The Cost of Doing Nothing: An Un-Case Study in Ecommerce Email Marketing

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Case studies are a very useful tool, especially in marketing. Marketing promises can dance around, but a case study reaches out, grabs ahold of a marketing promise by the neck and shakes it until all the fluff falls away. It reveals the difference that the new marketing actually made.
There’s just one problem: no control group. How do you know that the revenue wouldn’t have gotten from A to B anyway, maybe for less cost? That’s where an “un-case study” comes in. It shows you what actually happened when the marketing change wasn’t implemented.
For example, we spent some time analyzing an ecommerce apparel company that had reached out to us for email marketing help. We did our homework, identified the objectives, generated a solid plan and scheduled a call. But the prospect got busy at the last minute and wasn’t able to make the call or reschedule it. And we get it — things come up.
But time flies, too, and three months have now slipped away. So we thought it would be interesting to run through our initial analysis and see what’s happened. It’s an “un-case” to see how things changed after our new marketing wasn’t implemented.
Because something is always happening, whether you’re leading the initiative or not.
Our initial review revealed a great product offering on a strong website with lots of sales. Yet, there were a few problems that were costing a fair amount of money.
Specifically, the company attracted about 30,000 monthly visitors onto a Shopify site and nurtured them with a series of email campaigns through Klaviyo. Visitors were treated to a welcome pop-up offering to trade 10% off their first purchase plus “exclusive deals” in exchange for their email address. That’s a good thing that likely accounted for at least 1500 more subscribers a month.
A welcome email was then immediately dispatched to new subscribers, but that’s where problems appeared:
First, a thankyou pop-up displayed the discount code upon receipt of the email address, instead of being emailed to the new subscriber. This might seem efficient, but in our experience, we’ve realized that the discount code should be in the welcome email. This “trains” recipients to open the store’s emails. A single opened email at the beginning of a relationship, especially when the subscriber is only getting to know you, can vastly improve deliverability down the line. Open rates go up.
Second, the initial email was Klaviyo’s generic double opt-in confirmation. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of branding that email can include. But this version not only failed to try, it included some mistakes originally input into the form fields. This broke the reply email.
Sure, when you set up Klaviyo, you’re not really thinking about those occasional prospects who might respond to your double opt-in confirmation, but we do. Every touch matters. The form mistakes made the email confusing and hurt the brand. After all, email marketing is all about the details.
Worse, when we tested cart abandonment, we never received a followup email. That was a bad thing. We find that websites who use cart abandon email sequences are able to reclaim 8-10% of all the abandoned carts. Which is a lot, considering around 67% of all carts get abandoned. Most of the stores we work with are bringing in $5,000-$15,000 simply through cart abandonment emails.
Even worse, because the store was not using segmentation more strategically, many of the site’s promotional campaigns were going straight to spam. Thousands of subscribers developed through a clean, attractive site filled with compelling, genuinely wanted products were never actually seeing many of their emails.
These were three urgent problems. So how did they do in this un-case?
Result 1: they saved several thousand dollars by not outsourcing, not to mention probably 5-10 hours of onboarding time. WIN ?
Result 2: the discount code is still displayed in the welcome popup, meaning three months more of missed opportunity. LOSS ?
Result 3: cart abandon emails are still not sent LOSS ?
Result 4: segmentation does not seem to have improved, meaning spam rates are likely similar and wasting a lot of email effort, as well as the monetization potential of the list. LOSS ?

The results of any case, or un-case, are never as good when there’s a big discrepancy between the investment allotted to the website and that allotted to email. Sometimes email marketing is more of an afterthought, but that strategy misses the channel’s true potential.

Unlike other channels, email isn’t as rushed, as expensive or as affected by third parties as other channels. Consequently, it sometimes doesn’t garner the attention that social or search marketing fires can. Yet, paying attention to email marketing can achieve an impressive ROI. If not, the months tend to slip by with a lot of money left on the table.


Thomas McClintock

Hustler Marketing

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