How To Effectively Map Email Marketing Automation Flows To Customer Journeys

Published On: 28 Mar 2023


Enabling ecommerce email marketing automation allows you to send pre-set email sequences to specific audiences to engage, nurture, and even convert leads.

376.4 billion emails every day: that’s the expected progression of email marketing by 2025. With email marketing running rampant in the world of ecommerce, it’s important to know how to learn email marketing automation and know how to optimize it.

Enabling ecommerce email marketing automation allows you to send pre-set email sequences to specific audiences to engage, nurture, and even convert leads. Why do you need email marketing automation? It’s time-saving, increases efficiency, and can help personalize the entire experience for subscribers.

With the best email marketing automation, you can improve your overall marketing strategy, streamline customer acquisition and retention efforts, and ultimately increase revenue.

Why is it important to map ecommerce email flows to the customer journey?

Simply put, it helps you create an email marketing automation strategy that is so neatly tailored that it addresses the specific needs and interests of each customer at every stage of their journey. So, how does email marketing automation work and what are its benefits?

1) Increases relevance: With email marketing automation, you can ensure each email is relevant to the customers and targeted to meet their needs and interests. This creates greater resonance and encourages customers to engage with your brand.

2) Improves customer experience: By delivering relevant and timely emails, you can enhance the overall customer experience. With this, customers are also more likely to feel connected with the brand and that can often help build trust and loyalty.

3) Increases conversions: Sending relevant emails at the right time, more often than not, increases the chances of customers taking action. Whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or leaving a review, email marketing automation can nudge customers toward the desired action and ultimately drive more conversions.

4) Allows for continuous optimization: By analyzing customer engagement and conversion rates, you can continuously optimize business on the best email marketing automation platformsto improve results and better meet the needs of your customers.

Email marketing automation strategy for mapping the customer journey

Stage 1: When a customer lands on your website

a) Welcome flows

Welcome flows are a series of emails that are sent to new subscribers as an important part of email marketing automation. This is a great opportunity to create a positive first impression by introducing your brand, setting expectations, and guiding the customer to their first purchase. The welcome flow can include a welcome message, a discount code, and product recommendations.

Here’s the email marketing automation example from SurfStitch:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Welcome flows Like Surfstitch

Pro Tips:

  • The first email in the series should be sent immediately after they subscribe, and subsequent emails should be spaced out in increments of two days, five days, and seven days.
  • Clearly outline the benefits of subscribing to your email list and shopping with your brand. This can include exclusive discounts, early access to sales, free shipping, or other perks.
  • Include a clear CTA that guides the subscriber toward their first purchase. This can be a discount code, a link to your best-selling products, or a product recommendation based on their interests.

b) Newsletters

Newsletters are a great way to keep customers engaged and informed about your brand. You can send weekly or monthly newsletters that include new product releases, promotions, blog posts, and other relevant content. You can also use the newsletter to communicate your brand values and mission to new customers. This helps them understand what your brand stands for and how it aligns with their own values.

Here’s a good ecommerce email marketing automation example from Krave Beauty:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Newsletter like Krave Beauty

Pro Tips:

  • Offer helpful tips and advice related to your products or industry. This helps position your brand as an expert in your field and provides value to your customers beyond just selling products.
  • Keep the content short and focused on one or two main topics. Use subheadings and bullet points to make it easy to scan and digest the information.
  • The newsletter should be tailored to the customer's interests and preferences, which can be determined through their site behavior.

If you’re looking to send automated emails and SMS campaigns based on customer behaviors, sign up for lifesight</strong>.

c) Testimonials

Testimonials are social proof that can help build trust and credibility with your customers. Sending these as part of your email marketing automation strategy can make all the difference to potential customers. Be careful not to send too many: it’s best to send them as a follow-up after a site visit or customer service interaction.

This email from Ritual is a good reference:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Testimonials Like Ritual

Pro Tips:

  • When using testimonials, highlight the benefits that customers experienced from using your product or service. This helps new customers understand how your product can solve their problems or meet their needs.
  • Use design elements to make the testimonials visually appealing and easy to read. This can include using a different font or color for the testimonial, adding a border or background color, or using a quote graphic.
  • Test different testimonials and placements to see what resonates best with your new customers. Use data from email analytics to optimize your email workflows and improve engagement and conversions.

Stage 2: While the customer is browsing the store

a) Testimonials for Product Visited

When setting up email marketing automation, it’s good to account for these emails. This is a great way to target customers who are interested in a product but still on the fence about its quality, application, or practical appeal. When you send them an email with testimonials from satisfied customers, they’re more likely to feel comfortable with the buying decision.

See how Casper creates a compelling appeal with their cart abandonment email?

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Cart Abandoned Emails Like Casper

If you’re looking to send hyper-personalized emails based on customer behavior, Lifesight, the best email marketing automation tool lets you unlock the power of repeat revenue.

Unlock repeat revenue with hyper-personalized emails With Moda

b) Related Product Recommendations

Emails with Related Product Recommendations can encourage customers to make a purchase and explore your product offerings further. To do this well, it’s best to use data from the customer's browsing history and site behavior to recommend related products that they may be interested in. Instead of bringing in a variety of products, keep it limited to only options that best complement the product the customer is viewing. Be sure to add a clear call-to-action to view or purchase the products in your email marketing automation sequence.

Laura Mercier does this right:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Product Recommendations Like Laura Mercier

Pro Tips to learn email marketing automation for Ecommerce:

  • Use high-quality product images that showcase the product from different angles and provide a clear understanding of the product's features.
  • Make it super easy to add complementary products to the cart. Remember: the harder your customer has to work, the less likely they are to convert.
  • Ensure your copy is concise and doesn’t beat around the bush. Clearly convey the relevance of the product and the benefits of its features.

c) Email My Cart

Email My Cart has proven to become an excellent converter in the ecommerce space, simply because some customers don’t log off because of lack of interest but rather lack of time. When you give them the room to save the items in the cart and follow that up with an automated email reminder, it helps bring customers back. In the email, highlight the items in the customer's cart and include high-quality images and descriptions. Be sure to include full cart details: pricing, size, color, delivery, and shipping information.

Here’s how American Giant does that:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Email My Cart Like American Giant

Pro Tips:

  • Use urgency and scarcity tactics to encourage the customer to complete the purchase. For example, include a message that says "Limited stock available" or "Items in your cart are selling fast!".
  • If the customer does not complete the purchase after the first email, follow up with an email marketing automation reminder email a few days later.
  • Offer a discount or incentive, such as free shipping or a percentage off the total purchase, to encourage the customer to complete the purchase.

Stage 3: When a customer leaves without completing the journey

a) Browse Abandonment

When a customer visits your website but leaves without making a purchase, you can send Browse Abandonment emails to encourage the customer to return to the website and complete their purchase.

If you’re looking to learn email marketing automation, some browse abandonment ideas are: a personalized message that highlights the products or categories that the customer was interested in and product recommendations based on the customer's browsing history, along with any special offers or discounts that are currently available.

Here’s a good DTC email marketing automation example from FYRE:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Browse Abandoned Email

Pro Tips:

  • The subject line of the email is the first thing the customer will see, so make sure it is attention-grabbing and encourage them to open the email. Try to use personalized subject lines that reference the products or categories the customer was interested in.
  • Keep the email concise and focused on the products the customer was interested in. Avoid including too much information or distracting the customer with unrelated content, as this can reduce the effectiveness of the email.

b) Abandoned Cart Reminders

Abandoned Cart Reminders are automated emails or notifications sent to customers who have added products to their online shopping cart but have not completed the purchase. For your DTC/Ecommerce brand, they can help reduce the number of abandoned carts as they encourage customers to complete their purchases, ultimately recovering lost sales and increasing revenue.

We love this example from Rudy’s Barbershop:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Abandoned Email Like Rudy's

Pro Tips:

  • Send the reminder at the right time after the cart was abandoned. Too soon and it might come off as spammy, too late and the customer might have already made the purchase elsewhere. A good rule of thumb is to send the reminder within 24 hours of the cart being abandoned.
  • Keep the message simple and easy to understand. Avoid cluttering the email with too much information or unnecessary graphics. Make it easy for the customer to find the items they left in their cart and complete the purchase.
  • Continuously test and optimize your abandoned cart reminder campaigns to improve their effectiveness. Experiment email marketing automation strategy with different messaging, timing, and incentives to find what works best for your business and customers.

Stage 4: Customer’s post-purchase journey

a) Order Confirmation

Now comes the fun part. When a customer has placed an order on your website, it’s an essential practice for you to send an Order Confirmation email. These emails are sent to confirm that the order has been received and to provide the customer with a summary of the purchase they have made.

This is a confirmation email from Allbirds:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Order Confirmation Email like Allbirds

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure the subject line clearly indicates that the email is an order confirmation and includes the customer's order number.
  • Thank the customer for their purchase and express gratitude for their business. This can go a long way in building customer satisfaction and increasing appreciation for the brand.
  • Include information on what the customer should expect next, such as when their order will be shipped or when they should expect to receive it.

b) Transit Status

If you find yourself wondering “what is the best email marketing automation”, it’s this. It’s a crucial part of the set up and a good hygiene practice for you to provide them with delivery updates. Provide regular insights on the progress of the shipment and help alleviate any concerns or uncertainty they may have about when their package will arrive.

Brooklinen gets it right in this email:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Transit Status Email Like Brooklinen

Pro Tips:

  • Stick to what’s important: include relevant details about the shipment, such as the carrier, the tracking number, and any other pertinent information that will help the customer track their package and stay informed about its progress.
  • Consider using visuals, such as maps or diagrams, to help customers visualize the progress of their package and better understand its current location and expected delivery date.
  • Include links to helpful resources, such as tracking pages or customer support contacts, that customers can use to get more information about their shipment.

c) Upsell and Cross-sell

Upselling involves offering customers an upgrade of something they have already purchased, while cross-selling involves offering customers something complementary. These emails are sent after a customer has made a purchase or expressed interest in a product or service and can be an effective way to increase the value of each customer by encouraging them to make additional purchases.

This example from Chewy is gold if you’re looking to learn email marketing automation for upselling and cross-selling:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Upsell and Crossell Email

Pro Tips:

  • Focus on the benefits of the product or service being offered, and explain how it can enhance the customer's experience or solve a problem they may be facing.
  • Ensure that the recommended products or services are relevant and helpful to the customer, and avoid making recommendations that are irrelevant or feel like a pushy sales pitch.

The best email marketing platform Lifesight Segments empowers DTC and Ecommerce brands to retain customers using relevant segments to deliver personalized content.

d) Feedback & Reviews

An important part of your Ecommerce email automation strategy is sending a Feedback and Review email. You can use the positive reviews on your digital assets and learn from the negative feedback to improve business practices.

Here’s a good reference from Sun of a Beach:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Feedback & Review Email Like Sun of a Beach

Pro Tips:

  • Make it clear what you are asking for and why it's important. Provide specific questions or prompts to help customers give more detailed feedback.
  • Once customers leave a review, make sure to monitor it and respond promptly. Whether the review is positive or negative, responding shows that you care about your customers and are committed to providing great service.

Stage 5: Encourage customers to repeat purchases

a) Birthday & Anniversary Flows

Sending Birthday and Anniversary emails helps improve customer engagement and increases the chances of repeat business as you are showing your customers that you value customers and care about their relationship with your brand. This can help to create a positive emotional connection and keep your brand on top of their mind.

JCrew does it right with this email marketing automation example:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Anniversary Email  Like JCrew

Pro Tips:

  • Surprise customers with a small gift or token of appreciation on their special day. This can be as simple as a free sample, a personalized note, or a small discount.
  • In your ecommerce email marketing automation sequence, personalize the gift to the customer's preferences or past purchases to make it more meaningful and memorable.
  • Encourage customers to share photos or stories related to their birthday or anniversary, and feature some of this user-generated content in your social media.

b) Customer Thank You

Customer Thank You emails are an essential part of the ecommerce/DTC marketing automation strategy to create a positive customer experience, which can lead to repeat business and referrals. Additionally, it can help to build brand loyalty and trust, as customers are more likely to remember and recommend businesses that express gratitude for their patronage.

See how Abercrombie & Fitch does that?

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Thank You Email Like Abercrombie & Fitch

Pro Tips:

  • Feature customer success stories or case studies that illustrate how that particular purchased product or service has helped customers achieve their goals.
  • Surprise and delight customers by offering unexpected rewards such as loyalty points, free samples, or small discounts.

c) Referral Reminder

With an email marketing automation tool, Referral Reminder emails are easy to run. These are messages sent to existing customers to remind them to refer their friends, family, or colleagues to generate new leads and acquire new customers through word-of-mouth marketing. By reminding customers to refer others and offering incentives for doing so, you can leverage the power of your existing customer base to grow the brand and attract new customers.

BOMBAS uses referral reminders in their email marketing automation example:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Referral Email Like Bombas

Pro Tips:

  • Use a playful and friendly tone to encourage customers to refer to their friends and family without sounding pushy or salesy.
  • Offer customers an additional incentive for each successful referral they make, such as a discount or free product.

d) Reward Notifications

Reward Notifications are a cost-effective way to keep customers engaged and foster long-term relationships with them. The goal is to incentivize customers to return and make additional purchases, which can increase customer satisfaction. By offering rewards for purchases or referrals, customers feel appreciated and it encourages them to continue doing business with your company. These emails also serve as a reminder to customers of the rewards they've earned and can increase the chances of them returning to your store.

Here’s a good example from Rose & Rex for email marketing automation:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Reward Email Like Rose & Rex

Pro Tips:

  • Provide clear and concise instructions on how to redeem the reward, including any expiration dates or restrictions.
  • Include social sharing options that allow customers to share their rewards on social media and promote your brand to their followers.
  • Follow up with a thank-you message after the reward has been redeemed to reinforce the customer's loyalty and encourage future purchases.

e) Customer Win-back

Some of the best email marketing automation examples include customer win-back emails. When done well, Customer Win-Back emails can help you recover lost customers and increase revenue. By reaching out to customers who haven't made a purchase in a while, you can remind them of your brand and entice them to return to your store with a special offer or discount. These emails help identify the reasons why customers stopped doing business with your company, allowing you to make improvements and prevent similar issues in the future.

This email from bareMinerals is a good case in the point:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Winback Email Like bareMinerals

Pro Tips:

  • Acknowledge the customer's absence and use humor and witty language to win them back. Incorporate elements of storytelling to create an emotional connection with the customer and showcase the value and benefits of your brand.
  • Ask the customer for feedback on why they left and how you can improve their experience. This not only shows that you care about their opinion but also gives you valuable insights into how to improve your email marketing automation strategy.

Stage 6: Driving long-term loyalty for your brand

a) Early Access to Sales and Exclusive Launches

In Ecommerce email marketing automation, early access emails create a sense of exclusivity and value for loyal subscribers, making them feel like VIP customers. By providing subscribers with first access to limited-time offers, sales, and new product launches, you can generate excitement and build anticipation around your brand. This can lead to increased engagement, higher open and click-through rates, and ultimately, more sales.

We love JULEP’s Black Friday early access email:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Launch Email Like Julep

Pro Tips:

  • Use a time-limited offer or promotion to create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to act as soon as possible.
  • Use storytelling to create a narrative around the product or service and connect with the customer on a deeper level.

b) Loyalty Specific Discounts

By offering loyal customers exclusive discounts, you not only encourage them to make additional purchases but also make them feel valued and appreciated. These customers are more likely to remain loyal and continue to do business with your company. By targeting your most loyal customers with personalized discounts and promotions using email marketing automation workflows, you can improve customer retention, boost sales, and differentiate your brand from competitors.

This ecommerce email marketing automation email with loyalty-specific discounts can help increase customer happiness and lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Loyalty Discount Email Like Caraa

Pro Tips:

  • Use language that emphasizes the exclusivity of the offer and create a sense of urgency by using phrases like "limited time only" or "exclusive for loyalty members."
  • Emphasize the benefits of the loyalty program and how it can save the customer money and provide exclusive perks.

c) Tiered Offers and Discounts

Tiered offers and discounts are promotions in which the value of the discount increases as the customer's spending amount increases, incentivizing the customers to spend more to reach the next discount level, increasing the average order value across the spectrum.

The result is higher revenue and improved customer satisfaction. Additionally, tiered offers and discounts can help incentivize first-time customers to make larger purchases and become repeat customers.

If you’re looking to learn email marketing automation for tiered offers, here’s an inspiration:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Tiered Offers Email Like Sukoshi Mart

Pro Tips:

  • Use a subject line that grabs the recipient's attention and makes them want to open the email. For example, "Unlock bigger discounts the more you buy" or "Save more as you shop!"

Use the best email marketing automation platform Lifesight to segment customers and personalize the automation flows. For example, you could offer higher discounts to customers who frequently make purchases or even those who have been inactive for a while.

d) Membership Invitations

By offering customers exclusive access to products, services, or discounts through email marketing automation, you can incentivize them to sign up for a membership program to encourage repeat purchases. These membership programs are set up with the best email marketing automation tools to segment your audience and target high-value customers with personalized offers and promotions.

Pro Tips:

  • Explain the benefits of being a member, such as early access to sales, free shipping, exclusive products, or special discounts. Make sure the benefits are clearly stated and easy to understand.
  • Use testimonials or reviews from existing members to showcase the value of being a member. This can help build an emotional connection with the recipient and drive a larger understanding of the program.

e) NPS Surveys

We all know that it’s important to gather feedback from customers and identify areas for improvement. By asking customers to rate their likelihood to recommend your brand to others on a scale of 0 to 10, you can get a clear picture of overall customer satisfaction and identify areas where your business is excelling and areas where it needs improvement.

Pro Tips:

  • Use a subject line that clearly indicates that the email contains a survey and what the purpose of the survey is, such as "Help us improve! Take our 2-minute NPS survey."

f) Subscription Offers

When you offer customers the option to subscribe to certain products or services, you create a recurring revenue stream and incentivize customers to make ongoing purchases. Start by segmenting your customers using email automation platform Lifesight Engage. Target high-value customers with personalized offers while improving retention and hence brand reputation.

Here’s how Ollie offers subscriptions in their email marketing automation flows:

Mapping Email Automation Flows To Customer Journey - Subscription Email Like Ollie

Pro Tips:

  • Consider offering a trial period or a free sample to give readers a taste of what they can expect with the subscription service to build trust and increase the chances of conversion.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to make the message easy to scan and high-quality product visuals.

Final words

When you Google “what is email marketing automation? ”You come across a plethora of results but most forget one thing: email marketing automation, when done right, connects you with the right customers at the right time. For personalized email workflows, use the best email marketing automation platform Lifesight Engage to deliver the right message at the right time in the customer’s buying journey.

Sign upfor your first free account to see how you can leverage Lifesight for effective email marketing automation.

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