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Email marketing automation, pt 5: your fail-safe customer acquisition workflow

Greetings from Websand HQ. We’re back again with another entry in the email marketing automation blog franchise.

What’s on the agenda this time? Building your own workflow designed to convert subscribers into customers.

Pre-purchase users present so much potential for businesses fluent in email marketing. Good news, right?

The even better news is that tapping that potential is easy with a structured strategy for warming leads. That is, as long as that strategy is founded on delivering real value. Primed for personalisation in all the right places.

Let’s get down to business. It’s time to lift the lid on best practices for a winning welcome email campaign.

What’s in a welcome email?

A welcome email is the first piece of email contact you have with a new member of your mailing list. This user may have joined the club via a newsletter signup form in your site’s footer or any number of other contact forms across your website. The point is, they’re ready for their warm welcome.

Done right, your welcome email can help you to:

  • Tell your brand story
  • Grow an engaged brand community
  • Differentiate your offering
  • Segment your audience
  • Generate sales
  • Drive referrals

Not too shabby. But there’s a fine art to crafting a welcome email that can deliver all of these benefits rolled into one.

Too many businesses take a blanket approach to their welcome emails. You know the kind because you’ve received the same uninspiring marketing emails yourself: a generic greeting followed by a ham-fisted offer that, all too often, is little more than a glorified discount code.

If this misguided one-size-fits-all approach fails to drive any commercial outcomes, what next?

Sadly, that disengaged portion of your mailing list grows and grows until it makes up the majority. You have a newsletter subscriber list, rather than an engaged customer base. Your mailing list is now dead stock rather than a valuable business asset.

The immense power of personalisation in email marketing is something we rarely shut up about. And now’s another prime opportunity to drive it home.

Until a customer has bought for the first time, you don’t know what their triggers are. This makes segmentation vital. And in order to segment, you need hard user behaviour data to work with – and fast.

So, let’s trade in the welcome email model for a far more powerful alternative: the welcome campaign.

How to win hearts and minds with an automated welcome campaign

The root of the problem with the catch-all discount code for new signups is this: you don’t yet have sufficient data to suggest a discount is needed to secure the sale.

Don’t sell yourself short. View your welcome campaign as an opportunity to build a relationship with would-be customers before you resort to slashing prices.

Here’s how it’s done:

Immerse users in your company ethos

Your brand’s origin story is a key component of your value proposition. It may be that your ethics and values align perfectly with those of your customers. You might also find that the problems your business was launched to solve are exactly the issues members of your mailing list are looking to overcome.

By using your welcome campaign as a platform for your company ethos, you can strike a chord with like-minded users from the word ‘go’ and find the sort of common ground that breeds long-term customer loyalty.

Share your products’ features and benefits

The sales copy on your ecommerce website may not tell the whole story when it comes to your products’ features and the associated benefits. With a direct line to your subscribers’ inboxes, you can wax lyrical about the unique selling points of your products. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to letting potential customers know not only what your products are, but also how their features will positively impact their life (if only in some small way). Time savings, cost savings, physical or mental health benefits, lifestyle enhancement and personal image enhancement are just some of the powerful product benefits that resonate with customers. Where do yours fit into this picture?

Remove sales objections

Just as you need to celebrate the benefits of your product range, you also need to dispel any concerns that could be stopping shoppers from completing their purchase.

If they have any concerns around product quality or durability, seize the opportunity to dig deep into your manufacturing processes and the details of any applicable warranties. Where some shoppers are swayed by timely shipping, fill them in on your various delivery options so they know how soon they could have your product in their hands. If cost is a pain point, illustrate how your prices compare with the alternatives on the market.

When you’ve exhausted this option, consider a one-time discount on their first order so they can save money while seeing the quality of your products for themselves

Offer discounts when the time is right

With your company ethos shared in full, your products’ features and benefits spelled out and all conceivable sales objections removed, you have our permission to offer that discount code.

These buying incentives absolutely have their place in automated email marketing campaigns – all we ask is that you use them wisely. When the only conclusion you have left to draw is that a user won’t buy the product at the price you’re charging for it, an exclusive discount may be the only way to seal the deal.

Once your welcome email campaign has run its course, you can play it cool. They’ve heard what you have to say and need time to absorb all of this useful and persuasive information you’ve given them.

All that remains is to hold off and measure the results of your campaign. The resulting data can influence the structure and messaging of future welcome campaigns. All the while your ongoing email marketing activity slowly but surely sweetens the deal.

Top tip: for subscribers who are given the full fanfare and still don’t convert, identify where they’ve come from. This will help you pinpoint any underperforming traffic channels and redistribute your marketing budget where it has most impact. Don’t throw good money after bad.

We interrupt this broadcast with a public service announcement on the importance of understanding cart abandonment:

Cart abandonment emails are a highly popular tool, particularly for ecommerce businesses running on leading platforms like Shopify. They will, undoubtedly, form some part of your automated email marketing strategy.

In the second instalment of this series, on the principles of new customer acquisition, we warned that these emails often treat the symptom (cart abandonment) rather than the cause (customer abandonment).

The truth is that these campaigns can and do work – but they should be wielded with great care. Users who abandoned their cart had a legitimate sales objection, and removing this is the only true remedy for cart abandonment in the long term.

While welcome campaign structures vary from one business to the next depending on the unique commercial objectives at play, the guiding principles remain the same. Your goal is to leave subscribers with no objections.

By sharing who you are, what you do and why they should care, you can make buying with your business a no-brainer.

The best welcome email campaigns are automated.

Onboard subscribers with ease. Get your free 14-day trial of our email marketing automation software and give future customers a warm welcome.

We’ll see you again for part 6 in our automated email marketing series.

It’s time to start getting more from your email marketing

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