Email marketing in ecommerce is a powerful way to promote your business and connect with customers. Research shows that this form of advertising has high conversion rates and a high return on investment.
Email allows you to reach out to your audience directly with highly personalized, relevant information and ultimately gain customers online.
All ecommerce businesses should be utilizing emails in their marketing strategy. There are a number of different factors to consider when developing an email marketing campaign.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to take your time and do your research before sending out emails to customers.
Ecommerce email categories
Not every email your business sends out to its customers will serve the same purpose. When you craft an email, you should begin the process by identifying the goal of the communication. This will help you stay focused and consistent in your messaging.
There are a variety of types of emails that you can use to connect with consumers and get new customers in ecommerce. However, the three main categories are as follows.
The goal of an engagement email is for your customers to interact with your content. With this type of email, you’re not trying to make an immediate sale. You’re instead encouraging shoppers to engage with your brand to get to know it better.
Engagement emails typically include a link that readers can use to access content.
This may be a link to your blog, your social media profiles, or a specialized resource like an e-book download or an online course. The body of the email should promote the content and explain how it adds value to the reader’s life.
Effective engagement emails will generate a sense of curiosity about your brand. If the email is compelling enough for readers to click through to your content, you’ll promote brand recognition and loyalty among your customers.
Engagement emails can also boost your company’s visibility if you link to your social media platforms.
For instance, you could encourage your email subscribers to interact with your social media posts or tag your business in a photo. This will bring new viewers to your social channels, which can lead to an increase in sales.
Developing great relationships with your customers is one of the top ecommerce tips for a successful business. This is where nurture emails really come in handy.
A nurture email is all about connecting with customers and encouraging brand loyalty.
Like engagement emails, nurture emails aren’t attempting to generate a sale right away. They help your customers feel a stronger connection to your brand, which can lead to more sales in the future.
Returning customers are far more profitable than first-time customers. To keep your existing shoppers coming back, you have to continue to nurture the relationship and generate interest in your products.
Education is the most common theme of nurture emails. Your messages could include tutorials on how to use your products, answers to frequently asked questions, or links to videos of product demonstrations. This will remind your email subscribers of the value of your products.
Note that customers especially appreciate nurture emails that are highly personalized.
You can send helpful resources to your audience based on their purchase history and demographic information. This makes your shoppers feel seen and understood by your brand, which fosters loyalty.
A sales email’s purpose is to get your audience to make a purchase now. The ultimate goal of engagement and nurture emails is to increase sales too, but they take a long-term approach.
Common examples of sales emails include new product announcements, ads for sales or promotions, and abandoned cart reminders.
The emails are often time sensitive, offering short-term promotions or coupon codes that expire. For example, you could advertise a specific product in a sales email, or you could promote site-wide deals.
Your emails may be a combination of sales, engagement, and nurture. Sometimes, ecommerce emails provide valuable educational information while also promoting products.
You could also send out an engagement email that encourages shoppers to explore your product pages, with the goal involving both website interaction and sales.
Components of successful ecommerce emails
Because there are different types of ecommerce emails, not all messages will include the same elements. Nevertheless, there are some common trends in successful ecommerce messaging. Here are a few major components that you’ll definitely want to include in your emails!
Subject lines that make consumers want to open the emails
Most people receive dozens or even hundreds of promotional emails every day, and they won’t open every single one. Your subject line is your chance to stand out from other messages and convince your customer to keep reading.
Personalization is a great way to get your reader’s attention. In an inbox full of generic subject lines, one that uses the individual’s name will help it to shine.
Localization can work well, too. Reference your customer’s town or a local current event to make the message seem more personal.
Consider the type of email you’re sending when writing your subject line. If the email is informative or educational, generate interest by giving the reader a hint of what they’ll learn in the message.
If you're advertising a sale, include the details to draw the reader’s eye. Novelty is very important in email marketing, so change up your subject lines frequently.
Even if you’ve crafted the perfect line, it will lose its power if you use it too frequently. To consistently capture your audience’s attention, your subject lines should be unique and specific to the message.
Visual content is highly effective for most types of email marketing. This is because it’s been proven that we process images far faster than we process text.
People often skim through dozens of emails in quick succession, so images are a great way to convey information in an easy, appealing manner.
Nurture emails that include more detailed information may not translate well into an image, but visuals work well in promotional content. The body of your email could be a brightly colored sales flyer that highlights the key information.
If your email links out to your website or social media profiles, visuals are especially compelling. The link should be large and bright enough to immediately catch the eye so that customers who are just skimming the message will see it right away.
Email content that matches customer expectations
Email marketing has an excellent return on investment when done right. However, it can turn customers away from your business if you don’t follow through on your promises.
For example, if shoppers sign up for an email newsletter to get informational content, make sure that’s what they receive. Don’t only send them promotional emails about sales or discounts.
Email segmentation is a helpful way to deliver targeted content to your audience. You can break up your email list into segments based on what your customers are interested in.
Furthermore, you could have one list for monthly newsletters, one for longer-form educational content, and one for daily or weekly alerts about current deals.
Delivering the most relevant content for each customer will reduce your unsubscribe rate and boost your reputation and trustworthiness. Your shoppers will appreciate that they’re getting the content they desire without being spammed with irrelevant or unwanted messages.
We’ve already touched on personalization, but this practice involves more than addressing your customers by name in your emails. Personalization is a valuable tool to connect with each individual customer on your email list.
Shoppers buy from small businesses because they want to feel a personal connection with a brand. You can make this a two-sided relationship by getting to know your customers as well.
One of the best ways to personalize your emails is to send product recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases. Not only does this encourage your shoppers to make additional purchases, but it shows them that you understand what they’re interested in.
Follow-up emails after a purchase can be highly personalized as well. You could email your customers a few weeks after their purchase to ask if they’re satisfied with the order. In this message, include a comment about the specific items they bought.
You can also personalize emails based on location. For example, a clothing retailer may send promotional emails about winter coats only to their customers in cold climates. Another option is to send special offers related to local events like festivals or gatherings.
Optimization for mobile use
Almost half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and shoppers may be especially likely to browse their promotional emails from their phones. To ensure that you’re reaching your entire customer base, your emails should be optimized for mobile devices.
Consider both readability and functionality when creating emails.
Because phone screens are so much smaller than computer screens, long paragraphs can look messy and overwhelming to read on mobile devices. Break the text up into smaller segments to make it easier to scroll through on small screens.
Any links in your emails should be easy to click on from mobile phones. Use buttons instead of text-only links, which can be tough to press on mobile devices. If you’re using images or infographics, they should be optimized for any screen size.
Tips for writing different kinds of emails for your online store
Your business should send emails to your shoppers at various points throughout the customer experience. Whether you’re reaching out to a first-time browser or a long-time customer, connecting with your website visitors is key.
To help you get started, here are our best tips for different emails you may send shoppers!
Of all ecommerce emails, welcome messages have the highest open rate. There’s a very good chance your first-time customers will read your welcome email, and first impressions are critical. The perfect welcome email can turn a one-time buyer into a loyal customer.
Welcome emails tend to be short and to the point. The goal is to thank the customer for signing up, briefly outline the benefits of your products, and gently encourage them to make a purchase.
Don't overwhelm the readers with a wall of text or a long list of product recommendations. Focus instead on making a connection with the customer and keeping the door open for future communication.
Some businesses send promotional deals to new email subscribers. This encourages shoppers to sign up for your email list, and it brings them back to your website to make another purchase. You could, for instance, offer a discount or a free gift in their next order.
Your welcome email should also include your contact information. List your customer service phone number or email as well as links to your social media profiles.
The easier you make it for your new customers to contact you with questions or concerns, the more likely that they’ll stick around.
Order confirmation emails are sent automatically after customers complete their purchases. These emails aren’t as personalized or creative as other types of ecommerce emails, but that doesn’t mean that they aren't strategic.
The time between the purchase and the delivery of the order can make or break the customer experience. At this point, the shopper has paid for the items, but they don’t yet know whether they’ve made the right choice.
Until they receive their order, it’s up to you to show them that they’ve made a good decision by working with your business.
The confirmation email should thank the customer for their purchase and summarize the details of the order. It should include your contact information so the buyer can easily reach out if they have concerns.
This is your chance to establish trustworthiness and credibility. By being welcoming and available while the order ships, you can develop a strong relationship with the customer.
Like the order confirmation message, the shipping confirmation email is an effective way to stay connected to your customers while they wait for their purchase. Shoppers want to stay informed while their order is on the way.
The moment that the order ships, send a confirmation email that includes the products ordered, the tracking information, and the estimated delivery date.
As always, the message should include your customer service details. The shipping email could also contain information about return shipping in case the customer decides to return or exchange the item.
Shipping confirmation emails should be simple and concise, and customers should be able to immediately locate the tracking information in the message.
A shipping email isn’t the best opportunity for promotion, so avoid cluttering up these emails with unnecessary text or images.
An abandoned cart isn’t a lost cause. Plenty of shoppers will leave your website to comparison-shop with other stores and simply get distracted before they finish the purchase.
A well-crafted abandoned cart email can convince many of your potential customers to return to your site to complete their order.
Timing is everything with abandoned cart emails. If you send the email too early, you haven’t given the customer time to reconsider the purchase.
If you wait too long, they’ll have lost interest. It’s a good idea to send the first email an hour or two after the shopper leaves your site.
In the case that the customer doesn’t return after your first email, you can send a second message one day after the cart abandonment. Then, send a third email two or three days after the customer left your website.
If your customer completes their purchase, remember to suppress the additional follow-ups. Continuous emails after they’ve made their purchase can be a nuisance.
An abandoned cart email should mention the item or items left behind to jog the customer’s memory. Include images of the items to remind them what they’re missing.
In addition, create an attention-grabbing call-to-action button. Your customers should be able to return to their cart to complete the purchase simply by following a link.
Some businesses offer discounts in their abandoned cart emails. You may convince more customers to complete their purchases if you offer a 10% discount or free shipping.
This isn’t financially viable for all ecommerce companies, but it can be highly effective. Most customers respond very positively when they’re getting a deal.
Promotional emails are a tried-and-true way to bring your audience back to your website. Time-sensitive promotions that create a sense of urgency will encourage your shoppers to act quickly.
You can use promotional emails to reach your existing customers or people who have visited your site but not yet made a purchase.
There are a few ways to approach email promotions. If you’re offering a site-wide sale, you could send an email informing customers of the details.
You could also offer exclusive deals to your email subscribers by sending out coupon codes. To make the offers even more appealing, personalize the deals by sending offers for different items to different customers based on their previous purchases.
Promotional emails don’t have to include sales or coupons, though. They could advertise new products that you’ve added to your collection. Loyal customers are often interested in what’s new, so keeping them in the loop will encourage them to revisit your site.
Ecommerce emails serve many purposes. They help you remarket to one-time site visitors, inform shoppers about shipping information for their orders, and stay connected with your audience.
No matter the size of your business, emails should be a part of your marketing strategy!
One of the most important tips to remember, though, is to remain focused and goal oriented in your emails. For every email campaign, outline specific goals and objectives.
You may want to increase social media interactions, or you may want site visitors to recover their abandoned carts. There are several possible goals for email marketing, and knowing exactly what you hope to accomplish is the best way to achieve results.
Remember that it takes time to perfect your email marketing strategy. If you segment your email list, you’ll have several subcategories of customers who may all require different styles of communication.
Plan your emails carefully, and measure the results of each campaign. Over time, you'll discover the best types of emails for your various customers to increase sales, engagement, and loyalty.
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