This is a guest post by Chris Hexton from Vero.
Every business sends emails, but not everyone does so successfully. Mastering some savvy automated campaigns is an easy way to permanently get ahead of your competition.
These seven email remarketing tactics are based on proven campaigns that increase your conversions.
By tracking what your customers do you can send them the right email at the right time. Once setup, these automated messages permanently increase your sales: sometimes by as much as 10%.
For each tactic I’ve included at least one real-world example so you can literally start implement today.
Table of contents
- Killer tactic #1: Answer your customers’ questions and allay their fears
- Killer tactic #2: ASK them to spend more
- Killer tactic #3: Make them feel the urgency
- Killer tactic #4: Educate them for FREE
- Killer tactic #5: Reward new or loyalty
- Killer tactic #6: Upsell and bundle your products
- Killer tactic #7: Social actually works
Killer tactic #1: Answer your customers’ questions and allay their fears
This probably sounds way too simple to work – isn’t answering customers’ questions the whole point of customer service? Isn’t it something you should be doing every day anyway?
Of course it is!
That should mean that you already have tons of practice answering your customers questions. You probably already know the most common things they ask you, you have standard answers you provide and, if I asked you right now, you could easily tell me the top three things you get asked week-to-week.
That’s where this killer tactic comes in: distill the top three questions your customers have about your product before they buy. What are they afraid of? What do they need to know before they’ll convert?
Once you have written these three questions down, turn them into an email that answers each question individually, use this format:
Thanks for your interest in Company ABC. I noticed you look at our product yesterday. Here’s some common questions I have received recently and thought you’d be interested in.
Q: Why would I use your product? I haven’t heard of you guys before.
A: You should use our product because we’re super friendly and dedicated to our customers’ success. We give you a guarantee that if you’re not happy we’ll send you a refund. It’s risk free!
–Repeat this three times–
If you have any questions please get in touch!
Your phone number
Once you’re happy with it, send this email to customers who abandon the first step in your funnel 24 hours later.
Want some proof this works? Here’s a real example from Flightfox.com:
I’m Lauren, a co-founder of Flightfox. Just getting in touch because I noticed you didn’t launch your flight contest.
Q. Why on earth would you pay for flight search?
A. Because our Experts,
Save 27% on average for international flights
Know all the tricks of the flight industry
Can answer any question you’ve ever wondered about flying
Q. What if the Experts don’t beat the best price you’ve already found?
A. We refund the fee if our experts can’t beat your best price. Not only your best price, but your best price less the finder’s fee.
Q. Can’t you find the best flights yourself?
A. Maybe, if you’ve spent years in the flight industry. Otherwise, you’ll be amazed at what our experts can do. Many use tools and systems otherwise unknown to the general public. They can even save you thousands if you are fully flexible.
Launch Your Contest (links directly to their contest)
If you still have any questions or concerns, just reply to this email.
Happy Travels :)
Lauren & The Flightfox Team
If your inbox is overflowing, you can unsubscribe.
This single email has increased their conversions by 15%.
It’s been so effective, it now accounts for nearly 10% of their total revenue.
Here’s why it works:
- It it is personal. It comes from one of the company founders. Customers love this in itself!
- It addresses the three most common questions their customers have before they launch an (awesome) flight contest at Flightfox.com.
- They offer to help the customer personally if there are any other issues. They get real responses to this email but, even when they don’t, customers appreciate the offer. Not only does this email convert directly but it builds brand loyalty. Here’s a recent shoutout from Twitter.
Unorthodox but certainly the sort of loyalty you want!
YOUR to do: Narrow down the top three questions your customers ask most often and send them an email that answers them before they even get in touch. Most people who abandon step one of your funnel won’t contact your support number – this automated email reaches out and gives them the chance to become comfortable or to get in touch directly.
Killer tactic #2: ASK them to spend more
I started life as a developer so sales never came easily to me (it still doesn’t!) but I’ve learnt from experience that you can sell your product without being obnoxious and that you do need to sell if you ever want to grow!
The old me would have baulked at asking customers to pay more but the new me has seen it work and work very effectively so I’m going to share this secret with you.
Getting your customers to pay more can be as simple as asking them to upgrade at just the right time. A recent example from hosting business WPEngine has been making waves around the internet. WPEngine setup an automated email that goes out to users who have been using WPEngine and paying monthly.
Here’s the trick: they ask these customers to upgrade to the annual plan in exchange for two months free (a 16% discount).
Better yet they let customers upgrade with a single click. That call to action can be super powerful.
SEOMoz founder, Rand Fishkin, blogged about WPEngine’s use of this strategy how effective it is.
This email is relatively simple to setup: if you sell online software, determine which customers naturally upgrade to a higher tier plan or annual billing then setup an automated email that targets future users that meet these criteria. Try offering them a small discount to increase the percentage that convert.
If you run an e-commerce store you can do a similar thing. As an example, if a customer buys two collared white shirts today then there is every chance they’ll want to upgrade and buy some more in six months (office workers regularly need new shirts, right?)
Capitalize on this and ask them if they need to upgrade their wardrobe. Your directness will pay off!
YOUR to do: Find a segment of customers that are likely to upgrade in the future and ask them to do so early. You’ll increase the value of your customers: fantastic for your cash flow and your customer lifetime value.
Killer tactic #3: Make them feel the urgency
Groupon is the fastest growing business of all time. Positives and negatives aside, Groupon used one particular strategy to their advantage in a big way: URGENCY.
By making deals expire within 24 hours they forced people to be impulsive. This isn’t can really work.
Here’s an example of a campaign from ModCloth that builds a sense of urgency:
This email is automatically sent to customers who have items on their wishlist that are about to go out of stock.
This campaign works because they know that customers who have added an item to their wishlist actually want that item.
Utilising this knowledge and creating a sense of urgency but alerting their customers that this product is about to become unavailable has a very powerful affect on buyers and can often make them buy something they otherwise would have forgotten about or ‘left for another day’.
This works in most businesses, particularly those where product lines are refreshed regularly (clothing, electronics, discount items, etc.) as in these instances products are truly likely to never return.
YOUR to do: Setup an automated email that targets customers who you know have an interest in a product, discount or feature and write the email such that it feels like they have no choice but to act now.
Killer tactic #4: Educate them for FREE
Although you have to be direct, being overtly ‘salesy’ can often turn customers off. There’s a fine line.
In today’s online world, one marketing trick that works is education. Jason Fried from 37Signals talks about the power of teaching and sharing in this talk from a few years ago.
What’s really interesting is how many of the most popular internet marketing tools are based on this concept of ‘sharing as marketing’: videos, ebooks, blogs, webinars, social media – they are all channels for sharing.
Guess what? Email is no different!
A well-produced series of educational emails can have a huge affect on the number of leads that become trial users of your software or first time buyers at your store.
This is particularly true when you are selling more complicated products or pushing the boundaries in your industry – people need to understand what you’re all about and educating them is a way of building trust.
In the good old days this is what a sales assistant in a store did: in the digital world you can use email to educate at scale. Not only will you sell more but you’ll be helping a lot of people learn something new and that feels amazing.
Kareem of SocialWOD recently blogged about implementing this tactic and the thousands of dollars it made him within months.
I’ve used this tactic myself over at Vero. Here’s some of the subject lines from a 30 day email marketing course we give away for free. In each email I try to be super helpful, I rarely even mention Vero.
My goal is not to talk about our product but to help customers do better email marketing.
I am lucky enough to regularly get comments like:
“I love your email courses. Read every one.”
That puts a smile on my face and it can put a smile on yours too!
Here are the first three subject lines in my educational email series, to give you an idea of how practical and friendly they are. I’ve also included a screenshot showing it’s all about writing great content: nothing fancy.
[Vero] Email remarketing vs. display remarketing by the numbers
[Vero] An email you can send before a customers trial ends that really works!
[Vero] A/B testing isn’t just for your landing page
YOUR to do: Capture leads on your home page or dedicated landing pages by offering users the chance to learn more over 30 days from your educational course. This will convert otherwise cold leads into real customers!
Killer tactic #5: Reward new or loyalty
Giving a special discount or offer to new or loyal customers works really well.
Who doesn’t love a special offer?
You can use this tactic in conjunction with many of those above – I’ve already mentioned that offering a discount or special can often increase the conversions on other tactics.
Alternately, you might offer long-standing current customers a special price on a new feature or product you put out. Customers like being part of a community. You need to build a community around your product and giving away genuinely special offers can help build a sense of involvement.
Just as this works for older members of your community, welcoming new members can not only have direct sales benefits but helps them feel like they are part of something.
I’ve seen a number of cutting edge e-commerce stores employ this tactic magnificently.
The Iconic, one of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in Australia use a variety of super charged marketing tactics, one of which is offering new members to their store or mailing list $10 credit.
With many, many thousands of people joining their community monthly and with business clearly booming, this tactics converts customers that would otherwise have spent nothing into real customers.
YOUR to do: Who are your most loyal customers? Send them an email with a special offer next time you launch a feature or they want to upgrade. Doing the unexpected helps propel you into the top tier of customer service. Have new customers? Welcome them to your loving community with a welcome offer.
Killer tactic #6: Upsell and bundle your products
Product recommendation drives 30% of Amazon’s revenues.
I think we can all agree, that’s not too shabby.
Product recommendations are predominantly used by stores on checkout pages or thank you and receipt emails.
These work, so keep doing them!
My secret tactic involves a nice twist on this concept and is particularly lucrative when you combine it with recommending products with high profit margins.
An example from Buy.com is below:
What I’ve seen work super well is taking an email like the one above and sending it to people who show interest in a specific product in a specific category.
By targeting people interested in cameras, Buy.com would successfully convert some customers to buy a complete package of 16 items. That sort of package is extremely effective at raising the average order value per customer.
For another example: let’s say you’re an online electronics store and you observe that many customers who purchase a Samsung TV also buy a Blu-ray player (either immediately or as part of a return sale).
This is valuable information. You’ve seen a pattern so it’s time to use email to do something about it.
Setup an automated email that goes out to anyone who purchases a Samsung TV but not a Blu-ray player and send it a week later. Have a single call to action, include a link directly to the product and watch the upsells happen!
Any time you observe a pattern in your sales you have an opportunity to pre-empt the pattern and optimize it.
As long as you ensure customers don’t receive the same email too often this can give you a permanent sales life across all product lines. It can also be used to sell particular products or products that are rarely purchased on their own (e.g. lenses for a camera).
To do: You know your customer base better than anyone else: review your orders and analytics to find a pattern you can test. Setup an email that upsells users of a certain product / product category. Measure your conversions and unsubscribes and refine this process until it works for you.
Killer tactic #7: Social actually works
Some of the top online stores are now integrating Facebook with their core platform make it easy for customers to see what their friends are buying and sharing.
Pinterest has further accelerated growth in sharing.
We live in an age where connection is instant and where we, as businesses, have the ability to analyse a vast array of information about our various customers.
We can use this information in new ways. My tip here is to use product recommendations along with customers’ friend information to send emails that enourage repeat purchases or engagement.
Twitter provides a great example of this strategy. By default they provide a weekly ’roundup’ email that shows you the tweets that have been popular among your specific circle of friends. This has the net effect of keeping customers engaged with their Twitter feeds, introducing them to new people they can follow and highlighting the most popular posts.
Imagine the power of a similar strategy if it were employed by an online store or web product.
Sharing what your friends have recently bought or browsed is a great way to get inside inboxes without seeming overtly salesy or pushy and social proof is one of the biggest motivators of purchasing decisions because it is rooted in trust.
To do: Capitalize on the rise and rise of social media. Setup an email that goes out to customers that shares with them the products their friends have bought, liked or used. This email will drive repeat sales by bringing customers back to your website or store.
These 7 tactics give you real copy and examples you can implement to ensure you are using email remarketing to effectively lift your conversions across your entire funnel, from acquisition to referral.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve had any success with these or other tactics!
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Excellent stuff here Chris. I’m currently doing an overhaul of our sales email approach and this is really helpful, especially #2.
Awesome post, Chris – and great actionable examples.
Thanks for these great ideas, especially the template examples
Nice work Chris!
Hi All, Todd from Flightfox here (the example company in Chris’ post). Highly recommend using getvero.com over rolling your own solution. Although we do our own site analytics, Vero does way too much for us to do ourselves. For example, A/B testing email copy to customizable conversion stats.
@Michael Yardney: small world. I attended one of your workshops in Canberra about 6-8 years ago.
I don’t know you but I like you already! Great post, especially loved the first one! Absolutely clever!
Alright, I will admit, this is actually a very well written post with some good ideas with some interesting ways to get some extra conversion. One of the few boths I have bothered to read from begging to end without getting sidetracked or bored, so thank you for the tips. I will definitely try to institute some of them into our email campaigns. Rock on!
Excellent examples. Some time back SEO moz did a whiteboard friday something like this. This is elaborate. Awesome.
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