Have you ever received an email that frustrated you? You probably remember that bad experience and exactly who it was with. Onboarding new and potential customers with email is not as easy as you think. For eTailers struggling with customer acquisition a solid email strategy is key to retaining your current customers.
Stop Chasing Start Nurturing
Thus through much trial and error we have developed the ideal eCommerce customer onboarding experience. The key is to send behavioral emails that utilize data. Starting from the moment the customer opts into your email campaign to years down the line when they are your most valued customer behavioral email marketing is not only ideal but it is also becoming the norm and customers are expecting better email marketing.
Creating a Fun Email Onboarding Experience
Emails don’t have to be boring. Make them funny, engaging, and unique, spend some extra time and think about what makes your company unique. You want your emails to be as Likeable as your Social Media.
The Email Opt In: Test Like a Mad Scientist
This isn’t going to be an article on email pop ups verse no pop ups
, there are plenty of them out there. All I have to say on the subject is test test test,
there are many alternatives to your traditional email pop up that aren’t as obtrusive.
The first step is to determine your eCommerce store’s conversion rate, bounce rate and an estimated $ value of each opt-in email subscriber. If with a pop up you acquire more emails than the loss of orders with a higher bounce rate it may make sense to utilize a popup to add these new customers to the marketing funnel.
Also be mindful of returning customers, sometimes I click from an email campaign and get disturbed with a popup asking me to join the email campaign! That’s frustrating.
So here are 6 checkpoints to ensure you are getting the most out of your eCommerce onboarding.
1. Email Opt In Copy
So you’ve tested whether the increase in subscribers with an email popup is offset by a higher bounce rate and now you are going to want to test email copy. Remember nobody wants to join another boring list. Tweak that boring “subscribe button” or that monotone “join yet another email list” and put your have add a little flair and personality from your eCommerce store’s culture.
Everytime you see a plain “subscribe button” think of nails on a chalkboard.
Chubbies does a phenomenal job in being creative with their copy, rather than subscribing we are boom shakalakaing, I can dig it.
And notice on AFR Clothing’s blog how their eCommerce customers aren’t joining an email list, they are joining a mission to change the world. In the microcopy we assure them they won’t receive any spam and rather than “subscribing” they are Making a Difference.
Customers don’t enjoy signing up or subscribing to lists. Can you blame them, there are 120 million emails sent every second, they don’t know what you are going to do with their email. (spam, sell, rent, leave in the source code for everyone to see) Regardless if you are using an email popup or an email widget on your website’s footer or header, don’t leave generic copy, get creative.
Deliver your eCommerce customers value and do it immediately.
So now that your eCommerce customers signed up to your
email list “arsenal of highly loyal fans”, don’t simply say thanks for joining yet another boring email list. Customers expectations need to be set, it’s not enough to say thanks for joining. Let them know you value them and what they can expect from you and your company.
2. The Thank You Page
Rather than saying hello welcome to more boring emails, we send opt in email subscribers to a new thank you page setting their expectations.
- They will receive an email shortly
- They can choose preferences and receive personalized emails
- They can watch a sweet video
We are telling them we are organized, we care about them and we are fun. Email is an amazing way to automate relationship building.
Note* some esps make you double opt in and send confirmation emails letting you know that you’ve subscribed. These are often generic and can be changed and improved if mandatory.
3. Who are you, What are you Doing?
Recently I came across a great video
outlining exactly what happens to your email after you hit send. With over 122 million emails being sent every second it’s ideal to prove you are legit by authentication. If you own your domain and have access to your DNS settings set up your Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
, and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
Stop The One Way Communication. Now.
VideoScribe sent me a great email, solid resources BUT….
When I reply I get a nice error message and they never knew I wanted to have a conversation.
You are telling your customers you don’t care. You do care about them right? If you are reading this you probably do care and your customers can actually respond to your emails, kudos! Now let’s refine it.
Who should your email be coming from?
Ideally your email should be coming from a person, a face of your company that customers can relate to and talk to.
First I’m going to stack my flow, Then I’m going to stack some more. YoungJeezy loves our emails as much as we love his jams.
Always Be Testing, thus far I do not have sufficient data to conclude either works better (Phone # vs no Phone #) but they both outperform a no reply address hands down. Now I wouldn’t test a no reply address on a client but the last email sent received 3 responses we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
4. Always Be Testing (ABT) Subject Lines, Email Copy, Button Colors, Test Test Test.
Thanks to Klaviyo
we have added buttons within our email copy directly to subscription preferences. Nobody goes to the email footer
and says I want to give this company more information about me today!
But when you make it about the customer and you make it easy they are more likely to tell you their preferences.
In this case Weekly or Monthly Emails – by clicking the button you are lead to preferences with pre checked options to choose what kind of emails would you like to receive and how often would you like to receive them.
See how we are putting the customer in charge and setting the precedent for a fantastic eCommerce shopping experience?
5. Deliver on promises, and Send emails based on behavior
If you are sending the right eCommerce emails your customers are on your site and will likely receive triggered emails based on browsing behavior thus we don’t want to send a campaign email at the same time they are receiving a shopping cart abandonment email. Work with your ESP to set up systems to avoid these mal experiences. If you say you are emailing monthly don’t email weekly, earn your customers’ trust.
Back to analyzing over 200 eCommerce companies emails some companies insisted on sending me an email a day for over 1 year even though I hadn’t opened a single email.
The better ones cleaned their list using funny jokes or telling me I am in charge. 10 engaged customers are much more valuable than 1000 who have never opened an email.
If you aren’t cleaning your list it will skew your statistics and testing.
Ideally you want to identify your best 100 customers and utilize them to find you your next best 100.
If you Do Nothing You Will automatically be removed from our email list.
6. The eCommerce email unsubscribe (Biggest Lost Opportunity for 99% of eTailers)
So you pissed them off, congratulations! You didn’t deliver value you misused their trust or maybe they got what they wanted and no longer want your service or products.
Regardless you should ask what you did wrong. Give your eCommerce customers a chance to opt back in. Let them know they are in charge and that they have choices.
- Receive fewer emails
- Connect on Social Media
- Or Leave Forever We So Sad ;(
Now that you have the eCommerce email marketing onboarding strategy in mind it’s time to get creative. Have fun with your emails, and make your customers smile.
Have you tried any creative onboarding to discover fantastic results? Share your story and favorite email marketing tactics.
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Luiz Centenaro is the Founder & President of eCommerce Cosmos, an eTail consulting firm that has worked with hundreds of eCommerce companies to mitigate shopping cart abandonment and increase customer lifetime value.