When ecommerce retailers think about content marketing, they tend to think about landing page copy, blog posts and social media. But content also includes the emails you send to your potential and existing customers. In fact, email is one of the best ways to engage with your customers, helping you build relationships and generate more sales.
We’ve put together a list of emails you should always send to your customers, so you can make sure they’re getting the right communication at the right time.
1) The welcome email
What it is: A short, engaging message to welcome visitors to your site
Who to send it to: New customers, website visitors (if you collect email addresses)
When to send it: Within 24 hours of the visit to your site
Your store’s website is often the first impression new customers have of your brand, and your first email to them is a chance to strengthen and confirm that impression. Show them who you are and what your store is all about. It’s also your opportunity to set customer expectations, and to thank customers for their interest in your store and products.
Let your customers know how often you’ll communicate with them (and for what reason), and invite them to follow your store on social media. To sweeten the pot, offer them something like a special deal or discount code.
2) The abandoned cart email
What it is: A message meant to entice customers to purchase products they added to their cart, but didn’t buy
Who to send it to: Customers who put items in their cart, but then left your site before purchasing
When to send it: Within the hour, 24 hours later, and three to five days later
In 2017, the average cart abandonment rate was 69 percent. That means around two-thirds of customers who show interest in your products – enough to add them to their cart – don’t end up making a purchase. That’s a huge missed opportunity.
The first step to fixing it is knowing why customers abandon carts. Here are the most common reasons:
- High or surprise shipping costs
- High product prices
- They’re not ready to purchase
- They’re saving products to consider later
- There’s no guest checkout option
That means not only should you be sending abandoned cart emails, but you should also be sending unique emails to different customer segments. This will require you to study your customers data to understand what may be causing cart abandonment among different cohorts – something you can easily do in Glew using customer segments.
The timing and frequency of your abandoned cart emails is also important. Here’s a simple schedule you can follow:
- Within the first hour: Send a reminder that there are products waiting in their cart
- Within 24 hours: Send a notification that the items in their cart will expire, and provide an expiration date
- Within three to five days: Provide customers with an incentive to purchase the products in their cart (free shipping, discount, etc.)
Be sure that you include a clear call to action in each of your cart abandonment emails, making it easy for customers to complete their purchases.
3) The confirmation email
What it is: Transactional emails that detail customers’ orders, shipping information, and tracking details
Who to send it to: Customers who have made a purchase
When to send it: Immediately following the order being placed, and as shipping status updates
This is really two (or more) emails, but they work the same way. Customers want to know exactly what to expect regarding their purchases. Sending an order confirmation email lets them know that their order has been received and that it’s correct. A shipping confirmation email (or emails), with tracking information, lets them know when they can expect their purchase to arrive.
These emails don’t have to just be informational – you can be creative and use this touchpoint as an opportunity to encourage customers to make additional purchases. Try sending promos, discount codes, or other deals to show your customers that you value their business – it’s a great way to entice them to return to your store for more products. Or show products that are related to or commonly bundled with the product they just purchased – another piece of data that’s easy to access with Glew’s product analytics.
4) The recommendation email
What it is: An engaging message that offers customers suggestions about additional products they may be interested in
Who to send it to: Existing customers, as well as site visitors who have looked at items, but not purchased
When to send it: Three to five days following a purchase or website visit
Personalization in your communication with customers is essential. Your customers want to feel like you know them (or, at the very least, like you’re doing something useful with the data you’ve collected from them). That’s why a personalized recommendation email is a good idea – it’s tailored to each customer based on products they’ve purchased in the past (or products that they have recently viewed, but not purchased).
This is easy with a recommendation engine that automatically sends shoppers relevant recommendations based on purchase history.
5) The re-engagement email
What it is: A message designed to get previous customers to come back to your site
Who to send it to: Existing customers who have not made a recent purchase
When to send it: Up to you, depending on your store’s lapse point (the average number of days it takes a repeat purchaser to purchase again). You want to send this email when a customer is nearing or past your lapse point.
Did you know that it’s seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one? Additionally, more than half of online shoppers will buy retargeted products when they are offered a discount.
To capitalize on those two facts, use a re-engagement, or win-back, email. The purpose of this email is to encourage customers who have previously made purchases, but not as recently as you’d like, to come back and buy again.
Re-engagement emails can come in two formats:
- An email that reminds customers that they haven’t bought from your store in a while and that you hope they will be back (and links them to a relevant product page or category).
- An email that offers them a perk, like free shipping or a coupon code, to incentivize them to make a purchase.
You can always send an initial re-engagement email and then follow up with a perk a week or so later.
Emailing your customers gives you the opportunity to engage and build relationships- and that leads to greater customer loyalty and ultimately, more sales. That’s why you have to make every email count. Being creative, transparent and consistent with your emails ensures that your customers will trust you and your brand and keep coming back for more purchases.