Maximize Your Sales with Ecommerce Email Marketing
By Sean Tinney September 24, 2021
Are you leaving money on the table by neglecting your ecommerce email marketing strategy?
If you have an online store and want to boost sales, email marketing should be a huge part of your strategy. Email marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools that can be used to cultivate leads and build relationships with your customer base.
Read on to learn how you can use email marketing to maximize your sales and build a stronger ecommerce brand reputation.
What is Ecommerce Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a strategy that uses email content to appeal to your audience. Statista reports over 3 billion emails are sent every day and marketers generate $42 for every $1 spent. Yet, only 64% of small businesses use email marketing and only 20% claim to personalize their emails.
There is a lot of money being left on the table for many companies.
Email marketing uses your understanding of the customer to help them to the next stage in their buyer’s journey. Companies that have a non-existent strategy are wasting a huge resource. These companies that treat email marketing with a one-size-fits-all approach are not capitalizing on the power of email marketing.
And, brands who use their emails to only self-promote miss a huge chance to build a meaningful relationship with their audience that creates brand loyalty.
You can use emails in multiple ways in your email marketing strategy. But the two most common strategies are emails that boost sales and emails that build relationships.
Types of Emails that Boost Sales
These are the most common for companies attempting an email marketing strategy. These emails will help directly increase sales by linking to products and including purchase-oriented CTAs (calls to action).
- Promotional – directly highlight a specific product or service.
- Discount – offer a special price to trigger a purchase reaction.
- Transactional – based on the purchase or site activity.
- Abandoned carts – reminders for shoppers to go back and complete their purchases.
- Upsell – offering the option to upgrade to a pricier product or package.
- Cross-sell – offering products that go hand-in-hand with a selected product.
Emails that Cultivate Leads and Build Relationships
There are slightly less common emails that only serve to build the relationship. In these emails, purchases typically aren’t the CTA. Instead, brands can use these emails to indirectly provoke sales by building a stronger connection with the target audience.
- Welcome – introducing brand and reminder of email list opt-in.
- Value offers – centered around non-sales offers (like a free guide).
- Tutorials – guides that explain the use or troubleshooting of a product.
- How-to guides – creative, industry-relevant ideas that don’t push products.
- Customer-centric content – Blog posts, memes or whatever the customer finds relevant.
- Order confirmation – notice of purchase for customer’s records.
- Order shipment – communicating for customer clarity and peace of mind.
- Thank you – a response when the customer completes a desired action.
9 Tips for Successful Ecommerce Email Strategy
Every company should take the opportunity to truly build a strategy, not just start sending out emails. Now that you know some of the emails sent out to build relationships and boost sales, here are some tips for building a strong and successful strategy.
First and foremost, NEVER BUY AN EMAIL LIST. Purchasing contact lists will quickly get your brand marked as untrustworthy and spam. You need to market a value offer or special discount in order to prompt email opt-ins. Each contact should be immediately welcomed and sent the value offer or discount code so that they remember signing up and want to stick around.
While many companies are focused on growing their contact lists, few are worried about keeping those lists clean. You want to remove contacts who didn’t opt-in for your messages to avoid looking like spam.
To grow your lists, you can use CTAs (calls to action) in content, targeting those leads at the top of the sales funnel (just entering awareness or discovery phases) to help them learn more about your company.
If someone makes a purchase, make it easy to create an account afterward so they remain in contact with your brand. Sometimes brands are very focused on gaining qualified leads and not focused on connecting with the repeat customer groups. This is a mistake, since customer acquisition is more expensive and less efficient than customer retention and remarketing.
Start email marketing off right by setting specific goals for your strategy. It’s hard to create a valid strategy if you don’t know what you are aiming for. Create SMART goals:
- Specific – when possible, choose numbers over vague concepts (for example: “increase click-through rates by 5%,” not “get more click-throughs”) to help you pinpoint measurable goals for outcomes and conversion rates.
- Measurable – identify how you will measure success—especially for goals without a direct measurement, like increasing customer satisfaction rates or building a stronger brand reputation.
- Achievable – choose goals that are something that you have control over. Something like “improve shipment process” wouldn’t be an achievable goal for email marketing.
- Realistic – choose numbers and goals that are within your grasp. If your click-thru rates are 5%, you can’t plan to increase them to 75% in the month without setting an unrealistic goal.
- Timely – establish a timeline for how long you will attempt the goal before measuring to determine success or failure. Include checkpoints so you don’t waste a longer period of time (like 6 months) on a strategy that isn’t working.
Frequency of Sends
Sending out emails too often will result in unsubscribes from customers who feel bothered. However, sending out emails rarely or infrequently will result in lost opportunities and people forgetting about your brand.
The ideal frequency will depend a lot on what your strategy offers. If your emails are promotional and brand-centric, then sending out 3-5 emails a week will seem like a barrage of ads.
However, if you offer a mix-and-match approach (like a weekly deal, a weekly promotional spotlight, a couple value offers and activity-based emails), then the 3-5 emails a week will all serve different purposes.
While frequency is important, equally important is considering what you are sending out at that frequency. Always keep the customer’s perspective in mind when scheduling emails.
Many people check their email several times a day, which is why it’s such an effective tool. But, it also means that companies clogging the inbox with a flood of self—promotional emails are likely to get the boot.
Timing of Sends
When you send an email is also crucial if you want to improve your rate of engagement. Tracking the timing of open rates, click-through rates and other actions will help you identify when your audience is checking email.
Send out your emails just before this heightened activity time to increase the potential for engagement. Certain days may have different engagement rates or ideal times for sending emails.
Different audiences are likely to have different times when they are most active. Some don’t check email much at work, while others are on their email all day for work. Some won’t interact as much with your brand in the morning, but a morning reminder could spark an interest that results in an evening purchase. Test your theories with A/B testing on the timing of the email for each specific segment of your list.
This means you need to create your content and design your emails in advance. Scheduling your emails is the best way to ensure you send out emails exactly when they will be best received.
Sending out the same messages to your entire list is bound to result in a poor fit. Email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
You wouldn’t want to send your welcome email to a contact who has been a loyal customer for a long time. You wouldn’t want to push for a sale before you’ve even introduced your brand to a new lead who signed up for a value offer.
Segmenting your list means breaking the list into various groups for different marketing-relevant reasons. This helps you get the right message to the right contact at the right time. The more information you know about your contacts, the more relevant your messaging can be.
Segmenting your list is one way to provide a more personalized marketing approach. Segments could include:
- Point in buyer’s journey
- Physical location
- Activity on website
- Past purchases
- Professional title/industry
- Buyer persona
Once you have email segments established, you can control which groups get which emails. This allows you to change your messaging and marketing to better fit the customer.
There are certain emails that should be set up to go out automatically. These pre-written emails will typically follow a very standard template that is only updated as needed. Many automated emails will be based on user actions, including:
- Welcome emails
- Abandoned cart email reminders
- Value offer delivery (eBooks, guides and whitepapers)
- Product support or tutorial triggered by a purchase
- Upsell and cross-sell recommendations
- Loyalty program updates and reminders
- Transactional emails
- Thank you emails
- Order confirmation and shipment notices
You can set up campaigns to target different list segments, automating the emails to send out during certain times of the day and week. The more sophisticated your site and CRM tool, the more automation you can build into your strategy without losing relevance or a genuine connection.
You can also use automated emails to check in on contacts who haven’t opened or clicked on any links, asking if they want off your list. While it might seem counterproductive to remove contacts, cleaning up your list will help boost your engagement rates and ensure you are marketing to people who are interested in your brand.
You will find that some people will be even more interested in your company when you show this willingness to let them go. If the contact doesn’t re-opt-in after the automated reminder email at this point of non-engagement over a long period of time (say 12-24 months), then you would remove them from the list with an easy option to re-opt-in at any time.
Ideally, you will create content that appeals to every part of the funnel. Email campaigns allow you to consider the segment you want to reach, what goals you want to achieve and what messaging will convince the audience.
Campaigns are a collection of messages sent out at specific times over the course of an established timeline. When the determined time period is up, the campaign is evaluated for effectiveness and ROI (return on investment).
Not all campaigns are designed to solicit purchases, some are after other actions, like click-throughs or survey responses. The goals, messaging and CTA of each campaign should align with the targeted list segment.
To support your strategy, use landing pages that carefully align with the messaging of your email content. If the lead is interested enough to click through on the email, then they will experience continuity on the following page.
A great email marketing strategy is going to look for ways to take advantage of personalization. Email personalization is far more than just adding the contact’s name to the subject line or opening greeting. Personalization should include offering suggestions and content based on the user’s past behavior.
List segmentation should be a massive part of your personalized marketing strategy. Breaking down your contacts list allows you to send more relevant content to the people who care.
However, list segmentation isn’t the only thing you can use for creating individualized content. Recommended products and images can change in the emails based on past purchases. Set up emails that show recently viewed items like a small ad on the side of the email content.
Create Beautiful Layouts
Finally, beautiful content and consistent branding are what connect people to your brand. Appealing layouts, fonts, images and colors will help get your audience to stop and look at your emails.
A cohesive experience is accomplished with consistent design and messaging. This will form your brand aesthetic and should flow seamlessly into your web content as they click to your ecommerce site pages or check out your brand’s social media profile.
AWeber helps you make a professional and appealing email in just seconds. Using a simple drag-and-drop tool, you can start with a template and fully customize your em. Are you ready to improve your ecommerce emails?