Understanding Email Marketing For eCommerce
The use of email marketing for eCommerce has become an integral part of modern business advertising strategy. Entrepreneurs who have recently established their own small businesses on the Internet will find that this strategy is extremely convenient and cost-effective in most scenarios. Thousands of potential customers can be contacted via email for a very small fee, depending of course on the emailing service being utilised and the degree of automation involved.
What You Need to Know about Email Marketing for eCommerce
The purpose of email marketing is to reach your audience (or selected segments of your audience) with news and updates regarding new products or services on your website, special offers, sales and / or other developments. You can also send out emails to new customers, as well as those who may have been on your site at some point, but haven’t yet committed to a purchase.
Although some people regard email marketing as an ‘old fashioned’ and ineffective technique, the exact reverse is true! Email marketing has been proven to be significantly more effective at drawing new customers in to your company website than the use of advertising on social media networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and the like.
Why Your eCommerce Business Should Make Use of Email Marketing
Every business should be making full use of email marketing techniques to further their productivity and profitability. Not only is email marketing an extremely effective technique for reaching thousands of potential new customers, but it can also reach customers well outside of your email list due to the ability of people to forward your messages to others in their circle who may be interested in your products and / or services. This is why email marketing helps you source new customers, as well as keep in steady contact with existing ones. You can keep your customers constantly informed and it’s an excellent method by which to remind customers of your presence on a regular basis.
If your business is purely Internet based, email marketing is even more vital to your survival. Since your main means of communicating with your customers is based on your ability to reach them via your company website and social media pages, you’ll need a cost-effective means of communicating with them on a regular basis. Email marketing has been proven to generate significantly more leads, at a much lower overall cost which adds up to a massive increase in estimated ROI across the board.
How the Use of Email Marketing Fits into Your Overall Business Strategy
You can introduce an extremely effective email marketing strategy by sending your email list news and information – also referencing a blog post and social media post or event, essentially using the email to notify them and tie everything together all at once. The point of email marketing is to reach as many highly targeted people as possible with your message, in the shortest amount of time.
Advertise an option for people to sign up to your email list on your website and anywhere you can on your social media too. Continuously aim to get your clients, customers and interested individuals to sign up for your email updates and you’ll quickly build a sizeable email marketing list. The more highly targeted people you reach – particularly when they’re very interested in what you have to say, the better your chances of making sales.
Using Email Marketing Strategically
Email marketing is a very powerful tool in the world of eCommerce and it’s a relatively cost-effective method for procuring clients / customers, which you can continue to retain through frequent communications.
When email marketing is done right, it can yield exceptional results and bring in new clients / customers consistently. If it’s done incorrectly however, your email campaigns may potentially annoy the recipients and have them either unsubscribing or sending your emails directly to their spam folders.
There are a number of efficient strategies for email marketing though, and it’s quite beneficial if you use several of these techniques in your own campaigns as this forward thinking can greatly increase the number of potential clients / customers you’re able to reach.
Using Email Series Strategically
You most likely already know about email marketing campaigns which tell individuals about new promotions or products, but there are also what are called “series” or “stacking / stacked” campaigns. These are emails sent to a user once a certain action is performed on your website, such as subscribing to a newsletter or buying a product. These series should consist of a number of specialised emails that are sent out at predetermined intervals, to the individual in question based on the actions they took while visiting your website.
Always make sure that any emails you write are short and engaging. You want your emails to be just long enough to get your message across and no more. Your subscribers don’t want to read a novel, but of course don’t make your emails annoyingly short either. All of your formatting should be clean and tidy with every email sent as after all, by double checking your work you’re essentially saying that your communications together matter.
Every email within a campaign should feature a specific “call to action” which the email will focus on, prompting the recipient to take action immediately, such as encouraging them to purchase a membership or product, leave a helpful review or simply to respond and share what’s on their mind.
Follow Up Email Series
After selling a product to a customer, you can choose to send them a series of emails in a specific order. The first email should be to confirm the order. If the purchase requires shipping, the second will have to do with shipping information, otherwise, skip this email. The third should be the follow-up email, where you can check to see how they’re getting on and if they need any assistance, or you may encourage the recipient to leave a review, and if you so wish, offer a discount for use with future purchases.
“We Miss You” Email Series
If one of your past customers hasn’t been visiting your site for a while, try to remind them that you’re still there for them. Encourage your customers with discount offers, possibly free shipping if it’s a physical item, or a benefit of some other nature that could potentially get them engaging with your site again. The email you send for this should be more personalised than the others. Notify the recipient that you’re always happy to help and enquire if you can do anything for them and / or assist them in any way.
Series “stacking / stacked” email campaigns shouldn’t be your complete marketing strategy by any means, but they should certainly be an important part of it. Sending highly relevant messages directly to a customer based on their actions on your website can be a very powerful marketing tool indeed. This is precisely why and overall marketing strategy that reaches your existing and new customers from several angels has the potential to keep users fully engaged on your website in the months and years to come.
Audience Segmentation In Email Marketing
When it comes to crafting an effective email marketing campaign, in certain circumstances it may be an excellent idea to narrow the focus of that particular campaign down to a specific segment of your audience. The reason for this is that sometimes it pays to market to an extremely specialised group of people, using content that has been targeted directly to them in order to increase their interest in the products or services you’re providing.
How to Properly Segment Your Audience for Specialised Email Marketing
There are an almost endless number of categories into which you could choose to segment your audience for the purposes of specialised email marketing. Depending on the products or the news you wish to send them, these segments could include customers of a certain age or location, those with a specific buying pattern, those who expressed an interest in certain activities, those who reviewed certain items most frequently, and so on.
Perhaps the best reason to segment your audience in this fashion is to market to them in a specialised manner that either immediately or over time, increases their personal interest in your offerings. This method tends to create a closer personal relationship between these customers and your company, and also increases their customer loyalty by an appreciable margin.
How to Adopt Email Marketing Campaigns in a Professional Manner
There are many, many different styles of email marketing campaigns and of course, you can readily adopt ideas from previous campaigns in order to make your present one more effective and productive. One of the most effective ideas is the classic “We Miss You” email that companies send out when a customer hasn’t purchased anything from them in quite some time.
You can use this email to subtly fish for reasons why the customer hasn’t been back, such as technical glitches / issues, the price of your products / services, your overall marketing tone, etc. Sending them an email that’s personalised with their name (even better in two or more places) is a great way to get a response from them, as well as to get vital feedback on any issues that may have been causing them to lose interest in your company or your website.
Use Incentives to Grow Your Email Marketing List
It’s an excellent idea to use incentives to grow your email marketing list. For example, you could offer a free giveaway like a digital download or possibly free shipping in exchange for them signing up to receive news and updates from your site via email. This is an excellent way to grow your email list and keep customers “in the loop” when it comes to new developments.
Send Your Customers a Series of “Getting Started” Emails
Another way to drum up interest for your business is to send new customers a series of “Getting Started” emails. Once a customer has signed up to your email list, you can send a series of emails that will clearly convey the vital features and benefits of your site, as well as how to use them. This will hopefully pique the interest of your customer and encourage them to visit your website on a regular basis. By helping your new customers to familiarise themselves with your website, you can keep their interest and generate sales on a regular basis.
Why Creating An Impactful Email Is So Important
Email solicitation is found everywhere. Tucked neatly between Nigerian princes promising wealth and ‘old friends’ seeking to reconnect, the email that’s intended to drive sales needs to be more than a simple grocery list of products, features or services. To break through the clutter and noise so to speak, more advanced strategies and techniques are required.
Make no mistake about it, utilising emails effectively can be a boon to eCommerce efforts. A well composed email can create sales opportunities, while a poorly composed email gets moved to the spam folder or simply deleted. Generating interest from an email can create a competitive edge, or put a company behind its competitors.
Digital companies without brick and mortar space need to establish a personal connection. Through well designed correspondence, a company can create an impression in the minds of customers. In essence, companies can create a profile, identity and personality – out of thin air, if they can communicate intelligently to prospective customers.
Mass email campaigns are generally much better at generating sales than alternatives, like social media. While this knowledge is helpful, it’s important to keep in mind that not all campaigns are created equal, for instance bland, depersonalised emails are far more likely to be discarded without a second thought.
An impactful campaign would be more personalised. “Series” marketing is a start – “series” or “stacking / stacked” messages are specific e-mail responses which are triggered by user interactions with the business’ website. Signing up as a user could trigger a welcome message, for example, or anyone who had unpurchased items in their cart could be invited back. After a sale, a follow-up e-mail could be sent, asking the client or customer to rate the service they had received.
Adding strong but simple wording to the header of the email decreases the chances of someone getting bored. Expansive or wordy emails could be ignored because they look daunting, or someone could stop reading midway through, simply out of boredom. A brief, strong headline that could capture the reader’s attention without overwhelming them is ideal.
It must be stressed that mobile connectivity is a critical aspect of a successful sales approach. A recent study showed that most major decision makers read their emails on mobile devices, and that nearly three quarters of these people regularly deleted emails that failed to load correctly. Those are very big numbers, and they indicate the increasing importance mobile has on potential sales. A strong focus on optimising for mobile email gives any campaign excellent access to smartphones and small tablets. Your future sales are literally riding in customers’ pockets and purses.
Ensuring that your message is easily accessible is another critically important element to managing a successful campaign. Functionality isn’t optional: the portals to the website must be clearly marked and labelled, and all links must function as a potential client would expect. Grabbing the customer’s attention is the goal, but it’s meaningless if the individual cannot find relevant links to relevant webpages, or if they find precisely where they want to go, only to click on a dead link.
Email is the most cost-effective method of marketing – costing virtually nothing when compared to other more traditional marketing efforts, while ensuring a very wide reach indeed. Using a few simple strategies, vendors and eCommerce firms can produce impactful email that grabs the attention of customers and drives sales forward into the future.
Email Marketing: Evaluating Your Performance
Performance measurement is critical and this is precisely why you’ll want to stay on top of your email marketing campaigns, to make sure they’re running efficiency and consistently yielding the desired results. There are a few specific indicators that can give you an excellent idea of how any given email marketing campaign is performing.
“Bounce rate” refers to the percentage of emails you’re sending out that simply “bounce back” because they’re being sent to an invalid email address or one that’s not currently available. Occasionally, it’s just a matter of a customer changing their email address, or closing out an old one. Sometimes their inbox is full.
However, it can sometimes be due to someone giving you a fake email address. If you keep getting bounces from specific addresses, it’s time to remove them from your database in order to avoid getting blocked by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and / or being added to one or more large scale “blacklists”, as such activity can be interpreted as spamming.
Click Through Rate
“Click through rate” refers to the percentage of customers who click on one or more of the links you’ve provided in your email. Marketers can measure these clicks by dividing the number of “unique” reader clicks by the number of total clicks. Others will measure the number of total clicks to see how many respondents have clicked a link on multiple occasions.
The purpose of measuring these clicks is to see just how many readers are responding to your emails and how well these emails are doing when it comes to getting customers to click on specific links.
Measuring your “conversion rate” will give you an exact figure as to how many customers clicked the link in your email and “converted” to the function you assigned for that link. For example, you’ll know immediately how many people have seen the item that the link “converts” to.
Revenue Per Email Sent
This will give you an exact figure as to the amount of Return On Investment (ROI) that you received from an email campaign. The method used here is to divide the amount of revenue you received from sending these emails by the total number of emails that were sent out. This will help you compute the success or failure of a particular email campaign. You can measure your total figures against previous campaigns, or campaigns from competitors in your field.
List Growth Rate
Your “List Growth Rate” is simply the measurement of how quickly your email marketing list is growing. This will let you know how your various campaigns are doing by giving you an exact figure of how many people are subscribing to, or unsubscribing themselves from, your email marketing list.
The Value of an Email Marketing Campaign
Email marketing can be an extremely effective way of growing your customer base and increasing your ROI. By paying careful attention to the results of each campaign, you can zero in on the segment of your audience that’s most likely to purchase certain products and / or services, while also fine tuning your campaigns to better appeal to other segments too. In summation, email marketing is a science that can be utilised to exponentially increase the productivity and profitability of your business.
If you need help with setting up your email marketing please do contact us. Our Virtual Assistants have knowledge in several email marketing platforms including Infusionsoft, Active Campaign, Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact and DotMailer.