One of the biggest challenges about running an online store is the lack of in-person customer interaction. Thankfully, eCommerce email marketing enables business owners to overcome this obstacle and build meaningful relationships with online customers through regular communication.
But it’s not enough to just send emails to your customers without a plan.
eCommerce email marketing is a vast subset of a larger digital marketing strategy that requires time and attention in order to be be successful. In this article, we’ll discuss 9 eCommerce email marketing tips that will make sure you get the full value of your customer relationships.
1. Reward Loyal Subscribers With Exclusive Discounts
No business would survive without loyal customers. That’s why you should always do your best to foster relationships with these customers to keep them coming back to your store.
To do this, you can create a loyalty program and invite customers who have engaged with your emails in the past. That way, you can further cultivate these relationships and drive them back to your store with exclusive offers.
2. Personalize Promotional eCommerce Email Campaigns
It’s no secret that personalization can improve email engagement rates. But, this concept goes a lot further than just including your customer’s first name in the email salutation.
Sending emails with content that’s tailored to the recipient is a surefire way to make your readers happy, and ultimately get them to make a purchase.
So, how exactly can you do this in your eCommerce email marketing strategy?
Start by segmenting your list into groups with similar needs or interests, such as:
- Gender preference: If your customers identify as a man, they probably won’t be interested in your latest sale on women’s clothing, and vice versa. Targeting emails based on stated gender preference is a good starting point to sending more relevant eCommerce emails.
- Past email engagement: As we said in the previous point, you will probably have a different message and offer for customers based on how they have interacted with your emails in the past.
- Past purchase behavior: Using past purchases to figure out what kind of products customers might be interested in will make for more compelling sales emails. After all, if a customer buys a certain type of product, they’re probably willing to buy complementary or similar products in the future.
3. Optimize Your Subject Line and Preview Text
Subject lines and preview text create the first impression you make on your customers. Think of them like that suit and tie you wore to your first job interview — you want to look the part to get your foot in the door.
Grab the Reader’s Attention
If you want to increase your email open rate, the email subject line is the best place to start.
High converting subject lines should be enticing enough to pique the reader’s curiosity without sounding like clickbait or spam. They should be used to capture attention with genuine and relevant text that distills what your email is all about.
Convince Them to Open
Once you have the reader’s attention with the subject line, preview text can act as the final blow to get them to open your message.
If you’re not familiar, preview text is the first few words from the email that are visible to recipients in their inbox. Many email marketers forget about this important piece, but optimizing preview text to communicate your main message can make a big difference in whether or not subscribers will open your email.
4. Take Advantage of Special Occasions
Seasonal and holiday-themed email campaigns can bring in a lot of extra customers to your eCommerce store.
In fact, holiday ecommerce sales during November and December make up almost one quarter of total annual sales, with a big portion of those sales resulting from email promotions.
So, be sure to take advantage of these seasonal opportunities. Most email marketing platforms make this easy by providing holiday templates for your emails to send fun emails that your customers will love.
With easy access to these templates, you don’t have any more excuses to skimp on your eCommerce store’s holiday email marketing.
5. Don’t Forget About Design and Branding in Transactional Emails
Transactional emails have much higher engagement rates compared to normal marketing emails. So, while it’s super easy to just send out the default transactional emails from your eCommerce provider, you’re actually wasting prime real estate by doing this.
Instead of just including the bare minimum information, you should leverage the higher open rates of your order and shipping status emails to accomplish your other marketing objectives.
To include transactional emails in your overall eCommerce email marketing strategy, include the following in your designs:
- Similar branding to your website or marketing emails to give a seamless experience to readers
- Special offers from your store to entice customers to make another purchase (e.g. Get 15% off your next purchase if you order in the next 30 days)
- Product recommendations of similar or complementary products that the customer might need
6. Reward Customers for Referring Your Business to Friends
One of the most powerful marketing channels is word of mouth.
The reason it’s so powerful, is that the leads coming to your business through a referral have social proof from someone in their network. They’ll be much more receptive to the idea of buying something from your business than visitors coming from a general keyword-targeted AdWords link, because someone they trust has recommended you.
So, you should do everything in your power to leverage your current customer network to attract new, high-quality customers.
One way to do this is to give a discount to referring customers. This is great because it not only incentivizes referrals, but also encourages those referring customers to come back and make a purchase with that discount.
You can even take it one step further and give discounts to both the sender and recipient of the referral. This will provide a little extra incentive for those new visitors to make their first purchase.
7. Notify Customers About Previously Out of Stock Items
If a popular product back is out of stock, but you know that you’re getting more inventory soon, don’t remove it from your website. Instead, let customers “subscribe” to updates about the inventory of this product.
This keeps customers happy by keeping them in the loop on products they really want. It’s also a great opportunity to get them into your email marketing ecosystem.
Once you have their email address, you can use it to notify them (hopefully leading to a sale) and also ask if they want to opt in to your newsletter or promotional email list afterwards. That way, you can continue working on driving them to your site through regular email communications.
8. Give Customers as Many Chances to Subscribe to Your Emails as Possible
As mentioned in the previous tip, getting potential customers to opt into your email marketing list is the best way to build relationships and move leads down the funnel.
So, you should never miss an opportunity to get leads to subscribe to your email list. You might be familiar with the standard email optin strategy: including forms in your website sidebar, footer, and even popups or slide-ins.
But, there are other places that you can capture leads as well.
Catch Customers During the Checkout Process
Checkout is one of the times when customers are most likely to subscribe. It’s right after they’ve decided to buy something, so the value of your business is clear to them. That’s why this is the perfect time to ask them if they also want to sign up to receive promotional emails or your newsletter.
Many email marketing providers have plugins with eCommerce platforms that let you do this fairly easily.
Don’t Forget About Transactional Emails
Remember how I mentioned that transactional emails are a great place to accomplish your marketing objectives? Getting new subscribers to your email list also falls into that category!
Although it may not seem like much, giving customers the option to subscribe from transactional emails is a good way to ensure that no possible lead falls through the cracks.
9. Use eCommerce Email Marketing Automation to Follow Up With Leads
Online marketing is all about having meaningful communication at great scale, and the best way to achieve this is through automation.
Using marketing automation for your eCommerce site lets you build better relationships with customers by sending them highly relevant messages at the exact right time. Some examples of effective workflows include:
- Following up with customers who have abandoned their shopping cart
- Notifying customers when an item they looked at or left in their cart goes on sale
- Checking in with unengaged subscribers to make sure they still want to receive emails with an re-optin email
These are just a few examples, but you can get as creative as you want in setting up your own workflows!
There you have it! The best eCommerce email marketing tips to get the most out of your customer relationships.
Now it’s your turn to implement these tips to increase sales for your online store. Do you have other email tips for eCommerce merchants? Let us know in the comments below!