Practical Ecommerce

Using Sales Data to Automate Email Marketing

Customers are the bloodline of any business. For ecommerce businesses, it’s particularly important to focus on creating recurring, loyal customers. This centers on understanding customer sales and shopping data, and using that information to develop profitable, automated email campaigns.

What Are Key Metrics?

Key metrics help you understand how customers interact with your brand. By integrating your marketing plan with key metric data, you can measure campaign performance and its effect on your customers. Key metrics go beyond mass marketing. Instead, you have the power to harness data on a detailed level, seeing metrics for individual customers. By targeting customers on a more personalized level with your marketing, you’re more likely to create loyal business.

Key metrics can be divided into three broad categories.

  1. Customer value. You have the option to investigate customer value from a variety of angles. For instance, you can track the revenue per customer on a year-to-year basis. If you’re working to retain your customers, it’s essential to see whether or not customers are giving you the same, less, or more revenue year after year. Furthermore, you can dissect this data to determine the average number of purchases a customer has made in the past year. Combined, this data allows you to predict the total revenue you can earn from the customer. Use this information to fine-tune your marketing campaigns to ensure you see a return investment. Since this key metric shows year-to-year data, you’ll see the effectiveness of your ongoing campaigns.

  2. Recency. By studying how long it’s been since specific customers have made a purchase, you can categorize them into “New,” “Engaged,” or “Inactive.” This data is important when you are planning an automated email campaign. When sending emails based on a customer’s recency, you’re more likely to increase conversation rates.

    For instance, when sending marketing emails to new customers, emphasize their reengagement with your brand. Whether you stress the benefits of your rewards program or upcoming promotions, emails to new customers should focus on building value and setting up incentives to a return visit. But emails focusing on the return visit would be out of place with your Engaged customers. Since these customers are already recurring, email marketing towards them should be focused on your latest offerings and products you think they might enjoy, not a return visit.

  3. Frequency. Monitoring the frequency of orders from a customer allows you to predict when a customer is likely to make another purchase. For instance, knowing that a customer orders, on average, every 104 days will allow you to plan automated emails promoting products that interest that particular client. Typically, less than 25 percent of ecommerce business customers are repeat clients. Using this data to craft a marketing campaign can help improve retention and purchase frequency.

How to Use Deeper Customer Insight

With these three key metrics, you can use the data to execute and automate your marketing campaigns. You can also observe deeper insights, such as the most popular products and how frequently they are bought. By knowing which products are the most popular, you know which ones you can continue promoting and where you need to focus new marketing efforts.

These metrics will differ with existing and new customers. Knowing that, you can create campaigns that truly target their needs and thus increase your conversion rates.

Here are three marketing campaigns that use customer-driven metrics.

  • Create a welcome series. Use your Recency metric to generate a list of new customers. Then create an automated email to welcome them — and encourage future business. A welcome series of emails can expand on your rewards program, or promote products based on the customer’s initial purchase. By hammering, not spamming, your brand while it’s still fresh in the customer’s mind, you’re more likely to create a loyal customer.

  • Reengagement. he next step of your email campaign should be to re-engage your customers. You should combine the Recency and Frequency metrics to automate the appropriate emails to existing clients. Take advantage of a regular calendar interval to send out recurring emails and be sure to include personalized events such as birthdays and anniversaries in your email marketing.

    To increase the chances of reengagement, target emails towards the customer’s past purchase history as well as the pages they’ve recently visited. If the customer makes another purchase, be sure to honor it with a transactional email that acknowledges and confirms the order, and provides shipping information. Also, be sure to use “Purchase Reminders” to inform customers of any products that are new and similar to previous purchases. Specialized content is much more likely to influence the customer, so purchase reminders should be based on the key metrics concerning Recency and Frequency.

  • Rewards and cross-selling. If you have a rewards program, it’s vital to inform your customers that it exists, and to describe its benefits. Emails that focus on rewards and cross selling indicate that the customer is already recurring, if not loyal. Customers enjoy a great deal. So the more your emails focus on the benefits of your rewards program such as how much they’ve saved, the more likely they will be to purchase from your brand.

Jaime Brugueras
Jaime Brugueras
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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Bernd Heppner February 7, 2013 Reply

    I can recommend Mailbeez for administrators of onlineshops like oscommerce, xtcommerce 3.04 sp2.1, xtcmodified, Gambio, zencart and others. It´s very helpful and generates sales.

  2. cord February 7, 2013 Reply

    Hi jamie,

    great article about a very underestimated topic!

    However the technical solution is not that easy to achieve, many merchants are not having the knowledge or budget to get a solution in place.

    Merchants running on Zencart, osCommerce, LoadedCommerce, CRE Loaded, xtcommerce, modified shop, WP Online Store and some other systems can utilize the modular MailBeez platform to run automated email marketing campaigns.
    As MailBeez becomes an integrated part of the store it automatically can use the sales data to create meaningful segmentations.

    best regards
    cord

  3. tzvi June 17, 2013 Reply

    Jamie, great article.

    Many times, small e-store owners simply don’t have the marketing knowledge, and the resources to create such campaigns. They don’t know what will work best for their store and shoppers, but also what worked best for other stores.
    Remarkety (http://www.remarkety.com) contentiously analyzes the store’s data and based on that analysis and the collective knowledge from other stores, it recommends on the best marketing activities.

    Once activated, the marketing activity will keep sending the right message to the right shopper at the right time.

    –Tzvi

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