Post-purchase emails

Post-purchase emails

Have a plan for your customer emails

The emails that you send out to your customers will be a huge driver of more revenue. In other words, if you know someone has bought from you before, they are your best bet for buying from you again. Plus, you already have their details and haven’t got to go out and try and find new readers.

Whenever you buy something online these days, you’ll notice that you start getting regular emails from the company you bought from. These can be more or less useful, more or less annoying. The fact is though, they work. We’re more likely to buy from someone that’s fresh in our minds, or from the timely email that lands in our inbox that we just have to click on, rather than go searching for the thing we want.

This is the reason we authors send out regular newsletters to our mailing lists – it’s a crowded marketplace and we need to remind our readers that we exist.

Once you have your own store for direct selling, you have much more data about your customers, which means you can send them pertinent emails on an individual basis. However, you don’t have to do this by sitting down and crafting individual emails every time someone buys from you. Instead, you can set up pre-written emails that will be sent to people when they meet certain criteria.

The most popular system for doing this with Shopify customers is Klaviyo. I’m going to use the Klaviyo terminology of ‘Flows’, because that’s what I’m familiar with. Other email marketing automation platforms may vary.

Can I use Mailerlite, Active Campaign, Convertkit, or Mailchimp, as I already use them?

Your usual email provider that you use to send out your email newsletters will give you the ability to tag customers/readers depending on things like their location, or whether they click on certain links. However, Klaviyo is set up for ecommerce and allows you to track your customers’ behaviour on your store. It knows what products someone has looked at, what they bought, whether they have bought anything before, and when they bought it. This level of detail is what allows you to set up really personalised email flows. You can’t get this information into Mailerlite or Mailchimp without manually entering the information – they do integrate with Shopify/WooCommerce, but not to the level you need.

Here's just a small section showing my own profile from one of my author’s Klaviyo accounts, to demonstrate what I mean by the level of detail captured:

I’ve got some experience with Convertkit, and you can integrate Convertkit with Shopify to automatically add customers to your Convertkit list, and also tag them depending on the product they buy, so for example, if you have two genres that you write in and you send different newsletters from Convertkit to the two separate groups of readers, you can use the integration with Shopify to ensure that new customers get put in the right genre tag in Convertkit. However, Convertkit still doesn’t give you the functionality that Klaviyo does.

What can I do with Klaviyo that I can’t with my normal email provider?

With Klaviyo, you can send out certain information to people who bought an ebook – say you want to remind them that they only have one day left to download their ebook from BookFunnel. You can set up a flow that emails only people who have bought an ebook, 13 days after their purchase.

You can email someone who bought the first book in a series, but not the second, to tell them about book 2. You can exclude anyone who has already bought book 2.

You can email someone with a special offer who last bought something from you three months ago, but not anyone who bought something more recently than that.

Here is a list from Klaviyo of what can trigger an email:

Here’s what a post-purchase flow could look like, so you can see the level of detail you can have:

In this flow, you can see how it splits and sends different emails, depending on what the customer does. In this case, it’s whether they have bought more products from you or not. (Don’t copy this flow, it is only an example and not a recommendation!)

What else could I email my customers about?

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible for your post-purchase flows. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Thank you note. Set up an email to go out on the day after purchase, thanking the customer for their purchase. It’s recommended that you make this as personal as possible, so send it as a text email, rather than a flashy HTML one. Make it look like you have taken the time to personally sit down and write to your customer. You can have different versions for if they have bought from you for the first time, or are a repeat customer.
  • Cross sell recommendations – as you like X, you might like Y.
  • Next in series recommendations
  • Bundle recommendations – if you liked book 1, you might like to buy the whole series at a discount.
  • Upsell recommendations – if you like the ebooks, you might like to buy the paperbacks.
  • Special events – Valentine’s Day, Mother's Day, Halloween, Christmas, summer holidays. Offer a special discount, promote a new product.
  • Customer’s birthday – offer discount code
  • Getting to know you or your series – the story behind the book(s), who you are, about your writing process, what inspires you.
  • Related things like recipes, tips, fun facts.
  • Community – do you have a Facebook group or Patreon? Where can your readers meet online?
  • Requests for reviews (though you may already have a review app to do this.)
  • Share photos, testimonials from other readers.
  • Collaborations with other authors.
  • Challenges or competitions for your readers.
  • Refer a friend discounts.
  • Back in stock notification for signed paperbacks/merchandise.
  • Charitable causes you support. Maybe you give a percentage of your profits to a charity?

Some of these suggestions you might already do through your normal email newsletter.

Should you keep your existing newsletter or move everyone on your list over to Klaviyo?

Don’t move over everyone to Klaviyo! Klaviyo is only for people who buy from your Shopify store. I’m guessing that you’ve already built up a mailing list made up of readers who have bought your books elsewhere – keep these people separate and continue to email them at your normal rate. You can export your Klaviyo subscribers to your newsletter list, if they give consent to be added to your newsletter list.

Tips for post-purchase emails:

  1. Keep each email focussed. One topic, one call to action.
  2. Make product-specific flows. You could have different flows depending on the format people buy, or the series they buy from. If you have one standout bestseller, this could have its own flow, which will lead readers to find out about your other books or products.
  3. Separate flows for different things – 1 flow for post-purchase thank you, 1 flow for next in series recommendations. Don’t try and make one mega flow including all the emails.
  4. Don’t worry about sending too many emails!
  5. You will have to put time into content creation for all these emails – don’t leave it to an afterthought.
  6. You don’t have to have everything set up for the launch day of your store, but you will need to have the most important ones set up.

How much does Klaviyo cost?

At the time of writing, Klaviyo is free for the first 250 contacts, and then scales from there. You can send 500 emails maximum to up to 250 contacts. It costs more if you include SMS as well as email. The next tier (for email only) is $20 a month for up to 500 contacts, then $30 a month for up to 1000 contacts. And so on.

How do I get it?

For Shopify, just search for it in the Shopify app store. It’s free to install. You can also get Klaviyo for WooCommerce, Wix, or Square Online.

Do I have to use Klaviyo?

No, of course not. I’m not a Klaviyo affiliate, and at the time of writing this, I don’t even have my own Klaviyo account! However, I’ve used it for several other authors and I can certainly see the benefits of having really decent email automation for your store. Setting up a Shopify store is a big investment of time, and there’s money involved too. You want to make a profit, and so being able to target your existing customer base seems like a no-brainer to me.

It’s not about being some spammy ecommerce business that’s trying to squeeze every last penny out of your customers. It’s much more about being able to send your readers the information that will benefit them the most and building the best possible relationship between you and them. You don’t have to use Klaviyo to do it – check out other options. But do have a think about how you can give your readers the best experience in buying from you.

As I’ve mentioned in another article, it’s all about the personal touch. How can you set yourself apart from the faceless giant retailers? How can you encourage your readers to remember you and enjoy the whole process of buying books from you?

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