Shopify Ecosystem

The Force Is Strong With Us All Today

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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I discovered the world of email marketing. Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago, and Fulham isn’t that far away. But it works for this blog so bear with me.

Today is May the 4th, which is the unofficial day of Star Wars. Whether you’re a full-on geek like me or you’ve not been living under a rock for the last 44 years, you’ll know something about Star Wars, and if you’re reading this blog, you’ll more than likely have an interest in email automation and digital marketing.

So in honor of the vision of Mr Lucas, I’m going to tell you what Star Wars can teach you about digital marketing.

Be wise, use the force

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First off, we need to be wise like Yoda. The diminutive green Jedi knew what to do and say to the followers of the force. That’s because he had a plan and was ready for any situation, plus he had a lightsaber and could move things with his mind. Learn from Yoda, make a plan. What is your end goal for each email campaigns? More opens, clicks, revenue? Consider who your audience is and what messages and channels will resonate more with each of them. And if you don’t know who your audience is, search your feelings, or at least create personas so you know who you should be targeting and ask questions of your contacts to get to know them better. 

You may not have a lightsaber, but there are plenty of tools available to turn you into a digital marketing Jedi. A robust email automation platform is one piece of the puzzle, but integrating your tech stack will give you the force you need to serve your customers and nurture your prospects in the right way. Consider how your CRM, ecommerce, loyalty and review platforms can come together to give you views of your contacts that enable you to target those personas as you should.

Don’t be tempted by the dark side

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As Yoda so wisely said once, “fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering”. Hopefully, no one will suffer from your marketing efforts, but they may well become disengaged and unsubscribe. Irresponsible marketing is the path to the dark side in our world—a place with no loyalty, repeat purchases and no case studies or social proof.

Responsible marketing is all about building trust which is essential to growing your database, driving sales and extending customer lifetime value.

The key is to ensure the customer at the core of everything you do. Kind of like the force! Meaning you reward existing customers and using what you know about them to make them feel welcomed and appreciated. Also, listen to what prospects want and then deliver.

Above all, you must do right by their data. Remember, it’s their data. It never belongs to you. It’s just on loan while they’re still interested in what you offer, so be honest about how you’re using it and where you store it.

Be the purple lightsaber

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The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted a purple lightsaber in the battle scenes of episode 2: attack of the clones (all the others are green or blue). That’s because Samuel L Jackson asked for a purple lightsaber so that you could spot him on a crowded battlefield. Genius right?!

Well, that’s what you need to do. Stand out from the rest of the crowd in the inbox. That means doing a couple of things. Work on those tired subject lines. “May Newsletter” is not going to cut it. Please don’t leave it as the last thing you do. Get the whole team in on the act, express yourself a little, play with your tone of voice, inject some personality, a pun or two won’t go amiss, even emoji’s. Have fun with it! 

Subject lines are one thing, but your content is another. If all you ever do is take, take, take, then don’t be surprised if your customers don’t give, give, give you their money! Offer them some industry insight, let them know what’s going on with you as a business. Write a May the 4th blog! Just do something different so that you don’t look like all you want is their money.

Count your bounty

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A cult favourite in the Star Wars universe is Boba Fett, the bounty hunter! A very cool individual and, if we think about it, a very shrewd businessman. He knew exactly where to find the revenue, and he always brought home the bacon or Han Solo. He used his smarts, his tech and his armour to perfection.

Discovering revenue hiding in hard to reach places can be easier for you, too, if you use the right tools like Boba or The Mandalorian. RFM or eRFM can highlight which of your customers should be targeted and when. Lead scoring can be great for this too.

When using these tools correctly, the ROI for email is off the charts. But you’ll never know how well it’s doing if you don’t measure it accurately. Be sure to use ROI tracking and integrate with Google Analytics to drill down into even more detail.

Once you know how much the channel is making, you can justify doing more of what works, branching out, investing more time, and upgrading with new shiny tools just as the Mandalorian does after each successful bounty hunt. This is the way.

Have faith, trust the process

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Characters like Han Solo and Lando Calrissian had little faith in the force, to begin with, but after each successful mission, they all knew that something bigger was helping them achieve their goals. Now you don’t have the force on your side, but you can have faith in what you’re doing by trusting the process and testing to ensure you get the results you deserve. 

Always be testing. But don’t rush things. Make sure you give yourself enough time to see whether or not a test works. It may take a few campaigns to see what’s going on.

Expand the franchise

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Finally, have a vision as George Lucas did. Studio heads probably laughed at the Star Wars script. But George knew if he started small, he could gain a loyal audience and then scale quickly. His baby would then grow and grow.

In the last few years, we’ve seen five new movies and a stellar TV series and much more to come. The Star Wars franchise has evolved! Your marketing needs to as well.

So don’t be afraid to try some new things and introduce new characters. stepping outside of your comfort some with some of the following tools can help to shake things up and grow your business like never before:

That’s enough Star Wars puns for now. But be sure to try out some of the things I’ve mentioned here, and May the 4th be with you (and your emails).

Special thanks to our friends at dotdigital for their insights on this topic.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA, starting in the early days of online commerce when he achieved Power Seller status through his eBay store. This propelled him to become a co-founder of VisionPros.com, a contact lens and eyewear retailer. With a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is a Senior Merchant Success Manager at Shopify Plus, where he helps identify, navigate, and accelerate growth in the complex world of commerce.

To maintain his competitive edge, Steve also hosts the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast and Shopify Founder Stories, a top-rated twice-weekly podcast where he interviews Shopify Partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands improve efficiencies, grow revenue, profit, and lifetime customer loyalty.

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