How important is email marketing to your eCommerce business?
For many online stores, it’s all about the product, brand, social and PPC - eCommerce email marketing is an afterthought.
Millenials and the next generation might feel like email is on the way out. A boring old tactic that doesn’t have the same appeal as the shiny new social networks and the direct outcomes of AdWords.
That is a fundamentally flawed way of thinking…
It may not be fancy, but it’s effective and considerably more sustainable than many other tactics.
Here are two reasons why eCommerce email marketing is still relevant:
It’s as simple as that, with eCommerce email marketing you own your audience, don’t need to play by someone else’s ever-changing rule set, and you won’t be all of a sudden forced to start paying to communicate with them.
Ok, so email is still relevant and important for eCommerce businesses… but how do you make the most of it?
I’ve found examples from 10 of the best eCommerce brands and grouped them under key headings that capture the essence of a well put together email marketing strategy. Use this as inspiration to take your eCommerce email marketing strategy to the next level.
Perhaps the most important, and often overlooked component of effective email marketing is how well you optimize your website for email capture.
It’s all very well to get tons of website traffic and set up automated back-end email sequences, but if people come to your website and never come back again then it’s all pointless.
That’s why on-site conversion optimization is a crucial element of eCommerce email marketing.
Here are some tips on how you can optimize your eCommerce site to capture email addresses:
Email personalization goes beyond the inclusion of a “First Name” tag in your email broadcasts. It’s much more than that.
When done well, personalization helps your eCommerce business stand out in your prospects’ inbox. It increases your open rates, click-throughs, and eventual purchases. It tightens the bond you have with your customers.
It’s so important that 33% of marketers believe personalization is the most important capability to develop in the future.
So what exactly is personalization and how can you use it for your eCommerce email marketing strategy?
Here are some examples of email personalization to illustrate its potential:
Email is more than the simplistic text-based form of communication it once was.
Widespread use of custom HTML emails means that beautiful design is a prerequisite for effective eCommerce email marketing. Your customers expect eye-popping visuals, engaging graphics, and an amazing experience in their inbox.
Here are a few key elements of email design that contribute to the inbox experience for your customers:
And another example from Stylemined, which does a great job of highlighting the calls-to-action throughout the email with contrasting colors, button design, and discount offers:
Creating an enticing email design involves a winning combination of style and substance. Consistent branding, responsive formatting, jump-off-the-page calls-to-action, and smart content organization, are critical to the way your emails are engaged with.
Having a beautifully designed email is important, but if your messaging and copy are misaligned with the outcomes you are trying to achieve for the business then it’s all wasted energy.
Your messaging needs to entice visitors to open your emails, click on your calls-to-action, engage with your content, and purchase products from your store. If it doesn’t, then what’s the point?
There are a number of things you need to consider when it comes to your messaging. Some of which relate to the technical side of email marketing and some relate to customer engagement. Let’s take a look…
Your email messaging should all lead to one outcome - the user taking action. This means you need to find a way to turn up in their inbox, get them to open the email, and entice them to click on the link you want them to.
A guide to eCommerce email marketing wouldn’t be complete without mentioning automation.
It’s estimated that automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than normal email broadcasts. This is largely due to the fact that you can test, iterate, and optimize their performance over time.
There are three primary uses of email automation for eCommerce businesses:
Smart email automation can save you time, help you optimize your approach to email marketing, and deliver your sales on autopilot.
Running email campaigns that center around event-based offers is a core ingredient to a healthy eCommerce business. They are not a standalone broadcast, but a series of emails that are sent to your database to promote a new offer or a specific sale.
It’s estimated that 60% of people prefer email as a form of communication when it comes to promotions and offers from businesses. Compared to social media and other channels.
One way to approach event-based email campaigns for eCommerce stores is to plan the year ahead of time. Look at your calendar and earmark a number of critical events that present an opportunity for a promotion.
Some common examples include:
When you are looking at your email calendar for the next 6-12 months, start to plan these event-based campaigns as a way to spike sales during these periods.
Iconfinder leveraged Halloween to generate interest and offer subscribers a discount:
Most visitors won’t buy from your online store on the first visit. So with all the time, money, and resources you put into driving traffic to your website, it makes sense to find as many ways as possible to reconnect with these people.
One way of doing so is with retargeting ads. But your relationship with these users is still somewhat cold in nature. Email marketing, on the other hand, is permission-based. People have knowingly given up their contact information to your business so that you can communicate with them in the future.
On top of being a permission-based form of marketing, your email list is an asset that you own. You don’t have to play by the rules of the social networks, or a 3rd party advertising platform.
So think strategically about your eCommerce email marketing strategy. Optimize your website for email conversions, personalize the experience for your subscribers, create beautifully designed email templates, deliver compelling messages, and combine both event-based offers and automation.
Rukham is the Content Lead at Mailmunch. He believes trust should be the basis for all marketing communications.