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No matter the size of your business, the allocation of marketing dollars is a very important consideration. Every penny spent on marketing must be money well spent. This is especially true for small businesses that have smaller budgets and unique needs -- reach out to their customers, grow their customer base, and build their reputation.
Email marketing is simultaneously one of the most challenging sales channels and the most profitable. There are many proven e-commerce marketing tips you can test and apply to your own business. With the following e-commerce marketing tips, you’ll soon find that selling online isn’t so complex after all, especially if you are determined to make it better.
Perhaps the most appealing advantage of email marketing is the lowest cost. No print costs, no postage fees, no advertising rates. Email marketing is as affordable as marketing gets. Moreover, the time involved with shooting television commercials or recording radio ads can also eat into your bottom line. Every moment you are not focusing on your business is lost revenue or, at the very least, a lost opportunity to connect with people on a personal level.
Gone are the days of advertisement placed on television, or in a periodical with no control of who will see it. With email marketing, you have more control who sees it by segmenting your contacts list based on their lead status, demographics, location, or other data points. Targeting emails ensure that your customers receive content suited specifically to their needs. Customers and business owners benefit because you can customize a message for each customer depending on a segment to foster a higher conversion rate.
Your customers want to be made aware of the latest that is happening in your business. Why wouldn’t you keep them up-to-date if that’s what they want? Obviously, email is the best way to quickly reach out with an update for your customers. The latest product launch, your next big event, and any news about your business are all great topics for regular newsletters.
Email marketing is a great way to develop your brand because it gives you a direct line to the email inboxes of your existing and potential customers. Regular updates give you a great opportunity to create a unique voice, style, and image for your subscribers. Then, when a customer needs products or services, your business stands a much better chance of turning those leads into clients and clients into loyal customers.
All emails need to be responsive and well-designed, from welcome emails to promotional emails and including transactional emails. This doesn’t mean that every email has to have images. In fact, text-only emails do really well when they’re interesting.
Emails need to:
- Be visually appealing: this can be done with images, or you can also use non-image formatting like headings and bullets to break up text and make your emails easy to read.
- Look good on mobile: by 2021, more than half of all online shopping is expected to happen on mobile devices. Optimizing your store for mobile means more than having a responsive design. It means you’re designing your site with mobile visitors in mind from start to finish.
- Be easy to understand: it is best to focus on a single call-to-action in each email, so start out with a plan!
- Capture the reader’s interest: Never underestimate the power of your words. Start with a hook and make sure your email copy pulls your reader deeper into the email as you go.
When new subscribers sign up for your online store, they’re expecting to hear from you, that’s why they signed up. The best time to reach out to new subscribers is right after they’ve signed up; this is when they’re looking for an email from you. Welcome emails have 86% higher open rates than other emails and generate, on average, up to 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails.
It is recommended to send a welcome email series of at least one email so new subscribers can get to know you a little bit before they go onto your regular mailing list. This way, you can set expectations about your relationship, and maybe even segment them so your future communications with them are even better.
It is a common phenomenon that more than half of new shoppers and even repeat customers have added items to the carts then left without placing an order, but that doesn’t mean that those sales are gone forever.
Abandoned cart email usually sends within 1 day of the abandoned cart that reminds customers of the items they left behind and encourage customers to complete their purchase. Abandoned cart emails can recover 15% or even 50% of what would have otherwise been lost revenue. If you’re collecting email addresses and tracking site usage, the next logical step is sending an abandoned cart email series when shoppers leave without completing their purchases.
The wish-list reminder email is closely related to the abandoned cart email. Both are designed to convince shoppers to take the final step in purchasing the products they have shown intent to buy.
If a customer is engaged enough to start forming a wish-list on your website for future purchases, chances are they’re really interested in what you’re offering. It’s a great strategy to send an email that reminds the customer specifically of what items they were wishing for so earnestly when browsing your e-commerce website earlier.
Whether one-off promotions or a series of offers for new products, email is an excellent medium for incentivizing your target customers to sell more.
- All traditional in-store promotional methods work just as well online, including seasonal sales, free shipping, 50% off, buy-one-get-one, etc. Bear in mind that the highest conversion rates and click-to-conversion rates are associated with those that offer a price discount.
- Offers should be time-sensitive (like “today only”), which creates a sense of urgency; you might also like to introduce an element of scarcity (like “only 10 available”) to encourage quick action.
Some marketing emails are not designed to immediately sell something. They are focused on building loyalty or re-building a customer relationship that has gone quiet or has been broken. These are just as valuable as you look to creating long-term customer relationships.
Note: Such emails can take several forms, but personalization is key to all of them. A few examples include:
- Offering birthday wishes: this may be tied to a freebie, an offer or discount to keep them coming back to your store for more.
- Missing you emails: create an autoresponder email that automatically goes out when a customer hasn’t purchased from you of days or months.
- Product renewal or replenishment: letting customers know how they can re-order products that may have run out.
- Newsletter emails: original & interesting content, big events, or news about your online store.
In short, segmentation equals to relevance. Email marketing requires customers segmentation in very specific ways and make offers to different types and contents of members on your email list so that you are targeting the right people with the right offers and keep it up-to-date. This inevitable increases engagement, as the content of your emails, becomes more relevant.
Some examples of potential list segment:
- First-time visitors
- Repeat visitors with no orders
- Repeat visitors with one order
- Customers with multiple/regular orders
- Cart abandoners
- Dormant customers
- Gender preference: Male/Female
- Age group
Design emails to match the needs of each segment and you’re bound to see better results.
All the data and tools exist for you to create email campaigns once and then repeat them automatically. E-commerce email marketing wouldn’t work unless it was automated, because most e-commerce stores are targeting hundreds or thousands of customers at a time.
A wealth of tools is available to help make your e-commerce email marketing campaigns run smoothly without too much input from you. Once you have the emails written and set up in your chosen software, then all that's left for you to do is test, measure, and tweak, and make sure that the back-end of your business is set up to handle the increase in sales!
One mistake many online entrepreneurs make is not tracking how well their digital marketing efforts are performing when they hit the ground running. The earlier you track your data, the easier it is to adjust and improve results.
There are 9 important email marketing metrics to measure:
Open rate, click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, complaint rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, forward/share rate, campaign ROI, list growth rate.