The sheer durability of email marketing as a means of spreading the word about ecommerce brands, maintaining customer engagement, and driving revenue may be a surprise to some.
The fact is that a well-targeted and finely-tuned ecommerce email marketing strategy can work wonders, delivering a return on investment (ROI) of as much as 44:1. Indeed, you might be shocked to learn that on average, ecommerce brands attribute about a fifth of their revenue to this too-often-maligned – but proven – marketing method.
But why should that be such a great surprise? After all, email communication of any kind typically leads to a lot of data changing hands. You can learn a considerable amount about your customers through the right email marketing strategy, including with every click and purchase they make.
Simply gaining extensive insight into your target audiences through email, however, won’t necessarily make your email marketing strategy effective. So, let’s look at some of the frequently overlooked ways of getting more out of those metrics with your next email marketing campaign.
#1 Regularly cleansing your mailing list
Not all the metrics that your email service provider (ESP) might distil into performance overviews for you will necessarily tell you a great amount about how your email marketing campaign is performing. One metric you will certainly need to be alert to, however, is the bounce rate.
While a ‘soft’ bounce is what happens when an email cannot be delivered due to a fixable issue – such as if you attempt to send too large a file, or the recipient’s inbox is full – a ‘hard’ bounce occurs when a permanent failure prevents an email from being delivered. Such a failure could be down to the email address being fake, for instance, or no longer existing.
Regardless, high bounce rates can be bad for your sender reputation, which makes regular data cleansing necessary to help avoid them. Anything under 2% is fine for a bounce rate, but having a rate that is regularly higher than this underlines the urgent importance of removing repeat-offender email addresses from your mailing list.
#2 Organically growing your mailing list, instead of buying data
But what if you’re effectively just starting out with building up contacts? Isn’t there a quicker way of getting a great mailing list together as part of your ecommerce email marketing strategy? Well, there sort-of is – you could just buy email lists. In and of itself, this isn’t illegal, so what harm could it do?
The unfortunate answer is that it could do serious harm. At the very least, purchasing email lists isn’t best practice. And there’s also a strong chance that any given email list you buy will have a lot of outdated email addresses, and some that weren’t even legally collected. The latter, by the way, would be a breach of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In short, then, you will almost certainly be wasting your money if you depend on pre-purchased mailing lists. Instead, it’s best to focus on getting the specifics of your data and marketing strategy just right – including collecting legally and for the most suitable data points – to grow a list that consists of people who really do wish to hear from your brand.
#3 Avoiding the duplication of your email and webpage content
Key to the success of your ecommerce email marketing strategy will be the creation of a compelling and impactful user journey. That will mean scrutinising every last aspect of how you can optimise the recipient’s journey from email to landing page and beyond. After all, the average email read time is only about six to eight seconds, and you also won’t want to waste the recipient’s time with any more clicks than necessary.
Unfortunately, this means it can be very easy for ambitious brands to quickly overwhelm their marketing email recipients with too much information. A classic mistake is repeating things on a landing page that were already said in the email the visitor clicked from.
Remember: to ‘land’ your message, you will need to be quick and succinct. To that end, you could always make your marketing email a mere ‘teaser’, for example, for a full campaign story on your website.
#4 Having a plan for unengaged subscribers
Who do we mean here by “unengaged subscribers”? For the sake of argument, let’s say an unengaged subscriber is someone who has not engaged with your marketing emails for three months, so about 90 days. We aren’t just talking here about someone who might have still been engaging with your emails, but who hasn’t gone as far as buying a product or service from you; we’re referring to those recipients who are giving you no engagement at all.
Unfortunately, your metrics will suffer if you keep on sending emails to these unengaged subscribers. So, it’s important that you have a plan for them.
Our suggestion is that you create an automated journey for such out-of-contact subscribers – we can show you how to do this. Basically, you set certain criteria – such as the aforementioned example of the subscriber not engaging with an email of yours for 90 days. If this occurs, they can then be automatically ‘suppressed’.
You might send them a few emails inviting them to re-engage. Then, if they still aren’t engaging, you could send them a final email presenting a clear call to action (CTA) to unsubscribe. And if there’s still no engagement from them after that… well, that’s a clear signal to suppress them from further email sends.
#5 Carefully cultivating a strong sender reputation
If you think of what happens to your credit score whenever you default on a few loan payments, this is the kind of mindset you also need to bring to the task of creating and preserving the best possible sender reputation. As with your reputation in ‘real life’, your sender reputation – which is how you or your business is perceived as an email sender – will impact on what you can do and achieve.
Leading email platforms like Gmail have algorithms in place to determine what emails a particular person receives can be considered to be ‘spam’, so that they can be filtered into the relevant spam folder. This folder is the very last place you will want your marketing emails to end up.
As with your credit history, your sender reputation will evolve gradually over time – instead of being entirely upended overnight – in response to your own behaviours. Factors like the quality of the content you send, the quality of your contacts, and how much your previous campaigns were engaged with by recipients, will all feed into your seller reputation. So, you need to be very careful about exactly what you send.
The above elements are far from the only ones that you must get right, if you are to have your brand’s ecommerce email marketing strategy delivering optimal results. Nonetheless, our advice here will hopefully serve as important inspiration as you look to unlock your business’s online growth potential.
For a more detailed discussion of the tactics that are likely to work best for your organisation, and help with implementing them, please contact the Underwaterpistol team.
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