If yours is a business in the developed world, there are high chances that all of your customers would possess an email ID. Research by DMA (Link: EmailMonday) says that for every $1 that you spend on Email Marketing, the returns are an average of $38. EMarketer says that 80% of professionals believe that email Marketing does drive customer acquisition and retention.
People started sending each other emails as early as 1971 and today, there are more than 4.3 billion users who use email. Bloggers, Startups, Online Educators and E-commerce companies- to name a few, know that having an email list of subscribers are an asset. Buying an email list of random people is not something that you should be doing. We are talking about people who have voluntarily given their permission to be included in your newsletter. This guide is going to talk about how you can implement email marketing for your e-commerce business.
“Email is one of the primary channels of communication between a brand and an end customer. Customers prefer to receive updates from the brands they have transacted with via email. This permission shouldn’t be abused. Many e-commerce companies mail a ton of promotions once the customer has signed up. This kind of “spray and pray” strategy will not work anymore. Untargeted emails alienate the customer from the brand and lead to unsubscribes. However, if brands, especially e-commerce companies leverage the permission in a way that is useful for the end consumers, email marketing can give the highest ROI over the long term.
Brands should send relevant, personalized email communications. Big e-commerce companies are already leveraging the power of segmentation and personalization. For example, after a few days of purchasing a laptop from Amazon, I got an email with links to laptop backpacks. It was actually useful for me, and I went ahead and purchased a laptop bag. It’s a win-win situation for the brand and the customer. Also, customers can be educated on the products that they receive and this helps in customer success. The above two are just simple examples of how brands can leverage the permission to email prospects and customers.”- says Deepak Kanakaraju, founder of DigitalDeepak.com, a platform where he teaches various aspects of Digital Marketing. (Link: DigitalDeepak)
If you are planning to be in business for the long haul, building an email list of people who like what you do is one of the best ways to bolster the sales of your online store. You can nurture relations with your customers with offers and content that will make them visit your site often. A study by McKinsey & Company says that email marketing is 40x more successful than Facebook & Twitter when it comes to acquiring new clients. (Link: McKinsey)
One of the main reasons for you to commit to doing Email Marketing for your Ecommerce store is to build relationships and generate sales. You need to create a sales funnel that can help convert your visitors into buyers.
Let us see how you can employ Email Marketing to your E-commerce stores:
Decide on your Email Marketing platform:
First things first, you should see which email marketing tool you want to use. There are a plethora of options at your disposal and it makes sense to choose one that makes sense to your business objectives.
Some of the most popular ones are:
- MailChimp- The most popular one especially since it allows a lot of third-party integrations and offers a free plan for small businesses.
- Campaign Monitor
- Vertical Response
You can use these email marketing platforms to automate the entire process as well. When you are about to decide which platform to use, here are some of the things you can keep in mind:
Availability of email templates: You need to send emails to your customers using templates that are available on the platform. Are the templates customizable? Is the number of templates at your disposal enough for you or do you have to pay for more templates?
Power of segmentation: Look at the kind of options they make available to profile your customers. More the number of segmentation parameters possible, the better you can target your customers. You don’t want to sell a PlayStation to an 80-year old gentleman, do you?
Opt-in forms: We have stressed time and again about the importance of collecting emails, this is where an opt-in form comes into play. Check if the tool has opt-in forms that can be easily embedded into your website or if it can be integrated with your website.
A/B Testing: Is there an option to do A/B testing on different kinds of email copy? This is a must-have.
Ways to measure: Is there a way for you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns using analytics and on your split tests too.
How to grow your email list?
You don’t want a static number showing on your subscriber list. Offer an incentive to your customers so that they share their email ID with you. For an e-commerce website, the best offer is including a discount coupon or a consulting call (if you sell high-end products) or an exclusive update or newsletter that has a lot of value which is specific to subscribers.
Place the opt-in forms at places where the attention of the visitor lingers more than usual. For the uninitiated, opt-in forms is a fancy word for ‘sign-up forms’ that you see on most websites asking for your email IDs in exchange for something. Please don’t just use ‘Subscribe’ alone as the copy, that is not only lazy, but you are potentially wasting a lot of business with your lack of creativity.
There are many places where you can use the opt-in form to collect email leads: 1. On your header or footer, 2. The navigation bar, 3. Check-out page, 4. As a pop-up when the visitor is on the website 5. Or when the visitor is about to leave, 6. In your About page, 7. On your blog posts.
You can also build a landing page exclusively to collect emails making it act as a lead magnet. The special thing about such a landing page is that the entire focus is on collecting emails thereby increasing the conversion.
Certain must-haves on a landing page are:
- Brilliant copy that hooks the visitor to the page longer than usual
- Picture of the owner or logo or products
- Opt-in form in a large size that is not easy to miss
- Give reasons to the customer as to why joining your subscriber list would be useful
Segment your email list:
It is not very difficult to segment your email list according to your customer’s preferences. You need to have collected enough information about your customers to segment them. Buying habits, their interaction with your business, have they paid money for one of your products earlier or are just a subscriber, professional background, geography, etc: these are some of the things that you can use to segment your leads.
The segment could be as narrow as 1. Someone who subscribed yesterday, 2. Someone who bought a product from you today, 3. Someone who participated in a contest and many more. When you segment your customers right, your users will receive emails that have the correct information they want.
Advantages of segmenting your list:
- It increases open rates.
- Increases CTR
- When you put the right content in front of a customer, it eventually helps to convert the lead.
- People unsubscribe from your email list when they feel you are flooding their inbox with irrelevant material.
- You might just be spared from being marked as ‘Spam’
Here is how you effectively segment your list:
- Demographic data based on parameters like sex, location, persona, job title and income group.
- Knowledge about things like why they buy their product, what they do with it, what type of users are they when they last opened your email and many more.
- The date they signed up. Why is this important? Because you can set up a drip email campaign where you can end the email series with a course that you are selling.
Converting email subscribers into customers:
You have to regularly provide your email customers with information that they want, not just promotional emails asking them to open their purse strings. Your subscribers are receiving email updates from your competitors as well, so you have to make sure that you send ones that stand out and not cookie cutter emails that people won’t even care to click.
Here are some of the elements for converting using emails:
This is the first contact that you make with the customer and it has to be good enough for them to click on the email and go to your blog or your product page. This is not as easy as it sounds because there are a thousand people like you wanting to grab the attention of the customer. Be as specific as possible and do not have a subject line that is huge, keep it to the point. Use trigger words like: ‘Only for Today’, ‘Free’, ‘Discount until this date’, etc.
The body of the email:
Talk about the benefits associated, keep it short and appealing. Even though text-based emails work better, do use graphics, but only when necessary. Keep it visually aesthetic to appeal to the users.
If there are no CTA buttons, you are losing an opportunity to add a potential customer to another email list that you are working on, it could be a new product which you are looking to market. For the CTA button, it makes sense to use a graphical button, instead of a link.
When you are adding new subscribers to your list, do not forget to keep the old subscribers warm. Here are some ways in which you can use an email list:
- Newsletter for subscribers
- Drip emails
- Announce new products and services
- Send promotional emails
- Contests and giveaways
- Discounts only for subscribers.
The importance of using E-commerce transactional emails:
Your job doesn’t end with sending promotional newsletters to your subscribers, there is so much value that you can provide to a customer every time you send an email to them. The emails that you send during the checkout process is called a transactional email.
Most of you would have abandoned the shopping court just when you were about to pay, right? There could be different reasons for stopping the buying process, it could be as simple as losing the Internet or deciding against buying. But as a business, you need to be wary about these numbers as it could be a sale that should have been completed. Your sales copy, website and brand value, all of this contributed in your customer coming till the payment page, you cannot ignore the loss of sale.
This is where you need to work on getting back your customers. Baymard Institute’s research says that 69.23% is the average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate.
Here are some of the transactional emails you can work with:
- Here is what you can do to ‘reclaim’ the sale. Send an email to your customer within a day of them abandoning the cart. Personalize the email. Maybe even send a small incentive if they complete the payment within a stipulated time-frame. The message of the email should be conveyed in the text with a link back to the shopping cart and the specific item that the customer intended to purchase along with a clear CTA button.
- Imagine if a customer makes the payment to your product/service and doesn’t get informed from the business that you have received the payment. Sending an order confirmation email is as much a Marketing tool as it is an acknowledgement of the payment. You can include an incentive to buy from you again with a discount coupon.
- Another way for you to get your customer engaged with your business is to send the proverbial shipping confirmation email. When you keep your customers abreast of what is happening about their product and when it is arriving, their trust in you increases. You can even persuade your customers to buy products that are complementary to what they just bought when you send this type of email.
- You are missing a golden opportunity to reconnect with your customers and get a chance to see what needs to be improved on your product if you do not get feedback from your customer. When you send the email, make sure the form for feedback is redirected to the website when clicked. This will give the customer to buy more products from you.
Email Campaigns and Templates that work:
There are a lot of e-commerce businesses that send emails to customers, if you want to break away from all the noise, you need to stand out. Here are some examples of emails that you can put to good use:
Use Social Proof: You become much more attractive in the eyes of the opposite sex when they know that you are being pursued by many of their own. Same is the case here in business as well, if there are around a 100 customers to your product, mention that. If you have a huge following on Instagram, mention that in your email and send the link to your IG account.
Curate Content & Email them
If you are into women’s hygiene, why not send a curation of the best articles that talk about this. Add highlights of each article that you share. It is embarrassing to send only promotional emails, send your prospects the best tools, a checklist of things they need to do and other resources related to the industry you serve in.
Send promotional emails that are time-bound:
When you tell your customers that your product is available at a discount only for this week or the limited-edition goods that you sell are getting expired when you 10 sell more, there is a huge psychological factor that you are indulging in with your customers. FOMO is the term that is used to describe it, it is abbreviated as Fear of Missing Out. Customers do not want to miss out on products that they love, giving them time-bound offers will persuade them to make the purchase fast.
Exclusivity demands attention:
If you get an email from my favourite e-commerce website with a deal that is exclusive to you because you are a subscriber, not only would you feel special, but tempted to take up on that offer, right? Not only would you pass the good word about it to your friends but feel special as well.
Some of the other things that you can do are send store credits or a friendly email with to make sure the customer is warm.
Here are some of the metrics that you should have first-hand knowledge of when you are going to track the performance of your email campaigns.
- Click-through Rate: It is the percentage of users who clicked on any of the links that the emails you sent contained. CTR is also used to determine the results of A/B tests as they are often used to find which emails got the highest clicks. It is an important metric as it shows how many people engage with your emails.
- Conversion Rate: Whenever someone clicks on an email, your goal is to make them take action, it could either be buying a product or finishing a lead generation form. Conversion Rate is the percentage of email recipients who cared enough to click on the link within the email that you sent and converted on your offer. It is one of the most important metrics for determining the success of your email campaign.
- Bounce Rate: When you send an email and it doesn’t reach successfully to the recipient, the percentage of this occurrence is called Bounce Rate. Having a high bounce rate will make you look like a scammy company.
- List Growth Rate: It is the rate at which your email list is growing. You might want to keep a list of this too as you can gauge the rate at which you are growing and compare it with the efforts that are made, subsequently use the information to gain traction by increasing the efforts.
How to track?
You can set up Google Analytics on your website and one of the things that you should do is to see how the links in your email marketing campaigns are doing under the parameters of Urchin Tracking Module, otherwise, all emails will be classified as ‘Direct’. UTM variables are parameters that you can add at the end of your links in email campaigns to tell GA where someone is coming from.
Create an advanced segment: These are essentially filters that allow you to see where the visitors come from. The next best thing that you can do to track your campaigns is to study each report that you Google Analytics shows.
For any e-commerce business, Email Marketing is a powerful channel of communication for their customers. It is as important as any other part of the business and it is prudent to spend time and investment in your Email Marketing. Emails will be the pivotal force in keeping your customers engaged and eventually prodding them to buy your products. Start with collecting emails of your prospects, create a sales cycle, think about incentives to make your prospects part with their email IDs, segment them according to the various parameters that we discussed, target them with the right information, give them attractive offers and you are good to go.