Thanks to mobile phones, tablets and even smart watches, people can now access the internet 24/7 and from almost anywhere. What are they doing with all this time online? Amazingly, according to a recent study, they’re spending a whopping 6.1 hours a day checking their email. Whether on the subway, at work or in bed, people are constantly in their inboxes.
However, that doesn’t mean you can just send your audience whatever you feel like and expect your emails to perform. Your customers want relevant messages at exactly the right time—and if your brand doesn’t follow through, they won’t hesitate to hit the delete button, or worse, unsubscribe. So how can marketers hope to keep up with these expectations? One great strategy is to look beyond the customer’s inbox first.
That’s right: To deliver email content that will lead to customer conversions, marketers need to collect information on what customers are doing when they’re not checking email. Maybe they’re visiting your website, checking out your store, reviewing your products and so on. The data you collect outside the inbox can help you deliver email that leads to better relationships and more sales.
To get you started, here are three common actions customers take and how you can act upon them to send better, more effective email.
Action 1: A subscriber browses your website
Your response: Offer recommendations based on what they looked at
Here’s a stat neither web developers nor marketers will like: More than 95% of first-time website visitors won’t make a purchase when they open your website. Don’t let that number discourage you, though. Even though these visitors might not be ready to buy just yet, they are interested in your brand on some level.
The key is to capitalize on their initial interest and continually nurture them so they’ll be ready to buy somewhere down the line. Design a signup form that catches their attention, and after they sign up for your email list, send them an automated welcome note introducing your brand. As they continue to browse your offerings, send emails displaying those products and similar products that might interest them. These gentle taps help nudge visitors closer and closer to their first purchase.
Action 2: Someone interacted with your company in any way
Your response: Send a thank you email and offer relevant next steps
If a customer buys something, send them a thank you email. If a customer leaves a review, send them a thank you email. If a customer attends an event, send them a thank you email… you get the point. Saying thanks is an important part of nurturing your relationships with prospects and customers, yet a surprising number of marketers let this golden opportunity fall by the wayside.
B2B marketers aren’t off the hook, either. While thank you emails are clearly valuable for B2C marketing, B2B brands can benefit, too. If someone downloads a piece of your content, for example, send an email saying thanks and offering other helpful content or product recommendations. It’s a great opportunity to show your customers you’re listening to them and truly care about their interests.
Action 3: Potential customers abandoned their shopping carts
Your response: Offer free shipping or a discount
You know how it goes. You go to a site, look around and add some items to your cart. Then you don’t have your credit card right next to you or you simply get distracted, leaving your cart full without actually purchasing anything. We’ve all done it; more specifically, according to Baymard Institute, 69 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer makes a purchase.
Another main reason potential customers abandon their carts? Shipping costs. In fact, Forrester Research discovered that 44 percent of people who abandon their carts do it because of high shipping costs. Therefore, an email with a simple offer of free shipping may be enough to close the sale.
Effective cart abandonment emails require some special attention, specifically tight integration between your e-commerce and email marketing platforms. But a targeted, well-composed email to these potential customers can benefit both parties. The statistics bear this out:
- Almost half the emails directed at cart abandoners are opened, and more than a third of those clicks lead directly to purchases (SaleCycle).
- People who are targeted through abandoned cart emails often spend more than what their original cart total was – 55 percent more, on average (Marketing Sherpa).
Perhaps the most impressive stat of all is the simple bottom line. According to Salesforce, the average revenue for each promotional email is $0.02, and the average for a welcome email is $0.18. The average abandoned cart email? $5.64.
We may all be living in our inboxes these days, but that doesn’t mean we don’t also take a trip outside them every once in a while. Pay attention to your subscribers’ behavior outside the inbox, act upon it with targeted, relevant email messaging, and watch your conversion rates rise like never before.
Cynthia Price is the vice president of marketing at Emma,