Your customers start their journey by being your website's visitors. But they are rarely ready to buy just from the first time visiting. That is why a strategic pre-purchase email series is essential to nurture them through the funnel and eventually convert them into buyers.
In an ideal world, your perfect customer would land on your eCommerce site, be amazed by your products, and purchase without any worry in mind. That is hardly the case for any store, and you know it. They will look around, do research, ask questions, see reviews, and many more before even putting one item into the cart.
By having a pre-purchase automation email campaign, you can influence that process through emails and make the purchase happen faster. In this article, I will show you how to create a successful pre-purchase automation email campaign, with the best advice that you can find for the topic.
Read on to find out!
What is a pre-purchase email
The pre-purchase email is an email or a sequence of emails sent directly to a new subscriber who signs up to hear more from your brand. It is considered a triggered email - which means it is sent automatically when a visitor takes action or an event takes place. Other triggered email examples are order confirmations, abandoned cart reminders, special occasion announcements, and more.
Triggered emails are highly effective because they have a higher open rate and a high click rate. The same thing for pre-purchase emails - if you are only sending blog posts and irrelevant information to subscribers, you are missing a huge opportunity on sales with these first-impression emails.
Also, pre-purchase email plays an important role in the first marketing phase for any business - awareness. When a customer is convinced to check out your business through content marketing, social media, advertising, and PR; they decide to sign up for your email list. With pre-purchase emails, you can educate subscribers about your business and products, eventually leading to a sale.
How does a pre-purchase email workflow work?
As discussed, a customer is unlikely to purchase from you the first time they receive an email from you. However, if you can engage with them, you will increase the chances of a future conversion via segmentation and retargeting. The easiest way to achieve this is by strategically designing a pre-purchase email workflow that can lead and nurture customers.
While your prospects are often reluctant to spend their money, they are much more generous with giving their email addresses and opening emails. If your email sequence is strong enough, you can nurture them through your funnel quickly. Pre-purchase emails keep the conversation going with customers, letting them know how you appreciate their interest and what to expect next.
Many businesses add only 1-2 emails to their workflow and consider that it is good enough, then wait for a miracle. An excellent pre-purchase email workflow should consist of 3 emails, but you can even add 5-6 emails if it is suitable for your business.
An example of a pre-purchase email workflow for a new customer in our app – AVADA Email Marketing is like this:
- Email 1: A welcome email with a gift code offering a 20% discount, but there is a time restriction.
- Email 2: A reminder email that asks the reader to check out the discount code if he/she hasn't used it and offer help.
- Email 3: A final-chance email that tells the subscriber that the discount code will expire soon, and here is the chance to get it.
If the recipient doesn't convert after these three emails, you can select a new email approach. You can offer another type of promotion or add more emails to the workflow. A content email that leads to a blog or a social proof email containing testimonials is terrific to nurture a prospect.
Why does your business need pre-purchase emails?
You may still wonder why your business should use pre-purchase emails, so let me explain it further. Traditionally, a customer's decision process is typically like this:
- The consumer identifies his/her needs
- He/she then start collecting information on the products
- The prospect then evaluates alternatives from other companies
- Finally, your customer makes a purchase decision to buy from your business.
As you can see, if you don't help the customers know well about your product from the start, you can lose them in any of the first three steps. They can think your products are not the right fit for them if you send out the wrong idea, they can think your products have bad quality if there is a bad review, or they can think products from competitors are much better. Many situations may happen.
If you do nothing about it, you are leaving it to fate for the consumer's mercy to choose your business. Rarely it is a fairytale ending. If you do not collect data from the first email and start nurturing the prospect, you are significantly decreasing your chances of a more successful conversion. And this applies to almost every industry.
Products that take a longer time to decide from a customer would require more emails, while products with a shorter deciding time will need their pre-purchase emails to make an immediate impression. Without pre-purchase emails, it will be hard for a brand to build a relationship and a more personalized shopping experience.
What you need to do with this is to take control and influence the consumer's decision process, which is why an effective pre-purchase email workflow is mandatory for any business, from large to small. If you subscribe to large companies like Amazon, Airbnb, Apple, etc., you can see their pre-purchase email series for yourself.
Best advice to write a pre-purchase email series?
In this section, let's talk about how to create an automation pre-purchase email series. Remember that you are inviting people into your business's house with these emails, so it is important to provide a transition that deepens the relationship and guides the prospects to the next step. I will guide you through all the essentials, let's go.
What are the components of a pre-purchase email series?
Irrespective of whether your company is in the B2B or B2C space, here are the 5 most important emails of an automation email series. I will provide templates for you to implement later.
Email 1: Send thank you and include what you promise
The first email is there to thank your subscribers for opting in and give them what they subscribed for. You should keep this brief while still inviting new readers to engage. A simple link to the lead magnet alongside an invitation to call or chat if they have any question is all you need. Don't make the readers take too many steps with this email, or they may get frustrated.
Email 2: Invite a conversation
After the first email, you can follow up by adding additional value. I recommend you to try asking for feedback on your offer and if subscribers have any more questions. By doing this, you ensure that they interact with your brand and realize that you are trying to help them with your products/services. This email is also pretty straightforward, but you are nurturing your prospects before stronger calls to action in the following emails.
Email 3: Show social proof from customers
Once the basis of trust has been established, you can introduce your prospects to more sides of your products. An effective way to do this is by showing strong testimonials or social proofs from your customers to back up what you are offering. With 9/10 customers saying they read reviews before purchasing, it is valuable to include social proof in your pre-purchase emails.
Email 4: Call to action on the products
At this stage, you should try capitalizing upon your leads' interest and encourage them to purchase. You can simply include links to your products and provide a strong incentive to buy. Refer back to your social proof and tell them how your products can benefit their lives. Try to keep this email short and straight to the point.
Email 5: Offer a discount incentive
If your lead didn't take action after the welcome email, maybe you should use a time-sensitive coupon to close the deal. Using time-sensitive on this offer creates urgency and entices readers to act. You can include this in your welcome email, but have some behavioral segmentation and tracking to send this email to seemingly interested contacts for a more practical approach.
When to send your pre-purchase emails?
Because it has become almost a universal aspect of the eCommerce shopping experience, consumers have come to expect welcome emails in their inboxes as soon as they subscribe or make a purchase for the first time. This is the start of your pre-purchase email series. Being the very first point of contact between your business and a prospect, the right message with the right timing can make or break your relationship with the audience.
So, set up your pre-purchase email to send out automatically right when there is a new subscriber. Your customers are interested in your products and seek more information, so give them to them now. Why wait to cultivate that interest or risk letting it fade out, act before it is too late!
After the first welcome email, you can start sending one email per day. More than one can feel spammy for the subscribers. There can be exceptions based on the industry and sales strategy, but this is a general rule of thumb.
If you wait too long between pre-purchase emails, your customers won't think they are connected to your brand - emails that are 3-5 days apart are disconnected. And as mentioned, their interest fades out quickly.
Approximately, the first week after a prospect subscribes is your main window of opportunity to send pre-purchase emails and make a result.
How to create effective pre-purchase emails' subject lines?
Great subject lines are short and descriptive. Target.com plays it simple with "Welcome to Target", while Nike keeps it bold with "You're in". It does help if your subject line contains some of your company's personality, or a statement that encourages people to open the email.
For example, Bed Bath and Beyond's subject line says: "Welcome! Your 20% offer is here!". Or Zappos' subject line says, "Welcome and thanks for registering…We heart you!" - a little love is always well-received, especially when welcome emails have a high open rate.
How to create a pre-purchase automation email series?
Just as a greeting won't complete a conversation, your welcome email will not be enough to build a relationship with prospects. Follow up emails can offer additional information, introduce loyalty programs, provide coupons, or invite readers to join you on social media. Those keep the conversation and the relationship going.
So, how to create a pre-purchase automation email series like that? You can use our app – AVADA Email Marketing. The app is now free to use with many pre-made email templates that are customizable. Let me show you the steps.
First, you need to install the app and integrate it into your online store. If your store is on Shopify, you can find the app on the Shopify App Store like in the picture above.
Once the app is installed, you will have access to the dashboard, where you can start creating your email marketing campaign. At the dashboard, select
Event tab, you will see the event type, event, condition segments, and preset. With these, you can select the type of email campaign you want to create, while managing better your approaches to different groups of customers. As you can see in the picture, I'm selecting the event type for subscriber and customer, the new subscriber event, and the preset of 3 welcome emails.
There are more templates to choose from, so feel free to look around for yourself. You can also add condition filters and segment filters for better targeted campaigns. When you are done, click 'Next'.
Here is the Workflow step, where you can adjust the timing and content of your email sequence. For the example of a welcome email series - a typical pre-purchase email series, you can see there are three email templates with preset timing. Click and drag any component to adjust the workflow and edit.
As you can see here, I wanted to edit the email content a bit, so I selected the first email and clicked on
Edit. For the wait time, when you click on the edit button, you can select the waiting time before sending. The preset timing is suitable for most eCommerce companies.
The app would take me to an email editor, where I can adjust the copy, image, logo, link, and more. With the tools available, I can design the look and feel of the email to match my brand and message. You can also click on the Resolution icon to see your email on computers and mobile. Once done editing, I clicked on
Back to the workflow, click
Save and Next.
At this last step, you can write in the name and description of your email campaign, as well as add some tags for better management in the future. The tags will help you find the campaign better right from the first dashboard. When you are ready, click
Finish. Your pre-purchase email campaign is up and running!
By creating a pre-purchase automation email campaign like the process above, you can nurture your prospects through the funnel and increase the conversion rate exponentially. Given how email marketing is famous for its effective return on investment, an automation series like this can help you gain more customers on autopilot.
If you need any help on setting up a pre-purchase automation email campaign for your online store, feel free to contact us. Our staff at AVADA is always available to respond!