Digital Marketing Blog
February 10, 2010
If there is one thing next to Win-Back campaigns that has proven itself to be great for conversion, it must be Drop-Basket eMails. The most excellent thing with Drop-Basket eMails are they are a product of a well implemented analysis and CRM system. This means, you’ll have to do all your homework before you get the Drop-Basket eMails to really do the trick for you.
What is a Drop-Basket eMail?
A Drop-Basket e-mail is an e-mail that is sent to a user if they have put stuff in their shopping cart in your online store, but haven’t checked them out or payed for them.
With their actions they have told you that they are ready to buy the products that you are offering, but for some reason they didn’t complete their purchase. Why is that? Well, if this is a first time customer, you simply don’t know. However, what you do know is that this customer is willing to buy these products under some circumstance.
Your main purpose becomes to find out why they didn’t buy. Then send them a Drop-Basket eMail that has rid that specific hurdle.
What many of you IDIOTS don’t do, that you should do
There is one important step that some of you reading this post are thinking about right now and that is “but but but… to be able to send them an e-mail we need to have collected their e-mail before they put stuff in their shopping cart”. Well, no, and yes!! Not necessarily before.
Now some of you are thinking that this pulls down the conversion rate, but I would argue that it doesn’t. What most of you do is that you start reloading pages, putting millions of forms on the screen when you collect any information.
I say, if you collect information where it makes sense to collect it, there will be no unnecessary drop of in your conversion rate.
To exemplify this I would like to give you two examples of how to collect the e-mail address.
When the user clicks the add to basket button next to your product a field folds out under the button asking the user to “Save time and your basket by submitting your e-mail.” If the user fills in the details then you’re set to go. If they don’t, then repeat for each item until they do. At some point they will feel the need to store what they have put in their basket in some way.
The user has added a million things to their basket but for some reason they try to leave the website without making the purchase. Once they try to leave send a pop-up or a layover to them with the text “Do you want us to send you an e-mail with a link to your shopping chart? This way you will save time when returning” or this text could say “Do you need help completing your purchase. Enter your e-mail and one of our customer support agents will contact you within 1 business day”.
Both of the examples above can be put into practice easily and they both work miracles in collecting e-mail addresses as well as hand you a tool to counter your poorly optimized check out processes.
How to implement an effective Drop-Basket process
As I said above, you have to collect information about your purchasers when it makes sense. The “registration page” is soooo 1998 but so many vendors still stick to it. With Facebook Connect, Open-Id or any other such service you can get the most important contact information to a person.
Make it easy to become a member of your website. If you don’t have membership available then use a member session to store the necessary data. I usually talk about my Value Ladder for Conversion. I don’t do this because it is funny, but because it is logical and because it works. Enough whining from me. Let’s get into the how to.
1. Collect info on what they are looking for
Do not request any membership or registration before you have been able to see what they are interested in. As soon as the user has added a product to the shopping cart they feel as though they have performed a task. They have created something. You can use this believed work effort when making your value proposition to get them to leave their e-mail address.
2. Collect an identifier
As soon as you know what they are looking for you aim to collect the identifier which enables you to separate them from other users. In many countries it is illegal to store IP-address without consent. The IP address is also very bad to collect as it tends to change from work to home and on dynamic networks it changes all the time. Thus the e-mail, a facebook connect or open-id login is the best way to get them to identify themselves.
Using one of the value propositions above with “save time” or “do you need help” are amongst the best to increase the probability of having people leave their e-mail address.
3. Analyze your data
Some of you out there have some nasty piece of information that you really need to collect in order for you customers to complete their purchase. For most of you that information is either some kind of credit card information, postal code or other type of ID-nr that the person might not have accessible where they are there an then.
They might thus be very willing to buy at the price you’re offering, but they might not be able to buy your stuff right there and then cause…. the co-workers might be looking and it doesn’t look that good to rip up the credit card when you should be working towards a deadline.
If you notice that most people drop of on a specific page, then try to measure what fields they filled in, or started to fill in before dropping off. For some of you this will mean you’ll have to look at removing fields that are “nice to have” but that are not “need to have” for the completion of the purpose. But once you’ve rid your check out process of those fields then you should have a look at the Drop-Basket process.
4. Drop-Basket Process
The first Drop-Basket e-mail should always contain the same offer as the complete basket the person had added to his or her shopping chart. If it makes sense to your business model, you can add some related products or maybe give some kind of delivery discount at this time. But you shouldn’t look at discounts just yet. Perhaps there was kind of obstacle information that the person didn’t have at hand when trying to complete their purchase. If you shoot to lower the price of the offer right away you will miss out on some lovely revenue.
You should also always add some kind of time limit to your first e-mail. This time limit should be set to expire within some period of time that makes sense for your product. I can’t tell you the best time, but you’ll have to test and see what works with your customers. Secondly, your e-mail should be sent at a time a day that makes sense. If the person wasn’t able to complete their purchase at noon the first day they probably won’t be able to do it the next day at noon.
Thus you should look at sending the e-mail some 4-6 hours after the first contact was made. Once the person opens the e-mail you know you have a good time to contact the person. Even better is if they complete the purchase at this time. Then you have a preferred time of purchase for this individual. Many e-mail systems such as EmailVision and SilverPOP have the ability to save and use this kind of data for the future. They are both also very easy to integrate with SiteCatalyst and SalesForce which means that you rich bastards out there are really in for a treat. 🙂
5. Changing your offer
If you don’t get a purchase on your first contact then you should store your Drop-Basket information and future information associated with this e-mail address. Now you can start offering the customer some discounts to get them to convert. However, you can’t just do this without a reason as the user will look through this system and then not convert naturally.
You have a couple of opportunities per year to change your offer price without reason. Holidays, birthdays and if the product is about to expire. Be smart. If you have a sufficient group of people who have dropped out but have selected a product that you have a stock on… then why don’t you just try to get rid of your stock by creating some kind of offer. The more obscure the holiday or reason to celebrate, the more attention you will grab in the e-mail subject :).
By now you should have an initial build of frames in your head about what a Drop-Basket e-mail campaign is all about. The art is probably one of the most sophisticated in the industry and I suggest you get started right away. If you need any help or have any questions, comments or if you feel angry cause I called you an idiot, then you can ask or bash in the comment field of this blog. I am really quite kind, but when behind my keyboard and a screen I turn into a bully mixed with a HeMan :).
February 8, 2010
A win back e-mail campaign is a set up that helps you recover people that have 1. either dropped out of your e-mail send list or 2. stopped using one or several of your services on your website. Win-back campaigns are almost always automated and they should be as they would otherwise take far too much of your time.
This blog post aims at giving you 5 examples of when and how you can use win back e-mail campaigns. I will try to give you some insight to how I build win back campaigns and hopefully give you one example that works for you.
1. The survey win back
The most common win back campaign is the survey. This win back theme basically sends the user an e-mail saying that “according to our records you haven’t used our service for some time”, and then proposes the user with a survey on how to improve the service.
The trick here is not the survey, but it is what you do once someone has completed the survey. Simply put, you need to “put something in their account that they can claim if they start using it again”. For some types of accounts this is simple. It can be anything from a 5 dollar “free play” bonus or it can be a 5 percent of the top of anything they buy in your store.
The thing is that you can conceal your offer or discount in a reward for something that the user has done. If the user feels they have done something to deserve something, then they are more likely to also claim their reward. So, regardless of what you do, the survey win back is based on the notion that you offer the user to improve your service in one way or another and then you give them some reward for their effort.
2. The special event win back
The special event win back is sort of spammy if the user has not opened your e-mail for some time. You probably should only send these kind of e-mails to people who still open your e-mails, but don’t buy anything. These people need an extra push in the back in order to get shopping.
Simple enough. You create an artificial or real event. The event can be a “Wonder wheel shopping spree” it can be a “Big bonus Bonanza Day” or it can be any kind of limited event you build some special offer around. The trick is to make the person feel that the time is limited.
Usually when I set up these types of campaigns I use two main send outs.
- First I send an e-mail telling the people of the event. I put the time limit in the subject and use the sender to show event name and brand.
- When half of the time has passed I send an e-mail at another time in the day telling the person that they only have “half time left” to join the others in this successful event.
The first e-mail usually doesn’t effect people that much. But when you use the words “success” with a time limit to it, then you start seeing what predictable and irrational people we really are. So, that’s the special event win back.
3. The randomly chosen win back
The “randomly chosen” win back is the most general of them all. You could basically send this one to any selection of your e-mail data base. Only once every year to the same person though, otherwise the random won’t feel that random anymore.
The randomly chosen theme is based on the notion that you have some kind of offer that you want to test. You don’t really have to test it, but you use it as a way to 1. launch a new product 2. receive the initial customer reviews in order to see what you can expect from sales.
The core difference between the randomly chosen and the survey win back is that you have more freedom with your value proposition in the randomly chosen one. It is not as intrusive to say that someone has been randomly chosen, and thus the only thing you really have to care about is that you do not send the same e-mail to too many people from the same social network.
Now you might ask how to know this.. well.. connect your database to Facebook and you’ll know who’s friends with who.
4. The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back
The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back has the highest conversion rate of them all. This win back should be used if someone has an unclaimed bonus or deposit on an account on your website. Simple enough you remind the person that they have money left.
This type of e-mail can be sent until the user either uses the bonus/money/cupon or if they simply cancel it themselves. One thing you should think of when sending these types of campaigns however is that you need to vary your Sender From name and your Subject, and the time of day that you send the e-mail.
5. The “your account will be deleted” win back
This one is the last way out e-mail. If you have a service that required an invite, it might also be a very effective way to get people to start using your service again.
Simple enough, you write an e-mail explaining that you are not allowed to store the data longer than a year (or some other time period) if the user don’t use their account and thus you are forced to throw the person out. This also works very well if you have a strong brand. People might not care that they have the account, but they do care if you’re trying to take it away from them.
Win back campaigns are quite easy to set up. These are five different themes or examples of campaigns but I am sure you have other ideas that you might be able to use for your members or e-mail lists. The main thing to remember is that different users react to different things. Set up a chain of win back campaigns for everyone who has stopped opening your e-mails or has stopped buying your stuff.
Run them until the person falls into the “out box” where the member value is virtually none. For those people you should not force more e-mails, but you should rather decrease the frequency at which you make contact with them. If a person hasn’t opened your last five weekly e-mails, then only send them one per month. If a person hasn’t opened it for two or three months, then send them one every half year.
This however should be done when, and only when you have first worked with when, during the day, you send the e-mail as well as with the sender name as well as the subject.
The latest email service providers can help you set up dynamic send lists so that you send an e-mail to a person when they are most likely to open it. They also provide dynamic subjects based on previously clicked material, from address and from name.
That’s it for now! Please react and ask stuff in the comment field.
February 7, 2010
Welcome to e-mail week. In my titles I will write eMail as I think this looks a bit cooler than e-mail and it is a way for me to write e-mail 2.0 but in another way. lol… THIS is e-mail week on jesperastrom.com and I will use this week to write five posts with some methods on how to use e-mail on the modern web. I will combine each post with either SEO, social media or conversion utilities. We will cover win-back campaigns, link building and most importantly the intersection between marketing and dialogue.
[If you are an e-mail provider out there you should make contact with me cause I want to video review your e-mail tool and put up some evil (meaning effective) e-mail campaigns that you might not have thought about yourself. Contact me through one of the social networks available from the buttons top right on this page or from the about page.]
How to Use e-mail on the Modern Web in general
This post will mention 2 effective ways to use e-mail on the modern web. You have seen your opening rates drop the past few years and you’re starting to question e-mail as a means for your communication. What you really should do is to start questioning yourself. E-mail is by far the most popular activity online, even surpassing search. The problem is not that e-mail has become bad, it is that YOU who have become worse.
One of the truths from Jim Collins book “Good to Great” is that you have to realize that you pretty much suck right now (but in other words :)). So do it. Say out loud!! “I am bad at sending e-mail, that’s why my e-mail opening rates have gone down. It is not e-mails fault, it is mine.”
Now … we can start! Here we go e-mail week!! (and with that build up, I have 2 extremely simple things to tell you.. hehe..)
1. Notifications and Updates
Facebook wasn’t first to employ this kind of e-mail tactic, but they sure as hell took it to another level. The whole evolution of updates of notifications have really proven one thing. If the e-mail is about the receiver, the receiver is highly likely to open it. It is as simple as that. If you’re running a modern e-mail campaign you really need a reason to contact the person you are sending the e-mail to.
Personalization with regards to “custom hello phrase” and “custom introductory text” is not enough. You need to really personalize an e-mail and to do so you need to employ dynamic content. This content can be fetched from some typ of xml file or database table, and it has to be one piece of information that the user has requested updates on.
The relationship always have to be an opt-in. If you’re working with travel, an update can be when travel costs to a certain location has reached a certain prize level. If you’re working with diapers your users might want updates on safety, offers or simply just a “caring advice” from another user. If you are working with electronics then your users might want add-on updates. There are a million updates to choose between, you just have to offer the kind your audience like.
Notifications can also be based upon actions in e-mails. Ie. if a user clicks a link, then the user is tagged with a certain type of content. When you create a newsletter for the future, you create several types of content. The way the content is displayed to the individual recipient is then based upon what kind of stories they have clicked in previous e-mails.
Also, win-back campaigns are extremely effective and based upon the principle of notifications. I will cover win-back campaings in a separate post that will probably go public on Thursday. What you do is that you place a user into a campaign based on the time they open the e-mail, what links they click and what they do on your website.
2. Direct 1-to-1 contacts
Wow, revolutionary right? Not really, but many of you out there are stuck in the mass e-mail campaigns where you rely on your list growth rate rather than your retention rate as your KPI. This is awfully wrong. What you should do is to identify your most important people, the 1-5% that share all your stories, that contribute to your content and who get people to think about what you do. Those people should be communicated to on a personal basis. Not a private basis, but on a personal one… big difference in those two words.
If you can identify ring/tribal leaders, you’ll be very effective in reaching out to large quantities of people through the people that they listen to. I will do a recap on one of my lectures I held at eMetrics about 6 months ago where I combine social media and e-mail. Together with my co-worker Simon, we’ll dig into how you set up a system to identify your tribal leaders through Google Analytics.
One of the most common questions I get when talking about this is “doesn’t this require a lot of time and resources”. My response is that it doesn’t cost you more than one banner placement on a major website if you are a big company. The effect however is more than a million to that of the banner. So you choose.. either you can work with crappy ways of marketing, or you can work with good ways of communicating. Your choice.
As I said earlier in this blog post, it is not e-mail that sucks, it is you and the way you work with your e-mail.
What will eMail week lead to?
Right now you’re asking yourself; “well, yeah, we’ve heard this before, but HOW do we do this?” Well, that’s what e-mail week is for!! Primarily it will give you some tools to become better at what you do, with regards to e-mail campaigns and member databases. Also I will try to help you improve your work in social media as well as SEO, with the use of e-mail.
As always, I will write what I believe is the best way to do something. If you have a valid objection or idea, I am never late on agreeing and giving link love where it counts.
Please take some time to discuss with me. Also, if you want me to show you something specific or write about something in particular during e-mail week, then please don’t think twice about commenting or sending me an e-mail to jesper dot joakim dot astrom at gmail dot com.
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