The COVID-19 pandemic saw a real boost for ecommerce as shopping habits changed, with many online retailers seeing a lasting rise in demand and revenues.
Online retailers responded to the increased demand using incentives such as coupons and free shipping, paid ads, social and email marketing campaigns to their advantage.
However, having a successful ecommerce business is about more than a well-curated digital marketing campaign. It's all about saying the right thing at the right time.
Let's see how you can make that happen and why email marketing is one of the best tools you can utilize for this.
Email marketing: ecommerce's best friend
Email marketing continues to be one of the most affordable ways to achieve successful conversion rates, with ROI rates as high as $45 for every $1 spent.
Image source: Statista
That’s pretty impressive. But email marketing is more than just a means to better conversion and targeted lead generation.
It also provides brands with a way to establish themselves as an authority in their niche, and to reinforce a distinct brand tone which the company can then use across all social media platforms and online copy.
Email marketing has many indirect benefits as well. If the direct benefits of email marketing for ecommerce are better conversion and targeted lead generation, the indirect benefits include:
- organic website traffic
- better in-store conversion
- multi-channel growth
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)
A variety of tools now allow you to create effective email campaigns: email automation sequences triggered by user actions, customizable newsletter templates, personalisation and tailored messaging.
Of course the content should be top quality - beautiful visuals, engaging and relatable copy - and you need a robust and reliable email provider which can meet your needs. But beyond that, you also need the right campaigns.
The email campaigns you need
Email campaigns will vary of course, depending on audience, brand and niche, but there are some best practices that your ecommerce store should follow.
So here are the ecommerce email marketing campaigns you need, all figured out.
1. The double opt-in
Image source: PrettyLittleThing
Some people would argue a double opt-in is counter-intuitive and creates unnecessary friction. However, I don't think that's the case.
A double opt-in allows you to make sure that your prospects haven’t signed up by mistake, and that they do actually want to be on your mailing list and receive emails from you. It reduces the possibility of annoying people with unwanted content, or having your emails flagged up as spam.
2. The welcome email
A welcome email is kind of like a first date or a job interview. It’s the start of a relationship, and you need to do your best to make an excellent first impression.
According to research from Invespcro “the average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50% which makes them 86% more effective than standard newsletters”, which means that a memorable message will earn you a better CTR for the campaigns that will follow.
The objective of the welcome email is to thank users for subscribing, inform them about the frequency and purposes of your email campaigns, and, ultimately, to make your user onboarding smooth and seamless.
You can also take advantage of the users’ engagement at that stage. They're very engaged and expecting your email so use the opportunity while you have their attention. Try a discount code or a limited-time offer, perhaps free shipping. This will serve as an invitation to take a look around and, hopefully, convert.
Image source: Cozy Earth
3. The curated email
A curated email newsletter is a bit like creating a mixtape after that first date. It has your best in-niche content that will be of most interest to your audience.
Image source: Houzz
Your aim is to reinforce and build on the great first impression you made with your audience by sharing your most desirable products or services, or the best posts from your blog. For ecommerce, you’ll be gently leading them down the sales funnel towards conversions.
However, there's more to a curated email newsletter than just conversions. Reactions and engagement allow you to understand your audience better. You can see where your readers’ interests fit into your buyer personas, and this feeds into effective audience segmentation.
A curated email newsletter can help you understand the content your users want to see and help you focus on creating the right content for your email newsletter campaigns, social media and blog - relevant content that will make sense to your audience.
4. The cart abandonment email
Cart abandonment is one of the most common issues faced by ecommerce stores, and something we, as consumers, are all guilty of.
One of the most common reasons for cart abandonment is extra or unexpected costs such as shipping being too high.
Image source: Baymard Institute
So, here's an idea:
Image source: Rudy's
A cart abandonment email that addresses the issue and finds a solution for it - in this case, offering a discount - can recoup some of the revenue left languishing in abandoned carts.
In addition, a discount like this one shows a brand that practices active listening, which makes customers feel valued and earns plenty of points when it comes to nurturing old leads, as well as generating new ones.
You see, an email from a brand that listens to the customer's needs is worthy of a share with friends and family, allowing new leads to come in and referral marketing to begin.
5. Upselling and cross-selling emails
Upselling and cross-selling are two email categories which ecommerce marketers love, mainly because they can achieve better conversions without raising the price point.
When a brand goes for an upsell, the email will urge a prospect to purchase a more expensive product. Here's what I mean:
Image source: Dollar Shave Club
When the purpose is to cross-sell, the email encourages the customer to buy a similar product or one that can be used in tandem with the original one:
Image source: Dollar Shave Club
You can use also upselling and cross-selling techniques in other emails. Cart abandonment emails work very well with these, especially since the objective is to increase a customer's average order value.
You can send an upsell or cross-sell email sequence for your ecommerce store to your customers right after they make a purchase. Repeaters are more likely to purchase and increase their average order value compared to new, not-yet-nurtured leads.
6. The announcement email
The launch, or announcement email is an ecommerce email where the principal goal is not sales. Instead, the purpose is to keep the dialogue open and going.
And what better way to achieve that than to send an email announcing the launch of a new product?
Image source: A Kids Company About
Let your email list be the first to find out about the launch. Better still, segment your list according to your data and user personas and create targeted messages to let those truly interested in the product know about the launch.
As a bonus, you also could also offer a discount for an early bird order.
You could also experiment with a pre-launch email, to help build suspense before the actual announcement. Include a sneak preview and a CTA encouraging those most interested to sign up for special updates. This way your audience will be effectively creating your segment of interested recipients for you, without you lifting a finger.
7. The transactional email
The aim of this type of email is purely to give customers peace of mind after they purchase from your company.
A transactional email notifies the shopper of their successful order and payment confirmation, making it essential communication. It’s also used to keep customers updated about the status of their order, and when they might expect to receive it.
Image source: MeUndies
The email provides reassurance that all is well with their transaction and it is the one email shoppers are actually waiting for.
Which means that every transactional email is a new chance to boost your revenue.
A transactional email is a great place to cross-sell, or generate new leads, for example by offering an extra discount for every email share or new referral. It’s also a great place to personalize by including additional, relevant products specially selected for that customer.
Image source: Walmart
Ultimately, a transactional email is one of the best ways to remain in your customer's mind and reinforce the impression of a brand that has well organised and relevant email marketing and communications.
Pro Tip: Make sure to include order and tracking numbers in the transactional email for extra appreciation points!
8. The survey or feedback email
Can you ever be sure whether you're on the right path with your ecommerce email marketing if you don't ask your customers?
If I had to guess, I'd say no.
Image source: Signature Hardware
By sending an email asking for feedback like the one above, you're showing your prospects that you want to work with them to get this right to meet their needs - and, by extension, your goals.
A survey or a questionnaire provides you with invaluable information from your customers, helping you identify areas for improvement, such as whether your pricing is right, any customer pain points you should address, and more.
Sometimes asking for feedback can be a little awkward, and most people have busy lives. To encourage your audience to take the time to provide feedback you could gamify the experience using a quiz maker, or offer an incentive or a free gift.
9. The thank you email
Your audience is the driving force behind your brand’s existence, so make sure to show your appreciation.
A thank you email can go a long way, especially during times of hardship such as the pandemic.
Image source: AfterShokz
You don't need to say thank you for an action taken on your website. You can simply thank your audience for being there and helping your business stay active even in times like the present.
Create content that makes sure your customers know it’s all about them. Use your brand's tone and avoid power words for this one - the point of this email is to give back by showing appreciation and respect.
10. The pruning email
Every ecommerce store, brand, B2B company, B2C company and so on, needs a clean and regularly pruned email list. And while it's sad - and perhaps anxiety-inducing - to purge the email list that took you so long to create, it's also necessary.
What you can do, is send an email like this one:
Image source: Paul MItchell
Your email list is bound to contain people who are no longer interested in your products, addresses that are no longer valid, or even throwaway email addresses.
The point is the same: these people won't open your emails, which means that they won't interact with your brand. You can send a final email like the one above, giving them a chance to stay on your list or be removed.
This action is crucial in helping you better manage your email marketing metrics. Instead of a lot of dead wood, your list will consist of active subscribers who are interested in your marketing message and more likely to convert, and your data will be more robust for that.
Email marketing for ecommerce is above all about creating personalized, tailor-made, timely messages that will keep your customers and prospects informed, provide interesting content and show how much you appreciate them.
The email types above provide a solid basis for successful campaigns, from nurturing prospects, through to sales and generating lifetime value. Use the ones applicable to your audience and email list to create your own effective email marketing campaigns.