Imagine this scenario: you set up an abandoned cart flow a while ago, and your click rates have consistently hovered around 10%. You may think to yourself, “Fine. But what does that really mean?”
It’s important to keep in mind that context is everything. And to help you put your flows into context, here are some statistics on Klaviyo users’ flow performance. See how yours stack up.
Halloween is only a couple of days away, which means many ecommerce marketers spent this past week sending out Halloween-themed campaigns. Depending on the type of products your store sells, Halloween can be a huge retail opportunity – for those of you in the fashion industry, it probably is. However, even if you’re not selling anything Halloween-related, you can still take advantage of the holiday. Let’s take a look at some great Halloween emails sent by Klaviyo customers:
Today, we’re happy to announce that Klaviyo has partnered with 3dcart to give even more ecommerce store owners access to the premier email service provider in the industry. We can’t wait to expand our network and vastly improve email marketing for 3dcart users, and our integration is now live and available here. Here’s what 3dcart users can look forward to after signing up for and integrating with Klaviyo:
Earlier this week, Google announced Customer Match, a significant enhancement to Google AdWords that lets businesses import lists of email addresses and show specific ads to these lists, thus allowing for more personalized advertising. This functionality is conceptually the same as Facebook’s Custom Audiences, but takes this targeted, email-based advertising to a much broader portion of the web. Personalized ads – and Customer Match specifically – are a major opportunity for ecommerce stores to drive revenue and build customer rapport.
Klaviyo’s built-in, data-driven segmentation and web-tracking features make it a prime resource in selecting the audience for these targeted ads. Even better, in the next few weeks, we will be rolling out new features that will allow you to sync your data with both Customer Match and Custom Audiences without having to manually import lists.
At Klaviyo, we’re strong believers in more personalized and targeted email marketing. It’s better for consumers because the content they’ll see in their inbox is more relevant to them. It’s better for you because consumers will be more likely to read your emails, less likely to unsubscribe and, ultimately, more likely to make additional purchases or recommend you to a friend.
So without further ado, here are five emails you should be sending your customers that are triggered based on their behavior:
1. Win Backs
Win backs are triggered email campaigns designed to “win back” previous customers. Because marketing to existing customers is often much easier than new customers because they’ve already had a positive experience, these campaigns can dramatically increase sales.
If you’re not yet sending these types of emails, the simplest approach is to get a list of all your customers and when they last made a purchase, choose the period of time after which you want to email them and filter out customers who have made a purchase more recently. How long to wait before sending a customer a win back will depend on your business, but a good estimate is between three and 12 months. Once you have a list of customers, you will send them an email campaign designed to motivate them to revisit your website or business. The two most common carrots you can offer are either a limited time offer/discount or a summary of new or related products.
Once you’ve sent the first campaign, you’ll want to repeat the process at least every month or two. You can also start to test different ideas around what message or offer to use and who to target. For instance, you might want to send different win backs based on number of times a customer has purchased or what types of products they typically purchase. You’ll also want to measure the effectiveness of these campaigns and the number of purchases and sales they drive. Our Campaign Analyzer is a free and easy way to measure which email campaigns lead to purchases.
There’s lots more to discuss around win backs, but I’ll leave that for another post.
2. Abandoned carts
Most businesses know they should be sending triggered abandoned cart campaigns, but few e-commerce businesses actually implement them. This can be a big missed opportunity. Studies have shown that 87% consumers abandon online carts and 75% say they intend to complete their purchase. Most importantly, 54% of abandoners who intend to buy will do so in the first 24 hours after leaving. This means there’s a small window for reaching out to those consumers before they lose interest.
To send these emails, you need to know when a consumer adds something to a shopping cart online, but doesn’t complete that purchase within an hour. You also need to collect their email address during the checkout process so you have a way to contact them. Once you have that information, you can monitor for new abandoned carts yourself or set up an automated system to do it for you.
It’s also important to think about the message you want to send. It’s easy to think the reason for a consumer abandoning their cart is price, but that’s often not the case. It might be that the checkout process was confusing or complex or that consumer simply didn’t have time to finish the transaction. The content of your email should include a link directly to their shopping cart and a clear message for how someone can get help with their struggling with the checkout process or would prefer to complete it over the phone. As with win backs, you’ll want to experiment with different types of content and different timings to maximize the number of completely purchases.
3. Post-purchase Product Reviews
We’ve discussed triggered emails before a purchase is completed and long after, but an often ignored opportunity is shortly after a purchase is made. A key to driving repeat customers is keeping the conversation going and growing their relationship with your brand or business. A good way to do this is by asking a customers to leave a product review after they’ve made and received their purchase.
Asking consumers to leave reviews not only adds great content to your website for the future, but it allows consumers to create a personal bond with your company by giving their opinions about your products. Just as politicians asking voters to pledge their vote increases the odds those voters actually vote, customers who write positive reviews are more likely to recommend your products or become a repeat customer.
4. Related Product Recommendations
Another strategy for engaging customers after a purchase is sending them a time based email with products related to the one they just bought. Larger retailers are famous for using these types of recommendation emails. This type of campaign might seem complicated, but getting value is easier than you’d think. Most businesses have a handful of very popular products. To get started, choose one of your popular products and a few related products. Then find all of the customers who bought the popular product recently, but did not buy one of the related products and send those customers an email campaign highlighting those items.
You can then repeat this process for your top products to see which combinations perform best. If you have a few products which account for the bulk of your sales, you can do this process manually. However, if you have a large number of products you’d like to try this with, you should consider finding an app or service to help you identify related products and automatically creating different customer segments.
5. Loyalty and Referral Offers
So far we’ve focused on emails that are triggered based on the time of a purchase, but that’s not the only dimension that matters. You should also trigger emails based on a customer’s overall purchase history. For instance, when someone reaches five or 10 purchases all-time, they’ve demonstrated some serious allegiance to your business. Simply recognizing their patronage with a thank you email is a great start, but you can take it even further. Once someone shows their commitment you can reward them with special VIP offers and incentivize them to refer others to your business with refer a friend deals.
This strategy is similar to a loyalty program, but it doesn’t need to be overly formal or complex. You can get started by having a set of triggered emails that are sent when customers reach different lifetime thresholds. With a few well timed emails, you can encourage more repeat purchases or turn high value customers into great affiliates.
Those are just five triggered emails we think you should consider. What are others your business already sends? Let us know.
And if you’re interested in easily sending any of the above triggered emails, you should give Klaviyo a try.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails have become a firmly entrenched part of the collective American experience. In light of this (and wanting to see what I could learn about their email marketing), I took a deeper dive into the last 5 years of Amazon.com emails I’ve gotten each November.
While Amazon’s emails are remarkably personalized and targeted, what’s most clear is that Amazon has adapted their email strategy based on broader trends (the rise of Cyber Monday), new learnings in what’s effective (significant changes in subjects based on the rise of mobile), and offline competition (expanding the Black Friday focus) numerous times over the years. The lesson for other companies isn’t so much specific subject lines or topic areas – but instead in how to keep email adaptive and effective.
Different: Emails have adapted extensively to external developments.
Consistent: Highly personalized, geared to making me (the customer) happy and consistent references to what makes Amazon stand out from competition.
5 Years of Amazon Subject Lines
Here are the subject lines:
Beyond the analysis I’ll do here, I’ve probably also revealed more than I ever intended to about myself (though I’ve still yet to figure out why Amazon tried to get me to buy the Large Print Edition of Heart of Darkness in 2009). What’s undeniable is that Amazon has customized how they communicate with me – in a way that is radically different from what existed before the age of Ecommerce.
The Rise of Cyber Monday
By taking a look at the number of emails mentioning “Cyber Monday” (i.e. the Monday after Thanksgiving known for electronics deals), we see that Cyber Monday first started being mentioned in 2009, but it’s being referenced more and more often.
What this means: Consumers are likely becoming more aware of Cyber Monday as an event, and there’s likely an opportunity for software / technology companies to take advantage of this awareness. For the first time this year, I got an early offer from a web host promising hosting discounts.
The Impact of Mobile on the Changing Email Subject Line
If we take a look at the first word in Amazon subject lines, we notice that there’s been a remarkable shift from starting nearly every email with Amazon, to an increasing use of the word Save in 2010, to a shift to less consistent titles in 2011. My hypothesis is that this trend away from consistent subject lines is largely due to a greater reliance on mobile – if people are reading an email on their smart phones, starting with Amazon doesn’t provide enough information to encourage them to open the email (especially when you’re emailing them every single day).
The Competitive Response
Finally, Amazon’s Black Friday deals started earlier and were more pervasive this year than previously. Black Friday deals started 9 days before Black Friday and were released hourly. Given that Target and Best Buy promised to match Amazon prices this year, this shift is hardly surprising.
Play to your Strengths
Each year, Amazon has consistently played to their advantages over other retailers by retaining a focus on why shopping online is better than offline. Their main taglines in their primary Black Friday email on Thanksgiving reliably focus on avoiding the lines of offline retailers:
- Don’t spend Black Friday jostling for parking spots (2008)
- Big Savings, No Waiting (2009 – 2012)
Thanksgiving Email Lessons
The key lesson here is that email strategies (described broadly as how you communicate with customers) needs to be adaptive to what’s happening in the world (And with your business), yet have underlying focus on being personalized and playing to your strengths.
A few specific learnings:
- Take advantage of events. Whether it’s holidays or competitor actions, leverage external events as a chance to reach out to customers and build your relationship with them. The greeting card industry gets a bad rap for inventing holidays – you probably don’t want to invent Valentine’s day, but there might be a way to create consistent communications around holidays, competitive launches or milestones.
- Adapt to changes in technology (i.e. if most people are reading your newsletter on mobile, make sure it fits their use case – not just in terms of content, but also in terms of subject).
- Personalize your communication. Take a look at the last 5 years of Amazon subject lines and you are learning more about me then you are about Amazon. That’s pretty remarkable – and given that they are the largest eCommerce retailer in the world, is what your customers are rapidly growing used to.
Even if all of these ideas sound good, you still have to be both willing to try new things and disciplined about taking a data driven approach to analyzing them afterwards. You send email for the benefit of your customers in the hope that that translates into a positive outcome for your business – so you better understand whether those emails are actually working. Try often, make sure you are being creative and ambitious enough that you sometimes fail, but know that you are continually improving.
Sign up for email updates for the Klaviyo blog on the right to learn more about the future of email marketing.
Having previously found that the Obama campaign ended 1 in 6 of their email subject lines in colons, I decided to dive into the last 30 days of election emails (available online thanks to ProPublica) to see what they might tell me about Americans and how we respond to email more broadly.
From free car magnets to exactly which friends we should tell to vote, I realized that the emails we get are about to radically change as political campaigns and businesses get even more sophisticated at poking our psychological triggers and leveraging our social networks.
Do vs. Believe
I decided to create two word clouds out of the subject line to see how the language of each campaign differed. For each campaign, I took all of the email subject lines, took out the candidate names and extremely common words / combined words with the same meaning, and then sized each word based on how many times it was used.
Take a look at the word cloud at the top. Which campaign do you think it’s from? Now, look at this next word cloud:
The top cloud is President Obama, and the bottom is Mitt Romney. The most common words in Obama’s emails were share (or forward, like an email), calls and free – compared to America, help and love in Romney’s emails. Many of Romney’s email subjects wouldn’t have been out of place on motivational posters, while Obama’s would fit better as the names on Facebook buttons.
1. Jump on Facebook, 2. Make some Calls
Diving deeper, this change seemed to be reflected in the purposes of the emails sent. Nearly half (46%) of Obama’s emails explicitly asked the recipient to do something in the email subject line – whether that was to make phone calls, forward a message to friends, or sign-up for something – compared to 28% of emails.
Romney’s emails tended to focus on ideas:
- “A Strong America”
- “This is a time for greatness”
- “We Will Recover”
While Obama’s focused on taking action:
- “Three Things you can do right now”
- “Forward this:”
- “RIGHT NOW: President Obama Needs you to make some calls”
These emails represent strategic choices and differences in voter base certainly, but given the deep sophistication of the Obama campaign covered elsewhere, it’s very likely that giving people you email a direct next step in the subject is actually just more effective in many cases.
Tell Jason, Jim and Leah to Vote
One of the most interesting emails from Obama came on election day and had a personal list of your friends in swing states you should encourage to vote – all mined from your Facebook account if you’d given the campaign permission to access it. Based on other accounts, the Obama campaign knew who the voters on the line were in swing states – and based on these emails, it looks like they also knew which of their friends could encourage them to vote for Obama.
FREE Shipping (and $5 off!)
At varying points in the campaign, Obama was offering free t-shirts, free car magnets, free tickets to see James Taylor and Dave Matthews, free shipping – all to get people to donate. While the idea of free stuff to get people to do things isn’t new, the prevalence of these offers in the campaigns may mean that it’s poised to take over all the marketing emails we get.
3 Key Trends in the Future of Email Marketing
- More and more marketing will come through people we know. By getting people to engage their friends, marketers are able to increase their reach and give a personal touch to an otherwise impersonal ad or email. From mining Facebook data to tracking your demographics and actions around the web, marketers will know who you are, who you know, and what message will be most likely to resonate with you and your friends.
- Direct and clear next steps will become more pervasive. As social psychologists and marketers have long known, giving people an explicit action to take significantly increases the likelihood of them doing it. The Obama campaign emails suggests more and more advertising might include a direct call to action that is tailored explicitly to you.
- Marketing will become better – and harder to resist. As marketers become more sophisticated and metrics-driven, they’ll be able to stop sending you marketing that doesn’t have an impact. If I show that I like celebrities and contests, more of my emails may include free contests to hang out with celebrities.
If the 2008 election was the first election where donations of the masses played a bigger impact than the donations of the rich, then the 2012 election might be remembered as the election where email meant that even the concept of the masses has ceased to exist. We’re entering an age when political campaigns (and business) will send us personalized emails based on who we are and what we like – and they’ll ask us to bring our friends along with us.
Follow Klaviyo on Twitter for more analyses like this on the changing role of email marketing.