You might have read our previous blog post where we talked about ways to increase e-commerce revenue. We discovered that one of the quickest ways to make more money online is not to waste resources trying to find more customers when you can be selling more to your existing customers.
And how do you do that? By using an effective email marketing strategy of course!
Email marketing is by far the easiest and most cost-effective way to nurture and maintain existing and prospective customer relationships. 89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. Merchants that have a comprehensive strategy in place can create a consistent channel of communication with people you know are keen to buy from you or are at least interested in your services. An effective email marketing strategy also opens the window to interact with your customer about new products, events, blog content, features, promotions or even a general 'Thank You' email.
With an ROI of around 4,300% email practically pays for itself. Every email presents an opportunity to put your product front and centre with an audience that has already shown enough interest to give you their contact information, therefore giving you a higher chance of conversion to a paying customer. Email delivers the highest ROI ahead of SEO, Paid Search, Content Marketing and Affiliate Marketing.
Here are 8 ways to maximise your email marketing strategy.
As soon as you launch your eCommerce store, you need to start building your email list immediately. Having a good email list is fundamental to any email marketing strategy - without contacts you have no one to target. Building an email list made up of your specific target audience is critical because not only does it save you money on advertising spend, it also generates sales.
So, how do you get people to join your mailing list?
One of the most basic ways to start is to start saving your customer’s contact information when they purchase a product from you. They should immediately be added to an email segment dedicated to paying customers. Knowing that they have already purchased something from you means that they are your target audience, and may be open to receiving discounts and promotional coupons. You need to make sure that your segmentations are working correctly to ensure that data is stored correctly, and your customers receive appropriate content. You never want to send a paying customer an email with a discount for their first purchase - chances are they might ask you to refund them the difference from their most recent purchase.
Another great way to build your email list is to create a 'Join Mailing List' pop-up, triggered to appear when people visit your website. It's a great opportunity to offer a discount coupon, encouraging browsers to add their email address in exchange for the code, and then ensure segments are set to differentiate between those who used the voucher and those who didn't. For those who have a blog that generates a lot of organic or paid traffic, make sure you create a section that allows people to join your mailing list for latest blog updates (and then add them to the appropriate email campaign).
The fact of the matter is it's not easy finding the right balance when it comes to email frequency, there is no one size fits all approach. However, as a rule of thumb, more emails = more sales. You might need to test out a few different formats and frequencies when it comes to your specific audience, and when you find one that seems to produce the best results, you can roll this out across all segments. Don't think that you can just leave your email campaigns to run themselves, it's something that needs to be optimised at least once a month.
Bear in mind the ‘Unsubscribe’ button is only one click away, if you start seeing an increase in unsubscribes then it's time to jump in. When people aren’t clicking it, it's safe to assume they like what they’re receiving. Keep your focus on the open and click-through rate, work towards optimising these to start off with. Once you have consistent results, start focusing on optimising the conversion to paid customers (this is where you can play around with discounts and coupons).
As a minimum you should be aiming for at least one email a month to ensure you're at the forefront of their mind, in some cases a weekly email with valuable blog content might be appropriate and for businesses that provide a service that customers use on a daily basis (i.e. Shopify), a daily email might be suitable. Try to make sure that your emails are well crafted with a casual, friendly tone. The goal is to avoid coming across as being too generic and 'sales-y'. You should put almost as much effort into your subject line as you do the body of the actual email, as this will determine whether your subscriber decides to open the email or not. It needs to immediately grab their attention, so make sure you have a good understanding of your target customer and what's trending in their world (e.g. sending Shopify users some of Shopify's latest feature or app updates is valuable information.)
An important factor to consider is that in today’s eCommerce world most people check their emails on their mobile phone. Make sure your emails are compatible for desktop and mobile. Little touches like personalising your emails using first name or company name, goes a long when it comes to engagement. And if there is one thing that you need to do immediately, it's including a clear call-to-action (CTA) - a digital signpost - direct your audience to where you want them to go next.
The ideal time to run specific email campaigns is during seasonal periods, such as Christmas, January sales, Valentines Day, Mothers/Fathers Day, Easter sale, Summer sale, Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc. Sending promotional emails appropriate to the particular holiday results in increased engagement and in turn more sales. By anticipating your customers' needs, and sending a time-sensitive discount will mean your audience has an additional reason to spend with you rather than anyone else.
As an example, we all know people spend more in the run-up to Christmas, hence the reason that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are infamously popular (both in-store and online). You should capitalise on this inevitable opportunity by sending your email list an enticing Christmas voucher and a list of some of your most popular products. You could take things a step further by breaking your items down into who they are suitable for, i.e. Perfect for Mum, Must have for Dad, To that special person in your life etc. The key to making sure your products correlate with the specific season for even better results. For example, it would be completely pointless to recommend a pair of flip flops as a Christmas gift however, a nice cosy hot water bottle would most certainly be a welcome present.
Email marketing is the perfect opportunity to grab the attention of people who have already shown interest in your product, but for whatever reason didn’t go through with the purchase. Research shows that 68.81% of shopping carts are abandoned online, people who add items to their online cart but don't quite make it to check out.
These kind of customers are what you might consider low hanging fruit - they are primed and ready to go. Perhaps they just need a little digital 'push', or maybe they got distracted with something else and simply forgot to finish their order. Make sure you set up an immediate email trigger to let them know their shopping cart items are saved and ready for them, and why not give them a discount coupon as a further incentive. By sending an email reminder, you have a much greater chance of a purchase and you can ensure that sales don't slip through the cracks.
It's simply not possible that each email you send will be relevant to every single customer on your mailing list. This is the job of segments - break your customers down into smaller segments using specific categories, and send relevant email content. In fact, Marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns. By doing this, you will reduce the unsubscribe rate and avoid being reported as spam. Every email campaign should be based on its relevance and how the targeted audience is going to respond to it in order to increase conversion rate.
Good examples of audience segments are gender, age, location, and purchase history. Creating different email campaigns minimises the generic, automated feel of a mass email, allowing for a more personalised tone and perfect opportunity to nurture customer loyalty.
There's an abundance of data available when running email marketing campaigns, in fact possibly more data than you will ever have any need for. The key is to find out what data is relevant to you, and how you can optimise your campaigns to ultimately increase sales. Email marketing tools, such as DotMailer or Mailchimp, provide comprehensive analytics that provides actionable data to show you what's actually working. With the right data, you can tweak the content in your next email to improve performance and acheive better results. If you're not quite sure what to look out for, here is a rough list to get you started:
- How many people opened your email?
- What type of email content is converting into sales?
- Of the customers that have purchased via email, what is their location?
- What sort of links got the most clicks?
- Did your customer read the email on their mobile or desktop?
- How many sales did you get overall from the email campaign?
- How many people unsubscribed?
- Did people click more links at the top of the email than at the bottom?
7. A/B Testing
A/B testing is another form of marketing analytics and is highly relevant for email marketing. Most email marketing solutions give you the option of creating at least 2 comparative email, allowing you make certain tweaks to see which approach is more successful. Most A/B email campaigns like to test out different subject lines, email content, email design, placement and style of CTA.
Setting up basic A/B testing will help you determine which type of email your readers are more responsive to, and will help you optimise your overall email marketing process. Don't forget that optimising your emails is an ongoing process, and deserves your attention on a regular basis. When you truly embrace the power of email marketing, you will be amazed at the difference it will make to your overall marketing strategy.
As you already know, email marketing creates the perfect environment for you to communicate with your customers and nurture the relationships. It is a great way to provide them with exclusive content and increase your brand awareness. It is therefore important that your customers don't associate all your emails with sales and promotions.
Mix it up a little by sending news on upcoming features or company announcements. By understanding your customers, you will be able to provide them valuable information and content according to their interests. Why not send tips and tricks on how to navigate Christmas shopping (with a cheeky reference back to how products save them the hassle of hours browsing online for that perfect gift). Make sure you take the time to thank your customers for their loyalty - this will go a long way in boosting positive brand awareness.