Email strategies for e-commerce businesses
Email marketing is key for e-commerce businesses. It’s a known fact that you’ll need to grow your email list, send personalised messages and engage with returning customers. However, it’s important that you follow an appropriate sequence when dealing with email marketing. Simply sending emails is not enough to create success – this needs to form part of a strategy. For example, you’ll need to send emails to the right people at the right time in order to keep your email subscribers. This article will share ideas that e-commerce businesses can use to keep their email marketing strategies in check.
Tips for Email Marketing
- Use personalisation methods to target different segments/audiences. You typically have more than one target that you’re trying to reach, and it’s likely that your product appeals to multiple segments. Personalisation can improve your open rates, clicks and engagement. You need to segment your list and add a personal touch to what you’re sending out. Once your list is segmented, you’ll need to send emails that are tailored to each segment. This ensures that your subscribers are happy and therefore more likely to secure a sale with you. You can start this process by segmenting your list into demographics such as: age, income, education, gender identity (if it matters for your product), and any psychographic values like values, personality and interests. This is essential information for visualising your customer and knowing how to best communicate with them.
- Offer exclusive promotions to your most loyal customers. This will ensure that your regulars will keep purchasing from your store. You might start a loyalty program to achieve this. Repeat business will help your brand grow, and starting a loyalty program can easily grow your arsenal of regular buyers. For instance, you could create a special newsletter. You want your customers to feel appreciated and special while still encouraging an environment that keeps customers coming back for sales.
- Design responsive and visually-appealing emails. Everything you send out that is showing your brand image should be appealing to read and engage with. This includes transactional emails, too. This doesn’t mean that you should overload your emails with GIFs and images; interesting text can be highly engaging. Formatting emails with headings, bullets and lists could make your emails look more exciting. Your emails need to look good on mobile devices, as many customers use mobile shopping as their primary e-commerce buying method. Make sure your email is easy to read and understand, and captures the interest of your (prospective) buyers. You’re allowed to upsell and cross-sell in your emails, so don’t forget to try it out.
- Send test emails. Change a single element of your email campaign and compare different versions. You could be missing something that really resonates with your audience. Of course, you should be putting out the best possible version of your email.
- Ask your customers for reviews. This adds invaluable social proof of the quality of your product, and you should feel confident enough to ask your customers to write about your product. If not, there may be a product with the quality of your store. It’s true that customers trust other customers – and they’ll be likely to buy after reading multiple positive reviews
- Track your campaign results. This is absolutely vital and allows you to track your performance across multiple email series. You’ll want to know how many people are reading, opening and engaging with your emails so you can tailor your content if your responses are low – or keep up with whatever you’re doing if your click rate is high. This should go without saying, as you should be tracking every aspect of your marketing strategy to ensure you’re doing everything correctly.
Let’s look at the kinds of emails you should send
- Welcome Email
Welcoming your customers to your e-commerce prospect is your chance to land a solid first impression. This needs to be memorable and will set the tone for future campaigns. This is a vital email to include in your arsenal. You might choose to launch this as a single email, or over a series of introductory emails.
What this email is for: Letting your prospective customers get to know your brand, showing off what your e-commerce store is all about and setting expectations for the customer relationship going forward.
You should use this email because it’s one one of the most powerful email tools that are available, and often yields impressive results. Statistics show that ‘Welcome’ emails have 86% higher open rates compared to other kinds of emails, and on average can generate up to 320% more revenue per email sent when compared to promotional emails.
- Abandoned Cart Email
It’s pretty likely that every e-commerce store has experienced a customer abandoning a cart just before checkout. This is one of the downsides of online shopping – there are no real ways to stop this happening in real-time as it happens on your e-commerce website.
However, the Abandoned Cart email is here to try to salvage lost sales.This type of email can recover around 15% of what would be lost – which is a whole lot better than the 0 you’d get by not sending the email. In specific cases, this figure is at almost 50% and therefore, has resulted in enormous revenue gains from increased sales.
There are two options you can choose from with this type of email:
- Personalised Email – this encourages customers to complete their abandoned purchase, and is usually a reminder that there are items waiting in their cart that have not been finalised into a sale, and includes images and descriptions. This typically happens within 24 hours of the cart ‘abandonment’.
- Series – This series aims to inspire customers to finalise their abandoned sales, and takes the form of a series of reminders to the customer. This typically occurs after the first abandoned cart email, and can be sent between 3-5 days after the initial abandonment. Sometimes, these will offer discounts on the products that were discarded. This is typically the final stage of the recovery email process, and you should remember not to bombard your customer with too many reminders.
- The Discount Email
Offering discounts is a popular strategy for e-commerce businesses – because it works. A study by VWO found that around 72% of millennial shoppers are susceptible to retargeting by means of discounting. Additionally, around 54% of users who abandon their carts are more likely to finalise the purchase if offered a discount for the same product.
This could be a key method to improving your revenue and making quick customers. However, remember that there are certain limits you should adhere to – don’t discount too often or you’ll hurt your profits. If you don’t offer enough discounts, your customers may turn to a competitor. One great method to use discounting is to only offer discounts to loyal subscribers who regularly engage with your emails and other content.
- The Referral Email
Using word-of-mouth is a great way to gain new leads. Ogilvy’s study suggests that 74% of customers are more likely to be swayed by word-of-mouth when making a decision. With a percentage this high, referrals are certainly a strategy to consider for your own e-commerce brand. A good way to do this is to offer incentives to your customers for participating in your referral program. If you can’t afford to give away free product, consider using discount codes or even a well-written, personalised email that makes your customers feel appreciated.
- Transactional emails, including order confirmation and invoices
While the prospect of sending transactional emails seems boring, it’s good to know that email campaigns are easily automated and serve to satisfy your customers. Order confirmations which include product and shipping information can act as a method of setting customer expectations. Your transactional emails are not just digital receipts; they’re a reminder that your customers made a good decision by purchasing with you.
- Survey Emails
This one is all about finding out customer data. If you don’t ask your customers what they want out of your e-commerce store, they’re never going to be satisfied and may turn to another store. Surveying your customers about their shopping experience and thoughts about your emails can help you tailor your marketing campaigns so that they serve their target audience. Again, it doesn’t hurt to add some extra incentives, such as discount codes or exclusive offers.
There’s a whole world of email marketing out there! We suggest this guide by Mailchimp if you’re brand new to e-commerce and want to start implementing your pre-launch email strategy from day one, as Mailchimp is one of the email marketing industry leaders.
Successfully designing effective email marketing campaigns – that serve multiple purposes – is a sure-fire way to gain repeat customers and generate more revenue for your e-commerce business. Furthermore, you should always analyse your email campaigns to ensure you’re putting out the best possible example of your brand’s offerings.
Need help with your e-commerce business? Consider using ShoppingFeeder, which is an e-commerce thought leader and expert platform for multichannel marketing, analysis integration, hands-on management and the implementation of stores on various e-commerce platforms.