20 email automation opportunities that improve customer relationships Published April 11, 2016 Wouldn’t it be great if you could catch every single one of your customers at just the right time and send them each the perfect message? Well, it’s possible with email automation and systems like Behavioural Targeting. Email automations are generated as a result of a person interacting with your website or when individuals on your database meet a certain set of predefined criteria that you’ve specified. They allow you to interact with individuals at key decision-making times, prompting purchases, driving engagement and inviting dialogue. There are plenty of great opportunities to send automations. Sometimes it’s just about knowing what to send when. We’re giving you a helping hand by picking our favourite examples that can be used whatever sector you work in and tell you how to make the most of them. 1. Welcome new subscribers This is the automatic email sent after a customer inputs their email address and agrees to receive emails from you. This is a critical one to get right – it should welcome the customer to your brand, set expectations of what to expect and offer an overview of your products or services. 2. Introductory offer If your customer has signed-up to your email programme but remains dormant, encourage an initial purchase by sending this automation after a set amount of time to spark interest and a first purchase. 3. Expiration of introductory offer This automation alerts the customer to their offer expiring in next 24 hours. By doing this you can ‘last chance’ your offer adding an increased sense of urgency which may prompt a purchase. 4. Browse and abandonment On average, 67% of people browse an eCommerce website without making a purchase (Baymard Institute). This is a big opportunity to connect with customers who’ve shown an interest in your brand but need an extra nudge to make a purchase. Reignite their interest by sending them an email complimenting them on their great taste in the product they browsed, suggesting alternatives or giving them an offer to prompt a purchase. 5. New product alerts If one of your products is out of stock then ask the customer to sign-up to receive an automated email when it becomes available. In addition to this, send new product launches to customers who have browsed a relevant category or purchased a similar product in the past. 6. Suggesting a product to purchase If the customer shows no sign of completing their purchase of a browsed or abandoned item then send them a message suggesting an alternative. This could be a crowd-sourced trend, bestseller or a recommendation based on their own purchase or browsing history. 7. Cart abandonment / form abandonment This can be the most profitable automation you will send. Cart abandonment emails have been known to increase retailers’ revenues by up to 20% simply by prompting the customer to finish their purchase by pressing the ‘order’ button (MarketingSherpa). It’s all too easy for the online customer to become distracted, meaning that carts full of items are often abandoned. A timely abandonment email tempting them to make the purchase can be all it takes. 8. Thanking the customer for a purchase It’s unlikely to be your most profitable email in terms of sales but it’s still important to thank the customer for the purchase and build rapport. A wholehearted thank you shows your appreciation – everyone likes a thank you! 9. Purchase confirmation Practically speaking it’s good for the customer to know that their order has been received. This email should include information of what they’ve purchased to confirm their order and include contact details to customer services. Building trust and reassuring the customer is as important as selling to them if you want a repeat purchase. 10. Delivery confirmation Set expectations. A large proportion of customer care calls to online retailers are about the customer not receiving an order when they think they should have. Reduce your customer care bill whilst setting the customer’s expectations by sending a prompt delivery confirmation email. 11. Asking for a review Ask the customer for feedback on your product or service. In a recent survey, 42% of customers cited another customer review as being a major factor in making a purchase (Bazaarvoice). Sending an email asking them to review their purchase also shows you want their feedback, care about customer service and builds trust. 12. Helping the customer get the most from an existing purchase Just because a customer has made a purchase, doesn’t mean to conversation should stop there. Demonstration videos, tips and advice ensure your customers gets the most from their purchase and gets them coming back for more. 13. Replenishing a previous purchase / subscription If a customer has purchased something you know they liked, then prompt them to purchase again if you think the time is right. 14. Making suggestions for complementary purchases A well known ‘Amazon trick’ is to suggest additional purchases after the customer has placed their initial order. This could be based on what other people bought in addition to the product they just purchased or accessories for that product. 15. Re-engaging lapsed customers Most marketers know that retaining an existing customer is far more cost-effective than buying a new one. If a customer hasn’t opened, clicked or made a purchase with you for a considerable length of time, contact them. Encourage re-engagement with a product or service recommendation, an offer or even a gift to bring them back in. 16. Moving customers into more valuable segments If you’re segmenting your customers based on spend or frequency of purchase then prompt the next purchase with a timely email to move them into a higher value segment. Encouraging just one more purchase or incentivising them to spend a little more could promote the customer into a higher value segment. 17. Rewarding your customer’s loyalty Reward loyalty. If your customer has been loyal then acknowledge it, reward them and say thank you. They’re more likely to go on to be a brand advocate and bring in new customers on your behalf. 18. Your customer’s birthday Having your customer’s date of birth means you can treat them on their special day. If you don’t have their birthday then why not ask if they’ll give it to you so you can spoil them? 19. Anniversary of first purchase / sign-up to website It’s important to continue to engage customers when they’ve been customers for a significant amount of time. Acknowledge them with an automation that thanks and rewards them for their loyalty. 20. Refer a friend Once you have a loyal and engaged customer ask them to shout about you. People trust personal referrals much more than cold calls. Ask your customers to tell their friends about you if you know they’re happy. You can always reward them for referrals in the future. Hopefully that’s plenty of inspiration for you. If you’d like to know more about email automations or how to develop your strategy further, contact our team or download our guide to Email Automations.