Succeeding in Ecommerce’s ‘New Normal’

How to Drive, Convert & Grow Online Sales Stage by Stage

The state of ecommerce hardly needs recounting. All around us, data mounts.

When 2020 began, online sales were expected to account for 16.1% of all global retail. Today, the percentage sits somewhere between 25%-30%.

Lest we miss the economic impact, a low-end step change of 25% represents $2.32 trillion. Not in total ecommerce sales. In new ecommerce sales … in 2020 alone.

Figures like that are simultaneously thrilling and overwhelming.

To help you succeed in ecommerce’s “new normal,” we’re publishing a series of guides organized around the three key stages of an online funnel.


Section 1: Driving Traffic Efficiently
At the top of the funnel, we’ll focus on (1) creating ad content tailored to the times, (2) structuring your accounts for performance, and (3) marketing across channels — namely, social media placements to generate demand and search-engine marketing to capture it.

Section 2: Converting Onsite Visitors

Section 3: Growing Lifetime Value
Coming soon


Aaron Orendorff

Aaron Orendorff
Vice President Marketing, Common Thread Collective

 
 
Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen
Head of Product Marketing, Klaviyo

 

Published: May 15, 2020

1

Driving Traffic Efficiently

Creative that converts

Establish content that is sensitive to the time and matches what the target audience is thinking about by considering what triggers them.

Already, ad creative is the differentiator on algorithmic platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Having amassed the largest data set on purchase behavior ever known, “hacks” that once gave seasoned ad buyers an advantage have all but vanished.

Amidst COVID-19, this reality only intensifies.

Winning creative revolves around, first, crafting an offer that’s profitable for your business as well as empathetic to the times. Second, testing that offer’s copy (words), content (visuals and videos), and conclusion — its onsite experience and effectiveness.

In other words, it’s not enough to make your creative answer the question, “Why should your ideal customer buy from you instead of a competitor?” Instead — with new economic and social pressures brought on by global quarantine — the real question is, “Why should your ideal customer buy from you instead of a competitor right now in this moment?”

  Best practices

Divide your creative approach to coronavirus into three types: direct, indirect, and none.

  • Direct: Explicit mentions of the pandemic — e.g., COVID-19, coronavirus, etc.
  • Indirect: Secondary language about the effects of the virus like at-home, new normal, safety, health, essential, and concerns around shipping and fulfillment
  • None: Mainstay messaging that doesn’t address the situation at all

Pro tip

As you develop your creative content, place yourself in your customers’ uneasy shoes and anticipate the emotional triggers surrounding them:


You’ll think through and test each one. Mostly likely, you’ll end up with winners in each approach.

In fact, to get your creative juices going, let’s look at how these approaches have already come to life in different verticals.

  Examples

Beauty & Wellness

With customers stuck inside, there’s less need to wear makeup than usual. What’s more, switching skincare products can cause some short-term breakouts, particularly if the new product is made from natural ingredients that purge harsh chemicals.

Enter Bambu Earth’s “6-Week Skin Detox”:

Bambu Earth Facebook Ads

This is an example of the indirect approach. The ads don’t mention COVID-19, they simply embrace the zeitgeist with the opening lines, “There’s no better time.” Rather than spin up new still images, the team at Bambu Earth used existing assets and amended them with fresh copy to reflect the offer.

Once that initial offer proved effective on Facebook, the brand updated one of its existing video assets (left) and created a new video (right) with the same offer:

Bambu Earth Video Ads


Pro tip

If you don’t already have UGC (user-generated content), here are some ways that you can source it from your customers:

  1. Add a CTA in your post-purchase email sequence asking for videos and pictures explicitly, or asking them to post and tag your brand on social media.
  2. Send this email roughly 1-2 weeks after delivery so that customers have a chance to use your product before the request.
  3. Test the response rates of standalone UGC emails versus including them into your product review flow through a Klaviyo integration like Yotpo.

If you’re in a pinch and need to generate content quickly, create it yourself starring family, friends, or staff. (Don’t tell anyone 😉, but both those videos immediately above star Adrianne Verheyen, she runs Common Thread Collective training community, ADmission … and Bambu Earth just happens to be one of CTC’s in-house brands.)

As we’ll see later in the email section, indirectly addressing coronavirus in your ad creative at the top of the funnel doesn’t exclude direct messaging from other campaigns at the bottom.

As an alternative to the indirect method, Alya Skin went with using content that had no relationship with COVID-19 (none) in the wake of global quarantine.

To ease the price burden for shoppers and maintain average order value (AOV) for itself, the brand created an “AfterPay Day Slay” offer that combined (1) an automatic buy-now, pay-later option, (2) a 30% discount, and (3) bundled products.

Alya Skin Afterpay ad and checkout

Indirect and none work well in a staple category like beauty. But what about verticals that have been more negatively affected?

Fashion & Apparel

Like many apparel labels, Born Primitive was initially hit hard by social-distancing’s new normal. However, because its target audience is CrossFit enthusiasts for whom the very place they normally wear the brand was gone, COVID-19 was doubly negative.

But within that challenge lay a massive opportunity.

Wanting to do more than produce content about working out at home, Born Primitive’s CEO, Bear Handlon, decided to do something truly in service to its suffering community: a 50%-profit-sharing campaign with gyms across the United States.

For creative, Bear and a number of Born Primitive’s athletes shot short explanation videos, launched them organically, and added paid spend once proof-of-concept had been established:

Born Primitive organic Instagram ad and landing page

Born Primitive made a concerted effort to showcase all three types of content. In addition to its direct efforts (above and left below), the brand also pushed indirect creative (middle below) with the subtle line “No Delays On Order!,” and content that didn’t address the pandemic at all (right below):

Born Primitive Facebook ads

In similar fashion, premium-denim maker Mott & Bow has released a number of new creative concepts highlighting at-home targeted SKUs (left below) as well as comfort-focused and social-proof heavy ads (middle and right):

Mott & Bow Facebook and Instagram creative

The primary goal of varying your creative is to hone your own offer by testing the different approaches to see which resonates best with your audience.


Pro tip

Consider repositioning your products in the context of what people are dealing with at home. For example, if your fabric has been your differentiator, talk about the virtues of not needing to wash it as frequently or of how comfortable it is when you’re sitting at home.


Home & Pets

As a final run at content inspiration, consider two examples from brands that, on the surface, couldn’t appear more different: Igloo Coolers and Printy Pets. What unites them are their family-and-friends audiences and their creative response to COVID-19.

As a legacy manufacturer traditionally sold through retail partners, you wouldn’t expect Igloo to be having one of its best months ever since entering DTC ecommerce three years ago. But that’s exactly what’s happening.

Taking the direct path immediately after coronavirus descended, Igloo sprang into action by creating a donation collection with the CDC. The first creative iteration was so successful, it quickly unleashed ads with the same offer but for family-friendly and nostalgic products:

Igloo CDC Donation Campaign


Pro tip

Supporting a cause that benefits essential workers, healthcare personnel, or other individuals who have been heavily affected by the pandemic is a great way to promote special-edition products while also allowing your customers to give back.


Printy Pets, on the other hand, was born online. Unlike coolers, which are explicitly called out by Sparkline as one of the “fastest declining” products thanks to coronavirus (a trend Igloo has completely upended), pet product sales are skyrocketing online.

To lean into that trend, Printy Pets has capitalized on every opportunity: Easter, National Pet Day, and the wider atmosphere.

Printy Pets Easter and Cozy Up Campaign

  How-to guides

Structuring your accounts

The best creative in the world won’t drive results without a clear and measurable strategy. To do that, you’ll need a consolidated ad account structure that’s easy to manage, track, and optimize.

The core of your structure should center on three levels:

  1. Campaign Level
  2. Ad Set Level
  3. Ad Level

1. Campaign Level: Campaign Budget Optimization or “CBO”

If you’re new to Facebook Advertising, think of your Campaign as the largest of three Russian Nesting Dolls. Inside it lives the Ad Set Doll and the Ad Doll (more on them later).

Your campaign is where you turn “Campaign Budget Optimization” on, set your daily budget, and select your campaign bid strategy.

Make sure your campaign setup mimics the example below and set your Campaign Budget accordingly.

Not sure what your Campaign Daily Budget should be?

Facebook needs 50 conversions per week to optimize properly; therefore, your weekly budget should be your AOV (Average Order Value) times 50, divided by 7.

For example, if your AOV = $50, your daily budget will be ~$350.

Facebook ad account structure

2. Ad Set Level: Cost Caps & Broad Targeting

Your ad sets are where you configure your Conversion Event, Budget & Schedule, Audiences, Placement, and Optimization & Delivery.

Since the CTA on all your ads will be “Shop Now,” make sure your Conversion Event is set to “Purchase,” as shown below.

No need to set a start or end date on your ad schedule. Since you’re running with Campaign Budget Optimization and Cost Caps, Facebook will not exceed your ad budget unless it’s acquiring customers at your CPA target.

Facebook ad account structure

When it comes to audiences, just remember: broad, broad, broad. Facebook knows who your potential customers are better than you ever will.

As you’ll see in the Prospecting audience example, all we’ve done is set it to Men 18-65+ in the U.S, while excluding two custom audiences and our Lifetime Customer List. Prospecting is not true prospecting unless you’re following these exclusions. Otherwise, you’re paying precious ad dollars to re-acquire your existing customers.


Pro tip

If you have a new pixel, little to no historical data, or extremely low organic website traffic, give Facebook a little help by starting with an interest stack. For example, in a category like handmade metal jewelry, create a stack of at least one million people composed of interests that include your product one-for-one but also extend beyond it:

For example, if you’re selling handmade metal jewelry, create an interest stack with things like:

  • Joanna Gaines
  • Pinterest DIY bracelets
  • Etsy homemade jewelry
  • Etc.

Before hitting go, always make sure Detailed Targeting Expansion is turned “on.”

Facebook ad account structure, detailed targeting expansion

Next on the ad set level, turn Automatic Placements “on” as well. This means that Facebook will serve your ads where it knows your consumers are purchasing — whether it be Facebook Feed, Instagram Feed, or Instagram Stories.

Lastly, set your cost control to your true CPA target. If you’re not sure what your true CPA target is, conduct our Profitability Analysis using this simple calculator.

Facebook ad account structure, set cost control

Within your CBO Campaign, you’ll have two ad sets: (1) prospecting (outlined above) and (2) remarketing (sometimes called, retargeting).

You’ll configure your remarketing ad set up the same way with one change: audiences. Target a Custom Audience of Page Viewers from the last 7-30 days and continue to exclude past purchases:

Facebook ad account structure, target custom audience

3. Ad Level: +6 Unique Ads Within Each

Since you’re using Automatic Placements, make sure that you create each ad in two size variations: square (1:1) for feeds and vertical (9:16) for stories. Upload both sizes to the same ad and let Facebook do the rest.

As long as you’ve set Cost Caps to your CPA target, you’ll never need to kill an ad. If an ad isn’t spending, it means Facebook can’t find potential customers to serve it to.

So, what next?

Go iterate on a new ad idea that drives attention, interest, desire, and calls your customer to action. Once your new ad idea is done, drop it in the same ad set, flip it on, and trust the process!

Facebook ad account structure, iterate

It really is that easy.

Facebook ad account structure, ad examples

This structure, now tested and proven across various verticals and spend levels, takes full advantage of the Facebook Power 5 — eliminating the human decision-making element out of media buying.


Pro tip

Trust the algorithm to do its best work — the hard, analytical, mathematical work — while you (the media buyer) focus on creating ads that drive the consumer to stop in their feed, click, and purchase.


  How-to guide

Channels for demand generation and capture

Leveraging and selecting the right platforms and placements for demand generation (social) and then demand capture (search).

Creating awareness through paid social advertising inevitably leads to a significant increase in brand search activity on Google.

The outcome is logical. Some people will click on your social ads, others will not. But, the seed has been planted. Many will remember your brand – and turn to Google to find you.

When customers search on Google, your job is owning as much of that Search Engine Results Page (SERP) real estate as possible.

It’s all about plugging holes in your sales funnel, especially towards the bottom. At Common Thread Collective, we like to call it the “brand lasso.”

Search is an intent-driven medium. By the time a consumer actively looks for your brand, they’re past the awareness stage of a traditional AIDA marketing funnel – and well into interest, desire, or action driven phases.

If you’re not represented, your competitors will be happy to fill the void.

APL Shoes SERP and Google Shopping

  Best practices

To win on Google comes down to the order of approach in setup.

Configuration of Shopping campaigns is different from normal search campaigns. Instead of inputting keywords – give Google a product feed. Instead of writing ad text — product titles, descriptions, and images build the ad units.

Google Merchant Center

In order to run Google Shopping ads, set up a Google Merchant Center account and verify ownership of your website. (If you don’t already have this setup, do it first.)

Next, use an app like …

… to connect product data from your Shopify store to your Google Merchant Center “feed.”

Google Shopping by Shopify

By far the fastest and easiest setup – simply install the Shopify app, login, and connect to your Google Merchant Center account.

That’s it. A Smart Shopping campaign will be automatically created.

Be aware that connecting this app to your account will also create new conversions in Google Ads. That’s a great thing, unless you haven’t set up conversion tracking in advance. If you do have conversions set up already, keep an eye on your account as this could create duplicates.

The downside here is configurability. The app doesn’t leave a ton of room for detailed modifications.

Feed for Google Shopping

Affordable, highly configurable, and meets the needs of all but the largest SKU count projects (typically the more SKUs, the more complicated feeds are to manage).

There’s a learning curve compared to Google Shopping by Shopify, but it’s likely worth your effort. With excellent support and a YouTube channel – it offers helpful content on how to leverage the tool.


Pro tip

Once the app is configured, it’s quick work to get your feed sent over to Bing Merchant Center. This gets shopping ads running on Bing as well.


Smart Shopping

Smart Shopping is the newest version of Shopping campaigns and uses fully automated targeting and bidding. To work correctly, it’s critical that you have Google Analytics:

  1. Set up on your website
  2. With remarketing enabled
  3. Your Google Ads and Google Analytics accounts linked

Smart Shopping campaigns remove tons of heavy lifting of setting up and optimizing Shopping campaigns. Plus, their performance is excellent.

Google Smart Shopping Campaigns

With a single campaign setup, your ads will show on the Google Search Network, the Google Display Network, YouTube, and Gmail.

Brand Search Campaigns

Brand Search Ads are a core component of the strategy. However, be wary not to spend more than 20% of your total monthly budget on this campaign type.

Use brand search to defend against competitors, push promotional offers, tell interesting stories in ad text that you can’t organically, or message the moment.

During its Gym Stimulus campaign, Born Primitive achieved this explicitly through Google Ads. Notice the first text-based search result below the Google Shopping ads and how it connects with the direct messaging from Facebook:

Born Primitive Facebook and Google

Shopping Ads

Google Shopping — also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs) — is the most critical component of any ecommerce SEM strategy. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Use tools like GoDataFeed, Feedonomics, or Simprosys to format and structure your data feed to align with Google’s product feed specifications
  • Pay close attention to your product titles. The tools above allow you to modify titles before sending them to Google without adjusting your product page (PDP).
  • Monitor Google Merchant Center for issues. Submitting a product feed to Google is not a “set it and forget it” activity. Google regularly crawls the product and your store, checking for inconsistencies. Inconsistencies can result in disapprovals causing your product not to show on the SERP.
  • Connect your product reviews into Google Merchant Center. If you’re using Yotpo premium tier — or a number of other pre-approved review aggregators — this integration can be completed with just a few clicks.

Homesick State Candles Google


Pro tip

You have 150 characters to work with in the product title field. Use as much as possible. Strategize around keywords and mind the order – the beginning carries more weight than the end of the field.


RLSA Campaigns

Now that you have branded search dialed in, maximized your data feeds, and optimized shopping campaigns – it’s time to utilize traditional Search Ads.

Start with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA). This ad type specifically shows search ads to people who have already visited your site. It’s a great remarketing, bottom of funnel tactic that should yield a solid ROAS.


Pro tip

Don’t forget to “negative match” brand terms — meaning, exclude them from your RLSAs.


Categorical Search

Categorical Search is traditional search ads targeting non-branded keywords.

While common, these campaigns are likely to have a tight ROAS (due to significantly higher CPC’s compared to Shopping campaigns), bring down your account average ROAS overall, and not drive much click volume.

This doesn’t mean you should never use Categorical Search campaigns, but don’t start with them. Instead, begin with Shopping campaigns.


Pro tip

Test the newest form of targeting in Search Campaign—Dynamic Ad Groups and Dynamic Search Ads. Instead of using keywords you provide, it uses Google’s crawl data from your site to target the ads. Use that website content to dynamically generate the headline portions of the individual ad units.

Google dynamic search ads


YouTube

Right now YouTube is one of the biggest opportunities within the Google Ads platform. Here are some eye-opening YouTube stats:

  • Two billion logged-in monthly users
  • 73% of US adults use YouTube
  • On mobile alone, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any broadcast or cable TV network
  • YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and second most visited site after Google

When you’re ready to start advertising on YouTube, start with TrueView Ads (shown in the first panel):

YouTube ads types

TrueView “in-stream ads” play before or during another video. Viewers see five seconds of your video and then have the choice to keep watching or skip ahead. You only pay when they watch for at least 30 seconds, watch until the end, or click on your video ad.


Pro tip

Don’t jump right into prospecting on YouTube. Start with a remarketing audience. You’ll get a better initial ROAS and then you can use successful remarketing audiences to build future ‘similar’ (aka look-a-like) audiences for prospecting campaigns


Display

Keep in mind your Smart Shopping campaigns automatically include Dynamic Product remarketing, so take that into account when thinking about when (or if) you want to execute a separate Display strategy.

If you do decide to invest in display on the Google Display Network start with remarketing. Target the most recent visitors first—starting with a list that includes only the last 7 days of visitors, if you have enough traffic.

If you don’t have enough traffic to fill a 7-day remarketing audience (Google requires at least 1,000 users), consider lengthening to 14 days or 21 days. But each expansion will likely reduce the overall return you can expect from the campaign.

Display Prospecting is only going to be relevant in the most advanced projects, with an active understanding of top of funnel measurement metrics, long view-through attribution, and a desire to drive a branding impact as well as bottom line ROAS. These campaigns will have sub 0.50 ROAS measurements in Google Ads, at best.


Pro tip

Use the new Responsive Display Ads (RDA) format for your display ads. The ad units are generated dynamically from a collection of text and image inputs provided by the advertiser. They save time, requiring your team to produce less, individual sized assisted. And have shown significantly increased delivery over standard display ads.


OPTIMIZATION

With our laser focus on measuring direct sales and ROAS at times we don’t do enough to value other less direct actions that absolutely contribute to the whole—like new email user signups.

Do some calculations to come up with an estimate of how much an email user is worth to your company. Then start measuring those email users sign up in Google Analytics as a goal conversion. Then import that conversion to Google Ads, and set the value of the conversion to the value you came up with in your earlier calculation. Now you’re officially reporting conversion value tied to the number of new email user signups that result from your Google Ads campaigns.

Putting it all together

To close out this first section, let’s look at a few final instances of how these top-of-the-funnel approaches come together in the wild.

  Examples

Bondi Boost — which we saw above — united its social campaigns with both Google Shopping and Google Ads. With the first, its branded PLAs feature the same products as its Facebook ads while its text-based Ads highlight a “30-day Money Back Guarantee”:

BondiBoost Facebook and Google

We already called attention to Born Primitive’s use of social-plus-search in its direct COVID-19 “Back the Gyms” campaigns. A similar, though more general tactic, is used across the board now that the direct campaign has ended:

Born Primitive Instagram ad and Google

As an alternative to social and search, Lauren Moshi guides its prospective shoppers with leading-edges through Instagram Stories Ads and Facebook Stories Ads. It then uses Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) — a far more product-centric ad type — to remarket and close the loop:

Lauren Moshi Instagram stories, Facebook stories, and Facebook ad

Doral Bracelets bridges the demand divide from Facebook to SMS to branded search:

Dorsal Bracelets

And finally, with Igloo, we’re right back to where we started — a straightforward movement from social advertising to Google:

Igloo Coolers Facebook and Google


Pro tip

The point with all these variations isn’t to overwhelm you with options. Rather, it’s to overwhelm your audience, but in a good way. As long as you’ve set up your accounts following the guidelines above, you’ll be ready to test quickly and discover exactly where your audience discovers your brand … and exactly where you need to be to tighten your funnel.


  How-to guides

2

Converting onsite visitors

Capturing emails

After you successfully drive traffic to your site, it’s time to convert them.

Obviously, it’s best to drive a conversion, but we all know that only 2% convert on site. What about the remaining 98%? You can still convert them by collecting their email address.

A collected email address or phone number is an opportunity to start a conversation with a visitor on the marketing channels you own (e.g., email, SMS, social media), build a relationship, and eventually convert them into a customer.

However, there’s also a careful balance that you need to strike between asking a visitor to sign up and interrupting their website experience, potentially distracting them from making a purchase on your site.

Different types of forms and form behaviors can ensure the experience is less disruptive. Add time delays so forms don’t appear right away and visitors can browse more freely. Use exit intent forms to ask for emails only after they’ve decided to leave.

  Best practices

Use signup forms to deliver more relevant information to different web visitors. Give current subscribers and repeat customers updated information about products and shipping so they know what to expect.

For net new visitors discovering your site for the first time, ensure your form has an on brand design and gives visitors a compelling reason to enter their email address. Some suggestions enticing visitors to subscribe to your newsletter include:

  • Providing a discount or offer (e.g. free shipping, free gift, free samples, etc)
  • Highlighting benefits of newsletter subscription (e.g. early access to product releases)
  • Promoting VIP membership (e.g. exclusive discounts and access to new product)

  Examples

Beauty & Wellness

Youth to the People combines a first order discount with a quick question about the visitors skin type. Visitors are incentivized by the discount but also feel more connected to the brand by being asked a question about their own skin.

Youth to the People signup form

Youth to the People uses the answer to that simple question to begin segmenting its subscribers.

Bambu Earth takes a similar approach … only with far greater depth. Front and center on its homepage—as well as the entry-point for three different paid campaigns—is “Our Skin Quiz”:

Bambu Earth skin quiz

While its quiz officially contains 17 questions (two of which are shown in the left panels below), visitors actually experience 25 separate screens. Those extra eight are essentially nothing more than filler clicks (shown in the right two panels):

Bambu Earth skin quiz examples

Why the extra screens and clicks?

Because, as brand manager Kohlman Verheyen explains, “People want the fluff! The first question has a 20% drop-off rate, but that’s basically bounce rate. The rest of the questions have an average of less than 1% drop off.

“We split tested more versus less—both in the form of questions and extra screens throughout. Everytime more won.”

As we’ll see in Section 3, Bambu Earth employs the results of the Skin Quiz in a highly personalized email sequence with both immediate and long-term (lifetime customer value) results.


Pro tip

Create your own entry-level quiz either through Klaviyo or Typeform, which you can integrate directly into Klaviyo. Determine what demographic information as well as shopper information — e.g., email, ZIP code, etc. — you need most to send personalized flows. Then, test the length of the quiz to optimize completions and customer value. The results may surprise you.


Fashion & Apparel

Going the direct route, Serengetee created a new sign up experience for visitors after they started making masks instead of their staple T-shirts. Visitors looking for a more stylish and comfortable mask can be informed when the next batch is available.

Serengetee next mask signup form

In contrast, on Mott & Bows’ homepage, the first email capture doesn’t include any COVID-19 references. Instead, it prompts new visitors to identify the type of product — Men’s, Women’s, or Both — they’re shopping for.

After that initial question, it immediately serves up one of two offers:

Mott & Bow email capture homepage

However, take note: that initial pop-up disappears when shoppers enter the store through an ad.

Mott & Bow ad collection

That’s because the ads themselves are already gender specific. Only after selecting a product from a collection page — or, if a visitor shows exit intent during checkout when the ad leads straight to a PDP — does the pop-up appear.

This time, however, the first step is simply accepting the offer; followed by the email field:

Mott & Bow alternative pop ups

With price at the forefront of shoppers’ minds, Mott & Bow’s mix of different discount offers — $20 e-gift card, 15% off first purchases, and free shipping for $100 or more orders — is the real lesson.

What’s more, there are other ways to deliver the discount process or side-step it entirely. From left to right below:

email capture fashion and accessories


Pro tip

One size does not fit all. Finding the right entry offer to your email list should follow two parallel paths. First, the customer: namely, where they come from (organic versus paid) and where they arrive at (homepage, collection page, or product page). Second, your business: can your margins support discounting … and can your brand’s inherent value?


Home & Pets

Much like the examples already highlighted, getting new shoppers into your home, pet, or family email list can take a variety of forms. What matters most is testing these options for yourself.

In the pet industry, for instance, three familiar formats can serve as starting points.

In the first two, West & Willow and Printy Pets gamify email capture with slightly different messaging. In the third, PupSocks present a straightforward discount … but combines that offer with a subtle nod to UCG (user-generated content) by using recent photos submitted by customers and tagging those customers Instagram accounts.

Pet pop ups for email

Equally important to notice, and then apply to your own site, is PupSocks Father’s Day Sale in the background.

With traditional retail shoppers turning to ecommerce, upcoming season events — like back-to-school and especially Black Friday, Cyber Monday — have grown in importance.

Earlier this year, PupSocks:

  • United two “moments”: Pet Day and COVID-19
  • Partnered with the Humane Society of the United States
  • And drove conversions with clear — and custom — product imagery

PupSocks National Pet Dayy and COVID-19


Pro tip

In the lead up to major shopping events …

  • Buy your traffic early, while it’s still less expensive
  • Collect emails on a custom landing page previewing the sale
  • Retarget heavily on paid social and search engine marketing to that list
  • And lean hard on multiple emails during the special days — triggered by individual subscribes engagement levels (open, CTR, and purchases) so you don’t become bothersome

Just like health and wellness, incentivized surveys are a powerful way to collect emails alongside visitor information. Dog supplement company Goodboy does this masterfully with a combination of fill in the blanks, dropdowns, and on-page sections:

Goodboy quiz

It then delivers the results both immediately after the survey on-page and through email:

Goodboy results

If all that feels daunting, let’s close this section out with a near identical sign-up option with where we started. You can also use the sign up opportunity to collect more information about each subscriber that will help you personalize your messaging later on — even if that collection point is simple landing page:

Register your pet's birthday or adoption form


Pro tip

Use the conversion opportunity to show off your brand and collect more relevant information beyond the email address. Collecting this information upfront allows The Dog Bakery to send personalized birthday messages to every dog owner—a special touch that creates loyal, repeat customers for life.


  How-to guides

Building relationships

The first step towards building a relationship between a new subscriber and your brand is to send them a timely, relevant, and personal follow up message. This helps to establish expectations and welcome them to your brand. The first message should continue the conversation you started on the signup form. For example, if you provided a discount on your sign-up form to entice the subscriber to sign-up, the first message must deliver on that promise.

Continue building the relationship beyond the welcome series by communicating with them at key moments of interaction to create unique experiences for them.

Some examples of key moments of interaction include sending them a post-purchase follow-up to help them enjoy the product more or if they come back to the site and browse products, say hello to them via email and give them more information on the products they’re interested in. If the customer hasn’t ordered in awhile, send them a message and tell them about your new products or deals that they don’t want to miss out on. All of these messages can be personalized using relevant data about the individual customer, their preferences, and their behaviors.

For example, for your very best customers, create a VIP program that make your best customers feel special. Send them special offers and exclusive access to product drops. This will help these customers feel special and build more loyalty towards your brand.

  Best practices

Personalization is the key to successful relationship building. Communicate more personally by showing you know who they are. Use data and triggers from behaviors, purchases, and preferences to make every message feel like it was sent to an audience of one. This will help to turn all of your customers into more valuable customers.

  Examples

Beauty & Wellness

Ursa Major is a skin care brand that uses all natural products and they use the opportunity to thank their subscribers and immediately invite them to shop with their discount. With this initial welcome series message, Ursa Major delivers on their promise and with a simple thank you, establishes a more human connection with every subscriber.

Ursa Major welcome series thank you email

Fashion & Apparel

Nisolo is a leather shoes and accessory brand that does a great job reminding subscribers how Nisolo products are different because of their ethical and sustainable design. They also remind subscribers to expect information on new arrivals and product tips while providing their coupon code for 15% off.

Nisolo welcome email

Family & pets

Little Giraffe sells baby products and accessories that help you welcome and love your new baby boy or girl. Their welcome series echoes that sentiment to their subscribers by welcoming them to the Little Giraffe family. A great way to immediately make a more personal connection.

Little Giraffe welcome email

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Common Thread

About Common Thread Collective

Common Thread Collective is an ecommerce growth agency that exists to help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. We guide $2M-$30M DTC brands to scale profitably – across acquisition, conversion, and retention.

Learn more about how we’ve transformed our content services into a distributed COVID-19 powerhouse. Even when the world shuts down, get …

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Klaviyo

About Klaviyo

Klaviyo is the world’s leading owned marketing platform known for accelerating revenue for online business using the channels they own like email, web and mobile. Enabling companies to leverage these owned marketing channels, Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications. Unlike other marketing platforms Klaviyo doesn’t force companies to compromise between advanced functionality or ease of use – so companies of all sizes are able to maximize their sales quickly. That’s why over 31,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink and Eventbrite sell more with Klaviyo.

Grow with Klaviyo

So, what is Klaviyo?

Klaviyo is the world’s leading owned marketing platform known for accelerating revenue for online business using the channels they own like email, web and mobile. Enabling companies to leverage these owned marketing channels, Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications. Unlike other marketing platforms Klaviyo doesn’t force companies to compromise between advanced functionality or ease of use - so companies of all sizes are able to maximize their sales quickly. That’s why over 21,000 innovative companies like Unilever, Custom Ink and Eventbrite sell more with Klaviyo. Learn more at Klaviyo.com

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