For those in the Northern hemisphere it’s almost that time of year to roll up your sleeves and do a Spring clean. The same mentality can be applied in eCommerce – it’s a great opportunity to sort through your email marketing platform.
Why? Well, for many reasons, but one being so that you can give your customers the best journey possible. If you’re in the Southern hemisphere, never fear, these tips still apply.
For the same reasons you Spring clean your house, Spring cleaning your email marketing platform will help you:
- Sort through clutter
- Get rid of irrelevant material
- Freshen things up
- Become more organised
Step 1: clean your email list for more effective sends
Spring cleaning is GREAT for hygiene purposes. Now you might be wondering, ‘what does hygiene have to do with my mailing list?’ Well, think of it as list hygiene – your list needs a regular clean otherwise it becomes old and stale. This is a great starting point and sets you up for the next (and very important) step in your spring cleaning quest.
It can be easy to fall into the habit of sending out campaigns to the same list every time, but this is a big no-no. Here’s why: inactive subscribers won’t open your emails. Simple. This means that open rates will be pulled down by the people who aren’t interested in your content, but are too lazy to hit unsubscribe.
On the other hand, if you’re consistently sending emails to unengaged subscribers, your unsubscribe rates will eventually go up. When you’ve sent that one final email that’s irrelevant to that subscriber, it’ll prompt them to opt-out. This removes the opportunity for you to run a re-engagement campaign or lapsed customer flow to encourage these subscribers to come back and make a purchase when the time is right.
Cleaning up your list will also help you to narrow down key actionable metrics in future campaigns. These include things like how many people have clicked on your email and what percentage of customers who received your email made a purchase i.e. very helpful stuff.
Your numbers will be far more insightful when you’re sending your campaigns to an engaged audience, rather than showing skewed results because you did a mass send to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. This will also make A/B testing more valuable as results will be more accurate. The list of benefits goes on – it might seem like a tedious task, but it’ll pay off.
Step 2: segment your audience to deliver targeted content
Now that you’ve cleaned out the metaphorical cobwebs, it’s time for phase two: audience segmentation. The ultimate goal of sending campaigns is to motivate your customers into making a purchase, right? Well, targeting your audience with relevant, personalized content is a great way to do that.
Delivering content to those who are interested in it (and at the right time or frequency) will work wonders. For eCommerce merchants, making sure a relationship is built with the customer through email interactions is essential. So, we want to make that experience meaningful for customers, and make them feel like you ‘get’ them.
Sending the right content to the right customers can be done a few different ways. For some, it could be as simple as creating segments based on engagement levels. This way, you can continue sending frequently to customers who enjoy receiving your regular content, and less frequently to those who may only be interested in new products or sales.
For different eCommerce brands, the definition of an engaged audience will vary. This is where you will need to look at your actionable metrics and have a play around with segment definitions. If your ‘highly engaged’ segment has 10 people in it, but your list size is 20,000, this is a clear indication that you’ll need to loosen the strings.
There are a few factors to consider here, for example, how often you’re sending campaigns, how many people are opening your emails, and how many are making a purchase. Will you send to your ‘highly engaged’ audience three times a week and your ‘somewhat engaged’ audience once a week? Test your segments out and see what prompts higher engagement.
An important question to also ask at this stage is ‘what is the cut-off point?’ You’ll need to define the point at which a customer should be removed from a list – this loops back to your list hygiene.
You can take email personalization to the next level by segmenting customers based on their previous purchases. For example, if you’re sending a campaign about a certain product, you can create a segment to exclude customers who have recently purchased it. Or perhaps if it’s a product that takes 30 days to finish, you could send a campaign to the customers who purchased it recently to remind them that it’s time for a top up.
Step 3: update your templates & flows to stay relevant
By phase three, you’re well and truly into the swing of your Spring clean and are ready to focus on content (woohoo). When was the last time you updated your email template? If you can’t remember, it’s probably time to spruce things up.
If your customers are used to seeing the same design on every email they receive, they might get the ‘same old same old’ mentality and not bother to actually read it. Hitting refresh on your template is a great way to catch their attention. Is there new imagery you could be using, or could the structure of your template be changed around a bit? This is where you can get creative.
Doing an audit of current automations is also key. Is the information in your automated flows still relevant, or is there more up-to-date information that could be swapped in? Perhaps the copy could be updated to be more in line with the current brand. Be sure to check your product feeds to make sure they’re set to the relevant collections – no one wants to be shown knitwear in the middle of summer.
This is also a good time to be looking at the fine print – is the copyright year up-to-date in your footer? If the platform you’re using has a shortcut to display this, make sure you’re using it! It’ll save you a lot of time every year making sure your automated emails are showing the correct year.
- Step one: clean the metaphorical cobwebs from your lists to optimise your metrics
- Step two: segment your audience to deliver highly personalized content at the right time
- Step three: update your templates and automated emails to keep your audience engaged
There are plenty of other things you can do to Spring clean your email marketing platform, but these three tasks are a great place to start.
If you’re interested in giving your customers the best (and most profitable) journey possible, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here.