In this Q&A session, Chase tells us about his journey in eCommerce Email Marketing, shares some key insights for starting out with email marketing, and gives advice for eCommerce brands and email marketers in a post-iOS 15 world.
Chase is currently a Partner at Structured — a top eCommerce marketing agency, where he runs the email team. Since June of 2018, Structured has helped clients send over a billion emails resulting in over $75 million in email attributable revenue. A few of our previous and current clients include Orgain, The Chive, Original Grain, and CrossNet.
Watch the interview below or if you prefer to read, scroll down to check out the full Q&A.
My name is Chase Dimond. I’m a partner at Structured. We’re an eCommerce marketing agency and I run our retention team, predominantly focused on email and we do a little bit of SMS. Over the past few years, I’ve done over $75 million in email attributable revenue.
Outside my agency, which does eCommerce marketing and in particular email marketing, I also have a personal brand that I run which is a weekly newsletter, some social content and online courses. On the social side, I’ve got tens of thousands of followers that are all listening and watching for email marketing tips. There are also about 20,000 people on my weekly newsletter and I also run an eCommerce podcast. So I’m doing a lot of content in the space focused on helping folks learn eCommerce email marketing for their business, agency, or for freelancers to be able to start selling it as a service.
Outside of college, I was working at an Edtech company, basically building a product that connected students on college campuses with others in their classroom and email was a really core component in terms of driving retention and usage. Outside of that, I’ve built an email travel series called ‘The Discoverer’ where essentially we inspired people to travel the world straight from their inbox and we scaled out from zero to half a million email subscribers in 10 months and email was actually an acquisition channel.
So we were leveraging cold email, sending highly personalised emails at scale to invite folks to join our Facebook group, enter into giveaways to invite them to opt into a landing page and then on the back end the email newsletter was the business. It was much like The Hustle, The Skim and Morning Group. So I built this skill set in leveraging email as an acquisition channel as well as a retention and conversion channel. And then I saw the future being selling products. So I ventured into eCommerce about four years ago. I haven’t looked back and have been doing eCommerce email marketing ever since.
I think at this point now we’ve sent more than a billion emails, doing tens of millions of dollars every month for our clients. So I think eCommerce email marketing is here to stay and it’s a really fun thing that I love. I think it’s a great thing for people to pick up either for their business or offering it as a service to other businesses.
Getting to consult and work with some of the brands that I idolised growing up has been one of the coolest things. One of the brands that was huge when I was in high school was called ‘The Chive’ – a men’s millennial site that attracts tens of millions of people to their website every year. Their eCommerce business, ‘The Chivery’, does eight figures, and I had the opportunity for about two years to actually consult for them. It was like a childhood dream that I never thought would come true. It’s almost like a kid that wanted to play pro sports, I gotta go pro in that sport, obviously not that same magnitude, pro sports is a little bit cooler, but for me that just felt like such a cool thing, so I think being able to work with entrepreneurs that are creating cool products and being able to help them build that bond that relationship with their list is so crucial, and email such a great channel for building and deepening that kind of that relationship.
I just love the fact that email, even though it’s a channel, that’s ‘one to many’ – it’s really a channel that feels intimate. Whereas with something like Facebook, there’s a lot of distractions on your screen. There might be organic posts from your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your mom, your dad, your coworker, right? And then there’s an ad. And sure, the ads can be effective, but there are so many other distractions on screen. Whereas with email, you have no idea how many people this is going to. If I do a good job as an email marketer, it feels like you’re the only person that’s actually receiving this email.
We’re kind of out of this interesting time where we’re kind of in a post-iOS 14/14.5 world. We’ve been living in it and for a lot of brands and agencies, it’s been really difficult. It’s challenging for marketers to not have as much visibility. Not being able to have some of the proper attribution, not being able to target audiences as granularly as we once could, it’s become increasingly difficult.
And now we’re on the pre-iOS 15 side, which is basically what iOS 14/14.5 is for marketers on top of the funnel. iOS 15 is kind of that same thing, but for email marketers and it’s starting to be rolled out. iOS 15 is going to happen at some point in the autumn of 2021 and it’s going to take all the people on Apple devices and basically show those people either as 100% of them opened your emails, or 0% of them opened.
It’s going to be able to mask the open rate data for Apple users, which for marketers it’s gonna be hard for us to know who’s actually opening the emails, who’s not opening the emails and it’s going to present some challenges.
I also think some opportunities are going to come from it. Before it rolls out, the best thing that you could do is send as many campaigns that are relevant as possible. Testing the subject lines, preview text, offers, design vs HTML. If you take advantage of some of these things while you have the open rate data, it’s going to be so important.
The best thing you can do before iOS15 is to send as many email campaigns that are as relevant as possible. Test subject lines, preview text, offers, design.
So when I’m auditing an account, there’s a few things I’m looking at first and foremost. I’m looking at how much revenue is email currently driving as a percentage of total revenue. I think most brands should be able to drive at least 20-30% of their revenue/from email. So 20 to 30% of your total revenue should come from your retention and in particular your email. If you have things like SMS then that percentage could be even higher. And then from there, I’m looking at things that actually contribute to making revenue and the main two things that we’re looking at are campaigns and flows. A campaign is a one-time send to a group of people such as a product launch or a holiday offer. Whereas a flow is an automated email that takes place off some kind of trigger.
Think about someone joining your list through a pop-up that will then trigger a welcome series. Or think about someone being on your list adding to cart, not starting check-out and not buying, that will trigger an abandoned cart.
So on the campaign side, one of the first questions I ask is are we sending enough campaigns per week? For some brands that’s two campaigns a week. For other brands that’s five or six campaigns a week. So finding that equilibrium where you’re maximising revenue and minimising churn is so important and the way that you do it is you start with one campaign per week. Then you analyse the open rate, look at the click-through, look at the conversion.
If all those things look great, awesome. Now, look at the negative things, things like the marked as spam and unsubscribes. If all those things look good and in-line with industry-standard, go to two campaigns per week. If everything looks great with two, go to three. Maybe at that three email point is where you find friction – the open rates decrease, click through decreases, the conversion decreases and then all the negative things increase. At this point, you should know that your brand should be sending two emails per week. Obviously, you have to make sure you also hitting the right segments – people that are opening, people that are clicking, people that are active on your website, and people that are making purchases/from you. Those are the users that you need to be mailing 80 or 90% of the time.
And then on the other side of the house, there’s the automation, making sure that you have coverage both on pre and post-purchase is so important. Pre-purchase is things like the welcome series, the abandoned cart, the abandoned checkout, back in stock. Post-purchase is things like the customer thank-you, up-sells, cross-sells and win-backs. So making sure that you have emails at each touchpoint in the customer journey is so important.
So on the software side, we’re pretty much exclusive to working with Klaviyo. That’s the eCommerce email marketing platform that all 75 brands of ours are using. In my opinion, that’s probably the best tool for eCommerce.
On the automation side, one of the newer automations that we started rolling out is this one called ‘Site Abandonment’. I know it kind of goes against all this privacy stuff and it’s a little bit creepy, but it’s been actually really effective in moving people from consideration and to actually viewing specific products and taking that next step in the funnel. So it’s essentially people that are on your blog or on your website but haven’t really done much else. How do you move them from being on your website to actually looking at a specific product? Maybe it’s pushing your best seller or maybe something on sale that would interest them.
I’m super pumped for eComm live. You can see me talking about campaigns, automation and segmentation. I’m going to be running through an email marketing playbook that’s applicable to brands, agencies and freelancers alike. I’m gonna have a bunch of examples and I’m excited to see what people think and answer as many questions as possible.
You can hear Chase speak at eComm Live 2022. He’ll be sharing his talk ‘The eCommerce Email Marketing Playbook for Brands, Agencies and Freelancers.’ Chase will be joining us on a live stream from the US this year, but we can’t wait to welcome him to eComm Live in person next year.
Book your tickets today for Ireland’s leading eCommerce event.