At this period of time, a lot of people review their achievements over the last year, and so do I. The year of 2015 was generous to me with personal and professional challenges, as well as new knowledge that I gained.
Almost a year ago a destiny brought me to Omnisend, and here is how I’ve dived into a specific field of marketing – eCommerce email marketing.
To do my job in this field I’ve read thousands of articles, books and case studies; analyzed many of our clients’ campaigns, and sent them my own ones. Now, I feel confident and I want to share the main things about eCommerce email campaigns that I have learned in a year.
1. eCommerce email marketing ≠ bulk email campaigns
Business companies, life-style bloggers, and governmental and non-governmental organizations – all of them use email marketing and send email campaigns. However, all of those campaigns have a different purpose.
Bloggers care about the traffic and subscribers, non-governmental organizations care about donations and stakeholder publicity, politicians send email campaigns to save their ratings, etc. Meanwhile, the purpose of eCommerce email marketing is to sell goods.
That means, every email campaign generates revenue, and the retailer definitely wants to see how well each campaign performs. For this you will need the right tools.
2. You do need an email service provider tailored for eCommerce
First of all, you need an email service provider for several reasons:
- Email deliverability. An email service provider- due to its better online reputation – has a greater deliverability rate (90-99%) in comparison to sending emails personally. For example, Omnisend delivers 98.25% of all emails. That is one of the reasons your campaign will be more successful.
- Email bounce rate. It is one of the most important metrics that you have to monitor. Mostly it depends on your mailing list hygiene. Without email service provider reports, proper bounce rate management is impossible. Read more about bounce rate.
- Mobile readiness. 53% of all emails are opened in mobile devices, so a mobile-ready design is crucial for your email marketing. Using responsive email templates that adapt to the subscriber’s screen size will ensure that your subscribers will see exactly what you want them to see.
Email marketing tools tailored for eCommerce can better serve retailers needs while uploading items to the newsletter, as well as getting comprehensive reports about sales and revenue in $ generated through email campaigns. For more about the reports, read below (point #11) or watch this short video.
3. You do need a professional email address
The free domain email addresses such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. are for personal use and not for commercial purposes. Yahoo and other internet service providers will automatically spoil your campaign results by marking your emails as spam. For more details check DMARC policy.
YourBusinessDomain@yahoo.com – improper email address
YourName@YourBusinessDomain.com – good email address
Create an official company email address that clearly communicates who you are. It helps to be obvious to both your subscribers as well as spam filters, and helps to build a good sending reputation for your domain.
4. Promotional emails are not SPAM
When I tell people that I work in email marketing, most of them say – “oh, so you are spammer!”. Some time ago the line between an email marketer and a spammer was quite thin, but after the introduction of Canada’s Anti-spam regulations in the summer of 2014, things got better.
If your contact list consists of people who have subscribed to your newsletter, there are no worries. Your subscribers want to receive your emails and it is definitely not spam. If they do not want to receive your emails anymore, they can always unsubscribe. It is one more thing that is only possible if you use an email service.
When I tell someone that I work with email marketing,
then they say “Oh, you’re a spammer”
5. You do need a plan of email communication
Don’t drop your email like rain on a sunny day. Consider, how many times per month it would be reasonable to send a newsletter to your customers. What emails they are going to be? Either you are going to send a welcome email or series of them, new collections or sales only.
If you send it less than once or twice per month, you lose engagement with your recipients over such a long time. Your subscribers will probably forget about you or will lose interest. Consistent communication enables you to build strong relationships with your audience. You make them feel like they are getting to know you better and better every time.
What I also have learned over this time, is that emails on special occasions work better. For example, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, St. Valentine’s Day, etc. People tend to spend their money – use it smartly. Plan your campaign in advance. Here is a retailer calendar for 2016; invoke it for your planning.
Moreover, find the entire chain of email communications with a customer.
6. You do need a healthy list of subscribers
By saying “healthy”, I mean keep only those contacts on the list that are engaged with your brand, that open and read your emails, or that buy your goods, etc. Contact lists get stale because people tend to change their email addresses; they change jobs, family names, lost interest, etc. 17% of Americans create a new email address every 6 months.
Recently I read about Hubspot, how they had deleted 250K subscribers from their list. It is an example of how cruel you can be for the sake of better deliverability rates.
7. You do need good subject lines
How to create subject lines is one of the most interesting topics about emails. What a mystery they are! There is no unique formula that works.
There are a few golden rules: keep it under 50 characters, try to be either funny / or mysterious / or generous, and include the time limit. The rest depends on your luck.
However, I did some research among our clients and here are the results:
- 10 best performing email subject lines for small businesses this summer
- Best performing subject lines for Black Friday Campaigns
8. You do need an interactive/fancy email campaign
Over this year I have learned that interactive email generates a much bigger click rate, and that is true. Just before the holiday season we launched the playful feature – Scratch card – which increased the click rates by three, four, and sometimes even five times. The video or animated gifs work similarly. Customers enjoy something unexpected and new.
9. The ‘Call-To-Action’ button should be big, bright, inviting and fit correctly to the screen
What I personally found by sending promotional campaigns is that the only person who reads your copy in the email is you. People tend to quickly skim the text and click on the bright, incentive button. They do! So make sure that your most important part of the promotional email – your ‘Call-To-Action’ button – is in an honorable position, and that everyone, without looking any further can see it.
10. You do need to use your “small data” in the smart way
Currently, “big data” is a buzzword. Only huge e-commerce whales like Ebay or Amazon can have big data-driven solutions. Their majesty cookies can help small retailers use their “small data” in a very smart way. So these are things to follow:
- Even if you are a beginner in email marketing, don’t waste your traffic with no use. Set up the signup forms everywhere in your website. The sooner you start building your contact list, the better. The cookies will start to do their job.
- Send a welcome email at the beginning and ensure that it is being sent automatically to every new subscriber. 74 % of customers expect a welcome email when they subscribe. You can be slightly surprised, but welcome emails generate 4 times higher open rates, and 5 times higher click rates in comparison with promotional campaigns. Such email automation is one of the easiest ways to take your marketing tactics to the next level. Read more about welcome emails and the 5 ideas to build your own top-notch welcome emails.
- Start using an abandoned shopping cart recovery tool. Why is it effective? According to research by UPS and comScore, doubts and indecisiveness take third place (55%) on top of the pyramid of reasons why people change their mind and discontinue a purchase. The solution for increasing the conversion rate at your online store could be to send an abandoned cart email directly to the customer’s inbox. Read more about the benefits of cart recovery. There are also 3 case studies that you might be interested in.
11. You do need to track the campaign results
I know the feeling when you launch a new email campaign and immediately go to reports to see how it is going. Monitoring what works and what doesn’t, opens the gate for improvements and better rates.
In Omnisend, you can see opens, clicks, number of sales from promotional email campaigns, automated welcome and cart recovery emails, the interactive chart with 24-hour performance, click map and many more.
My resolution for the next year
Someone famous used to say: “Today I know more than yesterday, but less than tomorrow”. In 2016, I am ready to reveal even more eCommerce email marketing mysteries, try new strategies myself, and share with you useful how-to guides, so stay tuned!