September 9, 2021
6 Min Read
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.
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 be focusing on 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.
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.
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.
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.
Most marketing automation software and tools give you reports on metrics like:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a huge range of tools and platforms out there to help you handle marketing automation. Here are three of the most popular that you can get started with today.
Marketing automation 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.