Lifecycle Mastery: Strategies for Effective Email & SMS Marketing

Nov 9, 2023 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

Request The Full Recording

Key Discussion Takeaways

Email and SMS marketing are vital tools in the digital age, but how can you ensure your campaigns resonate with your audience and drive real results? Is there a secret to mastering the customer engagement lifecycle through these channels?

According to Lisa Wendland, a seasoned expert in digital marketing strategies, success in email and SMS marketing hinges on a deep understanding of customer behavior and a strategic approach to content. She emphasizes the importance of aligning email content with subject lines to improve click rates and leveraging customer data for personalized communication.

In this virtual event, Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson speaks with Lisa Wendland, Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Blue Wheel, to explore the intricacies of email and SMS marketing. They discuss strategies for effective campaign design, the role of personalization in enhancing customer engagement, and the use of analytics to inform marketing decisions. This insightful conversation provides valuable takeaways for anyone looking to refine their digital marketing strategies.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How to optimize a brand's lifecycle program for revenue growth
  • What are frequency caps in email marketing?
  • The importance of personalization in automated messages
  • Strategies to address email marketing issues
  • Why welcome emails are crucial during promotional periods
  • Tips to handle promotions in email marketing
  • The effectiveness of pop-ups for sign-ups
  • How to use customer behavior data to create targeted campaigns
  • Why are emotional subject lines very effective?
  • Ways to improve email deliverability and consistency
  • Email marketing strategies for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • How to build buzz for product launches
Request The Full Recording

Event Partners

Blue Wheel

Blue Wheel is an omni-channel marketing and operational partner delivering excellence in digital commerce -- from click to ship. As a new breed of omni-channel agency, Blue Wheel supports brands from marketplace management to performance advertising, and creative services. With over $1B in revenue managed for our clients, we help brands from click to ship, scaling brand sales across D2C, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and retail.

Connect with Blue Wheel

Guest Speakers

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Lisa Wendland LinkedIn

Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Blue Wheel

Lisa Wendland is the Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Blue Wheel, a company specializing in omni-channel marketing and operational support for digital commerce. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing email and SMS marketing strategies. Her work involves closely collaborating with teams across various channels, including paid media, social media, SEO, sales, and partnerships, to create cohesive long-term strategies for client success.

Lisa’s strategic vision and leadership have helped scale the performance of various Direct-to-Consumer products, significantly contributing to Blue Wheel's success in managing over $1B in revenue for its clients.

Event Moderator

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson LinkedIn

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.

Lisa Wendland LinkedIn

Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Blue Wheel

Lisa Wendland is the Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Blue Wheel, a company specializing in omni-channel marketing and operational support for digital commerce. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing email and SMS marketing strategies. Her work involves closely collaborating with teams across various channels, including paid media, social media, SEO, sales, and partnerships, to create cohesive long-term strategies for client success.

Lisa’s strategic vision and leadership have helped scale the performance of various Direct-to-Consumer products, significantly contributing to Blue Wheel's success in managing over $1B in revenue for its clients.

Request the Full Recording

Please enter your information to request a copy of the post-event written summary or recording!

Need help with something else?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson

Senior Digital Strategist at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Senior Digital Strategist Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

Schedule a free consultation call

Discussion Transcription

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  0:00

All right, happy Thursday everybody. I am Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson, a digital strategist with BWG Connect, and we are a network and knowledge-sharing group. We stay on top of the latest trends and challenges, and whatever’s shaping the digital landscape, we want to know and talk about it. We're on track to do at least 500 of these virtual events this year due to the increase in demand to understand the digital space better; we'll also be doing at least 100 in-person small-format dinners this year within the US. So if you happen to live in a tier one city, feel free to shoot us an email, we'd love to send you an invite these dinners are typically 15 to 20 people having a discussion around a certain digital topic. And it's always a fantastic time, we spend the majority of our time talking to brands. That's how we stay on top of the latest trends. And I'd love to have a conversation with you. So feel free to send me an email at And we can get some time on the calendar. It's from these conversations we generate the topic ideas we know people want to learn about. And it's also where we gain our resident experts such as Blue Wheel who's with us today, anybody that we asked to teach the collective community has come highly recommended from multiple brands. So if you're ever in need of any recommendations within the digital space, please don't hesitate to reach out as we have a short list of the best of the best. We'd love to provide that information to you. Also note that if you have any hiring dates, we do partner with a talent agency, Hawk Eye Search, formerly BWG Talent that I can put you in contact with as well. A few housekeeping items. First and foremost, we want this to be fun, educational, and conversational. So put as many questions and comments you have into the chat the Q&A. I'll make sure everything's enabled, and we will get to them. Or you can always email me at And we can get to them as well. So with that, let's roll and start to talk about lifecycle mastery. The strategies for effective email and SMS marketing. The team at Blue Wheel have been long-term friends, and partners of the network. I'm going to kick it over to you, Lisa, if you want to give a brief introduction on yourself and Blue Wheel that'd be awesome. And then, we can dive into the information. Thank you.

Lisa Wendland  2:14

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much. So I am the Director of Lifecycle here at Blue Wheel Media. I've been in the digital marketing space for about 15 years. I have split that time into about 10 years on the agency side and five years on the brand side. And just really decided to dive into lifecycle as as just, my favorite area to spend time and look through strategy. So with with Blue Wheel I really just love it here I have the opportunity to work with a number of brands across omni-channel strategies. And so with Blue Wheel you know, we are supporting brands through marketplace management, and performance advertising. And you know, the experts here just scale businesses across TDC, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and retail. So we have over a billion dollars in revenue management for our clients. And, you know, we just help everyone from click to ship. So just encompassing all those services. With the webinar today, we're really focused on identifying workflow weaknesses, campaign sending cadence, effective design, and then we'll have like a quick wrap-up at the end of some of the action items that we talk about. And really, the goal is to think about how we fine-tune the lifecycle program across the board to really generate the revenue engagement that you're looking for. When we're auditing a brand's lifecycle program, there are three things that we look for. So with the platforms that we have, we're typically talking about email and SMS when we're looking into lifecycle. And so when you are jumping in, we start with workflows and understand, you know, revenue, clearly, we want to see high revenue across the board. But if it's down for any particular flow, it's going to be subjective based on what type of flow it is. And, and I'm not going to dig too deep into revenue today, if you have flows that have low revenue, there are other factors going into the why of why the revenue is so low, and that's where we're going to focus our time. One of those things is deliverability. And the other is the volume of messages coming out of the flow. So how many people are receiving the messages how many people are qualifying and then in turn getting the messages actually delivered to their inbox? Then when we look at campaigns, we're expecting those campaigns to drive traffic to your site and fill the funnel that we just mentioned, where if you're not sending regular campaigns, there's no way for people to necessarily file in for cart abandonment, browse abandonment, those sorts of things. campaigns need to be regular and timely. They have to provide value to your contacts. So we'll talk a little bit about what's going on there. The bread and butter of campaigns are usually product or service launches, and then short-term promotions. If you don't have promotions, don't worry, there's still content for you in this webinar. And then we also have really high-performing campaigns that focus on categories and reviews. So again, you don't necessarily have to be constantly sending a coupon, right? There's different ways to garner engagement. And we'll talk about that more in the campaign and design sections of our of our webinar. And then creative overall, as it pertains to workflows and campaigns, we want to have the same consistent elements, we'll talk about hero styles call to actions, what supplemental content you could consider, and then, you know, navigation, what's going on with your, your footer, what are some things to avoid, and we have a number of examples of strong design and how you can integrate that in your program. Awesome. So jumping into workflow weaknesses, there's a number of things, you know, between content and technical issues, to address, the volume is so important. When we look at a flow when we understand it's not firing as expected, maybe we're not getting everyone in that you would presume would qualify for cart abandonment or browse abandonment, maybe you're seeing a lot of traffic. Still, not enough people are coming into flows, there's a number of different reasons. And one of the biggest issues is frequency caps. So those are typically set separately for flows compared to campaigns. Sometimes there's a universal frequency cap in your program. Frequency cap means how many, you know messages can come out in a certain time period, the majority of brands that we work with have a cap of 16 hours. So no one should be getting more than one email within 16 hours unless it's a transactional message, which would be order confirmation, shipping confirmation, those sorts of messages. And then when we get into the next slides, we'll talk a little bit more about frequency caps, and what sort of strategies you can think about with timing and value. We're looking at signup units. Another reason we don't see volume, inflows, but we see a lot of volume on the site, is because those contacts aren't signing up for email to be nurtured. So maybe your popup isn't firing, or you have multiple pop ups, and your new visitor just closes all of them. So we audit what those signup units look like talk about list growth metrics, and how a welcome flow is performing. And really look at that acquisition phase that is driving the rest of the flows. And then finally, personalization. When you customize your messages, and you know, beyond first name, right, when we're thinking about all of the data that you have for a specific profile, looking at, you know, conversations that they've had with customer service, their loyalty, standing, you know, some of these more complex things, but then also looking at the basics, where it's okay, what did they browse what was in their cart, and bringing those things into your messaging, it goes a long way for improving effectiveness in your automated messages overall. And tying in the data that your contacts honestly know that you have one way or another. So that was a really a lot in an overview, but I wanted to just kind of set the stage for the things that will we'll dive into. So I mentioned frequency caps quite a bit. In some platforms, it's called Smart sending. The easiest way to think about this is with with a diagram. So on the right side, here, you'll see a couple of messages. So on day zero, we had an message that fired to almost 10,000 contacts, and this is through a flow. So in the socket touch on day one, we had almost 10,000 people skipped. And it's pretty alarming. And this particular flow was a quiz. So the idea is trying to solve, you know, why did that second quiz message not come through in this diagram. So when we are looking at your overall project, she's not project but program in terms of who's getting what when you can think through taking it from day zero, if you have a new subscriber, they sign up through a pop up, they get the welcome email, then let's say they come back to the site through that email and they complete the quiz. So now they've gotten that email at noon, just based on when they took it. And then the next next email, you'll see here, let's say you have a flash sale, it's 12-hour flash sale goes out at 9pm. If there is no smart sending in place, no frequency cap, then they would get this email. And strategically you would want to do that because this is probably a higher promotion than one of your other two automated messages here in blue. And then let's say they open that message, but they don't click through, they don't put anything in the cart, you know, it's just that they open the message. Well, you can do a reset in the morning 8:00 AM to say hey, you have one hour left in our 12 hour flash sale. And so now they've gotten four messages very quickly. And this isn't necessarily an issue right you have a highly engaged contact they're already on the path to purchase whatever this is it's not necessarily something that you know is going to be alarming to them they're in the decision making process on their end and they want to know what's the next offer now let's say they miss that miss that flash sale and so now they're getting subscriber Welcome to based on the law logic of your flower, you get a welcome one, then you get welcome to. And then you get quiz to the same day an hour later based on when they signed up for the, through the quiz. So this is where you kind of need to make a decision. What's in welcome to? Is it another promotional offer? Is it anything valuable that would make them convert? A lot of times we see Welcome to has some kind of reminder of the introductory promotion. And then supplemental content like what are your differentiators from your competitors? How do you connect with us on social things like that, where it's not necessarily going to move the needle, especially after this limited time problem? I work with a lot of brands where they're actively listening to customers where customers can call in or email and say, Hey, I just missed this, is there anything you can do for me, especially during this time of year? And, you know, we really don't want to turn away anyone right now. It's also sort of poor customer experience. So with this, you know, if you have someone that doesn't engage with the sale, and they get Welcome to the you might have that instance, where they're like, hey, like, can I still get that promo? And in in these sort of scenarios, especially in a high promotional period, you just have to do what's best for your brand. In terms of does the value make sense? Do we want them to get these six emails? Do we put a pause on the subscriber welcome and turn on the smart sending. So in this example, smart sending was on so quiz two wasn't going out. In this example, here, we could turn smart sending on for Welcome to and maybe let the quiz pass through because it's very specific to what they are qualifying for generally, our quizzes are to understand the customer better, and like the context of what they're shopping for. So that's one hypothetical that you could kind of think through really just documenting the journey, just saying, Okay, if we take Tiffany, and we say, these are the things she did that day, how many emails is she going to get?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  11:52

And what the welcome one example, is that typical to have a promo code as a welcome. So then is there conflict there of that welcome promo code, and then you have a limited time promo? And obviously, assuming you can't stack the promos, but then they get frustrated, and then they don't convert or come back.

Lisa Wendland  12:13

Yeah, I'm so glad you brought that up. So in the next slide, let me make sure it's this one. Yes. So in this next slide, we have a good example here. So we have this is a browser ban and an email. And so there is a version with and without the promotion. And you could set be the rules depending on what's going on for the rest of your your ecosystem, right. So in this diagram, so if we have welcome come out with a promo, and then quiz with a promo, and as you said, they don't stack and they're different. So like, maybe this is 10%, and this is 15%. And then the limited time is 20%. Like it's like getting is slowly building, right? We We definitely look at turning off promotions when we're in this high volume period. And so yeah, that's that's one, one way to handle it. We also have brands that have no promotion in their welcome their high end, or they just don't do promotions, it's not something that you wouldn't necessarily discount in the nature of what it is you're selling. And that's perfectly acceptable as well. We see welcome as one of the highest performing flows, regardless of whether or not there's a promotion. Yeah, I hope that answers the question. With frequency caps, so in this instance, when they're when they're set separately like this, you know, just checking each one individually. With this, you know, we just need to decide what the what the value is going to be what's going to take priority. So if you have a second message, generally like with or without a promotion, you just think through, okay, is that reminder going to be the better value. Now we have other brands that have been able to dynamically populate the content, and then have this switch out. So that's something that you can do with universal blocks that apply across the whole board. I've had brands with, you know, really advanced programs with multiple touches, there's no way you would manually go change every one of these for a site wide sale. So we've coded dynamic blocks that pull in the promotion that's going on at the time. And then we avoid, you know, having all these sorts of little promotions that are a little bit more evergreen, we just focus on the site wide because that's they're just having flash sales at a pretty regular cadence.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  14:36

Yeah, Chris had a question from the audience of just to confirm you When would you consider not sending the promo email to someone who made a purchase since the welcome email?

Lisa Wendland  14:46

Yeah, yeah, we definitely look at AB testing with our contacts, so if someone went through the welcome and purchase then they would fall into first purchase, and you could come up with two different variations if you have a lower promo and a higher promo and see if they convert on the lower promo first, or just go go without altogether, especially with products that are replenishable. It's one of those things where it's like, okay, well, you probably would stock up on this regardless. So yeah, we've definitely done some things like that. But I would AB test, especially when it comes to revenue targets, you know, if it comes down to the wire, and you're like, well, is 10% really going to be? You know, like, do we want that to be the sticking point on the brand side? No, we don't we want to get the product in the hands of the customer. So that's awesome. Yeah. Cool. In this email here, actually, um, this is a gift right here where it brings in, you know, how would it pairs perfectly with this piece, like I said, we pull in and out depending on where they're at in the flow, and what their qualifiers are the product name, image, quantity, and the this description, these are all dynamically pulled in. So this email is like, just pulling in things from Shopify. And we're able to do that to make a really custom trigger without a lot of hand coding. Great, then timing and value. So started off explaining that, you know, going into welcome closers. There's obviously a long list of places where contacts can sign up for email and SMS, pop ups standalone forms offline, offline, you know, signage, these all need to be looked at taking into consideration like what's the effectiveness of your welcome series in your flows, I have brands that set up separate welcomes based on their contacts, profiles, if it's, you know, more b2b, it's based on industry. If it is, in the DTC realm, there's, there's opportunity to just take it a step further of where they came from. So like, Hey, thanks for checking us out on Facebook. Here's, you know, our welcome series, not necessarily being so literal, but understanding that they came from that that social platform, I would say that pop ups are standing strong at the top, as far as signup rates go, I've seen up to 5% of contact sign up. And that's like the high average, we definitely want to think about timing for those usually have a set amount of seconds before it comes up on the page. We don't typically see the highest performance from an immediate pop up because again, if you've gotten that new contacts coming to the site, and they've never seen your site before, it's not likely they're going to sign up for email right away. And then they'll exit the popup and it won't show for however many days you've set, it is good practice to not show the pop up again, for X number of days, again, depending on your brand and how frequently someone's coming to your site. You can think about what strategic there with our popups I think the only thing I've been mentioned is the exit intent pop ups, those perform really well. So if somebody is leaving the site going to click out, then you have the opportunity to say hey, like, you know, come back and say, I've also seen some really cool opportunities to do customer service like, hey, not finding what you're looking for contact us this way. Yeah.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  18:06

It's interesting about the timing of the pop-up.

Lisa Wendland  18:09

Yes, there are also how do I say this? Google has basically been penalizing people as well, or brands, I should say, for having popups that come up immediately. Google's not a fan of that. As far as like your rankings go is a factor.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  18:26

Good to know. Yeah. Excellent. This reminder, question comments, put them into the chat or the q&a, and we will get to them.

Lisa Wendland  18:37

Awesome. Great, thank you. So personalization, you can really personalize on a huge book of data you have on your contacts, once they sign up for email, and they start cruising around the site. And it's just key to any automation, where you want to think about what they've done on the site, whether it's browse a product or a page, browser category, abandoned cart, you can bring all these things in your one off campaigns. But really, you know, focusing on workflows is just so critical to think about how their behavior based and the time is based on your purchase process. Some of these things on the market now, it's not like a quick decision, right? It's not an impulse buy, you want to understand what is what are the differentiators between a competitor What am I getting myself into? Are there were items or replacement parts, like just getting through all that knowledge. You know, sometimes that behavior based timing is is going to take a little bit of digging right to find out you know what it is that they need to know and you can do so much of that within a flow where it's like, Hey, you checked out this category Did you know that we provide support with X, Y & Z really just drive home how you know, your current customers have made their decision and why the information that you can share is the determining factor to make that conversion with this graphic here, so you know, just using personalization, subject line just going beyond that First name is so important. We've done some cool stuff with product names. And, again, product pairings. That's where really, really where it goes the furthest I'd say where you bought X, and customers like you have also enjoyed why? Maybe it's a supplemental product. Maybe it's like the next step, maybe it's part of the kit, right? I think I have an example coming up on that. So think about those things. It doesn't necessarily have to be first name, where like what state you're in, it can be a little bit more about what they're doing with your brand. First subject line, we still look at emotions, we really want to avoid yes or no questions and subject lines. So, you know, have you seen our hot new thing? No. And I don't want to? That's not really that's hard. Yes, you're hoping for. So definitely keep it more open ended. In when you're thinking emotionally driven? You know, I see a lot of, you've earned it. And congrats. And those sorts of subject lines are tough, because consumers are smart. If you don't have an active loyalty program, if they haven't done anything, if they know they haven't opened the last 10 emails, like we don't want to, like feed into that. We want to think about things a little bit more high level where exclusivity, right, so the IP, that sort of thing, we'll talk about that in a minute. encouragement, like, you know, we want to help you find the best fit for you. Curiosity, urgency, excitement, gratitude. You know, you can certainly say thanks for being an email subscriber. And like, I've done emails where we asked people we send out surveys, do we get a lot of responses? No, but the people that do respond, they either have a very strong positive opinion or strong negative opinion, and they get they get the brand gets the feedback, too. What do I need to do here? To get more? You know, from from my list? What What can I send out that would have a have a different?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  21:51

What is your opinion on emojis in the subject line?

Lisa Wendland  21:54

Oh, I love that question. So I have had a brand that sent just emojis in the subject line, it did not hurt deliverability, they had very good deliverability. To start, you know, I've had a brand use new new in the subject line, and it worked. Now here, here's the caveat, you have to test you have to, I would AB test it, meaning send it at the same time to generally the same people, right, have a mix of purchasers and non purchasers. And just try and keep everything else the same, like as much control as you can have. So your subject line is really the only thing that's changed. That's how I would test that. But with emojis. It needs to be on brand. I think it's funny when a brand does it and it's not on brand. And it does really well, because you did it once in a blue moon. So there so people are a little bit surprised. If it's an every email, it's either on brand, or it turns into white noise. And it's it's really interesting to play around with is so I would say get creative. Don't necessarily overdo it. I would not try again, sending in a subject line. That's all emojis. I do feel like there's a risk involved. But it is. It is fun. There's there's definitely some things you can do. I would say the main, the main ones are ones that draw the eyes. So think of like the little stars that are clustered together lightning bolt for a flash sale. If you have a brand that does food, I love using food, like apples and cherries and like things like that, and subject lines because it does stand out not everyone else in your space. Right? And if you think about the average mailbox, like what are what are you seeing, right? What do you think would look a little bit different, maybe a blue heart, we use blue hearts a lot at Blue Wheel. So things like that, I would just say like, think about what's on brand for you and test it. Cool. Cool we get in the campaign. So this is this is where we can do some of that sort of on the I don't want to say on the fly testing. But like in that sort of window of space where we did a one off and and when you are testing with one offs. We'll go into this a little bit more later. But with subject lines and send times I would look at again, keeping things consistent. And using at least three campaigns, you don't want to just go like Oh, we did one test and the emojis definitely worked like no like use three different instances to try and get a baseline. And some of these platforms are pretty good about saying like the indication of whether or not this was a successful test or if the margin is big enough to say yes, you have a winner. So you know definitely look into your tools too. I think there's there's some things you can lean in on. So with consistent communication, you're really setting up the whole program for success. You've got deliverability valuable content and engagement to think about sending consistently. We honestly run into this a lot with brands that are coming on to work with us. They're usually highly focused on one time promotions or new product launches, and they don't have a consistent schedule where they're regularly sending. And then in turn, this is negatively impacting deliverability rates not portraying valuable content for subscribers. And then they just see this major increase, decrease in engagement over time, right. So you might get those spikes when the promo goes out, you make a spike with a new product launch, but then you're sending so inconsistently, you don't have something to carry on the conversation. And we just see everything drop. And then on the other side, you know of that, right? So if you're, you're doing these sorts of things, if you just don't have that consistent schedule, you know, maybe you're regularly sending, but it's just too much, right, and you're negatively impacting deliverability. Because it's, you're talking to people, you know, every day or every other day, and it just, you see this decline, and you just get a major decrease where, where it's like, okay, unless we send out a promo, there's nothing to spike it or a new product launch, which takes, you know, months, years, depending on what it is. And so, you know, you're back into that inconsistency where it's like, okay, well, we ran out of ideas. It's tough. And I love working with these brands, because we all get that sort of like creative fatigue, from time to time. And, and being in the agency space, I get to see so many different ideas, and think about how it's going to apply to a different brand. Like what what worked well, over here in the beauty space, that also translates to housewares like, and you'd be surprised, there are so many things. So if you get an email that you like, save it, like, think about how that might apply for you, if you really like the layout or the content, and we'll talk about what those sorts of things are great to keep an eye out for. But before, for the sake of time, we'll just kind of like jump in and start talking about deliverability. We are always, you know, within our audit process, we're always looking at deliverability. And again, a lot of platforms have it built in, we have tools also that we use outside of platforms to dig in and see are there things that need taken care of, with, with Gmail, the expectation coming from our clinical partners, you know, they're really saying the benchmarks around an open rate of 30%. And then for Hotmail, open rate benchmark is usually between 17 and 19%. That's pretty much where you want to be if they're higher or great, obviously. But if they're, they're lower, there's usually an indicator of an issue. It could be the inconsistent sending, it could be the content you're sending. You know, deliverability is a whole nother call in itself. But with the brands that we're talking to, the first thing is understanding like, how often are you sending in is it meaning your subscribers expectations. So with gmail and hotmail, the reason those percentages are a little bit different is so many more people are using Gmail. So we would expect the percentage of opens coming from Gmail to be higher. Awesome, after Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, Google has a new set of requirements for all senders and Yahoo as well as Google is that is going to apply to senders. Anyone who's sending over 5000 or more emails to Google accounts, in the main requirements, you know, setting up demark. And that's usually done you via your DNS provider is a little techie. But there's some good information out there on the web. And you can also talk to your platform provider. They can help you if you're like, Hey, I'm worried about this thing coming up with Gmail and Yahoo, can you help a lot of platforms actually have it mostly taken care of already, there's nothing like wildly different demark has been around for a very long time. the From header needs to match your domain. So this example from clay VO. So they have clay vo in there from is clay VO and they're the same. So if it's like from oh, gosh, what's a good example. So like if it's from DWG, and this is at Gmail like it's a little bit different on Gmail might not be the best example. So if you're using like BW G, hyphen, lunchboxes, like it might, it might flag it like that doesn't quite match. And then finally making unsubscribing easier and cleaner. This is pretty much handled with most platforms where you have an unsubscribe link in your message body, or you have the option to unsubscribe and just one step. I think for B2B, I get a lot of emails where there is no unsubscribe, but it is definitely automated. I think that's where if you're sending over 5000 again, like that's where it's going to start to be an issue.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  29:21

And include a method to unsubscribe and one step. So going away is the Why are you leaving? Or any of those other? Yeah, in the past?

Lisa Wendland  29:31

Great question. Yes. So there, yeah. So they should be able to click and then unsubscribe, like it should be seamless process. To your question. You can still have preference centers, you can still have the you know, would you like to manage your preferences change? You know what you care to hear about? But yeah, they just want to make sure that people don't have to get lost on their way to try and unsubscribe.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  29:57

That's good. That's awesome. Cool. should hear in the audience about click rate metrics. So they have an above average open rate but struggling with the click rates.

Lisa Wendland  30:11

Got it. Okay Let's see if there is where? What's our next slide? Hmm. Okay, so this is recent. So there's there's a lot to unpack with click rates. So I'll leave this up for a second. But I think the slide I'm thinking of is in the creative section, so we'll get into a little bit more there. But, but I can certainly tag on this. So click rate, there's two different definitions. There's click to open and there's click to delivered, collected delivered as unanimously low, generally, depending on your volume, right? Click to Open is a little bit tricky because of the apple privacy. So if you exclude the privacy opens, so how many true opens Do you have? So your click rate like at face value will probably take some digging to see how, you know poor or or high it is to increase your click rate regardless, like let's say you filter down all this and you're like, Okay, now it's still really low. You want to look at what people are clicking, you want to see if there's consistency between what's in the email, and what the subject line says. So when I said, you know, being putting a yes or no question in the in the subject line, so if we say, do you want free pet food? And then oh, yeah, sounds great. So I've opened the email, and then inside, there's nothing about free pet food. Well, I'm not gonna click that. If you open it up, and it's, it's okay. Get your free pet food. And then you have everyone clicks. So you have, you know, let's say we have 50 people open it, by the way, a welcome series is about the only email that's going to have a 50% open rate. But so that everyone opens this email, and everyone clicks this email, tonight have this really high, click right. But then they get to that page, and they're like, oh, it's it's all gone. Right? It was like limited quantities. So now now you've got no conversions. And no, you know, what have you. So I would look at the consistency between your like you have the high open rates. So is the content inside matching with the subject line is kind of alluding to? That would be that would be the first step and then we'll talk like a second we'll talk about designs and like what you could do if if you're just not seeing the clicks that you're looking for.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  32:16

Awesome. And then to confirm that 30% open rate for Gmail, does that also apply to b2b business or is b2b different?

Lisa Wendland  32:23

So glad that you asked. Yes, I would say so. Generally, when we're talking to clay vo it is more in the DTC realm. However, there are so I, I do have B2B brands that are in clay VO. So they're selling to professionals. And what what's going on is the amount of businesses that are using Gmail like I swear it's growing. So I would definitely keep an eye on that. If you you know, if you're seeing it consistent across the board, like you're like, Okay, month over month, we're always at like, 20% for Gmail, there's probably not a red flag there for you specifically. But that's a great question. Yeah, there are so many businesses using Gmail that I would I would keep an eye on it, and see, you know, what you can do to keep that going at that higher rate. Awesome. Okay, so then click rate and open. Right, here's another one. So resets, right. When we're doing resets, we're usually pulling back on purchasers to prevent them from, you know, really just hitting spam. They're like, Okay, I've already bought this, why are you emailing me again. Now, during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it's a little bit different. We have brands that are really able to send more messages, if it's a product that you would stock up on, or a product that you would gift, I wouldn't send any last chance reminders, I would leave purchasers alone when you're resending unless it's one of those cases, right? Because they've made their purchase, they're gonna get their order confirmation, their shipping confirmation if you're that quick in the warehouse and whatnot. And then when you're sending these follow up messages, like they're a new buyer, so your post purchase series or your second purchase series, it's depending on you know, what, if they've already made a purchase, like they're going to have another slew of messages. So if you think about that diagram, where it's like, okay, now they've gotten six emails in 24 hours, like, maybe somebody that's just bought, we want to back up a little bit. Here, yep. So this is this is one of those messages about kids. So this particular message, it's not the whole thing, unfortunately. But they're driving traffic into this flow, based on they've purchased one of these items from the set. And so now we're following up to say, hey, we have this great holiday set and check it out. Awesome, new product launch. This is a good segue. So those those kits were a new product setup. And so we have a lot of brands are looking at 2024 and launching new products. So I'm gonna talk about the strategic journey, really encouraging conversion step of the way, we have a tried and true process of teasing new products. Usually there's something cool where we aren't exactly showing what's new and exciting. Especially being in the world of startups. We don't always have final product imagery, right? And we don't have a landing page or like, what is how do we build buzz on this thing that's going to launch. So we go ahead and build out. And I have an example the next slide, but that happens, right? And but we still want to, we still want to keep revenue going and thinking about how do we get pre orders, or what's the next step within this, so we talked a little bit about that teaser, you have a VIP strategy, and it's going to depend on your brand. This is sort of like a double whammy, you have a new product launching, and maybe you don't have a VIP segment. There are brands that say everyone on the list, the email list, or SMS list is a VIP, then we have other brands was like no, only our highest lifetime value contacts are our VIP, some people have said, Okay, I want to pick the top 100 of our purchasers, it's going to depend on your brand, what you're what you're selling what your brand is comfortable with what makes sense to you. It's internal sort of strategic decision, we definitely help in that conversation, a Blue Wheel every day where it's like, okay, how do you want to break this down? What is the margin? What does it look like? Are you giving them a discount or not? I will say I typically do not recommend giving a discount on a new product. Unless you are trying to get a lot of traction quickly and get reviews. And it's another, it's like a whole nother call for product launches. So use the definition that makes the most sense for you don't let it be someone else's definition without a thought process behind it. So that's, that's my takeaway there. So with today's prior, we usually look at sending an SMS, if there's an existing SMS program, if you don't have one, there's a great blog blog article on our site, what you can think about for getting started. But for anyone that's got an existing SMS program, you definitely want to look at your SMS customers as a VIP list, they could do an exclusive sneak peek, you want to continue to use the SMS channel. So it's strong and has that immediate response, right, you cut through a lot of noise, just come right up on notifications of a phone, they can tap through and then right then and there, they can see what's going on. If you don't have an SMS SMS program, you can use the email at this two day mark, or you can just skip it do the one day mark, it's going to depend on your product launch. But you don't want it too far out. I think if you say hey, we have a new product coming and it's two weeks away. It's a little bit tougher, unless it's one of those things where like, I've been on, I've been on product lists for launches, where it was like, Okay, it's months away, but they didn't necessarily like check in with me on a regular basis. It was like it is a high ticket item, it takes a big decision. Like, again, it's just got to be in line with your brand. Like if you're like no people are waiting, and they love it. And we have this waitlist that's like three days, you know, it's gonna take us three days to process like in the warehouse, like, think about all those things when you start teasing it out, because the best thing for you is the best customer experience.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  37:52

Would you put a pre-order link in there?

Lisa Wendland  37:55

Yes. Absolutely. Yeah. So I have done some really cool things where we've had a pre order link, so they go to see the page, they get to see everything about it. So this is an instance where we have everything available and lined up. And so now you have this list of people that were already on your list for one reason or another, either they were interested or they have purchased, and then now they're on the waitlist for this thing. So you have a good idea of Wow, okay, we might sell out because we have this many people already on here. And then you can go through and say, okay, like we're ready, we're going to launch to those people first, when we do this one day prior. And then on launch day, we would exclude people that purchased. And then again, you'd think strategically, okay, if I send to this many people, and I'm expecting X percent to convert, how many unhappy people are gonna have to turn away? If it's that sort of scenario? Yeah, great question. And then once this product is launched, we look at having sort of a banner in your basic triggers. So your welcome series, your abandoned car and your brother's van. And now Okay, let's say you launch something that's like an add on for something and you're like, This doesn't make sense to me, where I'm like, why would I do this? The, in these situations, maybe it doesn't fit with everything, maybe it's a replacement part and upgrade, I would put a banner at the bottom of your messages that's a little bit more generic that just says Check out what we're doing that's new, obviously, tailored to your brand. But then you can have that for subscribers to say, oh, I want to see what's new, and they can go check it out. And then everything that's new in your category, just think about your designated timeframe, like okay, is two months too old, for new. And then you have that category. You don't have to change the banner all the time. But you have people go check it out without this big, you know, big series. Cool, and I have examples on next game. Awesome. So for this particular brand, they had three pair of shorts that were launching, all little bit different and we didn't have a ton of imagery. So we had them, go to the page and then for a different launch. This was a Surplus Sale, email and at the very bottom, it was like, Okay, well, if they were interested in anything that was on for surplus, let's show them the new hat. And that was like a really big deal. customers wanted it. Very exciting launch for us. And so we on, we had a ton of people click through that the number is not showing for some reason right now I had the percent of clicks that went to that. And I think it was, I think it was 10%. So like one in 10 people that clicked click that, which is exciting. So super impressive.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  40:28

Fairly reminder, questions, comments put into the chat, as we get into the last 10 minutes here.

Lisa Wendland  40:35

Yeah. And then. So just real quickly, like if you have a brand, where you do a lot of like in person activation and sort of exciting things, right, and in person or online, maybe or BWG, right, you can think about a strategy that's very similar to a product launch, where you can hype up the event, ask for RSVPs. And sort of follow that same structure, what what I would do differently is have that hype, you know, much further ahead, so maybe 30 days prior, you have an event banner in your major triggers, and then go through the sort of process, and then follow up with people with a product you are going to have, you know, if you have a reviews platform in place, and you're collecting reviews, those sorts of things should be triggering, where you're collecting reviews, in a one to one event scenario, you could do the same thing. You could have a survey that goes out, Hey, how'd you like it? Do you want to come to New events? Or you can have that one to one sort of follow up? Awesome. So to design? Yeah, I've had some good questions today about design and things we can think about. So starting with subject line, it's really just the way that you get people to open I would think about the subject line and the preheader. Together, your subject line is about 35 characters. Just we have to be smart about what we put in there. And really think about the consistency of okay, is this really coming from, you know, a brand I'm interested in? Because you've got the from name, and then what what is it they have to say? So I'll just go ahead and jump right in. With the supplemental content. This piece, really what I think about is the opportunity to give them something else to click through. So we talked about this example, there's the 9%. So it's 9% of people. And if you weren't interested in anything that was on sale, this is still here for you. And that just stands out to me. Really every email I've ever done. Even if it's a new product launch, we have this like bottom section where it's like, is there something else is there something more that would be interesting for you, for this particular send here. So these were women's products we had. So the top and the shorts had launched. And then at the very end, we had this net looking for women's products, and we had 33% of clicks go there. Now this email went to some platforms have these predicted gender analytics, we found that some people are shopping for their whole household. So it's just not real consistent. And so with this, now we have the data of who's clicked this. So we can create a segment and follow up with them on more better recommendations, right? They just all set on that. So let's send them what they want to see. And this doesn't just go for products in the apparel category. Let's see if it's the next slide. Yes, okay. So for this for this example, we had a limited time promotion. And we had these categories down here, you'll see at the bottom of the email. And so if they didn't click through the main hero image to go ahead and get into the sale, they click a specific category. And so now I can see okay, 10% of people that clicked, excuse me, 10% of total clicks, went to the body products and 12% went to skin products. So I can segment further. Especially if I'm looking at refunds, and how do I keep the sale? Interesting. I can take it that next level. And now my next picture could be one of the one of the gals with the pink skincare products, right? And sort of like tie it back into again, personalization of what's going on with our contacts and just speaking more into what they're looking for.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  44:08

They say that's personalization. And it's fine. That's right. They're very cool.

Lisa Wendland  44:12

Yes, yeah, I love doing stuff like that, where we can kind of dig in and learn more about what they're looking for. So here's another one that was interesting. So 33% of clicks went to the Rudy, which is the three and a quarter. We've done some really cool campaigns where we're focused on short hair, and and we saw this tremendous lift, and it was like, it was kind of a surprise, but then we got to lean into that. We also saw no clicks to the social media icons. So this is kind of a good, a good segue into navigation. So you might have noticed in my examples, none of these have navigation. I have another slide just after this. With the footer and header. We really just try and get right to the meat of the email and with this particular one. Obviously the majority of clicks went through to the hero But I thought it was interesting way down at the bottom, we have this money back guarantee 4% of people click there. So a little couple people are a little worried, right about like, oh, do I really want to try this. And then here for social, this whole banner, these three images together, go to Instagram. And so people 20% of clicks went here that if you are promoting your social channels, please use graphics like the icon like, yes, it works. But I have never seen these links do particularly well like maybe 5% of clicks at best. Like it just doesn't, you can have them I know everybody tends to think that the footer should have them. I don't disagree. It's good to show your subscribers where you are on social, but it just doesn't like this is gonna go a long way.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  45:44

That's a very good takeaway.

Lisa Wendland  45:49

Yeah. Awesome. So here's navigation. So here's a couple examples. So like with navigation, we've tested quite a few different ways to do this. And it just doesn't fly. This is a b2b example special offers. So think logo navigation, and then the hero 12% of total clicks, went to special offers catalog and contact us five, there's that five and 2%. This one, this is a skincare brands you had 3% to new 3% to bestsellers, 2%, for sets just didn't like it took up landscape that we didn't need it to. Right. So it's pushing down the hero on a mobile on a desktop, it just doesn't end up being the main driver. It's very interesting to see how some of these happen. You know, there were other experiences in my career where we saw good click throughs if they were interested in the hero, but when we put in that supplemental content, it was way different. So like that, that hat at the bottom or like, I'm all set on these types of products like that, just really move the needle and getting people back to the site versus like clicking something like special offers. Oh, nice. Yeah. Oh, let's see what's left. Awesome. So loyalty, with loyalty, I love loyalty programs refer friend, those sorts of things. When you have the opportunity to dynamically pull in your information to like, talk about where they're standing is right the amount of points they have, it just sends a different message. So you're part of a club and you're able to take advantage of special offers. We definitely think about how we can encourage refer a friend, encourage more people to sign up to the program, get that acquisition going. Because early access and first dibs is really helpful when we're launching new products, getting the momentum going. So tying in that social proof. I really love to see when brands spell out your loyalty points stack with X promotion, especially Black Friday, Cyber Monday coming up. That is a big question where it's like, okay, can I use my points during this time? Are there blackout dates? Like what? What's the deal here? So I would, I would give that as a takeaway for for loyalty brands that are out there. Cool. Awesome. Tiffany, do you have any questions for tell a little bit more about?

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  48:03

Yeah, let's see, like five minutes left here. So questions, comments, get into the chat, and we'll get through them before we log off for sure. Are there any other advanced triggers that you've tested? That you have?

Lisa Wendland  48:14

Oh, great question. Yes. So we have gotten me and I love digging into the platforms, because you find out there are these like cool bells and whistles and you can take advantage of from like the tech side. So search abandonment is something that I would definitely recommend looking into. For some, it takes a little bit of extra dev work others it's out of the box, right, you can just configure it and tell it what you want and have it run. So there's actually a Home Goods brand we're working with, they identified a high volume of searches for replacement parts. And so not only can we look into a search and biometric or we could take it that step further to say, Okay, let's focus on that segment. Right, so who's bought something that needs the replacement parts and then build out triggers from there. So maybe it's been, you know, X amount of time, and then you fire it off? And then they're like, oh, my gosh, I haven't been using that. Because I don't have this other thing. I don't have the thing that goes to the thing. And you know, but now you send me an email, and I'm going to do that. So that's definitely something that works at my house. Oh, yeah, I've been waiting to do that. So yeah, I would definitely recommend search and then replacement, replenishment in the idea of replacement, right? If you have something that uses a wear item.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  49:34

That's those are pretty cool for advanced triggers. That's a super interesting example. But the home goods because I worked previously in home goods, and we had that same aha moment of when we searched and like that, wow, everybody's searching about the parts and replacement partners. And you may look at that as like a negative like, oh, no, what's wrong with the product or what happened there? But it became a positive because it's a way to then reach out and get them engaged. And then you have I did experience with the brand, and then they come back and reorder me.

Lisa Wendland  50:03

Absolutely. Yeah, I yeah, there's some stuff that you just use every day. And then it's like, oh, it's not that it's, you know, poor quality or anything.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  50:14

Absolutely. Very cool. Well, let's get into the case studies the last couple of minutes. And, again, any questions, comments, get them into the chat, and we will get to them.

Lisa Wendland  50:22

Cool. Um, yeah. So you obviously saw a lot of layer eight examples. Today, we set up a dedicated send domain for them, they have some poor deliverability. And just needed guidance to set up a consistent sending schedule. And so with that, like we executed our tried and true warmup process and refresh their deliverability score. We took all their flows they had out of the box flows that came with the platform, right? So you've probably seen this, where it's like, hey, set up your cart, set up your this set up your that, and it just wasn't speaking to their audience, right. So we customize everything for them, and then created that consistent sense schedule and really came up with some fresh content, we saw a 16% increase in revenue, and that was within the first 90 days of working together. And then, you know, with their flows, just monthly revenue, we 5x it and it was just sort of dormant. And it was out of the box. It was It wasn't custom. They had people coming in, they were sending things, but it just wasn't on a consistent schedule, like I was talking about earlier, where it was like, Oh, well, we have a thing, we should send an email. And it wasn't by any like, it was just because they were doing so much. So you know, we took it to that next level. And we've been working together ever since. So a lot of opportunity to be creative with apparel, and in sort of tie that back into some of these more sophisticated writers. Yeah, that's fabulous. Awesome, cool. So yeah, I can go over the quick takeaways, before we answer any final questions. You know, I would say, you know, document your story, your journey from start to finish, like what, you know, who is your contact coming to the site, you don't even necessarily need to get too far into the weeds of okay, what's this persona? What's their demographic? Like? Just like, a person came to the site? Like, just start there? And don't make it too complicated? Just think about, okay, where are they coming from? How do they find you find out? Okay, you have to give a little bit backstory, but then where are they going? Right? So how do they sign up for email or SMS? What messages are they getting in the ecosystem you have? Now? What happens when they did this? And then, you know, if it takes, you know, printing out everything and writing on it, like, do it like it's totally worth it to figure out like the timeline of what happens, so that we can dig and say, okay, like, this is the piece that's missing? Like Tiffany said, like, understanding Oh, okay, like people are looking for replacement parts like that happens somewhere over here, way past purchase, we definitely want to think about customizing messaging for those pain points for your customer that you know, before they convert, and after, then when you're sending regularly, you have to think about what's going to be valuable for them, is this the correct cadence based on their purchase cycle? Segmenting strategically goes a long way, right? He talked about resets and that sort of pestering customers, if it's something that they could stock up on, where they want to gift a little bit different here. And then, you know, it's about the value for your subscriber. So if it's valuable, like we have everyone on your list covered, do it, just do it, send the message, but make sure you explain to them why like, give them a context of like, hey, we have customers that have stocked up on this and given it to everybody on their on their wedding gifts for the year, right? Like, you can think through those things and explain it. And then finally, that supplemental content, so if we go back to the wedding example, like yep, we're all covered here. Like, you know, get that banner, like, nope, not going to any weddings, check out our line of this for your vacation, like what you know, think of something else. It doesn't always have to be clever. It could just be like, here's what else is new. Go check that out. Or here's what's on sale, check that out. The one caveat on banners is to not not use the same banner forever. When you're doing that. I would say if you did that new banner, maybe check it again in a quarter and see how your clicks are because it will turn into white noise.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  54:10

Cool, awesome. Oh, my gosh, Lisa, as always Blue Wheel delivers. You guys always bring such awesome content. And it's always amazing how much knowledge you can fit into like 50 minutes. It's like, so fabulous. So thank you so much for the time and thank everybody who attended. We definitely appreciate you attending today and hope to see you on future events. And we encourage a follow up conversation with the Blue Wheel team. So if you're able to talk to them, great. We were going to send contact information post-event and we'd love to have a conversation with you as well. You can contact me directly at And we can get some time on the calendar so we can better understand what you want for future events. So with that it is wrapped Happy Thursday. I'll get into the weekend. Lisa, such a pleasure. Take care. Until next time.

Lisa Wendland  54:59

Thanks Tiffany. Thanks, everyone.

Tiffany Serbus-Gustaveson  55:00

Thank you, bye.

Read More
Read Less

What is BWG Connect?

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
envelopephone-handsetcrossmenu linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram