Building Your Email & SMS Foundation 

 November 30, 2022

By  HiFlyer

This ecommerce strategy article is an excerpt from our new book, The Ultimate Ecommerce Email & SMS Playbook. We’re diving into our ecommerce strategy chapter focused on the 7 Reasons Why Ecommerce Customers Leave Your Brand.

As we’re about to embark on sharing the secret email and SMS strategies of the top 1%, let’s do a pre-launch check. 

There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a new strategy, gearing up to launch it, and then discovering a major roadblock. Maybe you realize that you don’t have the right infrastructure in place, data is totally out of sync, or you don’t have the deliverability reputation to succeed. 

I’ll be the first to tell you: I know what that’s like! During my time as Director of CRM, our management team came up with tons of ideas, strategies, and tactics. We used to sit in a room offsite for two full days and whiteboard out a full email, SMS and CRM strategy, start to finish. 

Being relatively new to the role, I was entirely on board and excited to jump in with my ideas and perspectives. We orchestrated an amazing post-purchase strategy, welcome series, win-back series, nurture program, and upsell/cross plan for our main brand and four sister brands. 

After the offsite, we began the project management part of the plan. Here’s where we started hitting some bumps in the road. Apparently, we didn’t have mission-critical data coming into our ESP in real-time. I also discovered that some important customer insights weren’t coming in at all; they were never scoped to be brought into our ESP. That would set the project back a few weeks. 

While we waited for the data requests to be scoped, approved, and implemented, we began modeling some post-purchase segments to ensure they matched with our audience projections. The counts were wildly inaccurate; the raw data showed 200,000 subscribers who bought a certain brand, but the segment counts in our ESP were 30,000. Big red flags shot up. 

We didn’t have a SQL expert on staff, but I knew the basics like building SQL queries. I used to spend all day trying to figure out why the counts were so wildly inaccurate. There was a time when my CMO even rolled up his sleeves and whipped out his SQL skills, spending half the day on SQL queries, and the counts were still bizarrely inaccurate.

We came to the conclusion that if we planned on implementing the cutting-edge strategies that would help us level up our brand, we would need a new ESP and a full audit of our entire tech stack. You can hear the Debbie Downer groan from here. 

My hope for you is that you don’t run into the same hard-stop experiences. If I’m going to share the exact strategy of the top 1%, I want to make sure you have the right tools to implement it right away. There’s nothing worse than stifling the momentum you get after a great book, webinar, conference, or mastermind session.

So, let’s start with a brief overview of the basic building blocks of a successful email and SMS program for e-commerce brands. Side note: if you do feel you have your email and SMS foundation set, jump ahead to chapter six. If not, read ahead!

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