David Bozin is a Partner at Structured, the highly collaborative DTC digital marketing agency helping brands grow paid acquisitions, retention, and revenue through omnichannel campaigns.
We connected with David for a deep dive into his expertise and best practices within the space. We cover:
- General acquisition vs. retention tactics for branded emails
- Ideal benchmarks for measuring the health of campaigns
- How to build email flows around seasonal products
“Email is one of the most effective levers for consumer brands to drive revenue. It isn’t always easy, but it can make or break a brand.” - David Bozin, Partner at Structured
Email for Retention vs. Acquisition: Is It Really That Different?
The answer is absolutely! David shares that there are two primary funnels — pre- and post-purchase — which require different messaging, cadence, and incentives.
Acquisition: How to Create Intent to Purchase
Acquisition tactics are aimed at the initial storylines and funnels when someone hits your website and starts engaging or interfacing with the brand for the first time. Acquisition exists across:
- The popup/Website – The primary source for acquiring window shoppers and customers
- Checkout – When a browser actually becomes a customer
- Events, giveaways, etc. – Collaborations with other brands, wherein the acquired audience is trickled into a “welcome series”, an email flow introducing your brand.
That trickled flow is normally a modification of the welcome flow, where the first email caters to language around the giveaway/event/activation, and then runs them through the typical brand intro. For most of the brands that David works with, the welcome series will span anywhere from five emails to upwards of ten+ emails.
Retention: How to Drive Future Purchases & LTV
The retention side is what occurs after the purchase. When someone purchases, that is the highest degree of intent brands can get from a consumer. Thereafter, the question becomes how you can retain and nurture that customer to become a repeat-purchaser.
Transitioning from acquisition to retention efforts shifts from coaxing customers to purchase to doing everything possible to convince them to buy again.
For most brands, repeat purchasing is not immediate.
Some brands immediately attack with retention marketing, which works well if they sell impulse purchases or stackable products, like jewelry and clothing.
David sees retention as a science. There’s a difference in tone and approach — between being aggressively "salesy" vs. a manner aimed at building lasting relationships.
Retention becomes a matter of expressing, "You just made the best decision of your life. You purchased my product. Now, here's what to expect."
That builds on the consumer psychology — they’re likely experiencing that slight giddiness and anticipation around getting the product, and you just elevated it.
Brands can build that feeling over and over again once someone gets the product in their hands.
Through platforms for delivery tracking and transparent comms during post-purchase, like Wonderment or AfterShip, brands can push the second purchase in a way that feels authentic.
"Authenticity and meeting the consumer where they are in their journey go a long way to building an enduring relationship." - David Bozin, Partner at Structured
Benchmarks for Impactful Email Marketing
Generally speaking, when measuring the success of an email campaign funnel, David looks at overall blended email-attributed revenue.
This method is similar to how many brands view their marketing performance through the lens of MER (market efficiency ratio) instead of looking at channel-specific data points.
David does look at individual components and highlights some critical targets for brands:
- Email-attributed revenue should be between 20% and 30%, depending on the brand.
- For single-purchase products, it could be anywhere between 15% and 25%.
- For products that have a lot of cross-selling and replenishment opportunities, the goal should be between 25% to upwards of 40%.
- For outlier brands that have email baked into their business model, they could be sitting comfortably at 50% or 60%.
Breaking down email-attributed revenue, David emphasizes that, ideally, brands are operating at a 50/50 split on email flows and campaigns between pre- and post-purchase.
Email Flow-Specific Benchmarks
Welcome series — for new customers coming in — primarily drive flows. That means around 80% of flow-based, email-attributed revenue should come from the welcome series.
Overall, about 40% of email-attributed revenue should come from acquisitions.
Retargeting flows are mainly characterized by the abandonment series, with four layers of abandonment that make up the remaining 40%.
Finally, replenishment is the rest that should bring us to 100% of your email-attributed revenue.
The Importance of Even Campaign-to-Flow Split
Campaigns play a vital role in acquiring customers and driving follow-on purchases.
For David, a brand's split between flow- and campaign-attributed revenue is indicative of the overall health and success of your email marketing channel. A relatively even split is the goal.
David explains that, when he first comes on to support a brand, he can usually diagnose key problems and opportunities based on the campaign-to-flow split.
He’s seen brands hitting the 50% email-attributed revenue goal, but campaigns are 90% and flows are 10% — meaning an inefficient split, which indicates flow-based problems.
It likely means that the brand lacks a super built-out flow or a set of effective funnels on the flow side. Or there aren’t enough potential customers coming in from top-of-funnel activity.
"Finding the right balance of nurturing and selling can be tricky. Optimizing your use of flows and campaigns is a good place to start." - David Bozin, Partner at Structured