

Instead, I want you to calculate revenue per subscriber. How much revenue are you making from email divided by the number of unique people on your list. 

While there is no benchmark for this, at least not that I’ve ever seen, I recommend you just aim to be better than you were yesterday. Like your website conversion rate though, as your list grows it’s possible this number is going to go down a bit. That’s okay. This is just to give you an idea of what an email subscriber is worth to you. And in many cases, they’re probably worth more than you think. 

Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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