Akshat: Thank you so much for joining us today. Welcome to D2C Talks, an initiative by Contlo where we will be hosting industry leaders across a series of interactive webinars and podcasts. So we’ll pick their brains on some of the common problems faced by decision makers, some of the best practices in the industry and our experts will also reveal some of the strategies to unlock the door to D2C success. I am Akshat, your host today and an eCommerce marketer working to boost the top line revenue of various D2C brands. Each of these sessions, as I mentioned, will have polls and surveys. They’ll also be, as I said, Chandni will answer a few questions at the end. So do join us, and even again on LinkedIn live or YouTube, please do join us on Airmeet to make the most of these sessions.

Chandni: Yeah.

Akshat: For those joining us again now welcome to D2C talks. So we will request your participation in the polls and surveys and attendees can also pose their questions at the chat box. As you are posting the comments, you can post the questions. We will take them up in the end of this session in the Q and A section. So welcome Chandni. Chandni, as I mentioned before, is the vice president of our product and operations at Contlo, and she was earlier running the top retention marketing agency for D2C brands from all over the world. And to me, this is a great moment because Chandni is always someone whom I have gone to solve my problems around marketing automations. And whenever I can’t figure out a new automation for my clients, Chandni is always there to help me with figuring them out using or improving strategies. Thank you so much for taking the time to joining us today, Chandni.

Chandni: Thank you so much, Akshat. It’s actually a great moment today as we start our series of D2C talks. I look forward to many more such sessions, not just of sharing but also learning from the players and just figuring out the whole D2C ecosystem in the coming days. And thank you everyone for joining. I hope we are able to give you some good insights into D2C, into e-commerce. We will try to make it as informative and as quick as possible. And as Akshat mentioned, we would love to have you on Airmeet. If you are from LinkedIn, just come on Airmeet so that you can participate in our polls, give us your insights, ask us your questions. So let’s get started Akshat.

Akshat: Sure Chandni. So something very basic to start with, Chandni. As I know, you have worked with e-commerce brands of all shapes and sizes, big stores, small stores. So something very basic, what is marketing automation and some of the common practices, some of the attendees here, it is a common practice, but just to get started, could you take a couple of minutes to describe it?

Chandni: That’s a very important place to start from actually. You know currently, a D2C brand can be marketed in two ways. Okay? One is the paid media, Facebook ads, Google ads. I like to call them the steroids. You keep pumping the steroids in the body, the body keeps functioning, you keep getting your revenues. Sometimes your ROI goes up, sometimes it goes down. The other is a non-paid media. Now, non-paid media could be anything; emails, SMSs, WhatsApp, you know. All the channels that you just don’t use it for selling a product, but also as a channel of communication with the customers. It’s like you are using that communication to touch base with your customers, for selling and for otherwise, but holding their hand throughout their journey with your brand. And marketing automation is nothing but you’re not just automating these messages on these channels. And in fact, I feel like it’s like, imagine a shop. There’s always a salesman in a shop, okay. Marketing automation is like a salesman. The salesman gauges you, he understands you, he understands your preferences, shows you two or three articles, helps you in the process, and then suggests you something that you probably would end up buying. Like I, for myself, I probably just end up buying what the salesmen is saying is right for you. That’s what marketing automation is, right now in 2022. It’s a very intelligent, super smart salesman. That’s what it is.

Akshat: Brilliant analogy, Chandni, thank you so much. And yeah, this is very true, actually, because that is how we should view it as a digital salesman who is at various stages of a customer’s journey, is able to pinpoint whatever the customer might be interested in. Comparing again, you mentioned one of the other channels being paid media. Where paid media, what I have also noticed and what a lot of decision makers also notice is, you alter something and you are able to see the results immediately. So that’s a very interesting way. How do you compare that in a similar way? How do you manage the marketing automations?

Chandni: Okay. So basically what happens is, see marketing metrics has put a very crisp number to it. The probability of selling to an existing customer at any kind of time is 60% to 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is just 5% to 20%, 20% being a very positive number, okay. Retaining your customers is very much better value for money. It’s cheaper and it is better for you in the longer run. It’s better for your brand [inaudible] increase, they become your loyalists, they might in fact, they are very loyal to your brand and they might not even churn out. The customers that you get from paid marketing, the first [inaudible] might churn out very soon, right? In fact, I somehow think that retention, marketing and paid marketing, they’re not too different sides. They should work complementary because sometimes I feel that your ROIs on the paid ads also increases if you’re very focused on your retention marketing. Suppose you get a new prospect from a paid ad. Okay. And if you have the basic automations, like your welcome flow, your card [inaudible], everything going live, you know you are able to tap that customer even better. Suppose you have a customer coming from paid marketing and you had a form live, you were able to make an addressable contact out of the customer. And once that customer is addressable, you established a channel of communication, your ROIs are definitely going to shoot up. Because the conversion increases the ROIs definitely going shoot up. So it’s like they have to work hand in hand. No D2C business generally runs without great marketing and retention marketing is also equally important. Secondly, think of it in seasonality. Okay. There are brands which their products are seasonal. They might not work at some seasons. Customers might not want to purchase them in certain seasons, but what happens suppose you have these marketing automation flows live. So even if in off seasons someone’s birthday and you already have that email that is going for a birthday, someone purchase anniversary is coming, so you are just telling them, hey, it’s your anniversary of the purchase, hope you buy again? So these are the things that keep, it’s the most sustainable way of marketing your business. Keeps on going in the background, it keeps your ship afloat at all times. So I think, yeah, they have to be going hand in hand and they complement each perfectly fine.

Akshat: Oh, perfect. Very nicely put Chandni. And I think if you have one takeaway from the session today, it should be that marketing automations also improve the ROI of the paid ads. That actually is very well put and is very important. That’s the reason why marketing automations are that important for an eCommerce brand today. So we’ll take up our first poll, if that’s okay Chandni. Your response as well in this, but I think you have already answered that question. So the first question for our attendees is what do you think gives you a better ROI? You can choose one of these options: paid ads, retention marketing, organic search, and social media? I think Chandni, you can expand a little bit more on this but we know your answer for this.

Akshat: True. So, yeah, I completely agree with that. That retention marketing is going to improve the ROI of other channels as well. Your social media is going to improve based on the kind of retention marketing strategies that you have in place. You often have social media posts at the bottom of emails in the marketing automation and that generates enough engagement for your social media posts as well. True?

Chandni: See, I think the end goal of everything is the same, right? Increasing your LTVs increasing the loyalty of the customers. So everything has to go hand in hand. It is like everything is part of the same whole deal plan. So why not just assume that they are no complimentary and then go ahead.

Akshat: True. Very true. We’ll wait for the results in a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, there are a couple of more people who have joined us. Thank you so much for joining us. Welcome to D2C talks. I am Akshat, accompanied by Chandni, a retention marketing expert and retention marketing veteran of over 15 years. And you have just missed a couple of points so far about what are the automation marketing in general. Thank you so much for joining us. And again, I’d like to remind anyone on LinkedIn live or YouTube, please take the time to look on the link in the description. These sessions will matter the most if you make them interactive and participate in these polls and surveys as well. Moving ahead Chandni… Wow, you have swayed the crowd in your favor Chandni.

Chandni: I’m hoping so, yeah. I think I have made people loyalist for retention marketing now. Yeah.

Akshat: No Chandni, because what you are saying is actually making a lot of sense in this case, right? When you talk about ROI, retention marketing is the channel that you can get the most out of. And yeah, I’m glad that our attendees agree with that. Just to touch upon one of the important changes that we saw in our industry recently with a few new privacy policies coming in from Apple as well, and do you think other industries would follow suit, but what changes more importantly, should someone like me now implement in our, what changes would this bring about in our marketing automations specifically?

Chandni: You have actually pressed the right spot by asking this question, this is so relevant right now because you know, with Apple privacy policy changes we are not sure if you know, Facebook is able to key our user. We are not sure if Facebook will tell us the user communication after 7 days of their behavior. So, you know what, now it has become so important to know firsthand data about your customers. You do not know if Facebook is cooking, he or she, you do not know if Facebook would know what their interests are, what their likings are. So it becomes increasingly important for websites to know the firsthand data of their customers. It is not just about email IDs or phone numbers; it is also about their interests. Why are they here? What are they looking for? You know, what, what is the immediate need? Are they responding to a discount? Are they respond some other thing? And you know, in that case a welcome form or a popup comes into play, you know. Anyone coming in, you should probably have a popup who you can convert your normal customer into an addressable contact. Another way of converting your customer into addressable contact would be having a WhatsApp Chabot. So the moment they put their phone number over there, even for a query, you make them addressable contact. So that has become really important right now, right? Getting post hand data about your customers. But you know what I recently discovered a skincare brand, like people are now increasingly very interested in giving their data to the brand because they also feel that they might get good deals or good literature. Like recently was skincare brand I saw that they just ran a quiz and people actually reverted telling them their skincare problems. What are their issues? What kind of skin do they have? What age are they at? Are they in? And you know, there is so much that can be done with this kind of data about your customers. Facebook can never have these kind of data, right? The skin problems or the skin type, but your website, you have all the access to your customers. Why not just drop them and email and ask them about their interest or there, anything that you want? I did for one of my brands. It was a footwear brand. What we did was, after a form was made live, we send them an email with a link to a survey after the welcome email, obviously. And we ask them, okay, why are you here? Are you here for a wedding purchase? Are you just looking around? Are you looking for casual shoes? And we were surprised the people actually go and tell us because they also trust that the brand might curate content for me, the brand might reach out to me in a meaningful manner. So that’s how the industry is shifting now after these Apple privacy changes.

Chandni: That is really important is now that we know that retargeting ads might not work, we will have to set up our own channels for communication with the customers. Gone are the days when you can just rely on Facebook retargeting ads. Okay. You have to establish email, SMS, WhatsApp, all as medium of reaching out to your customers. Now this, this is not just about setting up an email ID. It is also about setting with the customer that, okay, this is a reliable mode of communication with us. When you send them the first welcome WhatsApp message, you should be saying that, okay, save this number for future updates. When you send them an email, it should say, move us to inbox in case we are in spam because this is how we will be conversing, right? You have to respectfully establish every channel of communication and because that is the only way you’ll be probably conversing them in the coming times. You know, and I think gone are the days when you can just send vanilla broadcast campaigns on email or anything and expect breakthrough results. Customers are also getting smart; your normal broadcast might not even work in today’s time. So yeah, like to hold attention, marketing scene has changed after these Apple privacy policy.

Akshat: Agreed, agreed, and again, a very good takeaway here would be that building your firsthand data has become even more important post the launch of these policies. And how do you do that is with having these, some of the basic things in place, as you explained with the forms, getting the clicks on the first email so that you are able to repeat the customers. Generating your own firsthand data is really important in coming. Chandni, now having spoken a little about you describe marketing automations, some of the privacy policies changes that we have discussed, what are the automations that a marketer should set up for a smaller store, some of the advanced ones?

Chandni: Yeah. So, you know this is very important. Like, I always say to whichever brand I work with, it doesn’t matter the scale of a brand, doesn’t matter the audience, there’s some automations you should always have in place. Okay. They might not be monetized in the first go, but having them is like a channel of communication back and forth. So just, I will just list down the most important ones that you should definitely have. Like first of them being the welcome journey. Now, what does a welcome journey do? It’s like in the shop, again, welcoming someone and welcoming someone with open arms. It is not, anything is not new. Like it’s not new. You just have to write a simple email. Okay. Probably 5 liner, 10 liner telling them what is the brand? What are the ethos? What do you stand by? How do you make money? Or if you want to skip that, like what is the team? A simple introduction to the brand. And that can go a long way because it’s like, you made a new friend and you would obviously want to introduce, right. Like recently more a utility pair brand that we work for, what I did was like what the founder suggested that we put a simple welcome email, a small 5, 10 liner, text email with the founders’ picture and the email and just saying that, hey, welcome to our brand, this is all we do, and this is how we are expanding and these are categories. And you can reach out to me through this email, okay. This line telling the customer that, okay, I will get your email and reach out to me. You know, you won’t believe 150% that that email’s CTR was 150% of any other CTR in that email. Like, CTR is a click through rate. So, that particular email was getting 150% higher clicks than any other email in that particular welcome flow. Even though the CTR was just hidden behind the text. Okay. Because people read things that they feel are written by someone, right. They would not probably read something that is just out of a book, out of a page of a book. Another thing that this email done was like around 30% of the overall revenue of this particular welcome flow was coming from that particular small email. So that’s the point, welcome journey can differentiate you and set the first conversation right in the relationship. The next one that is important is the abandoned journey, like the abandoned cart, browse abandon, and your check out abandon. Now these are very intuitive and really important because you know, these are the people who have the highest intend to buy from you. They have been on the website, they want to buy and just lost among various reasons you know. So reaching out to them, and what has become really important is that now with multi-channel automation being place, right. Like WhatsApp has now come into abandoned journeys. Just imagine you were looking through a website and browsing through and suppose 3 hours later, you get a message WhatsApp saying, hey, were you looking for something, do you want to have a second look? Just imagine the kind of conversions it has. I fact, for one of my clients in February 43% of the revenue of the whole abandoned journeys was just coming from WhatsApp. So, that is the scale that it’s had right now. It was very novel, like 3-4 months back. It is still novel. Like it’s still performing. And I think it’s just going to go up from here. So ABC journeys is something that you cannot leave. Have to hold onto ABC journeys. This third important journey that I think that a brand should have is the post purchase. Now what happens is, I think a post purchase is even more important than purchase reminder, like probably 90 days purchase reminder or something because it is telling the customer, the customer knows that they are definitely not selling me anything in this email. I’ve already made an order, so what can they sell me? Right. They open that message. Firstly, to know about their orders, the things that might have details about my order. So they definitely open it. And when you open an email, what happens is, takes the reputation up for my whole email ID domain. Right. Post purchase, yeah. So post-purchase journey does that for you. And probably you can just write a simple line, right? Thank you for purchasing with us. I recently did it for one of our brands. So what we did was we divided the post-purchase message into two. Okay. For people who were buying for the first time, we told them, thank you for buying. For people whose it was the repeat purchase we wrote them, hey, you are a star, thank you. Thank you for being you. And thank you for trusting us once again. And that is that, that email had very good openings. You know, because telling the people that, okay, we recognize that you are a repeat purchaser, and thank you for doing this again for us. So it’s new, it’s like a little goody bag you get when you step out of our store. You know at McDonald’s you ring that bell, it’s like that little delight you at the end.

Akshat: The customer recognizes that, the recognition customer gets, because that also appreciates him and he’ll definitely come back to the store more because of that. Right?

Chandni: Yes. And it is known for sure that it’s not going be sales email, right? A post purchase email cannot be a sales email. Obviously, the open rates are way higher. Secondly, there’s a little extra you can add this post-purchase journey is asking them for their feedback. Probably 10 days, 15 days later after the purchase has been made. So what happens is, feedbacks generally by human tendency do not tend to give feedback till it’s positive. Okay. Either I’m superbly elated or I’m really pissed off with the brand. If I’m really pissed off with the brand, I will go extra length to put that feedback at places like on Google, on Facebook, right? If you give the customer a channel to put a feedback where they know that they can write what they want to write, you will be amazed. Like you will obviously get bad feedback also, but you’ll also get good feedback. Both are great for the brand, right? The bad ones obviously help you improve yourself. The good ones are like the users generated content, use those reviews. Use those, use those feedback for the other emails, put them on your website, put them in the cart abandoned email you want to send. Right? So it’s like pre content being given after a purchase is already happened. So I think post purchase and journey is also very important. It actually adds up to the whole economics of the website. They are the three most important ones like the welcome, the abandoned flow and the post purchase.

Akshat: Really like your point about UGCs there as well because we know that user generated content is probably the most important asset in the marketers’ market today. If there’s one way to get UGC using your post-purchase post, why not?

Chandni: Yeah. In fact nowadays websites have these review section. Okay. I personally, I would want to go to the review section and see what people have written about the brand. And I would appreciate someone who has negative reviews also. Like I would not want the reviews to be moderated, right. And when you read the reviews, you understand, okay, this is a brand, that’s what they’re trying to do. This is what they’re not good at. So it’s great. You know, having reviews and feedback is great.

Akshat: Agreed, agreed Chandni. Nothing better than that. I guess for a new brand as well as a loyal brand, your loyal customers, as you mentioned, if you recognize them, they do come back again. That is what is most valuable there. We quickly have another poll Chandni. Again, I would like your view as well. You can quickly describe that. So how many automation flows do you think is right for a business or how many automations for a business owner in the attendance, how many automations does your business currently use? And Chandni, how many automation should a business use ideally?

Chandni: Depend on the scale of the brand. Okay. If you’re a smaller brand I think you should be done with 3 or 4, but if you’re a big brand, which is doing good numbers and good traffic, I think you should go overboard, like 5 or more than 5. So my answer will be 3 to 5, but open to answers from people.

Akshat: Yeah. And as you said, it depends on the size of the business and the ideal marketing automation would be to plug the revenue leakage, right? So identify the revenue leakages and that comes to be your ideal number of automations that you would need. And mine would be more than 5. I am someone who goes for higher number of automations, I believe. So while we, again, wait for the results of the poll, anyone on LinkedIn live and YouTube, please do click on the registration link in the description and join us on Airmeet directly to take part in these polls and surveys, and also ask our expert any questions that you might have regarding marketing automations today. Great Chandni! So you did describe the basic flows of abandoned, browsers, abandoned carts, abandoned checkouts, and the welcome and post-purchase flows. Some of the more advanced flows that are available to a bigger brand and to service providers and how does a business owner decide which of them is more important?

Chandni: Yeah. Actually the polls results are also in. So let’s discuss that first.

Akshat: Sure. I guess 50% is 3 to 5. So yep. 3 to 5.

Chandni: You can be judicious as well as have the basics in place and you will be good to go. So coming back to your question. So, you know coming back to advanced flow that a website can have, I think, think of it as like a salesman again, the salesman analogy, okay. Does the sales just work around giving the shopping bag in your hand and saying, bye bye. No, they don’t, right. They suggest you things, they gauge your interest. They see what you are interested in. If you’re not interested in what they’re showing, they’ll also show you something else, right. Okay, you don’t like this, you might probably like this, right? So that is your cross-sale automation right there. Cross sale automation is a great thing to have. While your customer’s liking something and, or you think that a drop off at that category is much higher, you can probably show them a second category, right. That is your cross sales campaign. Another one is your win back campaign. Like your proper favorite salesman might give you a call after 90 days saying, hey, you’ve not drop in, is everything okay? So I remember this particular salesman, like when I used to shop for my kids, she used to message me that, hey, is everything okay? Is she okay? You haven’t visited since 90 days or 120 days, whatever. So I think that memory that you have to back, that reminder. Okay. So that is your win back automation, you can set a win back automation after probably a certain time and tell the customers, okay, you should be dropping by, we have new collection. Another thing that a good salesman does at times is also keep in touch. Suppose you have your customers birthdays. You know, why not just mail them on their birthdays saying, happy birthday. You might or might not include a discount code, that is a brand level decision, but messaging them on the special days, that’s a purchase anniversary or any kind of anniversary with them. So these are all the flows. You can just have to understand your customer where they might be in the journey and just getting to touch with them. Like it’s as simple, just plugging in all the revenue leakages and understanding wherever you can get a chance to talk to that customer. So I think all of those flows can be really important.

Akshat: Right. I remember birthday automation had one of the highest open rates for us. Birthday automations, generally seeing an open rate of about 70% to 80%. And that is, as you mentioned, a right time to talk with your customer rather than sell something to your customer. Talk with your customer, give them a birthday discount depending on the brands value. But yeah, it’s very true that these kinds of automations are really something that everyone should look into.

Chandni: I’ll share a small anecdote. So for one brand, I did a birthday emails. Okay. I did not do anything. Like we just wrote happy birthday. And we just put a small call to action, was just, you can sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too. So why not just treat yourself? And the CTA was treat yourself, okay. No discount code, no shop now. And that CTA, that call to action had [inaudible] of almost 6 to 7%. Okay. That was not even saying shop, shop now, was just saying treat yourself. And that CTA had a really good response. You know, not selling, but obviously placing yourselves on there.

Akshat: Agreed. So you did touch up on this next question a little earlier as well and I would like for you to likely tell us a little more about it. So text heavy emails, and all of these are also coming into the picture. So what do you think is the email itself, what are the best practices that someone should follow, not just from the email content but also from increasing the deliverability and also into how many emails should each automation have?

Chandni: Okay. So see, the idea that I like to believe is, you should be as personal with the customer as much as you can. Okay. Like, walk the walk with the customer, understand what they want. Okay. You know, David Ogilvy once said, the customer is not a moron, she’s your wife. And I think that sums it up for me. You know, you have to respect them. You have to understand what they’re going through, where they are in their journey and understand it from their viewpoint. Okay. There are a lot of D2C brands coming nowadays. And what happens is, because the product market fit is not right or the time is not right, or the product needs a little tweak or the delivery needs a little tweak. So, what happens, customers give their feedback. Okay? Now you have a feedback telling, the customer is giving their feedback. So the team somehow starts detesting the customer, which is wrong. You have to love your customer. They gave you the chance to serve them. Right? They chose you from hundreds of the brand available. You have to love the customer. And why do I say that? Because that should show in every step you take. The language chose for your email. If you have set up a mailbox and you’re sending an email to them, make sure the revert for that email comes, right. It’s a very basic thing. But what happens at times is, we just set up an email for sending the updates and we forget to put a mailbox. Now, what happens when the customer wants to write an email to you? Okay. If you have that mailbox even little replies coming to it, that makes a lot of difference. Sometimes people just want to ask, where’s my order. Or sometimes they also want to appreciate, like they like the idea, right? So it is about respecting the customer, managing a tone like that, and also being ready for whatever replies they want to give you. That is first. The second would be always testing, like testing, testing, and keeping on testing. Now, optimize for everything. Optimize for subject lines, keep testing the subject lines, see putting a first name in the subject line really matters. Putting a smiley matters in subject line or not. Optimize your time dealings. Like the first email is going at 6 hours, the second one put at 9 hours, or 12 hours, right. So optimizing your time. Optimizing everything that you can understand, but there’s a little something in this. I always tell everyone that it’s a saying that ‘if the world could run on AB tests, every website will become a porn website.’ Right? Cause you’re optimizing your conversions. But keeping that on a side note, there’s a funny angle on this. So we were working for an FMCG brand and we had that a welcome form live on the website. Okay. It was a good form; pretty looking form and we were getting good 5-6% conversion. But we were capturing email and phone number on it. Okay. Now someone in the team comes and says that, hey, I think this has a friction. Okay. We should not ask for two things in a form. Let’s make it email. So the team was not ready because it was a highly, as it is said, you don’t disturb what’s working well. Disturb what’s not working well. Right. But we were like, okay, next test. So what we did was, we did a split on the form and one form only had the email and the second one had email and phone number. And we ran it for a month or so. So the results were astonishing. Both the forms had exactly those same conversion rate, which was around 5.2%, I think. Which showed us one thing, that had we not tested, we had just lost out on that particular data point. People want to give their phone numbers. They don’t mind. Right. It is just about how well do you want to understand them. Are you really open to understanding what they want to say? Right. That is another thing, the testing. The third thing would be cleaning up your list. Someone is not responding to your communication. Say for 9 days or 9 months or 6 months, you send an email, they’re not opening it. You have to clean up that list. You have to remove those people from your list. You can probably send a final email that made me think that you’re not responding, is everything okay? There’s a chance that 5-10% person might respond to that one. And then you don’t clean up those. But the rest you should clean up. There is a chance that these people might come to you, come back to you again after a year or so, whenever they’re ready or whenever they see you on other platform. But if you keep sending those emails, they’re definitely going block you. Right? So if they’re not responding, you’re not getting the signal. So clearing up the list is another thing that you should be doing. The fourth thing is personalizing your communications and the personalizing, not just in terms of a message. Subject line personalization and email personalization is very okay, like on the top. Another personalization that should happen is product recommendation, personalization. Someone buying a saree should be shown recommendation for a saree.

Someone buying an accessory should be shown recommendation for accessory. You can probably cross sell at a little later point in time. But at that point you should not. Personalizing everything, whatever you say, how you deal. The other thing could be, try to gather as much first party data as you can. Include forms, two step forms and then once you’re done with the forms, then you probably go in their email, ask them about their interest. This is one of my personal experiences. So what we did for one brand was we took the welcome form. Now the team was like, in welcome form, we cannot be asking for their experiences or why are they here? So what they said was, let’s ask for their interests. So what we did was, we put an email in the series of welcome form, probably the second or third email and asked them, hey, why are you here? Are you shopping for a wedding? Are you casually shopping? Are you just window shopping? And what happened was, that we got replies on that form. So gathering data, like helping customers tell you the data. The other thing that is a good practice is going multi-channel. I think that is what is the most important thing in marketing automation right now. Going multichannel. Why just reach out to anyone just for SMS? Why not reach out on WhatsApp? And why not integrate both actually, why not start with WhatsApp and then sending email? So going multi-channel is another thing. And then last, like very important thing that I always feel is speak with your customers. This is very important. The first thing is setting up a channel of communication with the customer. And secondly, asking them for their reviews and feedbacks. UGC is definitely going to be the king, content is the king obviously but UGC is fast catching up.

Akshat: A type of content.

Chandni: So, you know, people are there, they have used your product. If you ask them for content like, give us a picture review, give us a text review. Now when you get that review and you put that in your email, once again. Suppose you are looking at a sock, and you did not buy the sock. But suppose you get a browse abandon email with three people wearing the same sock. You would respond to it, right. It becomes, the impact of you, this is massive. People have been using UGC right now only, for the Instagram stories or their Facebook stories, but they’re still far away from using the UGC in their emails or in their WhatsApp messages. So I think that is another good practice to have. For one of our customers, in fact, we put UGC like the reviews of their product in their email. That email, like the general email click through rates are 4-5%, that particular email with reviews, had a click through rate around 7 to 8%. Almost like 100% higher than the other ones. So that’s what reviews do. Yeah.

Akshat: Agreed. And another thing that I would like to remind our viewers here is about segmenting your audience within the automation. I remember I came to you with a problem of not having enough versions toward some of the last emails in the flow. And you invited me to segment the audience further based on the value of their cart as of that point. And I remember the customers with the extra cart, we were able to figure out that the customers with the lower cart value were the ones actually not converting, the higher cart value ones were converting. And then it allows us to develop strategies around that. And again, as you said, keep revisiting your automations is actually quite important.

Chandni: There’s another thing that I would like to add is that what happens is, suppose you’re sending an email to 10,000 people, you’ve not segmented them. The deliverability of that email will be lower than if you send that email to only 2000 people, to whom it was relevant. Now, supposed to get the 5% open rate on 10,000 people. Now suppose, you send that same email to 2000 people, highly segmented, very relevant. You might end up getting more absolute number of opens on a smaller subset. Eventually it’s all about ROI. If you’re sending it to a smaller segment, you might eventually get more users than you could have gotten in a bigger subset. So that’s the idea of segment and it has worked really well for us, sending it to smaller chunks. Yeah.

Akshat: Segmenting your audience, understanding them, basically understanding your audience and supplying the needs that they have come to you for would definitely work for any D2C store. We’ll quickly take another poll Chandni. We are little short on time, so we’ll just quickly take this poll up. So again, this would be the number of communications or touch points per channel that a customer should receive from you in a day. Yep. In a day, in a week. So it is either 3 times a week, once in a day or multiple times in a day. This is per channel Chandni, so we are not talking about when it could be WhatsApp in the same day or WhatsApp and an email. It is within the same day to email. So I don’t think multiple in a day would make a lot of sense, but yeah, your views?

Chandni: I think there has to be basic sanity check, like both not more than one or two per channel per day. I think that is what the sanity check I should be putting. Mean, not one throughout the whole ecosystem, but one or two on a channel in a day. I think that’s the sweet spot for me.

Akshat: Agreed. One or two in a channel in a day you should definitely should not be [inaudible] there. And, but yeah, not as little as three times a week as well, I would believe because three times a week is a little too low in terms of your automation or your communications.

Chandni: Sometimes, it’s also about the content. Like, I work with one of this footwear brand, like small boutique store and obviously do not have content, small audience, 10,000-15,000 people. You might not even have content to push around for three times a week or once a day. So we decided on two times a week will work for the brand, they got their ROIs, the customers stayed in touch. So yeah, it’s, again, testing. I think testing is important.

Akshat: Agreed. So the results are in as well. And our attendees agree with you of once in a day.

Yeah. Again so you did touch upon this, that there are multiple new channels also coming up. One of the things that our customers are often asking us, and even I am very concerned about is spamming our customers, spamming our end users. So what do you think is the right number and how do you think the quality of communication, how should we monitor the quality of communication in terms of ensuring that customers don’t feel spammed?

Chandni: This is actually a very fine line and a business level decision, as well as a marketer’s decision. I think the differentiator here should be being able to send communications that seem personal. Chase Diamond, there’s this guy who’s a very good email marketing expert. He says that if you would not say that thing in a one-to-one communication, rather, don’t put it in your message. It’s as simple as that. If there’s something you would not say to a friend, don’t put that in your email. And that has made a lot of difference in the way I have made my communications always because no one wants to really now read emails written out of a book. They would want to listen to what you have to say. Firstly, the quality. Speak relevant things, speak that something that you would speak to your friend, don’t say it otherwise. The second thing is tapping the frequency. A basic sanity check should always be there on an umbrella level that, okay this customer or any customer should not be receiving more than one or two communications a day on a channel by the way. So there can be an abandoned cart going on an email and another one going on a WhatsApp because, I say that because sometimes the customers respond on one channel, but don’t on another channel. So that we have to obviously keep sure that we are reaching them out somewhere. And thirdly, frequency is also important because you are telling the customer, okay we’re not going to spam you. This is a channel of communication with you and I respect it, you also respect it to let’s build this bridge between ourselves and let’s not burn that bridge. So frequency is really important in that case. Yeah.

Akshat: Agreed, agreed. Again, Chandni the last point here, the last question that I would have for you and you did because you covered a lot of it in the beginning as well, is the analytics bit. So what are some of the basic numbers that I should keep my eye on for an automation in general and what are the red flags for that particular metric? When should I start worrying and make changes?

Chandni: See some of the key metrics that I like to look on is firstly, the open rates, obviously they are not that reliable now, but I think a flux of 5-10% is what has impacted my campaigns in the current times. I don’t know what you already have. But 5-10% is what, so I would say open rate of 20% or higher is a good open rate to have. Anything beyond below 15% is meaning a red flag. It’s either likely a spam or it’s not to the right audience or you’re not putting the right kind of things on the subject line. So first is the opening. The second is the click through rates. Click through rates is basically your clicks divided by your opens. General industry standard for clicks is around 6 to 10%. So I would say anything, below 3% of click through rate can be a red flag. That people did open your email, but did not click it. It can be, just you place the CTA wrong or the CTA said something else that it was meant to say. Another thing is average order value. What happens is sometimes, in particular flow we are just trying to put more and more discounts and that flow might be taking our average order value down than the overall average order value of the business. That is wrong, right? The average order value that I’m getting from that flow. Do I need to optimize, my CPR might be good by my average order value might be less. Fourth most important thing that I feel is replies to a message. Are people getting it? The biggest proof of that is, did you get a reply on that. So this is what happened with me once, we were sending emails and we were thinking we were sending very good emails. But we were not getting any replies. And then I realized that why we’re not getting replies? And that is when we figure out that, okay, these emails were landing into spam and because of these open rates are so haywire right now because of these after changes. It never crossed anyone’s eye, that okay, it might be happening that they’re not being opened by anyone. So reply to that message can be a good indicator of, are the messages right for the audience. And firth thing, the most obvious one is revenue. Revenue that is coming out of the flow. Sometimes what happens is, you know you might not be clocking revenue on that particular automation. So that would mean, either the trigger is not set right or the time is not right or the channel is not. So, revenue. And once you start clocking revenue from an automation, it is just a game optimization from there. So I think revenue in general is a good starting point to even test your automation and test its validity. And from there, you can just go ahead. In fact, I’ll just share one experience of mine. So, you know for one particular email we have and very high open rates. So generally this was a standard earlier. For email marketing, everyone used to see open rates and they were all happy, that we have good open rate. So we were getting 60-70% open date, but zero click rate. And we were not able to understand what’s happening. First, the team said, okay, might because of Apple and everything. But obviously that was not such a big deal. Then figured out that, when we reviewed the email, the call to our action was placed at the bottom of the email. And we somehow skip putting link behind the hero image. What we did was [inaudible] that, we moved the call to action, 30% down the email. Like we build two call to actions. And you would not believe what we eventually started 32% CTR also on that email. So, it’s just about understanding the metric, putting it at the right place, and in this whole thing, measuring the performance and everything, what is also important is getting these results and putting them into practice. Sometimes what happens is, everyone starts with these flows or these emails or these bots have messages. What we forget to do is going back and auditing them. Like, everyone should go back and audit their flows or anything in under 15, 20 days. That should happen like weekly, bimonthly, monthly, however you can do it, just go and audit them. And keep on improvising and optimizing this. That is really important. I think that is what sets a good and a great automation apart. Something that has just know evolved with time. You can set it for once, but also remember to optimize them very regularly.

Akshat: Thank you so much for that Chandni. This was my last question that I had for you. And I really appreciate you taking the time. We’ll just take a few questions from our users as well. Really interesting questions coming up there. Thank you so much guys. So the first one, actually, I really like this as well. So, Nidha asks, doesn’t the automation number depend on the futuristic view of the brand or is it on the current scale of the brand is at? And I really like this question here. So is it, is it something that you should design keeping in mind what, where you are trying to be or where you are at?

Chandni: Nidha, there’s a very simple answer to your question. So basically, I think everything has to be designed keeping in mind who your current customers are. So suppose, because your ads can probably, go ahead and think of the future that, okay, I want to target these customers. But the current automation should only depend on the kind of customers you have, the kind of orders they’re placing. And that you can only understand by getting firsthand data. Right? You should be knowing which customer to get and you should be knowing who has bought from you. And then you should, you should be targeting accordingly.

Akshat: Makes a lot of sense. Another question in terms of the channels, that question is in extension to the channels conversation that we were having. So, Nidha asks one or two channels, one communication in the day. So different channel, should you have the same message and same audience in a different channel. Right? So what are the one option being that different channel you’ll have the same message? WhatsApp, emails, all having the same message or the audience being same, but the channels being different.

Chandni: The audience obviously has to be the same because, suppose you’re doing a cart abandon or check out abandon. The audience is essentially the same, but you can play with the way the messages are displayed. And SMS for a cart abandon can probably just say, oh, your payment is incomplete. But your email would rather say, hey, see how many people tried that sock, right? So the communication can be different. It should be complimenting each other. The WhatsApp messaging in this case could say, you know just rush because these people have already bought the socks and used it. You might lose out, it’s a high sell out. And in case of campaigns, I’m assuming that Nidha also asked this question for campaigns, like discount or something. In that case, Nidha, I think you will have to understand, some people’s phone numbers you don’t have. And some are the ones who have high click, open rates on email. So you have different audiences for different channels in that case.

Akshat: Perfect. the next question that I had it’s also being displayed on this one. From Nidha diet itself, retention and source of the lead. So what’s the best practice to nurture and build automations for them?

Chandni: So basically Nidha, what I feel is when you start with nurturing, I think you should be starting with a simple welcome and understanding the customers, simple small journeys. And also complementing that with your remarketing ads, if you can. We do not know remarketing ad will perform not, but as I started the session also, I said, that everything should go hand in hand. It’s your brand, it’s your story. And where you are nurturing them on your retention platform, it can be through various channels. But again, understanding the customer, understanding their needs and nurturing them accordingly. A brand level decision for me.

Akshat: Perfect. again, another really good question with respect to the Indian market from Shilpi. Asks, what is the best marketing automation channel working best for the Indian market. And could you also answer the same for the global market for our global audience in attendance today?

Chandni: Yeah. So for the Indian market, right now Shilpi, I think the best channel for me, hands on has to be WhatsApp. It is very expensive. Like it’s 10 times more expensive than an SMS message, but the ROIs are immense. Like, I myself have seen 20-25x ROI and it’s a multimedia message. You can put an image and a text and there is no character limit. It’s like, you go all in. It’s immense, it’s great. For the international audience, I think emails still remain the favorite. If nurtured properly, if used in the respectful manner, I’ve seen emails give 18 to 20x ROIs easily. They always work provided you respect the channel, you send good communication, personalize it. Email has to be the favorite. WhatsApp, I have a feeling that WhatsApp will get flooded in a few years. Let us see how that goes. But yeah,

Akshat: I agree completely on the international market as well. A heavy check becomes even more important for the international market because do remember that more and more customers in the international market open the emails as compared to the Indian market. With WhatsApp, Chandni, I was noticing that also the conversations have come into the picture now, WhatsApp conversation. Again, a beautiful channel that WhatsApp has.

Chandni: It’s like a one to own chat with your friend. And everyone in our society is so used to using WhatsApp. There’s no stopping us.

Akshat: Agreed. I’ll also like to put this. Let’s take up one more question, but we also had the same poll for our users. We’ll take that up later. Which is their preferred channel. We’ll just take it up after this one. So how much has marketing automation replaced marketers? A really good question. Thank you, Ajay.

Chandni: I would say that it has not replaced marketers. Like I have not seen marketers being replaced. I think it has in fact created more marketing jobs. Because you need content at every point of the flow. Yeah, you need more communication. Earlier when we just used to have emails, how many emails were you designing? Now that there are multi-channels you want people for, you want analysts for making your audiences. You want people to manage your marketing automation platforms. You need designers, you need copywriters because the channels have increased many folds and the journeys have become so interesting. I think it has just created more jobs. It has not replaced for sure.

Chandni: Agreed. Yeah. One of the bigger brands I noticed that two different people were running the marketing automations and a different person was running the campaigns. So they had someone else running the campaigns, doing the segmentation of the audience and running the campaigns. While someone else was designing and optimizing the campaigns. Information for the regular ones. So agreed. I don’t think they have replaced. In fact, they have optimized marketing of marketers. Its better way to put

Chandni: Made their life easier. That’s it.

Akshat: Made their life easier. For sure. Yeah. So again, I’ll take this poll now. Okay. Nikhil is asking another question. A desirable revenue percentage you should aim for from repeat customers. Again, a pretty good question.

Chandni: That’s a very good question. So this is a recent Shopify poll. A website that has just started probably three months, four months in the business, can do anything from 10 to 20% from repeat customers. Any website that is getting more than 10 orders a day should ideally have 30 to 50% of their revenues coming from repeat customers. And that is just for a website having 10 orders a day. If you go up to 100 orders a day, you should rather have a 50 to 60% revenue coming from repeat customers. That is Shopify benchmark, by the way. So has to be true.

Akshat: True, true. And depending on the industry as well, I believe in the cosmetic industry, I remember about 60% of the customers were repeat customers for most of our clients. So depending on the industry as well, Nikhil that would depend. Apparel industry has a really low retention repeat customer, repeat purchase numbers, but something like cosmetic or nutrition supplements, these have a really high repeat purchase percentage. Another question that has come up. Which are the best ready automation tools?

Chandni: All our best automation tools, are you Manoj asking about automation like software? Yeah.

Akshat: I think it’s a little confusing.

Chandni: I would say the best in market right now Contlo because I am the VP of Contlo. But yes. There are many, but right now, in this point in time you should be choosing a tool which can give you all the channels at one place. I think that’s what you should be targeting. You should not be looking at sending emails from one place and sending SMS from another and sending you WhatsApp from the third piece. Try to, because you want to make your life easier and your customer’s journey easier, try to have a tool that can get everything in one place. A multi-channel tool is the one that you could easily manage.

Akshat: And what also is the advantage is you don’t have to bother your customers on every channel. You can design the automations in the way that

Chandni: Yeah. A smoother journey, basically.

Akshat: Hopefully we answered that question for you, Manoj. Again the next question coming in from Ajay. Is there any software or server for triggering automated birthday greetings, anniversary events, which help us consolidate the data by triggering events and start pulling data so that we can send personalized emails?

Chandni: So Ajay, this is what a marketing automation tool does. You firstly [inaudible] a form, take their birthdays. Then, because your tools, like we have the functionality in Contlo as well, and I’m sure other tools might have it. You take their birth days and set the trigger as the birthday for sending the automation in that sequence. So that automation essentially starts when the anniversary of that date comes, that date can be anything; a birthday, anniversary or something. And then you just continue the journey. So that’s how marketing automation tool works. Your data is right there. You just decide when does your message trigger.

Akshat: Perfect. Thank you so much Chandni. If we can conduct the poll now, that will be a great one. Akshay Rathore has another question. So how much of a difference does having a mobile application make, does it open new avenues when compared to having just a website?

Chandni: Yeah. Great question, Akshay. I think mobile website is really important because generally 90 to 98% of any website traffic is from mobiles. It is important to have a mobile, but it is not a showstopper. Have a mobile optimized website. We can send push notifications through a mobile optimized website also. App can send a push, but a mobile optimized website can send a push notification. It is just about being responsive on the mobile. That is what I think is important. A mobile app is there obviously, but in the app, you always have that problem of people uninstalling it. So I think that is very volatile. People installing, uninstalling. I personally have never looked into economics of it, so I will not comment on the economics. But for, I think as a marketer having a mobile optimized website or a mobile app is definitely helpful. Like has to be there.

Akshat: Okay, Chandni. Just extending on this question. Could you also point us a little in direction of how should we optimize our emails for mobile, for example, that would be very relevant for marketing automations as well? Optimizing our emails for mobile, we can just quickly, we don’t have much time but take a couple of minutes and touch up on that too.

Chandni: So quick pointers, optimizing for mobile, not having heavy images. Not having single image emails. So this is something that we’ve not discussed. Not having single image emails. It’s a crime. It’s going to go into promotions or spam for sure. Not having bigger images, assuming that a customer will scroll three or four times. So having a combination of text and image, not just having images everywhere. Using fonts that you think will generally be available on the mobile library or on the desktop of libraries, is another point. So all of these things. I think they make all the difference.

Akshat: Thank, you so much Chandni. Really quickly post the poll that I was looking to post for a long time. But yeah. So which is the preferred or your favorite channel of communicating with your customers? Chandni, you can quickly guide us a little on each of them or give us your preferred answer.

Chandni: As I told, like different scenarios, but now it has to be WhatsApp. Undoubtedly, WhatsApp for me.

Akshat: For me again, emails by themselves, as you mentioned, are the evergreen channel for digital marketer. SMS have become one of the important channels especially for abandoned journey emails. Push notifications, since most of the users in India do give the consent to get push notifications. That is one of the numbers that I was seeing for one of my clients that there was about a 10% subscription to push ratio. So push notifications, again is a pretty important channel.

Chandni: Yeah. It’s good because also it’s absolutely free.

Akshat: Exactly. Very true. And post or physical mail. I believe during the pandemic by itself, there were a lot more people receive. One of the brands in the US tried to send postcards to their customers for Black Friday sales, which some of their greatest numbers across the last five or six years on their Black Fridays. So keep exploring new channels is that I always have for my customers

Chandni: And the results are in.

Akshat: Yep. Well, it is a pretty focused market. Sample size as well. Since most of us have been hearing about emails so much from you in the last one hour. We have been swayed towards emails.

Chandni: True. So true.

Akshat: I think that’s it from us. If the users do not have any more questions, it’s time as well. We’ll quickly wrap up the session.

Chandni: It was great talking to you. And it was great having the audience over here. Good questions from the audience and good polls and good answers to the polls. I think we should do this more regularly.

Akshat: We should, we should. And definitely Chandni, thank you so much for all of those insights because yeah, a lot of the things that you mentioned here were some things that we do think about, but not able to action on our website and it lays the importance of how important it is to now go ahead and do it specifically. That’s all we have for you today. Thank you so much. All of you, again for joining and we hope this session was insightful and a bit of fun. You got some valuable takeaways from this session. All the attendees will also receive a recording, in the case you want to revisit some of the points Chandni mentioned today. Follow us on LinkedIn or your preferred social media. We get regular updates on not just this D2C talk series, but also any e-commerce industry trends that we’ll be posting. Thank you so much, guys. We’ll see you again.

Chandni: Bye. Thank you.

Akshat: Bye Chandni. Later.