Ecommerce email marketing is one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to market your store. But, unfortunately, many marketers struggle to use this powerful marketing channel to its full potential. We don’t want you to be one of those marketers. So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get the most out of your email marketing efforts.
Why is eCommerce Email Marketing So Important?
Ecommerce email marketing is critical because it establishes a line of communication between your business and your customers and potential customers that feels personal.
And, when you get the frequency right, eCommerce email campaigns will ensure the people on your list are buying from you and not your competitors. That’s because you’ll be top-of-mind when they’re ready to make a purchase—as long as you don’t overdo it and they unsubscribe or send you to spam.
Aside from the increase in brand awareness, email marketing enables you to send targeted emails based on the data you have on your subscribers.
For example, if you know they’re a parent, you can send them a back-to-school offer at a time when they’re likely to be looking to make a purchase. Or, if you see that they put an item in their cart without checking out, you can send a reminder email to bring them back.
But the primary reason eCommerce email marketing is vital to the success of your store is that it’s the way consumers want you to contact them. Seventy percent of consumers say they prefer to receive brand communications via email.
How Email Marketing Increases Revenue for eCommerce Stores
There are four ways to increase revenue:
- Get more customers
- Get your customers to buy more often
- Get your customers to place larger orders
- Charge your customers more
Of course, raising your prices can backfire and lead to fewer sales, so let’s focus on the first three methods. Each of these factors can be influenced through paid media, discounts, and other tactics, but advertising and discounting can get expensive.
On the other hand, email marketing is one of the most affordable marketing strategies available. All you need is an email service provider to get started, and many of them are free.
And email marketing allows you to directly influence each of the revenue growth factors mentioned above. Here are a few examples (we’ll dive deeper into each of them below):
- Acquire more customers with welcome emails and cart abandonment campaigns.
- Increase purchase frequency with targeted emails personalized based on your subscribers’ market segments.
- Increase average order value (AOV) with relevant offers.
Let’s review: eCommerce email marketing directly impacts eCommerce revenue, and it’s the way shoppers want to be contacted. That’s a win-win.
Get Started with eCommerce Email Marketing in 9 Steps
So, we’ve established that email marketing is basically a no-brainer for eCommerce companies. If you’re wondering how to get started, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the nine steps you need to take to begin increasing your eCommerce revenue with email marketing:
1. Determine Your Goals
As with any marketing strategy, the first step is to determine your goals. Setting goals first is important because it will influence the way you approach each of the subsequent steps.
Now, when it comes to goal setting, we like the SMART framework. So, take some time to decide what Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based goals you want to achieve with your email marketing efforts.
2. Build an Email Marketing Calendar
Based on your goals, build out an email marketing calendar with the campaigns you’ll send. Don’t worry about triggered campaigns (e.g., welcome emails) or tr. We’re going to automate those in a few steps.
For now, focus on:
- Seasonal campaigns
- Promotional campaigns
At a minimum, your calendar should answer the following questions for each campaign:
- When will it be delivered?
- What type of email is it (e.g., newsletter, promotion, etc.)?
- What is the objective of the campaign?
- Who is the audience?
3. Choose an Email Service Provider
Once you know what emails you’ll be sending and how often you’ll be sending them, it’s time to find an email service provider. Here are a few things to consider as you make your decision:
While many email service providers have a free or low-cost tier plan, the price can dramatically increase when you need to upgrade.
Usually, you’ll have to upgrade when your subscriber count reaches a certain threshold, or you need additional features. So take a look at each provider’s pricing plan and make sure that it will fit your budget for the foreseeable future.
That means determining:
- How many subscribers you have now
- How many subscribers you expect to have in the near future
- What features you need now
- What features you may require in the near future
One must-have feature for eCommerce companies is email automation. You’ll need that from the start.
Other than email automation, what other features are important to you? Here are some recommendations for eCommerce companies.
- List segmentation. This is how you’ll put your subscribers into different buckets so that you can send targeted email campaigns. Look for an option that allows you to create segments based on behavioral data (e.g., website activity and email interactions) and subscriber data (e.g., gender and age).
- Email automation. Different providers offer different levels of automation. Like list segmentation, you’ll want to find one that can send emails based on behavioral and subscriber data.
- Integrations. Be sure to find a solution that integrates with any necessary software that you use (e.g., Shopify).
- Progressive profiling. Progressive profiling allows you to collect more data on your website visitors without including extra form fields. Instead of asking for all of the information you’d like to capture through one form, progressive profiling captures that data over multiple interactions. Each time a visitor is presented with a form, fields they have already filled out are replaced with ones they haven’t. For example, if you already have a visitor’s phone number in your CRM, that field would be replaced.
- Schedule emails by time zone. This feature enables you to schedule emails based on each subscribers’ time zone automatically. So if you schedule an email for 9 AM, all of your subscribers will receive it at 9 AM their time. If you do business internationally, consider this a must-have.
- Easy to use email editor. Most email service providers have decent email editors, but try them out to see if they work for you.
- Templates. This is another feature that you’ll find with most providers. But if you don’t have someone on your team to design your emails and you don’t want to use a basic format, make sure you find a provider with templates you like.
4. Set Up Analytics
Next up, it’s time to set up analytics to put the “M” in those SMART goals you came up with. You’ll be able to track basic metrics like open rate and click rate inside your email platform, but that’s not enough to determine whether your campaigns are successful.
It’s helpful to know how many people are opening your emails, but you need to know how your email marketing efforts impact your revenue.
That means you’ll need to track:
- Conversion Rate. How many of your subscribers are purchasing as a result of each email?
- AOV. How much are customers spending per order as a result of your emails?
- Customer Lifetime Value. How are your email campaigns affecting the lifetime value of your customers?
- Customer Acquisition Cost. How are your email campaigns affecting the amount you have to spend to acquire a new customer?
- Customer Retention Rate. Are your email campaigns helping you retain customers?
- Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate. Are subscribers adding items to their carts as a result of your email but leaving before checkout?
- Bounce Rate. Are subscribers clicking links in your emails and leaving immediately?
5. Automate Essential Campaigns
Since you found an email service provider with a robust email automation offering, you can make your life easier by automating campaigns that will be sent regularly. For example:
- Welcome emails
- Birthday emails
- Cart abandonment emails
- Reactivation emails
- Order follow-up emails
And here’s a tip: opt for a series of emails instead of a one-off email when possible. But, don’t go crazy. If you send too many emails too quickly, your subscribers won’t just abandon your cart—they’ll abandon your email list!
But, when done right, sending a series of emails will increase sales.
Here are the stats. When sent as a series of emails:
- Cart abandonment campaigns increase orders by almost 70 percent
- Reactivation campaigns increase orders by 90 percent
- Welcome campaigns increase orders by over 90 percent
6. Build Your List
You may already have a list of customer emails and subscribers to import, but you’re not going to stop there, are you? Of course not!
We’ve written an entire article on email acquisition for eCommerce companies, but here are a few tips:
- Require an email address when a shopper adds an item to their cart.
- Offer incentives (e.g., a special offer) for subscribing.
- Use a pop-up form (with an incentive!)
- Use website visitor identification to capture emails and other data from visitors who don’t convert.
For more information on these tips (and an extra tip), check out our guide on how to build your eCommerce email marketing list.
7. Create List Segments
Eighty-six percent of consumers say personalization affects their purchasing decisions, and the way to implement personalization in your eCommerce email marketing campaigns is through list segmentation.
Some of the segments to include are:
- Frequent shoppers
- Potential shoppers (i.e., people who haven’t made a purchase—yet!)
- High-value shoppers (subscribers with a high AOV)
- Discount shoppers (subscribers who only make a purchase when you offer a discount)
- Inactive shoppers (shoppers who haven’t purchased for a few months)
Then, depending on the products you sell, it can also be beneficial to create list segments based on factors like:
- age range
- automotive data
- education level
- homeowner status
- household income range
- length of residence range
- net worth range
- marital status
- phone number
- presence of children
The more information you have, the more personalized your campaigns can be. If you’re short on data, progressive profiling and website visitor identification are two easy ways to beef up your contact records.
While progressive profiling usually requires one of the pricier plans from a platform like HubSpot, you can identify your anonymous web traffic for as little as $0.24 a record.
8. Build Your Campaigns
Once you’ve taken care of everything on the backend, it’s time to start building out and scheduling your campaigns.
Here are four eCommerce email marketing best practices to follow:
- Use your list segments. In general, avoid sending blanket emails. Instead, tailor your campaigns to specific segments of your list to get the best results.
- Check and double-check every element of the campaign. Sending emails with grammatical errors is bad for your brand. Scheduling an email for 9 PM instead of 9 AM is going bad for your open rate. Offering a discount to everyone on your list when you only meant to send it to a segment of 500 loyal customers is bad for business.
- Send a test email. Many email service providers offer a preview of your email within the platform, but the only way to be sure everything looks the way you want it to is to send a test email to yourself and some team members.
- Don’t send emails to unengaged subscribers. Sending campaigns to subscribers who never open your emails hurts your deliverability rate (i.e., your emails are going to the spam folder).
9. Track Your Results
Setting up analytics is only half the battle. Now you have to use that data to determine whether or not you’re meeting your goals. Create a dashboard with a spreadsheet or a reporting tool so that you can see what’s working and what isn’t.
Email Marketing for eCommerce Stores is a No-Brainer
Email marketing is hands-down the best, most cost-effective way to increase your store’s revenue. All it takes is an investment of time. And by following the steps in this guide, you’ll equip yourself to quickly capitalize on all the opportunities eCommerce email marketing has to offer.