Ecommerce Lifecycles: Evidence-driven email that works.
Is your store not getting 20%+ more revenue out of its email?
Emails bring back your old customers. Emails salvage lost transactions. Emails promote your credibility. Emails strengthen your moat against competitors.
Emails are the primary touchpoint with your most engaged customers and the primary way you get less-involved customers to resume a relationship with you.
We all know email is powerful.
But there’s a catch, of course: email is a time-consuming pain to create. Moreover, it’s unclear whether the emails you do create will generate a meaningful ROI for your store.
This is doubly problematic for store owners in particular, where time is always at a premium. There are dozens of other things to worry about at any point.
Why bother with email when your hair is literally on fire, and your warehouse looks like this?
You can’t afford to waste time on email.
But you do need to spend time on email.
As a result, you need to make sure that the time you spend on email yields maximal value for your store – and does so sustainably and automatically.
“35% of your revenue should come from broadcasted & automated emails.”
– Ecommerce expert Ezra Firestone
Doing email right boosts CLTV
As display ads get increasingly expensive and competitive, it becomes more and more imperative for you to recapture the customers you previously sold to.
The ROI of email isn’t decreasing anytime soon – but the ROI of advertising is. According to Mary Meeker’s influential Internet Trends Report, CLTV is currently the most important metric in a store’s ad spend, and the cost of ads is rising faster than its reach.
In short, you need to be strategic & intentional about how you communicate with your customers. That’s why we’re launching a new mini-course, Ecommerce Lifecycles, which will teach you all the things you need to do when building evergreen, well-optimized emails that keep people coming back again & again. And then you’ll finally be able to sleep easy when it comes to your store’s email.
Well-optimized email generates significant returns for pretty much any store. According to Shopify consultancy Ethercycle, “our clients typically see additional 10-20% revenue growth from email automation.” Draft has seen similar numbers.
If you want 20% more revenue for comparatively minimal work, Ecommerce Lifecycles is the best investment you can make right now.
“Your store will never reach its full potential without email. Email is hard. Ecommerce Lifecycles makes it simple.”
– Dylan Kelley, Wavebreak
Make email work for you
So, what are the best ways for store owners like you to make email work? Through a 3-step process:
- Strategize. Email doesn’t work when you chain a set of defensive tactics together, or rip off whatever your competitors are working. It works best when you understand the high-level strategies that the world’s best stores are putting into play.
- Delegate. Smart business owners know that they can’t do absolutely everything, and really smart business owners operate with an investment mindset that recognizes the ROI of various initiatives. Stores focus heavily on email because it’s almost always a high-net-ROI venture. Dedicated email copywriters and productized email services can do the work for you – with outsize value for your store.
- Optimize. Given infinite store owners at infinite typewriters, one of you is going to write an email that simply fails to meet your store’s needs. That’s where optimization comes in. How do you improve your emails so they perform maximally for you and your customers?
All of that sounds great, of course, but it operates at too high of a level to really act on. What specific tactics should your store execute when it comes to email? And how do you find out what’s most likely to work?
Where stores use email
Right now, there are 4 main email touchpoints:
- Placed orders. This is the most obvious one. An online store has customers. Those customers should be subscribed to your store’s mailing list by default when they place an order.
- Recovering cart abandonments. If a prospective customer gets as far as entering their email address, but fails to check out, you should email them shortly after, to encourage them to complete their order.
- Out-of-stock notifications. If a given variant of a product is out of stock, and the restock window is more than a few weeks, a store should provide the opportunity to sign up for a notification for when something is restocked.
- Carrot enticements. You know the kind: “Sign up for our list and get a 15% discount on your first order.” These usually appear as header banners or popovers for first-time or logged-out customers.
What we’re doing
We’re in the process of going through a list of 30 stores, and signing up for each one of these touchpoints with unique, brand-new email addresses.
We’re placing real orders at real stores. We’re abandoning carts in incognito tabs to see what stores do to salvage the transaction. We’re signing up for out-of-stock notifications, and taking note of how each one behaves & communicates.
Three months from now, we’ll start writing up analyses of the emails that we received at each address: what each store does, and what it means for their customers.
When we’re done, we’ll summarize the whole thing in a separate document, to see what the world’s best online stores are doing what and when; and we’ll put together a best practices guide, with accompanying tactical plans, for your store to get the absolute most out of its email.
How this started
Draft has seen numerous deep-dive usability studies of online stores. Baymard Institute publishes some of the best. These sorts of studies are important because they help you understand what kind of marketing plays are in vogue – and how many stores are doing the wrong thing.
We were curious if any similar ones existed specifically for email. Klaviyo has a few – here’s a good example. In spite of excellent studies like these, we haven’t yet found any wide study of lifecycle emails across many stores.
What you’ll get
We want you to get maximum value from the time you spend launching new emails. With Ecommerce Lifecycles, you’ll end up with the following:
- Weekly deep-dive analyses into a store’s lifecycle emails for cart abandonments, placed orders, and in-stock notifications. We’re currently in the middle of reviewing a new store, and a new one comes out each week. Each deep dive contains 3 key takeaways that you can use for your own store.
- A tactical summary, covering the best practices that we tend to see in email – as well as what percentage of our analyzed stores got it right or wrong in practice.
- A strategic guide for exactly what to do with email in your store: how to start, how to adopt the right voice & tone, how to delegate, and what to optimize and when.
- A signup code for 10% off any plan on Klaviyo, if you don’t already have an email provider, or are considering switching to one that provides the sort of full-blown automation that your store needs.
- Finally, every month, I’ll be holding exclusive Q&A sessions for Ecommerce Lifecycles’ students – so people can ask me any and all questions they have about their own email strategy.
Final list of stores
Our stores are all B2C, and run the gamut across verticals and AOV:
- Away Travel
- B&H Photo & Video
- Charlotte’s Web
- Design Within Reach
- Jeni’s Ice Cream
- Kaufmann Mercantile
- Kettle & Fire
- Marine Layer
- Nice Laundry
- Outdoor Voices
- Snow Peak
- Tanner Goods
- Taylor Stitch
- Tortuga Backpacks
- The White Company
We’ve already begun placing orders; now, we sit and wait for the emails to roll in. Pertinent dates are as follows:
September 17: We start sending lifecycle analyses to students.
- November 05: We launch the first version of the strategic guide.
- April 22: We finish our lifecycle analyses and send the tactical summary.
These are worst-case dates. We’ll send everything as soon as it’s all done, of course.
Calculate your store’s ROI from email
For an example of how this plays out in practice, let’s run some numbers on your own list.
If your list already has around thousand subscribers, and you get a % conversion rate at $ AOV on emails per month, a % boost in your emails’ conversion rate would result in a $k increase in monthly recurring revenue – just from email.
If you’re doing email right, you get to keep those returns for much longer than just that month. And don’t forget: your list will continue to grow with every new customer.
This is just a back-of-the-envelope calculation, of course. The actual numbers will differ significantly based on a variety of factors like your store’s industry, addressable market, and how warm you’ve already kept your list. But we wanted to keep it simple for this little widget, and focus on the biggest leverage points.
Basically, if you plugged in your own store’s numbers and went 😳, you might want to enroll in this course.
Enroll now for a discount
Even considering the time and money you spend on setting up an email provider and delegating your email strategy, Ecommerce Lifecycles should provide a handsome return on your investment. Enroll & get lifetime access today:
You’ll get full access to all 30 screencast reviews, the tactical summary, 10% Klaviyo discount, and strategic guide, no matter when you sign up.
With that in mind, enrollment fees will increase on November 16, as a reward for those who took a chance on a preorder. And the earlier you sign up, the more Q&A sessions you’ll be able to partcipate in!
Get Draft Analysis at the same time
Draft Analysis, our previous mini-course, is a series of actionable deep-dives into how the best online stores communicate with their customers. You can enroll in Draft Analysis & Ecommerce Lifecycles at the same time – with a discount on both:
Student Jaycob Cratchley got a lot out of Draft Analysis:
Draft Analysis taught me that there is a better way of doing things to improve the customer experience and how we, as a company, communicate to customers and prospects. These videos haven’t been done on-the-fly, but rather with a great deal of preparation beforehand. Nick knows how to articulate himself in a way which is insightful and approachable. I’ve recommended Draft Analysis to many people – some even before I bought it.
Enrollment fees increase in:
I’m Nick Disabato, a designer & writer from Chicago. I’ve previously worked for great clients like The Wirecutter, Smart Marketer, Wanderer Bracelets, and KeySmart. I look like that drawing to the right, there. You can read a longer bio if you’re curious.
In my 5 years running Draft Revise for dozens of customers – planning, executing, and analyzing hundreds of A/B tests in the process – I’ve learned everything I can about optimizing your site so it captures more wallet-out customers, in your target market, who pay you and like it.
Enroll in Ecommerce Lifecycles today
It’s not enough to rip off your competitors’ emails. Stop playing defense, and start taking charge of the way you communicate with your store’s customers.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have an awesome day!
PS: Want to optimize your store, soup-to-nuts? Draft Revise is now accepting applications for Black Friday preparations, with initial analysis kicking off in July & August. Over the past 2 years, Draft Revise’s worst-case outcome has been a $500,000 increase in annual revenue. Please apply at the bottom of Draft Revise’s page to begin a conversation.
PPS: That was a lot of text. Thank you for reading all of it. Your reward is this island full of Saint Bernards. LOOK AT THEM. I LOVE THEM.