6 Tips for Making Your eCommerce Email Marketing Successful
By Robert Ward, Technical Lead
By the time you finishing reading this sentence, about 10 million emails have been sent worldwide. Your customers are inundated with messages flowing into their inboxes on a daily basis; how do you make your message stand out from the rest of your competitionand get customers interested in purchasing from you?
Email marketing is a crucial part of any business strategy. Don’t miss out on potential sales by not paying attention to what works.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing an email marketing strategy:
- Build an Annual Email Schedule
Email marketing requires planning and a dedicated schedule outlining the year. Reviewing email marketing across the year allows companies to properly time the emails so audiences are not over saturated from the campaign or even spammed. It is key to space out emails to maintain open rates.
In order to properly plan email campaigns for the year, one should review the previous campaign’s performance and metrics. Once evaluating open rates, click through rates and unsubscribe rates, one can assess whether the email was effective or not and if it should be repeated or removed from the next schedule. Reviewing metrics also gives a company a better sense of what the audience is looking for in their emails.
A proper email schedule will create not only efficiency, but also an effective campaign. With a solid base, it is easy to add and remove emails throughout the year.
- Keep Messaging Consistent
Emails are meant to be simple, short and concise, so the messaging must be consistent. In sales emails, it is easy to be overzealous with promotions; however, there has to be a focus and an end goal to the email. Including more content and options that don’t necessarily relate to the goal of the email will reduce the desired outcome. It is important to keep the recipient focused on the main message of the email.
Another issue is balancing a formal or informal voice within an email campaign. Switching between the two hurts credibility. Representing a company via email should be one voice.
- Maintain Brand Identity
It is crucial for a company to maintain their brand identity, not only within one email, but also across the entire campaign. A simple inconsistency in listing a phone number or date can affect the brand image.
Most companies have a formal brand identity document outlining requirements and standards. In proofing email campaigns, the copy and content should be checked against the standard. Email marketing usually supports advertising, digital and direct marketing efforts, and should match other initiatives. Company emails should complement other efforts and reinforce the brand.
- Create Strong Subject Lines
The subject line dictates whether an email is opened or not. It takes the right combinations of words to seem enticing enough to open, but not giving too much away. Yet, it must remain short so the entire line can be read across all devices.
Subject lines should not include all caps, price amounts, or jarring keywords because it does not build a relationship or encourage the audience to open future emails. Subject lines are an effort to guide your audience to open and look for something within the email. One shouldn’t display all of the email content in the subject line, because the readers do not act on a subject line, they act within the email.
- Segment Lists
Sending emails to a whole list of addresses is not as effective as sending more personal and relevant emails to smaller lists. Email marketing is supposed to connect the audience with the company; therefore, only send individuals what they want to see. Individuals who receive targeted emails tailored to their preferences and needs are more likely to engage and follow email campaigns. Segmenting lists builds audience retention.
Segmenting lists can also enable a company to test content and promotions, or soft launch a new implementation. One larger segment can be split to test and analyze effectiveness of messaging. It allows a company to launch and analyze a few scenarios, without affecting the majority of the main mailing list.
- Proof and Test Different Email Clients
Errors within an email lessen the effectiveness of any relationship built with a reader. It’s an unprofessional mistake that can be easily avoided almost all of the time. Once an email has gone through its final edits, send it to a few team members to proof. Routing an email is a good practice not only to prevent errors, but also to review the messaging and brand identity. Most errors are grammatical or spelling; however, faulty links can be common error. In the proofing stages, all links should be tested and reviewed.
Another key thing to test prior to deployment is how the email layout and structure looks across different email clients. We all know how different Microsoft Outlook can be from Gmail. So it is imperative test among a few platforms and to make necessary edits to maintain uniformity.
Email is a very powerful tool for eCommerce businesses to attract and retain customers. By incorporating these six tips into your email marketing strategy, you’ll be able to better showcase your brand and messaging, and in turn, increase your sales.
Want to read more about email marketing? Check out these other posts by LYONSCG!
Email Lists—Build it and They Will Come—Ten ideas to help you build an email marketing list for your business
Shopping Cart Abandonment: A Data Review—Learn how to boost a specific area of your email marketing efforts in the section entitled “Cart Abandonment Emails”
Robert Ward is a Technical Lead on the LYONSCG Implementation team, and has been building Demandware sites since 2011. Robert is a certified Demandware Developer, and he is an avid fan of all things basketball-related.