Email Marketing Ecosystem
The email marketing ecosystem is based on three main components; audience, automations, and campaigns. By focusing on these pillars, you can skyrocket your e-commerce business revenue!
The most common question that I get as a marketing expert is, “what are the integral components of email marketing?” in return, I always answer with a counter-question, “what does your marketing ecosystem look like?”
So, I know it sounds kind of crazy, like “an email marketing ecosystem?!”.
No worries, however, as I’ll walk you through all of it.
For me, it’s these three important pillars that we should focus on to get where we want to go and make our business grow.
This article will help you understand how you can improve your email marketing by focusing on these pillars.
Main components of the email marketing ecosystem
Below discussed are those three essential components of an email marketing ecosystem that I call pillars of email marketing.
It is crucial that you know and understand your audience well. You should know what makes them unique and what valuable qualities and characteristics they have.
Your focus should also be on the growth of the audience and the ways of consistently reaching them through good deliverability.
This ultimately also helps in the audience retention strategies.
Automations are the most crucial marketing component you should focus on in your e-commerce business as they form a foundation for your business.
It’s the automations that usually drive your audience into making the first purchase from your store and then keep them coming back on a regular basis.
In email automation, the behavior of customers is very important. The online activities they indulge in – the things they do and avoid are the triggers for email marketing, which is what automated emails are highly based on. These triggers are how a customer reaches your business, makes the first purchase, and then keeps coming back to your store.
So once these automations are set up, they keep working in the background in perpetuity. And then, we can improve them gradually over time as we more and more understand our audience’s behavior.
The third component is the process of sending consistent campaigns.
After the audience has made its first purchase, or even if a customer has become your regular buyer, you must consistently inform, educate, and entertain them. They should know what’s happening in your store now and then.
In many cases, the buyer may look forward to making another purchase from you of the same product either because it may be replenishable or needed again for a certain use, or they may also want to or have to buy a complimentary product for the purchase they have already made.
In other cases, as a seller, you may also remind them again of the product that they once bought from you earlier, around a specific time when it might come in handy for the customer, e.g., around holidays or a particular season.
You may also want to inform them of different ways of using that product or with another of your product.
So in such cases as a seller, you must keep your customer informed and engaged by consistently sending similar campaigns to them.
This helps your customer keep coming back around to your store and persuade them to make a purchase. That way, they won’t forget you!
Now, with all the components mentioned and introduced, it is time to learn how to distinguish between them as they can sometimes overlap and get tricky.
Further, we will talk about how these components can be used to keep our market evolving and the steps involved in this process.
How do I understand my audience?
Understanding your audience is one of the most important steps of creating an effective email marketing strategy. You first need to categorize it into segments. These segments describe the specific type of audience needs (we have another article and video that, in full depth, discusses the primary segmentation variable).
The primary segmentation variable allows you to understand who your customers would be and what would be their needs, and how you would cater to those needs?
This segmentation of the audience would assist in distinguishing between the different types of customers and offer them the kind of communication and information that will be most valuable and effective for them.
The segmentation of the audience according to their features and qualities would help you identify the most profitable audience among your customers and would make it easy for you to understand how you can serve them through the appropriate use of emails and SMS services.
In simpler words, you need to figure out what effective means you can use for a specific type of audience to get them on board with your services and to get them to sign up for you and become your regular buyers.
After you have figured out your strategy for building up your audience, your focus should move on to how you grow/increase your audience.
What are the insights we want to collect?
You must know/understand what first-party data you want to leverage through your customer journey’s consistency. Like, you’re not going to get all the data out of the gate at once, but how would you collect and use that overtime to improve the relevance of your emails?
This is how you build the audience and find different ways of catering to them in a unique, desired way.
Meanwhile, your focus should also be on the deliverability of your emails. Having high deliverability means that your emails don’t only reach the customer’s inbox but also drive them to engage with them.
But if the deliverability is low, it can cause your email to be sent to the customer’s spam folder. This lowers the customer’s chance of engaging with your mail as spam folders are rarely checked by people.
This would mean that you are not visible in their inbox that much, which means that something needs to be done to increase the deliverability of your emails.
As it is evident that deliverability adds value to your emails and improves your email marketing, you must keep an eye on the content, relevance, and value of your automated emails. A high deliverability level ensures that you are a reputable sender and keeps you from entering the spam folder.
How to get the most out of automation?
Since you have built your audience and have people coming to the store, you now want them to keep coming back to make more purchases. Automation helps you through that, and it is the second most important component you focus on (as mentioned earlier too).
Automations are ideally the basic components of email marketing that drive that first purchase and customer in the store. They drive customers with specific behaviors to your store and get them to look into your products and services, notice how your store serves the customers differently from others, and make them feel confident and secure while making that first purchase decision.
With the first purchase being made by a customer, your focus should now be on how to drive that customer back to your business.
Automation also allows you to pull people back into your funnel to create repeat purchasers. This makes a solid baseline of performance for months as you bring in new customers to the store and work consistently in the background to drive revenue for your business.
Every time you add new automation, you can expect your business to go one level up, but to achieve such results, you should know a few things beforehand.
First of all, as I discussed earlier understanding, your audience is crucial to running your business. Secondly, customer behavior is very important to introduce new automation.
As a seller, you should have information about your customer’s purchase journey. Like from what is it that they purchased? What are they interested in? What do they search for? Are they price conscious and like to stay in a certain range? How frequently do they buy?
These questions will help you determine what kinds of behaviors YOU want to drive along; you will have to identify what behavior you want to see in a customer. Do you want them to keep coming back frequently? Do you want them to buy a complementary product of the previous product?
When studied and answered, all these questions help you reverse engineer the customer’s behaviors into the way you want to see and understand. It enables you to identify a way to get the customer back in the store to make a second purchase or keep them coming back regularly, even if they don’t want to. So how do you do that?
You make them offers that force them to engage in your business. Such offers could be in the form of discounts and bonuses.
Sending these types of content pushes them to look into your store again and fulfills your goal of creating a repeat purchase behavior.
But it should be kept in mind that it has to be done in an automated way, i.e., it should be highly contextual and relevant to the customer’s needs and behavior. As this automation is set to be triggered on specific customer behaviors, the emails created through them are typically very relevant, highly targeted, and very specific for every type of customer.
Along with this, you also should test the automation you are using. This acts like a digital sandbox that allows you to understand what kind of messaging works? How those value propositions work and what is driving value to your business.
Developing an understanding of this also enables you to incorporate this information into other areas of marketing.
Automations need to be consistently tested, improved, and optimized to perform better and eventually drive more revenue for the business.
These are the automations that can bring advancement in email marketing by allowing you access to a one-to-one audience check. This enables you to check which customer is receiving which message and compare the performance of each automated email.
It is like a very specific apples-to-apples comparison that aids in understanding what actions to take, whether to incorporate it further or cut it out, and understanding what is not working for you and how to improve what is working.
You consistently check existing automation and experiment with the new ones. But it is important to consider what impacts this new automation would have on the business revenue and how much effort it will require to introduce it.
Through this experimentation, you can understand what will be performing better. You focus on what ensures more customer engagement and cut out what doesn’t give the desired result.
So you need to be strategic and intentional about what kind of automated emails to introduce when you introduce it.
How do Campaigns help in Email Marketing?
Campaigns help in targeting a specific type of message for a specific kind of audience segment. Meaning you may send emails to every segment according to their needs. One category of the audience might get more messages than the other category, depending on their purchase behaviors.
For example, an introduction of a new product in your store might be more relevant and of more interest to one segment of your audience only and not to the others. So your focus would be on keeping that segment more updated and engaged than the others.
Maybe this is where we’re really trying to create a pipeline of communication and a drumbeat between us and our valuable segments. It helps you understand who you need to communicate with on what frequency.
Instead of sending every message to everyone in your list, you simply figure out which message concerns which segment. And it becomes easier for the audience also.
Because when you spam them with your mails, they are likely to lose interest in your messages and may not open them and engage with them on a regular basis. This again leads us back to the issue of deliverability.
So, running a suitable campaign for your business and sending out reasonable and relevant emails to the customers regarding your products and services is an important component of email marketing that builds a consistent and reliable stream of content for the customers and gives you more and more opportunities to add value to the audience without burning them out.
This again concerns maintaining the drumbeat of the message in terms of the frequency of sending the email and the timing of sending it.
In some businesses, the production of some products is time-based and time-specific. For example, if you are a coffee brewer, your products would vary seasonally. In winters, you would brew hot coffee, and in summers, you would produce cold coffee. So the way you will interact and communicate with your audience about your product through these seasons would vary.
So you have to plan your marketing strategy according to that, but you should make sure that you are hitting that consistent cadence and you are keeping that flow, so they don’t forget who you are. And this is how you can add value for your customer and build a reliable relationship with them.
What does our messaging need to be like?
Now, we’re going to talk about the design of your email. This also affects the value of the email. You should be able to figure out which design works the best for the customers.
You have to bring about changes within your email designs according to your customer’s taste and as well as according to your brand’s taste, so it sounds authentic and consistent. This helps provide value to your audience and keeps them engaged.
Here’s how you should do it:
Understand What Your Content Mix Is
Understanding what your content mix is, is crucial to make your email effective enough for your audience. It tells what your content consists of and how do you combine different factors to design your email.
If you are super promotional, you may want to add a different mix to your content to not make it sound very mundane and not on the same wavelength every time you send it. It may not be as engaging because it kind of sounds like a one-trick pony.
But on the other hand, if you’re too content-heavy also, you may not be able to drive the value and revenue the way you want to. That’s why it’s important to create an understanding of what your email content mix needs to look like and which mix would add value to your message and bring customer engagement. This gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and not do the same one-dimensional thing all the time.
After you have understood what content mix is, you should focus on using it to improve your email marketing and let it show its magic! It lets us understand the overlap between audience and campaign. This overlap between the two is what brings us, first-time customers.
The simultaneous focus on the audience and the automated campaign keep our customers engaged and excited and make them returning buyers.
Each time they purchase from you, it is between automations and campaigns. And if they get appropriate campaigns in their inbox, they become more and more loyal to your brand and more excited and trusting towards your store.
So, all in all, if you send the right message to the right customers at the right time, you’ll be able to get them where you want to get them in terms of like opening their emails through campaigns and automation and making them regular buyers.
All the components that we learned about in this article complement and supplement each other.
To build a strong email marketing ecosystem, you can’t focus on sending campaigns only, or build lists only, or do automations only – you have to do all three of them.
Using a combination of these three components can prove to be highly beneficial for your business if you learn to use them well.
It can bring you a whole new audience and help you get familiar with them over the course of time. And when you start getting familiar with your audience, you can send only relevant automations and campaigns to relevant customers, and this is where the real magic starts.
This drives more revenue and more customer growth because then we can get highly strategic and targeted with what you do. It can then make your dream of fulfilling your ultimate goal of having predictable recurring revenue from predictable recurring customers.
Sometimes it gets tricky and complicated, but once you get the hold of everything, this strategy does its wonders in the most unexpected ways!
I hope this article helps you understand how the email marketing ecosystem works and provides you a chance to learn new and helpful things.