As with everything online, email best practices are constantly evolving. If you’re not seeing the conversions and ROI you’d like or you know it’s time to upgrade your email strategy but aren’t sure where to start, this article covers it all. Let’s (successfully) deliver some emails!
Which emails do you actually read (let alone click on)? Do you have a few favorite brands that you enjoy getting emails from?
Those brands, the select few you enjoy hearing from, aren’t that way by accident – it’s because they’re doing something right. If we had to guess, their emails are full of clever copy, helpful information, and perfectly timed sends that hit your inbox just when you didn’t know you needed them.
Now think about your brand or business. What’s your strategy for email marketing? Do you use the “spray and pray” method? Or do you have a well-thought-out strategy designed to delight your customers?
If you’ve been winging it, we totally understand. We all have to start somewhere. But we want to invite you to step up your email marketing strategy with these 8 types of emails every brand should be sending.
Let’s dive in!
#1 WELCOME & ONBOARDING EMAILS
Oh hey there.
Welcome emails are like a first date. A potential customer likes you and has invited you to that most marketable of destinations – their inbox!
It’s all about that first impression. According to Privy, welcome emails have an open rate of 91% and the potential to generate 3x more revenue compared to other promotional emails.
Customers want to feel like they are a part of something bigger. They want to feel a personal connection to your brand and mission. And this email is a great way to set the foundation for a rock-solid relationship.
Wondering how to make that welcome warm? Here are a few ideas:
- Send a personalized note from the CEO or company founder(s) that speaks to the heart behind your business.
- Include a welcome offer.
- Take them closer to your product — how it’s made, interesting facts, maybe an origin story. Make it memorable, make it covetable.
- Include customer quotes or testimonials.
- Share your company’s “getting started” story and incorporate old photos from the early days. This communicates to customers that you’re an established and experienced brand.
- Communicate the ways your brand makes a difference in the community. Customers will enjoy hearing about how you’re motivated by being a #forceforgood.
- … and don’t forget that call to action.
This email or email series is an excellent opportunity to play up your brand’s personality and invite customers to be a part of your mission.
Don’t know how to best tell your brand story? We can help →
#2 CART ABANDONMENT EMAILS
Did you forget something?
Cart Abandonment Emails are follow-up emails that go out to customers who added something to their cart but left without purchasing.
If you’re an e-commerce brand and not leveraging cart abandonment emails, you’re literally leaving money on the (digital) table.
This perfectly timed poke gives you the opportunity to captivate and convert customers who stepped away before completing checkout – but they had intentions of buying. And with the right messaging, this email also has the power to convert the shopper who’s still on the fence about the purchase.
There are a million ways to be creative with your abandoned cart emails. Here are a few to get your gears turning:
- Create versions of your cart abandonment emails for different customers. For example, content could be different for new shoppers vs. repeat customers, and high-value order customers vs. low-order customers.
- Test dynamic content that highlights the benefits of the particular product left in the cart. This is a great way to help customers overcome objections.
- Change the email content based on the total value of abandoned products. For example, if a customer was about to purchase a $2,000 roof rack, that abandoned cart email should be different than if the customer was simply planning to head home with a $7 bumper sticker.
- Play with incentives! You don’t always have to offer a sale or deal, but you might find that your conversion rate increases if you include a discount in your Abandoned Cart emails.
No matter what you try, make sure your Abandoned Cart emails are personalized and helpful. We promise that as you optimize this magical email (or emails), your Revenue Goals will thank you!
#3 CELEBRATION EMAILS
Celebrate good times, come on!
There are a million reasons to celebrate your customers. And what’s a better channel to throw some confetti (and GIFs) than email?
Celebration emails are a great way to make your customers feel seen, known, and appreciated. With highly personalized content, you can celebrate major milestones, invite them to celebrate company achievements, or throw a “Just Because” offer their way!
Below are some ideas for how to celebrate your customers:
- It’s their birthday! If you collect customers’ DOB (and you should), leverage this information to give them a special celebratory deal or personalized shout-out.
- It’s their anniversary! It’s likely you (or your database) know when they first became a customer or account holder. Make them feel special and appreciated by recognizing the time you’ve enjoyed together.
- Your brand hit a milestone! If you’ve received a big award, hit a record number of followers, or did something else noteworthy, invite your customers to celebrate with you. An “insider” invitation like this fosters feelings of connection – deepening your customer’s affinity for your brand, service, and/or products.
- They recently made a big purchase! An email congratulating a customer on a recent buy is a great way to keep the conversation going (and maybe suggest some sweet accessories to go with that new item).
Can’t think of a reason to celebrate? Celebrate your customers “just because” … because without them, your business wouldn’t exist. So bring on the exclamation marks and GIFs and let’s bring the par-tay to their inbox.
#4 END-OF-YEAR ROUNDUP EMAILS
It’s human nature to get a little sentimental when things end. So when the end of the year rolls around, find a way to look back at all your brand and customers have accomplished in an End-of-Year Roundup Email.
Here are some ideas of what this could look like:
- Highlight the ways your company has been a #forceforgood. If your brand makes a positive impact on the world, find a way to highlight and quantify the good, then tell your customers how they amplify the impact by shopping with you.
- Surprise customers with personalized insights. If your brand relies on returning engagement, find a way to cull the data to make it interesting (and maybe even social share-worthy).
- Share impressive company metrics. Lift up the curtain and share a bit about all your team has done and achieved over the last year.
The goal of these emails is to make your customers feel like they’re a part of something bigger by highlighting involvement, engagement, and impact.
Have fun with this! (Pro tip: It’s never too early to start planning what data you need to collect to pull off a winning end-of-year email.)
#5 SURVEY EMAILS
How are we doing?
Gathering feedback from customers is critical. If you’re not doing regular check-ins with customers, you’re not listening to your biggest stakeholders and missing out on information that could make or break business.
A simple survey email is a great way to get the insights you need for success. Below are some prompts that you can (and should be) asking customers via email on a regular basis:
- How was your online shopping experience?
- Are you satisfied with your product(s)?
- How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend?
- How was your customer service experience?
- What questions do you have about the product or services?
- What should we stock next?
For these emails, you’ve got options. Do you want to leverage a third-party tool to gather the feedback? Do you wish to incentivize the emails with a discount code or credit for those who participate? Can’t decide what’s best for your brand? We can help →
#6 SURPRISE AND DELIGHT EMAILS
We’re about to make your day…
Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than a delightful, unexpected email full of genuine goodwill.
Surprise and delight emails are just that. They’re intended to bring a smile to your customers’ faces and make their day. You can achieve this in a wide variety of ways. Below are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- Offer to send them something completely free (with NO hooks)
- Include a photo of a personalized handwritten note
- Spin up a playful web-based game and invite your customers to play
- Partner with an aligned brand to do something good for a charity that resonates with your customers
- Drop some surprise credits in their account — or give them a stellar coupon they’ll be excited to share with their friends
- Ask your customers to nominate someone for a free gift
We know it might be tempting to bake some secret marketing into your Surprise and Delight Emails. But hear us when we say, free shipping or flash sales are not what we’re going for here. Customers know when they’re on the hook for something. Instead, we invite brands to use these emails as a way to be sincere and altruistic.
It might feel risky, but being a #forceforgood is always worth it in the long run. Don’t believe it? Just ask us.
#7 CUSTOM NURTURE SERIES
The one-two punch
How much do you know about your customers? Hopefully a lot, but we bet your back-end might know even more.
And what’s more – you can leverage that data to develop a brilliantly scheduled custom nurture series. These bad boys contain mapped-out content that lands in inboxes at pivotal points in the customer lifecycle.
Want to give a custom nurture series a try? Here a few tips and tricks to make sure they perform perfectly:
- Set a goal for your series. Is the goal to get customers to buy again? To keep your brand top of mind? To move a potential customer further down your funnel? No matter what you do, keep that goal in mind as you develop the content.
- Use wisdom when it comes to timing. Do your customers need to hear from you once a day? Once a week? Once a month? The timing is up to you and may take some trial and error until you land the right sending sequence for your goals.
- Make sure every email has a CTA. Nothing is worse than getting an email with zero CTAs. Give your customers a clear path about what to do next.
- Incorporate high-value and helpful content in every email. Do this every time and you’ll leave your customers thinking, “Wow, that brand really gets me – I love them” (we love you too).
A friendly P.S. on this one – if your data isn’t buttoned up, there are still ways you can create a clever custom nurture series. Don’t know how? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#8 CLEVER STATUS EMAILS
Expect the unexpected
If you’re an e-commerce company, you know that status emails like “Your Order Has Been Shipped” are a part of standard operating procedures. But did you know how great their open rates are? (After all, who doesn’t open their “order shipped” email to find out when their package is arriving?)
If you’re using the “out of the box” emails that come with your e-commerce platform, you’re missing a great opportunity to make a bold impression on your customers.
Trash the boring status emails and trade up to some clever status emails that:
- Highlight your brand voice and brand values. For example, if you’re a goofy bunch, swap out the boring standard headlines for playful copy and imagery that leave a lasting impression.
- Further educate customers about the product or service they’ve purchased. Use the prime real estate in this email to address commonly addressed questions in a fun and interactive way.
- Upsell complementary products in a tasteful way. Now is not the time to promote the $800 model vacuum after they just purchased your $600 model. Instead offer parts, warranties, or other products (with a deal, if you dare).
Another pro tip: if you are using “out of the box” emails, at least make sure they’re updated to be on-brand with your fonts and colors. These emails are a chance to further your brand recognition with customers and definitely not a time when you want to confuse your customers with incongruent branding.
If you’d like to give one of these emails a go or don’t even know where to start with your email marketing strategy, let us help →
Want more ways to level up your email game? Get in there with these email best practices →
Find your opportunities
You’re almost certainly missing out on potential sales from email. And you won’t know your potential until you take a close look at the numbers, performance, and competitors. Let us audit your email and uncover your opportunities, then make a plan to test and grow.
Research. Build. Test. Improve.