You’ve created the perfect ecommerce landing page for your online store. You’re collecting high-quality leads, and growing your email list. Now, you’re ready to reach out to your subscribers and convert them into customers.
What should be your next step?
Developing a sales-generating ecommerce email marketing strategy.
If you’re not sending the right emails to the right people at the right time, you’re missing out on the opportunity to boost your revenue.
Why does ecommerce email marketing matter?
Today, email delivers the highest return on investment for digital marketers. In fact, email marketing drives $38 for every $1 spent.
Even though ecommerce email marketing is the perfect opportunity to reach conversion goals, many online stores fail at leveraging email as a high-performing marketing channel.
When handled properly, ecommerce email marketing can help you acquire new customers, sell more products, and increase revenue. That’s why we’ll share five actionable tips to optimize your email marketing efforts with examples. And the best part is, you can implement them within hours.
5 Actionable tips for ecommerce email marketing success
1. Segment your email list
Every customer is different, so you need to treat them differently. They have different backgrounds, needs, and interests. Segmenting your list and sending targeted emails helps you stay relevant with your subscribers. And as they receive more relevant offers, it’s more likely they’ll convert into customers.
Plus, segmented email campaigns receive 14.31% more opens and 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.
You don’t need long subscription forms for a successful ecommerce email strategy either. Asking simple questions about age, gender, location, or interests, can help create audience segments and make sure that your subscribers only receive relevant content.
BarkBox segments their audience further after a visitor signs up for their email list. This way, the company can send its customers relevant content and targeted offers:
Shopping activity is another way of segmenting subscribers and sending follow up emails based on someone’s activity is highly-effective. You can segment customers based on purchase history, basket size, wishlists, email engagement, or cart abandonment.
Abandoned cart emails are perhaps the most popular example of customer segmentation for email marketing. We’ll return to that in a moment.
Here’s an example of how Poo-Pourri segments customers based on previous shopping activity and recommends products they might be interested in:
Don’t forget about inactive customers either. Segment them, look for possible reasons and re-engage them with email campaigns by offering special discounts (explained more in tip #4.)
Now that you got your email list sorted, it’s time to send the right emails.
Building a logical email sequence is just as important as list segmentation. If you send an abandoned cart email too early, you lose. If you send a welcome email too late, you lose again.
Analyzing over 2 billion emails, GetResponse found out that welcome emails have a 91.43% open rate. Send welcome emails on time so that you don’t miss this huge conversion opportunity.
Make sure you develop a logical email sequence for every step of your customer journey. Automate your email campaigns for higher efficiency and revisit your strategy regularly.
2. Create exclusive discount emails
Ecommerce marketers love email campaigns because there are many ways to nudge online store visitors via email and convince them to make a purchase. But not all email campaigns are engaging or pleasant for the reader.
If you capture the visitor’s attention at the most appropriate time and provide them an incentive to take action, you can achieve better conversion rates.
The following two examples are smart ways of converting visitors into customers with email marketing.
Convert shopping cart abandoners into customers
People abandon their online shopping carts 75.4% of the time. At that rate, you can’t afford to let it happen without taking action.
In an ideal world, all digital marketers would capture and convert all abandoners. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t minimize cart abandonment rates.
Klaviyo’s study from April to June 2017 showed that 41.18% of abandoned cart emails get opened and result in $5.81 revenue per recipient.
One way to give your customers a reason to come back is with a gentle reminder email, combined with a free shipping option or a discount code could easily win them over.
This Fabletics email is an example people receive after abandoning their shopping cart:
In the remainder of the email, they include the items and an exclusive deal:
With a compelling email subject line, a strong call-to-action, and an incentive to take action, you can easily convert abandoners into customers and increase revenue.
Convert subscribers into customers
Everybody wants to feel special, including your subscribers.
Subscriber exclusives, such as discounts or early access, typically perform well not only because you offer people something exclusive but also because your subscribers are prospects with strong potential to convert. Adding an incentive on top of that, like a subscriber-only deal, increases your chances of making a sale.
You can easily create special discount codes for your subscribers and send them out. See how Fab makes its subscribers feel special and rewards them with a nice incentive to shop:
Another way of making your subscribers feel exclusive is to offer them early access to your sales. (Try this out during the holiday shopping season and see the results for yourself.)
3. Send post-sales emails
No matter what industry you’re working in, you know that the sales process doesn’t end with the sale. That’s when the fun part begins and post-sales emails come into play.
Post-sales emails serve many purposes, including:
- Providing more information
- Asking for feedback
- Promoting content
- Building stronger relationships
- Increasing revenue
Your existing customers are potentially your future customers.
In fact, one study shows the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, much higher than selling to a new prospect:
To that end, there are two proven methods ecommerce brands use to increase revenue: upselling and cross-selling. Upselling encourages customers to purchase anything that increases the price and functionality of the original purchase (e.g. checked baggage or seat selection on flights). And cross-selling is inviting prospects to buy a related or complementary product (e.g. reserving a hotel room in addition to a flight).
Often used by ecommerce giants like Amazon, both selling methods usually take the form of product recommendations. And they typically perform best when on-site messages are supported by an email campaign.
Beardbrand understands the efficiency of upsell emails, as they send this email after customer orders:
Even if a customer orders a free poster on the website, they receive this email suggesting a hairbrush, mustache wax, and beard softener. Thanks to this email, customers could be enticed to click through, discover more products and make a purchase.
4. Appreciate your customers
Establishing a loyal customer base who make repeat purchases is equally important as closing the initial sale.
Ecommerce email marketing is the perfect medium to build better relationships with your customers. Sending out engaging emails (below) can easily help you reduce churn and improve customer loyalty.
Here are a few examples of ecommerce brands connecting with their customers that you can model your outreach after.
Customer appreciation emails
Often neglected, customer appreciation emails are easy to create with a high return value. A well-written, sincere thank you note can help you build better relationships with customers. As a bonus to show your gratitude, you might even consider adding a special discount for a future purchase.
This Allbirds customer appreciation email celebrates a milestone by thanking their customers who made it all possible:
Birthday or anniversary emails
Birthdays and customer anniversaries are two of the best times to get personal with email subscribers because it shows you recognize the details of their history with your brand. And showing some personalization certainly helps too.
In addition to helping businesses develop closer relationships with their customers, email personalization also results in higher conversion rates. In fact, a recent study found out that personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates.
Look at this birthday email from kikki.K with a simple birthday message and a voucher that can be used on the website:
They personalize the email subject line with a name token, too:
It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Appreciate your customers every chance you get, provide something of value, and automate the process.
There will always be people who are ready to leave you. Email unsubscribers, inactive leads, old customers… Fortunately, you can win them back because they’ve already shown interest in your online store at one point.
With email marketing, you can remind inactive customers what they’ve been missing out on. Plus, you can offer them an incentive to return, such as free shipping or a discount code.
Levi’s sends out re-engagement emails to inactive customers and offers a special discount code:
It all comes down to email list segmentation. Going back to tip #1, make sure you segment inactive customers and create special campaigns to win them back.
5. Write better subject lines
Getting your emails opened is the first step of email marketing success. Higher open rates mean a better chance of converting subscribers into customers. And it’s no different for ecommerce email marketing.
According to a MailChimp study, on average, only 15.66% of ecommerce emails get opened.
Knowing that your customers’ inboxes are full of all kinds of messages, you have to stand out somehow, some way. But how do you stand out among every email in their inbox and capture subscribers’ attention?
Writing better subject lines.
There are many subject line templates, but there isn’t a perfect formula that fits all ecommerce brands. You can take inspiration from the examples below and find your own voice.
Creativity is a must
Easier said than done, incorporating creativity into your subject lines will generate more opens (and, hopefully, click-throughs). To do that, leveraging persuasion triggers such as scarcity, authority, and social proof can easily strengthen your opening pitch in the inbox.
This writer’s favorite method is evoking curiosity and here’s how REBEL8 does it well:
Using emojis is a great way because their visual nature stands out amongst all text-based subject lines. According to a study by Campaign Monitor, 56% of brands that use emojis in email subject lines achieved a higher open rate.
Word of warning: be cautious when incorporating emojis because there’s a thin line between being creative and repulsive. Poo-Pourri adds it pretty creatively:
So does Best Buy:
Use power words
Power words have proven to evoke certain emotions in the reader’s mind and trigger them to take action. Using strong adjectives (“amazing,” “exciting,” “popular,” or “stunning”) to define your products in your subject lines can be a good way to get opens too.
Triggering FOMO and focusing on scarcity is another good way to persuade people to act. Ban.do leverages “hurry” and “free” to create a sense of urgency:
Finally, during times of sale, crafting power words like “limited,” “exclusive,” and “special” as persuasion triggers can persuade subscribers to click through and respond to your message.
Add in some personalization
Speaking directly to the recipient can go a long way in improving your open rates. Addressing subscribers within the subject line (“you”) can help you communicate and make them feel closer to your brand. This first name token tactic is nothing new, but it can’t hurt to include anyway.
Notice how ThinkGeek uses both “you” and first name in their message:
Start with your own inbox
There is no single path that leads to ecommerce email marketing success. But you can likely find other great examples to take inspiration from in your own inbox. What caused you to open the email? What persuaded you to click through and take action?
Remember that no two online stores are the same. Always test your email marketing strategies and see what works best for your brand.
About the author
Seray Keskin is a content marketer at Sleeknote, a company that helps ecommerce brands engage their site visitors—without hurting the user experience.