Imagine this scenario. You’re back to your desk after a work break.
You launched the work tab to continue your work where you left off. Then, you remember you sent an email to a prospect two hours earlier.
You quickly opened your email inbox to check if they’ve replied. But while checking, you see emails from other people that draw your attention.
This is an event that happens to most people daily. While our reasons may differ, most of us check our emails daily.
Luckily, this is an opportunity for every business.
Now, for your ecommerce store, how can you use email to reach more of your prospects and customers?
In this guide, we’ll go through essential information about email marketing for your ecommerce website in 2022.
But before we dive into that;
What is ecommerce email marketing?
Ecommerce email marketing is the process of planning, creating, and sending emails to prospects and customers based on different criteria to achieve set goals for your ecommerce business.
There are many important reasons why ecommerce websites decide to engage in email marketing, some of them include:
- • To nurture prospects to convert them into customers.
- • To deliver essential order information during the buying process.
- • To educate customers about relevant topics in your niche.
- • To turn one-time customers into repeat customers.
Why is it important?
If you’re just thinking of starting email marketing campaigns, we expect you to ask questions. And one vital question is if email marketing is worth your investment.
The short answer to that question is yes.
But to further explain, here are some reasons email marketing should be a part of your overall marketing strategy:
There are over 4 billion email users worldwide: you can count on it that an internet user who is sophisticated enough to shop in ecommerce stores will likely have an email address. All you need to do is connect with them.
People check their email inboxes regularly: in fact, according to research by OptinMonster, 99% of consumers check their emails daily.
You own your email subscribers list: on other marketing channels such as social media and search engines, you’re at the whims of these marketing platforms. For email marketing, you have greater control of your subscribers’ list.
Email boasts higher conversion rates: since emails are more personal, they tend to result in higher conversion rates. According to Litmus, email generates $36 for every dollar spent.
Email makes it easier to deliver promotional offers: to build more anticipation for your promotions, you can send a series of emails to prospects or customers.
It makes product order and delivery more efficient: when buyers pay for products, they want to receive confirmation and delivery status until they have the product in their hands. Using email makes this process efficient.
For these reasons, email marketing is a no-brainer for your ecommerce business.
However, having the willingness to run an email marketing campaign is insufficient for success. You need to arm yourself with the essential knowledge to increase your chances of successful ecommerce email marketing.
How to start email marketing for your ecommerce business.
While building your email marketing strategy and preparing to launch campaigns, you need to keep these vital steps in mind:
Create buyer personas for subscribers.
Who are your ideal customers? Who are your ideal email subscribers? The truth is that different people react to different messages.
That's why having an ideal email recipient in mind will enhance various aspects of your email marketing strategy, such as your email tone, content, design, delivery time, and more.
Some critical information to have in your buyer persona are:
- • Name
- • Gender
- • Age
- • Income
- • Location
- • Marital status
- • Hobbies
- • Job
- • Ambition
- • Likes
- • Dislikes
There are even more details you can add to your buyer persona document. Having these pieces of information will help you understand your recipients deeply.
Check out this ecommerce buyer persona example from Drip:
With a document like this, you’ll send emails your subscribers can relate with.
Use robust email marketing software.
Of course, you can’t send emails to your subscribers from your Gmail account. You need email marketing software to do this.
And there are many benefits to using email marketing software. For example, you can create multiple email campaigns at once.
Also, most email marketing software provides segmentation and automation features. This means you can segment your subscribers into different lists according to set criteria. Then, you can create email sequences that are triggered by your subscribers’ actions.
Apart from creating email campaigns, it becomes easier to track your email marketing results. Therefore, this step is a must.
Build an email list (don’t buy one).
Building an email list is much more stressful and expensive than buying a list. But in the long run, it’s more profitable than buying a list.
After all, sending emails to people who trust you enough to submit their emails is better than sending them to total strangers.
Having said that, building your email list doesn’t have to be through email marketing itself. You can use other marketing channels to acquire leads.
One of the major channels to achieve that is your website. Here, you can have opt-in forms on the website sidebar or even use popup forms. Apart from your website, a platform like Facebook allows you to run lead ads to capture users' information.
Meanwhile, your PPC ads on Google can direct searchers to a landing page where they can submit their information. With these channels, you can collect leads for various products.
Create lead magnets to acquire leads.
Many years ago, you didn’t even need to try before people submitted their email addresses. But now, with inboxes overloaded, you have to convince people before they release their email addresses.
By that, we mean you have to provide value to a potential subscriber ahead of having access to their inbox. This is the aim of a lead magnet.
Contrary to popular opinion, there are other lead magnets ecommerce businesses can use apart from discounts.
The most popular lead magnets include:
- • Checklists
- • Giveaway
- • Free shipping
- • Whitepapers
- • Ebooks
- • Product guides
- • Videos
- • Product demos
Here’s an example of a giveaway from Guiltysoles:
The beauty of lead magnets is that you can create them to fit different stages of the sales funnel.
While creating your lead magnets, it’s vital to keep some points in mind. First, it has to be relevant to your audience.
For instance, someone reading a blog post about identifying good shoe leather may prefer a 'checklist before buying a leather shoe' compared to a discount.
Other criteria are that it must be easy to consume, actionable, and delivered immediately to the subscriber.
Build an opt-in form.
An opt-in form contains the fields where your audience can enter their information. While building your opt-in forms, there are some best practices to keep in mind.
One of them is your copy. Your copy must reflect the benefit your audience will derive from the lead magnet.
Another essential element is the opt-in design. If possible, you should display the image of your lead magnet on the form. This will encourage your audience to sign up.
In terms of the number of form fields, it should be between 1 and 3. If you have too many form fields, it can discourage users from submitting their information.
See this beautiful opt-in form from Revolve, a Los Angeles clothing company:
Segment your email subscribers.
Your subscribers have different interests. This is especially true if you sell many products.
Therefore, separating subscribers according to their interests and actions makes sense rather than sending a blast email to everyone.
According to a Litmus study, almost 70% of marketers in ecommerce, retail, and consumer goods make personalization a focus. Furthermore, about 75% of marketers say personalization in email increases engagement.
These are three ways to segment your list:
- • The channel through which they became subscribers
- • How they interact with your emails
- • Their actions on your website
You can easily set up segmentation through your email marketing software.
Create automated email drips/sequences.
Segmenting your list is insufficient on its own. You also have to send different emails to them.
An automated email drip (or sequence) is a series of emails you create to nurture your subscribers towards conversions. In most cases, these email drips can be triggered by the subscribers’ actions.
These include how they become subscribers, the emails they open, the links they click, the website pages they visit, etc.
You can set up automated email sequences from your email marketing tool. Check out this abandoned cart email sequence by ActiveCampaign:
Some types of automated email drips are:
- • Welcome email drips
- • Promotional offer drips
- • Abandoned cart email drips
- • Upsell or cross-sell drips
- • Customer retention drips
Through these drips, you can send personalized emails that are likely to convince subscribers to take action.
Use interesting subject lines.
No matter how much your subscriber loves you, they’ve probably subscribed to tens of other services. Hence, you have to compete for an open in a crowded inbox.
The key to that open is to write interesting subject lines. There are a few tips when writing your subject line:
- • They have to be short (about 40 characters) so that mobile users can see the subject line in full.
- • You have to evoke curiosity.
- • Your email has to fulfill the promise in your subject line.
Here’s a brilliant subject line from Jon Morrow:
Let’s be frank, no one writes perfect subject lines every time. That’s why A/B tests are available to see how two subject lines perform.
Optimize your emails for mobile devices.
According to OptinMonster, 67% of users check their emails through their mobile devices. And this is only bound to increase in the coming years.
While designing your email, you need to keep your mobile users in mind. Fortunately, some email service providers allow you to see a mobile preview of your emails before sending them to subscribers.
Better still, you can send test emails to yourself before sending them to subscribers. This way, you can identify problems on both mobile and desktop versions.
What are the metrics used to analyze your email marketing efforts?
Before running email marketing campaigns, you need to set goals. Otherwise, there’s no way to judge the success or failure of your efforts.
Here are some metrics you can track to understand the performance of your ecommerce email marketing efforts:
This is the number of subscribers who open your emails compared to the number you sent.
Open rate = (the number of opened emails/ the number of delivered emails) × 100%
What is a good open rate?
Considering the competition in subscribers’ inboxes, getting subscribers to open your email is a great part of the battle. After all, nothing can happen unless a subscriber opens your email.
That said, you can’t have a 100% open rate, no matter how good your emails are. In fact, having an open rate of 50% is fantastic.
So, what’s a good open rate? It depends on your industry. Email open rates generally vary across industries, and you should check benchmarks to have an idea.
This is the number of email clicks compared to the number of emails sent.
Click-through rate = (the number of email clicks/ the number of emails sent) × 100%.
This is the percentage of subscribers who take a particular action after clicking your email link compared to the number of delivered emails.
Conversion rate = (the number of subscribers who take an action/the number of delivered emails) × 100%
Overall email ROI.
This is the total revenue from your email marketing campaigns compared to your total spending.
Overall email ROI = [(total revenue - total spend)/(total spend)] × 100%
Without exaggerating, this is the ultimate metric for your email marketing efforts, and you want this to be positive for your business.
This is the number of emails that fail to deliver compared to the number you sent. Usually, there are hard and soft bounces. Hard bounces are due to wrong email addresses, and you should try to remove them from your list.
This is the percentage of subscribers who unsubscribed from your list. You can’t keep this rate down to zero, but you should try to make it as low as possible.
Here are email benchmarks for various industries from MailChimp:
The average open rate for ecommerce is 15.68%, while the overall average open rate is 21.33%.
You can work towards this range. If you’re exceeding this range, then you’re doing well.
Planning and running email marketing campaigns for your ecommerce business is one of the most profitable decisions you can take. But this is no way to say those subscribers and profits are free.
You also need to develop a sound strategy for your campaigns. This post has provided the basic information you need to begin ecommerce email marketing.
You can bookmark this page for future reference, and tell us your favorite ecommerce email marketing strategy in the comments!