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7 Keys of eCommerce email marketing

Customers have never before had access to more choice when it comes to buying a product. The challenge is to stand out from the crowd so they’ll pick you. One of the easiest ways to do so is through an effective eCommerce email marketing campaign.

Key benefits of email marketing include:

  • Build and nurture customer relationships.
  • Boost sales and expand brand awareness.
  • Increase website traffic.

Not to mention, email is one of the most effective customer acquisition and retention marketing tools: the median ROI for email marketing is 122%. Email marketing is easy to implement and measure, with low to no cost, and lends opportunities for A/B testing and curating segmented lists to test new product ideas.

The question isn’t if you should be marketing via email – it’s how to get started. This blog will lead you through seven key tips to introduce effective email marketing into your business.

7 Keys of eCommerce email marketing

1) Keep your CTA simple

It’s tempting to cover too much. But with recipients spending less than a minute reviewing an email campaign, it’s best to decide on a single focus.

For example, a simple call to action can inspire a customer to buy or learn more. Don’t send them to a landing page where they have to enter their email again, or make the customer navigate your website – keep it as easy and as few steps as possible for them to fulfill the CTA.

2) Consider your audience

Being thoughtful of your recipient is essential for a successful campaign. Who’s reading, and what do you want them to do? Determine this first and plan your CTA around your answers – you’ll save a lot of time.

Segmented lists are a great tool to boost effectiveness. You can sort your customer base by interest, location, age, gender, stage in the buying cycle – the possibilities are endless. A survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association revealed that segmented and targeted emails generated 58% of all revenue.

For example, welcome emails generate 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular marketing campaigns, but first you have to segment your new customers before sending any.

Once you have these lists organized, it’s a breeze to create personalized, relevant content for your customers. Refresh your lists and clear inactive subscribers to avoid being marked as spam and keep your open rates healthy.

3) Make it personal

We all know the annoyance of a cold call or spam email that doesn’t apply to us. To make email marketing effective, a customer needs to feel the email is tailored to them.

After segmentation, personalization boosts the chance your recipient will read your email. Simply adding a customer’s name increases open rates by 26%.

Empower your customers by allowing them to personalize the content that lands in their inbox. You could offer options such as frequency, or send a courtesy email with the choice to opt out of promotions around a holiday that may be emotionally difficult (such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day).

4) Give them something they want

Always provide value when you reach out. If the recipient doesn’t get something from your content, they’ll unsubscribe or stop opening. This is meant to be a mutually beneficial arrangement – your recipient needs something from you (your amazing product!), and you need them to follow through with the CTA.

Don’t be too salesy or misleading, either. This is especially relevant for top-of-funnel customers who need more nurturing while they’re in the research stage. You may put them off by pushing for a sale too soon. This is where those segmented lists are priceless.

Finally, avoid using too many trigger words. Overusing terms like “free,” “sale,” “cash,” or including too many exclamation points (!!!) makes recipients suspicious. It also dilutes the value you would have otherwise provided in a sea of spammy phrases.

5) Make it accessible

As a general rule, plain text with some html elements is best. It’s tempting to create an image to maintain consistency in your formatting, but large images are fraught with issues. Nearly half of emails are opened on mobile devices. To conserve data, some customers disable images on the go – or, if they’re in an area with poor service or Wi-Fi, the image might not load correctly. You risk your recipient deleting the email before they’ve seen your content.

Remember, your recipient is likely to spend less than a minute reading your email. This is where stylistic decisions and good first impressions matter. Consider font choice, effective use of bold/underline/headers, and the overall color scheme (for example, don’t put white text on a light background).

Keep it clean and uncluttered, and control your use of white space to give your recipient the ability to skim.

Finally, ensure you have an unsubscribe link. It’s bad practice not to have this readily available, and you could be in breach of data protection or consumer law if you neglect it.

6) Be memorable

Hooking your customer with a catchy subject is key; you need to entice them to open the email. The best subject lines are 28-50 characters long. (Note: The length of that linked sentence is 48 characters.)

In the body of the email, use voice and tone to your advantage, and make sure it matches your brand. Overly formal language wouldn’t work for an athleisure wear company targeting Gen-Z consumers. Conversely, emojis and trendy abbreviations may not be the best fit for a more mature audience. Either way, appeal to your reader’s emotions. Use humor and a human touch to connect with your recipient and urge them to follow through.

The ideal length of an email varies depending on the study, but most data agree it’s best to keep it under 200 words. Emails between 50 and 200 words had the best response rate at just above 50%.

7) Find the right cadence

“Cadence” refers to the rhythm of your overall email campaign through the strategic planning, timing, content, and order of emails throughout the customer journey.

Send a welcome email and follow-ups to keep your business at the front of the customer’s mind, but avoid making them feel harassed.

Make sure the emails can stand alone and flow together. While you don’t want to repeat the same information (see point 4 about annoying your base), you also don’t want a customer to feel lost if they open email three of five.

Timing is important and depends on where the customer is in their buyer’s journey: while obtrusive daily reminders and promotions seem pushy and irritating, if you only email every three months, you won’t stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind. Again, this comes down to segmentation and preferences. If you allow your customers to set communication preferences, you don’t have to worry about striking the right time as your customers can tell you themselves.

A/B testing, also called split testing, is a strategic way of comparing the effectiveness of different versions of a campaign. For example, the same email campaign could be sent to two segmented groups (lists A and B), and each group receives a separate version to compare efficacy. This could be an alternate subject line, email template, personalization, use of images, or even what day/time the email lands in a customer’s inbox. The lists are then compared to see which version generated the best response.

An email is meant to grab the customer’s attention and lead them to fulfill your CTA. If you want them to read more than 200 words, use your email to link to a blog post or longer marketing offer.

Wrapping up

Email marketing is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to measure solutions in your marketing toolkit. Now, it’s up to you to take a good look at your customer base and find the opportunities available to your business. What are you waiting for?

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