We have a lot of clients that are now taking advantage of marketing automation, which is great. They are using software like Act-On to score their leads, send targeted and personalized email campaigns, and trigger automated drip campaigns based on demographics or behavior. This can all be a lot of fun. But, what I find to be really fun is seeing clients realize the power of marketing automation when it comes to e-commerce.
Now, not all of our clients are selling a product online, but the ones that do have the opportunity to take advantage of some pretty neat marketing automation features. Even if it’s just the one-off sale of a book your company published or a paid event registration, e-commerce can open up some exciting doors.
While marketing automation provides a suite of revenue-reporting tools that pull data from your CRM, the measurement of specific campaign influence and revenue attribution becomes much clearer and more concrete when the purchase takes place on the website. For this reason alone, there is a lot of value in marketing automation if you are doing any e-commerce.
The fact that the transaction occurs online allows the sale to be highly trackable. We know who purchased what, when they made the purchase, and what pages or email messages led them to that purchase — all without you having to manually log it in the CRM. This is all extremely valuable data when trying to assess which marketing efforts are working and which aren’t. We’re able to look at all of the purchases and see which campaigns or marketing assets (web pages, emails, webinars, etc.) have influenced the most sales and resulted in the highest dollar amount being captured. This allows us to fine-tune our efforts and focus more time on what is working.
Additionally, because we have all of this data, we can easily leverage marketing automation to promote related products. For example, Merge Records sends out targeted email blasts whenever one of their artists releases a new album. Only customers who purchased items from the same or similar artists in the past would receive the email promoting the new album release. These targeted email campaigns have proven very successful thus far, as they are getting the right info in front of the right people at the right time, which ultimately increases the number of album sales without spamming their entire database of customers.
Because all of the product information can be captured at the time of purchase, we’re able to customize the content that a customer receives from that point forward. We can send emails that reference their previous purchase or suggest similar items. We can also send automated programs based on when accessories might be needed. For example, if you were to purchase a new weed eater from JThomas (a landscaping tools parts distributor, and Newfangled client), they could put you in an automated drip campaign that would send you an email about replacement strings around the time the strings usually require replacement.
Even if a customer doesn’t make a purchase, if they have placed items in their cart, you can use marketing automation to reach back out to them, offering discounts or promotions if they come back and finish their purchase. You can easily identify that they have abandoned the cart, pull the details of which items they’ve left in it, and send them a very personalized message if, after a few days, they have still not returned to the site and made the purchase. Maybe it’s to let them know their item is running low in stock, or maybe it’s to offer a coupon for that item or one like it. And then you can track how well it works by looking at how many of those potential customers came back and finished their purchase after receiving an encouraging email.
E-commerce opens up a lot of great points of engagement, and marketing automation allows you to really capitalize on them. Instead of the standard confirmation emails, you are able to cross-sell and up-sell in very strategic ways, which can result in increased sales volumes.
If you’re interested in using marketing automation for your e-commerce site, let us know. Or, if you have an e-commerce site and have run some interesting marketing automation campaigns, please share them with us in the comments!