A new decade has begun, and eCommerce email marketing is here to embrace it. Despite countless earlier predictions of its death, today, more than 70 percent of people believe that email will still be relevant in 10 years’ time.
What adjustments will you, as an eCommerce marketer, need to make to continue living up to the growing expectations of your customers?
If you are looking for simple ways to give your eCommerce email marketing a new boost, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed 11 tips that are effective, but simple enough to implement today.
Follow these tips step-by-step, or simply pick the ones that seem most urgent to your business at the moment.
1. Audit and clean your subscriber list
Your email subscriber list is the foundation of your email marketing – it holds all the people who’ve ever signed up to your newsletter. If you have been email marketing for a long time, your list will occasionally require some cleaning. For example, it’s likely that some of the subscribers who signed up for your 2018 spring sale are no longer willing to receive your emails.
Here’s the harsh truth – it’s always better to have fewer subscribers who are highly engaged, rather than many who never open your emails.
And here’s what you can do: create a segment of people who haven’t opened any of your emails during the past 6 months. Send them a re-activation (or re-engagement) campaign with a strong subject line and an enticing offer. Or, ask directly if they want to remain on your subscriber list. If they still don’t open, remove them from the list.
This approach will also help to eliminate invalid email addresses from your list. Remember – the more up-to-date your email list, the less likely your emails will be caught by spam filters.
2. Review your previous engagement data
This tip is essential, but too often forgotten. If you want to improve your eCommerce email marketing results, it’s essential to look at your previous data and evaluate the best (and worst) performing email campaigns you’ve sent so far.
First, study your open and click-through rate statistics. If your open rates are good, but the click-through rates aren’t, ask yourself if you are sending emails that are relevant to your audience.
Other reasons for under-performing campaigns:
- The respective offer was not attractive enough
- You are sending them at the wrong time
- You need to adjust the way you communicate with this segment
Mailigen’s email platform also lets you examine broader data like your average open and click-through rates, list growth and activity. You can also see what devices and email providers your subscribers are using, and where they are located.
Finally, start adding a tracking code to your email marketing campaigns (if you aren’t doing that already). If you use Google Analytics, the tracking code will help you see within your reports which email campaigns are bringing in the most customers and driving the highest eCommerce conversion rates.
3. Segment emails based on customer behavior
Automated messages (that still feel personal) are the future of email marketing for eCommerce. In other words – smart marketers no longer send one-size-fits-all emails to everyone but segment their subscribers according to:
- Purchase history
- Demographics (age, gender)
- Interests (browsing history on your website)
- Any other data relevant to your business
So, if two people visit your online store at the same time on the same day but browse or purchase different items, ideally they should receive completely different follow-up emails from you. For example, send a free shipping coupon to the person who abandoned their cart, and offer a unique discount to a customer who hasn’t visited your store in a while.
4. Use creative ways to grow your subscriber list
Growing your subscriber list is a good idea any day of the week. But remember – quality is just as important as quantity. In other words, make sure that you gather your new subscribers in a relevant way that will attract potential buyers (not just random website visitors).
Some fresh ideas for growing your email list:
- Create content upgrades for your top blog articles. For example, create a styling guidebook or an e-book about the topic of the article. Give your readers a chance to download it in return for their newsletter subscription.
- Set up a landing page to attract newsletter subscribers. For example, invite potential customers to subscribe to your rewards program. List the main benefits and ask your users to create an account.
- Launch a viral giveaway – a competition that encourages people to increase their chances of winning a prize by sharing the contest on social media or subscribing to your newsletter. As people enter the giveaway, they’ll share their email with you, thus helping you grow your mailing list and build buzz around your brand on social media.
5. Write subject lines that convert
Writing a good subject line may seem like an easy task, but here’s why it isn’t:
Those maximum 50 characters (since the majority of emails are opened on mobile) should contain the essence of the email, be enticing enough to encourage opens, and not too scandalous to seem suspicious to spam filters.
A good subject line provokes curiosity or an emotion that the recipient can’t resist. If you aren’t sure where to start, try these tips that are likely to generate more opens:
- Add the recipient’s name
- Say that this is an exclusive deal / reserved for the recipient
- Add an icon or emoji to make your email stand out
- Include urgency and action words, e.g., “today-only,” “last minute,” “hot offer,” “open now,” etc.
- Include a question or an ellipsis
6. Use the preview text to your benefit
The preview text, also called the pre-header, is an often overlooked part of email marketing. But using it properly can persuade more customers to open and read your messages.
The pre-header is the text that’s visible in most email inboxes after the sender and subject line; it’s an introduction to the content of the message. If you don’t create this text yourself, the first bit of text from the email will be used as the preview.
Make it funny, informative or persuasive – just don’t leave it blank, because that will be a lost opportunity to address your busy subscribers (even before they’ve decided whether to open your email or not). In these examples, the preview text either extends the subject line or serves as another “hook” for the reader to open the message:
7. Create an irresistible call to action
Ok, so your customer has opened your email – now what? According to studies, you have about 11 seconds to get their attention. In email marketing for eCommerce, it’s all about conversion-centered design. So you cannot make your CTA (call to action) too visible or too clear.
Some tips for a better call to action:
- Use a button to make it obvious
- Keep the text short and unambiguous
- Use urgency and action phrases like Shop Now, Buy Now, Get the Deal, Save 40%
- If your email is long, use several CTAs
Remember that the copy of your CTA button should correspond to where the reader will land after clicking. For example, a CTA that reads ‘SHOP SALE NOW’ should lead directly to your sales offer page, not your new arrivals or homepage.
8. Send your emails at the right time
Finding the right time for sending your emails can be tricky, especially if your audience is diverse and/ or international. First, you must rely on your previous engagement data. Analyze a longer stretch of opens, clicks, and conversions to make sure that better results weren’t caused by something else, like a powerful subject line.
When you’ve got a better understanding of how your subscribers use emails or when they like to shop, you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns and choose the best sending time.
Note: Many studies claim to have discovered the best general sending time (e.g., 10 AM or 1 PM on weekdays). However, every audience is different, and relying on mass data can be dangerous. Instead, try to think like your customer – if your buyer persona is an office worker with a nine-to-five job, it’s a good idea to send emails during their ideal downtimes or lunch break. Ask yourself – when would you like to open the email if you were in their shoes?
9. A/B test your emails
A/B split testing can help you learn what works best for your eCommerce email marketing campaigns. You can test practically anything, from the sending time and subject line up to the placement and color of your CTA button.
Mailigen has an incorporated A/B testing feature. Using this tool, you’ll just have to establish the size of the test group (for example, 5% of subscribers for each version of the test), and the winning version will be automatically sent to the remaining 90 percent of subscribers.
Note: Each customer segment is different, so don’t apply the results of one test to your entire database. If you want to know exactly what works and what doesn’t, make A/B testing a habit.
10. Personalize transactional emails
Transactional emails are not promotional in nature and often carry important information like registration or purchase confirmation, status updates, and shipping notifications. However, if done correctly, transactional emails can become a powerful way to represent your brand’s voice, design, and personality.
Open rates for transactional emails are significantly higher because shoppers want to see their purchase confirmation or track their orders. Therefore increasingly more marketers realize the brand-building potential of this communication channel.
Some ideas for branding your transactional emails:
- Add links to your blog or social media profiles
- Include exclusive deals for next purchases
- Add how-to videos or user guides for the purchased products
- Suggest other products based on seasonality and purchase history
- Show your brand’s design and tone of voice
11. Create a seamless experience
When you prepare your email campaigns, you have to think about many details, from the copy and design to the landing page and tracking codes behind the links. But from the customer viewpoint, everything about your email has to be seamless – starting from seeing your subject line in their inbox up until clicking the CTA and – hopefully – buying.
Customers must be able to move from the email to the website and back again without losing the integrity of the experience. Sending subscribers to a random spot on your website without clear guidance could lead to decision fatigue and eventually cost you a sale.
Furthermore, your mobile shopping and paying flow must be as simple and intuitive as possible, particularly for impulse buyers. So make sure you test your eCommerce email marketing campaigns numerous times before sending – and on different devices.
Exciting times for eCommerce email marketing
In the past, it was just about delivering the right marketing message to the right person. From now on, eCommerce email marketers will need to master multiple dimensions to send the right email to the right person at the right time… and create the right experience.
We hope that this article will prove helpful in making small, but important tweaks to your email marketing practice.