Automated emails essential to sales

While most businesses make use of email marketing, it can be tricky getting it right. The current trend in email marketing, is automation, saving you time while you send out automatic emails to new and existing customers. But automation doesn’t only save you time. By sending out personalized emails directed at the right customers at the right time, you can increase click-through rates to your website by as much as 152%, according to Campaign Monitor. So, if you’re looking into upgrading your email marketing strategy, want to automate more of your online business processes, or want to increase click-through rates to your website, here are the four key types of automated emails you should be sending out to your local and cross-border customers.



The welcome email



Not only is a welcome email a positive message for a merchant to send and a customer to receive, but also a message that customers have grown to expect. A welcome email can be sent either after a new customer creates a profile on your site, or signs up to your newsletter, or even both. This email is your chance to make a good first impression on a new customer that will establish their perspective of you immediately.



Now, a welcome email doesn’t have to be an essay, you don’t have to tell the customer everything about your business and offerings at once. A welcome email is sent purely to start the relationship off in the right way. Simple, personal, and to the point is the way to go. Use the customer’s first name, thank them for signing up to your website or newsletter, and let me know that you are easily reachable via social media or email if they have any questions, queries or concerns.



The welcome email is not the place to market products, but you can make customers aware of any rewards program you might have, specials they are eligible for as first time customers, and that you use a secure payment service provider, such as PayU, that will keep their personal information safe and secure. This type of soft selling will encourage the customer to click through to your website and start browsing and engaging with your brand, even if they don’t purchase anything straight away.



The cart abandonment email



There are a number of reasons why customers may place items into their cart, only to logout and not complete the transaction. They might be too busy, might not have enough money available at the time, or want to think about the purchase overnight before making a final decision. While you don’t have full control as the merchant over customers completing purchases, you can send them a reminder after a certain period of time has passed to keep the purchase fresh in their mind.



A gentle reminder can be just the nudge a customer needs to finally check out. But the emphasis needs to remain on the word, ‘gentle’. Your email needs to look clean and uncluttered, this is not to say that you can’t add colour, a bold heading and a catchy phrase, but keep them to a minimum otherwise the customer will get distracted and your message will become unclear. A heading such as, ‘a quick reminder, ‘did you leave something behind?’, or ‘don’t forget’, will gently remind the customer that items are waiting for them in their cart.



This can be followed up by a gentle incentive to proceed to checkout. You can offer a small discount on the product, making the purchase sound more appealing, or you can create a sense of urgency by letting the customer know that stocks are running out and there is a limited amount of time left to make the purchase. You can even include a short but positive review of the product by someone who has recently bought it. Finally, end the email off with a call to action, so that if the customer decides to go ahead, there is an obvious button in front of them to click that will send them straight to their cart.



The post-purchase email



A post-purchase email may seem unnecessary as the transaction has been completed, but it lends itself to further personalization and will encourage your customer to return for future purchases. This is your chance to thank your customers for their business, continuing the positive associations they have with your brand. But, this isn’t enough, if customers spend their hard-earned money on your product, they expect to know when it will be delivered. This is the perfect opportunity to let your customers know when they might expect delivery, and that they will continue to be kept in the loop with regards to their purchase.



So firstly, thank your customers for the purchase, as appreciation goes a long way to retaining customers. Once you’ve thanked them, let them know their purchase status and how they can track their order online. Customer’s like to be kept in the know about how close they are to receiving their product, and whether or not it is on track. This way, if something goes wrong with delivery, they’ll know immediately what to expect or what actions to take.



While you have their attention, use this email to your advantage. Ask them for a brief review of the product, and make it easy for them to do so with a quick link to the review page. You can even recommend a few products related to the product they’ve just purchased that might spark their interest, such as a cover for a newly purchased camera, for example. Lastly, you can include tips on how to take of, clean or make the most out of their new purchase. This personalizes the email even further, allows you to gather important information about your client’s view on your product and gives you the chance to upsell.



The re-engagement email



While new customers may get numerous emails from you about their recent interactions with your brand, it can be easy to forget about your existing customers. Keep current customers in the loop with emails that keep their interest and engagement with your brand ongoing. Retaining existing customers is just as important as gaining new ones, and there are numerous ways to keep your brand relevant to them.



A weekly/monthly newsletter, for example, is a great way to keep customers up-to-date with new or improved products, product recommendations, specials and interesting blog articles on your website. Let your readers know that when they receive your emails they are the first to receive this information from you, and they will look forward to your emails with the idea that they’re getting the information first. You can go even further and send personalized emails to customers with specific discounts, product recommendations based on their most common purchases and specials specific to their reward level.



While these emails are important to retaining customers, ensure that you always give your readers a choice to opt out or unsubscribe. While you don’t want them to do so, giving people the choice to do so makes your brand appear less aggressive, and gives the customer more power over who and what they decide to follow. If a customer does decide to unsubscribe from your emails, you can activate a post-unsubscribe message which asks them why they have done so. This can give you valuable information about what led to the unsubscription and if there is something you could improve.



From welcoming new customers and reminding existing customers about their shopping carts, to thanking them for their purchases and keeping them interested, automated emails will help you direct relevant and personal messages to the right customers at the right time, driving engagement with your brand and hopefully increasing sales. While you cannot ensure that every sign up will end in a sale, your automated emails will encourage an ongoing relationship with customers that drives positive associations with your brand.