In my last column I outlined what retention email programs you can automate to drive revenue. In this post I want to continue along the automation theme and discuss some specific programs you can automate for conversion.
As you can tell I'm a big fan of automation. Why? When you automate email you are naturally sending email at the right time in the customer lifecycle and relevant content based on your customers' previous behaviors. Email is then timely, relevant, and therefore valuable.
As David Daniels discussed in his recent column, 72 percent of consumers state that they have "deleted email from a marketer that wasn't relevant to me." If email isn't relevant and doesn't always have value to the recipient, it will be deleted.
Also, as with retention, conversion is an important stage in the customer lifecycle and is a key component of an email marketing strategy that performs.
Here are my top three email campaigns you can automate to drive conversion:
1. Cart abandonment. Yes, cart abandonment is a classic and discussed a lot; however, I find it's rarely implemented. Why? It's sometimes difficult to get the data from your e-commerce platform into your email service provider (ESP), and as marketers we always want the best so we make it too difficult from the start. I tell clients to start with a basic (but still effective) cart-abandonment email and then perfect if from there.
You can start by first sending a basic customer-service-type email. No need for an offer. No need for the creative to contain the products left in the cart. Start by automating email 48 hours after a customer has left something in the cart. I recommend setting recency of a single customer to one email per month to stop the serial-abandoners.
2. Second purchase. Although you may not have heard of this specific program, it's a great concept to follow. The concept is to automate a specific email program to customers who have purchased only once. The goal is therefore to drive that second purchase.
Convert a trier into a customer.
All you need is your customer's first purchase date and last purchase date. Then you can automate email to customers at a certain time period after first purchase; where the first and last purchase date is the same.
What content should you send? Utilize preference data to keep the email relevant and use a combination of informational and promotional content.
3. Web-browsed program. A web-browsed program is automating email containing specific content based on where on your website customers have recently browsed.
As with cart abandonment, you don't need to be overcomplicated initially. Try the following approach (of course, this will depend on your ESP-analytics integration):
The result: automated email targeted on website behavior. You're now sending more relevant and timely email.
What automated programs have worked for you? Let me know in the comments.
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Matt Hayes is the director of services strategy at Lyris. With experience in the e-mail industry both in the U.S. and in the U.K., Matt has deep knowledge and experience working with clients in the strategy and development of welcome programs, lifecycle campaigns, list retention and growth, Web behavior segmentation, and e-mail design. Matt started his e-mail career at a U.K. agency that became Lyris UK and was instrumental in managing e-mail marketing campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the U.K. Matt's background is specialized in high-end fashion retail where he set up revenue-driving campaigns. In 2009, Matt moved to San Francisco to manage a team of campaign specialists and drove e-mail marketing strategy for clients in the U.S.