eCommerce marketing is anything but easy. Ask any marketing manager and they’ll tell you.
There are a lot of moving parts to manage. Starting from managing marketing campaigns and balancing search rankings to keeping your website UI/UX in top shape. Quite a handful!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Worse, your team, and you, can feel burnt out.
A smart solution: investing in marketing automation.
34% of other intelligent eCommerce marketing managers are already using it to wean off their repetitive tasks.
Time for you and your team to stop wasting time in the monotonous workflows, and focus on getting more revenue.
This post is both for eCommerce business owners and marketing managers dipping their toe in marketing automation for the first time as well as those who are already using it but want to get more concrete results.
1. Keep customers hooked with dynamic content
Personalization has evolved from changing the fname and sending separate emails to each person on your email list.
With technology, you can achieve more precision in your personalization efforts.
A great example of this is how marketing automation platforms have enabled dynamic content to send targeted messages to select customers.
By combining these two powerful entities, you can tweak the rules on your landing page or email to meet specific visitor parameters. This way, you can send highly tailored content to the exact audience who needs to see it.
Here are some cool ideas to send more personalized messages to your prospects:
Share geographically relevant content
Your customers are often spread across widely different time zones, zip codes, and weather conditions. Let your content reflect that too.
Send them location-specific offers; tweak your marketing campaigns to factor in seasonal product demands.
Skandium updates its banner based on where the customer is browsing from.
Reach out to specific personas and demographics
If you’ve spent some time building and refining your buyer personas, this is where it’ll come in handy. This segmentation goes beyond just gender; it includes other essential factors such as job title, industry, salary, etc.
Imagine you’re a furniture retailer. A customer who holds a director-level position may have very different furniture requirements than maybe an executive.
This is an especially useful tool when it comes to Facebook marketing, which gives you the option to Optimize Creative and Text based on the audience responding to it.
Use Pop-ups to prompt consistent behavior actions
Have you discovered that some of your visitors frequent specific product pages? This obviously means they are interested in those pages.
By enabling Pop-ups on these specific pages, you can nudge your customers to the next step of their journey, helping them complete their purchases even sooner.
Here’s a great example of how you can use dynamic content on your Pop-ups and bring various audiences to complete their conversions.
2. Boost your conversion rate with lead scoring
Unless you possess a magic crystal ball, it’s difficult to predict when your customers will be most receptive to your message.
But you can get really close with automated lead scoring. A lead scoring model helps you identify the prospects most interested in your business and most likely to convert.
As an eCommerce retailer, you’d probably be aware that a handful of customers drive the better part of the revenue for your business.
These may have been customers who had put a whole lot of items on their cart, visited a handful of product pages, and spent a huge amount of time on your site.
However, once they left, you may have sent them a cart abandonment email. Which is better than nothing—but not the best.
Enter lead scoring. If you’re still thinking that this is a tool reserved for SaaS businesses, you can’t be more wrong.
Imagine this. A visitor who invests a lot of time in your store since they’re more interested in your brand than just a purchase. And another one who just lands and leaves. Should you send both of them the same cart abandonment email?
The dedicated visitor needs to receive your entire arsenal of high-end resources, personalized product recommendations, lightning-fast checkout, etc.
Lead scoring helps you segment these profitable customers—with whom you can build long-term business relationships—and the ones who are not yet there.
Here’s how you can build a lead scoring model:
Map the stages of the customer journey
These are usually awareness, engagement, consideration, acquisition, and retention. For the lead scoring process, you’ll mostly be focusing on the first three stages.
Qualify the actions visitors take at each stage
Categorize visitor actions into each stage and assign them a number.
At the awareness stage, visitors may sign up for an email. You can assign a small value such as 5 or 10 to it.
In the engagement stage, visitors may download a product catalog or engage with an email newsletter. The value for this stage can be 10 or 20.
In the consideration stage, visitors can add a product to the cart or visit the checkout page. This will have the highest value - 30 and above. The total value can be 100.
Qualify the leads to segment your visitors better
You can now create rules to segment your visitors into different levels of leads.
The common classification is into prospects, leads, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), and sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
You can set rules as to how many points and which actions are required to become each lead type. This will help you segment the user journey.
Here’s an example of a lead scoring model.
A great way to automate this entire process is with predictive analytics and machine learning.
By enabling smart softwares to scourge through data points and setting specific metrics that mark the value of leads, you can identify your best leads.
This is especially important if you are a business set to scale. When you have the capabilities to segregate your audience into multiple score sheets, you can assess their performance and use it as a tool to expand.
With these custom sheets running tailored metrics to serve different audiences, you’ll be in a better position to customize your own resources and target them better. You can then adapt your content, newsletters, and other collateral to connect with these leads effectively.
The best part is — the more often you practice this, better your lead scoring becomes; the better you become at nurturing all of the leads that come in.
Speaking of which, have you seen this? Top 20 lead nurturing emails in eCommerce
3. Land more sales with checkout automation
The aim of marketing automation isn’t just to achieve faster checkouts. It’s also to ensure there are fewer friction points along the way.
A better page loading speed is definitely a good starting point. However, it’s not the entire thing. Little details such as having to enter the same details twice can lead users to abandon.
Forter’s survey backs this up. Among the top reasons why customers didn’t checkout, two were having to enter the shipping and credit card info twice.
Here are 2 ways you can use automation to make the checkout process for customers smoother:
Integrate Google Maps API for auto-filling addresses
Reducing customer effort in filling out forms is a no-brainer. The Google Maps API can easily pick up the address info and populate them on the form. This also reduces the chance of any errors in typing out the address.
Google offers a quick guide on how to implement the address autocomplete feature for your site. As soon as a user starts typing, Google shares address predictions that the user can select. Next, you can verify the selected address and confirm the location.
Integrate with Payment Gateways for faster checkouts
Not only does integrated Payment Processing quicken the checkout process, but it also offers your customers a convenient (and safer) way to finish their payments.
Customers are far more likely to feel comfortable with a non-invasive payment option, such as with Paypal, than one where they’re required to fill in their card details on yet another website.
Pro Tip: Bring in as many of these as you can. Take a note from Augustinus Bader, a premium skincare brand, that has a variety of payment integrations for express checkout.
Enable the option to keep the shipping and billing address the same
Usually, customers have the same billing and shipping addresses. Keep an option for customers to select the button if they have the same addresses.
You can also save space by adding an option for customers to select if they have a different address.
Only if this option is selected, hidden form fields to enter the new address details will appear. Win-win for your business and for your customers from a UX pov.
4. Achieve more purchase completions with automated reminders
Did you know that 58.6% of US shoppers abandon because they were just browsing?
For a moment, let’s try and understand the motivations behind your customers’ actions. They may not be checking out because they are genuinely browsing—perhaps comparing products. They may come back once they’ve finalized their choice.
Another reason can be they aren’t able to check out—because of friction. Perhaps there isn’t a guest checkout option available. Or they discover hidden costs they weren’t aware of at the final stage.
If it’s the former, read on.
Often, customers forget to finish their search and get busy with other things. That’s why reminders help. Not that, you have to painstakingly send manual reminders every time. For that, there’s automation.
Create an abandoned cart email workflow that reminds customers to complete their orders and also motivates them with offers.
Here’s an automated abandoned cart email workflow that we suggest:
1st email - Send 3 hours after the customer abandons the cart. Remember, the first few hours are your golden ticket to bringing them back.
2nd email - Send 6 hours after the abandonment. This is just a backup, in case the customer didn’t receive the first email.
3rd email - Send 12 hours after the abandonment. If the customer still hasn’t responded, it’s time to bring out your wild card - a discount code.
Some elements you can include in your email workflow to make the offer even more alluring for them are:
- A roundup of the items they had selected (+ any price drops or stock updates)
- Complementary products or accessories that go with them
- Social proof in the form of positive reviews from other customers about the products
- A compelling call to action to draw them back into the journey
Check out these 3 abandoned cart emails from Carpe.
Want more? Check out 15 High-converting examples of automated emails
5. Get faster and more relevant feedback with automated reviews
94% of online shoppers will avoid buying from a brand that has negative reviews. That’s how powerful reviews are—and why it’s so important to collect them.
But it can be a tedious job to manually send reviews to each and every customer. A better solution is to automate the customer feedback process.
You can request reviews from your customers after they purchase through emails, SMS, or push notifications.
Here’s how you can automate your feedback process:
- Request a review from a review management platform
- Ensure data sync when a customer submits a review
- Automatically initiate a customer grievance redressal ticket in case of a negative review
- Automatically trigger a thank you message and discount code when a review is received
You can also use Google Sheets to manage and segment your reviews. This database can help you track and analyze your reviews better.
Here’s an automated email review template from Papier.
6. Draw in more customers with targeted landing pages
Many customers don’t follow through with a purchase after arriving on a landing page simply because it doesn’t seem credible to them.
The color and design don’t match, making it difficult for them to find uniformity. A lack of uniformity creates doubts and impedes sales.
With eCommerce landing page automation, you can easily ensure customers feel part of a continuous journey and don’t get distracted due to any dissonance.
Here are some ideas to optimize your eCommerce landing page with marketing automation:
Reduce the manual work with pre-built templates
This works for those who don’t have an army of designers and developers yet want to maintain a seamless journey.
With a pre-built template, you can create a responsive and uniform landing page. You also have the option to customize each and every aspect of the landing page, including color, design, copy, and fonts.
Want to go completely code-free? Use a drag-and-drop landing page builder where you can bring together different elements to make your page look the way you want. You can even integrate this with your email marketing campaigns.
Run the right keyword campaigns
When it comes to syncing your landing pages with the ads they’re based on, it’s important to maintain a consistent flow of keywords.
Customers are far more likely to feel familiar, and hence convert, to landing pages that use the same keywords as their initial search terms.
Ensure consistency in branding, images, keywords, and even geo-metrics between these two.
Even better: create individual landing pages for each of the ad campaigns you run. This will help increase relevancy and even boost conversions.
Create conversion-friendly product pages in a blink of an eye
If you have a huge catalog of products you like, then you’d want to upload them seamlessly.
Using landing page automation software, you can create clean and conversion-friendly landing pages with auto-upload of product descriptions, catalogs, photos, etc.
Here’s a seamless automated landing page from Infinite Moon.
7. Boost customer loyalty with automated discounts
As a retailer, you’d have your eye on boosting your average order value. A great way to do that is by turning more visitors into loyal customers.
Loyal customers will buy more from you. You can reward their behavior with discounts and offers and the loyalty cycle continues.
For example, suppose a first-time customer purchases from you. You can automatically reward them with discount codes so that they come back for another round of purchases. You can craft strategically planned reward programs to keep them coming back for more.
You can also invite them to join a subscription plan to get automatic refills of the product and attractive discounts.
Here are 2 great ideas to leverage automated discounts:
Offer free gifts to customers based on their order value
You can create an automated workflow to trigger free gifts. For example, if a customer has crossed a particular price threshold and earned a certain number of points, they are eligible for a free gift.
Here’s a great example from Sephora:
However, ensure that this reflects in their cart automatically or that they can simply click and copy the code. Makes the entire process a lot simpler.
Send automatic loyalty points to subscribing customers
You can reward customers who subscribe for repeat purchases by adding points for them. You can also send personalized thank you emails and discount offers to encourage them to purchase more.
Here’s an example from Vanity Planet:
It leverages the holiday to encourage its loyal customers to come back for a purchase. The benefit: a free summer tote bag once their cart value crosses $30.
Maintain a pricing floor with automated discounts
In some cases, you may use automated pricing and discount models to prompt users to convert based on their past buying behavior.
Here, the model will likely allow for variables that change on the basis of the visitor, thereby allowing different visitors to avail of different discounts.
And this is great because it prioritizes conversions and hence ropes in a larger number of customers.
However, it can also be tricky in situations where the variability is too high and feeds into your profit margin. That’s why it’s important to account for a pricing floor ie the lowest figure the pricing can drop to.
By enabling a pricing floor, you can ensure that you’re driving conversions while also at least breaking even.
Hey, you'll love this: Limited Time Offer: 10 compelling examples + how to copy them
8. Offer personalized customer service with AI chatbots
There’s no alternative to being available. Customers may need help at any stage of their journey. It may not be possible as an SMB to always be present to answer customer questions.
AI chatbots fill that gap seamlessly. In fact, as per Global Market Insights, the market size for chatbots is set to grow to $1.3 billion by 2024.
With automated chatbot operations, you can offer your customers a more personalized and consistent customer experience. Here’s how:
Nail the consideration stage
Offering personalization at the consideration stage can improve the chances of conversions.
Chatbots can help collect data on your customer’s interests and preferences. With this, they can offer relevant product recommendations.
Here’s a great example of how H&M engages customers with an AI bot on their Kik:
You can even customize your product pages for these customers based on the data.
Own an efficient cart recovery process
You already have an arsenal of emails to send once customers abandon your cart. But if you can stop them before they leave the page, it can be more effective.
When chatbots provide reminders, they can go ahead and complete the purchase instead of doing it later.
See how Staples factors in customer’s previous purchases to answer key questions the customer has:
9. Automate social listening to track conversations around your brand
Social listening is an important aspect of marketing. It enables companies to track what people say about them, and get to know their customers better.
For brands directly involved with people, it's essential to schedule time each day for social listening — a process that allows you to detect how people are talking about your brand or industry, as well as specific competitors.
The result is a clear picture of where your brand (or your competitors) sit in the market place. By running social listening campaigns efficiently, you'll be in a better place to provide an excellent customer experience, this will help you know what customers need from you at any given time, allow you to respond quickly with relevant answers, and identify which industry trends or events might be worth commenting on.
Here are some great tools you can use:
Used as a stand-alone tool for social listening, Mention is a great resource for you to Monitor, Listen, and Publish.
It helps you track the keywords and hashtags that are performing well for your competitors, source your own mentions across filterable channels, and sort through tons of relevant data to curate your best digital presence.
Extensively used as a content discovery tool, BuzzSumo goes a long way in bridging the divide between what you think would work and what actually does.
It tracks social shares, articles, keywords to understand the relevance of the content and help you determine better ways to drive engagement.
Plus, you can set up email alerts to track conversations around your competitors in a specific duration. Great for Black Friday (and other seasonal) sales.
In true spirit as the Google brand, Google Alerts is perhaps the most effective way to run social listening on the Google search engine.
It offers a filterable segregation into the keywords or brand you are looking to track, and provides time-specific notifications on email. Every time something worthwhile comes up, they generate a quick report and send it across so you can be aware of what’s truly clicking.
Here’s what that looks like:
Wrapping Up: Test Everything
Getting more sales for your eCommerce website is serious business. You can’t leave it on assumptions.
Armed with accurate data, you can make more informed decisions and drive more assured sales.
A/B testing helps you compare different versions of your pages so that you know which can become your winning horse. Marketing automation easily helps you run these tests for both your product and landing pages to help you make more informed decisions.
Here are the elements you should be testing:
Compare shorter vs longer headlines. Test if questions in headlines work better for your audience. Testimonials can be a great value-add too. See how customers react to that. Target both positive and negative emotions and see what works.
Call to Action
Compare the use of power words and see which ones work for your brand. Experiment with multiple color combinations and see how they affect customer emotions. Try out various text placements and see what works best.
You can experiment with the placement, color schemes, and display texts to land upon the winning combination.
Here’s what an A/B testing campaign could look like:
Automation is not something that's a secret: everyone who's anyone in the marketing space uses it. BUT the key lies in using it well.
Automation is simply designed to regulate repetitive actions and make them more efficient. This can refer to anything — emails, push notifications, chats — anything that can make your marketing efforts more efficient.
If you are an eCommerce store owner, automation might be the missing piece of the puzzle in your marketing mix.
By being aware of the best practices discussed above, and even exploring your own paths in automation, you can use it as a tool to scale your marketing efforts as well as your business on the whole.