An effective email marketing strategy is essential to the success of any ecommerce business. Are you collecting email addresses for your site visitors? Do you have a long-term strategy to turn those visitors into loyal customers?

We check our email inboxes on a daily basis. We scan through them at work, at home, while out to dinner. One could say we’re obsessed. Most adults in the U.S. have multiple email accounts and worldwide (as of 2015) there are approximately 4.4 billion active email accounts. That number is projected to climb to 5.6 billion by the end of this decade.

In the inboxes of those billions of accounts, nearly 70% of the emails are promotional. That’s a lot of clutter to cut through. On the upside, users who’ve opted-in to your email list are obviously interested in what you have to offer. Still, getting their attention is a challenge. But once you do, and with a solid email marketing strategy in place, the chances of turning them into long-term customers is excellent.

Email marketing yields an impressive ROI

Research shows that in 2016 businesses earned $44 in return for every dollar spent on email marketing campaigns, making it one of the most profitable marketing channels. In fact, there were 174% more conversions generated by email marketing than social media.

That’s not to say that social media marketing isn’t crucial to your success – but for most businesses, email yields a much higher conversion rate than social media marketing. With an ROI that’s impossible to ignore, e-commerce stores who don’t develop a strategic email marketing campaign are immeasurably missing out.

You know there’s a giant opportunity to increase e-commerce sales, but how do you take advantage of it?

How to grow your list of email subscribers.

Obviously, you can’t increase sales through email marketing unless you have a solid list of subscribers to send emails to. Try these ideas to grow your list of subscribers for your e-commerce store.

1. Put a pop up on your website to capture emails.

Always give customers an incentive for providing their email. Usually, small discounts work great here (10% off your first order). For those visitors who have pop-ups blocked, offer the same incentive on the homepage or other most-shopped pages.

2. Give them free, useful content.

Also called “gated content”, this is a useful strategy for a piece of content (like a how-to) they can’t resist. If it’s enticing enough, they’ll have no problem giving you their email.  

3. Require an account for checkout.

This can be risky at first. Test it out. If customers refrain from purchasing because they’re forced to create an account, adjust your strategy accordingly. Include a toggled-on box to opt-in to your newsletter right underneath the account setup. Users have the opportunity to opt-out by unselecting the box.

 Don’t ever force listeners to opt-in to your email list – it’s a direct violation of the GDPR rules and in the U.S., it’s a good way to get blacklisted as a spammer

Types of email marketing campaigns

There are various email marketing campaigns particularly useful for increasing e-commerce sales. We recommend using as many of the below as possible, given your resources.

Welcome emails

Get customers shopping right away with an automatically triggered welcome email when they opt-in. Every email marketing platform allows you to set this up. Your welcome email can include the promised discount offered on the website popup, and should also give a little background on the company (just a paragraph!) to warm them up a little.

Cart Abandonment

The dreaded abandoned cart is a painful experience for far too many e-commerce stores, and it happens more often than they’d like. In fact, 75.6% of online shopping carts were abandoned in the first quarter of 2018. An email triggered shortly after a customer abandons their cart is a smart way to get them to return. However, this only works if they already have an account set up. For new visitors, you have no way of salvaging that abandoned cart, so….

Incentivize them before they leave

Most popup programs now have the ability to sense when a user is about to close their browser or move off the page. Use the built-in programs to save the sale and offer them an incentive to complete it on the spot. Free shipping is always a winner, as is a 15% discount. It’s better to get the sale at a discount than not at all.

Holidays and seasonal events

Celebratory times call for celebratory measures (and discounts). A great way to increase e-commerce sales is to generate email marketing campaigns centered around holidays, seasons, and special days (like grandparents day). Emails which promote an exclusive offer that only lasts a short time (like across a weekend), creates a sense of urgency to buy and keeps you top of mind for future sales. It’s also essential to have a solid campaign planned between October and mid-January to capitalize on holiday sales like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and post-holiday. Studies show that customers start online holiday shopping in October, so be prepared.

The power of segmenting and triggered emails

Possibly the worst mistake marketers make when executing their email marketing campaigns is blasting emails to anyone and everyone. Segmenting your subscribers based on purchases, geography, age, or any number of other factors is extremely effective. How you segment it depends on what you’re selling and how large your list is – the bigger it is, the more flexibility you have.

 Don’t send emails that are irrelevant to the receiver’s interests – they’ll likely unsubscribe from your list. Blast them too often and they might flag you as a spammer. 

Customers marking your emails as spam is the black plague of email marketing. Send your customers emails relating to the products or brands they’ve shopped, and the actions they’ve taken on your e-commerce site. If they spend the most time on “women’s handbags” send triggered emails relevant to that behavior. Utilizing the power of segmented lists and triggered emails for your email marketing campaign is extremely useful in generating more e-commerce sales.

Ideas to segment your email list:

  • Customer loyalty rewards: Create a VIP segment of customers who shop on your site frequently. Send them thank you emails with exclusive offers that reward them for their loyalty and motivate them to maintain it.
  • Customer re-engagement: Create a segment of customers who haven’t bought from your site in awhile – 30 days, 60 days, etc. Send them an email incentive to motivate them to return to the store and make a purchase.
  • Behavior-based: Segment customers based on their behaviors in your store. For the customer who was browsing men’s watches, send them a follow-up email with your best selling watches. For someone who bought a power drill, follow that up with drill bits or associated products.

E-commerce shopping is on the rise, so declining sales could mean your store’s in trouble. Utilize these email marketing strategies to acquire new customers, earn their conversions and retain their loyalty. Email marketing presents your e-commerce store with so many opportunities. Don’t miss out on them.

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