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Unprepared Ep 58 - Better Practices for Post-Purchase and Email Automation with Val Geisler

Timestamps

  • [00:00] - Sponsor: Rewind
  • [00:40] - Intro
  • [01:58] - Assumptions about email
  • [03:55] - Email practices and setup
  • [05:28] - What subscriptions can do
  • [07:10] - Crafting post-purchase email pt. 1
  • [10:33] - Have an upsell built-in on your website
  • [12:30] - Crafting post-purchase email pt. 2
  • [14:40] - Where to find Val

Resources

Key Points

  • Emails are often seen as transactional and brand-focused which is usually the extent of post-purchase. 
  • For example, email requests for review or referral before the product even arrived yet.
  • Look into your SaaS subscriptions you use like Klaviyo, Shopify, etc. and find out what you can apply to your own brand. For instance, SaaS has a starter guide on how to use the software. 
  • Post-purchase is not just one thing. Think about your customer journey and subscriptions for a better post-purchase setup.
  • The things you need to focus on are: post-purchase, post-delivery, cross-sell, 2nd purchase, inviting them to subscribe, and a win-back campaign for inactive clients.
  • The 1st sequence starts from the purchase until before the product arrives. It's educational, care, goals, or guides that can keep the customer engaged with the brand. 
  • The 2nd sequence is inviting the customers to review/referrals a few days after the product arrives. 
  • The 2nd purchase is about encouraging your customers to buy again. It's like cross-selling or refilling which means you’ll likely need to have a subscription. 
  • From 2nd purchase or 2nd sequence, mention the subscription to your customers. 
  • If a customer hasn’t signed up for a subscription after purchasing three times, talk about the value of a subscription. 
  • Create a win-back campaign by inviting your customers to come back, send them your new lineups, etc.

Transcript

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Chase Clymer  

Hey everybody, welcome back to another episode of Unprepared. I'm your host Chase Clymer and today welcoming to the show, one of my great friends and number one email wizard in the interwebs, Val Geisler. How are you doing today?

Val Geisler  

I'm good, but I think that females are called witches, not wizards. Right. Harry Potter lingo?

Chase Clymer  

You know what? I have a Harry Potter tattoo, and I should have got that right.

Val Geisler  

Is that right, though? We're witches?

Chase Clymer  

Oh, yeah, I guess so. But I mean, it's 2021. You can be whatever you want. So...

Val Geisler  

That's true. 

Chase Clymer  

So today, if you guessed, we're going to talk about email, you're right. We took a few minutes before to come up with what we wanted to talk about today. And so we just had, you know, a groundbreaking holiday season in the Ecommerce space. 

And all of these brands, probably yours included, that you're listening right now, grew your customer base by some crazy growth ratio that you've never seen before. And you're emailing them, right? 

So we're going to talk about email automation, what people think are the standards and what Val and her team helped people do to go that extra mile. So I guess, you know, everybody assumes they need email automation.

What is that assumption? What are people just defaulting to as the emails they need to set up? 

Val Geisler  

Yeah, I think a lot of people see email automation as just transactional. So my automation is, you know, here are the emails related to your purchase and the delivery. And perhaps there's a short post-purchase. 

Typically, it's hey, you just made your purchase. But I get a lot is a requests for review. Or sorry, a request for a referral. Here's your...you give 20, save 20, whatever. Before I have even had the product arrive at my house. 

So that's fun. Because I don't really know why I would talk to people about something I haven't even tried yet, really. Just because I spent money on it doesn't mean I'm ready to tell people that they should, too. 

So that's usually the extent of a post-purchase sequence is a referral thing and then maybe like, “Hey, your purchase, your product arrived and can you review it for us?”

So it's very brand-focused, like, go refer people for us. Consumers are smart, they know that that's not really about them. We're, quote, “giving them money” and it's such a gift and whatever, but they know it's not really about them, it's about the brand. 

And then, again, very brand-focused, go write a review, because we need your reviews. And that's usually the extent of post-purchase.

Chase Clymer  

So all right. What should I be doing instead? I mean, I know personally that setting up a pre-delivery email is pretty easy. Setting up a post-delivery email is a little bit more difficult depending on what your fulfillment software is. 

Val Geisler  

Yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

And how that's tracked. But it is possible. 

Val Geisler  

It is possible. 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. So what would you say would be...best practice is the worst term ever. But what would you say would be best practice that people should be considering after they probably wish that they had this in place from the holidays. 

But you know, it's better late than never, what should they be setting up to make their post-purchase experience with email better?

Val Geisler  

Yeah, there's no one like a best practice. Joanna Wiebe says better practices. And I like that because it's better than what a lot of people are doing. No one can actually say theirs is the best. 

So yeah, better practices are thinking in that customer lifecycle. So a lot of brands have subscriptions attached to them. And if you don't have a subscription, I would encourage you to think about how you could.

I have a client who sells t-shirts mostly, and they have a t-shirt subscription that they launched last year. So there are people getting a t-shirt every single month. There are people who get multiple pairs of socks every single month from Bombas. We can put a subscription on pretty much anything.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, it goes back to that old 80-20 rule. And you only need like 100 fans or 1000 fans in your business is going to be night and day difference. And that's...

Val Geisler  

Right. 

Chase Clymer  

When you have a product like that, that you don't really see as a traditional subscription, there are some people out there that probably want more than it, you know more than they have. And they're more than willing to. 

Val Geisler  

Absolutely, yeah, and, you know, subscriptions, they do a lot for you like. The reason I came to Ecommerce from SaaS is because I saw everything that SaaS was doing that Ecommerce brands could do. 

And SaaS is fully subscription. If you have any kind of subscription in your business, or you're thinking about a subscription, go look at what  SaaS products are doing. You use  SaaS products for your business, you use Klaviyo and Shopify and all these different SaaS products. 

So go look at the emails you got from them when you first started using the brand and see how you can apply some of those things.

Chase Clymer  

There are so many touchpoints, so much education so much like, truly, if you have any questions, we want to explain how this works because we don't wanna lose you as a customer.

To that point, I don't see that much with Ecommerce brands really. 

Val Geisler  

No, the idea of a knowledge base or a help center on an Ecommerce brand is so novel. But imagine how useful that would be to point people towards like, you know, SAS has Getting Started guides. 

If Ecommerce had some...here's our bestseller, or here's how once you receive our product, here's how you use it. 

Brooklinen does this really well. They talk about how to wash their sheets, how to prepare the sheets as soon as they arrive so that you can have them on your bed that night.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, Unbound Merino does a fantastic job of this. I'm actually gonna have Dan on here in a couple of weeks, and I don't remember what we're talking about. But yeah, they are a masterclass in best practices or better practices. That's a good brand to follow. 

Chase Clymer  

Okay, so if you were going to help my brand, we sell these amazing widgets and what would be the sequences you'd want us to be looking at thinking about crafting post-purchase?

Val Geisler  

Okay. So, post-purchase is not just one thing. It's different periods of time, like I said, think about the customer journey. 

Chase Clymer  

Okay. 

Val Geisler  

So from the moment I spend my money on the internet, and then now there's this period of time before the product arrives. And that could be longer, especially right now. So that is one sequence, this post-purchase until the product arrives. That's one flow. 

Then from delivery, post-delivery. Then you can...so that post-purchase to product arrival is education. You should be talking about how to wash the sheets, how to care for your wool, those things. 

If you don't have care information then maybe education around how the product was built, who the team is, those kinds of things. Keep them engaged with your brand.

Chase Clymer  

I've seen fashion brands do just really well by highlighting the designer, or the fabric or the manufacturing process.

Val Geisler

Yes, yes. Everlane has this thing about making the jeans that use the least water of all jean processing. Denim takes a lot of water to process. So they educate around what their goals are there. Yeah, so there are lots of ways you can do that. 

Then once the product arrives, then you have this flow that is around asking for a review. After a couple of days, give them some time to use it. And then also inviting them to share it with friends and family. So that's the referral affiliate program that you have. So that's the second post-purchase.

Then the third, after you've done that, so you've now asked for those reviews and those referrals. And now we want to get down to the second purchase. So that's a whole other flow.

Okay, you have the product, how are you going to make another purchase? Is it a complimentary product, is it the same kind of product? That's going to vary depending on how many SKUs you have. But this is an invite to make a second purchase.

Chase Clymer  

So like a cross-sell campaign?

Val Geisler  

Yeah, cross-selling. It could be that they are refilling, in which case you most likely have a subscription. 

So then the fourth flow is from second purchase to subscription. Now you can talk about your subscription after the first purchase. Why not? But I don't want it to be the focus.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Mention it.

Val Geisler  

Yeah, they just tried your product. They're not ready to commit to every single month delivery.

Chase Clymer  

I mean, if you're just thinking about old-school marketing, you got to talk about it seven times before they're like "Hey, maybe. Alright, let's do this.”

Val Geisler  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

You gotta chum the water, get them familiar with it.

Val Geisler  

Right. They probably saw it on your checkout screen when they made their original first purchase. So they, they might be...

Chase Clymer

Side note here. If you have a product that is a subscription, you don't have a built-in upsell in your funnel on your website. Go do that, too. 

Val Geisler

Do that. Yeah. 

Chase Clymer  

Because there are going to be people that are like, "Oh, I'm sick of buying this thing every X. Let's just do subscription out of sight, out of mind. Let's do this.

Val Geisler  

Yeah, or the people who want the discount. So they sign up for the subscription, and then they get the product. And their plan was to cancel the subscription because they just wanted that discount. But then they get the product and they love it. So they stay. 

Chase Clymer  

You know what has anyone ever done like "Hey, we know you probably want to cancel this" as an email. That's a cool campaign. 

Val Geisler  

That would be really fun. 

Chase Clymer  

That'd be a good test. 

Val Geisler  

Listen, a lot of people sign up for our subscription. 

Chase Clymer  

You have time to cancel now or ignore this email if you liked it. You know what I mean, if you liked it, leave a review.

Val Geisler  

Yeah. ARPU is a really good tool for subscriptions. And they have this great way, from the customer standpoint, I've used it as a customer. And they send a reminder, "Hey, in five days, your subscription is going to ship out and you can go make any changes you want to right now."

My deodorant that I ordered is from, they use ARPU, and they'll say things like, "Are you going on vacation? Do you have an overstock right now? Do you just need, you know, are you using a couple of different brands and don't need as much of ours?" So they offer all the outs, right?

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. But I think being honest and being customer-focused like that actually helps retain customers.

Val Geisler  

Yes. And it's super simple for me as a customer. I don't have to log into a dashboard or jump through any hoops to make changes. 

I literally click from the email, and I go into this portal that they have it all arranged for me, I can change my subscription, I can add things, I can delete things. Simple.

Chase Clymer  

Alright, that's amazing. All right. So let's, let's hop back to the...so we've got post-purchase, post-delivery, and moreover, cross-sell, and then asking for the second sale, going towards subscription, what else?

Val Geisler  

Second to subscription. And then if they still haven't signed up for a subscription, if they're making multiple purchases. So if they make a third purchase without signing up for a subscription, that's where you really start talking about the value of a subscription. 

"Hey, you've bought three times in the last month. And if you had signed up for a subscription, you would have saved X amount of dollars doing that."

Chase Clymer  

I always want to save X amount of dollars.

Val Geisler  

Yeah, I love X dollars. They're my favorite. 

So yeah, multiple purchases to subscription. If they're making multiple purchases of the same thing and you offer a subscription. There is all...unless they are like the most commitment-phobic person on the planet, there's no reason they shouldn't be on a subscription. And it's probably because they don't know enough about it from you. 

So that's number five. Number six is win-back campaigns for your dormant, previous customers. So those people who bought once or twice, maybe they made multiple purchases, and then they are gone. So they haven't purchased from you in six months. 

This could be a supply thing, it could be that they like, "Oh, I only use it every week. And now I have this back stock." So you want to figure that out. And you're going to figure that out through talking to customers. 

But you also want to figure out, maybe they just forgot or started using a different brand, or pick whatever shelf brand up at Target instead of ordering from our website. 

Get ahead of that by sending a win-back campaign, inviting them to come back, introducing new product lineups that you've added since they last were around. Again, this is something SaaS does. That's really cool. 

So a SaaS will launch new features, and then send an email out to previous customers who have left the product and say, "Hey, we launched all these new features are you interested in coming back?". And that's something I would love to see more Ecommerce brands do.

Chase Clymer

Yeah, that's amazing. So if I am an Ecommerce brand or even a SaaS brand and I'm listening to this, and I'm like, wow, Val really knows what she's talking about. 

How do they get ahold of you?

Val Geisler

Twitter. I'm on Twitter a lot @lovevalgeisler.

Chase Clymer

She is. I will make sure to put that in the show notes. So you can click out there and tweet at her and say help.

Val Geisler

Yes, please come by me. I love to chat with people on Twitter. So come find me.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thanks so much for coming on today.

Val Geisler  

Thanks for having me, Chase.