Can email-based offers still provide reliable returns in a crowded DTC marketplace?

As Nikita Vakhrushev explains, the right email offers to new subscribers and cart abandoners can still drive high-value conversions and even scale through a tasteful application of automated flows. To generate significant results, however, you’ll need to start by identifying the right motivations for users to opt in.

3 Motivators for High-Converting Offers 🤑

To create email opt-in offers for DTC clients, Nikita uses three primary motivators – free stuff, deals, and exclusivity.

In an offer, “free stuff” can include giveaways, sample products, gifts, free shipping, or free information in the form of gated content. Deals create the perception that the prospect is getting more for less, which can be in the form of a bundle, a BOGO or discount offer, or free shipping (again). And finally, people love having exclusive access to status enhancers like subscriber-only sales, early access to a sold-out product that’s going to sell out again, and similar incentives.

To secure email subscriber opt-ins, Nikita uses a simple funnel that starts with lead generation on social media:

  1. Direct users who click on a Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok ad to opt-in to claim their offer
  2. Place an embedded form on a landing page
  3. Add a sitewide popup to your ecommerce page

After securing the opt-ins, Nikita and his team rely on three revenue-generating email flows to convert and retain customers.

3 Go-To Revenue-Generating Email Flows 📧

The three email flows below all have one thing in common – they don’t go for the hard sell. As you’ll see, education and lead nurturing work much better than repeatedly slogging the same discount. Nikita recommends an 80/20 ratio of value-added content to sales collateral to make this flow work.

1. Turn Subscribers Into Customers with an Engagement & Discount Drip Flow

Marketers’ and affiliates’ initial impulse when they get new subscribers is to push for a conversion right away. This usually appears as a coupon or discount offer in the first email of the flow, followed by reminder emails that don’t provide any new value to the subscriber.

In contrast, Nikita’s flow sends three educational emails that provide value by telling your brand’s story and explaining your differentiators before you share a coupon.

Getting prospects to ‘opt-in’ to your brand values after they subscribe can prime them to convert when you finally include a discount later in the drip campaign:

Turn Subscribers Into Customers

After you’ve sent the coupon, filter out those who converted and send a reminder with the same discount offer. And at this point, if any of your opt-ins haven’t opened or engaged with any of these emails, it’s safe to remove them from your list.

2. Turn Hot Prospects into Customers with an Expanded Abandoned Cart Flow

The same impulse to convert that makes new subscriber discounts ineffective also applies to abandoned cart emails.

In this case, you know that the prospect is interested in your product, so an initial reminder email is likely to convert at least some would-be buyers who simply got distracted.

But as the flow continues, Nikita recommends shifting into content-based emails about the product. These can include user-generated content and follow-ups to address objections:

Turn Hot Prospects into Customers

Finally, if these emails don’t turn abandoned carts into conversions, you can add these prospects to the engagement flow above for additional lead nurturing.

3. Maximize Post-Purchase LTV

Nikita’s third revenue-generating auto-flow is designed to increase a buyer’s lifetime value after they convert. But it doesn’t start out that way from the buyer’s perspective.

This flow starts with a standard “thanks for buying” follow-up, but it also adds more education and support touchpoints that mention complimentary products. This flow waits until the fifth email to provide an incentive for a review:

Maximize Post-Purchase LTV

For additional conversion opportunities, you can also add these buyers to a cross-sell flow for products related to their purchase – just remember to maintain the content-to-sales ratio we established above.