We definitely get it. Out of all the (many!) things e-commerce owners have to think about, discounts in email flows might not make the top of the list. But if it’s not something you ever gave much thought to, here’s why you might want to start. This blog post will touch base on when and how you should offer discounts in Flow emails and a few sample email templates for discount offers.
Once you understand how to properly use flow discounts, it can help bring in that extra $$ and pull in all those ‘low hanging fruits’. You not only hook your potential customer right at the moment they signed up for your website through pop-ups, but it gives you the opportunity to maintain loyalty from your existing customers.
Of course, this is above and beyond regular sales and promos. This is because email flows are not your typical weekly email campaigns or marketing holidays promotions—they’re a triggered response to your customer’s action. To understand more about the differences between email flows and campaigns.
Types of Flow Discounts (And Whether You Should Use Them)
When it comes to flows, there are lots of different situations and each one requires a different response. So quickly, let’s do a run-through of the types of flows and which discount works (or doesn’t work) with each one.
1. Welcome Discounts
So now you have visitors on your website through ads or organic means and a few seconds of hanging around your website, they are greeted by a popup box asking for their email address.What kind of offer will intrigue them enough to pull the trigger?
It depends. If your product is unique and well-advertised with a lot of positive reviews, and if it’s a consumable product that your customers must buy on a regular basis, you have the option to give them a small (and by small we mean 5 – 10%) discount for signing up. If not, a slightly larger discount (10 – 15%) might work well.
A welcome discount flow email is triggered after a website visitor punches in their email into the email popup box that promises a welcome discount.
So the order is Customer punches in email in popup >> System triggers welcome email >> follow up welcome email
Here’s an example of a Welcome Flow sequence from website to the inbox
Basically, compared to businesses that have to compete with a larger pool of the same type of service and products, a strong brand would require little to no discount as the product is something your customer most likely uses regularly and will buy anyway.
In place or alongside a discount, you can also provide valuable content that complements the products in your flow emails and makes your customer feel like they’re being treated to extra value from your brand.
2. Add To Cart, Browse Abandonment, and Cart Abandonment Email Discounts
Yay! They’re looking at your products and reading your product descriptions. Things seem to be going well, but right in the middle of your sales pitch… your customer goes MIA. Who knows why—maybe they decided to do some research on their own, maybe they got distracted, or maybe their cat spilled leftover lasagna all over their keyboard. The reason doesn’t really matter. What matters is they didn’t follow through with their purchase.
Now, every lead is a potential goldmine and needs to be treated as one. Naturally then, if we lose them, we pursue them. For customers who simply window-shopped, we can send a Browse Abandonment email with the items they viewed. For those that added to their cart but didn’t checkout, they’ll receive Add to Cart emails. And for those that made it to checkout but never completed payment, they’re added to the Cart Abandonment flow and sent emails like these.
Each of these emails are usually sent to customers very shortly after they’ve left the website in order to jump on their need to buy in the moment. And of course, including a small incentive (like a discount) to push them into making the final decision can do wonders.
However, if it’s more in line with your business to maintain “discount scarcity” and instead promote the uniqueness of your brand, you may not have to use a discount at all. Either that, or you can wait to offer a discount until the end of your flows to make sure your customers don’t expect discounts too often from your store. In some cases, if your brand has loyal supporters and using your product somehow elevates their social status or gives them something they can be proud of, the discount may actually reduce the perceived value of your product in your customers’ eyes.
3. Post-Purchase Flow Discounts
They’ve bought from you, which means they’ve trusted you and your brand! Now they’ll be receiving follow up emails of their delivery status, and maybe content on how they can maximise the potential of the items they’ve just bought. In this case, the goal now is to turn them into a repeat customer, and a discount can go a long way with this.
There are 2 ways you can position your discounts—either you can offer it immediately in your thank-you email, which would work if they’re already a repeat buyer, or you can delay the discount until your later emails, waiting until they’ve had time to receive your products. Giving a discount right after a purchase is the biggest form of thanks you can give them (aside from your “Thank you for your purchase” message.)
For another approach, if getting them to buy again isn’t your priority, you can make your buyers feel fulfilled and proud to be a part of your brand by reminding them of the bigger role they play in your brand vision and goals.
4. Subscription Discounts
Sometimes your customer doesn’t just come back to buy more, they order in bulk. It’s great to have a fan—and it also means it’d be a good time to come up with a subscription package that truly makes them feel appreciated. A subscription package is usually already a discount on its own, with some price shaved off if they buy it in a certain quantity. But having multiple subscription packages to decide from (human beings like to have the freedom of choice) can attract them to purchase more.
On top of that, you can throw in an extra discount if they purchased it through email, as a special treat for subscribing to your email list. In the long term, making sure they feel appreciated will help them remain in your email list and encourage them to promote your brand by word of mouth (the most expensive and priceless type of marketing).
When You Should Definitely Offer a Discount In Email Flow
1. Early Birds discounts for big marketing celebrations
Make those discounts worth it! An Early Bird discount strategy is useful to offer to your VIP customers (well, all of your customers are VIPs). It basically gives them a little inside access, helping them feel special through exclusive offers, which is why the best time to use an Early Bird discounts is when you’re willing to offer a bigger discount than what you’d usually offer for your store. (We would recommend using an early bird discount for Black Friday sale, for example.)
The feeling of exclusivity and scarcity, not to mention the excitement that builds before the discount is released, has been proven to make Early Bird discounts more valuable than other discounts offered in a 2 day campaign. P.S. one of our clients gathered revenue from the Early Bird invitation itself—talk about anticipation!
Early Bird invitations themselves can bring in revenue due to the anticipation they build.
With email marketing segmentation, you can send bigger discounts to those who opt-in for your Early Bird discount, and offer the regular discount to those who didn’t. With time, when you send the next Early Bird discount announcement, you can get more people who previously have missed out on the Early Bird discount to make it a point to not miss it again.
2. Re-Engagement Discounts
Oops! Some of the customers in your list haven’t been opening their emails, yet they haven’t unsubscribed either. Instead of assuming they’ll never be interested, offer them an enticing discount in your re-engagement flow. In this flow, though the discount must be attractive, the primary focus is the subject line—which should pull in the interest of those who haven’t been paying attention to your store’s emails for a long while. Of course, while the focus isn’t necessarily on the discount, a tempting subject line probably will include the value of the discount itself. Here’s 2 “re-engagement” flow emails from West Elm, using the classic “Miss You” hook, one with and the other email without a discount hook. Both were sent within 2 days of each other.
3. Win-Back Discounts
The last time they purchased anything from you was more than 30 days before, and you haven’t heard from them again. At the same time, they’ve been opening and (hopefully) reading your email—so they’re pretty much an engaged customer.
Are they losing interest in your product? Then you need to remind them of its unique value by giving them a rich discount to bring them back to the good feeling they had when the purchased your product for the first time.
So.. Should you be generous with your discounts?
It really depends on your business direction. Discounts are expected from nearly any online store, and users actively seek discounts on comparable products just to save those few dollars.
However, brands with strong value and quality products may get away with offering fewer discounts, or none at all if the customer base is primarily invested in the brand rather than getting the most bang for their buck.
But as far as what works for your business? Every store is unique. So if you’d like a personalized look at what might work for you, book a FREE call with us (see what we did there?) and let’s talk email marketing.