So you’ve heard the term marketing automation and you’re wondering how best to put implement automations into your WooCommerce store. The good news is that you’ve landed on the right article. In this guide, we’re going to go over what marketing automations are, what automations are most effective to increase sales for your WooCommerce store, and which tools and plugins you can implement to get started and starting making more money.
What is Marketing Automation?
Simply put, marketing automation is putting in place mechanisms into your WordPress ecommerce store based upon customer actions to encourage customers to return to your store and spend more money. Never heard of the term marketing automation? Maybe you’ve heard of similar terms such as marketing workflows, marketing funnels, automated marketing emails, or simply just automations.
While a marketing automation can be as simple as an order email confirmation that gets sent to your customer after purchase, we want to focus on the more advanced types of automations: the types that lead to markedly increased revenue. Overall, the goal with marketing automations should be get customers to take either spend money on your store or take additional actions that they would not have taken without your automation efforts.
For example, if a customer purchases a complimentary product after their initial purchase because you emailed them a special offer, this is a winning automation!
Why are Marketing Automations Important for E-Commerce?
Marketing automation is what sales in the 21st century is all about. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Target use advanced systems to analyze customer purchases and automatically send out coupons for complimentary products to what they’ve purchased in order to increase customer visits and amount spent. A rather famous example is how Target sends out mailings with coupons for maternity products such as diapers after spotting an increase of lotion purchases by female customers. How can Target so boldly assume that these female customers are expecting mothers? Based upon correlations of product purchases in past sales data.
You can take these principles of action->reaction events with your WooCommerce store and get similar results. Namely, more sales! The way we think about ecommerce automations is via events and actions. If a certain type of event occurs, like a completed order, then instruct the system to take a particular type of action, like sending an email offer with a unique coupon for a complimentary product. This is the power of marketing automations.
What Types of Marketing Automations Are There?
The number of ways you can automate your marketing efforts for your ecommerce store is endless. There are so many different methods and combinations out there to try. Right now, let’s discuss some big ones that should result in big wins for your WooCommerce store:
1. Adding Customers to Your Mailing List
This is quite straightforward, but the first step in setting up automations for your store is to make sure that new customers automatically get added to your email mailing list. Whether your list is hosted with Mailchimp, Aweber, or another list provider, you want to make sure that the marketing automation tool you’re using with WooCommerce allows you to automatically add new customers to your list without you having to do any manual exports and imports from WooCommerce with a csv file.
One question when it comes to adding customers to your mailing list is whether you want to make it optional for your customers to be added to your mailing list or not upon checkout. In ShopMagic for instance, we’ve built in the ability to add a checkbox for your customers to join your mailing list upon checkout, however, it’s possible to turn this off and just automatically add them to your list upon checkout. Note however, that depending upon your mailing list provider, not giving your customers the choice of whether to join your list or not may be against your mailing list provider’s usage policy. In most cases, I find that customers aren’t too upset to learn they’ve automatically been added to a mailing list after they’ve checked out from a store, so long as they have the ability to opt-out easily. I’m seeing more and more examples recently of shops simply adding me to their email list upon checkout without informing me about it, and because I purchased from them, I don’t feel it’s an invasion of privacy in the same way as other companies who’ve harvested my email on the web somewhere without my permission.
2. Review Request Emails
Customer reviews are absolutely critical for increasing sales. The introduction of honest, unbiased book reviews is one of the reasons behind Amazon’s uber success. Way back when they started, even though book publishers detested that Amazon refused to remove negative reviews about their books, customers soon learned that Amazon was a source they could count on for transparency with everything they bought due to their review system. Obviously, most successful online retailers have followed step.
Nonetheless, getting a customer to actually take the time out of their busy days to write a review for your shop is anything but simple. Most customers, even if they’re satisfied with their purchase, just don’t care enough to bother writing your store a review. On the other hand, unsatisfied customers are highly likely to write a negative review of either the store they purchased from and/or the product itself. So if you just let things be, chances are that the only times you’ll get customer reviews is when they’re unhappy.
A Review Request Email Automation can help tip the scales in your favor. To implement it, simply write up a heartfelt and genuine thank you email that will go out to your customer, reminding them of your satisfaction guarantee and ask them to take a minute to write a review if they were indeed satisfied with their purchase. We suggest setting this email to go out 3-5 days after expected delivery of shipment so that you can be sure your customer has received the item.
Again, ShopMagic is designed to handle this automation and we’ll be putting out an entire article soon about the nuts and bolts of setting up a Review Request Email Automation.
3) Personalized Customer Discounts
One way to boost ecommerce sales is to offer a unique coupon to the customers that are just on that tipping point of purchasing a particular item, but just need a little push.
How do you know which customers are on the tipping point and worth sending a personalized coupon to?
There’s a few strategies to setup:
- WHEN a customer abandons their cart (big one!) –
- THEN use ShopMagic to send them a unique coupon to come back and purchase what’s they put in their cart at a discount!
- WHEN a customer purchases a particular product
- THEN create a coupon for a similar or complementary product may encourage them to pull out their credit card again – this is ultimately what you want, a potential customer to become a real customer through a purchase
- WHEN a customer spends over $100 in the past 2 months
- THEN setup an automation to send them a thank you email with a coupon for 10% off any purchase
One thing we’ve done with ShopMagic is provide the ability to generate a unique personalized coupon that applies to only one customer. That means that you can feel free to have ShopMagic email a coupon to your customer on your behalf and not worry that they’ll post the coupon on Facebook for all their friend to take advantage of. You’ll feel secure knowing that your offer is for them, and them alone.
4) Abandon Cart
It’s often a good idea to HIDE shipping costs from your customer until checkout. This encourages them to fill out their information in your checkout before they abandon cart. If they are going to abandon cart, it’s usually immediately after they see the shipping cost.
Here’s the deal: You need to setup an automation that grabs their email address and name during checkout and before they abandon cart, then send them an email immediately after to encourage them to complete their checkout with a subject line of something like: “Did You Forget Something?”
Alternatively, if you can create an automation to send them an email offering free shipping in order to get them to pull out their credit card and complete their purchase.
ShopMagic’s Abandon Cart Add-On is built to grab an email address during the checkout process even if a customer abandons their checkout. You can then setup a WooCommerce ShopMagic Automation that sends them an email encouraging them to complete their order and you can even include a unique coupon code for free shipping – effectively removing their objections to buy.
5. Dead Simple Custom WooCommerce Emails
While ShopMagic is still early in its development – meaning we’re actively working to add to it every day and make it super powerful – we think we’ve come up with a product that’s pretty handy and effective at a lot of different things. We’ll get into some of the advanced ways you can use ShopMagic for WooCommerce marketing automation in later articles, but for now, let’s just say that ShopMagic has its own email creator, entirely separate from WooCommerce which allows you to create customize automatic transactional emails for customers exactly the way you want. ShopMagic is basically built on the idea of cause and effect. So when a customer takes a particular action, you can set the system up to respond in a very specific way. The most basic example would be: customer makes a purchase, ShopMagic sends a specific thank you email to the customer asking them how they like the product.
6. Delayed WooCommerce Emails
What’s so Magical About a Customer Thank You or Confirmation Email?
The above example, a basic thank you email isn’t by itself may not be all that magical by itself – except that you can do so without all the cumbersome tweaking of complex php template coding with WooCommerce’s email template system. Yet beyond ease, what makes ShopMagic’s approach to a confirmation email in WooCommerce so ‘magical’ is the little stuff: like being able to delay a transactional email!
Delayed Actions is a new add-on we’ve just put out that allows you to specify exactly when in timer, after the initial purchase, you want that email to go out. So perhaps the customer got their default WooCommerce order confirmation email as normal immediately after purchase, but you want to remind them to fill out a customer satisfaction survey about how their experience was. Sure, you could put a link to the survey in your initial order confirmation email and hope that once they receive their product they’ll remember to search for your email and click the link to leave their feedback – but that’s not likely to happen is it? A better way would be to setup an automation in ShopMagic that sends them the Thank You email and asks them to fill out your survey 5-7 days after their order, when you can assume that they’ve received their shipment in the mail. At that point, they should either be happy or unhappy with their product and will be ripe to send feedback.
You Keep Mentioning ShopMagic – What Is It Again?
We’re proud of the work we’re doing here at Ristretto Apps in our creation of ShopMagic. In fact, in terms of tools go, we think it’s the best marketing automation for WooCommerce out there. As with all things WordPress and WooCommerce, there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat – and when it comes to marketing, there’s a huge overlap of various products and services that when combined can basically cover almost any automation needs out there. The problem for us though was that there were specific things unique to WooCommerce that we wanted involved in automations, and we felt there was a need for us to build something to fill that gap.