Nurturing your ecommerce customers with Marketing Automation

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1 Nurturing your ecommerce customers with Marketing Automation WRITTEN BY STEVEN SHAW, DIGITAL DIRECTOR

2 02 STEVE SHAW, DIGITAL DIRECTOR AT BRANDED3 WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION NURTURING YOUR ECOMMERCE CUSTOMERS

3 03 Contents 04 Synopsis 04 What is Marketing Automation? 04 Where do we start? 04 The right message at the right time 05 A simple example: Abandoned Basket 05 Getting more complicated 05 Nurturing post-sale 05 What does Marketing Automation look like? 06 How do I make the most of the process? 06 Top 5 most effective Automation plans 06 Summary

4 04 Synopsis A look at what marketing automation is and how it can be used to help drive increased revenue, return custom and help build lifetime customer value. From using the simple Abandoned Basket process to planning full CRM reactivation strategies, how these marketing plans fit in your 2015 digital strategy. What is Marketing Automation? The term Marketing Automation relates to developing or implementing a process that will automatically display, create or send marketing messages based on specific criteria. More importantly, this process takes place in order to help drive leads and maintain a consistent brand experience. Marketing Automation is certainly not a new term and is something that has been around almost as long as ecommerce. The name usually inspires thoughts around automation similar to those that appeared in industrialisation or the automotive space, the idea being that you can create a way to automate something you do on a regular basis making it more efficient and saving time. This is true to some extent, however I don t believe that s why you will see this phrase a lot in the coming year alongside trusted topics that I ve covered such as Personalisation. NURTURING YOUR ECOMMERCE CUSTOMERS WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

5 05 For me, the advancement in technology from software vendors such as Sitecore and Kentico, web platforms like MailChimp as well as lots of other SaaS systems; means that Marketing Automation has the potential to make something very exciting in In particular to how you should be thinking of Marketing Automation, I saw this phrase on Wikipedia which I liked Due to its interactive nature this has been described as Marketing Automation 2.0. The right message at the right time Most Marketing Automation is focused on moving customers down a sales funnel but there are benefits for businesses to consider implementing plans throughout their strategy to ensure they build trust and engage with their customers in all their brand experiences. Where do we start? As with most marketing activity, the first place to start is your customers. If you plot your current customer journey along the traditional stages such as Acquisition, Conversion and Retention, you can begin to visualise where you can have the most impact and more importantly, where you will drive the most value and ROI in terms of the planned activity. When you understand the journey your customers go on with your brand, you can set the context of the messages you are looking to deliver. The next step in the process is to identify what data you may have about a customer at the particular stages that you want to use to build relevance and trust, this is where a single customer view is extremely useful. The final step is to consider what is the action you are trying to encourage? What do you want to promote your customer to do? This usually involves either making a purchase, giving some data or perhaps simply taking another step along your target journey. CUSTOMER JOURNEY CUSTOMER DATA REQUIRED ACTIONS MESSAGE CONTENT The fact that the process is a marketing one, means that it works best when relevant and that s what the beauty of Marketing Automation is; it allows you to put criteria together, you create the rules and the signals that shows when your customer or opportunity is ready for this message and you use the right one. In the early stages of the customer journey you will probably focus your messaging on being more helpful than sales-led, however in terms of the abandoned basket you have seen some real intent, so reacting to that in-kind can produce results and drive sales. It s not just marketing One of the most common misconceptions about modern Marketing Automation is that it s all about marketing. is still a very relevant channel and when done right, works really well (I would love to see the Amazon numbers for the good 30% of my received s, however the other 70% probably don t look great). The key thing however, is that there are still other channels such as SMS/push-messages, that when used in the right place, can be extremely effective. The rise in ibeacons in-store are an example of this, the trigger event is Customer X entering into store Y and you can send them deal of the day. An exciting, but more complex Automation, is that if you are luckily enough to have a single customer view linked to your in-store activity is to send a message as you detect they are LEAVING the store if they HAVEN T ordered with an offer. (No point pushing an offer if they already have the intent to buy!) Social media integrations are becoming stronger where single sign-on methods mean you have access to your customer s data as well as a direct channel to their social space so a private message, tweet or post can be orchestrated.

6 06 States, Conditions, Triggers & Actions Putting together what we ve just covered; a simple way to start to visualise Marketing Automation (which incidentally matches with a lot of vendors) is to use four core elements to your plan. State Trigger Conditions Action State Prospect Form Submission Did they request a brochure? Send Lead STATE: Prospect CONDITION: Have they requested more information? TRIGGER: Submitting an enquiry form ACTION: Follow up STATE: Lead NURTURING YOUR ECOMMERCE CUSTOMERS WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

7 07 Example: Follow up One of the quickest and most implemented example of Marketing Automation is the follow-up . Acknowledging your customer when they have submitted a form or carried out a transaction is essential in maintaining trust. In terms of ecommerce and customer service, using these auto-responders can have very positive effects when combined with the customer data you have. It s also worth pointing out that the data can simply be based on the form options that were used. For example if we have a Reason for contact drop-down with three options: 1. I have a question 2. I have a complaint 3. I need to return a product Then confirming the submission with an along with expected next steps, for example if the selection was I have a question a response might be within 24 hours, however a complaint might warrant a response within four hours, setting this expectation can help reduce repeat contacts and frustration with customers. Example: Abandoned Baskets According to SaleCycle, one of the biggest opportunities in ecommerce in 2015 is the abandoned basket, in 2014 online sales were forecast at $1.4 trillion dollars, abandoned basket value was as $3 trillion dollars. Now it s naïve to think that all of those sales and products being added to baskets were sales waiting to happen, personally I ve added items to my cart just as a way to keep a track of things I might be interested in or want to revisit. However, there is still some very positive signals that using Marketing Automation to retarget your customers when they have shown this small element of intent can result in conversions to sale. Open rates from marketing s average around 54% Click through rates from these s is 19% Conversions from click to purchase is 30% Abandoners spend 55% more when remarketed Most cart abandonment happens between 8-9pm Most people abandon cart on Thursday

8 08 You can advance your marketing messages when you have solid data around your customer buying cycles and purchase trends. NURTURING YOUR ECOMMERCE CUSTOMERS WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

9 09 Getting more sophisticated Adding more sophistication to your Marketing Automation plan starts with getting a deeper understanding of your customer data and seeing how existing processes are working and what is effective in delivering results. For example, in the last section we discussed abandoned cart times and most frequent day of the week for this activity, this is a general statistic and is something that you should look into for your customers. Within your abandoned basket there is certainly more depth that you can approach in terms of the rules that determine which marketing message your customer receives. One of the areas that may affect this is the value of the customer to your business, this may be in their total lifetime sales or the frequency of their purchases. It s common place to offer incentives in the abandoned basket to drive that last bit of excitement and trigger the click to purchase, however this kind of strategy can also back fire if it s a blanket strategy. If your customers start to become savvy to your strategy then this can often lead to purposely abandoned carts to get the discount. Varying your plans with branches can help to continue to guide the customers but also give you a view on your total customer base, planning multiple states and setting bands for messaging can tailor that experience. One of the pitfalls to watch out for in Marketing Automation is to be careful of the massing and how it can drive your customers behaviour into a negative one, constantly incentivising and delivering sales led messaging can often spiral into slumps in transactions that require more sales-focussed plans. Some brands such as Amazon are no doubt starting to include machine learning to help with their Marketing Automation plans to review customer data, sales patterns and trends in order to drive their activity however these can be costly and are yet to be proven. have solid data around your customer buying cycles and purchase trends, this can be easier when your goods are consumables or subscription-based and have an expected purchase cycle, we have seen very positive results with one of our makeup clients who send upsell marketing messages at set intervals from the last purchase date based on expected use. Nurturing post-sale Ecommerce is very much driving the Marketing Automation market, as it provides a consistent topic and the realm of familiarity within the purchasing experience means we are more inclined to respond positively when it will support getting better service. This is certainly true in the post-purchase space where the euphoria of buying a product is still front of mind. More and more companies are realising the benefits of unique content and customer feedback that helps improve everythingthey do. Service reviews Amazon has an follow-up for rating its packaging for goods that have been shipped, this is also a good way to allow the customer to give any supporting feedback on the courier Product reviews Everyone should by now, know the value of unique content on your website, reviews are the most effective way of gathering this in ecommerce, and if the product is good it can have secondary benefits to help other customers make the commitment and convert Customer service Focusing all of your activity on sales-driven messaging can damage your brand if you re not supporting it with ongoing relationship building and customer service You can advance your marketing messages when you

10 10 Feedback Allowing your customers to feedback, engage and recommend post-purchase helps build that trust with your brand, this can also be a very useful exercise to validate your marketing strategy Planning a reactivation strategy Marketing automation can be a great way to engage with your customers who haven t been in touch for a long time. This doesn t necessarily mean trying to get them to purchase straight away but acknowledging you know they haven t logged into their account for a while, for example. Social media platforms are becoming increasingly effective at proving this on-going, nurturing messaging with effective round up s. LinkedIn sends me a weekly and monthly round-up of information, giving me a hint at some of the people that have viewed my profile, some of the related companies or topics that are being discussed and they lead with a CTA to return to the site and engage. Twitter sends information about new followers, popular conversations within the groups and people that are being followed all trying to get me back into the platform tweeting again. Reactivation strategies should be part of any CRM plan. Bearing in mind that you have already engaged with the customer in the past, they have probably purchased from you, this all means that you have data and history to work with More importantly with reactivation, you have to consider your messaging for the different types of lapsed customer, there is a difference between those who have made a large ticket value purchase that don t need to buy again to those who were just browsing. How do I make the most of the Marketing Automation? In order to ensure your Marketing Automation efforts are not done in vain, start small and grow them to become more complex as you begin to realise results. Be selective about when and where you want to market to your customers Don t try to implement everything at once and focus on the main marketing messages of your brand Consider what data you have and what you may need to be more effective Asking additional questions of your customers can be seen as a blocker to purchase but done in the right way and with an explanation of why it s required, can help your messaging Consider your monitoring and reporting How often you review your plans and how you report on the effectiveness of these is essential to delivering results Ensure you have a feedback loop in your data to ensure it s accurate The main factor in ensuring your Marketing Automation is successful is the quality of data that you are working from. By ensuring your data is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, this will mean that your messaging remains focused and relevant NURTURING YOUR ECOMMERCE CUSTOMERS WITH MARKETING AUTOMATION

11 11 Include check points in your plans to ensure you aren t becoming a nuisance We ve all been the recipient of numerous s asking for feedback or asking us to come back, having a clear way to opt-out of comms or to update their preferences is just good practise Always be testing One point I ve made in the past with using Personalisation is Always be testing. Some of the examples we ve covered may work for some but not necessarily for all, therefore test as often as you can and evolve your strategy Summary As with most new activities in the digital marketing space, getting started can often seem like the hardest part. The lure of creating new and intricate plans, learning new technology and ways of working and marketing messages for every customer quickly becomes something of a scary place and a reason not to start. However, we have seen that by considering your various audience groups in your marketing plan that you can do some very clever and relevant messaging. But most of all, I hope I ve demonstrated that Marketing Automation is not an exercise or process that you carry out once and leave alone, it s something that you evolve alongside your main marketing activity. If you focus on the transactional elements of your ecommerce experience such as abandoned baskets, upsell and product recommendations, then you can definitely increase your revenue. But if you build upon more digital touch points, then you gain brand value and trust with your customers.

12 Thank you

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