Save the coupon mailers for grandma. In the 21st century, everyone prefers their mail with an “e” in front of it.
Confirmation, advertisement, personal liaison — wearing so many hats, email marketing is a cornerstone for every ecommerce marketing strategy. According to a 2016 joint-survey between the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric, dollar for dollar it’s the most effective tool in your ecommerce marketing plan with a Return on Investment of 122%, over four times higher than other marketing channels!
But how can you incorporate emails into your ecommerce marketing strategy — or rather, how can you improve the emails you’re sending out already. Email marketing is a crucial— and lucrative — part of every online business, so we searched far and wide for the best ecommerce email marketing tactics and listed them below.
We don’t want to waste any time, so let’s get right to it.
Types of Emails for Your Ecommerce Marketing Plan
If your toolbox only has a single screwdriver in it, when it comes time to hammer a nail you’re pretty screwed (sorry, couldn't resist). To make the most of your ecommerce marketing strategy, you’re going to need a variety of emails for different situations.
Welcome & Confirmation (& Thank You)
At the very least, you should send an email confirming that the subscriber has signed up successfully. But that’s the bare minimum, and both you and your customer will get more out of it with a personal touch. Give them a warm and friendly welcome, thank them for joining, and remind them why subscribed in the first place (i.e., mention the discount or whatever again) to quell any second thoughts.
Pretty obvious, but worth mentioning. If you’re running a new promotional campaign, you’ll want to spread the word everywhere you can: your home page, your blog, your social media, and of course your email list.
New Products, Content, Features, or Updates
It’s not just promotions you should announce, but any news. If you have a new product, or a new feature on one of your most popular products (like a new color), let your shoppers know. Likewise, if you update your site or add a new feature, say something. Even content like a blog or ebook that you’re especially proud of is worth linking to.
(Note: this is different from the purchase confirmation.) The purchase follow-up is useful because it serves two purposes. It shows you care and builds a nice rapport, but even more useful than that, it’s an opportunity to elicit a review. Reviews are crucial for any ecommerce marketing strategy, but it’s always a challenge to convince shoppers to return to your site days after purchasing and take the time to write something. The purchase follow-up is a nice, subtle nudge disguised as customer service.
Bonus points if you can synchronize the email with the time the package is delivered — the days around the delivery are when the customer is most excited about their product, which will reflect in their reviews.
Abandoned Cart Reminders
Last, the abandoned cart reminder emails can directly increase sales. People abandon carts for a lot of reasons aside from no longer wanting the product. A gentle prompt after a few days could be the push they need to try again, or a much-needed reminder if they just plum forgot.
Ecommerce Tools for Email
You don’t have to undertake your ecommerce email marketing alone. There’s no shortage of ecommerce tools available, and most even allow ecommerce marketing automation.
Of course the standard is MailChimp, probably the most well-known name in email marketing, and for good reason. For starters, you can do everything for free, although only up to 2,000 contacts. Still, for young businesses with a short email list, that’s enough — and they benefit from the price cut more than anyone.
On top of that, MailChimp provides all the services you’d expect in ecommerce marketing automation. The drag-and-drop interface makes creating emails easy even for beginners, and MailChimp integrates with plenty of other tools likes Wordpress, Facebook, Hubspot, LeadPages, Instapage, Unbounce, and other ecommerce marketing automation services. One big drawback, though, is the service requires a double opt-in, which can lose you subscribers.
But other ecommerce tools are giving MailChimp a run for their money. Chief among them is ActiveCampaign, which has the unique feature of hosting its own CRM system. This allows you to manage your leads and ecommerce marketing automation all with the same, easy-to-use interface.
Their ecommerce marketing automation system even allows you to pick out individual customers to see which emails they’ve opened and which site pages they’ve visited. This is incredibly useful for segmenting and crafting different campaigns for different groups. Their customer service is snappy, too, usually responding within an hour. It’s not as free as MailChimp, but if you can spring $9 a month, it’s worth looking into.
If you prefer ecommerce tools with minimal effort, Mokini has a “one-click connect” feature that links to all major platforms almost immediately. After setting up your ecommerce marketing automation in mere minutes, you can start crafting and sending emails right away.
Mokini’s interface is just as simple as its installation. The drag-and-drop editor even supports multiple screens, so you can build your emails on the go using mobile devices. The usability is also attuned to segmenting customers and sending multiple versions of newsletters to different customer groups.
5 Way to Maximize Your Ecommerce Email Marketing
There’s a little bit more to a successful ecommerce marketing strategy than just writing an email and clicking send. Here are five techniques that are proven to make a difference.
1. Include Numeric Savings in the Subject
According to the Hubspot Academy’s email marketing course (not to mention our personal experience), you can increase the chances of shoppers opening your email by mentioning savings with a number value in the subject line.
Including specific numbers grounds your promise in reality, whether a percentage discount or an actual dollar amount. Consider the difference between “Save Big on our Weekend Sale” versus “Save 40% on our Weekend Sale.” Which of those two emails would you be more likely to open?
2. Skinny Single Column
How your email looks is just as important as what it says. Campaign Monitor, who are in the content marketing business, proved this by increasing their email click-through rate by 127%just by switching to the “skinny” single column.
The skinny single column works because it places more emphasis on both the content and the CTA. Aesthetically, the narrow column creates a more direct visual flow from the attention-grabbing headline, then to the descriptive (but brief) body, and finally ending at a strong call-to-action.
3. Only One Concept & Call-to-Action
“If you chase two rabbits, you’ll lose them both.” That’s an old Native American proverb that’s still effective even in wild jungle of online business.
With the exception of periodic newsletters that cover news across multiple areas, your emails will be more effective if they focus on one topic — and CTA — at a time.
Sure, it’s tempting to mention that other sale, promotion, or product… after all, you’re already writing an email, so why not kill two birds with one stone? Here’s why not: according to Ellie Mirman, VP of Marketing at Toast, single CTAs in emails increase click-throughs by 371% and sales by 1,617%! Mentioning that second deal doesn’t seem as important anymore, does it?
4. Incentivize Like There’s No Tomorrow
This isn’t a casual email exchange among old friends. Your subscribers aren’t reading because they want to see what you’ve been up to lately. They want something… a deal, a promotion, a new product or feature. When they open the email, there’s an expectation that it’ll be worth their time, so don’t disappoint them.
Before you send an email, ask yourself if what you’re offering is really worth sending at all. If you send out emails for every minor discount, you’re going to lose credibility, not to mention subscribers.
Always include a strong reason for your readers to click-through to your site, and make sure your copy adequately conveys why the reader needs to take advantage of whatever you’re promoting.
5. Include Social Sharing Options
Do you want statistics to inform your ecommerce email marketing strategy? GetResponse released an amazing infographic full of game-changing stats on how social sharing influences email marketing. The most telltale of them is that, in terms of click-through rate, emails with social sharing buttons outperform emails without them by 115%.
Not only does this boost your click-through rate, but it also strengthens your social media presence. Emails, social media, blogs — they’re all interconnected as part of the same ecommerce marketing plan.
Many people unwittingly separate these areas, even if just to make it easier to organize. But when you combine these elements and have them work together, like including social buttons in emails, then the results speak for themselves.
There’s something intimate about email marketing. It’s a direct conversation between you and your customer, but not as public as social media. Every email you send is an opportunity to establish a personal connection… so don’t waste it. Use these tips above to optimize your ecommerce marketing strategy and keep your emails out of the trash can.