Silverpop - Browse/Process Recovery, Part Two: Best Practices
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Browse/Process Recovery, Part Two: Best Practices

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
19 February 2013

In last week’s post, “Browse Abandonment Emails: How You Can Bring Them Back to Buy,” I defined what browse/process recovery messages are and why you should consider adding them to your email program.

Below are my suggestions and tips for an effective browse-process recovery program:

1) Design content that helps brings browsers closer to buying or completing a process.
Your mission is to help these Web visitors decide for themselves that they want to continue on to purchase or to complete an action.

As I noted in Part 1, browse/process abandoners are farther back in the sales funnel. They're not necessarily at the point where an aggressive sales promotion – a discount, free shipping or other incentive – would nudge them across the line from browser to buyer.

These browsers are often looking for information and reassurance. They want content, advice and tools that help them decide which specific product or solution is right for them.

Move these browsers into an education-focused nurture program. Content in these emails can repurpose other assets you've created elsewhere, such as the following:

  • Site content
  • Selection guides, product specs, price calculators and other fill-in-the-blank tools that act as virtual sales assistants
  • How-to videos
  • Step-by-step guidelines to decision-making
  • A white paper that addresses sales objections or outlines a purchase decision (or a set of white papers)
  • Direct-mail messages
  • Customer and employee reviews and testimonials
  • Case studies or examples

Interview your call-center or online assistance personnel for more insights into what browsers are looking for or the problems they encounter.

Silverpop client SmartPak Equine matches its browse-recovery email to the page category the customer visited before leaving the site. If she browsed a supplements page, for example, she would receive an email explaining how to use the company's SmartFlex Finder wizard to create the right mix of products for her horse.

2) Send more than a single email.
As with cart abandonment emails, a multi-email series or behavior-driven track produces significantly higher results than a single reminder.

One Silverpop client sends a fairly simple three-part cart abandonment reminder series with only minor creative changes and a modest gift offer in the final email. Conversion rates for the emails are 22 percent, 15 percent and 24 percent. If the client only sent a single cart reminder, it would be leaving millions of dollars in revenue on the table each year.

Test to see whether a similar approach will work with your browse abandonment program.

3) Launch your first recovery email soon after the event.
As with cart abandonment, the longer you wait to launch your first email, the less likely your browsers will return to finish what they started.

Send your first message within 24 hours after the event, especially if it involves abandoning a process. Then, test timing for this and the additional emails in the follow-up series.

4) Focus browse/process recovery messages on service instead of selling.
The right tone is essential in browse/process abandonment emails. These customers are even farther away from commitment than your cart abandoners, so you don't want to make them think Big Brother is watching their every move on your site.

Adopt a service-oriented tone. Offer browsers more product information, customer reviews and other services. Ask process abandoners if they encountered technical problems with your forms.

Mint.com, the online financial services provider, tracks whether its new registered account users have linked at least one financial account within Mint.

Users who don't complete this first step within a set number of days receive a series of automated emails with advice, reassurances about data privacy and security, and a link back to the site to continue the process.

Your email tone should be helpful and friendly, like a virtual sales adviser. Consider featuring employees in these messages to emphasize the personal touch.

Summing Up
Browse/process abandonment emails allow you to reach out to site visitors who show serious interest but leave without completing the conversion goal you want.

If you’ve mastered cart-recovery messages, then it’s time to move up the funnel to browse abandoners, where you have a much larger field of prospects to convert. You're potentially leaving money on the table if you don't reach out to them.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “Browse Abandonment Emails: How You Can Bring Them Back to Buy"
2) Slideshare: “Browse Abandonment Remarketing (SmartPak Equine)
3) White Paper: “How to Turn Cart and Process Abandonment Scenarios into Revenue

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