Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels for an eCommerce business. From email, eCommerce businesses can generate sales, automate marketing, and stay in contact with customers.
- Why email marketing is important for your business
- How to build an email list for your eCommerce business
- The types of autoresponders to set up to boost sales and engagement
- The best tools to use for email marketing
- Advice from email marketing experts
We hope that this guide will teach you how to make more money for your eCommerce store using email. Ready to discover how email can boost your business?
Email is important for your business because email connects you with your customers. You can be more personal, develop, and nurture your customer relationships. When it comes to your store, it should not just be a place of selling products. No. You have to build relationships. Email marketing helps grow those relationships because you can talk to your audience.
And the best part about it, the customer has given you permission to contact them. NO SPAMMING!!!
Email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent. (Source: DMA National Client Email Report 2015)
81% of US online shoppers are more likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. (Source: Email is not dead)
89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. (Source: Mailigen)
Email Marketing drove the most online sales on Black Friday. While usually lagging behind online search (free and paid), on Black Friday email marketing was the primary channel, driving 25.1% of orders. Source: Custora)
Email is 40x more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook or Twitter. (Source: McKinsey & Company)
eCommerce email marketing is the process of using email to generate sales for your store.
There's three important things you need for a successful eCommerce email marketing campaign. They are
As with any marketing campaign, you need to set goals to achieve results. In eCommerce email marketing, your goals are building relationships and generating sales.
You need a successful email process that guides the customer through your funnel. Your process should cover from the first time a customer visits your store to when they convert.
Invest the time to develop a trusting relationship with your customer. Email allows you to be personal. Nurture your leads and convert them to loyal customers.
An eCommerce business has many opportunities to grow an email list. From the time a customer visits your website to the time they check out, there's a chance to collect email. Even if they are about to leave your website, you still get a chance to engage them for their email address. Here are some examples of how you can grow the email list for your eCommerce business.
Why the Need for a Newsletter Subscription Box?
The newsletter subscription field is the easiest way to collect emails from your store. It comes down to one thing. Does the customer or visitor want to get updates about your brand? Of course you can try to entice them with incentives in exchange for the email address. But, with this type, you are not asking your visitors or customers for anything in exchange.
It's important to post this where you get a lot of traffic. At the same time, you do not want the subscription box to be a distraction. That's why many times you will see the subscription box at the footer of a website.
Almost all shopping cart software, have a subscription box feature. So, this is easy to enable for your store. Check with your eCommerce platform to see how to enable this. If they don't have one, you can just create a form with your email software and add it to your store.
Here are a few reasons why a pop up like this works:
Why Do Most Users Shy Away From Pop Ups?
Let's be honest...most people don't like an annoying pop up every time they go to scroll a page. It's annoying, it gets in the way, and it just completely throws you off. Take a look at Hubspot's article "15 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Site", and you can see a few reasons why people aren't receptive to most pop ups.
You have to be aware of your customer and be intelligent when using pop ups. If it's relevant to the customer and it helps solve their problem, go ahead and add one.
For example, in the picture above, Karmaloop is giving their a customer a chance to get a free gift card for $100. All the customer has to do is provide their email address. Even if they don't win, the customer is now signed up and will not be surprised when they get an email from Karmaloop.
When adding pop ups to your store, think of how you want them to show up for the customer. Will it be an exit intent pop up? Will it be timed? Or will it immediately show up when they land on the page?
Contests are a great way to create a referral loop and build your email list. Contests work because they amp up your customers and make your business go viral.
Running a contest campaign entices your loyal customers to promote your business. They can pitch the business to their family and friends and their promotion earns points towards a reward. The referred will come to your contest page where they will enter their email. They have now provided you their email and are now part of the contest. Since they want to win, they are motivated to spread the word about the contest. This goes on and on. From this contest, you will generate buzz for your business and you will collect a lot of emails.
Three things that happen when you use discount tabs:
Discount tabs are great for eStores. They are usually small and can be anywhere on the website. Additionally, you can have them throughout the website. They are not annoying like pop ups.
The tab slides down and up as you scroll and navigate a page. It's not too fancy, but it works well and can be easily embedded to your store. It's big enough to see and digest, but it's not overbearing to the eye. Once, you click on the actual discount tab, a field will show up where the user can enter their email to get discount.
Why do discount tabs work? Well, first of all, a customer comes to your store not expecting a deal right off the bat. If they happen to catch the discount code, they are more likely to convert. This means that you could increase your engagement and sales. Even reduce bounce rates. Also, the customers feel like they had a win because they get a deal off the first buy. They might even spend a lot more on this sale just knowing they will get 20% off.
In Mashable's article, "13 Strategic Ways Businesses Can Use Coupon Codes," Anthony Saladino (Kitchen Cabinet Kings), made a great point saying "Consumers today are programmed to find a deal, so discount coupon codes are a must-have for any online business." He had a small coupon code on the left side of his site. From this tab, he was able to boost his sales.
This strategy can help you develop a loyal relationship that turns into repeat business.
This is one of the most important steps in eCommerce email marketing. Setting up email autoresponders and email campaigns drives traffic and sales for your store. As mentioned above, email marketing is about developing that relationship with your customer. This section shows you the email campaigns you can use to develop that relationship. You don't want to mess up or lose sales by not implementing the proper autoresponders. Below you will find types of email autoresponders you must set up for your store.
Do you know how many customers come to your store, browse, add to cart, then get distracted or leave your store? This is why it is important to set up an abandoned cart email autoresponder. The goal of this email is to remind your customers about their order. If you don't have an abandoned cart autoresponder, you are losing a lot of money. Additionally, you can use the abandoned cart email to get feedback about why they did not buy. You can use this information to improve your buying process and user buying experience.
Any customer that buys from expects to get an email receipt of their purchase. Not only that, they open the email to confirm the transaction. Here lies your opportunity to upsell more products to them. You can include product recommendations or related products to what they just bought. To set this up, customize the default receipt and add your product recommendations.
Not all customers who subscribe to your list will buy immediately. That is why it is important to set up a lead nurture autoresponder. The goal of this autoresponder is to make the customers like you and eventually buy from you. This means that you need to educate them about your products and your service. Do not be promotional. This email autoresponder should not be about selling. It should be about meeting your customers needs and then eventually pitch to them when they are ready.
The onboarding autoresponder should start when customers buy from you. The goal with the onboarding autoresponder is to keep your customers happy. As a result of a successful onboarding autoresponder, you will get repeat business. Those happy customers will keep coming back to you and spending more money. The first email that should go out in this campaign is the welcome email. This email will welcome them to your "family." The goal is to have your customers happy and make sure their needs are met. Go above and beyond to meet and exceed their expectations.
There's two types of welcome emails mentioned and discussed in this guide. The first, which we mentioned on point four above, is for customers who bought a product. The second, which will discuss now, is when someone subscribes to your email list. In this welcome email, you will give them access to the lead magnet or bribe you promised them. First impressions matter, so make sure this email is beautiful because it will set the tone for what's to come.
You'll need a great set of tools to run a successful email marketing campaign. You need tools that will help you automate your marketing and send emails the right way. It's all about making your job easier. It's essential to have these tools because they will make your email campaign successful. Here are some great email marketing tools to help grow your eCommerce brand.
Sleeknote allows you to set up lead capture forms on your website in minutes. No coding required. You can sync your new email leads with your favorite email service provider.
BrandMyMail is an email template creator integrated with Gmail. It is designed to give a facelift to the emails you send and provides a variety of email analytic services.
CartHook is a cart abandonment recovery software. It keeps track and emails shoppers who start, but don't finish your checkout process.
Don't fill your emails with cliches. Use Cliche Finder to create email copy that is unique and will keep customers engaged. Your customers get a lot of promotional emails, full of cliches and salesly. make your email standout by making it unique.
dotmailer is a platform that helps you create, automate, test and send emails in minutes. It is designed to help you target the right customer at the right time with the right message.
FlashIssue is a Gmail app that can help anyone effortlessly find fresh content and create newsletters in minutes.
Free Online Spam Test is a simple spam check tool to ensure your emails aren't junked. The tool helps you to determine if your email may be flagged as spam, or filtered away by spam filters.
Disclaimer: Even though the tool may show your email's content is not flaged as Spam. It does not guarantee successful delivery of your email when you try to send out via your email server.
Klaviyo has built database technology to make 1:1 personalized email easy. Klaviyo aggregates everything a business knows about their customers into individual profiles. They've paired that with an email platform that makes designing beautiful emails easy. The average Klaviyo cusotmer makes >$75 for every $1 spent on email.
Leadpages will help you generate leads and sales for your business on the web, in emails, via text messaging, and on social media. Some of the main features in LeadPages include:
MailChimp is the best way to design, send, and share email newsletters. More than 10 million people and businesses around the world use MailChimp. It allows you to send marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. They have detailed reports that will help you keep improving over time.
Rebump sends friendly follow-up messages to your email recipients for you. These automated emails are customized to appear as if you sent the email yourself. You can track and analyze all of your follow-up emails with your Rebump account.
Receiptful helps you send beautiful and engaging e-mail receipts that includes upsells and marketing messages which make you more money.
Remarkety helps you to recover abandoned carts, wake up inactive customers, make product recommendations and send automatic follow ups.
Find out your email reputation score from Return Path's Sender Score reputation rank. Sender Score is a number between 0 and 100 that identifies your sender reputation and shows you how mailbox providers view your IP address.
Although this isn't necessarily an email marketing tool, it does help you to keep your writing consistent. When it comes to picking the perfect email, you need your text to be concise. Get to your point but tell a story. Clean writing with conviction is more powerful than a mindless rant of over 1,000 words. Some people don't have the time to deal with an email that long unless it's very interesting. Even if it's interesting, you still need to capture their attention for a set period of time. The focus is on making it easy and digestible to read. Don't throw out 10 cent words when that's not your audience; it's a waste of time. The Hemingway App keeps your writing tight like a boa constrictor's grip on a rat. Keep this in mind when you begin your email campaigns. It'll surely help you in the long run and make your writing efficient.
Touchstone allows you to create a virtual simulation of your subscriber base and uses a proprietary algorithm to predict likely open, click and bounce rates for the subject line you want to use.
ToutApp helps you close more deals and increase productivity with the power of sales email tracking, templates and analytics.
Zoho CRM is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Zoho will help your business generate and track leads, manage tasks, and follow the entire sales pipeline from the app.
In this section, you will find email marketing advice you can use to grow your eCommerce business.
We asked the top eCommerce Marketing experts what was their best email marketing advice?
Read their responses below (in no particular order).
If you're in SaaS, use an email campaign to recover people who abandon your trial sign up flow. Just like an online store sends emails to visitors who leave their shopping cart.
To do this, capture an email before people advance to your credit card payment page. Then, if they don't finish sign up, send a couple reminder emails. Since implementing this, we now rescue an extra 65 trials per month we were losing.
Make sure you're optimizing your emails not just for copy and hard-to-resist subject lines but also for readability and for mobile screens. At least half - if not more - of your recipients are going to be reading your emails on their phones, so make it easy for them to consume with easily readable font sizes and responsive email templates.
When it comes to ecommerce marketing, I always love to relate things with a real life brick and mortar business scenario.
I used to get a phone call from the local shop owners in our city whenever there is a new stock arrival of my favorite brands of clothing. As the shop owner is well-aware of my purchasing behavior and interests, the above call he makes is laser-targeted.
How do you apply the same tactic to your ecommerce business to send laser targeted emails to customers?
It is by email segmentation, which is one of my favorite email strategies.
Segmentation is the process of classifying your leads into a distinct group on the basis of interests, behavior geographic locations, etc., so you can send personalized targeted emails.
When done correctly, it is proven to bring in more revenue to your table.
Email marketing is a lot like dating and many marketers take a swipe left approach to it. Progressively building a positive relationship over time is crucial for success. For example, when a potential buyer agrees to opt in, this is not the time to ask for their hand in marriage. Thus, like a new relationship, it is not advisable to immediately bombard the recipient with numerous, desperate email messages. Build customer relationships by crafting authentic communication that's delivered with a well thought out workflow, which builds trust, solves their problems, offers value and makes your potential buyers feel special. This is key to ensuring your prospects and customers are faithful to your brand, and that you stay top of mind when they consider straying to the competitor's products.
Marketers should be taking a mobile-first approach to email campaigns. This means single-column layouts, relatively simple copy (don't clutter up the messaging creating more friction for recipients) and clear calls-to-action with tappable rather than clickable buttons. E-commerce marketers need to remember that more commerce is happening on mobile devices and that trend will only continue in our increasingly mobile-first marketplace.
It is not enough to collect emails using lead magnets or bribes. Once you have those emails, you need to segment your recipients. This way, you can send messages to targeted groups who will find your emails relevant. Segmenting will get you more traffic, sales, and better email marketing results.
Use more than one opt-in offer. Email marketing begins by having emails to market to, so know your target audience and offer them a good reason to trade that email for something they really care about.
Send stuff that people want. Most marketers do their best to send emails that subscribers want to receive, but far fewer are using personalization to make that happen. Personalizing email campaigns (beyond just the first name) can help you ensure you're giving customers relevant information. This results in higher open and clickthrough rates, and ultimately results in more ROI for email. Personalization can now be automated, so that when a customer makes a purchase or uses their account, they'll get a relevant email.
Pay attention to subject line as it can make or break your whole game. Write a subject line that informs about the offer as well as creates urgency for it. Body content should be concise & convey the message clearly, while also informing readers how they will benefit from it. Mentioning important parts under bullet points is a good idea. Instead of using an email template, I would suggest to create custom ones with appropriate image & theme. A catchy CTA button and social media plugins are imperative. Your email marketing template must also be optimized for mobile devices.
Use email to support remarketing. Exit overlays are a good way to tempt people to convert online but only a small % of users respond. You should use the exit overlay to encourage email capture (for anonymous users) so that you can then use email marketing to nudge people back to the site and their baskets.
See the example from Cresus, a French retailer. It doesn't just expect people to convert, it's CX focused and gives people the opportunity to have their basket emailed to them if they need more time.
Email is a great way to keep leads warm during the decision making phase of a buying cycle e.g. don't let them forget your website even though they may be researching on competitors as well. Multi-phase remarketing campaigns have been proven to uplift overall response rates and conversion, starting with a customer service focused message and then moving towards using incentives and hooks to encourage response e.g. promoting warranties, using social proof, offering an incentive.
As with most Digital Marketing strategies, relevance is critical to strong performance and ROI.
Segment your data as much as is realistically practical (and automate that segmentation!) to refine your messages to micro-segments of your audience - your audience is far more likely to open your email, far more likely to click and far more likely to buy when the content means something to them personally.
Most eCommerce companies use email marketing in a very promotional way. Think about what you could deliver to the user's inbox on a regular basis that they would be excited to open (on most days at least). Also make sure to use a marketing automation tool closely coupled with your eCommerce store data, running campaigns like Churning Customers/Win Back, Abandoned Carts, VIP Customers, New Relevant Product Announcements, and much much more
We've seen better results from emails when we use it in conjunction with social media. This means that soon after we connect with people on social media, we follow up with an initial email. We found that socially engaged leads are more valuable and move through the marketing pipeline at a higher velocity. Internally, the average open rate on the first email sent to a socially engaged lead is 36%. The average click through rate is 4.5% These metrics are significantly better than our cold emails from other channels.
Personalize your emails. Make the first one look like it comes from a real person, not a marketing department. The reason we got fairly good engagement rate in the initial email is that we made the email feel very personalized. Instead of sending a highly formatted email that looks like it comes from a marketing department, we send our leads a plain-text email from the employee who they followed on Twitter. In this email, we remind the person where w e connected, we also include a link to our blog and encourage them to reply with any questions.
Monitor what your leads are doing on social media so you prioritize how you follow up with leads over email. First, you'd want to decide what are the high value actions you'd want to monitor. You'll want to follow up with the leads who've taken these high value actions immediately through email. For example, if you see someone mentioning your brand on Twitter and asking a question, it probably makes sense to flag this to the right sales person so he or she can immediately follow up with a prospect with an email. To make monitoring easy, we use our own product to monitor the social activities of the leads in our database. We'll run trigger campaigns in our marketing automation system based on the action of leads.
Transactional emails (purchase receipts, shipping and order confirmations) have a 53% higher open rate than a typical eCommerce promotional email, and therefore should not be overlooked as a selling opportunity. Include an up-sell like related products, recommended products or even a discount code and you're sure to make more sales!
My best email marketing tip is to really review and understand the triggers and automation capabilities of your email marketing tool.
Email continues to be the best method of connecting with your customers in ecommerce and consistently has the highest ROI. The best part about it is that so much of it can be automated while also being contextual, being able to deliver the right message at the right time.
Look beyond cart abandonment and begin looking into sending emails based on types of products purchased, repeat customers, biggest spenders and people that haven't purchased in a while.
If recipients haven't yet opened your first message, resend the same email twice, but with a different subject line. You may be surprised by how that simple change can prompt people to open, click and respond to your emails.
Personalize the email and make the reader feel special. Automated personalization can make a marketer lazy and make their message seem robotic. Used correctly, the right copy can make a reader feel like the email was crafted specifically for them. Also, when possible, reward the reader for a behavior.
To build an effective email marketing strategy in the eCommerce world requires understanding and segmenting your lists properly. Sending the same emails to your entire database of customers is a waste of its potential. Leverage data analytics tools like Windsor Circle or Hubspot that can allow you to segment your lists based on what your customers purchased, when they purchased, and much more to follow up with emails that make sense for their given situation and use case.
My advice is to not make the mistake of not connecting your offline marketing (direct mail) efforts to your online marketing (email) efforts and collectively gathering and analyzing the data from these campaigns. Often offline campaigns can spur online purchases that are mistakenly attributed to online promotions and campaigns. Using your data to A/B best between the two, and to truly understand and attribute purchases accordingly can make all the difference in your results--and your marketing strategies moving forward.
Changing the sender name and subject constantly to sound like the email is coming from an individual is an amazing way to increase opens and as long as the content of the email is also engaging, can work really well. You just need to make sure to keep the names on brand because it could also seem like baiting and people can get annoyed.
Have a plan. Be consistent. Short, frequent email campaigns work much better than blasting your list once a year for your annual sale. Email should be a relationship builder, not a spray and pray tactic.
I know you've experienced a situation where you're on an email list but for something (blog sub) or some company (purchase) and then forget about them. Then a year later you get a random email from the company? They really haven't earned the right to be in your inbox. Know what I mean?
Don't just ask for users to sign up to your email list but give them an incentive (for example a free product, exclusive content, a discount maybe etc.) and explain to them the benefits from staying subscribed. As soon as a new user is registered send them a welcome email to set the ground for the future emails.
My biggest piece of advice is that no single tactics work by themselves or in a vacuum. I have found that doing 3 things in conjunction with each other creates momentum. For example drip email campaigns plus SEO plus digital advertising together create a program that works off of each other. In addition, people respond to people not corporate jargon. Create a persona and write from that persona. Make it personal, and even consider just using plain text instead of logos and pictures. Even as you automate, create your campaigns from the perspective of an actual person.
Email marketing is (still) very effective. Especially with these resources below.
1) Make your wording more creative and preview how your subject will appear using CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer, a tool I recommended in several of my Californian Creativity presentations at Google Tech Hub AstroLabs and elsewhere (see my slides at Elias213.com).
2) Inserting emoticons in headers can boost open rates because they make your emails stand out in a sea of subject lines in inboxes. For proof, see data in this Emoji Marketing guide by expert Neil Patel. Find a good emoji to use with a website I also recommended in my #CaliCreativity talk: Emojipedia.
3) Avoid images that are too big: more people are reading emails on small mobile screens nowadays.
4) A/B test. Retry.
5) Bonus-my other ecommerce marketing tips: Elias213.contently.com/pub/blog-lengow-co-uk