In this episode of the Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast, Dave Rodenbaugh, the founder of Recapture.io, joins us to talk about implementing the standard playbook of emails (and why you don't need all of them at once).
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- How to implement the standard playbook of emails
- How to craft the perfect abandoned cart sequence
- Best practices for A/B testing in the email flows
- Understanding the mechanics of post-purchase emails
- And more
Links & Resources
Shopify App Store: https://apps.shopify.com/recapture-abandoned-cart-and-email-marketing
About Our Podcast Guests: Dave Rodenbaugh
Dave Rodenbaugh is a successful entrepreneur, founder of Recapture.io, and email marketing expert. Since its creation in 2015, Recapture has processed over $2 billion in gross merchant volume (GMV) and recovered over $225 million for global stores. Dave is also the co-host of the RogueStartups podcast and the WP Minute Ecommerce show, where he shares his passion for making merchants more successful. With a love for dark beer and lifestyle businesses, Dave enjoys finding hidden opportunities for his clients to achieve greater success with email marketing. However, his family comes first above all else.
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Claus Lauter: Hello. Welcome to another episode of the e-Commerce Coffee Break. Email is still the most important marketing tool that is out there. It's owned marketing. It reaches people, so don't, , underestimate email even with all the artificial intelligence that's coming out there, it's still there. So today we want to talk about our.
You can use email specifically for CAR A management and also S M s because there's a lot of potential for a lot of store owners and a lot of them don't get it right. So with me on the show today as a guest, as a specialist on this topic, I have Dave Rodenbaugh. He's the founder of recapture.io. Created in 2015.
Recapture has processed over 2 billion across merchant volume and recovered over 225 million for stores worldwide. Stepping into emails in 2012. So that's a long time. That's 11 [00:02:00] years email. , Dave knows email inside and out and we wanna dive a little bit more in there beside of email. Dave is also a dark beer lover, runs a lifestyle business, and it's obviously a family man.
So not necessary in that order, but let's welcome Dave to the show. Hi Dave, how are
Dave Rodenbaugh: you today? I'm great, Klaus. And thank you for having me here on the Coffee Break podcast. This is awesome.
Claus Lauter: To have you, Dave email I just said is around for a long time. know where. Tell me a little bit about your story and specifically email and e-commerce, how you got into it and why you think it's important.
Dave Rodenbaugh: I've been doing email marketing in one form or another since like, , 2012. So I used to run a couple of, , digital products. , they were WordPress plugins, and that's kind of how I cut my teeth on the whole, email marketing thing. , I had friends of mine that were building tools and email marketing, and it was sort of like the.
Talk back in 2012 of, Hey, you better do this for your digital products. And in the space that I was in in WordPress, it was underused. So it actually had outsized impact. , I got to [00:03:00] see sort of the early impact of that in the WordPress space, which was kind of cool. But I learned about abandoned carts and just general promotions and how to do AB testing and subject lines and all of that sort of stuff.
In 2016, I had an opportunity to purchase this tool, , that was built by these two guys that ran a magenta store and they were selling, , custom iPhone cases that were carved, with a laser printer. And they, , built Abandoned cart tool on the side of their business because they didn't like the options that they had in Magenta.
, they got this business that's doing six figures a month and this little tiny sass over here. And they're like, well, where, where should we spend our time? So they said, all right, we can't keep this thing. It doesn't make sense, right. So they sold it and then I, , jumped on board because I was like, wow, email is really exciting.
Email is really cool and it's super powerful. I mean, I had already seen the outsized impact that it had on my other digital products business, which I eventually sold. I've been, uh, convert ever since. One of the things that I really like about Recapture is, Watching [00:04:00] exactly how much we can make for merchants, just with some very simple things, a very straightforward playbook , to make them more successful.
So yeah, that's a little bit about my email journey there. Okay. You said
Claus Lauter: playbook. I think that's a bit of the keyword there. , when it comes to setting up close or doing the right email card, abandoned emails and everything that follows there, post purchase emails, winberg emails, goes all hand and hand, and.
Always the purpose to get a customer that otherwise would have left, bring them back and buy more or finalize the checkout. What can we understand with the playbook when it comes to
Dave Rodenbaugh: this? There's a lot of different kinds of emails. it doesn't really matter what email tool you're using.
There's a lot of them out there, and many of them support the same sorts of things. But basically when I talk about an email playbook, I'm talking about like those campaigns that you should be sending based on the size of your store. , if you're getting started, you don't need every single kind of email, end of the playbook.
And conversely, If you're doing eight or nine figures a year, like you should have a pretty rich set of [00:05:00] campaigns out there that are highly segmented in doing a variety of different things and targeting different customers in different ways. But the problem , is that my observation of doing this for the past seven years with kinds of merchants is that either.
They go too much too soon or they just never put enough in at all. Like those are the two extremes. It's a very rare thing to watch somebody go through and do this standard playbook of, okay, you do abandoned cart recovery, you gotta send a welcome series, you should do some post-purchase follow-ups, and then you know, all of those things can be expanded.
You can go. Abandoned carts and checkouts to browse abandonment. And with the welcome series you can go to longer things and promotional, and with the post-purchase you can do winbacks and review reminders and upsells and cross sells and educational series and all different kinds of stuff like that. , there's definitely a lot that people can do, but it's weird because, it seems like there's enough information out there that a savvy merchant should just be able to like grab onto this right.
Of. And do the right thing [00:06:00] all the time. But, that's not my experience based on what I've seen with recapture customers.
Claus Lauter: Okay. , that's an interesting observation. , I agree with that. walk me through a, a perfect abundant cart, maybe as a start. How many steps does it involve when does it kick in?
And all of these things.
Dave Rodenbaugh: The golden answer here is it depends. But in the absence of any other data that you have, I would say that you kind of wanna start with something that is pretty basic, gather some data to learn because that's the only way you're ever gonna know how your audience reacts.
And ultimately you have to connect with your customer in a way that is going to have an impact. And if you don't have any data, you're never gonna figure that out. Starting with nothing. If you don't know anything about your audience, I would say at a minimum you want to have three abandoned cart emails.
We do sort of , a little mnemonic, and I call it R P C. So you use the first email to remind them. So that's the r. Then you use the second email to try to persuade them a little bit more. That's the p , and then you use the third email to close them. I have [00:07:00] seen people do more emails than that.
I've seen people go crazy and they've done like eight sequence abandoned cart stuff, you know, five sequence abandoned cart stuff. I see a lot of merchants that just go one. I would never recommend one because the money is always in the follow ups. But, , in terms of like the perfect ideal starting abandoned cart series, do at least three see how that goes?
And in terms of the timing, you're gonna have to figure this out. I'll tell you a story in a minute about, a pet supply store that, figured out some very specific timings that are gonna break the rules I'm about to tell you. , so in terms of. Starting, the remind, you wanna do that pretty quickly after they've abandoned the cart.
So roughly about an hour is a good starting point if you don't know anything else. , then after that, the persuade email, which, , we usually like to put in things like social proof, , and testimonials and stuff that tries to convince the customer, , that will send out like a day after. , and then the one that's closing, this is where People should be putting a discount. , and if you're gonna discount at all, you don't have to discount, of course. [00:08:00] And that, is gonna depend very much on your margins and a lot of other stuff that's going on with your store. But if you're gonna do that, somewhere between two to three days, up to maybe a week, kind of depends on your product, , the urgency you have with it.
Now, with that all said, If you know your audience really, really well and you know the product that they're trying to get, like you can break all of these rules. So here's the example that I have for that. , this guy ran a pet supply store. And what he ended up doing was he noticed that when customers put in this one antibiotic in their cart, it basically was signaling that they had a problem with their fish and it was extremely urgent.
So he basically had a 10 minute reminder , 30 minute reminder, a two hour reminder, a four hour reminder, and an eight hour reminder. And, , he went through this whole sequence and normally you'll get about 10% boost in revenue from your abandoned carts. This guy saw a 36% boost in his revenue [00:09:00] just doing this because he understood the urgency of that one purchase.
He really targeted his audience super, super well. . And so that was an extremely lucrative thing. You have to know your audience to get to that point. So if you don't have any other data, start with three. Do a rough timing. I use a little mnemonic, what that is. 1, 1, 1. So one hour, one day, one week.
You can tweak that a little bit to one hour, one day, two, three days, whatever. That's not as nice of a mnemonic, right? But something like that works extremely. So gather data, learn about your audience, and then improve on your sequence. That's what's worked in abandoned cart.
Claus Lauter: Okay. No, sounds great.
I love The example that you gave. a lot of merchants have experienced that. Obviously customers have learned how eCommerce works. They know there might abundant cards coming, and they're basically just waiting for the last email with the discount code. I like that you mentioned there's like, don't necessarily put a discount code in there.
Think about something else. Otherwise we'll get the people that are just cheap. You don't, don't necessarily want these as clients. [00:10:00] Now, when it comes to , ab testing, , you need to figure out who your customer is and, , obviously which product performs how do you recommend , a perfect way to do ab testing through the sequence or even through the, content of the text of your abundant card sequence?
Dave Rodenbaugh: So there's lots of things I can say about AB testing. So one thing is I don't think that people are bold enough with their AB tests. People are doing really lame things. Like they'll be like, uh, I'm gonna change one word on the button, or I'm gonna change the color of the button. Or, I'm gonna rearrange my subject, but I'm not gonna make it radically different than the other subject.
Like, if you're going to do ab tests, You really should test some bold stuff. I mean, it's fine to optimize if you really have been doing this a long time and you know that the sequence really performs well and you just want to tweak it to get that absolute maximum out of there, that's okay. But the tests that I watch people do, Are just not extreme enough.
Like if you're gonna do it, like having two entirely different subject lines. One maybe is make it a little bit, , funny or make it a little bit risque or something that's gonna stand out in the inbox. Like you have to take some [00:12:00] chances with your AB testing. That's the whole point of AB testing is to find out how your audience reacts.
So, Know your audience and you're gonna be able to do that Well, when I do ab tests, I like to do big, bold things and I'll try to change multiple things at a time. Maybe it's image creatives and the body copy and the preview text and the subject line all at the same time. So we have literally two radical different.
Kinds of email and then see which one kind of sticks with your audience. And I think you're gonna see bigger changes in that. If you're just doing little teeny, tiny changes, , you're gonna have a harder time seeing, oh, well, it might look a little bit different. But you know, with AB testing, you get things like the novelty effect where, hey, it's just a little bit different.
So your customers react to it just a little bit different, and ultimately they don't care. And in the end it kind of reverts to the means so, You don't get the kind of lift outta your AB tests that you really want or need. I would recommend that people go big and try bold things. , the other thing is that I've noticed on AB testing is that people don't run their [00:13:00] tests long enough.
There's a reason that we talk about statistical significance, you know, on recapture we've got it set so that, you know, you can run the test based on a number of sin. And I just got a, A thing the other day. This guy was like, Hey, I want to end the test early. I've done 50 cents and this one is really winning.
And I'm like, okay. Yeah, but. Fifties kind of low. Like you kind of need more than that. You know, I recommend no less than a hundred to really get some solid data behind that. And even then that's, you know, kind of iffy. So if you don't have high volume, you really need to go for these big, bold tests to see any kind of change on an AB test at all.
Claus Lauter: Yeah, data is your friend, and I think even hundred, you said hundred seems to be on the low end. , the more you get, the better your results will be now recapture goes further than abundant card, and I wanna touch on more, one more topic , that's post purchase emails.
, somebody has bought from you, they're on a high, and likelihood that they will buy more[00:14:00] is, , is very high. Tell me about post purchase emails. How do they work?
Dave Rodenbaugh: There's lots of different kinds of post-purchase emails, there's so many different ways that stores can lean into this and do a better job, because really your three most lucrative campaigns that you can send in your store are abandoned carts, the welcome series and post-purchase follow ups, and there's a whole variety.
, things that you can go to in there, but the one that I think people do the poorest job on is making sure that your customer is successful with the product that they just bought. Are they happy with it? Do they know how to return or get customer support from you if something's going wrong? Is there some educational content that needs to go along with it?
If you're selling supplements and they got this packet of powder here, did you tell them all the different recipes that go with. So that they're going to enjoy it more, like give them a good experience on this , in as many dimensions as possible, because this works to your benefit in two ways. Number one, if you go and ask for a [00:15:00] review later, they're gonna be like, oh yeah, this was awesome.
I totally love it, and they're gonna be giving that to you without hesitation. Number two, if you want to retain them and see them come back again for a repeat. They're more likely to do it if they had a great experience the first time. So it is in your interest to do an automated follow up after the purchase just to make sure, do they know how to use your product?
Do they like the product? Do they have questions about your product? , are they going to be successful with whatever it is that you just sold them? And that's ultimately what all post-purchase emails try to go around. Now, there's definitely some that are you doing upsells? Are you doing winbacks and stuff like that.
But if you haven't focused on that first customer onboarding customer success piece, you're gonna have a harder time doing those others. That's, again, one of those things outta the playbook. You've gotta have those first three nailed in order for anything else if you're gonna land and expand.
Claus Lauter: . . Now, recap, obviously, is available [00:16:00] for a couple of platforms. You mentioned Megento, WooCommerce, Shopify. How does the integration work into shop?
Dave Rodenbaugh: So we've got a pretty deep integration with Shopify. It's an app that's available on the app store and we connect into, , the common web hooks that Shopify allows.
So there's the cart, the order hook, web hook, the customer web hook, and stuff like that. And so as we're seeing updates that come directly from your store, we pull that data live into recapture. So, one of the cool things about recapture that you don't see on a lot of other platforms is that we have something called a live cart feed.
And you can actually see a visual representation of all your carts that are in there, in what state that they're in. So you could see all the customers that are active on the store, those that have abandoned without an email, and those that have abandoned with some kind of contact information like email or mobile, and then all of your sales, along with little badges that says, Hey, recapture help with these right here.
So that's possible because of the integration that we have with Shopify on these other platform.
Claus Lauter: I had a look on a couple of screenshots and I [00:17:00] also see that you have sort of , a predictive, , tool in there that it basically predicts already how much you can do. Is that right?
Dave Rodenbaugh: So there's a couple of different things.
We try to display some analytics that help you make good decisions about things. So we do lots of reports on the campaigns and things like that. , we actually also just did this thing, , for the first time this year, kinda like Spotify Unwrapped. We did recapture, rehashed. Where I'll like do a recap of your stats from the year of like, here's your store's summary and here's all the campaigns, and here's what they did for their open conversion, click complaint, unsubscribes, all these rates.
Stuff that kind of tell helps you make some better decisions. But we also tell you about things like your customer lifetime value. So a lot of stores have no clue what this looks like, we will take the data from your store and try to make some intelligent calculations on that. And obviously we have some limits based on how long we've known your store.
So initially, when we start out, We're pulling data from about six months and then trying to make some forward predictions based on that. But once you've been with us for a while, like we have a pretty [00:18:00] good idea of what that customer lifetime value is. So when you make, , changes to things or when you do abandoned cart email upgrades, or you do an AB testing or stuff like that, you can get an idea.
Is this gonna have a big impact on my lifetime? And so things like that I think are pretty important. We're gonna add some new ones here in, , 2023, like surfacing the, average order value as well, I think is gonna be pretty useful. We do revenue per email, stuff like that.
Claus Lauter: As a merchant, , I would be interested, do I get to email templates with, , recapture or do I just get the framework and then I have to write my own emails?
Dave Rodenbaugh: It's somewhere in between those two. So email template is kind of a broad, , category, and that can mean a lot of different things. Like I can pick from pre-designed emails of all these different kinds. , that's something we've got on the roadmap for this year. But what you do get right now is when you sign up for recapture, we'll automatically install in your account.
Pre-baked series of emails. So we'll set up the timing for you. We'll give you default subjects. We're gonna give you default preview text and body content. And [00:19:00] so you're not dropped into it with like, oh God, I have to do all this work. Right? , you can actually just go in there and be like, oh, okay, that's pretty reasonable.
I'll just tweak this and this and change the fonts and change the colors and boom, I'm That we have right now. , I would like to get to a point where we can allow you to change other things and say, okay, I like this design versus this design, and drop that in. That takes a little bit more work.
We've got that coming here in 2023. Okay.
Claus Lauter: Is there any kind of homework that needs to do before they get started with sweetheart? Some thinking process or can they just just install and then get started?
Dave Rodenbaugh: , no real homework. We try to make it as simple as possible. We do have a famous five minute install, and I'm not really joking when I say that it takes five minutes to install.
Once you actually download the app and connect it to your store, , we have a few questions you have to ask, like, what's your mailing address so that we can be compliant with legal requirements, like can spam or Castle or things like that. , we need to know a little bit about your store, , but we can pull a lot of that by default from Shopify or whatever platform you're on.
[00:20:00] And then after that, it's just basically, Turn on as many campaigns as you want, and that's just, you know, one click each. So we try to make it as low homework, I guess, as possible, to get you successful and get it up. But at the same time, we also wanna make it so that if you are in the mood to change everything, if you wanna customize the whole shebang will absolutely let you.
But if you're also somebody who's like, I have no idea what to send for my abandoned card emails. We give you that default content and with a literal handful of clicks, you can get started right away and, start collecting data, start learning about your audience and, you know, figure out what is resonating and what is not.
So you don't have to be an email expert to get started. Okay.
Claus Lauter: give me a bit of an idea about the pricing structure. How does.
Dave Rodenbaugh: We use, , value-based pricing with recapture. what that means is instead of just charging you on, here's the number of contacts you have in your database, here's how much that is a month, what we do is say, Based on how much we recover for you, we're gonna [00:21:00] charge you on a tiered basis.
So like for example, if you make between zero and $2,500 a month with recapture, then we're gonna charge you $29. And so on average in that range, it's about 20 x roi. , the average merchant on recapture usually does much better than that. So I went and did the calculation because of course you've got that statistic floating around on the internet that says, oh, email marketing has like a 38 x or 42 X R o I, right?
And I was like, well, what is that for Recapture, , across all merchants, in all AOVs, I found out that we have a 66 x roi. and it can go as high as 139 for some of our merchants. it very much depends on, what you got turned on. If you have abandoned carts and winbacks, that's gonna boost your revenue quite a bit.
, and our , price tiering has actually a cap. So we get to a point where if you get above where you're recovering more than $20,000 a month with. It's a fixed price, like you don't have to keep paying when you get above that rate. So the merchants that are doing really high volume, really high number of [00:22:00] sales, Their ROI is essentially uncapped.
That's how we can get these larger levels, , of recovery right there. But we wanna make it value-based pricing specifically because if it's not valuable to you, we don't want you to pay us. And so we have a generous free plan. We have a generous free tier. You know, if you are starting out and you not making any money with your store, we don't want you to pay us.
Like, please build your store, grow, get bigger. Get more orders, get more customers, and then come back to us and we can help you make better, efficient revenue recovery with those customers,
Claus Lauter: which is rider, should be basically an no-brainer. There's no argument against it. We can, yeah. To find out more about
Dave Rodenbaugh: recapture. So if you're interested , in learning more, you can find us on the email@example.com. , we're in almost every major platform store, so we're on the Magenta Marketplace, the Shopify app store, the Big Commerce app store. , we're on the WooCommerce repository and so on.
If you're, , looking to connect with us on social, I'm very active on Twitter at Dave Rodenbach, and I'll make sure we've got the links in [00:23:00] the show notes here. , and then, at recapture io as. Cool.
Claus Lauter: It will definitely be in the show notes, so just one click away. Dave, thanks so much. I could talk with you for hours about email marketing.
I'm still big fan of email marketing. It's so important, but the e-commerce coffee break is coming to an end. Thanks so much for your time and have a great day. Thanks Glass. You too.
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