eCommerce Lifecycle Marketing in 2024

Published on
June 19, 2024

Episode Description:

Strategic lifecycle marketing is the cornerstone of a thriving eCommerce business, especially as the digital landscape evolves with AI advancements and privacy updates. Engaging and retaining customers has never been more crucial. Joshua Chin, Founder of Chronos Agency, breaks down lifecycle marketing, offering key insights on leveraging customer data for personalisation. He shares invaluable tips for optimising marketing efforts, from crafting successful campaign strategies and boosting click rates to exploring the untapped potential of direct mail in today's shifting environment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding lifecycle marketing and what it means for Australian marketers
  • Challenges in lifecycle marketing, and strategies to overcome them
  • Case Study: The Oodie’s success 
  • How to balance click rates and conversions to maximise ROI
  • The right way to optimise channels: SMS vs. Email
  • Consumer behaviour and the importance of consistent engagement
  • Personalisation’s role in elevating lifecycle marketing in eCommerce
  • Navigating the eCommerce market - USA and Australia

Listen now on Smarter Marketer

The definitive podcast for Australian marketers.


James Lawrence

James Lawrence

Host, Smarter Marketer
Joshua Chin

About the Guest:

Joshua Chin is the CEO and Founder of global lifecycle marketing firm Chronos Agency, which has recently expanded to Australia and empowers DTC brands to boost profits through email, SMS, and Mobile Push Marketing. He also hosts the eCommerce Profits Podcast, where he shares insights on scaling business success, and serves as the Marketing and Communications Chair at Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Singapore.

Follow Joshua on LinkedIn.


Podcast Summary: eCommerce Lifecycle Marketing in 2024

Joshua Chin, lifecycle marketing expert, shares insights on how businesses can effectively engage customers throughout their journey with email, SMS, and push notifications.

What is lifecycle marketing?

In simple terms, lifecycle marketing involves engaging customers at every stage of their journey with your business, from the first time they hear or see your offering or brand to post-purchase interactions and the sunset of the product or brand. The goal is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time using tools like direct mail, email, SMS, and more. It’s all about identifying and fixing consumer sticking points to increase revenue and retain your customers for as long as possible.

What does success look like in lifecycle marketing?

Joshua mentions that measuring success in lifecycle marketing is about tracking the right metrics, like Lifetime Value (LTV) and growth in customer relationships, but it all boils down to revenue growth. With greater revenue come larger profits, which gives businesses the flexibility to run more and better ads, ultimately leading to a more sustainable business. Lifecycle marketing is all about enabling repeat purchases. Having a committed customer who buys from you repeatedly is a sign of loyalty. Joshua shared that users make subsequent purchases even with eCommerce businesses that are considered ‘once-and-done’. This is possible with the right positioning, targeting, and strategy.

However, Joshua warns that businesses need to keep a close eye on their CPA (Cost per Acquisition) and be realistic about the LTV of a customer to get a truer sense of the payback period. For LTV to be effective, businesses must understand their customers' expected behaviour. Developing 12-month, 6-month, and 24-month LTV models based on realistic customer usage patterns is crucial. For instance, a mattress company can’t expect to recoup a high CPA with a 6-month LTV, as mattresses are typically used for several years post-purchase.

Success story: The Oodie

Joshua cites The Oodie, a Shopify brand selling oversized hoodie blankets as a prime example of getting targeting and positioning right. Despite the hot and humid climate in Singapore, they found success by positioning their product as a great gift, resulting in impressive repurchase rates. 

When Chronos Agency began managing Oodie’s email campaigns, they saw remarkable results. By optimising the pre-purchase process and improving cart recovery strategies, they tripled cart recovery rates and reduced unsubscribe rates by 57%.

Measuring metrics the correct way

Avoid comparing email open rates

A common mistake brands make is comparing their email open rates to those of their competitors. Open rates can be misleading and are not a reliable metric due to factors like Apple Mail's privacy settings, which can deflate these numbers.

Instead, focus on click rates, which offer a more accurate measure of engagement. Unlike open rates, click rates are not influenced by privacy settings and accurately indicates how effectively your audience interacts with your content. If your click rate averages around 0.5%, it's a red flag. Ideally, you should aim for a click rate of at least 1% to 1.5%.

You can also review benchmarks provided by eCommerce email providers like Klaviyo.

Accounting for conversions, not just clicks

Emails can be designed to drive clicks, but not all clicks are made with commercial intent. 

For effective measurement, review your primary conversion metrics such as booked rates, place order rates, along with click rates. If you notice a high click rate but low conversion rates, it’s a signal to re-evaluate the content or targeting of your campaign. This is absolutely okay if the intent of your campaign is to generate attention and drive website traffic, moving users along the consideration process. Your campaign is attracting an audience at a stage in the buying cycle that is different from the intended one. 

Always align your campaign goals with the type of engagement you expect to ensure clicks are meaningful and drive the desired outcomes.

How to get email and SMS right

Choose the right channel for the right geographical market

This largely depends on your target market. According to Joshua, SMS can be particularly tricky due to varying regulations across countries. For example, in Singapore, receiving an SMS from an unrecognised number often gets flagged as ‘Likely scam,' which can harm a brand's reputation, and the receiver will most likely dismiss the message instantly.

On the other hand, in the U.S., email remains the dominant communication channel, with a high number of daily active users (DAUs). SMS is also becoming more valuable due to its high engagement rates and ease of use. It’s very instantaneous and is a powerful tool for quickly driving ROI, especially for brands with limited marketing resources. SMS offers immediate and direct communication, making it an excellent choice for businesses looking to bump up their outreach.

Your SMS and emails need to be in sync

Josh’s team uses a spreadsheet to align their campaigns across email and SMS. For instance, if someone clicks an email but hasn’t purchased within 12 hours, they send an SMS reminder at 8 AM. This careful timing prevents campaigns from feeling spammy and keeps communication personal and relevant.

Manage the frequency of communication to avoid churning contacts

Overusing SMS does impact email marketing and overall campaign success. It can erode trust and lead to irreplaceable unsubscribes, as it’s a very personal form of communication. To maintain trust, it’s crucial to send personalised, relevant content and time messages appropriately, avoiding quiet hours. Joshua mentions that tools like Klaviyo help by using behavioural triggers to automate campaigns based on a user’s activity, ensuring messages are tailored to their interests.

Special considerations for DTC and eCommerce businesses
  • Optimise your emails based on available resources - Sending daily emails is only sustainable if you have scalable resources, such as working with an agency. 
  • The law of diminishing returns - Increasing email frequency doesn’t always improve outcomes and can lead to campaign fatigue, unsubscribes, disengagement, or even spam reports. Balancing frequency and quality is key to maintaining effective email campaigns.
  • Keep an eye out for click rate - If they stay steady as you increase email volume, it’s a positive sign that your audience remains engaged despite the higher frequency.
  • Adjust frequency based on seasonality - During peak times like Black Friday and ClickFrenzy, sending 45-60 emails a month across multiple segments is common. However, each subscriber typically receives 10-20 emails. To maintain engagement, aim for at least one email per week. Without regular contact, up to 25% of your list could become unengaged annually, and this percentage will increase if you don’t stay active.

Personalisation in lifecycle marketing

For targeted personalisation that actually works, you need high-quality, specific data. This helps you build clearer customer profiles to enable personalisation in your email and SMS content. This data can be categorised into four main types:

  1. Zero-party data: Information collected directly from customers through surveys, pop-ups, quizzes, and sign-up forms. This data helps create detailed customer profiles, enabling you to tailor campaigns to specific interests. For example, targeting people who love shoes or handbags rather than sending a generic “buy shoes and bags” message.
  2. First-party data: Insights from customer behaviours on your own platforms, such as your website, app, or email. Although its availability is becoming more limited, this data provides valuable clues that can help you target specific interest groups.
  3. Second-party data: This comes from a trusted partner or source and is typically aggregated from their first-party data. It can offer insights that complement your customer data, enhancing your understanding of customer preferences and behaviours.
  4. Third-party data: Collected from external sources, this data can provide broad insights into customer trends and demographics. It’s less specific and increasingly restricted due to privacy regulations though.

Tools that enable lifecycle marketing

  1. Klaviyo: Ideal for email, SMS, and customer relationship management. It’s user-friendly and includes a built-in Customer Data Platform (CDP), making it a versatile choice for many brands.
  2. Braze AI: Best suited for businesses with a complex structure, like those with retail, e-commerce, and B2B channels. It provides an enterprise-grade solution for omnichannel engagement.

Joshua advises running demos of these tools before making a decision. While they may appear similar in features ("feature parity"), usability is more important. A tool’s effectiveness depends on how easily it can be used, not just its capabilities. The simpler a tool is to use, the more it can unlock the full potential of a marketing channel best suited for your business and marketing team.

The return of direct mail

With tools like Klaviyo, personalising direct mail has become much easier. Previously, personalisation was a challenge, but now, with the ability to send targeted campaigns, even at high volumes, brands can achieve a good ROI. Joshua shares that it’s a numbers game. If you’re sending 1 million direct mail postcards, even a 0.001% conversion rate is likely to make you money.

While email is becoming a crowded space, direct mail and SMS have gained traction. In Klaviyo, you can easily send postcard campaigns to specific lists with just a click, though it's currently available only in the US and costs over AU $1 per postcard. Despite being more expensive, targeting the right segments makes it worthwhile, especially for high-ticket clients.

Observing the Australian eCommerce market

The e-commerce market in Australia differs significantly from the US and Asia in quite a number of ways:

  • Cost-per-Click (CPC): In the US, CPC is generally higher, influencing how businesses allocate their ad budgets.
  • Social Proof: In Australia, there’s a stronger focus on social proof and relationships. Customers value recommendations and community endorsements early in their buying process. In contrast, US consumers prioritise authority and credibility first.
  • Search Engine Usage: Google dominates the search market in Australia and New Zealand, handling about 95% of daily searches. In the US, Google remains dominant but Bing captures around 15% of searches.

Mastering lifecycle marketing means engaging your customers at every step of their journey, from the first moment of awareness to post-purchase satisfaction. The magic lies in delivering the right message at the right time through email, SMS, push notifications, and even direct mail. When done well, this not only boosts your revenue but also drives long-term success.

Ultimately though, lifecycle marketing is much more than just selling—it’s about building lasting relationships and turning customers into lifelong advocates of the value you create.

If you're running an e-commerce business and wish to get an opinion on how you can maximise your ROI, Rocket can help. Get in touch with our experts today!


James Lawrence: Welcome back to the Smarter Marketer podcast. I'm here today with Josh Chin. Josh, welcome to the pod.

Joshua Chin: Thanks, James. Thank you. Long over to you. I'm happy to be here.

James Lawrence: Josh and I are friends. We're very good friends. I'm going to say that you might, you might not agree, but, um, we were having lunch in Sydney recently and for some bizarre reason, we, um, you're kind of the perfect guest to have on the pod and I've never thought to invite you.

So it's, it's happening. I know. I know. I'm happy to be here. Great. So, um, Josh is CEO and founder of Chronos Agency, which is a life cycle marketing agency, helping direct to consumer brands, scale profits with email, SMS and mobile push marketing. Um, Josh lives in Singapore, which is where he's based and where Chronos started.

Um, Chronos now has, um, location in Sydney, Australia as well. So congratulations on, on your growth rate. You guys are smashing it.

Joshua Chin: Yeah, a hundred percent. And, uh, we, we started out actually in the U S of all places. Um, Land of opportunity and land of e commerce. And, since day one, it's been, it's been e commerce centric.

Um, we were early partners of, a platform called Klaviyo. They're sort of like the mill trim for e commerce. If, uh, if you're not in the kind of Shopify e commerce ecosystem, you may not know off Klaviyo. Um, and, uh, we've, we've grown since then. And the team now kind of spans across, over 12 countries or so.

Um, 70, 80 over, uh, of us. And we work with clients primarily out of the U S and Australia. Um, and a small percentage of, of our clients are based in Europe and Asia.

James Lawrence: That's fine mate. Can we, can we just talk about life cycle marketing just in terms of just to define that and what it means, for marketers out there?

Joshua Chin: Yeah, absolutely. So, um, it's, it's a relatively broad term that, that, that describes the, process that a business goes through to engage customers at every stage of their journey . So hence the entirety of a customer's life cycle, um, from the kind of initial awareness awareness standpoint to post purchase interactions and ultimately, uh, sunset.

And the goal here is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. And, uh, we do that with email and SMS, push direct mail as well. Um, as in physical postcards. Yeah, the whole idea is identify these sticking points. Um, that a consumer faces before ending at the final kind of destination, which is a purchase with a business. Um, and there's a kind of slew of. Stages that one might go through before making a purchase, um, as well as what happens after that initial purchase. So, when we look at success with life cycle marketing, we're looking at the increase in revenue as a result of the channels that we are operating on, but also the retention metrics.

All TV and growth. Of customer relationships , as a result. So that becomes a really exciting, uh, because all of that means the business becomes way more profitable. Ads become way easier to run and way more sustainable because for every dollar that you're spending on ads, we're making way more on the backend with email and SMS.

Um, and it becomes a much more sustainable engine to grow.

James Lawrence: Yeah. Remember, um, I was at a conference many years ago, probably Seven or eight years ago now in Sydney and one of Google's senior, um, well, it wasn't someone from the Sydney office and they're actually from the Singaporean office and they, they kind of had a question, which was which advertiser can afford to spend the most per click in, in, um, in Google.

And there was a room of quite a lot of marketers and a lot of senior marketers and no one got it right. And essentially the response was it's the business that can afford. You know, to maximise the lifetime value of that particular click, um, exactly a lot of resonance. And I, I suspect, um, obviously all businesses, out there at varying levels should be looking at, um, a degree of life cycle marketing, but it feels that the nature of e commerce is that it just does feel.

It's such a nice fit, right? Where you kind of bringing someone in on one purchase and not all Ecom, but most Ecom businesses are going to have repeat purchases as part of that funnel, right?

Joshua Chin: And even with products that you think are kind of one and done, you buy it once and that's it. You'd be surprised at how many more subsequent purchases can be made.

Joshua Chin: With the right positioning, the right targeting and combination, the right strategy as a business. Yeah. Um, a good example of that is, uh, a very prominent Shopify brand called the UDI on in Australia. Yep. They sell these oversized hoodie blankets, wearable blankets. Um, great for cold weather. Um, could not imagine myself using one in Singapore.

Joshua Chin: It's hot and humid all year long. Pretty small market. I would have thought in Singapore for tiny. Um, but they've crushed it. And if crushed it, not from, not, not just from a point of view of acquiring new customers over and over again, like singles or one time purchases, but also repeat purchases. And that's where we came in with emails and the result completely surprised me.

Joshua Chin: Right. We, you know, in the first nine days, we fixed a lot of things that, uh, that needed to be fixed pre purchase, right? We tripled cart recovery rates and, uh, dropped unsubscribed rates by, by a good amount, like 57%, if I recall, but what shocked me was how many repurchases were happening on the backend.

Joshua Chin: And that's a factor of both how the business was positioned. And what the messaging was post purchase, which was, it's a gift. Um, if you like this, your friends and family will love this as well. And if you go into your website, their most prominent featured products are often comes in bundles. Um, so that's a big reason, uh, kind of, kind of why that, that works out.

Joshua Chin: But at the same time, there's also the other side of the coin, right? With LTV. Um, and this is the big trap where a lot of the larger publicly listed. DTC brands in the U S have faced, um, that LTV play, right. But LTV only manifests and comes in five years down the road. And that's not going to happen. You know, a great example of that is, uh, Casper.

Joshua Chin: Um, obviously I don't fully understand the details and, and kind of nooks and crannies behind it, but I would imagine that they they've overspent on CPA, um, with the intention of kind of eventually recouping that money back. With LTV down the road, but how many mattresses can you really purchase, um, in a, you know, three year time horizon, five year time horizon, you know, I've had a mattress for, you know, years.

Joshua Chin: So the, uh, the, the right measure there to, to look at would be 12 month LTV, six month LTV and 24 month LTV, uh, to give you. A truer sense of what that payback period looks like and what how sustainable the business is, um,

James Lawrence: is that the kind of work that you're doing with your prospective clients and your clients?

James Lawrence: That's kind of the first starting point or putting a strategy together is to kind of work backwards from those numbers. Or like, how do you approach it? Ideally?

Joshua Chin: Yes. But in reality, in most cases, um, what ends up happening in the first 90 days, And, and therefore the initial conversation that we have with brands, it's not that even it's often identifying the lowest hanging fruits within kind of the fundamentals of email and life cycle slash retention marketing on its own.

Joshua Chin: So, so that means figuring out. Where are the average click rates lie right now with campaigns where the average click rates lie right now with the automations and is it functioning at its full potential? For example, um, a brand might come in thinking that, all right, I want to, I want to be, I want to improve my retention rates and LTV by 50 percent over the next one year.

Joshua Chin: Like, okay, great. That's aggressive, but okay. What are your click rates right now? What's your engagement rate and what's your, um, Are people even responding well to your current efforts and most often that's, it's a, it's a no, right? And there are certain benchmarks that we can kind of get to online.

Joshua Chin: Klaviyo publishes a quarterly report on average click rates across different industries. That's a great one. I highly recommend you can use internally. We do that. Plus, we have internal kind of benchmarks and, and numbers that we can reference based off the many, many years of campaigns and, and accounts that we've managed.

Joshua Chin: Um, and the, the number one thing that I, I see as, uh, sort of a mistake that, that, that brands tend to make is looking at open rates and they go, ah, my open rates at, at Um, at 30 percent or 40%, but my competitor is telling me that they're getting a 60 percent open rate. Um, but often that's not, it's not a good indication of success.

Joshua Chin: The opens are often diluted with Apple mail privacy opens, which doesn't give you a true number. But when you look at click rates, that tells you the full picture. That's hard to dispute. That's a number that you cannot really contest against. Um, and if you're sitting on an average of like 0. 5 percent click rates, um, you're probably in a bit of a trouble.

Joshua Chin: Uh, you're probably in a situation where you have a lot of room for improvement. Because the average, um, click rate that you want to see with campaigns should be at least 1 percent to 1. 5%, uh, at a bare minimum.

James Lawrence: How do

Joshua Chin: you balance that with

James Lawrence: campaigns? Because obviously you could, I suspect there's things you can do within building an email that, not manipulate, but it's going to drive higher clicks, but not necessarily clicks with commercial intent.

James Lawrence: How do you, how do you kind of balance that? Obviously something's getting no clicks, it's very difficult to make sales off of it, but equally. Yeah. Balance pushing quality traffic to, to, to a website to actually go on to likely make a purchase

Joshua Chin: hundred percent. That's a, that's a great question. So there are, there are 2 kind of count almost like a, um, counterbalancing metric if you, if you will.

Joshua Chin: Right? So that's clicks. And you want to place orders or kind of goals and outcomes, right in the direct to consumer world. That's just a direct place order. Um, in the B2B world, that might be an appointment, right? So booked rate, place order rate, and click rates, they come hand in hand. So if you have a high click rate for a certain campaign, but a low place order rate, or low conversion, You might want to consider what you're priming that audience for, um, in that campaign and is that intended in some cases?

Joshua Chin: Yes, it's totally okay. Right? In some cases, it's really, a completely different life cycle stage that you're targeting. For example, if it's a blog post. Email that you're featuring. And we, we, we do a lot of those and they tend to generate a good amount of clicks. Um, on average three to 4%, , is what you can see on a high end versus like 0.

Joshua Chin: 5 percent that we've a lot of brands. Um, so you automatically seeing like six, seven, eight times more click trues to your website via that one email campaign, but the intent is way lower. Okay. And in some cases, that's totally okay, because that's the full intent of that campaign, which is to generate attention and to get people onto the website, um, and move them along that consideration process.

Joshua Chin: Cycle, but in some cases, uh, it's, it's a matter of turning those, that opportunity into something else that moves them further down the, the, uh, the road, uh, in the DTC world, that's fairly straightforward. It's a transaction online. Uh, in the B2B world, that might be a little bit, a little bit different. It might be, Hey, if you like this blog post, you might like this.

Joshua Chin: White paper or this, uh, resource. Uh, and to do that, you have to kind of jump through a different hoop, right? Fill out this form with all these details, uh, that will allow us to kind of speak a few, a lot more efficiently. So there's a kind of time and intent to every, every campaign.

James Lawrence: And then, like, I presume that email is the biggest lever or one of the biggest levers that you have to pull in this space, right?

James Lawrence: Um, I guess, like, first of all, is that true? And then how do you go about Working out what an appropriate strategy is like, when are you working in SMS campaigns? When are you staying well clear of them? Um, and yeah, I guess, like, just talk about, I guess, the, the, the tools you have in the toolkit at your disposal and when, and when you kind of use, use each of them.

Joshua Chin: It is, uh, it, it, it's, it's really market dependent with SMS. It's a little bit trickier. Um, you know, you don't have a universal policy or rule that comes with SMS. It's a little bit more, uh, intimate and personal. So every country is going to be a little bit different. Like in, in Singapore, when I receive a text from a number that I have not opt in for, it literally says likely scam.

Joshua Chin: And that's all it gets. That's not a good thing to, to, uh, to see, you know, when, uh, when you're a brand with the U S however, um, email dominant and, uh, for similar reasons, you know, has a, probably one of the highest kind of daily active users, uh, in terms of platforms out there, but SMS is increasingly more and more important.

Joshua Chin: Uh, for various reasons, but SMS is a , highly engaging channel that is both easy to set up. Easier to maintain and use. So your kind of time to value , and time to ROI, uh, is really short , as a brand and assuming that you don't have unlimited marketing resources and manpower, that's something that you care for, but it is important to have SMS and email in sync so that you're, so that they run in harmony along with all of your marketing channels, right?

Joshua Chin: We have a, we have a little spreadsheet that we, that we put together. That it's, it's not in complicated, but it's, it's really something that brands should be doing, but most of them are not because they operate kind of in silos, you want your email and SMS to be coordinated in a, in sync so that when you run an email campaign, you're pairing that up with an SMS reminder, or you're pairing that up based off a behavioral trigger.

Joshua Chin: For example, if someone has clicked on an email. Campaign, and they have not purchased in the last 12 hours, send this SMS at 8 a. m. Right? That sort of coordination needs to take place. Uh, if not, it becomes a really spammy and annoying channel that, you know, people just do not want to deal with. And it's going to.

Joshua Chin: Um, be counter effective


James Lawrence: And I guess, like, SMS is so personal, isn't it? Like, it is, it is a more personal channel than email. And, like, do you find that if, like, If advertisers are not abusing, but it kind of hitting a little bit too hard by SMS, that'll have an impact on email marketing success and overall campaign success.

James Lawrence: Like how do you find that playing out?

Joshua Chin: , it's a channel that you do not want to abuse. It is a, it's, it's one of those channels that once you. Betray trust, you know, we're going to get it back again, , once you unsubscribe from a, from SMS, you typically don't see, people coming back again.

Joshua Chin: Um, because it's so intimate, right? It's like, , it's a platform where you text your friends and family, and if an advertiser kind of pops up, you'd have to earn their trust. . The way to do that, , in a smart way is one of two things, one personalized. So as much as possible, make sure that the content that , you're putting out, , are relevant to the recipient.

Joshua Chin: The second thing is to time it correctly. There are a few things that you can do, um, timing it such that, , there, there are features in, in most SMS platforms, um, you'd have a feature , that prevents campaigns from going out during, um, quiet hours. Right. So when people are asleep, when they're off work or, or whatever, , that just doesn't go up.

Joshua Chin: There's also timing based on behaviors , and triggers, , with a lot of, uh, platforms, like, Klaviyo, um, you could set up a. Uh, a trigger based on activity on email or on site, and that's really cool. Right? So if they have recently been active on website in the past, say, six hours, two hours, you should have an SMS campaign or automation go out that targets that demographic specifically.

James Lawrence: Can you can we talk a little bit about I'm sure you get this question all the time, and I'm sure the answer is it depends. But if you could just talk a little bit about how you approach frequency, both of email and text, um, and I think if we can just lean in heavily here into the space you play in that kind of data say.

James Lawrence: Um, e commerce kind of space, because I think how my observation would be that e commerce brands, probably different considerations around frequency of email compared to slower moving B2B. Offline kind of purchases. I kind of find frequency. There is quite different. Um, but yeah, if we just talk about how you approach it, when is enough enough?

James Lawrence: When is it too little? What kind of works in in a kind of faster moving DTC kind of environment? There

Joshua Chin: are a few, uh, limiting factors, right? There's the first most common limiting factor is going to be marketing resources. Uh, even if you're able to send emails on a, on a daily basis, you may not want to do that for resourcing reasons. Um, it may be really difficult unless you're working with an agency with, you know, scalable resources, it's, it's going to be really tough to, you know, To to scale up.

Joshua Chin: Um, and the second limiting factor is kind of, uh, the law of diminishing returns and you're going to hit a point where setting more email aren't necessarily going to result in, uh, better outcomes and, you know, depending on what that outcome looks like, uh, in our world and B to C, it's going to be place orders.

Joshua Chin: You're going to hit a ceiling essentially. And with that ceiling comes negative consequences, right? Which is fatigue, which would be unsubscribes, uh, disengagement, um, or worst case scenario, spams, spam complaints. Yep. The, uh, the, the, the number one indicator that I would keep an eye out for would be click rates, right?

Joshua Chin: Going back to fundamentals again, right? If you see click rates remaining steady. And right about the same while sending more and more emails, right? You can do an incremental thing, starting with maybe two emails a week to three emails a week to four. And if you see click rates remaining steady, that's a good sign, which means that you're increasing the apps, the absolute number of clicks.

Joshua Chin: Going to your site,

James Lawrence: because it is a good proxy for quality, isn't it? Like it

Joshua Chin: is, it is, it's the

James Lawrence: idea of open rates and issues now with platforms actually seeing whether something has been opened exactly on unsubscribed. Click. It's um, any engagement, right?

Joshua Chin: Yep, precisely. So that's, that's the best indicator for, um, for, for, for that.

Joshua Chin: And, you know, before, before dumping more resources and, and, uh, uh, and paying the agency more, um, you might want to run a test first, which is, you know, instantly how, how we approach projects as well, uh, with our retainers and our, our clients start small, start with the kind of minimum viable, um, kind of MVP and what that, what, what the result looks like.

Joshua Chin: And then incrementally scale it up. And with, with that, that approach, I, I find a lot more sustainable and a lot higher in confidence. Um, Which is most likely the most, uh, going to be most efficient and effective approach.

James Lawrence: And what do you see with your clients? Like at the extreme end, what would be the most frequent email send from one of your clients?

James Lawrence: And there may be an example of one that's kind of less frequent because it's a new purchase or it's less of a repeat kind of purchase. But both of them doing best practice. Yeah, like how, what would be two extreme ends?

Joshua Chin: It would be seasonal. So in peak seasons like, you know, Black Friday, Summer Monday, um, like out in the U.

Joshua Chin: S. or ClickFrenzy in Australia, we could be sending for a single brand up to 45 to 60 emails a month. Right. So that's like two to three emails a day and it's done very intentionally across multiple segments. So although we're building out like 45, 50, 60 emails, or even more a month, a single consumer, a single subscriber, isn't going to be receiving 60 emails in that one, um, it's going to be a segmented kind of approach.

Joshua Chin: So what's most likely going to happen is a single subscriber might be receiving maybe 10, 15 to 20 emails. Um, on the low end at the very, very bare, bare minimum, I'd still strongly recommend a once a week cadence just to stay top of mind, just to, uh, you know, just as an additional kind of touch point to every other marketing channels that's, that's active at the moment.

Joshua Chin: Um, You kind of want to have that, that, that, that relationship, that, uh, that engagement, uh, retained because you never really want to stop emailing completely. It's unlike most other channels, which is emails depreciate over time. It deteriorates over time. On average, 25 percent of your list. Are going to go on engaged in any given year on average.

Joshua Chin: Um, so if you're not engaging actively with your database, with your prospects and subscribers and customers, that 25 percent number is going to be way, even way higher.

James Lawrence: It's really, really interesting. We, before we started recording, you were kind of talking about what it's like to be a consumer these days in terms of email and just, it's such a mature channel, but the frequency with which people are receiving emails is.

James Lawrence: Higher than ever before. So maybe we could just kind of dig into that a little bit more and how brands can kind of, I guess, um, be empathetic towards that and what, what brands need to be doing. 100%.

Joshua Chin: We sit in a time where emails become a, the, the default official and unofficial communication mode, uh, professionally in most, you know, most developed worlds, um, that we live in.

Joshua Chin: The problem with that is. The widespread use of email means that you have massive, massive volume of daily active users, um, on, on the channel, but you're also getting inundated with all kinds of marketing tools. For example. The emailing tool that I use personally in my personal inbox is a, is a tool called superhuman.

Joshua Chin: It is a, it's, it's almost like a wrapper on, on top of, uh, Gmail, right. And, and my other, uh, inboxes and it uses AI to classify what's important to me. Which means that not only are marketing emails going to be siphoned out and filtered to my Others inbox emails that would have landed in my primary tab in gmail are also going to end up in the others Inbox because of my preferences and how I can interactive emails, which means that engagement rates are only going to go Further and further kind of lower because you're competing with a higher volume of competition with consumers being way more educated and way more informed on how they would like to kind of, um, engage with emails as a, as a platform, which means the power is back in the consumer's hands.

Joshua Chin: So there are two things that, uh, in, in my opinion, brands can, can do to adapt to this one personalized heavily, make sure that every interaction and every, um, Every, every experience that you're offering to a consumer is relevant and targeted. As much as possible and to rely closer, uh, use data a lot more, uh, heavily in terms of making your decisions.

Joshua Chin: Um, gone are the days where, oh, this email looks great. Let me do that for, for, for my brand. Um, nah, stick to, stick to what works and stick to what the data tells you. Um, And most email platforms allow, allow that to, to happen and allow you to do that fairly easily. So, uh, there's no reason not to.

James Lawrence: And can we unpack personalization?

James Lawrence: It, it, it's, um, it's, it's such a buzzword, right? And it kind of has been for a long time. Um, and it is kind of, a lot of marketers see that. So kind of AI personalization data Yeah. All kinda wrapped up in the one space. And that seems to be the future promise of ai. Of ai, right? Which is kind of this hyper targeted.

James Lawrence: Marketing communications, not just email across all channels, um, which require brands to have great data, maintain great data, because if you don't have that, then it's very hard to personalize, but like, what does it mean in your space? Like, and just, I think it'd be good to share stories, like not necessarily the names of the brands, but the types of things that, um, some of the more sophisticated clients you're working with are doing by way of personalization.

James Lawrence: Um, Yeah, absolutely. So I personally found it really interesting when you're talking about, um, abandoned cart being kind of complimented with text messages, you know, at a time of day when that person has woken up, but that's interesting stuff. Right? So, yeah,

Joshua Chin: yeah, absolutely. So personalization is all about allowing you to, send the right message.

Joshua Chin: To the right person at the right time, right? Like we kind of spoke about with life cycle marketing and in order to do that, you need data that is quality and highly specific. And there are a couple of layers of data that you can kind of work with, right? There's your party data. There's first party data and there's also second and third party data with zero party data.

Joshua Chin: That's information that you're collecting directly from your customers and subscribers. And the way to do that is with surveys, with signup forms, with pop ups, quizzes, the more you get to know your audience. And this is why You know, these pop ups and quizzes is so important. It's not just for fun. It allows you to build a customer profile.

Joshua Chin: That's highly specific so that when you go out building up campaigns, you can go deep into creating, um, not just a sales, uh, sales email, but a sales email featuring shoes for people who are highly interested in shoes. Uh, you could also create that same sales. kind of email featuring maybe handbags and targeting people who are highly interested in handbags versus a blanket all in one.

Joshua Chin: Hey, buy shoes and bags here at 15 percent off. That's going to be way more efficient and way more, uh, impactful because it's speaking directly to the interests and preferences of your kind of set subscribers and users, the second, uh, type of data they can work with first party data is fairly, it's, it's getting more and more limited given kind of privacy acts and laws, but it's still available, right?

Joshua Chin: Especially when it comes to the behaviors of consumers in your own channels, and that means, um, behaviors on an app, if that's a platform that that channel that you have as a business or behavior on email and understanding the types of emails that people engage with. The types of links and products that people are clicking into gives you a proxy indication of what interests them and by, by extension, you could draw conclusions from that and create personalized campaigns that target target those, uh, interest groups.

Joshua Chin: And then finally, this is where it kind of AI comes in, which I'm personally really excited about is predictive. Interests and predictive demographic, uh, uh, categories. Um, can we

James Lawrence: unpack that a little bit?

Joshua Chin: Sure. A very rudimentary kind of version of that is predicted genders. And, uh, that's, I believe available in Klaviyo.

Joshua Chin: It is available in Klaviyo and I think it's only going to get better and better over time. But based off first name and last name, um, there is an engine in Klaviyo without even kind of asking for, um, kind of surveys and getting people fill out forms, there is a predicted engine that gives you a kind of spits out a segment of potentially male, potentially female, potentially, um, unknown.

Joshua Chin: And, uh, which is a little bit of a touchy subject right now, but I still think it's, it's a, it's a, it's a good kind of indication of how, uh, where, where AI, AI can, can move towards and. What I'm really excited to see is a company that could take that to the next level and based off certain behaviors, patterns of names, um, and kind of slew of information about a customer kind of profile and taking that and building specific segments of interest groups, uh, and buying patterns and behaviors that is predicted based off that information, which some tools are able to do right now, Um, such as I believe braise AI has one, uh, B R A Z E, uh, has a similar kind of feature.

Joshua Chin: Um, and I believe Clavio is also developing something of a kind of similar nature as well with AI segmentation. Um, but I still think that it's, uh, it's, it's fairly rudimentary right now, but at the pace of how, you know, AI is developing, I wouldn't be surprised if something completely blows our minds come out the next few months.

James Lawrence: And what, um, like obviously all of that personalization requires you to, to have the data, but to also have the technology, which allows kind of the interplay between the two. Um, you've mentioned Klaviyo, I think you Klaviyo partner. I imagine you do a lot of work in the platform. What other tools are out there which brands like should be using or could be using, like in terms of putting a tech stack together that's actually gonna allow them to take advantage of a lot of these concepts?

Joshua Chin: Yep. 100%. So Klaviya is a great one. If you're a kind of pure play e commerce business, it is hands down one of the best, easiest to use and most effective, um, tools out there for not just email, but SMS, uh, as well as. Customer, uh, customer relationships as a whole. Um, they also have an inbuilt CDP. That's pretty cool.

Joshua Chin: Customer data platform that allows us to do a lot of things that we discuss today. Uh, if you have a retail storefront, um, and an e commerce storefront and B2B, and you know, if you're omnichannel, essentially, you may want to look beyond. And you may want to look at a kind of enterprise grade tool, like braze, for instance, or, um, or a Mars design.

Joshua Chin: I personally, I've, I've, uh, kind of tinkered around with if with most of these platforms, but I'm not the most familiar, um, directly. And I highly recommend running demos of each of them. Um, the challenge with doing that is. You know, and I've been through this with, with multiple clients is that all of these tools are very similar on paper and very, very similar on a feature set.

Joshua Chin: There's always like a, an inflation of feature war where everyone kind of goes into parody. So feature parody, but when it comes to usability, um, that's something that I feel is key because at the end of the day, It's about how a tool is used versus what the tool can offer. If a tool is, you know, incredible, but terrible to navigate and, and impossible to fully get to a full utilization without a developer and a technical specialist and a, uh, this and that Salesforce, it will be really difficult to, to, to unlock the true potential of the channels.

Joshua Chin: That's good. So that's something.

James Lawrence: It's good feedback. Um, you mentioned it earlier on in the, in the session direct mail. I just love to hear what you're doing in that space for clients and how it's working. I think it's, um, a red and interesting, I mean, it's a lot of performance marketers in a digital sense came out of the direct mail space, right.

James Lawrence: Kind of in the, through that kind of noughties period, particularly out of America, cause it has such a strong, Pedigree of direct mail. Um, you see a lot of thought leaders in the space. A lot of agencies have done really good stuff. Came out of that space. Um, and I definitely hear of good stuff happening now.

James Lawrence: I think, you know, marketing when, when the industry is digging and you zag, how do you stand out? Right? So there's some kind of option there. So yeah, I'd love to hear what's what's working and. Is it in Australia as well, America?

Joshua Chin: Zagging with a twist, zagging with a twist. Love that. Um, the, the difference here is that now with, with data, um, and the availability of tools at our disposal, like, you know, the likes of Klaviyo, it makes for personalizing direct mail really easy, which, you know, prior to this, I doubt it was all that simple.

Joshua Chin: And the positive was a game of numbers, right? Really just mass high volume sense. Um, and even if you're converting at a 0. 0, you know, 0. 001%, if you're sending millions and millions of postcards every single month, you're still going to make an ROI. The challenge now is. With, you know, with, with emails being so, um, so crowded as a space, postcards and direct mail become a lot more interesting, uh, and shout out to our partner at, uh, partners at postpilot.

Joshua Chin: Um, we use postpilot for a lot of our direct mails, um, and they have an integration with Klaviyo that automatically kind of pulls information. From Klaviyo, creating segments of lists of customers that we can add a single click, send a specific campaign, a postcard campaign to, um, however, costs, costs can be prohibitive, right?

Joshua Chin: It costs over a dollar on average, each Singaporean dollar, um,

James Lawrence: USD, USD, postcard, right? Do they post into Australia or just into North America?

Joshua Chin: Um, I believe it's that. I'm not sure. I believe it's a, it's a us, it's, it's, it's us only at the, at the moment. Um, but I'm, I'm not sure if they have a plan and expanding into, into us.

Joshua Chin: I'm sure they will. Uh, they're growing very quickly. And the interesting thing about direct mail is that even though it's so, so expensive, um, at the end of the day, when you're targeting the right segments, Um, it's still going to be a profitable, uh, profitable kind of outcome. Uh, in our case, we're using it a lot for wind back campaigns and, um, and, and Carter Bannerman campaigns.

Joshua Chin: So for acquisition specifically for higher ticket items. And with Winbax, it is highly effective, um, for a few reasons. One, you have lost that customer. You have lost, uh, that's a churn. And if you're able to reactivate a lost customer, it is. It's invaluable, right? Super valuable. Um, so the, the, the objective there is to at least, um, at the very least break even with a campaign like that.

Joshua Chin: We've been back, but in a test that we've run, uh, ran, it's, it's been very surprising. Um, our eyes and average double digit. And, uh, it's,

James Lawrence: it's been nice. I see it just feels logical. It doesn't know if you've, if you've got that, um, CDP in Clavio, you know where everyone's at, right. People that have previously purchased over a certain amount of time or haven't purchased for a certain period or people that yeah, loaded a product into their car, but didn't, didn't complete.

James Lawrence: There's going to be different leavers. You can pull different times of the year, um, to take advantage of that, right. Put an offer in front of them and you're going to get cut through that. You simply won't get through email.

Joshua Chin: So it all starts with having the right, you know, set up and right data. Um, so having the right tools, super important.

Joshua Chin: The cool thing about having the right tools in place is that once you have it, you don't think about it anymore. But when, but if you have the wrong tools in place, you're always thinking about tooling and resourcing, uh, because it's, it's, it's a pain, right? Um, observation. So that's, that's the one thing that you want to get rid of, uh, get right

James Lawrence: off the gate.

James Lawrence: Um, I just, and I want to shift the conversation just quickly to Australia. So, um, I know a good chunk of your customer base has always been in Australia. You've now got an office in Australia. Can we just talk about your observations of the Australian e commerce market? How are we different to markets like.

James Lawrence: The US and Asia and whatever else,

Joshua Chin: I think this will be really interesting for Aussie businesses trying to venture out of Australia, especially into the US.

Joshua Chin: The dynamics are really different in the US, you're going to see CPC going way higher, super competitive. In most cases, right? In some cases, it's actually lower. But the Um, the positioning of the business and the positioning of offers is going to be very different as well, uh, in, in Australia, there is a, uh, at least from, from what I've observed, there's a heavier emphasis on social proof and, um, and then some of your relationships.

Joshua Chin: More than more than anything in the U S it's, uh, it's, it's more technical. It's more, uh, uh, you're going to go heavier on the authority and credibility kind of angle, um, versus social proof. That comes on a kind of in a later stage of the buying cycle. Um, but that's what activates interest and activates, uh, behavior kind of just action to begin with.

Joshua Chin: Um, so that's, that's just an observation on a, on a, on a high level. Um, but I'm curious what you see. What do you think James?

James Lawrence: Putting it back on me. I love that Josh. Um, I gotta learn to, you've got a pot, you've done a good job playing, playing guests today. Yeah, it's a, it's an interesting question. We, um, we do less work outside of the Australian market than you do.

James Lawrence: A lot of our clients are global brands that are engaging us to run their digital within Australia or Australian brands operating within Australia and New Zealand. We definitely have probably, I don't know, 25, 30 percent of our clients where we are running campaigns into Europe, North America kind of thing.

I kind of feel. Exactly what you said, which is the American market is hyper competitive. If you go in with what would be quite a large budget into Australia, you go into the U. S. with it and it will just be eaten alive in a very short space of time. So you kind of, You want to pick your, your target market, your test markets and get stuff operating well.

James Lawrence: And then, and then kind of growing it out. I think from like a language viewpoint, I thought that was really interesting how you talked about social proof versus kind of authority and credibility, um, definitely observe that. In the, particularly in like a B2B context in the Australian market, it's less preachy and you're, you're less all about yourself and strong language and kind of banging on the chest.

James Lawrence: In America, I think that stuff resonates better. I think in Australia, it's almost that, it's almost that tall puppy syndrome where Australians don't like Big noting themselves and probably don't like the idea of businesses doing the same. So I think you're, you're telling your language down. I've never thought of it from a social proof perspective, but I think that would be aligned with that, which is I'm not going to speak about myself.

James Lawrence: I'll let someone else do it for me. Yeah, I think kind of makes sense. Um, and then from a landscape viewpoint. Like in many ways, we're very, very similar, right? To Canada and the UK and the US. Google has the highest penetration it has in the world in Australia and New Zealand. I think it runs at like 95 percent of searches each day is in Google.

James Lawrence: Um, in, in America, you kind of have Bing probably 15%, maybe a little bit more than that. Um, but like from a social point of view. Viewpoint, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, they're all kind of running pretty, it's a very similar mix, right? Yeah. In the kind of English speaking world, but I think that if you look at, um, clients wanting to market into Asia, different markets within Asia are just totally different, right?

James Lawrence: Like how Vietnam operates to China, to Singapore.

Joshua Chin: You kind of have to treat

James Lawrence: each of them as their own separate, um, totally separate kind of, um, approach to digital, I think would be, yeah, that'd be my kind of observation on it.

Joshua Chin: Yeah, 100%. And, uh, you know, if, if anyone listening is trying to break into the US, um, my kind of just what I've observed, having worked , with, uh, Aussie brands breaking , into US is, Like you said, , pick the pick one or two markets that you want to dive, go deep in, , and get specific, like, get, pick a specific state that you want to go deep into, , and understand what drives behavior in that, in, in that state.

James Lawrence: 100%, it’s good.

Um, yeah. We're getting close to time. I think for any, like, if you are running an e com business in the country and, uh, what Josh has spoken about is of interest, feel free to reach out to Josh, have a chat, kind of, um, Chronos Agency's website, punch it into Google, it will come up. Um, I end every pod with the question of what's the best piece of career advice that you'd give to an in house marketer.

Um, so Josh, I asked you, feel free to, you know, take a pause to think about this, uh, okay, or life altering advice that you're about to give.

Joshua Chin: Oh, interesting. All right. This is a, , it's an advice that I took, to hard as well to myself on the, the quality of questions you ask. Determine the quality of answers you get and also the quality of life you have.

Um, so , I have a thing where I collect good questions, uh, fun questions that I, and we're both an EO, right? So James, , when I meet a fellow EO, I always kind of pull out one or two of these interesting questions, , to ask, uh, but it doesn't always work well for, casual chats when you go out, guns blazing, there's something so vulnerable, um, not always the best idea, but it's always a good, it's always a good, these are always good questions to ask, uh, ourselves.

A good example might be, what's one advice or one decision that I am holding back from giving myself or making that's a good one. Or what's, uh, this one comes from Tim Ferriss. What would it look like if this was easy? And that's, that's a great one because we, as marketers, we often fall in the trap of just complexity and thinking about, ah, if, if we do this and that data, that data, yada, yada, yada, but sometimes the right answer is often a simple and easy one.

James Lawrence: I knew you'd give a great answer to that question. I just knew it. Was I good? Yeah, it's a great one. You're very wise. Um, I'm not going to embarrass Josh by revealing his true age. But, um, I always learn a lot from you. I mean, we were at a, you know, we're not going to name names, but we're at a session together and, um, we met up the next day and I asked you a question about what you thought of it and your response kind of floored me.

I think, you know what I'm talking about. Maybe you don't talk about it. I'm not getting, we can't talk in specifics, but, um, yeah, there's a lot of wisdom there and I knew, I knew you'd give me a good answer on that one. I think it's a great, a great one for us to all think about. Um, Josh, thanks so much for spending time on the pod and hope to have you back one day.

Joshua Chin: Love it. Thank you. Thanks for your time.

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