If you’re anything like us, you likely know about all the things you should be doing to grow your Ecommerce business and these things generally have technical verbose names (Retention Marketing) or spiffy acronyms (CAC or Customer Acquisition Cost).
Learning about all these things isn’t necessarily the hard part either; a quick Google search reveals definition and an overview of what these things are and how they probably apply to you.
The hardest part is always actually implementing these things in a way that is easy, not overly resource-intensive (who has time for more to-do’s any way?) and also super-relevant to your business, products and customers.
In this post, we’re going to attempt to do just that by guiding you through 12 different Follow-Up Emails that you should be sending to your customers. And because it’s your lucky day, we’ll even tell you how to do that within Conversio (previously Receiptful).
Let’s start with the important question… What are Follow-Up Emails?
Follow-Up Emails are a sequence or campaign of individual emails that has the goal of engaging your customers and encouraging a specific action from them (for example connecting with you on Facebook / Twitter or making another purchase).
Another term (yes – one of those) for this would be Lifecycle Marketing, which admittedly has a very clear definition and goal…
The concept of Lifecycle Marketing is that every customer will follow a certain path through your business (their lifecycle) and you want to engage customers in such a way that you help them progress through those phases. These phases can be visualized like this:
The way you would generally do that is to interact with and engage your customer at various key points during their lifecycle. There are multiple channels and / or mediums through which you could do this, but the primary channel still remains email.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring a specific sub-set of the emails you could be sending which is automated Follow-Up Emails.
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Before jumping into the 12 Follow-Up Emails that you should be sending, I’d like to show you this framework first:
Every one of the 12 emails we’ll be covering fits into this framework and what we’re essentially saying is that every email will have a primary goal (revenue generating or engagement) and they’ll have a focus in terms of how direct and short-term or indirect and long-term they are. Some emails might also be a combination of all of these, but it will be helpful to you in determining your Lifecycle Marketing strategy if you were to identify a primary goal for each email.
Let’s jump into the examples of the emails you could be sending…
The “Welcome Series” emails are designed to welcome new and first-time customers to your world. The way we recommend doing that is by being personal, putting your best foot forward and allowing your new customers to immediately get to know you better.
1. Introduction Email
This is the first email in this series. Use this opportunity to tell your customer more about your company, team and / or values. Communicate the insights of who you are or the stories of how you’ve grown the company until now. Be human and give your customers a look behind-the-scenes of the company with which they’re doing business.
When to send this email? Within the first couple of hours after a first-time purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Use our “Text” components to tell your story and share behind-the-scenes insights. Bonus points if you include a team photo with our “Image” component to show your customers who you are.
2. Discovery Email – Social Connection or Content Marketing
This email should build on the stories and / or insights that you shared in your Introduction email. It also has a specific purpose though: help your customers discover where else they can connect and engage with you. For most stores, this would be via the various social profiles on which you are active. Or if you do a lot of content marketing via your website, direct your customers to your blog or some of your most popular blog posts.
How successful is this? Well, in 2013 43% of Ecommerce stores surveyed leveraged their blog to convince prospective buyers to make a first purchase. And in recent years, content marketing has evolved and become an even bigger marketing channel.
When to send this email? Within 3 – 5 days after the first purchase (and introduction email).
How do I do this with Conversio? Use our “Socialize” component to easily include pretty buttons to all of your social profiles. Or use our “RSS Module” to share the latest article that you published on your blog. The only step left is for your customers to click on them and engage.
3. Discovery Email – Product Catalogue
Until now this email series was about the company, team, core values, and origin stories. This email is about stepping up the momentum… Tell your customers about your products, why they’re special, why other customers love them, etc. You can also include some personalized Product Recommendations to help shoppers explore some products that they would love, but didn’t yet see when they made their first purchase.
When to send this email? 14 days after first purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Include the “Similar Products” upsell component and we’ll put our computers to work to determine which products each of your customers will love and we’ll then show them those products.
4. Incentive Email
Industry statistics shows that customers are most engaged in the first 30 days after their first purchase. The same stats also prove that repeat customers are much more profitable to your business and that once a first-time customer makes that crucial second purchase, they’re much more likely to keep spending money with you. This email is sent at the tail end of that 30-day window and the aim is to use a discount coupon as an incentive to get your first-time customer to come back to the store and make that second purchase.
When to send this email? 21 or 28 days after first-purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Use the Discount upsell component to automatically include a unique discount coupon that allows your customer to get a percentage or flat monetary discount on their next purchase. Limit the expiry date of the discount to 48 hours to urge customers to take immediate action.
This series is directly linked to a specific purchase and will be triggered with every purchase. The goal of this series is to engage your customer about this specific purchase and elicit feedback about the product and customer experience.
Oh – and successful stores never stop selling. 🙂
5. Get Feedback
We all make mistakes and sometimes things slip through the cracks. Unfortunately many disgruntled customers who had a bad shopping experience will never say anything, and will also never return. Use this email to ask for feedback and create an opportunity for you to identify disgruntled customers. The flipside is also true… Use positive feedback to identify your happy customers and use their feedback as testimonials to grow your brand.
When to send this email? 3 days after the purchase. (Or if your average delivery time on orders is slightly longer, extend it to 5 or 7 days.)
How do I do this with Conversio? Use the “Feedback” module to give your customers a quick & easy way to give you feedback. You’ll also be able to quickly respond to customers via your Feedback dashboard.
6. Product Reviews
Displaying customer reviews of your products can boost your revenue by up to 18%, because reviews are more authentic and credible compared to your marketing copy (which customers will always believe to be somewhat biased). We propose using a 3-step process to getting customer reviews: sell a great product, craft awesome customer experiences and ask for feedback. This email is all about the final step in that process.
When to send this email? 7 – 14 days after a purchase and when your customer has had time to unbox the product and use it.
How do I do this with Conversio? Use the “Product Review” component to ask your customers to review their most recently purchased products.
7. Discount Reminder
Even though we’ve found that including a discount in your email receipt is a massively successful marketing opportunity that leads to significant additional revenue, the reality is that many customers still don’t use that discount. This email thus serves as a reminder and is sent 24 hours before the discount (from their original email receipt) expires. What’s great about this email is that it has a built-in sense of urgency which means many customers make impulse buys as a way to avoid losing this discount.
When to send this email? 24 hours before the expiry of a discount coupon from an email receipt (typically 14 or 30 days after purchase).
How do I do this with Conversio? Use our “Reminder of Unused Coupon<” Follow-Up Email rule alongside the “Discount” upsell component and we’ll automatically determine all of the settings of the discount (like discount amount & expiry date) for you based on what you have set up in your receipt.
8. Cross-Sell Email
Upselling and cross-selling is an important part of your business and helps you maximize customer lifetime value. The aim of the cross-sell email is to help your customer discover other products that they might like and could buy.
When to send this email? 14 – 21 days after purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Use the “Similar Products” upsell to generate personalized product recommendations for each customer. And if you’re already sending “Discovery Email – Product Catalogue” email to first-time customers (as part of your Welcome Series), use Conversio’s Conditional Logic and Customer Segments to only send this email to “Repeat Customers”.
9. Loyalty Email
This is the perfect email to send to repeat customers that have made yet another purchase. Our assumption here is that repeat customers also equal happy customers, which is why they’re making multiple purchases. This means that they’re in a great position to tell their family and friends about your business and products. So why not incentivize them through a referral offer? Case studies suggest that referred customers end up spending 13% more with you than customers acquired via other channels.
(Bonus: Here are 12 steps to creating a profitable referral and loyalty program for your store.)
When to send this email? Approximately 28 days after their purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Include our “Refer-A-Friend” module which incentivizes your customer and the prospective customer in a “Give $10, Get $10” model. We automatically handle everything for you; from acquiring your newly referred customer to rewarding the loyal customer who referred a friend.
Every store will have a mixture of first-time and repeat customers. One of the best ways to increase your revenue is by increasing your ratio of repeat to first-time customers, because repeat customers generally spend much more money with you (you also don’t have to invest further funds into marketing to keep acquiring new customers).
Unfortunately what happens though is that many customers will make one purchase and over time they will become inactive and never make another purchase.
10. Win-Back Email
The purpose of this email is to re-engage those inactive customers and incentivize them to make another purchase. We define an inactive customer as someone that has not made another purchase in X days, where X is equal to 3x the average time between orders of your best customers.
When to send this email?
We recommend a three-mail sequence to effectively re-engage inactive customers:
- On the day that the customer becomes inactive. Reach out and give the customer a small discount to make another purchase. Be as emotive as possible to urge the customer to come back.
- 7 days after becoming inactive. Use an alternative approach where you remind the customer of the discount you sent them the week prior and also show them some personalized product recommendations.
- 14 days after becoming inactive. This is a last-ditch effort, where we increase the discount offer, but also limit the timeframe (to 48 hours) to create a sense of urgency.
How do I do this with Conversio? We’ve already created this campaign for you and will use our Customer Segments functionality to properly identify your inactive customers. On top of that, the email sequence will stop if for example the customer makes a purchase before all of the emails were sent; so the first email (with a small discount) might be enough to entice the customer to come back.
Abandoned Cart Campaign
Depending on who you’d like to believe, about 40% – 70% of all prospective customers will abandon their shopping carts. That represents a huge missed opportunity.
11. Abandoned Cart Email
The reality is that it’s impossible to recover all of those abandoned carts, but a well-timed email sequence can bring back up to 10% of those customers that will then complete a purchase.
When to send this email?
We recommend an email sequence that consists of 3 individual emails that are sent at various intervals:
- 1 hour after cart is abandoned. The aim of the first email is to ask for feedback and try to determine whether the customer encountered a problem that made them abandon their cart.
- 1 day after cart is abandoned. In this email we include a discount coupon to incentivize the customer to come back to their cart and complete checkout.
- 3 days after cart is abandoned. As a last-ditch effort to incentivize the customer to complete the checkout, we remind them of the discount that we sent 2 days ago, which is about to expire.
How do I do this with Conversio? Conversio has an already-setup best practice campaign ready to go for you. All you need to do is to review the copy, review the discount via the automated “Discount” upsell component and activate the campaign to start recovering lost revenue.
This is a novel and fun approach to re-engaging your customers…
12. Anniversary Email
Send them an email on the anniversary of their first purchase and celebrate it like it’s their birthday by giving them a discount to use on a purchase on that day. The surprise-factor alongside the fun-nature of this email is sure to convince some of your customers to make another purchase.
When to send this email? 1 year after their first purchase.
How do I do this with Conversio? Use the “Delay From First Purchase” sending rule and send an email 365 days after their first purchase. Use the “Discount” upsell component to include a unique discount coupon to celebrate with your customer on that day. Hopefully you get a gift too in the form of another purchase.
Remember that framework we showed you in the beginning of this guide? This is what it looks like when we add all of the various emails to the framework:
What’s important to visualize here is that you are sending emails that apply to all four of these quadrants. It’s important to both engage your customers via email and also pursue new revenue-generating opportunities. It’s also very important to do this in both the short- and longer-term, which means you’re actively keeping your customer engaged and consistently remain top-of-mind.
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Does this guide seem overwhelming? Don’t know where to start or how to implement this in your business? Feel free to reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily help you kickstart your Follow-Up email marketing.