eCommerce Podcast

Our podcast is raw, honest and damn right insightful, as we chat to some of the best minds in eCommerce

Hosted by Richard Hill

Ep 46:
Monique Hoelker:
How to Develop Your Email Marketing Strategy as an eCommerce Business

This week we had a great time talking to Monique Hoelker, all the way from Chicago! Mo is a Customer Training Specialist for ActiveCampaign, who specialise in helping businesses offer fully personalised customer experiences through automation.   

As an eCommerce business, you’ll realise it’s one thing getting a user to make a purchase, and a whole other thing getting them to come back for more, and more…and more. That’s where email marketing comes in, and Mo talks to us all about how having an email strategy is one of the most effective ways of retaining your customers. 

So join us on this episode for some unmissable tips on how you can significantly improve your customer experience through email marketing!

eCom@One Presents

Monique Hoelker

Monique Hoelker is a Customer Training Specialist for ActiveCampaign. Based in Chicago, they’re one of the world’s leading customer experience automation platforms who strive to help businesses grow by creating meaningful connections with their customers.

In this episode we focus on email marketing and exactly how you can make it your leading strategy for customer retention. We use email for everything; from work, to social media accounts, to online shopping, nearly everybody has one. Email usage is set to carry on rising by 3% year on year for the foreseeable future, which is why it has become an essential tool for staying connected with your buyers.  

Mo gives some fantastic advice that you can start implementing to ensure your email strategy is bringing in big results, including how to improve your open and click-through rates, preventing email fatigue, the most effective segmentation strategies, as well as how to design your emails so that they set the right tone for the relationship with your customers.  

So listen in and find out exactly how email marketing can work for your business!  

Topics Covered

00:57 – What drives her passion for email marketing

02:41 – Why email marketing is essential as an ecommerce store

05:41 – How to improve your open and click-through rates

07:51 – How to reduce email fatigue

12:53 – Hidden email marketing gems you should implement right now

19:20 – Product information vs. content emails – what works best?

21:50 – Finding the right balance of email frequency

24:51 – How to perfect your Welcome Series

27:57 – How to implement automation effectively

35:12 – The most effective segmentation strategies

39:04 – Book recommendations 

 

Richard Hill
Hi and welcome to another episode of eCom@One and today's guest is Mo Hoelker, who's the Customer Training Specialist at ActiveCampaign, how are you doing Mo?

Monique Hoelker
Hi I'm wonderful, thanks Richard for having me on. How are you?

Richard Hill
I am really well. I'm really well. We're literally on the opposite side of the world. Not quite, but Mo's coming out of Chicago today. I think it's nine o'clock in the morning there, you'll just get, you're about half, well, you said you are up at 5:00 this morning, so you've had a busy day already. I'm just about to get to finish my day, so I'm looking forward to talking all things email marketing with you.

Monique Hoelker
Likewise.

Richard Hill
Now, Mo heads up the training at ActiveCampaign and ActiveCampaign, the software, the tools in ActiveCampaign is something that our agency is very, very passionate about. And I'm very much committed to, fantastic suite of products there. But how did you get into email marketing? Where did that sort of passion come from?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, great question. So, you know, I started my email marketing journey working for at the time, it's it was a B corp network for good. And that provided, they provided essentially marketing tools for non-profit organisations and really being able to see the immense impact that email could have on all these various different types of businesses and creating tangible benefits for those organisations was so inspiring to me. And email really has had this kind of, it's become this sort of art, I would say, that fits into this bigger picture of creating an awesome customer experience. And it also, you know, serves these amazing business purposes. So it was really easy to become enamoured when I saw, you know, everything even just a single individual could accomplish with a lot of conviction and planning and email marketing.

Richard Hill
Yeah, yeah. So I've seen a lot of success in the trenches really. And then obviously now you really focus on helping other people implement and, you know, one of my colleagues has recently gone through the ActiveCampaign free afternoon session boot camp, I think, isn't it. Yeah.

Monique Hoelker
Yeah.

Richard Hill
We've got another sort of evangelist of the ActiveCampaign brand in the business, which is great. I'm I'm a massive fan.

Monique Hoelker
I love it. I appreciate it.

Richard Hill
So as an e-commerce store, you know the eCom@One podcast, as an e-commerce store, the guys that are listening in, why would you say that e-commerce stores should focus on email marketing? What sort of things should they be focussed on? Why should we be focussed on email marketing?

Monique Hoelker
Totally. So essentially, you know, there are a handful of reasons that come to mind. First is really the email adoption trends show that email usage is projected to increase steadily over the next several years. You know, the last recent research I saw was three percent steadily. And it's really a core part of most business strategies, especially since emails are the highest return of investment of any digital channel you can utilise. And so, you know, if you just put yourself in that position, consider, you know, we all need an email address to sign up for basically everything. Right? We need an email address to be able to purchase anything online. Whereas you know, there are a lot of different types of tools you can incorporate into your marketing orchestration. Social media adoption is certainly a really big hot button topic right now. And it totally should be considered part of creating great customer experiences and, you know, used in a strategic fashion. But the fact is, it's you know, there's a higher percentage of your buyers are likely to have an email address to be even using social media. So that's really kind of the core place that I start in terms of, you know, why email is such an important piece of of any kind of business, e-commerce especially as well.

Richard Hill
Yeah, I think people forget they're always maybe looking for the shiny bullet or this new thing. But the reality is, if you just simplify it, it's right there because every prospect, customer, etc. has got email.

Monique Hoelker
Yes.

Richard Hill
It's a fact.

Monique Hoelker
It's a fact.

Richard Hill
The cost to send 50 emails or fifty thousand emails is fairly small. Really, send fifty thousand or let's say ten thousand phone calls or 10000 direct mail pieces or put an ad in front of ten thousand very specific people. It's going to cost you way more. Way more. That said, the 10000 emails to an existing customer base or, you know, prospect list or so just the cost that you can use at that lowest cost of acquisition. I think people forget, you know, just how, you know, how cheap and how potentially simple it can be.

Monique Hoelker
Totally, because, you know, you'll incorporate some of these other pieces, like we're talking about social media. There will always be opportunities to retarget and talk to customers who aren't responding via that, you know, cheapest outlet for you. And you just want to make sure you're doing that in a strategic way. Allowing people to respond to the information you're putting in front of them and listening to if this is resonating with them. And if it isn't, then we can start to introduce some of these other outlets that might cost a little bit more. But we're going to do that in a strategic way and not make everybody go through that process. Because at the end of the day, bottom line is a really big deal.

Richard Hill
Yeah, yeah. So, OK, so our listeners, they're sending their emails, they're on board, they're high fiving and they've got to get on board and they're on board and that they're using ActiveCampaign or whatever they're using within a week to get those emails out. But, you know, they sent those ten thousand. And what sort of things can they should they be thinking about to improve those open rates, that initial open rate and then that click through rate through the email?What sort of things would you advise them?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, absolutely. So first things first, I would say to always keep in the back of your mind that marketing is a science and it's really the science of throwing something at the wall, seeing if it sticks and then moving forward from there. And one of the biggest recommendations I always have is to closely monitor the success of the emails that you're sending out to your customers and your prospects and to be frequently testing the subject lines and your calls to action within the email itself, because it's really going to be able to help you hone your business strategy over time. Because, you know, we all kind of start with a baseline of here are some assumptions that I think my customers want or that my prospects wants. And you can learn whether that's actually resonating with people based off of the percent of people who are opening your message. Like you said, that's your your open your clickthrough rates, people who are actually engaging with the links in your messages. And so if you're getting really poor engagement from a certain type of email, that could tell you a lot if that subject line isn't resonating with your customers. And so it's important to pay attention to that sort of reporting. And also to get into another thing that I would definitely recommend in terms of increasing that sort of engagement is to get into the habit of using the pain points that you're solving for your customers as these opportunities to speak to them about the problems that you can solve. Right. Because framing, just framing of a problem is enormous in getting prospects and customers to engage.

Richard Hill
Yeah, that's great. So, OK, so we've looked at the data, we've looked at the problems, we've sort of worked that into our copy and whatnot. But the reality is, I think prospects can get blinded by the same old emails coming through, the same 'oh, here's another email from Richard at eCom@One again', not so much my emails, obviously, but yeah. But that email fatigue, you know, what sort of things can a business do to really stand out and to try to reduce that fatigue and sort of get through that in the inbox where I think any marketer now is, you know, that that you're trying to get in front of any prospect, trying to get in front of someone who's probably got several hundred emails a day. I think it's not not uncommon. What sort of things could you recommend to battle through that email fatigue?

Monique Hoelker
Absolutely. So the first thing I would say is definitely consider your branding, make sure that it's clear and it carries through across all the mediums that you're using to connect with your customers. Right. If your website looks one way and your emails look a different way, and, your social presence is another, you know, disjointed part of that process. Right. It kind of creates this cognitive dissonance. It creates this frustration in your customer. And it almost gives them it basically puts the onus on them to reconcile which of these versions of your brand that they're, you know, engaging with is more closely aligned with your company. Right. And the goal is to really always present this united front across all of those mediums, because, you know, that's going to help you guys showcase yourself as the authority to fix that person's problem because you know, the problems you solve and you know how you're going to solve them. And you're speaking about that in a really clear, obvious way in all of your emails and on any other mediums you guys work across. But besides that, too, it's really important. And it comes back to kind of this first point here is to define what sort of experience you want your customers to be going through when you're communicating with them in these different ways. Because, you know, for example, if you're sending a sales or marketing related email, you know, a sophisticated image, heavy message that, that would be a little bit more expected for a marketing sort of solicitation, but if you're trying to build a relationship with a contact and understand what your customers most interested in hearing from you about, many businesses can benefit from a pared down conversational approach to their messaging. And when I when I talk about that, I think about like I don't know if you guys work with different types of business coaches. That's a very popular industry right now. And I like to point towards that in this instance because their emails often look like plain text messages, you know, emails that just have come to you from Gmail. And the point of this is to really mimic the the actual type of conversation you have.

Richard Hill
Yeah, I have to admit that's where we've gone with our own emails, literally it's uncanny you said that because we just changed our strategy internally.

Monique Hoelker
I love that.

A few months ago but we're getting a lot more consistent now in the New Year, it's one of our New Year's resolutions, is more of a text, very conversational piece rather than a very heavy branded piece. Obviously there's an element of branding in there. So it all fits with the branding of the different companies but that sort of more conversational text based, which is a bit more personable, which I think I think fits quite well with the world we're in right now, where more and more people are at home and more and more people, you know, everyone's just sat at home and we're all in the same boat. So you sort of, you know, rather than a big branded email or very overly branded email, that more lower key I guess.

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, and I also think one of the best benefits of a of an email like that, Richard, is that, you know, when you have simple emails that lead to a clear call to action, it results in better engagement because your customers don't have the time to get distracted. And it really helps them understand the next step that you want them to take. You know, if you send out a highly branded email, sometimes you have to do that and sometimes that's the appropriate place to use it. But, you know, if you send out a really highly branded email with tons and tons of different calls to action, lots of links, invariably a person isn't going to take, you know, the number one option you want them to take by opening that message. So if it's a little more simple and pared down, I think that that's really a great next step for getting people to understand. This is what I want you to do.

Richard Hill
You see it lot don't you where there's maybe 10 calls to action in an email. Which clearly there's probably one or two there that are priority or one. Yeah. So okay I think that's some great insight there. So obviously you've worked on tons and tons of different campaigns and I know obviously you're seeing a lot of ActiveCampaign clients, what they're working on, on what's working for them. Yeah know there's loads of different things that, you know we talked about headlines and open rates and this that and the other. But what would be a couple of things like secret tips for success that are not talked about as much or, you know, something like a real gem that people could go and you've got your e-commerce store, you're using email, what's something that they can go and implement now or something they should be thinking about or a little tweak somewhere that might have a big impact or even a couple of little gems there?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah no, that's a great question. And the first thing that popped to mind is really to be invested in that effort that it takes to test. And we talked a little bit about this before, but most platforms that you're sending your emails from, even if you have to rig it in some fashion by saying this is the segment of people that I'd like to talk to and now I'm going to manually split that group of people into two pieces and send one version of this email to Group one and one version of this email to Group two, that's going to help you guys understand what resonates with your business or with your customers, what speaks to your contacts and also long term, you know, developing the right processes that way. You know, marketing really is one of those things that a lot of people want it to be a set it and forget it kind of world. But if you set it and forget it, you're going to lose out on all the, you're not going to evolve your processes with your customers as they need it to be. And so the number one recommendation that really I think would be a tangible effort for most people is just consider the different ways that you can test the variables in the messaging you're putting out. So, again, that's your subject lines, placement of your calls to action. Do you do a highly branded email versus something that's more pared down and conversational? That is, I think, really the key to understanding what works best for your particular brand, what resonates with your customers. And to really you know, we say it at ActiveCampaign all the time, but to iterate everything always, because, you know, we're constantly gathering new learnings and our customers and user bases are evolving, like you're saying, so it's really important to stay in tune with what's working. If you start to see dropoffs in previously really successful messages, then that helps you understand it's time to really start, you know, implementing more testing again. So I think it's it's always kind of like this iterative, iterative thing that will always continuously be there every six months or so. I'd say do a digest on your content, deep dive on your opening, click through rates and see what resonates.

Richard Hill
So it's a bit like looking at your data when you're looking at sort of Google Analytics, your AdWords, your Facebook ads, obviously it's different, but ultimately you're looking at data and you are split testing, you know, which is what you do very much in ads and creatives and, you know, in in different ads, whether it's design or, you know, wording and whatnot. But you're sort of splitting that database, so potentially testing different ideas and really looking at the data and understanding that and invest time into making sure you understand what it means if you don't understand what it means. Jump on a call with your, if you're you know, if you use ActiveCampaign, I'm sure you can get support there. But really understanding what's working, what isn't working rather than, well, you know that, we send we send a newsletter once a month, and that's just what we've always done. Well, hang on a minute. Is it working?

Monique Hoelker
Right, exactly.

Richard Hill
What's working? What isn't working? How about why don't we try this? Oh no. That won't work. Hang on a minute. How do you know it won't work until you try it. I really like that. Sort of going back to that sort of a couple of questions ago, that sort of less brand-y email where it's just more conversational. I think, you know that's good as well.

Monique Hoelker
Yeah and it can feel really, you know, I think a lot of people get really flustered trying to figure out where to begin with testing. Like how do I know this is the message that I need to fix? How do I know that this is the right way to fix that? And the answer to that first question is you can tell what's underperforming based off of your engagement statistics. So whatever email platform you're using, if it's ActiveCampaign or not, there's got to be some form of open and click through information, which really are the big kind of pieces that we have there. And another thing that's really helpful, as many people will say, OK, I don't know even where to begin with fixing this email, that's problematic. And one of the things that I like to recommend is take a look at the other messages that you're sending out to your customers that are high, converting the ones that get really great engagement. Look at those subject lines. Look at the calls to action digest whether there are multiple calls to action in that email that's performing really well right? That could just even be the simple thing is maybe you have a really amazing email that has awesome open rates, but the clickthrough, they're sorely lacking. If you have you know, you'll notice over time. Oh, wow. I'm pointing people to three, four or five different places. So invariably that could really impact people taking the action you want them to.

Richard Hill
Yeah, that's great. I think it's I think it's quite easy just to keep doing what you've been doing in and sort of obviously its an eCom specific podcast. You know, most of the listeners are eCommerce store owners. And I think it's easy just to get a bit complacent with email, I think. And so I think you should maybe just pause the, pause this episode, you know, right now and just really familiarise yourself with, you know, those that data, those engagement pieces of data. You know, that that click through rates. You know what you're used to getting, what was it, six, 12 months ago? Well hang on a minute? There's been a real drop off, probably if you've been doing the same thing.

Monique Hoelker
Exactly.

Richard Hill
And you've been getting that fatigue in there. So, you know, some great ideas there on what you can do to then sort of mix it up again and test some various things. Then look at the data again. And go actually, you know, it's obviously, you know, crazy the amount of difference you can make from getting, you know, five percent to 10 percent open rate? It's maybe not that much more work potentially, but obviously it impacts on the bottom line, could be, could be huge, depending on the size of that of the of the database, et cetera.

Monique Hoelker
Absolutely.

Richard Hill
So eCom stores, we've got obviously products, you know, we're selling a physical thing. So when we're sending out emails, you know, I think there's this debate. It seems to be a bit of a debate in our business, in our agency. You've got product emails, you've got content emails. You know, what do you think is a is a good split? I suppose there isn't an exact number to it, but like product, product, information, content, you know, what would you what would you say on that?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, totally. So like you're saying, it definitely is dependent on where your prospect or your customer is in their buying journey with your business early on. Your goal with your customer or prospect is really to build that relationship with them, set yourself apart as you know, the authority that's going to fix their problem. I would say when you're paying close attention, I would always lead first, with content that provides value to your customer, and so this might be some sort of an asset that you guys have developed that speaks to the pain points, that person has ways to resolve that troubleshooting, et cetera. And then once a person engages with that information that tells you they have an interest in it, then we can start talking more about what related products we have that can help influence that, because until a person really has that, like, aha moment that they first the person has to be problem aware by seeking you out in the first place. You know, they kind of sort of are experiencing that, but they can't be solution aware, meaning they can't know that you guys are the one that's going to fix that problem. They can't know that they want to buy your product until they really fully understand the gravity of the issue. And so by developing content that kind of supports those problems and talks to your authority in the space around those issues, you know, it makes a lot more natural to then be like, oh, also here's our product that fixes that. So, you know, my gut says I would say like a solid 70 content, 30 product. But as you get further along in a customer journey, you will do you will do elements of both after a person becomes a customer. Certainly the goal is to continue growing that relationship. And so you're after a person's exited that buying cycle and now we're thinking more about, well, what are the next pieces of offerings that we have that would be, you know, part of a value add for this individual. And then you're listening to the actions that they're taking and trying to talk to them about the problems related to that. Right. So it's all kind of cyclical.

Richard Hill
Yeah, that's brilliant. So what would you say about frequency, so obviously sending out how often, you know, what is the sort of, a go-to, to sort of, you know, sort of best practice in terms of frequency with eCom?

Monique Hoelker
Sure. Yeah. So e-commerce can be tough, right. Because there are so many different types of e-commerce businesses. And so that cycle will vary based off of the type of business that you are. I do wish I had a one size fits all answer for you, but it is very contingent upon the individual right because, you know, we all like to interact with businesses and content in different ways. Right. Some people like to engage via social media. Some people will want to go directly to your website. Some people are going to want to read your emails. And, you know, the number of emails that you should send to any given person really depends on each individual contact and their particular preferences and how they like to engage with you the most. I think we can get more prescriptive when we get to specific types of sequences. So like, for example, if we were going to talk a little bit more about, like, welcome series related content. Right. Somebody just signs up for your messaging and, you know, you're trying to make an impact, I would really say. And it could feel repetitive, but I would have a sequence that's at least seven days long where your seven emails long, rather, and it really depends on how frequently you're trying to communicate with your customers. And the reason why is because modern buyers are just more difficult to connect with. You know, it takes twice as many attempts to get a person to take an action than it did just a decade ago. And like you said, sometimes people have hundreds of emails in their inbox. If I go a day without checking my personal inbox, it can get pretty wild. So you do want to continue to remain top of mind and reaching out to your customers, because email is, like we said, still one of the highest return of investment pieces of technology that you can use. So, yeah, I would say certainly if you feel like you're if you feel like you're over communicating in terms of email, that the ask yourself what what's telling you that. Right. Is it because your engagement rates are low? If that's the case and we could probably get more strategic taking a look at, well, what was the subject line, what was the content of the email, how many calls you have in it, that kind of stuff. So it's probably a little bit more on a case by case basis, but it would say pay close attention over over a lot for having, you know, more messaging. And then as people aren't responding to that messaging, you can scale back and say, OK, emails aren't resonating, resonating for Richard. Let me try retargeting him through Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever. Right? Yeah.

Richard Hill
Yeah, that's brilliant. So you touched on Welcome Series then. So welcome series. So obviously, you know, they're are huge, huge part of email campaigns, you know, when that initial connection, that initial contact, you know, what sort of tips would you give to the guys, listening about those welcome series?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, great question. So, I mean, again, this boils down to creating an engaging conversation with your customers and responding to them based off of the actions that they take or the actions that they don't take equally as important. Right. Somebody who's responding to your emails and clicking through the links, that's great. The messages you've put in front of them are working. But the person who's not opening, not clicking on anything, that person you have to have a plan for how you want to retarget them because, you know, emails probably aren't doing it. But I would say another a couple of great practises for a welcome series is to be cognisant of what your offers are. Right. The I always recommend the end of your welcome series being where you present your strongest offer and you can leverage if you guys are doing any sort of discounting or incentivising for people to purchase, you know, leverage a discount ladder.

Richard Hill
Like a deadline maybe or something like that?

Monique Hoelker
Exactly. Deadlines are so critical. That is the next thing I was going to say. I love it. No, no, that's perfect. Deadlines are so important because you're driving urgency. You're speaking to the customer about something that, you know, they want if they've engaged again and again. And so that's super critical deadlines, discount ladders to make sure that you're not giving away too much early on. You know, at the end of that process, if a person hasn't converted yet, if you want to give them a bigger discount to try to get them over that hump, great. But just, you know, don't devalue yourself unnecessarily.

Richard Hill
Yeah you're sort of setting the tone for the relationship aren't you. So what you do there sort of will dictate whether they'll stick or not or whether they'll stick around, whether you will get ghosted further down the line. It's that first impression isn't it, or second or third or seventh impression if you're doing seven emails that week. Just like the real world isn't it really, you go into a meeting with somebody...hm not sure about that guy or, you know actually you're getting a positive experience. And that first day or three of you working with somebody on a project, I guess it's got similar connotations there that, you know, how you stack up, that those comms, you know, is very important.

Monique Hoelker
Absolutely right. Because, you know, you guys at the end of the day are trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace and by knowing what value you bring to your customers and the problems you're going to solve and being really confident in that and having the information to back it up in the form of customer testimonials, et cetera, will really help, you know, get those people to that aha moment faster.

Richard Hill
Yeah. So next question is one of my favourite topics, and it is around automation and using automation within your email marketing. So I think different people listening to the podcast at different stages of their journey with email automation. But where would you say a business should start with that automation? When it comes to email marketing, you know, the sort of things that they should have in place on the on the outset and then maybe anything a bit more advanced that, you know, maybe maybe something that that they might not realise that they can automate or that they should automate.

Monique Hoelker
Totally. Absolutely. So the first thing I would say is, before you even start with automating you, I really recommend this concept of being process before software, which really is going to give you an opportunity to think about all of the the specific goals you'd want to accomplish when you go to automate something. Right. So I always recommend start with the basics, write down all of the pieces of the process that you already have in place. Right? A lot of people will come to me and say, I hate this process. I want to start fresh, brand new. And I'm like, cool. Some of that's probably not broken. And I know that we're probably just in a you know, in a hazy period with that with that process. But let's start with what we already have. And that helps that can help us understand, you know, what parts of this process are actually working, then identify where the frustrations happen. And when you have when you're able to think more holistically about that process, it'll help you understand to all the different objectives that you're trying to accomplish when you go to automate something. So a lot of times people say, hey, I've got this really simple thing I want to automate and I'll tell them cool. Write down all the parts of that process right now and then we'll look at it together and then oftentimes we'll start to see, part of this is part of this process is a sales process. Part of this process is a customer service process. Part of this is internal things that we need to send. To other people that we work with, some more operations based and when when you can start to identify the different pieces of your processes that are working together, it makes it easier for you to build really great customer experiences in an automated way, because a lot of the other big thing that people will come and say is, I want to automate everything. And the truth is, you just shouldn't write like there's a lot that you can you can get pretty far. But, you know, the whole point of automation is to take your your time back from the repetitive stuff where you're like copy pasting emails to individuals or, you know, like making your sales team send those emails out manually instead of having them automated from that person that this individual recognises. All of that really goes a long way into reinvesting back into those that human touch when you need it. Right. Because at some point in time, whether it's an issue with the product the person received or the service that they signed up for, that individual is going to want to come back and talk to you guys about a resolution in some fashion, even if it comes through in the form of a complaint. If you can put a human there to to resolve that, to respond to that, there's going to be so many learnings that you can glean. And so I really recommend thinking to be processed before software and just writing down everything you want to build first and then from kind of like a...Oh, sorry, go ahead.

Richard Hill
No, I was just thinking. Yeah. You know, so the guys that are listening in, you're thinking about your business, so, you know, you've sold a product or somebody is interested in a product. And then what touch points are there in that journey? What what will be the perfect touch points with your business? What, which one should you automate with email? Which one should be a phone call? Obviously there's definitely, great things happen all the time. And speaking to people, you know I'm a big believer in that, but obviously different businesses have got different priorities or capacity...

Monique Hoelker
Absolutely.

Richard Hill
It's surprising what you can automate just just having things like that, which is more that we're very much focussed on e-commerce, but just backing and forthing on email, trying to book an appointment with somebody, can be such a frustration with a B2B business or B2B eCommerce business, where you know just an email sequence that just has a has a diary booking plug in app in there, just a calendar link that syncs up with your you know, your calendar can save you know, put that over a year, you're saving about six hours of back and forth. And you know, and we use that we use that its something that, you know, and then as a business, then you wake up to book calls rather than wake up to six emails that say can you do 3 o'clock on a Wednesday.?

Monique Hoelker
Right, exactly.

Richard Hill
Well, I've already given you a feel for when I'm available because here's my calendar.

Monique Hoelker
Yes, and taking, you can't even get to that point, Richard, if you aren't taking the time to reflect and recognise what parts of your process are problematic. Right. Like if your salespeople are saying, I've got 10 people that want to talk to me, I just don't have an efficient way to schedule. It's taking too much of my time. It could even just help illuminate those conversations so that you can prioritise what the first things you want to automate are, because that will be different for every business based off of where they are in their business journey. Right. So it certainly is really important to kind of take that time to digest and as a, you know, a more seasoned business that is used to automating. I definitely think that the biggest thing that you can do is have a central location that houses the conversations you're having with your customers across all of the different outlets that they can come to talk to your business. So just having a core place to react to anything that somebody does in Facebook, if they interact with an ad or if they are on your blog and you can pay attention to that and make a note of the content that they're engaging with, just having that all centralised in one place gives you an easier picture of what that person's really interested in and what they need to hear from you about right now, because a lot of effective messaging is, you know, there are a lot of different variables, but there's certainly a making sure the message is correct, making sure that the timing is correct, making sure that the medium, the place that you're going to talk to that person is correct. All of that is super integral. And if you don't kind of take the time to plot out what you want that customer experience to be, you won't really be able to, you know, continue to build and troubleshoot a relationship with a person when they're not responding to, you know, the one path that you'd like them to go down.

Richard Hill
Yeah, no I think that's great. Yeah, so segmentation, another key word, another key area for email marketeers and e-mail marketing, specifically in e-commerce, what would you say are some effective strategies for segmenting in eCommerce stores?

Monique Hoelker
Yeah, great question. So there are a ton of ways to segment with e-commerce, a really popular way, abandoned carts if anybody is visiting your site and they start. I'm so guilty of this. Start poking around at three or four things to my car and I'm like, maybe I'll come back later, you know? So abandoned carts are really wonderful way to prompt your customer to come back and remind them about what they were interested in. Certainly, it's really important to be paying to paying attention to repeated visits a person makes to a particular Web page about a product that you guys provide. Right. So knowing when somebody has landed on a certain product, page two, three, five times, that demonstrates a certain level of intent and interest in that, that, you know, a person who never navigates to that page, you wouldn't talk to them about that. Certainly thinking about how you can also manage a relationship with a person more deeply over time, paying attention to things like the amount of money that person has spent with you over the lifetime, you know, total revenue, because certainly your highest performing, your highest volume purchasers. These are people who love your products and services. And those are a great opportunity to retarget those people to become advocates for your brand. Certainly another thing to pay attention to is even just continuing that relationship with your contacts past the point of becoming a customer. So for e-commerce segmentation specifically, I think about like like a purchase date is a really key time where we could say, hey, if it's X weeks after this person's purchase occurs. Now, I want to trigger a follow up message that says, hey, do you love the product, get a sense for it. You know, give them a scale one to five. Your fives. Those are the people that are your promoters. And we're going to take to next steps and figure and ask them to provide reviews for us because they're going to be our social proof are ones and twos and threes. These are our, you know, our passives, our detractors. These are the people who if they have a you know, a person that they can speak to at your business, you're going to learn a lot about how to improve the customer experience for incoming prospects.

Richard Hill
Mo, I think that last three minutes there is literally game changer. If you really, if you you've got a store and you're playing at your e-commerce, email marketing, then those sort of five or six ideas that I think are really transformational. I think, you know, just straight away those abandoned cuts. You know, everyone says, you know, everyone says, oh, yeah, yeah, we're doing that. But are you really, you know, is, is it working properly, all these people that are going to go check out and not checking out, you know, those customers that bought five weeks ago, how are they getting on to those touch points, those top five, 10 percent of customer spend? And, you know, the guys that probably buy anything that you make or build you know, we've all got those types of customers, real evangelists of the brands, you know, real, real, absolute, you know, just really trust you as a company and your brand and what you stand for. So why are you not reaching out to those guys, you know, in a different way maybe, or a more consistent way or separate newsletter or separate segment where we're reaching out to them, those people that are looking at all different products of a certain value and segmenting them. Yeah, I mean, there's so many little segments there with an eCom store, I think, but all very high value. You compound that, an extra five percent, five percent, 10 percent. Really, really move the dial with those sorts of things.

Monique Hoelker
Totally.

Richard Hill
Well Mo it has absolutely flown by. We are, we are at the end of another episode of eCom@One and I always like to end every episode with a book recommendation. Have you got a book you'd like to recommend to our listeners?

Monique Hoelker
I sure do. I actually, so I have two. I will just really quickly flash both of these bad boys up here, the first one is Start With Why by Simon Sinek. And so basically this is really wonderful for kind of finding your purpose and understanding your personal business goals. Right. And honing in on on that purpose. If you guys aren't already clear about what your objective is, because if you're not clear as to, you know, what's driving you as a business owner to create these products and how you're going to be communicating that to your customers, you're not going to be able to put that right back in front of them in a compelling way or gain a loyal customer base. And so, again, that Start With Why by Simon Sinek. And then also the other recommendation I have is Sell the Way You Buy, which is actually a newer acquisition for me from David Priemer and Sell the Way You Buy is really wonderful because what, I was going to say Simon, what David focuses on is essentially actionable advice for how you can be more aware of what your customers actually mean by the words that they say or the actions that they take with your brand. Because, you know, deciphering someone who says, you know, who who isn't taking an action that you want them to take. Sometimes people will say this isn't, you know, like I don't have time. But what they really mean is it's not clear for me what my next steps are or something like that. Right. So really decoding what customer interactions mean. And it's lovely for putting your your self in your customers' shoes and helping develop techniques for improving how you want to communicate with them.

Richard Hill
No that sounds fantastic. Two great recommendations. That last one is a new one on me. So I will that will be my next action after we hit stop.

Monique Hoelker
I hope you love it.

Richard Hill
Well, thank you so much for being a guest on eCom@One.

Monique Hoelker
Of course.

Richard Hill
So if the guys that are listening want to find out more about yourself and reach out to you. What's the best way to do that?

Monique Hoelker
Oh, yeah. So, I mean, if you want, you can always find me on LinkedIn. My name is Monique Hoelker and you guys can also certainly find me at ActiveCampaign. And so I teach a lot of different types of training classes. The one in particular, the boot camp you're referring to is called Digital Study Hall. And it's a really kind of like a deep dive look at how you can leverage certain types of pieces of functionality to, you know, reach your particular business goals. I, we have a thousand and one different types of resources on ActiveCampaign, and I'd love to hear from you guys there. And thank you so much for for having me on.

Richard Hill
We can completely endorse the boot camp and the tools and software because we use in our agency and it's becoming more and more of our, we're more and more committed as the days and weeks and months go on. You know, we use it in both of our agencies. So, you know, we think it's a fantastic tool set. Well, thank you so much for being a guest and I'll speak to you again soon.

Monique Hoelker
Yes. I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Richard.

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