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How to use personalized marketing automation to drive sales

illustration of a browser window with marketing email and SMS flow. above is the omnisend logo.

This blog is an extract from our latest ebook ‘The Digital Transformation (DX) Revolution: Growth Strategies for ecommerce brands & retailers’ by Whiplash partner Omnisend, a leading industry solution for ecommerce marketing automation and personalization.

Omnichannel ecommerce marketing can be a daunting notion for merchants. Money is a barrier, running a business is stressful, and resources are often stretched thin. 

This is where marketing automation makes a huge impact. Platforms that automate a brand’s communications based on their customers’ behaviors and preferences save loads of time and bandwidth. More importantly, they help make consumers feel that they’re receiving personalized treatment with each interaction. 

In fact, 80% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience, while 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences that don’t reflect their needs. By investing in marketing automation, your brand can deliver the personalized customer journeys that are fast becoming the table stacks in ecommerce.

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a type of software that allows brands to streamline their marketing tasks by removing repetitive manual workflows, tracking consumer engagement, and delivering personalized messaging based on their actions. By enabling merchants to integrate multiple digital channels, including email, SMS, social media, and more, marketing automation is the key to launching true omnichannel marketing campaigns in ecommerce.

What is a marketing automation platform?

A marketing automation platform is an interface that a brand uses to carry out marketing automation activities, such as generating and scoring leads or triggering certain types of messaging to customers. Automation platforms provide one centralized place to build, monitor, and launch campaigns and manage content workflows that nurture customers down the path to purchasing. Without a marketing automation platform, it’s almost impossible for your brand to maximize ROI and effectively nurture leads.

Why merchants should embrace marketing automation

A marketing automation platform might be intimidating on the surface, especially if your brand has a very small or non-existent marketing department. 

Luckily, many platforms are intuitive and don’t require technical expertise beyond basic computer literacy. 

Island Olive Oil is a great example of a small business – with just a handful of employees – that is benefiting from marketing automation with Omnisend. 

The brand’s co-owner Angèl Foster places a premium on customer service, whether it’s in person at her two locations in Hawaii, or through the online marketplace. Automated email communications help to replicate the shop’s intimate boutique feel to a certain degree. 

The best part? They work. Even though seven automated emails comprise only 1.22% of Island Olive Oil’s email sends, they generate 39% of total marketing email revenue. 

In less than eight months, automation alone—including welcome messages and an email series to win back bigger spenders who haven’t purchased in a long time—generated nearly enough sales to pay for a full year of Omnisend. 

How to do marketing automation right

For any brand that wants to emulate Island Olive Oil’s success, here’s how to begin: 

Choose the right automation platform

First, choose the right vehicle. Many platforms offer a free plan, albeit with limited functionality. We recommend an ecommerce-tailored solution that: 

  • Integrates with your ecommerce platform
  • Features multiple channels, which may be integrated together for an omnichannel marketing approach: 
    • Email 
    • SMS 
    • Web push notifications
  • Enables sophisticated segmentation for targeting
  • Includes pre-built automation workflows and the ability to create your own sequences
  • Analyzes performance with data-rich reporting
  • Provides 24/7 customer support, and one-on-one assistance with paid plans

Start building automation workflows

Next: jump right in. It’s easy to get distracted—and paralyzed—by all the things you want to achieve. It’s best to focus on one strategy at a time. 

Don’t worry if your message isn’t perfect. It’s more important to implement your first campaign workflow to get the sales flowing and see where you can make adjustments.

There’s no right answer regarding which automation strategy to build first. However, we recommend these three (with their stellar conversion rates) to get you going: 

  • A welcome series to introduce your brand to new customers (52.92%)
  • An abandoned cart series to entice prospective customers who leave items in their shopping cart (39.72%)
  • A lapsed purchase series to attract existing customers who haven’t purchased in a while (19.78%)

Lastly, be sure to experiment with SMS. Use it for stand-alone campaigns or insert them into automation workflows to pack an extra punch. Established ecommerce brands like Divatress are experiencing their value: in its first year of using SMS campaigns with Omnisend, the brand generated $123,000 in sales directly from SMS subscribers.

As these cases illustrate, today’s consumers have come to expect personalization. The most efficient way to tailor your communications is with a marketing automation platform that allows you to easily segment your subscribers based on multiple data points. Or better yet, a solution that also incorporates various marketing channels that can work together will provide a strong foundation for engaging shoppers throughout the entire customer journey.  

Enjoyed this extract? Check out the rest of our eBook on how the digital transformation of online storefronts is creating new opportunities to target and retain customers.

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