In the world of ecommerce, there are so many ways to increase revenue that your team and priorities can easily become jumbled. From optimizing the checkout process to adjusting how prices appear, all the way down to personalizing content and messaging in emails, the tactics are seemingly endless.
For ecommerce, emails can be one of the most effective ways to not only drive revenue, but also to increase conversion rates, because you are driving your happy, returning customers back to your site. Just like the overarching issues of selecting the best revenue-driving tactics for your ecommerce marketing team, there are dozens if not hundreds of methods to optimize or personalize your email campaigns to ensure they are running at maximum effectiveness.
In an effort to better understand what ecommerce sites are doing to increase conversion rates through emails, we spoke with several brands and platforms to learn part of their secret sauce. However, it’s also important to note that no two audiences or personas are the same for different brands, so the effectiveness of these tips depends on your segmentation size, demographics, and of course, your messaging.
Actionable Ecommerce Email Tips
1. Test creative Designs
For standard promotional messages, focus on testing creative designs—not subject lines. With the increase in mobile readership, subject lines have taken a back seat as they are truncated [in mobile], and the brand name is displayed more prominently. You will likely see better results in click and conversion activity based on changes to your creative. For example, providing more white space and simplifying messages can work wonders on mobile devices. For some brands, making emails cleaner, but longer (including product recommendations), can appeal to the mobile scroll-happy consumers. Test what creative designs work best for your audience and generate a few slightly different layouts (just to keep it fresh) based on those results.
– Greg Zakowicz, Marketing Strategist, Bronto Software
2. Make Sure Your Database Is Segmented
Without a doubt, the best thing email marketers can do is to make sure their emails database is segmented to a high degree as appropriate for the given demographic. In other words, if you’re a shoe company, make sure your male recipients only receive emails advertising shoes for men; women should likewise only receive emails with women’s shoes. That said, know your audience; if you find that women are occasionally in the market to purchase shoes for their boyfriends, then you should know that as well. Point being, a broad demographic company can increase their email click-through [or interaction rate] from 0.4% to as high as 8%.
The worst thing an email marketer can do is to focus too much on fancy graphics and HTML. Cleaner is better. Far too often I see email marketing campaigns sent to me where none of the important information is above the fold. There is no quicker way to drop your B2C click-throughs to below 0.09% [than by burying your message]. This is even worse in a B2B market where most business emails are received on local email clients such as Outlook, and often the default setting on those clients is to not preload any graphics. So, in this case, not only does the recipient not immediately see the important content, they don’t even see the beautiful imagery you spent too much effort developing.
– Vincent Scatena, CMO, Industrial Motor Power Corp
3. Add Personality, Brevity, and Interactivity
1) Humor kills. If you open your email with an industry-related joke that gets a few chuckles, certain individuals will continue reading your email.
2) Gifs are a good way to attract attention. Whether it be a GIF that shows Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly figuring out they are best friends (Step Brothers Movie), or one of Iron Man, if you can tie it into your email, it does a good job of retaining customers.
3) Being succinct will net you winners. What do you have to say? Say it quick, but provide them the opportunity to read more if they WANT more information. The reason why Vine is successful is because a visual message can be imparted in six seconds.
4) Interactivity is trending. Have you ever received an email from Uber? They have scroll-over effects, expandables and moving components within the email to keep a user engaged. Having interactive emails that allow an audience to play with certain elements is drastically trending upwards in today’s world.
– Matthew Mercuri, Digital Marketing Manager, Dupray
4. Make The Subject Line Mobile Phone Friendly
Aside from making email graphics mobile-friendly, it is critical that the subject line is mobile-friendly. This involves making the subject line mobile-phone-preview ready, because you have very few characters to give a text preview of the email’s focus. Many phones have preview lines under 32 characters or so. The offer should be easy to relay with that limited set of characters.
– Stefan Hunter, Director of eCommerce, DOWNLITE
5. Make Your Contacts Feel Special
First, make sure you email your contacts individually. Mass emails are a no-no. You want to make your contacts feel special. Second, make sure you use a catchy subject line. You want to grab their attention right away. You want your email read and not deleted. Third, make sure your email contains information that will prompt the consumer to action. You can include a coupon, a link to your newsletter or even a yummy recipe.
– Zondra Wilson, President and CEO, Blu Skin Care
6. Get A Click; Don’t Try To Close The Sale In The Email
The biggest mistake I see is entrepreneurs writing their emails using company logic as opposed to customer logic. You really need to put yourself in the mind of your customer when crafting your emails. Run your email copy by friends and strangers. Get feedback because it’s challenging to get out of your own skin.
Then, split your email up into micro-conversions.
Subject- Just get the open
Sub head- Pique their curiosity
Header- Convert that curiosity into interest
Body – Quickly point out what you’re going to do for them
CTA- Get them to the landing page
The goal of the email is to get a click. Do not try to make or close the sale in the email.
– Bryan Clayton, CEO, GreenPal
7. Build Relationships To Take People From Prospect To Customer To Fan
For ecommerce companies, the biggest email marketing mistake I see is only using this channel to promote sales. Not only does that condition people to only buy when there’s a sale, but it doesn’t do anything to make a company stand out.
The best tip for an ecommerce company is to send at least one email a month that’s written in a personal, one-on-one style. Whether the email is talking about the company, its process or a new product, these are the types of emails that build relationships and can take people from prospect to customer to fan.
– Silvia Torres, Founder, Mala
8. Make Sure Subscribers Are Still On Board
Spring is a great time to clean up your email marketing strategies. One way to help improve your email marketing efficiency is to launch a re-engagement campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to make sure all of your subscribers, clients or not, are still on board for receiving your emails.
You’ll reach those that truly want to hear from you, while cleaning up bounce, spam and unsubscribe rates that can hurt your email effectiveness. All the email has to ask is: Do you still want to hear from us?
Those that click yes or don’t answer are still in, those that click no are unsubscribed. True marketing professionals strive for quality over quantity to get the biggest impact. An email re-engagement campaign is a great way to do this.
Jessica Kornfeind, Senior Marketing Manager, PrimePay
9. Give People Incentive To Read And Share Your Email
When STERLINGS was first launched, our marketing consisted of working with companies to send out emails to their employees. Actually, such marketing campaigns are working pretty well. The Seattle branch, in addition, encourages employees to introduce our company to their own HR departments and in return, they receive free haircut for one year if a partnership is established.
Kush Kapila, Founder and CEO, Sterlings Mobile Salon & Barber Co.
10. Give Exclusive Deals To Your Fans And Subscribers
Use social media and your email newsletter to give your social media followers and current customers fun deals they can get excited about. We connect with our current customer base by offering our e-newsletter subscribers exclusive JUST4ME discounts. Every week, we put one of our pieces on a special JUST4ME discount and advertise it in our newsletter and to our social media followers. Not only has this resulted in new purchases from existing customers, but it has also helped us grow our social media and newsletter followings.
Claudia Montez, Founder, Isabelle Grace Jewelry
11. Revamp Based On Past Success
The best place to start a spring cleanup of your email marketing is to take inventory of the campaigns you have currently going out. This includes automated transactional emails and marketing messages. During this inventory, note each campaign’s metrics and individual messages. Pay close attention to the emails that perform the best. The simplest way to revamp your email marketing is to take the elements that work the best and apply them across the board. Rewrite your copy and replace your media with content based on those elements. Even if your emails are performing wonderfully, it’s important to update your content at least quarterly to keep things fresh.
Natalie Lane, Director of Marketing, FreightCenter
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