How to Nail Your B2C Marketing Automation
Updated: 8 February 2023
The Basics of How to Nail Your B2C Marketing Automation
If you’re looking for a way to generate more sales, keep your B2C brand top of mind, and build stronger relationships with your best customers, effective marketing automation will help. It provides you with a scalable and direct line of communication to subscribers and customers.
In this guide, we'll give you an introduction to B2C marketing automation. We’ll show you why it’s worth doing, highlight common mistakes to avoid, and show real use cases for marketing automation in your B2C business. We’ll also feature some software to help you get started.
What is B2C marketing automation?
Marketing automation is what you use to automatically engage with your customers and prospects. It can happen through various channels, such as email, SMS, social, in-app notifications, and others.
That said, email automation is the most widely-used channel in this arena — so that’s what we’ll use that as a B2C marketing automation example in this article.
For example, a simple email automation tactic would be to send a sequence to a new newsletter list subscriber to nurture them towards a first purchase, or to nurture an existing customer towards a repeat purchase using a discount incentive.
Or alternatively, emailing a customer a couple of weeks after their purchase to ask for a review of your product or service.
Effective marketing automation can help you build relationships with customers, improve your engagement levels, increase retention, and grow your business over time.
Does marketing automation work for B2C brands?
Imagine you’re looking for a new pair of expensive sunglasses. You visit four different brand websites, but it’s difficult to choose. On two of those sites, you see an email form asking for your email address with an offer, such as: “Subscribe to get 20% off your first order.”
Instantly, you have an incentive to shop at one of those two stores.
But, you’re not ready to buy just yet. You need some time to think about it.
Now, of the two brands you were considering, one follows up with you. They highlight some reasons why their sunglasses are a perfect fit for you: UV protection, a wide range of styles and colours, as well thousands of glowing customer reviews. The other brand? Zilch.
The one that’s actively staying top-of-mind is going to be the one to make the sale.
Simply put: yes, marketing automation does work for B2C — if done right. In fact, one Marketo study found that 76% of companies that implement marketing automation see a positive return on investment within the first year of implementation.
And data from Statista has shown that automated welcome emails by B2C ecommerce stores have conversion rates of 51.9%, and cart abandonment emails have a 33.89% conversion rate. Automating these messages is the perfect way to make the most of your revenue potential.
Mistakes to avoid with your marketing automation efforts
1. Setting and forgetting
A mistake that many early-stage companies make is setting up a simple marketing automation flow, hitting start, and forgetting all about it. After all, “automation” suggests that everything runs by itself. But if you want to see consistent results, you'll have to invest energy into it.
You should regularly review your campaign analytics, update your sequences to ensure they’re as relevant as possible, and run tests to make sure everything is working as planned.
2. Focusing on list quantity vs list quality
Effective email automation isn't about building a huge list of subscribers. It's about building a list of engaged subscribers. And one of the most effective ways to ensure your marketing automation efforts drive results is to break your email list into individual, smaller segments, based on what you know about your subscribers.
For example, if someone bought a new coffee machine from you last month, you can move them off your introductory campaign designed to turn people into first-time customers.
Instead, move them onto a campaign focused on upsells, with emails promoting useful accessories or how-to tutorials on using their new coffee machine.
Ultimately, effective marketing automation comes from having a wide range of smaller, more focused subscriber segments who you can target with highly personalised and relevant emails.
3. Following vanity metrics rather than results
Most B2C marketing automation software and tools give you reports on metrics like:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Unsubscribe rate
These are good to know, for sure — but they don’t tell you if your marketing automation efforts are actually driving any results.
To ensure your energy and budget is being well-spent, review your marketing automation results in combination with your commercial performance. Ask questions like:
- Are your email sequences leading to valuable conversions?
- Which customer segments spend the most, and how can you maximise the chance of them purchasing from you more often?
- How can you improve the return from each list?
- How can you use automation to generate spikes of revenue during key times of the year, such as at Christmas or on Black Friday?
To learn more about applying useful metrics, see our blog on the top 8 business marketing performance KPIs.
Actionable use cases for B2C marketing automation
1. Welcome new subscribers with an enticing first impression
74% of people expect a welcome email just after signing up to a new email list. It’s the first opportunity you have to greet your new subscriber and make a strong first impression. And in the B2C world, this often happens when someone has purchased an item from your store.
Your welcome email should be personalised, and it needs to be enticing — setting expectations for what’s to come — which could include exclusive deals, or helpful information and advice. And always provide value at this first opportunity with something like a discount code.
2. Turn your audience into buyers through nurturing
The act of “nurturing prospects” isn’t limited to the B2B world. In B2C, you can still be collecting email addresses without having sold a product. For example, through your blog posts, interactive games or tools, or other “lead magnets” you may be using in your marketing.
When you have an email list full of non-buyers, marketing automation will help you turn them into paying customers.
For example, if you sign-up to Allbirds’ email list, the brand sends regular updates when they release new colours and styles. If a buyer is on the fence, this could be the simple nudge they need to head back to the website and look at what’s available.
Source: Allbirds’ email nurturing campaign
3. Recover abandoned carts and increase conversions
On average, 69.8% of online carts are abandoned. If you could recover even a small portion of those sales, it would add a great bump to your revenue each month.
When customers add an item to their basket but don’t complete their checkout, you should send them a friendly reminder of what’s in their basket and directions to complete their purchase. Here’s how phone case brand Peel do it:
Source: Peel’s abandoned cart email
Studies into cart recovery emails have found that a simple email like this can result in a 21% uplift in sales, compared to if you ignored it.
4. Gather reviews and social proof to improve trust
As part of your marketing automation sequences, you can collect customer reviews. This will help convince new prospective customers that your brand is the right choice, and you can use your reviews in your future marketing efforts.
This email can be simple, thanking your customer for being there, and including a link or instructions on how they can leave a review.
Here’s what the phone network, SMARTY, include in their automated review email:
Source: SMARTY review request email
Including this type of request, whether over email, or text message, is a powerful way to generate more reviews. Up to 80% of reviews originate from these automated post-purchase emails, so you need to include at least one in your automated sequence.
Features to look for in your B2C marketing automation software
- Core automation features: Your marketing automation software should let you build automated campaigns that new subscribers can join at any point, and receive the same, evergreen sequence. You should also be able to send out one-off broadcasts, and schedule campaigns in advance.
- Audience segmentation: Personalisation is vital to success. Look for automation software that lets you incorporate extra details about your recipients, such as their first name, product preferences, and location. You can then personalise your campaigns to improve your open rates and click-through rates, and conversions.
- Analytics: To know if your marketing automation is driving results, you’ll need robust analytics. Today, this is a standard part of all good B2C marketing automation tools. You should also look for integrations with Google Analytics for your website, and/or app analytics software if you’re selling through a mobile application.
- Platform integrations: The more connected your marketing automation is to the operations of your business, the better. Look for a platform that integrates with the tools you use every day to run your business. For example, does the marketing automation platform you’re considering integrate with Shopify, or WooCommerce? Will you be able to attribute actions taken from your emails to on-site conversions? Most marketing automation tools will have a clear list of integrations on their site.
B2C marketing automation tools to help you get started
There is a huge range of tools and platforms out there to help you handle marketing automation. Here are three of the most popular B2C marketing automation platforms that you can get started with today.
- Klaviyo: Klaviyo is one of the most popular marketing automation platforms for eCommerce stores. It lets you send automated emails and text messages for almost any use case you can think of. It links directly with all of the popular ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.
- CampaignMonitor: This powerful email automation platform lets you create visually attractive emails in minutes, with a drag-and-drop builder. You can create complex campaigns without any technical know-how.
- Mailchimp: Mailchimp is an email automation platform designed for small and growing businesses. There’s a free plan, making it easy to get started with, and there’s a variety of high-quality templates to choose from.
Final Thoughts on B2C Marketing Automation
Marketing automation, when designed by a well-structured marketing team, is a key part of many B2C marketing strategies, especially when it comes to eCommerce brands. It lets you engage with your audience at scale, without compromising on personalisation.
You’ll be able to welcome new visitors, nurture them towards a purchase, and follow up to see how their experience was — as well as keeping existing customers in the loop.
Need help setting up or optimising your marketing automation efforts? Join Traktion for free, and get exclusive access to a proven network of experienced growth marketers, ready to help you scale your business using automation.