May, 14 2021The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing Success
Is email marketing dead?
Over the last 10 years, that sentiment has been echoed in countless marketing blogs. However, we'd like the challenge that viewpoint. All you have to do is open you inbox and see that email marketing is alive and breathing.
Ecommerce thrived in 2020 because of COVID store closures and shoppers’ fear of contracting the coronavirus in public. However, the foundation was set for online s hopping years before the pandemic hit.
Ecommerce has been growing consistently and accounting for a large share of B2B & B2C sales for years.
The pandemic only accelerated the opening of new ecommerce sites across all industries and especially small business owners!
So if you have been contemplating selling your products online or have an established brand, this guide will outline the most effective emails to help you achieve your goals from new customer conversion to engagement and even customer retention.
Table Of Contents
- What is email marketing for ecommerce?
- Why is it important?
- Getting started with email marketing
- Types of email campaigns to send
- Foundational Metrics
What is Email Marketing
Ecommerce email marketing is an effective marketing strategy that uses email to promote products of an online store to existing or potential customers.
One of the best aspects of email marketing is, you own this marketing channel. Meaning, you own and manage the email list and the message. Unlike social media, you have a direct line to your customers and online store visitors.
Why is Email a Driving Success for Ecommerce
Gone are the days where "email blasts" were considered marketing. This is especially true for ecommerce companies. But as effective as email marketing is, it’s not enough on its own.
Why? Because e-commerce email marketing isn’t about the right strategy; it’s about the right sequencing. Mail the right emails at the wrong time to the wrong prospect, and people will opt out of your emails (or worse, move to a competitor).
But mail the right emails at the right time to the right prospects, and you won’t just have lifelong customers, you’ll have brand evangelists.
Here are the most recent statistics to prove that email marketing can take your eCommerce to the next level.
- 99% of consumers check their email inboxes every day.
- Bye the end of 2020, there were 4.1 million active email addresses. 80% of retailers consider email marketing as the most effective way of customer retention;
- 59% of consumers indicate that marketing emails have the power to influence their purchase decision.
- 42% of Americans subscribe to marketing emails to receive discounts and special offers.
1. Email marketing lets you build on customer relationships
Engagement through social media and search engine optimization (SEO) is a solid tactic, but email is the direct line to your customers. Decisive emails sent at the right time to the right people - like cart abandonment can increase your conversion by another 10%. However, enlist a cart abandonment series and you could see those emails covert at 60%+.
2. Email can exponentially help drive sales
It's true, some products pair up with email better than others. Furthermore, most easily shipped B2C, D2C and B2B products typically respond well to emails. Sure, there are no guarantees, but testing an email campaign can cost you far less than diving into paid ads.
3. Email can stimulate 3 main growth factors for your business
Jay Abraham, well known for evangelizing the 3 marketing pillars to grow your business, which are:
- Get more customers (increase customers)
- Increase the total # of purchases per customer (order frequency)
- Increase the amount of $ spent per order (increase AOV-average order value)
Getting Started with Email Marketing
The first order of business is to choose an email service provider. This is where you will build your email list, learn platform tools to generate new subscribers and most importantly, to make sure you are ready to send emails legally.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the right provider for you. **At Epic Design Labs, we use Klaviyo, which is designed specifically for ecommerce companies and integrates perfectly with BigCommerce and Shopify.
Here's a list of email automation applications that integrate with both BigCommerce and Shopify:
Once you've selected your email platform, you'll want to handle a few strategic items before you jump into sending emails - we'll walk you through each one below:
Build Your Email List
Before you can launch an email campaign, you need to sort out your email list. This will help you target the right people with your marketing communications. Your website is the best place to get people to sign-up for your emails and build your email list. There are many tactics you can deploy on your site to make this happen.
The great news is that if you're an established brand, you probably have a head start on your email list. However, if you've never sent an email campaign, you might have a few leads that you haven't considered:
Do you have previous sales? Those previous customers are the beginning of your new list - add them to an excel or google workbook.
Additionally, have you generated new leads through any marketing channels (social followers, DM's, phone calls, emails, etc.)? If so, add those to your master list too.
Your master list will grow and change as your business ages, in the meantime, keep this list handy because we'll be using it later in the article.
Setup a Pre-Launch Page
If your website isn't fully built out, setting up a prelaunch page is a great option, as it allows you to collect email addresses while generating interest in your products or services.
Additionally, you can use social media to promote your new, soon to launch, online store.
Here's a couple of great examples and notice how simple they are - one call to action, easy to read with a simple sign up form.
Opt-Ins Grow Your Email List
In order to grow your email list, you need to ask people to sign up. What better place to do this than where they're already hooked into your content - on the relevant webpages across your online store.
Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe, perfectly sums up the importance of email marketing. "When you give up communication to your customers through Facebook (social media in general), you are now at the mercy of them allowing you to talk to your customers." He gives a great specific example:
*AppSumo.com is a 7-figure business & 90%+ of our revenue comes from emails. Too many companies don't ask website visitors/customers for their email address.
Why are you doing amnesia marketing? Make it easy for yourself, let customers know: when new products come out, let them see what you go through building your business & best of all, feature your customers to your other customers. —Noah Kagan*
Over years of testing opt-in's, both internally with our brands and with our customers, we recommend you try placing your sign up forms in these locations:
Test a Pop-Up Form:
This tactic works great to catch those visitors that might be slipping away by using a trigger to pop up a special offer or % discount. While pop-ups aren't known for drastic conversions, the average performance is around 10%. The key to pop-ups are to keep it simple. Minimal words, one call to action and placement is key - use your historical data in Google Analytics to help guide your strategy.
Your Resources/Portfolio Pages:
If your online store sells services, SaaS or even downloadable products, these pages are your place to shine. There are a few guidelines to optimize this area:
- Make it easy to sort content by pain point and topic.
- Write compelling landing page content
- H1: This single heading should briefly describe the contents the resource itself.
- H2: The H2/sub-heading should consist of a value proposition or key learning point from the resource itself.
- An answer to the “why”: Why does this piece of content matter to your prospective audience? This can be anywhere from three sentences to two short paragraphs. Just remember to get to the point quickly!
- Add a button or link to subscribe to your newsletter or updates.
- Make your download form simple, name and email is sufficient.
- Be sure to send them to a thank you page with more content:
- Show a quick thank you message with links to similar articles of interest.
- Deliver the resource immediately in a new browser tab.
- Additionally, deliver the downloadable to their email as well.
Your About Us Page:
The problem with many about us pages is they feel almost like an afterthought. A buried link in the footer or a random button to subscribe, but no description of what's part of the subscription.
In contrast to a landing page, your About Us page is the ideal place to accommodate a number of objectives:
- Inform your visitors about the story of your business and why you started it. Describe the customers your business serves. or the cause that your business serves.
- Put a face to your business, featuring the founders or the people on your team.
- Incorporate persuasive content, such as an explainer video, data visualizations, links to blog posts that might otherwise clutter your homepage.
In short, your About Us page is a home for your company story, a place to show off your business wins, and a portfolio page that answers the most pressing question new customers have about your business outside why they should buy its products.
Use your blog articles to not only promote your products and services, but to also educate your visitors. Additionally, creating content like blog posts is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your product pages - here's how:
- New content gives you something valuable to share on your social account.
- Blog articles are great pieces to increase engagement and are ripe for sharing - encourage sharing and social comments on the post.
- Article content is easier to rank in Google vs. product pages.
- Opens the door to industry influencers and so much more!
Use Lead Magnets to Accelerate Sign-Ups
A lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information. Lead magnets usually offer a piece of digital, downloadable content, such as a free PDF checklist, report, eBook, whitepaper, video, etc.
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
There are 7 things that your lead magnet should do if you want it to be absolutely irresistible:
- Solves a real problem – if your lead magnet doesn’t solve a real problem that your customer avatar has, or if it doesn’t give them something they really want, it won’t work at all.
- Promises one quick win – your lead magnet should promise (and deliver) one quick win for your avatar. In other words, it should help them to easily achieve something. Super specific – don’t create a lead magnet about something general. The more specific you are about the benefit of your lead magnet, the better it will convert leads.
- Quick to digest – PDF checklists tend to convert really well because they are so quick and easy to digest. eBooks or lengthy reports may make your prospects feel overwhelmed.
- High value – your lead magnet should have both high perceived value and high actual value.
- Instantly accessible – your lead magnet will work best if it is something that can be delivered right away. People love instant gratification.
- Demonstrates your expertise or unique value proposition– when someone consumes your lead magnet, it should demonstrate your expertise or your unique value proposition. This helps turn leads into customers down the road.
As previously state, growing your email list is an essential step for your marketing strategy. Most companies put incredible focus on growing lists through digital means, but it is just as necessary to work on developing your email list through in-person means.
When it comes to building your email list in person, there a few methods to test. Below, 3 ideas that can help guide your team in collecting email addresses during events.
Remember, building your email list in person is all about gathering emails from potential subscribers. Keep in mind, this doesn’t ensure that they will subscribe, so be sure to have sales or marketing send them a follow-up email with the option to opt-in to further emails.
1 — Collect Signups During In-Person Conferences
If you are giving a presentation, you’ll want to make sure you mention your email newsletter at some point so that you are making the audience aware of it. Also, using your Twitter or LinkedIn handle can direct people to your email address and website for further opt-in.
2 — Host Your Own Event
If you’re releasing a new product or service, why not host your own launch event?
Much like with a conference, you’ll want to ensure that your attendees have a way of contacting you after the event, so either include the information during your launch presentation or pass out materials that have your website on it.
Even better, at your reception table, have a tablet & keyboard that has your sign-up form ready for quick input. Or, do the ol' business card in a fishbowl and give away one of your new products or a free session if you offer a service.
3 — At a Vendor Event? Use a Sign-Up Sheet
Attending a local vendor’s event? Then make sure you have a signup sheet readily available for potential subscribers to sign in on. This way, you can send a follow-up email with an opt-in option so they can continue to receive your information.
It is also essential that you include your website link/address on all paper materials that you may be handing out so that users will know where to go if they want to opt in later on their own.
Send Emails Legally
Nowadays launching an email campaign is pretty easy, especially if you are using an email automation platform. Any reputable provider will have the legal points built into their system, but it's important know what the laws are around email marketing.
There are number of different laws that guide the use of email marketing for commercial purposes. It’s the CAN-SPAM act in the US, the CASL laws in Canada, and, in the UK, it’s a set of laws known as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003.
All of these laws dictate a number of conditions that email marketers need to follow to avoid significant fines. However, here are the main points in simple language:
- Ensure you have permission to email the people on your list.
- Don't use a misleading header information (from name, subject line, reply-to address).
- Identify your email as an advertisement.
- Include your address - this can be a physical location or even a postbox.
Types Emails to Send
Once you’ve started growing your email list, there are many different types of emails you can send to your customers and subscribers on your email list. It’s important to understand the various types of email and how they work so you can choose the right one for your email marketing campaign.
Listed below are a few of the most effective email types that you can choose from to help you meet your business’s marketing objectives:
This is a popular type of marketing email, and sending periodic email newsletters is a great way for small businesses to keep in regular contact with their email subscribers.
A good example of a marketing newsletter emails comes from Invision. This newsletter reviews different design trends across industries.
You can send emails for special offers or discounts to entice subscribers and customers to purchase your products or services.
A good example of a promotional email comes from Grammarly. This one was sent out during Cyber Monday and offered a 50% off membership.
Loyalty program emails:
Email marketing allows you to set up loyalty programs for your dedicated customers. A good example of a loyalty program email comes from Chipotle. In this email, they’re rewarding parents for bringing kids into Chipotle and buying a kids meal.
You can create unique seasonal messages to send to your subscribers to keep your brand at the top of their minds. A good example of a seasonal email comes from DesignModo. In this email, they’re offering a summer flash sale for their suite of tools.
Email makes it easy to send transactional emails, such as appointment notifications, ecommerce receipts, and more. A good example of a transactional email comes from Stocksy. In this email, they’re simply confirming a user email account, but the visual is stunning.
Drip emails are automated messages that you send subscribers on a specific schedule after they take a certain action. You can use this type of email in your business to communicate with your subscribers in an effective, efficient, and consistent way. A good example of a drip email comes from Asana. In this email, they’re simply confirming a user email account, but the visual is stunning.
Some ways you can use drip campaigns included sending:
- Welcome emails
- Cart abandonment emails
- Product suggestion emails
- Thank you emails
- Informational emails
This type of email can be sent to a specific group of people. For instance, if you were hosting a training webinar for one of your products, you might send an event update email targeting only the group of people who registered for the webinar.
Product update email:
These types of email can be annoying if sent too often - so be sure to save this type of email for true product updates.
Launching a new store and even a relaunch can be a daunting process, but it doesn't have to be. Sure, there is a lot to focus on, but if you take a systematic approach, your store will thrive. If you missed our last article on maximizing social media for your online store, you can find it right here.
Finally, if you need help launching your online store, contact us here and we'll set up a free consultation and site audit.