Email Marketing Made Easy: Part 2, ConversionHow to build a welcome email series that turns shoppers into buyers

So now that you’re applying best practices to acquiring your marketing audience, your list is growing and people are eager to hear from you. Conversion is all about turning that database into purchasers and there’s no more effective way to do so than a welcome email or, better yet, a series of welcome emails. After all, you’ve paid to acquire these new subscribers, so why not talk to them? In fact, not sending a welcome email is like inviting a new friend over for dinner and then ignoring the doorbell when they arrive.How to send welcome #emails that will solidify your new #customer relationships and #sell more #Webgility Click To Tweet

After acquiring a new lead, the best practice is to send a series of two to three triggered messages. The focus of these messages should be to introduce, inspire, and incentivize a sale, or conversion. These pre-nurture, getting-to-know-you emails should include messages that reinforce your brand value and build consumer confidence. In other words, tell those new friends why they should shop with you, explain what your brand stands for, and describe what makes your business so unique. In your first message or in one of the messages within your series, consider sending some how-to content to educate your customer about your particular specialty. Consider introducing a loyalty program or a frequent-shopper program. Finally, in your early emails, set expectations about how often you will email and what content your customer can expect to receive in your emails. This will help prevent list dropout and unsubscribes later.

From there, I encourage you to be creative based on the kinds of customers you have and what they respond to. Here are a few specific examples:

    • Birthday invite message: Ask your audience to share their birth date with you in the initial welcome message, so you can send them a gift. The gift should introduce them to your brand—maybe a product sample of some kind—and remind them of any added value you provide.
    • Free shipping: If your customers sign up for a three-month service or if they spend over $50, for example, they receive free shipping.
    • Create an account: Invite your audience to create a customer account with you and explain the benefits of doing so, such as streamlined checkout or first dibs on promotions.
    • Product news: Introduce your top product categories or focus on the top products within specific categories. Or send an alert when you’ve added new products or styles to your inventory.
    • Referrals: Ask your audience to refer a friend, and maybe even offer a discount on a purchase if that friend signs up or buys something.
  • Ask for more information: Invite your audience to come back to your site to complete a manage-preference form. This will give you additional data about them and their particular product interests and also give them the option to let you know the frequency with which they would like to hear from you. Putting them in control of both the content and the frequency of the messages they receive will extend their loyalty to your brand.

There are many possible messages and outcomes that you can use to create a multi-part, multi-logic, multiple path welcome series. One smart way to make the most of the series is to design later messages that are triggered based on the customer’s behavior. For instance, when a customer makes a purchase in response to one of the first three emails, send an invitation to follow your business on your social media platforms. When a customer opens one of those messages and doesn’t make a purchase, send a message detailing the newest products on the site. When a customer doesn’t open any of the first three messages, send them a more offer- or discount-based message to incentivize them to purchase. When a customer purchases once but then doesn’t purchase again for a very long period of time, send them a message letting them know if they make a second purchase they could be entered in a prize drawing. And when a customer has actually made two purchases, go ahead and remove them from the welcome series because they’ve graduated from the conversion process, so to speak.

Since you’re welcoming your new clients and gaining valuable data from them, be sure not to send them all the same one-size-fits-all newsletter. Use dynamic content and segment your lists by a specific category. For example, clothing retailers who segment by gender have been known to increase conversion rates massively. But be sure to put some thought into your segments. If you’re a sporting goods retailer, you may want to segment your emails by product category interest—you don’t want to be pushing specials on football equipment to someone who’s only interested in tennis. Pay attention to who your customers are and how they buy, and make an effort to speak directly to the different types of consumers.

A simple triggered message that automatically reminds shoppers of their abandoned shopping cart is another major opportunity in the conversion phase of the email marketing funnel. In fact, cart recovery emails are the number one best performing commerce marketing tactic. Depending on your store, these short messages can be sent with or without special discounts to incentivize customers to complete the checkout process. For example, “We saved something just for you. Return to your shopping cart.” This is a great place to offer customer service contact information, in case they need help or if they have a question that came up during checkout. An astronomical 70 percent of all carts are abandoned and fewer than 10 percent of email marketers send cart recovery messages, so it’s a great low-impact opportunity to sell more and offer help to customers.When executed thoughtfully, welcome emails increase loyalty and multiply online purchases. Click To Tweet

As we’ve discussed, the welcome series represents your best opportunity to offer your services to a customer and allow them to get to know your business. This is a process that’s easy to visualize when a customer walks through the door of a brick and mortar store, but it often gets overlooked in the world of online shopping. Leverage the tools that you have both in-store and after that purchase to virtually walk your customers through the experience of your brand. When executed thoughtfully, you’ll communicate with them in a timely, relevant manner and they will respond with increased loyalty and multiple purchases. For a deeper dive into the welcome series, watch our on-demand  webinar “A Better Way to Say Welcome,” also presented with our good friends at Bronto.

Up next? Retention, which turns one-time buyers into ongoing, repeat, loyal customers who ideally become brand advocates. Check out Part 1: Acquisition or listen to the on-demand webinar Email Campaigns That Drive Revenue.

Special thanks to our friends at Bronto. Bronto provides a cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform for mid-market and enterprise organizations worldwide.