On Feb, 20 2020
E-commerce marketing automation is a hot topic at the moment, but what exactly is it? And most importantly, how do you do it right?
In the following blog post, we’ll answer these questions and give you some useful campaign ideas to get your automated marketing efforts off the ground! So, let’s dive right in.
Why should I automate my e-commerce marketing?
Any e-merchant who is serious about growing their e-commerce store needs to be equally serious about their online marketing efforts. The best way to ensure that you have a successful online marketing strategy is to make use of marketing automation software.
As the title suggests, marketing automation software allows e-merchants to fully automate their entire online marketing strategy. With their marketing strategy fully automated, e-merchants respond to customers’ actions immediately with effective and personally targeted messaging.
Marketing automation software has become a global phenomenon over the past few years, particularly in the e-commerce industry. Of a group of e-commerce marketers surveyed last year, 55% already used a marketing automation platform and another 25% planned to make use of the software in 2020.
What are marketing automation triggers?
With marketing automation software, e-merchants can create numerous campaigns for different purposes, each of which is kicked-off when different events occur.
Time triggers are for marketing campaigns that begin at a scheduled time. A good example of this would be an end-of-winter sales campaign that you want to send to your entire contact base on the same day.
Action triggered campaigns begin when an individual customer performs a set action. For example, when a customer finalizes a purchase on your site you can automatically send an order confirmation email with a rundown of their purchases and shipping information.
List triggered campaigns begin the moment a customer joins a specific list you have created. Let’s say you create a VIP list of all customers who have made more than 5 purchases on your site. The second a customer makes that 5th purchase they automatically enter your VIP customer list and receive a special VIP campaign.
What e-commerce marketing campaigns should I create?
If you want to truly make the most of an all-in-one marketing automation software, there’s one golden rule to follow; the more automated campaigns you run - the better.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to campaign type, so get creative and think about what will work best for your e-commerce store. To help you get started we’ve compiled a list of 7 campaigns that every e-commerce store should automate TODAY.
Let’s get started.
1. Say hello to new customers with a welcome campaign
Every time a new customer makes their first purchase on your site, make them feel at home. Nurturing new customers is such an important step towards not just making the initial few sales, but to building brand loyalty and retaining customers in the long term.
In fact, businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales and spend 33% less than brands who don’t nurture their customers.
To build a welcome campaign, you first need to automate a list of ‘new customers’, which is easily done using a marketing automation platform. Once a customer makes their first purchase on your site they will automatically join your ‘new customer’ list and your ‘list trigger’ welcome campaign will begin.
Within your welcome campaign you could include:
- An initial email thanking your customers for their first purchase, welcoming them to your site, and telling them a bit more about your brand. Pay attention to the design and content of this email, it needs to be perfectly on-brand and match the visuals and style your customer just saw on your website.
- A follow-up SMS the next day with a special discount code to use on their next purchase.
- A Facebook message recommending products complementary to the one they just purchased (that they can purchase with the special discount code they already received).
2. Put a stop to cart abandonment with a retargeting campaign
There’s nothing more frustrating for e-commerce store owners than customers who place items in their cart then suddenly leave without completing the purchase. You’ve successfully brought them to your site (the hard part), they’ve shown a significant amount of interest in specific items (looks promising), only to falter at the last hurdle...
The best way to combat cart abandonment is with an automated retargeting campaign. These are ‘action trigger’ campaigns that you send to every potential customer who leaves your site with items in their cart.
When it comes to abandoned cart retargeting campaigns, time is of the essence. You need to reach out to customers as soon as they leave your site as they may be looking for similar products sold by your competitors.
Your retargeting campaign should include:
- An SMS sent immediately after your customer leaves your site reminding them of the product they almost bought. Due to the urgency of retargeting campaigns, SMS is a great medium to use as customers check their phones much more regularly than their email inbox.
- A Facebook message sent right after the SMS. Facebook is a great medium for retargeting as it’s also used very regularly which ensures that customers will view your message quickly. Another benefit is that it’s easy to include images of the product your potential customer left behind.
- An email to be sent an hour later if the previous two messages haven’t worked. This email will include a special discount code to really drive home the sale.
3. Keep customers in the loop with order confirmation campaigns
When a customer makes a purchase online, they are putting a lot of trust in your brand. After all, they’re not making a direct transaction and receiving their item immediately - they’re inputting private credit card information and hoping not to be scammed.
It’s the job of an e-commerce store to reassure customers that their purchase is being processed, and to let them know when they should expect it to arrive. Creating an automated order-confirmation campaign is a great way to ensure that every customer is reassured in this way.
As mentioned earlier in the article, order confirmation campaigns begin with an action trigger (the action being the purchase being completed). The campaign should include:
- An email sent immediately after the purchase is completed with a rundown of the products in the order, and reference number, and some information on the delivery process - ie. telling the customer that delivery information will be sent shortly.
- An SMS also sent immediately outlining the order and saying ‘thanks for shopping with us’.
- A follow-up email with shipping information, an expected delivery date, and a link allowing your customer to track their order.
4. Follow up after an order with a post-purchase campaign
Checking-in with customers after their order has been delivered is a great way to build lasting relationships and guarantee their business into the future. There’s so much potential in a post-purchase campaign. You can:
- Tell customers you hope they’re enjoying their purchase
- Send a quick survey asking how they enjoyed shopping on your site
- Recommend products that will complement what they just received
- Offer free shipping on their next purchase to ensure repeat-purchasing
- Ask your customer to share their love for your product on social media (and reward them with a discount code in return)
There are so many options, the world is your oyster!
When sending your post-purchase campaign just be sure to wait until you’re sure the order has been delivered - so maybe wait a week after the expected delivery day.
5. Reward your most loyal customers with a VIP campaign
A large base of loyal life-time customers is exactly what every e-commerce company should be striving to create. These customers engage with your messaging, get excited about new product launches, and continue to purchase year after year.
Customers don’t just become loyal to your brand out of a love for your product, they need to be nurtured over time with personalized marketing content and special deals. While it may sound like a lot of work on the e-merchants part - it’s absolutely worth it. Loyal customers not only reward brands with their own frequent business but also work as social proof telling their friends, family, even strangers on the internet how great your brand is!
To create a VIP marketing campaign, the first thing you need to do is create a list of your VIP customers. Using an e-commerce marketing automation tool e-merchants can create a dynamic contact list that adds customers automatically as they meet set requirements. As explained above, your VIP customer list could comprise of all customers who have made more than 5 purchases on your site, with customers being added to the VIP list when they make that fifth purchase.
Your VIP marketing campaign should start with an email thanking your customers for their loyalty and welcoming them to your VIP list. This email could also include a special VIP discount code, as well as some recommendations for your high-end products.
After the initial email, the journey of your VIP customers is really up to you! You can send them:
- New product releases
- Special discounts for holidays
- Early access to sales
- Surveys about your product or website
- Or any exciting news you have to share about your brand!
You could also make the most of your VIP customers’ social-proof by asking them to write a testimonial, or share images of your product on their social media channels and give them a special discount as a reward!
6. Bring back lost customers with a win-back campaign
Just because a customer hasn’t shopped on your e-commerce store in a while, doesn’t mean they’re lost for good! Win-back campaigns are a great way to re-engage lost customers and bring them back to your brand.
Win-back campaigns are great because the customer in question is already familiar with your brand, which massively increases your chances of making the sale. In fact, the success rate of selling to customers who have already shopped with your brand is 60-70%, while selling to new customers is only successful 5-20% of the time.
The first step in building a win-back campaign is to create an audience list of lost-customers. Similar to the example above, you can use marketing automation software to create a dynamic list of customers who haven’t made a purchase in a set amount of time.
You can then create your win-back campaign! The campaign should include:
- An initial email telling your customer you miss them, and letting them know about some exciting developments your brand has had in since they last visited
- A follow-up email a week later for customers who didn’t make a purchase after the first email. This email could include a special discount code for their next purchase.
- After this, continue sending emails to this list every time there’s a development with your brand, a new product is released, or a sale goes live.
7. Get your customers in the festive spirit with holiday campaigns
During the 2019 holiday period (1st November - 31st December) the average amount spent online every day in the US averaged to $2.3 billion. It’s the most important time of the year for e-merchants. But with so much money to be made, the competition is fierce.
If e-merchants want to make the most of this profitable time, they need to nail their online marketing efforts, and there’s no better way to ensure that the best content is going to the right audience than with automated marketing campaigns.
Let’s use Christmas as an example. When creating a Christmas marketing campaign for your e-commerce store, timing is everything. You need to take into account the overly-organized customers who start Christmas shopping in October, and those who wait until Christmas Eve.
The first thing you need to do when building your Christmas marketing campaign is to create a list of all your contacts, as you want everyone to be aware of your upcoming Christmas sales. Next, create a ‘time-triggered’ campaign that begins on the 1st of November and runs all the way to Christmas day. Within this campaign there are so many messages you can send:
- An initial email blast to alert all your customers to your upcoming Christmas sales and get them excited to shop on your e-commerce store.
- A follow-up email a week later with some recommended products that would make the perfect gifts for different members of the family.
- Another email just for your VIP customer list with a special discount code to use during the Christmas sales period.
- An SMS blast 2 weeks before Christmas letting all your customers know that they need to order any Christmas presents before a certain date in order for it to arrive by Christmas eve.
- Another SMS blast for VIP customers, again alerting them to their special discount code.
- An email a week before Christmas instilling a sense of urgency and letting customers know about a quick-delivery option you offer
You could conclude your holiday campaign on Christmas day, wishing all your contacts a Merry Christmas and hoping that they’re enjoying the products purchased through your site.