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One of the most important things in email marketing is the strategy. You can send out one email per month and call it email marketing. Will it be effective? I am not sure. However, the well developed email marketing strategy will increase your revenue, the brand awareness and subscriber engagement.

So let’s start from what the email marketing strategy is, and why you need it. The email marketing strategy is the plan of which emails to send and when. Let’s say, you want to build your dream house. You hired contractor to build it, but you did not provide the contractor with blueprints of the house. It would be impossible for the contractor to build the house without the blueprints. The same thing is with email marketing – you need to have the strategy (plan) to build it.

So let’s build email marketing strategy for your online store together. There are eight steps, and below is their brief description.

  • Step #1 – Opt Ins
  • Step #2 – Pre-Purchase
  • Step #3 – Abandonment Cart
  • Step #4 – Exit Intent  
  • Step #5 – Post Purchase [New Customer]
  • Step #6 – 2X Buyer [Repeat Customer]
  • Step #7 – Win Back
  • Step #8 – Browser Abandonment

Step #1 – Opt Ins

First you need to list all possible ways for subscribers to opt in to your system. Then, you want to add some extra ways, which you plan to add to your strategy. For example, you can have the website footer opt in now, as well as some facebook lead ad opt in. There are many ways for subscribers to opt in, but here are some typical ones.

It is important to know and list of all your opt ins, because personalizing the message towards that specific lead magnet depends on where customers opt in. For example, one of my clients has Warranty activation opt in. It means that they purchase the product on amazon or ebay, and visit the site just to activate the warranty. We do not want to send them Pre-Purchase emails, where we want to convert them to customers, because they already purchased it but on different platform.

Step #2 – Pre-Purchase

After they opted in, and they are not customers yet (meaning made zero purchases), we add them to the pre-purchase automation. You will communicate differently with somebody who made zero purchases vs somebody who plans to order. It means, you need to work harder in this automation. The goal of this automation is to nurture the subscriber, and convert him/her to a buyer. Typically, in this automation, you want to talk about your brand, yout product, and provide some useful content related to it. This automation can have as many emails as you want. The email quantity is not as important as its content.

Step #3 – Abandonment Cart

This is a low hanging fruit in email marketing for ecommerce. It is one of the most profitable automation. A potential customer visited your store, they added a product to their cart, started the checkout, completed the first step and left for some reason. If you do not have abandonment cart automation – 99% is that you lost the customer. However, if you have a trigger in your email marketing software to send the follow up emails personalized to that specific person, there are many more chances that you can recover that sale. Thus, keep in mind what kind of emails you want to send them. What would you like to say? It would be a totally different message from the one where they just opt in via footer on your site. Aslo, the software you use should have the dynamic block, which shows them exactly what they left in the cart.

Here is an example of the abandonment cart email from Moschino. It has the personalized message, plus the block, which shows the product they left in the cart

Step #4 – Exit Intend

This automation I learned from Ezra Firestone (the ecommerce king).

He teaches it in his Smart Email Marketing course. The idea of this is to capture people’s emails via pop-up opt in form. This pop-up form will be shown only to those, who are not in your system yet. Also, this popup will be shown only to those, who visit the product category page, the product page and/or cart page. For them to opt in, the pop-up will have some monetary incentive. It could be a discount offer or some dollar amount discount.

Step #5 – Post Purchase [New Customer]

The next one is the communication with somebody, who just made a purchase. What kind of message do you want to send them? The logical message would be, at least, to thank them for their purchase. Also, it is good idea to tell them what will happen next, and when they should expect the package. The goal of this automation is to remove buyer’s remorse, and make him/her feel good about their decision.

Step #6 – 2X Buyer [Repeat Customer]

This automation is similar to post purchase. However, in this automation, we want to acknowledge that it is their second purchase from you, and thank them again. Also, in this automation, you can include some cross sell or upsell emails.

Step #7 – Win Back

The idea of this automation is to re-engage your customer. They purchased from you in the past, and placed zero orders in the last 45, 60 or 90 days. You need to send them personalized email and encourage to buy again. Also, you can add survey to find out why they did not buy again.

Step #8 – Browser Abandonment

This automation will not be available on all email marketing service providers. However, I would like to cover it anyway, since I use Klaviyo and they have this feature. This automation is triggered, when somebody is already in your database, and they visit specific product page but do not add this product to their cart, and do not buy. The automation is triggered, and the automatic email goes to them with the personalized message, which includes the image and description of the product of interest. Thus, you need to think about the message you want to send them.

Here is the browser abandonment email example from Australian gift company.

In conclusion, you can see that the email marketing strategy has many moving pieces. You can do it yourself, or one of your team members can do it for you. Some kind of plan is always better than none. In the beginning, you may have very basic strategy, but you can keep improving it with time.