Last updated on July 28th, 2016
Online retailers today don’t have enough time to personalize each individual email, since people are expecting everything to happen instantly. Each time a new subscriber signs up for your mailing list or purchases a product, they’re going to check their inbox to see what to do next. If you’re not prepared to communicate instantly, you may miss the opportunity to hook your reader. This is where autoresponders come in.
You’re going to use your autoresponder to save you an immeasurable time, responding to sales, newsletter subscribers, and customer service inquiries instantly. Even if the task at hand requires a personal note from a company representative, your autoresponders are needed to let your customer know what’s going on. This is what you should be writing in autoresponder messages to drive traffic to your retail website.
Remember: Personalization is the Key to Success
Just last week, I received an email from my credit card company, asking me if I would like to personalize the design of my card. In the message, they included an image of the exact — upgraded — design that I already use. Obviously I had no need for that. It was a complete turn-off. Not to say that I am going to leave their company, because I’m already using the card, and it works just fine. This just made me feel like I wasn’t important. Things like this can be easily avoided with technology.
What can you say to a reader to let them know that your store isn’t run by a bunch of robots? Automating a message to anyone is a slippery slope; it saves you time and energy, but poses the risk of making a reader feel unimportant. You can downplay the latter by personalizing each of your messages. This is how can you make sure that each of your autoresponder messages are personalized for their recipient.
Be Aware of Where Customers Are on the Buyer’s Journey
In inbound marketing, there is this awesome, easy-to-follow breakdown called the buyer’s journey. Make yourself aware of it, so that you can use it in your autoresponder and avoid sharing irrelevant communications with your ecommerce customers.
The buyer’s journey is broken down into three parts:
- Awareness – At this stage, a reader is developing interest, becoming aware that there is a problem your products can solve, or that there is a desire to make a purchase.
- Consideration – By this time, the reader will have become aware of the problem or opportunity as a clearly defined need.
- Decision – This is when sales are made, when the reader is ready to make a decision on how to solve their problem — they’re deciding what to buy.
A newsletter subscriber will likely be at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, and a customer who has just made a purchase is standing in the decision stage. Your autoresponder for a new subscriber should never ask for a sale, and the customer or hot lead should always receive a call to action directing them to a sales page, which brings us to your next step.
Including Names in Your Autoresponder Will Create a Sense of Belonging
Dale Carnegie said that an individual’s name was, to them, the sweetest sound in the world. He was a brilliant man, and this is sound advice. You can and should apply it to your autoresponder strategy. Here’s how you can make that happen.
When your customers make a purchase or sign up for your newsletter, just ask them for their name… then use it. In the creation of your message, your email marketing platform will have an option to include a first name tag, which looks something like this: <firstname>. That tag automatically corresponds with the first name box of your subscription form. The process of including names couldn’t be easier, and there’s no reason to skip it.
Always Use a Clearly Defined Call to Action
Clearly defined calls to action (CTAs) are the part of your communications where you ask a reader to do something. In the awareness stage, you may ask a reader to “wait” or to “watch for an upcoming email.” When a reader is in the consideration stage, you autoresponder could provide a call to “explore” or “read this article.” And, when a reader is ready to make a decision, this is the time to say, “check out this amazing product.”
Without a CTA, your buyer will have nothing to do, and that means no traffic for you. So, subtly, clearly, and simply, ask your readers for the targeted traffic that you want.
Just as Readers are Real People, You Should Be Too
If you’re writing autoresponder communications well, your readers already know that they are real to you. And, in reciprocation, you should be real to them. This is done by including contact information in your messages. Write in a name, an email address, a phone number, even an image of someone (this can be the CEO of the company or a customer service rep). By doing this one simple thing, you’ve established the image of a relationship.
Whether or not the relationship is developed right away is irrelevant. People remember how you treat them, so set a solid foundation. You never know when someone who isn’t interested now could come back to you.
There is a right way and a wrong way to write an email autoresponder message. Your retail customers require well-written communications if you expect traffic to your webstore. So, remember the importance of personalization, use names in your messages, send relevant information based on the buyer’s journey, and clearly define your CTAs. At the bottom of your message, make sure you establish a relationship with your customer with the contact info of someone within your company. Follow this advice and watch your traffic increase like you never could have imagined.
- Buyer’s Journey worksheet. Hubspot. Sourced from http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/137828/file-347140697-pdf/docs/the-buyers-journey/hubspot_buyers_journey.pdf April, 2016.
Marry McAleavey is a content marketing manager at The Essay Service writing company. She is also providing online marketing consultations