How Do I Set Up and Automate Customer Emails Using Follow-Up?
Direct contact with a buyer creates an opportunity to win a customer for life. That's why Helium 10 created Follow-Up: so sellers like you can nurture your Amazon customer service using Amazon's email system.
When you are ready to capitalize on the chance to contact your Amazon customers via email after a recent sale, you face two challenges: automizing an effective email sequence and writing appealing letters that build brand trust and invite repeat sales. Both tasks work together to cultivate your brand recognition and to woo buyers into wanting to buy products from you through Amazon.
As mentioned in the earlier tutorials on Follow-Up, Activating Follow-Up and Navigating Follow-Up's Dashboard, Amazon maintains a strict TOS for how and when you can contact your Amazon customers following a purchase of your products on Amazon. Helium 10 strongly recommends that all private sellers study Amazon's email use rules carefully to avoid breaking TOS, especially regarding the content of the emails you send to customers after a sale.
Because Amazon already sends email shipping notification to all buyers, with the tracking number, after they buy your product, you won't want to send a shipped notification email from your storefront, because it would only send duplicate information, potentially annoying the customer.
But you can send emails to:
notify the customer that the product has been delivered and,
provide any instructions or tips on using the product.
Even more essential to building your business is that inside these informational emails, you can politely request feedback in the form of a product or storefront review. (Keep in mind that Amazon absolutely states that you cannot ask for specifically positive reviews.)
Before we sign into the Follow-Up dashboard, decide what kind of messages you want to create. Helium 10 suggests a two-email* sequence:
Delivery notification + a product review request
Helpful instructions/tips on using or caring for the product + a storefront/brand review request
*For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll be blending the two types of messages into one email template.
Part I: Creating an Email Template
1. Sign into your Helium 10 account and open Follow-Up by clicking on the drop-down menu in the upper right corner.
2. The first time you create a series of emails for a new product, you'll want to go to the Products page (5th icon link in the left side menu) and give your products short names. If your products are not populating this window, you need to make sure you've gone through the full authorization process on Amazon. Every time you add products to your storefront, you'll want to give them short names inside Follow-Up. In general, the Products page updates every 24 hours, after you authorize Follow-Up. When you first set up your account, Helium 10 imports the first 200 active products in your storefront into Follow-Up. It adds new or additional products as they experience their first sale.
3. Once you have given your products short names (if required), you are ready to create your email templates and automation sequence.
There are two areas in Follow-Up where we'll be working in this tutorial, the Templates page and the Automation page. Automation tasks are set up and managed under the third link in the left side menu, and Templates are stored under the fourth link in the left side menu. You'll need to create a template first to use in the automation process.
4. Open the Templates section of Follow-Up by clicking on the fourth link, identified by the little envelope icon. Follow-Up saves and stores all your templates in the gold section. The blue section contains a collection of sample templates that you can view for ideas, or copy and paste into a new template so that you can modify them.
5. To access the Premade Templates, place your cursor over one of the templates. Follow-Up darkens the image and foregrounds two buttons. Click on the green Preview button to open the email up in a new window.
6. Read through the template for ideas, or close the window by clicking on the blue OK button in the bottom right corner. Alternatively, you can click on the gold Copy button on the main Templates window to copy the template into a New Email Template.
7. To start a new template, click on the gold New Email Template button located in the upper right corner. The Template Editor window will open. There are three sections on this screen. The first column contains the coded tags that you can easily insert into your email. The middle section is where you'll compose your text, using the tags as needed. The third column, on the right, provides a preview of what the actual email will look like when the customer gets it.
8. Choose the product that you are creating the template for, so that when you add the tags into your letter it references the correct product. To select a specific product, click into area in the bottom of the right column where it says, Choose a Product for Preview. A list of your Amazon products will appear in a new window. Click on the product you want to use for this template. (If, for some reason, you cannot find one of your products in the list, contact Customer Support by clicking on the Blue Chat icon in the far right bottom corner to request technical help.)
9. Name your new Template so that you can easily identify and find it again. Simply type it into the open field above the third column.
10. Remember to Save your drafts frequently as you write. When you are working on web-based software, your access is dependent by the security of your Internet connection. If you lose connectivity, you might lose your work. You can save your work at any time by clicking on the gold Save button in the upper right corner, or by clicking on the blue Save button in the bottom right corner.
11. You're ready to compose your first customer email.
After deciding the purpose and content of the email, you will need to create similar templates for each product you sell. Each email should:
politely but briefly address the buyer,
reference the specific product purchased, using a short name,
state the reason for the email,
ask for product and/or seller feedback, and
thank the buyer for their purchase.
Follow-Up has sample templates that you can use, or review, but we encourage you to write your own, or personalize and modify the available templates. Your customer emails are an opportunity to express the quality and philosophy of your brand and the products you sell. Once you've created emails for one product, Follow-Up saves you time by giving you the option to duplicate them and simply change the product details and image for the next product.
As you compose your email, consider your audience. Think about how you would greet and talk to them face-to-face. Note that Amazon does not currently permit Follow-Up to insert the customer's name into email, but you rarely know new customers' names when they shop in your brick-and-mortar store either. Friendly, helpful, and efficient are trusted approaches. Just keep in mind that you're setting the tone of your customer service and your brand from the initial greeting through to the closing, from the first email through to the next.
A simple "Hello" or a traditional "Dear Customer" salutation works, especially if your products and storefront are traditional in nature. You might also consider using a creative alternative. For example, if you're selling kitchen tools, perhaps address your email to "Dear Chef," or if you sell books, "Dear Reader," or if you sell sports equipment, "Dear Champ,". Even in your salutation, you are crafting your seller brand. If you sell playful products, make the address respectfully playful. This branding concept should carry through to your personal closing and signature as well.
12. Helium 10's Amazon Template Tags does the email coding for you, saving you time and effort. You can use the tagging function in two ways: copy and paste; click to insert. The small gold button copies the tag so you can paste it into the email, and the blue + button inserts it directly into the email, wherever the cursor is located at the time you click the button. The tags contain content about the product, the order, and links to Amazon reviewing pages.
13. To see what the tags will look like in the final email, check the Message Preview column.
14. Some of the tags can be modified. For example, if you want to include an image of the product, the default size of the image is quite large. To change the size of the image, simply change the numerical value inside the tag from 500 to a smaller number. (Be sure to leave the coding instructions unchanged, but if you accidently delete part of the code, simply delete the whole tag and insert it again.)
15. Follow-Up will adjust the size accordingly. You can try different numbers until you get the size and look you desire.
16. Follow-Up's tags use the international standard for writing dates, therefore the default date order in the tool is presented from largest unit to smallest, or Year-Month-Day. The tag looks like this: [[PURCHASE-DATE::YYYY-MM-DD]] which translates into 2019-09-16 in the sent email. Inside the tag, YYYY = year, MM = month, and DD = day.
17. To change the dates in your Follow-Up emails for the American market, you can change the inserted tag on the Message Editor column to [[PURCHASE-DATE::MM-DD-YYYY]] which translates to 09-16-2019. In Europe, and most of the rest of the world, the order is generally sequenced from the smallest unit to the largest, or, Day-Month-Year. If you are sending emails to the European market, you might want to modify the tag to [[PURCHASE-DATE::DD-MM-YYYY]].
18. The bottom four Link tags are actual links that take the email recipient to specific Amazon webpages.
19. The first link tag, Link - Feedback, takes the email recipient to your Amazon storefront. Because sales and ranking are dependent in part on customer reviews, it's important to maintain high customer satisfaction not only for your products, but also for your storefront.
20. The second link tag, Link - Contact, opens Amazon's internal messaging system where customers can contact you directly about concerns or issues related to the product.
21. The third and final link tags, Link - Feedback and Stars - Product Review, both take the customer to Amazon's review page for your product. When you use these links, it's important not to ask for specific kinds of reviews.
22. For the last link, Stars - Product Review, Follow-Up defaults to three stars, but lets you change how many stars are gold in your emails. As with the default image size, you simply change the numerical value inside the tagging. You might want to use the link with all five stars golden inside your email as a subtle positive reflection of your storefront. Or you may want the stars to all be empty as an invitation to the customer to make their own evaluation. When the customer clicks on the stars in your email, it takes them to your product's review page.
23. As you compose your email in the center column, in the right column, Follow-Up shows you what the final email will look like when a customer eventually opens it up. You can also save your drafted template, then preview it from the Templates page. From the Templates page, hover the cursor over the image under Your Templates, then click on Preview.
24. You can also ask Helium 10 to send you a test email by clicking on the blue Test Email button in the bottom left corner of the Template Editor page.
25. When you click Send Text in the bottom right corner, a window pops up asking you to verify the email address where you want Helium 10 to send your message.
26. Helium 10 sends the drafted email to your designated email box as a test. Remember that this specific test email is being sent only to you by Helium 10. The test email that you open in your own email account is only a test. When you send the actual email to your own customers, it will list Amazon as the sender of the email, not Helium 10. Also, keep in mind that Amazon is always collecting customer feedback, even on the purpose and quality of your email.
Once you have an email template written and ready to send out, it's time to create an automated schedule to have the email delivered to customers.
The timeline you establish for the customer service emails should be natural. Emails alerting customers that their order has been delivered, obviously, need to be sent after you receive notification that it has, in fact, been delivered. Emails regarding product use or care should probably go out after the customer has had time to examine the product.
Fortunately, Follow-Up allows you to set the schedule for when emails are sent during the sales process.
Part II: Setting Up the Automation of an Email Template
27. You manage when, how many, and to whom your storefront emails are delivered from inside the Automation area of Follow-Up. Here, Follow-Up lets you create the email sequences you need by letting you organize a chained set of reactions to specific events, like a delivered or returned product.
The Automation dashboard is where all your previously designed automations will eventually be stored. When you first use Follow-Up, this window will be empty. As you build new automations, it will store them here as a list where you can access them for editing or copying purposes.
28. On the Automation dashboard, Follow-Up lets you search for your premade automations by their status, either active or paused.
29. As you create email automations, you will name them, and they will be tagged by the various elements that you build into the automation. For example, if you set up a series of automations to go only to your Canadian buyers, then you can search the word Canada to pull up those specific automations.
30. The third, middle, drop-down menu lets you filter the automations on screen by when an email is triggered, or sent out to a customer. For example, you can filter for all your automations that are sent out to customers only after they've opened a previous email from you.
31. Eventually, after you've created a lot of automations, you may want to limit how many stored automations load on the page to save yourself time. The Page Limit drop-down menu and the search field offer additional ways to limit which automation sequences show on the page.
32. Let's create an automation sequence that uses the email template we created for our Helium 10 cup buyers in Part I of this tutorial. Click on the gold New Automation button in the top right corner of the screen.
33. Clicking on the gold New Automation button opens a new window, titled Automation Select. Selecting the top block, named Blank Automation, allows you to begin a new automation sequence. Helium 10 also provides you with pre-designed automations, located under the Premade Automations section, which you can choose to use as designed or to modify.
34. Let's click on the Blank Automation square to explore all the options available in the Follow-Up tool.
35. The white and gold buttons represent actions or what we call Triggers in Helium 10. Follow-Up defaults to Order Shipped when setting up a new automation. To choose a different initializing action, click on the gold Order Shipped button to open a window with all the triggering actions.
36. Since we are preparing a simple email sequence for an email written to send to the customer after they have received the product, we'll choose the Order Delivered button as our first action in this case. When you hover your cursor over a button, the white and gold colors reverse, signalling that you've chosen that option. Click on Order Delivered.
37. The blue buttons represent conditions or filters that you can apply to a chain of actions or triggers. Helium 10 includes two default conditions into Follow-Up. The first one, Refunded Orders, stops any email going out to a customer who has already returned your product. The second condition, which can be modified or deleted, stops all emails to buyers who bought the product at a significant discount. (You may not want a ton of reviews exclaiming over how great it was to pay $5 for your $15 product, if you want future buyers to still be willing to pay $15.)
38. To add new actions, or triggers, and conditions to your automation, click on the small Plus buttons at the end of each chain.
39. To add more triggers to your chain, click on the gold plus button under the Order Shipped button. A window pops up with two types of triggers: 1) to wait or 2) to send an email.
40. When you click on the Wait button, a drop-down menu lets you choose a range of time between the triggers. For example, you may want to wait 1-2 days after a delivery to confirm the customer has received your product and had a chance to open, see or use the product before you ask them for feedback.
41. If you want to change or delete a trigger, you can place your cursor over the button and two editing options will appear, one to edit and one to delete.
42. If you click on the Send Email button, Follow-Up opens another window with all your saved email templates. You'll want to choose the correct email template for this automation.
43. Select the email template you want to use. It will become outlined in blue, showing that it's been selected. If this is the email message you want, click the blue Confirm button in the bottom right menu.
44. After you confirm an email template, Follow-Up adds a new action, Send Mail, to your trigger chain. The Send Mail button will also show the title of the Email Template you've chosen on the button, allowing you to see that the correct email has been linked to this automation.
45. Sometimes, you don't want an email to go out to every customer who bought a product. The filters chain allows you to refine the list of who gets the email in the automation that you are designing. Click on the gold plus sign under the right, blue chain to open all the filter options.
46. Clicking on the Marketplace button allows you to select which marketplace customers you want your email(s) sent to. Only the markets where you sell in will show up on the list. A pink-checked box confirms that buyers in that country will receive the customer email(s).
47. The second box, Select Channel, in the top row, lets you filter out whether these emails will go out to buyers of products shipped by your company and/or Amazon.
48. The Select SKU filter lets you limit emails to customers who have purchased a specific ASIN(s).
49. Like the Select SKU button, the SELECT ASIN button filters the automation to send a specific email(s) to customers who bought specific products.
50. If you want to add a filter based on product name, simply type it into the field under Select Product Name.
51. Filter your automation based on the country your are shipping from using the Select Shipping Country button. If one of your products is shipped to the customer out of the country, the shipping times may vary, requiring a different automation process, or an email template in a different language.
52. You can control who gets a Follow-Up email by the price of the product as well. Use this filter if you want to send a special email to buyers who purchase a product for a specific price, or for greater or less than a set dollar amount.
53. Having customers purchase your product(s) again is one of the best seller experiences. It tells you that the customer likes your product enough to buy more. You may want to craft different emails to confirm your pleasure in having them as a repeat customer. Or, you may not want to send the exact same letter you sent after the first purchase. You can address this by using the Select Repeated Buyer filter.
54. As you add triggers and filters, you'll see the automation grow visually on screen.
55. When you save the automation, Follow-Up takes you back to the Automation dashboard. There, the new automation you just created will appear as an item in the window.
56. To add a tag to the automation so you can search it later, click on the gray pen + Add Tag link located under the automation title. This opens the Tag Editor window.
57. Inside the open Tag Editor window, click on the blue New Label button in the lower left corner.
58. Type the word or phrase you want to tag the automation with in the field located under the prompt Label Title:. You can also color-code your labels. To use a specific color for this tag, click on one of the color blocks under Label Color: at the bottom of the window.
59. Click on the blue Save button in the bottom left corner to move the tag into the stored list at the top of the window.
60. You can add more tags by clicking on the New Label button again and repeating the process. Click on the blue Done button in the bottom right corner when you're finished adding tags. You can always return later to edit or add more tags. Now, you should see your new tag(s) appear, color-coded, under the automation title on the Automation dashboard.
61. And, when you click on the Any Tag drop-down menu at the top of the dashboard, the tag appears as one of the options. (You may need to refresh your window before it shows up here.)
62. Very importantly, when you are ready to flip the switch and activate these automated emails, you must change click on the Pending button next to the automation title and change it to green Active.
63. Next to the Active button, your selected filters are displayed for easy reading. To the right of the filters list, note a gold Follow-Up icon. As your emails are sent out, you can click on that gold Follow-Up icon to open a dashboard with data just concerning this automation.
64. The dashboard for this automation gives you a quick overview of its performance, including how many emails were sent, how many opened, and how many returned error messages.
For more help with Follow-Up, you can watch the videos available under the video icon next to the title on the main Follow-Up dashboard.