According to McKinsey & Company (enewsletter and blog), email can be used to drive traffic to your ecommerce website, and it generates more sales than Twitter and Facebook. According to recent research and surveys:
- Email has an ROI of around 4,300% (according to the Direct Marketing Association)
- 80% of people say they receive marketing messages alongside their personal emails on a daily basis
- 70% of people use coupons or discounts they learn about from an email
- 60% of people say receiving special offers is their top reason for subscribing to a business’s email list
Building relationships through email marketing
The most important thing to remember when it comes to email marketing is that it’s all about building relationships. According to DigitalMarketer, if you approach email marketing with this in mind, you’ll:
- Create better promotions that sell more product
- Nurture your subscribers better, which will lead to more long term sales
- Segment your database more effectively, which will (once again) generate more sales
Crafting subject lines to increase conversions
The next most important step is to test your campaign. Test, test, and test again! When it comes to email marketing, ensuring your content looks great across multiple devices is crucial. It’s also important to test multiple subject lines and determine which one will get the most opens before deploying your campaign. A strong subject line will increase the likelihood your email is read. If you’re struggling to find the perfect subject line, a few quick google searches might give you some ideas. Once you’ve written a subject line, use a free rating tool like SubjectLine.com to evaluate your subject line.
There are many occasions to send marketing emails, so make sure to mix it up with different subject lines and content. Promotions are nice, but you don’t always have to use obvious promotional subject lines. Prevent your subject lines from sounding overly promotional by:
- Avoiding bombastic promotional phrases
- Avoiding ALL CAPS
- And limiting the use of exclamation marks
It’s common for businesses to evoke a sense of urgency in their emails (i.e. only 3 days left!). However, using this technique too often may make you sound fake to your customers. In the end, you want your reader to take action.
Keep content simple and call-to-actions clear
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes when crafting your emails. Make it personal (each buyer wants to feel unique), make it interesting, make it mobile-friendly, and make sure it’s short and sweet. If you’d like your readers to learn more, include a link to a page on your website with additional content instead of including it in the email. Most readers are only looking for the most important information and won’t be willing to search for it if it isn’t easy to find.
Text vs. HTML emails
While the debate continues about text vs. HTML emails, the following remains true:
- If your email is 100% text with no branding elements whatsoever, it will likely be marked as spam because it won’t be immediately clear who the email is from
- Including too many fancy design elements, like several large images, animated GIFs, and complex, busy layouts, your email is more likely to be picked up by email client algorithms and sent to the promotions tab or folder
Don’t try too hard to close the sale
Ultimately, the main goal of your email marketing campaign is to increase sales. However, if you try too hard to close a sale via email marketing alone, you risk losing the customer all together. The short-term goal of your email should be for customers to open the email and click through to your website. Make sure you’re not only promoting sales through your email campaigns. You should send at least one email per month that’s more personal.
The ecommerce email funnel can be broken down into 3 simple customer stages:
1. Interested visitors & potential customers:
These are often customers who have given you their email in exchange for a coupon, ebook, etc. Send a branded welcoming email to thank them for signing up, and encourage them to make their first purchase with a coupon or special offer. If you get them to make that initial purchase, congratulations! They’ve progressed to the next phase in the funnel.
2. Engaged visitors & existing customers:
These are customers who have purchased from your store at least once before. To keep them engaged, send a post-purchase email with a quick summary of the item(s) purchased and any other related items or recommendations you might have for them. You could also try following up with other promotional offers or current sales. Focus on building customer relationships to increase return visits and enforce brand loyalty and trust.
3. Unengaged visitors & past customers:
These are past customers who have either stopped making purchases from your store or stopped opening your emails. To re-engage with them, send them a retargeting email with a sense of urgency or a message like, “We’ve missed you”. If a customer has abandoned their cart, send them a friendly reminder of what they left behind, maybe enticing them with a discount to complete their order within a set amount of time. Ensure they at least have the option to unsubscribe from future emails should they decide they no longer wish to shop with you.
Segment your email list
As you build your email list, make sure your database is segmented for different demographic information. This will increase accuracy and relevancy of the emails to your audience. It can be helpful to set up your lists in terms of the funnel stages mentioned above (potential customers, existing customers, and past customers). No matter what stage the customer is in, you’re using email to capture their attention. The more personalized the email is, the more likely your conversion rate will increase.