“60 percent of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email. On the flip side, only 12.5 percent of them even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.”
Part of the reason why this tactic is so important is that it gives merchants an edge on their competitors. Email lists are proprietary data exclusive to a single seller. Therefore, this is a premier relationship-building avenue.
Moreover, sincecustomer retention statisticsshow that 80 percent of a brand’s future revenue will be driven by 20 percent of its existing customers, relationships are vital to a business’s bottom line.
Taking all of this into consideration, logic follows that the strategies a retailer employs in their email marketing efforts are crucial as email is essential forestablishing brand loyaltyand increasing customer lifetime values.
With this information in mind, let’s explore the top 20 eCommerce email marketing tips and tricks for boosting online sales.
#1: Subject Lines Matter
Starting from the top (literally), subject lines are the first thing that consumers encounter in their inboxes. Therefore, these headlines must be capable of arresting the receiver’s attention.
Writing great email subject lines is dependent on several factors. In addition to crafting subjects that are short, concise and adequately summarize the contents of the message, they should spark the recipient’s curiosity.
While the subject line of emails is vital to getting consumers to open a message, the copy is critical for earning click-throughs.
When it comes towriting email copy that sells, retailers must pay special attention to the length of the message (more on that momentarily), the usage of strong verbiage in an active voice and the inclusion of power words and compelling calls-to-action, along with similar copywriting techniques.
#3: Brevity Is Key
People are busier than ever. The bottom line is that they don’t have the time or patience to read marketing emails that drone on and on about, well, anything.
Therefore, craft eCommerce emails that are concise and to the point while still clearly conveying their intended message.
A prime methodology for achieving this aim is to employ high-quality images that condense marketing messages into just a few words.
While there is a strong temptation for retailers to cram tons of descriptive and convincing text into email messages, resist this urge to help inspire click-throughs.
#4: Mobile Optimization Is a Must
As if it has not been repeated ad nauseam, mobile optimization is a critical tactic for just about all things digital.
When it comes to eCommerce email marketing,email open rates reflect that nearly 62 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices in 2018. Given this information, a failure to ensure the mobile-friendliness of email campaigns is a surefire strategy to tank click-throughs and conversions.
Since most emails are opened via smartphones and tablets, merchants must consider the medium and employ easy-to-read fonts, quickly scrollable layouts, proper spacing and optimally sized CTAs.
#5: Think in Sequences, Not Silos
Before diving into the specifics on the types of emails to employ, retailers should realize that sending out singular emails is not a profitable or engaging strategy.
Not only do email sequences help to keep customers engaged, but they also speak to them at various points in the buyer’s journey, thereby facilitating higher sales figures than individual email blasts.
There are various kinds of email sequences that retailers can employ, most of which are covered below. These email cycles include:
Repeat customer sequences
Abandoned cart sequences
To provide a clear example of how this works, let’s take a look at the welcome series first.
#6: Employ a Welcome Email Sequence
When a customer subscribes to a retailer’s email list, they want to hear what that seller has to say and offer.
Therefore, a welcome series is in order as they are currently on the lookout for email communications from that store.
The welcome email series should be anywhere from three to six emails, thereby allowing consumers to get to know the brand, what it offers, what consumers can expect and similar information that acquaints shoppers with the store. Moreover, providing subscribers with an initial “Thanks for subscribing” coupon sure won’t hurt conversion rates.
This notion is supported by the fact that “welcome emails get 86 percent more clicks than regular promotional messages. They also get 336 percent more transactions and earn 320 percent more revenue per email than other email messages,” asreported by Respondr.
#7: Supply Shipping Notifications
When shipping products to customers, it is essential to provide them with order confirmation, shipping and delivery emails. These communications are necessary for keeping customers in the loop and updated on the status of their orders, which is vital to an excellent customer experience.
Sending confirmation and shipping emails (which are another sequence) helps to engender trust among consumers by assuring them that their products are on the way.
Social proof is a necessity in today’s low-trust digital landscape. Therefore, when merchants have engaged consumers who are placing orders and clicking on email communications, it is vital to reach out and ask for a review.
Of course, timing is critical for these emails, and buyers should have enough time to experience their new items before receiving such a request.
However, not all store visitors will complete their purchases. In fact, most will not convert. For those folks, abandoned cart emails are in order.
While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, all hope is not lost.
By integrating an abandoned cart sequence into eCommerce email marketing efforts, retailers can recapture a considerable amount of lost sales.
The most fruitful way to utilize this series of emails is to reach out within the first 24 hours of abandonment. If that initial contact does not reel buyers back in, touch base multiple times over the next several days.
Moreover, offering an incentive like a percent off coupon or free shipping might be just the nudge that a consumer needs to convert.
#10: Make Sure Promotional Emails Reach All Subscribers
While it is important to personalize eCommerce email marketing communications (more on that momentarily), it is also necessary to showcase general sales and promotions to a retailer’s entire audience.
When it comes to holiday shopping events, email is a powerful modality for getting a shopper’s attention and driving online sales.
“Email marketing was responsible for 24 percent of holiday sales during the 2018 holiday eCommerce season. In other words, email marketing alone brought in $169.8 billion in revenue for businesses during just the last two months of 2018.”
That said, personalization is still an essential tactic.
#11: Segment Subscribers for Personalized Communications
Much of the success behind the eCommerce email marketing list is customization via segmentation. By segmenting audiences into defined groupings, retailers can send out hyper-personalized messages that are more likely to result in clicks and conversions.
Some of the most popular segmentation strategies include:
Repeat visitors who have not purchased
Those who clicked certain CTAs
By targeting specific groups with relevant messages, retailers can likely increase their sales and customer loyalty.
#12: Create a Referral Program
Word-of-mouth is potentially the most powerful form of marketing that exists. This is because, asNielsen reports, “more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83 percent) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.”
Therefore, a referral program that rewards current customers for bringing new shoppers into the fold is an effective strategy for boosting sales through email.
By building outshare-worthy referral emails, retailers can engage their audience, build customer loyalty and earn new shoppers all at the same time.
This eCommerce email marketing tactic is particularly important given that a significant portion of new shoppers will not place a subsequent order. Therefore, figuring outhow to encourage that elusive second purchase is critical to increasing sales overall.
When crafting re-engagement emails to win back customers, it is wise to utilize emotional language like “We miss you.”
However, it is important to note that these emails should not be a one-off occurrence and should instead be turned into an automated sequence, as discussed earlier.
#15: Send Out Wishlist Reminders
Customers love to create wishlists. If you don’t believe us, just reference Amazon.
However, products often get buried in these digital archives. Therefore, sending out wishlist reminders to customers can be an excellent tactic for pulling them back onto the site to shop.
Moreover, when products sit in a wishlist for an undetermined amount of time, things tend to sell out. When those items become available once more, retailers have the perfect opportunity to let customers know of the product’s availability status.
#16: Upsell and Cross-Sell Relevant Items
Upselling and cross-selling are two of the most profitable eCommerce email marketing tactics that retailers have at their disposal.
These emails are usually segmented (and therefore highly personalized) based on a shopper’s previous purchases or on-site behavior. Because the items promoted are similar or related to merchandise that a customer already purchased or viewed, there is an increased chance of them feeling compelled to get the complementary product.
#17: Promote New Content Offerings
Content is more important than ever for eCommerce retailers. The reason for this is that consumers now conduct more in-depth research on nearly all topics and potential purchases than older generations.
Sending out the latest content to email subscribers serves a variety of purposes, including answering burning questions, providing relevant industry or brand-related news updates and keeping customers entertained and engaged.
However, when sending out content offerings, retailers should avoid focusing too much on sales as there are plenty of other emails that fill that role.
Additionally, merchants have the option of sending out new content to all their subscribers or segmenting the audience by their interests and only providing them with relevant information. The fact is that not all consumers will be interested in every newsletter or blog a brand produces. By splitting customers up by interests, retailers can potentially increase their email engagement rates and click-throughs.
However, whichever approach a seller decides to take, remember that (much like with content marketing itself) consistency is key.
#18: Include Images and Videos
This topic was lightly touched upon earlier but deserves revisiting for its potential to increase clicks and sales.
Images have, in many ways, become central to email marketing tactics. With platforms like Instagram touting over a billion users, the power of visuals cannot be denied. However, pictures aren’t the only effective email eye candy.
When analyzingthe impact of video on email campaigns, Campaign Monitor reports that video content increases email open rates by 19 percent, click-through rates by 65 percent and drops unsubscribe rates by over 25 percent.
By utilizing compelling images and videos in a company’s email marketing efforts, there is a considerable chance that the campaign’s most important KPIs will all see a substantial increase.
#19: Give the Sales Pitch a Rest
We understand that the core function of a retailer is to increase a company’s sales. In fact, that is the entire purpose of this piece.
That said, if all a seller does is push products in the email communications, buyers are likely to unsubscribe in droves. When a retailer is relentless in their pursuit of sales, customers can become fed up rather quickly.
Therefore, it is necessary for merchants to temper their sales drive with a healthy dose of emails whose sole purpose is to inform, educate or entertain an audience–sales push entirely absent.
By merely trying to communicate with an audience without any underlying financial motive, consumers are more likely to view a brand favorably when compared to one that just wants them to empty out their pockets.
#20: Constantly A/B Test eCommerce Emails
As with any marketing effort, it is vital to continually split (or A/B) test email communications to ensure that a brand is employing the most effective headlines, copy, images, CTAs and other core components for a successful eCommerce email marketing push.
There are a variety of tools that businesses can use to test the efficacy of their email campaigns, including:
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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