headshot of Lexie Bennet with episode title

The Power of Email Automation (And Personalization) with Lexie Bennet

In this episode, we talk to Lexie Bennet, an independent consultant helping ecommerce brands make email their most effective revenue stream. She talks about her specialization - assisting brands to create and optimize automated workflows and lifecycle emails.

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About this episode:

Why is it essential to set up automated flows for your email marketing? This is what Lexie Bennet, an independent email marketing consultant, talks about in this week’s episode. She also shares her latest passion: pop-up and post-flow quizzes that greatly impact personalizing your brand’s email content. 

We also discuss flows versus broadcast emails, Lexie’s tips on copywriting, different types of email flow you can focus on, and the importance of personalization. 

In this episode, you’ll also learn: 

  • How post-flow and pop-up quizzes help with personalization and shipping concerns 
  • Why audits are important in correcting and optimizing automated flows and triggers
  • Why you need to dedicate time and effort to set up your automated flows
  • How to do pop-ups correctly so they’re helpful instead of annoying 

 Learn more about Lexie and her resources here

  • Connect with Lexie on LinkedIn
  • Follow Lexie on Twitter
  • Say hello and reach out through her email  

Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to podcast@thegood.com. We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂 

The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at www.thegood.com.

Episode Transcript:

[00:00:00] James Sowers (The Good): So here’s the question. How can e-commerce leaders make sure that they’re producing a great product, providing a world class customer experience responsibly managing their finances and still reserve time, energy, and resources for marketing their products? My name is James Sas, and you are listening to the e-Commerce Insight Show, the podcast that gives you specific actionable advice for growing your e-commerce business.

[00:00:20] Every Monday you’ll get a conversion rate optimization tactic that you can implement quickly to make your business 1% better every single. Every Thursday we sit down with industry experts to go deep on a specific aspect of running a successful e-commerce business. It’s the perfect blend of learning and application, which means that you maximize the value of every single minute you spend with us.

[00:00:41] We’re just as committed to growing your business as you are, So if you’re looking for a partner to help you crush your revenue goals, you’ve come to the right place, roll up your sleeves and grab a notepad because it’s time to get to. Hey Lexi, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to join me and come on the show.

[00:00:56] Really excited to get into all things email marketing. I know before I joined the Goodest Director of marketing and started wearing like a dozen different hats. Email was my sweet spot. It’s where I love to play. I think it’s still a huge opportunity for a lot of brands, so I’m excited to get into the more technical aspects of what you do.

[00:01:11] But maybe to kick things off, just give us a couple of sentences about who you are and what kind of clients you serve right now, and maybe a project or an activity that gets you excited to fire up your laptop in the. Yeah, thanks 

[00:01:21] you. 

[00:01:21] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): I’m so excited. So my name is Lexi Bennett. I’m a Clavio email marketer for DDC Brands using Kon, Shopify.

[00:01:29] And I focus on, or specialize in setting up like branded custom email flows, all those like automated journey, like customer journey messages you get. And what I’m really excited to be working on right now is I’m helping a brand set up their post quiz flow with like all of the. Custom data that they entered into the quiz and like setting up something that’s really personalized and useful and helpful.

[00:01:54] So that’s what I’m like psyched about right now. That’s 

[00:01:57] James Sowers (The Good): awesome. I’m really excited to get into the relationship between quizzes and the emails that come behind those results because I think that’s a relatively new development. I would say there’s a big player in the space, Octane AI that really kind of shook things up, at least from my perspective.

[00:02:09] Can’t wait to get into the technical details there, but I saw in my research, because I’m a great podcast host and I do that kind of thing. Two things I wanted to point out. Lexi Bennett, fantastic name makes me think like you should be sitting behind a news desk somewhere and like, just like telling us the hot stories of the day.

[00:02:24] Hopefully that’s not offensive to you, but I was like, Oh, Lexi Bennett. That’s like, that’s like a newscaster from teenage Mu Mutant Ninja Turtles or something. Very, very good name, very strong. But I also noticed they have a passion for travel and I’m curious like. Professional life if people who love to travel have really had a, a rough couple of years, so to speak.

[00:02:39] With all the restrictions like you’ve been to, sounds like 20 countries counting, what have the last couple years been like for you and, and how has that affected you? How have you kind of molded your life in work around that change? Yeah. 

[00:02:49] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): I love travel. My whole family’s like really big on traveling and I spent.

[00:02:53] So I tried to like ride out at least some of the pandemic abroad . So I escaped. I actually moved to the country Georgia last year. It’s like between Turkey and Russia. And I spent a couple months there and then I also spent a couple months with my parents. They live in Abu Dhabi, so I spent the last year abroad.

[00:03:11] I actually like just got back to the states and I’m like buying furniture and getting settled and settling in. So I didn’t like explore and like get to know the country super well. It was really just, Just writing out the pandemic there. So I went like hiking and, you know, worked on email and it’s a really like nomad friendly country, so they like let you set up a visa and like just work there and it’s super easy to live there.

[00:03:35] So love to travel, love to live abroad. 

[00:03:38] James Sowers (The Good): Wow. Is someone who’s barely left the continental us. I, I’m a little overwhelmed. It kind of makes me anxious to hear how far and how often other people travel, but that’s a really cool story. Especially like you’re gonna visit your parents in, in that area. Like, uh, Abu Dhabi, I think you said.

[00:03:51] Not everybody can say that, so it’s just an interesting bloodline that you’re coming from there. So that’s really, that’s really cool. Awesome. Well, that, that’s kind of you as a person a little bit. Let’s get into more about your work. You said you have a recent client project that’s like post quiz email experience.

[00:04:05] Tell me a little bit more about that. Like is that kind of reflective of a typical engagement for you or is that more of a special project that, uh, is outside of like your wheelhouse, so to speak, or something new? You’re dabbling. Yeah, 

[00:04:14] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): I’ve worked with octane quizzes and post quiz flows before, but they just updated that now you can like dynamically populate like the products that are on the results page, where before it like just linked the results page.

[00:04:27] So every time like a product went out of stock, which was very often the last. Two years with all the like, crazy shipping delays and like pandemic issues. I’d have to like go update the flow and we had a bunch of emails in this flow, so it was like just not realistic. So now that it like dynamically populates, it just makes everything easier and more flexible.

[00:04:46] So I’m going in and like cleaning that all up and resetting everything up. And, uh, that flow for this client is their second highest performing flow in terms of revenue. And that’s like before any of the cool stuff is set up, like before all the personalization and like, here are your custom results and here’s like a nice message about like why we gave you this.

[00:05:08] So I just feel like it’s the tip of the iceberg for them right now and I’m, I’m really excited about that. 

[00:05:14] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, there’s always energy around when you have something that’s working well already and for whatever reason you see even more opportunity. On top of that, there’s probably. Balance of like I’m a little scared to touch it cuz it’s working so well right now, but also like I feel pretty confident we can make this thing even better.

[00:05:29] So did you have any of those feelings? Did you have any of those? Like, do I really wanna dive in here or do I wanna maybe test quizzes on a different flow or something like that? Or with a different client and then bring it back here? Cuz I don’t wanna break something that’s working. 

[00:05:40] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): Yeah. Well they’ve, I worked with them for a while.

[00:05:42] They have like a lot. The foundations just set up and like buttoned up really nicely. So we’re at the stage where we can kind of get into the more nitty gritty, like get into the weeds and do more technical stuff. But like the focus is definitely on, like making sure you have all of like the core emails going out and then you can kind of like just it up and make it more fun.

[00:06:02] But I’m excited for this opportunity cuz I like selling in a way that’s really helpful and like solves people’s problems. And I just experienced this, I’m gonna give you an example. I, so I just moved into this apartment. I have no furniture cause I’ve been living abroad the last year. So I’ve needed like, Everything.

[00:06:18] Like I just showed up with clothes, books basically. So I went shopping and I got a new couch and in the store it was like a really good experience. They were so helpful and like I showed them my mood board. I’m like, I want something that looks like this. This is my budget. And they helped me pick something out and then they’re like, You know, we’ve got a rug that goes really well with this.

[00:06:38] Here’s a chair. And I like ended up leaving the store with like half my living room. And I was really happy about that because like the sales associate even helped me find a discount code I could use. Like I left feeling really good and having way more of my problem solved than I was expecting to get solved.

[00:06:55] And then of course, as soon as I placed my order, I just got bombarded with like these awful emails, , that were like, buy this, like baking sheet that had nothing to do with like what I needed. , like just salesy, like, you know, like really catalog e kind of emails. And I unsubscribe like as soon as all of my furniture arrived.

[00:07:16] And it just made me think like, I think emails can be more like in person sales associate, like where someone’s helping you out, like guiding you through what to get, what’s helpful. They’re finding discount codes for you, like you feel like an insider. You feel like, like you came and you got a lot more than you even expected.

[00:07:35] Like really helpful. And that’s what I see for these kind of post quiz flows where someone’s already there, they’re giving you information, they’re showing you a problem that they want help with, but now you have the time to go say, Okay, here’s all the information you gave me. Here’s what can help you also, this works great too.

[00:07:53] And you can solve like more than just one little problem for them. So that’s like the attitude that I’m going into and I’m setting up post quiz flows or just all the flows in general, is how would I talk to someone and treat someone in person rather than like these kind of annoying sleazy sales emails where you just like blast someone with a discount code and there’s no personal 

[00:08:16] James Sowers (The Good): connection.

[00:08:17] Yeah, I love that because we talk about on the convers rate optimization side, like the golden rule of e-commerce, right? Treat others the way you would want to be treated. And a lot of times that comes from our retail brick and mortar in-store type of experiences. And when they go really well, they’re notable, right?

[00:08:31] Because so many of them are poor. Like you don’t get an associate, they’re too busy to help you and you’re just kind of wandering the store trying to find what you want. Or maybe they’re not as knowledgeable as you’d like or something like that, or, Listen to your needs. They offer you the baking sheet when you clearly came looking for a couch or whatever.

[00:08:44] Like when those things happen in real life, we, we roll our eyes, we leave, we we abandon cart. Basically we leave without purchasing, right? So how do we take those and bring them into a digital environment in an e-commerce setting? Quizzes are one of the great ways to do that. And as a recent development, or at least Octane made it popular, put it on my radar like I love them, especially for certain brands and product lines.

[00:09:02] It’s like when it needs to be personalized based on needs or use cases or sizes or something like that, like a quiz is a great way. Collect that data and then pipe it into your tool of choice, Clavio, and that’s where you get into segmentation and personalization. So definitely wanna get into those cuz those, I think those are more like advanced level tactics.

[00:09:19] But first I wanna get into this, this blocking and tackling as I call it, like the fundamentals. You’re like, quizzes are great. I love working on that. That’s kind of a new and exciting thing for me. But like so many brands could probably just benefit from a basic audit and um, kind of an inventory of like what you’ve already, what boxes you’ve already checked and where the opportunities.

[00:09:35] And let’s just get those to like minimum viable effectiveness, right? And then from there we can continue to iterate and improve over time. So maybe describe that in the, in the sense of like, I know you offer some audits, I know you do like some strategy work outside of just quizzes. So what does that look like and like what are some of the common oversights or misconceptions you see when BRA that brands have related to email marketing?

[00:09:54] I’m a freelancer. 

[00:09:55] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): I work with two brands consistently, like month over month. But then I. Cycle out like a third brand where I just do their flow setups, like total done for you. And that starts with an audit. And by far, the most common thing that I see in audits that I perform is not having all of the flow trigger set up correctly.

[00:10:15] So people could be going through multiple flows at once, like especially the welcome flow and abandoned cart flow. Shopify and Clavia just updated a few months ago where if someone abandoned carts but they check that box, like Send me newsletter. That puts them in the abandoned cart and the welcome flow at the same time.

[00:10:32] So you could be getting two emails in one day, or you could get an offer here and an offer there that are different, like that’s very annoying and confusing for a customer and like an easy mistake for a brand to make. So yeah, number one issue I see when I’m performing audits is just all the flow triggers, if they have their flow set up are like overlapping or they’re forgetting to exclude past customers or, you know, just simple things like that.

[00:10:55] So just cleaning that up is just like an easy low hanging fruit. And the easiest way to do that, if you’re like not super familiar with it, is literally to draw it out on paper, like draw out a little map of like all the flows and all the triggers, and then you can see like, oh, these two overlap. Or someone is like not getting an email for three months and then they’re getting 10 emails in this wind backflow, like all of a sudden out of nowhere.

[00:11:22] So yeah, 

[00:11:23] James Sowers (The Good): draw it. , right. For anybody watching the video, I have a six foot whiteboard peeking in over here on my right hand side, and I have for our agency, filled that up with flows for all the different, like they hit a, a blog post, they download a PDF report or white paper or something. Then do we drop them right onto our newsletter?

[00:11:41] I don’t know. Or do we wanna like nurture them a little bit and potentially try to sell our book or whatever And there’s this escalating like product here. I think the same thing is true of eCommerce. It. Be mindful of the entry point, but also like where that entry point drops them in. And you don’t want them going through two or three different flows at the same time because that’s gonna overwhelm them.

[00:11:58] It’s gonna lack relevancy, it’s gonna lack timeliness. And then what do they do? They click the unsubscribe button. And if that’s not set up properly, there’s no way for them to say, I just don’t want this type of email. You know, they just completely, universally unsubscribe and you’ve lost that lead forever unless you find a way to creatively like recapture them later.

[00:12:15] Right. 

[00:12:16] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): Yeah, that would suck. So just cleaning that up I think does a lot for the customer side. Like the experience is just so much nicer. And then when I start building out emails and flows, I focus on the high traffic emails the most, or like the first impression emails because you can like study all these like subject line hacks or like this cool idea or that cool idea, but at the end of the day, , your emails are like built on trust with your customer.

[00:12:43] If they know you and they trust you, like they’re excited to get content from you, they’re excited to see what’s new. They’re excited to open your emails, and that trust is really established, like in the first. Few emails really sets the bar and they’re like, Oh, this is really helpful. This is worth my time.

[00:13:00] This is worth opening. Or like, Oh, this is just random crap. I don’t need to open. So I know it’s exciting to get like, Oh, I’m gonna build this super complex birthday flow, let no like go back to. The most trafficked emails, like the first welcome email, the first abandoned car email, the first post-purchase email, and really perfect those and set the standard of like, this is the kind of content you can expect to get in your inbox from me.

[00:13:28] This is gonna be worth your time. And if you set that up, like really are thoughtful and useful and helpful and like couch sales associate lady like, like get on her level. If you’re like that, then you’ll see overall. The tide kind of rise across all of your email marketing when that trust is established?

[00:13:46] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah. When I see email marketing consultants, freelancers, agencies, when I see them talking about like AB testing, subject lines, I start to think that like, That that account is at risk, because at that point, you’re trying to eek out the last 1% of potential, right? Presumably, you’ve already worked through it.

[00:14:01] There’s so much more on the front end, blocking and tackling basics like email structure, post purchase emails, delivery, timing, like personalization, segmentation, like all that stuff comes before subject line because I, I, I just think it can be way more impactful. To your point, you’re building a relationship with somebody and so if you haven’t checked that box, the subject line doesn’t matter, right?

[00:14:18] You, you have to have that fundamental. It’s just like any other interpersonal relationship, like there’s this basic level of trust and interest and affinity that has to happen, and then everything else can come after that. But until you solve that, you gotta keep working. Right. I wanna get into the high traffic areas.

[00:14:33] You, you listed a few, and maybe we have some specific advice around each of those, but before I do that, we’ve talked a lot about how you focus on flows versus what I would call broadcast or more one off emails like we’re having a sale, we launched a new product. You’re focused on kind of that customer life cycle stuff.

[00:14:47] There’s some kind of triggering event or activity that a customer took, and then there’s an automated, presumably series of emails that comes out after that with certain logic and stuff behind it. Why did you decide to focus there versus a lot of practitioners? They do both, right? Or maybe they just do the broadcast emails, the sales emails, the promo emails.

[00:15:05] They’re happening all the time, right? And so you can get a client locked into like a recurring kind of engagement that way. Why did you choose 

[00:15:11] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): flows? Brand owners have like a million things going on, and everything is urgent it feels like. And flows just always get put off, like optimizing them or just setting them up or double checking that they’re correct or improving them like that, just as like as important as that is and as fundamental as that.

[00:15:32] That’s always like on tomorrow’s to-do list and then tomorrow’s and then tomorrow’s and tomorrow’s. It’s like never today. So I do those cuz like that’s what I focus on and I have a lot of fun with it. And I love like creating all the maps. Like I love mapping all of that out and thinking like, how can we both be most helpful?

[00:15:50] And I love designing emails, like, that’s really fun for me and that’s what I can thrive and be good. But it’s the thing that like brand overs want to do. But they’re like, Oh, but first I need to fix this how you Shopify bug. And then this TikTok went viral and now I need to like help ship orders till two in the morning.

[00:16:06] Like there’s just so many more urgent things. So I build flows because it just gets put off . 

[00:16:14] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I think that’s really smart. And the reason I ask that question without leading is like, that’s where I used to focus. That’s where I would focus if I did it again, primarily for the point that you cited, but also because you build it once and it sells for you forever, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and you don’t really have to pay it anymore than whatever your Clavio bill is, right?

[00:16:30] So if you can get it nailed down, I think it’s one of the high impact areas compared to broadcast emails where like, that’s kinda like a hamster wheel. Like every week I gotta figure out, It might be easier, like less cognitively demanding to figure out what’s the subject line, what’s the offer, what’s the product, what’s the product image, you know, template, whatever.

[00:16:44] Like there’s six things you have to have, but you could probably solve that in an hour, right? But to build a highly sophisticated welcome flow, like that takes time. And so I think people just gravitate toward the quick win versus like the heady kinda, I gotta close the room, get on my whiteboard and figure these things.

[00:17:00] And if they never make time for it, it’s smart to hire someone like you to take care of it for ’em. So I think that’s a very astute decision on your part to, to focus in that area. Now when you’re rewriting, uh, those emails, You, Where do you start? So you listed a few, uh, it’s probably post-purchase, abandon and cart.

[00:17:14] Welcome sequence. I’m probably missing a couple, but like if we were to click down into one of those, I think most people are aware of abandoned cart, even though it might be neglected, right? They know they need it, but maybe a welcome flow or post-purchase flow is talked about a little less frequently.

[00:17:27] So do you have any advice for somebody and like one of those other like less highlighted welcome sequences or automated. Before 

[00:17:33] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): I start anything, love to talk with the customer service team or whoever runs social media and checks the dms. They know all the T, like they know , what the questions are asked.

[00:17:42] They know like what customers are struggling with or where they get lost or what they want next. So just kind of like gather what people need to hear and then welcome flow and post purchase flow. Most of the time, like people just set up like one email in there or very standard typical emails and there’s a lot more that you can do with that.

[00:18:02] When someone just joins your mail, mail list or they just purchase, you know exactly like where their head space is at, and you can talk to them where they’re at, as if they were a person like actually coming into your store. You know so much about them just from like their recent behavior. And I think of a post purchase flow, like a second version of a welcome flow.

[00:18:21] So I do a lot of like brand introduction content, like story behind the scenes, um, tutorials on how to use your products. Images from other customers giving advice or tips. So not just like, Thank you for your order. Like that’s great, like make sure you have that too. But you can go, like most of my post purchase emails flows are like six to eight emails long, even rather than just like one or two because there’s so much you can talk about also, like right when someone purchases and they don’t have their product yet.

[00:18:54] You have their undivided attention. They are like waiting on their order. So that’s your chance to like really win them over and teach them that email is a good channel to have a relationship on. Uh, so yeah, welcome flow, post purchase flow, really like building those out, telling your full story, providing a lot of value, and going above and beyond there will set everything up really well.

[00:19:17] James Sowers (The Good): The worst customer experience for me is when I buy something and I literally don’t hear from them until it shows up at my door. Like there’s just radio silence, especially if it’s something that requires a little bit of education or like, you know, it’s a tool or something, or like a skincare product, like you’ve never used it before and you wanna make sure that you’re doing it right or fitting it into your routine, applying it at the right time of day, whatever it takes, and like to have silence in that.

[00:19:38] That key period just feels like a massive oversight for any brand and inside of. You almost always get like purchase confirmation, shipping confirmation, like these transactional emails. And so many of those are just the default template Shopify or whatever platform they’re on. It’s like this very bare bones, Here’s your order number, here are the products that you ordered.

[00:19:55] Here’s your subtotal, here’s tax, here’s your total. And it’s like, Man, put some personality in there, right? Like, I don’t know if you do that, but I always think like, this is such a huge, what’s the open rate on this? It’s gotta be like at least 70%, right? Like people wanna see that they got the coupon, they claimed, or they just wanna check like when the delivery date is so they know if they’re gonna be home or they’re gonna be at the lake house or whatever.

[00:20:14] Like to leave those as these sanitized, like very sterile templates just feels like something that is super common. And I’m always surprised when I. Yeah, though it’s 

[00:20:23] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): good to like have those up, but you can do a lot more with them, I think. Um, Mud Water does a really good job in their post purchase, like transactional emails especially.

[00:20:33] They have a lot of personality and like helpful information and like, like. FYI’s about like the product. So yeah, I love personalizing transactional emails and just making them more branded, more helpful. You know, putting something in there just makes you like, Oh, I’m really excited to get this product.

[00:20:50] Or like, this is the most frequently asked question that we get, so here’s . Let’s just answer it right out of the gate, you know? So definitely, yeah. I’m working on personalizing that for a acne care brand that I’m working with right now and their. Requires a lot of educational content. So we plugged in a bunch of tutorial videos and links to like helpful content so that they are using the product correctly.

[00:21:15] They get the best results out of it, and that also sets expectations of when they can see results. Because I, I can’t remember where I read this, so I’m just gonna like wing it, but I saw somewhere that brands customers that develop connections with brands like Sincere Connections have. A way higher lifetime value than even someone that just had a positive experience.

[00:21:40] So you can deliver on a product like your, your product can solve their problem, but if you’re not developing a connection where they feel like valued or helped out, then. They can also just go find something else to solve that problem, . So you can really stand out by developing connections with people.

[00:22:00] And I think you can do that in a transactional email. You can do that in your post purchase flow where you’re sending them stuff that’s just above and beyond and showing that you really care. That like. They’ve traded money for this. Like you really care that they have a good experience, they get what they wanted.

[00:22:16] And uh, yeah, just back to the golden rule, like treat people like you would when they walk into the door. Like that’s the mentality you need to have when you set up emails and the rest just kind of comes naturally and from like practicing it a lot and like learning what works and what doesn. 

[00:22:31] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, I think like, you know, if you walk into a retail store and an associate comes up, they’re probably not going to throw an offer in your face right away, right?

[00:22:39] If they’re any good at their job, they’re not gonna be like, We got 20% off today and it’s on women’s wear or whatever, and like, Here you go, here’s your coupon. Like sometimes that happens and usually when it happens, it’s like not the best experience, right? Like, I don’t even know what I’m looking for.

[00:22:51] But the best sales people, I think, come up and say, Hey, what can I help you find today? And then there are like three more questions after. What’s going on in your life? Oh, that’s unfortunate. Like, tell me more about that. How does that feel? Or like what’s your timeline for making this decision? Do you have a budget?

[00:23:03] Like they’re asking all these question. And it’s, it’s very heavily like focused on learning, right? Versus presenting. And then at the right time, they introduce a couple of solutions or whatever to pick from. I think like when it comes to email, a lot of times someone’s first experience, it’s just getting blasted in the face with like all these different offers and products and it’s like, well, how do I know that you even understand my problem, right?

[00:23:22] Or, or what I’m trying to solve here? Or the ideal outcome that I have, Like you haven’t asked any of that about me and considered that before presenting a product or a solution. That feels like something like if you can replicate that in-store experience that positive in-store experience online, you’re gonna be head and shoulders above your peers, I would think.

[00:23:39] And you know, I wanna get into some ways to do that. I think personalization is, is one of those segmentation kind of goes hand in hand with that, I would say. But before you get into that, I don’t wanna gloss, gloss over a great point that you made about talking to the customer support team, talking to the social media team, if they have a sales team.

[00:23:52] Talking to the sales team. I’m curious like. That’s my favorite place to find after talking to actual customers. That’s my favorite place to find like copy for the actual emails. So I’m curious, when you get those folks on the phone, what kind of questions do you ask them? The team members that interface with customers most frequently?

[00:24:07] Like how are you dragging that information out of them? Right. Yeah. I love 

[00:24:11] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): to ask for what are the 10 most frequently asked questions that you get? And they can usually like list those right off the top of their head. Like, Oh yes, I get a billion dms about. So what are like the 10 most common questions?

[00:24:22] Like what do super fans say? Like why are they excited about something? And then what are the most common complaints? So just kind of getting the spectrum of like FAQs and then what’s good and what’s bad, and learning to answer that in emails. So you set expectations like with this acne product. If you tell people that it’ll solve your acne in seven days, like they’re gonna be really upset because it doesn’t, it takes 60 full days.

[00:24:48] So walking through expectations with someone being like, Here’s what you can expect to see by this day. You know, here’s how to make sure you turn it into a habit. Here’s three tips for turning a routine into a habit. Like set an alarm, like tie it to brushing your teeth. So it’s like habit stacking, you know, like giving.

[00:25:06] Practical advice, I get those ideas from talking to the customer service team or talking to customers or reading all of these reviews and just seeing like once this product enters their life, like how does that practically, Like what does that practically look like? And speaking on that level. Another thing for connecting with customers, especially in a post purchase flow, a lot of times brands center all, all the messaging around themselves, like that’s really easy to do and that’s.

[00:25:35] The default and copywriting is so hard, , but I’m learning more and more like what works and what doesn’t. And it helps most of the time when I just like turn off my marketing brain and just like think about like one friend to another. Like what would I text them if they were asking me about this product?

[00:25:51] Like that helps. , but we’ve been switching a lot of post-purchase copy to be about the customer. Like, Hey, you just purchased this item that tells us that you’re this type of person, you like to do this. You believe in these values rather than like, as a brand, these are our brand values. You know, it’s the same.

[00:26:10] Message is just a different angle. And Pete, like you were saying earlier, like people wanna feel seen, not just sold to, and switching your copy to be like, This is who you are, right? Like this is what you believe in. Oh, like we do that too. Like we’re with you as opposed to You’re with us. US has really helped people like stay engaged in post purchase emails and build that customer.

[00:26:35] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, totally agree. I think that too many brands, it’s important for the people and the story and the personality of the brand to come through in any kind of customer touchpoint. But I always say like, you can’t be the hero of the story. The customer is the hero of the story. So you are trying to.

[00:26:51] Convince them or, Or just help them be confident in the fact that like if they wanna get from where they are today to somewhere in the future with some ideal outcome, they’re the ones that are gonna make that happen. And you’re just here to support them. So like it could be as simple as instead of your immediate post purchase email being like the founder’s story, say like, Hey, if you’re getting this email, you’re probably struggling with X, Y, and Z.

[00:27:13] And then after that say, I was too. And that’s why I started this brand. Like just a little tweak like that starts with it. It. Lowers everyone’s guard because you get them nodding, right? It’s these little micro commitments. Yes, I am struggling with dry skin. Yes, I do have blemishes. Yes, I am getting rid cued at school or whatever the case may be.

[00:27:29] Oh, you were struggling with that too. Like there’s the affinity and there it’s like I don’t just wanna buy from whatever this acne brand is like. I wanna be friends with the founder who’s telling me that she was in the same place as me 10 years ago, and she solved her problem with her own product. I think just that that little switch can make all the difference in, you know, I’m not a copyrighting expert, but like you only get that by talking to the customer support team, by talking to the social media team and having that be a two-way street.

[00:27:53] It’s not just like, Hey, we have this new product here. All the specs, here’s the best customer for it. So when you talk to somebody, make sure you present it to them. If they fit these criteria, it needs to come back too. Like what are you hearing on the street? What’s changing? Because customer preferences always change and that can bring up all kinds of things.

[00:28:09] Not just email marketing, but new product ideas. Um, different experiences and so very astute observation by you. Uh, that’s my long-winded way of saying like, I love what you’re doing there, and I think other folks should replicate that, whether they’re gonna do it in house or work with a provider like you.

[00:28:22] One other way to build affinity with a customer is personalization. And I know you’ve talked about kind of collecting this data with a front end quiz, so maybe we can start with that as the example, but like, Okay. I think a lot of brands are figuring out how to set up those quizzes and how to filter customers down into the right product or products for them.

[00:28:39] But how do you transfer that data into an email marketing experience? 

[00:28:43] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): Yeah. There’s a couple different ways to collect zero party data. Like Octane AI quizzes are my favorite cuz there’s just so much that you can get out of that that I think it provides the most value for your customer. But also in the Clavio popup, you can ask a little question that like a multiple choice they can select from.

[00:29:00] So like for the acne brand, I have the. Are you a teen struggling with acne? Are you a parent buying for their child or are you an adult struggling with acne and in the welcome flow, there’s just a different way to, like, we spoke with estheticians and like people that sell this product in real life, and they’re like, Oh yeah, parents have these type of questions, and teenagers have these type of questions, and then adults want to know this type of stuff.

[00:29:22] So instead of like one welcome flow where everyone gets the same content, Now we have three different paths that they can go to where the base content is the same, but instead I’m like, Hey, parents, you know, like, here’s why your teen has acne. Here’s how this like product solves it. Here’s like three tips to help them.

[00:29:39] Just changing the language a little bit. And that’s not even like from a quiz. That’s from a one single question on a pop. That you can set up within Clavio. So that’s an easy way to just start personalizing your emails. You can also like ask them questions in an email and then set it up in, in Clavio that it tags what button they click, and then you can segment based off of that.

[00:30:02] But yeah, quizzes are my favorite because you get the most data and you can ask all the good questions. I’d love to ask like especially what’s your concern? What’s your hesitation, what’s your problem? And then, Walking back from there and teaching them how this product helps them solve their problem. So brands like skincare brands, I work a lot with skincare brands, , they’re my favorite to work with because they have so many products uses and different products are appropriate for different skin concerns.

[00:30:33] So setting up a quiz flow that like, okay, you are struggling right now with oily. This ingredient from this product does this exactly like this will solve that for you. And like, here’s why your skin is this way. Here’s how to help it long term. Like it’s more than just like, Here’s a product. Let me just like slap this on an email and send it to you.

[00:30:54] It’s educating them so that they feel like. , they’re really clever. They’re really smart. Like they solved a problem I think in June. The nail polish brand does a good job of this. They teach you like how to paint your nails, so it looks like you just came out of a salon and like, I’ll watch those videos and then have like wonderful nails afterwards and I have to like take pictures and send all my friends like, Look what I just did.

[00:31:16] Like wow, Like you, you know, like I feel like the hero of my story there and I’m a huge fan of all the June for that. So yeah, using personalization. Here’s exactly your problem and here’s how you can solve it and here’s like how it works. That I think is just really fun. 

[00:31:34] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah. It keeps your job interesting, right?

[00:31:36] And, and if a brand tries, it’s in house. Like there’s never a boring day when you’re trying to, Again, I need a six foot whiteboard for a reason, right? As soon as you start talking about personalization, you get multiple variants and it’s like, yeah, this email sequence is probably 60 to 70% the exact same content, but that remaining 30 to 40%, that’s been person.

[00:31:52] Is critically important to get right. You don’t wanna mess up the logic, You don’t wanna send oily skin recommendations to somebody who has dry skin because somewhere along the way you botched it. So that’s why, again, you map it out, but when you get it right, it’s incredibly powerful just for that, making somebody feel like the hero of their story.

[00:32:08] And, and, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s intuitive when you think about it. Like, if I’m buying this for myself, I’m a teen and I’ve got an acne, acne problem, I want a solution right now. Like, I want my acne gone today. But if I’m a parent buying for my student, knowing that. That’s not realistic. Like it’s not gonna go away tomorrow.

[00:32:25] So like maybe equip me with some talking points about how like, Hey, I got this to help you out. I just want you to know it’s probably gonna take a couple of months for it to really go away, but if I’ll help you, stick with it and we’ll get through this together and then I think you’ll be in a better place.

[00:32:37] Like that little bit of like support and resource allocation to that parent like means the world. And if another brand’s not doing that, I think that gets you the sale. But it comes from personalization and knowing who you’re talking. The way that you do that is you collect it through quizzes. So I think like if somebody’s sitting here and they’re overwhelmed, they’re like, Wait, I gotta do multiple variants and I gotta do personalization and, and I gotta segment my emails and only send ’em to certain people.

[00:32:59] Like, yeah, it can make your, your head spin a little bit, but that’s why, like, taking it slow, getting that blocking and tackling, right, Getting the fundamental, you know, workflows set up with just the essentials and then continuing to improve over time, maybe with the help of someone like you. I think that’s the right approach.

[00:33:14] Don’t try to be perfect right outta the. Like, let’s just do the fundamentals and get those right, And then do more advanced tactics, like layer those on top as we learn more about our customers. You know, I wanna do like a little bit of an awkward transition into like, you know, one way to collect that data is through quizzes, and sometimes it’s introduced through popups.

[00:33:30] So I know like, and, and that’s also just a list building. Like how do you get people into these experiences, Right? We talk a lot about popups from a conversion rate optimization perspective. It’s like back to that in-store experience. If somebody just shoves a clipboard with a survey in front of you and says, I got a 20% off coupon, if you fill this out.

[00:33:44] Nobody likes those, right? Or if you do, I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t understand your perspective on the world if you like that, but I try to avoid those folks, right? So when I hit a site and within five seconds I see a popup with a discount asking for my email, like, I don’t even know anything about the brand yet.

[00:33:57] I don’t know anything about your product. I don’t know if you can help me. Like, it’s just too early. And I’m not against popups, I’m against popups that are implemented in a poor way. So I think I saw through my research, like you explicitly helped design, uh, an effective popup. Pair as well with the email experience that you’ve designed.

[00:34:12] So I’m curious how you think about those and doing those in a way that’s like respectful for the customer, but also serves the business goals of like growing their audience, right, and getting people into the sales 

[00:34:20] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): funnel. Yeah. A popup is an interruption, so you wanna make sure it’s, you’re interrupting them in a way that’s very helpful, like you would if you were in a store and someone came up to you mid browsing.

[00:34:32] It should be relevant and it should be useful and it should help you at where you’re at. So delaying your popup or maybe only having it show up on product pages, so they would have at least like scanned through the homepage first helps like make sure like people are like actually entering it and interested and they want the content, like they want the value that you’re promising them.

[00:34:54] If you give them their email. So I always put a delay on popups and then I love to ask a question. People like to tell you about themselves. Like people love to take quizzes about themselves. And so like the acne question, just one question increased our conversion rate on that popup, I think from like an 8% to an 11% just in a week that we added that one question on there.

[00:35:16] And the design was the same. Everything else, it was just like, if, are you parent, teen, you know? So asking a question really helps or maybe telling them exactly what they’re gonna get if they sign up for emails. So sign up for emails and then we’re gonna give you a tutorial on how to use this, or we’re going to give you a recommendation on what we think your style would match if you select that you like, have a minimal style versus colorful.

[00:35:41] So, yeah, I quick win that I always do with popups is just like adding a, a proper delay. So the interruption comes more at an appropriate time and then asking a question and then delivering on that question. When you send them their first welcome email. And like you were saying earlier, like it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with like all the different options that you can do, but once you’ve like set up those foundational emails, like the high traffic email, , you have a welcome flow going out.

[00:36:08] That’s when you can say, Okay, if I have one question to my popup, I can just do, you know, the base content is 70 to 80% the same. We just changed the wording a little bit or a couple of the images and set two different welcome flow pathways from one question and a popup. So yeah, that’s my popup philosophy.

[00:36:25] James Sowers (The Good): Yeah, it’s an iterative approach, right? Because it’s like to your hearkening back to your story earlier about buying a couch. Somebody introduced a, a coupon to you near the point of sale, right? You had already gone through all that exploratory conversation, the product recommendations, you’re like, Yeah, I’m in on that.

[00:36:42] I, I’ll take that one too. This is starting to look to good together as an assembly, and then they’re like, By the way, would you like 20% off of your purchase today because you’re over a certain amount or whatever, And it’s like, Yeah, I would like, I’m already this far in the process. But if they would’ve done that outta the gate, Be like, this is my first time in the store.

[00:36:56] Like, I’ve been living internationally. I don’t even know, like I haven’t been to a Pottery Barn in forever, Right. Since I was a kid. So like, let me figure things out first. You know? So it’s all about the offer first and foremost. But then second to that, I would say probably the timing and the way that it’s presented and being respectful and, and having some, uh, some clarity around like, when is the right time to introduce your offer, right?

[00:37:16] Based on customer. Yeah, 

[00:37:18] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): and people ask me like, Should I put the code in there or should they have to open the email to get the code? And I understand like thinking behind that, but to me, like the ultimate goal is the sale, not that they open the first welcome emails . So I always put the code in the popup itself so that can shop directly from there.

[00:37:36] And they don’t have to like leave the screen, like they can continue in the window shopping and then include the code in the welcome email as well if they haven’t yet purchased by the time they get it. That post purchase flow is also a welcome flow in and of itself. So sometimes brands will message me and they’re like, Oh no, we have to like hide the code in the email so that they have to engage on email.

[00:37:59] I’m like, Okay. But the point is they purchase not, The point is that they open an email . So yeah, I know there’s like no right answers. Like there’s lots of different ways that you can do things. But like personally, that’s what I’ve found most successful is just including the code and the success message of the popup, and then building that, like nurturing that relationship in the post purchase 

[00:38:21] James Sowers (The Good): sequence.

[00:38:22] Okay. So a question for you. The clients that you typically work with based at the size that they’re at, what does their marketing team usually look like? Are they hiring you because the, the founder’s still doing everything? Are they hiring you? They’ve got one marketing person who’s already wrapped up in broadcast emails, sms, social media, probably the little customer support, like all kinds of stuff or like, um, what does that team look like and how do you fit into that?

[00:38:43] Yeah. I usually 

[00:38:44] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): work with brands doing like two to 3 million a year in sales, and so they have a bit of a marketing team set up. And everyone there usually feels like there’s so much to do. , which I relate to. I worked in house for a startup for a year and I loved it, but also like you learn a lot really fast because there is just.

[00:39:05] An overwhelming amount of work to do. So usually there’s a social media manager, there’s some sort of marketing director, cmo, and then there’s the brand owner. So there’s usually like a few people. And so sometimes there’s some clavio content that’s set up, but they’re not really taking full advantage of it.

[00:39:22] Um, they’re definitely running paid ads, but maybe they don’t have a proper like abandoned cart flow set up. So they’re kind of like a leaking ship. So I work with brands that. things are rolling. Customers are happy. There’s like a lot that’s growing and going well, and they’re at the point where they want to like really solidify customer journeys.

[00:39:42] On your whiteboard, like they want to tidy those up and make sure that they’re like the best possible experience for customers to go through. Cause customers are, you know, they can be really forgiving. You can send them content and especially when you’re a small brand, I feel like you can get away with making a lot of mistakes cuz they really see you as like another human.

[00:39:59] But especially as brands like Start to Grow, they want to make sure they have those like personal connections that you could have done maybe back, way back in the day when you were like on Etsy where you could. Personally message someone, but now that’s just like not possible and you still want that type of messaging.

[00:40:16] You can set all of that up through these like triggers and flows and clavio. So yeah, that’s the kind of teams that I work with. There’s a few people, everyone’s super busy and email always gets pushed off, or they have maybe some clavio default flows, but it just kind of looks. Not as nice as their super fancy website that they just rebranded with

[00:40:36] So I get emails like on par with their website and on par with like, the way they wanna treat their customers and the quality of their product. 

[00:40:45] James Sowers (The Good): Got it. Awesome. Thank you for that. I just wanna validate my assumption because I’m guessing if you, uh, it is basically, it’s nobody’s dedicated job to be thinking about the email marketing experience all the time.

[00:40:54] It’s, it’s fractional. So the divided attention, I’ve got other things on my. And they’ve hit this kind of like milestone or this decision point where like, okay, we need to take email marketing seriously and more specifically like the evergreen kind of automated workflow type of emails. And that’s when they engage someone like you.

[00:41:10] So let’s say, uh, those people are sitting in a room right now and they’re listening to this and they’re going, Yeah, this is great, but I don’t have a whiteboard big enough to cover all the different flows and stuff and personalization and segments and all these different journeys that you’ve talked about today.

[00:41:23] So how do we like get started? How do we take one step forward? How do we just get a little bit better? Where would you recommend that that team focus their attention? Maybe it starts with an audit or maybe there’s a specific workflow that pretty much everybody can make improvements on. Like what advice do you have for that?

[00:41:37] Buy 

[00:41:37] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): your product, purchase it, and then as a customer, like with a different email like that you don’t have associated with your brand already, buy your product and then see what it feels like. So sign up for the newsletter purchase after a couple days and see like what do you get? What feels odd? Oh wow.

[00:41:55] I get two 15% offers like back to back. That do, they’re totally different, you know. So just experience it as a customer. Like you would like a hot jar map on a website. So just watch it and you’ll start to like take notes really fast of things that you wanna change or update or improve on. And, um, yeah, focus on the high traffic emails the most, and it’s, it would be really fun to like develop like a 16 email flow, post purchase cert like sequence.

[00:42:24] And that’s great. You should do that down the line. But just focus on the ones that get the most traffic first. Build that trust and then. Just do like one or two a week, like adding an email in here and there, seeing what performs and in an audit. Yeah. The thing to look at the most are definitely all the triggers.

[00:42:43] Clavio support is also really helpful. Um, cuz sometimes like the, if then statements are like kind of confusing or don’t come naturally to people, just message them and be like, just to make. non-customers are, are receiving this flow, right? Like customers are not this, this is correctly segmented out. And then once you’ve like set up a few, like you get the hang of the language of it.

[00:43:05] But yeah, just double check your triggers, see who’s getting what, and then focus mostly on your high traffic. Emails is what I’d advise. 

[00:43:14] James Sowers (The Good): Awesome. I love that advice for buy your own product or, Or even like have somebody in your family buy it and just look over their shoulder and wait for them to get the confirmation email and see what it looks like in their browser.

[00:43:22] Right. Cause even your unique experience, like you might have a cookie in your browser or something from working on the admin side of things that. That compromises the actual like organic experience of a nu to file customer. My reminder to go check the stuff for this podcast cuz a little behind the scenes, we had some issues getting connected here today because one of the URLs for the recording studio was apparently locked up for some reason.

[00:43:40] So I need to go through my own, like what does my intake form look like? What does my confirmation email look like? What are the calendar events getting set up properly? Like that? That’s my reminder that it’s not just applicable to e-commerce brands, it’s applicable to me as well and, and other business types.

[00:43:53] You know, I think we’ll wrap it up there. Lexi, thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge. I think folks have plenty of notes to go off and take action on. Before I let you go, I’ll give you the soapbox for a second. Is there anywhere where somebody can go to follow your journey, follow your work, maybe get in touch about working with you?

[00:44:07] Now we’re in the future. Where would you like to send folks to after, before we let go? Today? 

[00:44:11] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): Online, I’m in two different places. On Twitter, I’m kind of like in the weeds asking questions like interacting in people’s threads, like trying to figure out how to do my job better. And then on Instagram I post, um, on stories almost every day.

[00:44:25] Like I usually post literal screen recordings of me designing emails or setting flows up. So if you wanna basically like watch behind my shoulder, build emails, you can follow me on Instagram. And on both channels. I’m the Lexi Bennett, so that’s where you could find me. And if you wanna work with me, there’s links on my bios for everything for how to 

[00:44:44] James Sowers (The Good): do that.

[00:44:45] Cool. Yeah, I’m definitely gonna, uh, follow you on Instagram. I’ve been trying to avoid it because it’s not nearly as like, filtered as my Twitter experience to productive content. It’s more like guilty pleasure, like. Cat pictures or whatever, and it’s because I can’t find a whole bunch of business folks on there that I can actually learn from.

[00:45:00] Uh, so I’m gonna go check out those Instagram stories. Thanks for sharing that, and thanks for taking time outta your day to join us here and really appreciated, um, all of your insights and, and had a great conversation. So thanks so much. We’ll look forward to having you back on the show sometime soon.

[00:45:12] Lexie Bennett (Email Marketing Consultant): Thank you. Thank you so much. 

[00:45:14] James Sowers (The Good): Hey everybody, this is James again, and before you go, I just wanted to invite you to join one of the coolest things I get to work on as director of marketing here at the Good. It’s called the E-Commerce Insiders List, and it’s a private version of this podcast feed that gets you access to tons of additional bonus content, like extra interviews, q and a Sessions, website, teardowns, and anything else we can dream up.

[00:45:32] It doesn’t cost you anything but your email address, and we promise to always respect your inbox. This is just our way of forming stronger relationships with our listeners and making sure that we produce content that is actually valuable to. And to your business. If you’re interested, you can join the rest of the e-commerce insiders by going to the good.com/podcast and dropping your email into the form at the top of the page.

[00:45:53] We’ll follow up with directions for how to access the private feed, and you’ll be off and running. Like I said, this is one of my favorite things that I get the opportunity to work on because it lets me interact directly with e-commerce founders and leaders just like you. If you’re interested, I’d love to see your name pop up in my notifi.

[00:46:07] Until then, keep an eye out for the next episode of the E-Commerce Insight Show and we’ll talk to you soon.

James Sowers

About the Author

James Sowers

James Sowers is the former Director of The Good Ventures. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.