In this video, we talk about more email marketing and the tactics you can use to send better emails that connect with customers and drive more traffic to you store.
Most people think email is dead, and no, it isn’t. While it may be the earliest form of digital communication, it is predominantly the most used form of communication worldwide. Email marketing is a reliable sales channel for your online store. It's actually one of most profitable marketing channels places, and should be a cornerstone in your digital marketing efforts. It’s how you’re going to get your sales and build loyalty with your customers.
It's so common to hear people say that email is dead or something has changed, or there's not going to be another way that you can get through someone's spam or filters. I can't even think back to the first time that I heard that. But I do know that it was related to some messaging program that was starting to gain momentum. Whether it was MSN messenger or AIM or ICQ or WhatsApp, now being a huge platform for communication, there will always be an alternative means to getting in touch with each other. We love to text, we love to video chat, we love all different platforms but it's very hard to get one of them to be as widely used and is accepted as email is.
There is an average growth of 15-30% in consumers who purchase online according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
Email gives you the most flexibility when it comes to how you're communicating with people. Very few of the platforms that replace 'email' don't give you the opportunity as a marketer and as a business owner to format all of your different messages. With email, you are able to program with HTML effectively, allowing you to craft something beautiful that looks like a landing page when it arrives in someone's email inbox.
There is a lot of different schools of thought when it comes to emails in terms of how much is too much, how little, what converts, what doesn't but in reality, for any of the online businesses that are trying to sell something through their online store, you will want to have something that's visually impactful, something that showcases your products really well, and in turn gets people to click the link or get them back to your store. And the reality is, you can do that really quickly.
Also, it’s not about the email software or program that you should use: we really used everything, and you know we don't have a favorite. It highly depends on what your topic is and what the need is for the store. That points us in the right direction whether you're starting from scratch, whether you have a big email list, and that will give you an idea of how you can find the right program to suit your needs.
Getting People Into Your Email List
There are several ways to grow your email list, but don’t start by buying email lists. You can start with incentives. There are a lot of different ways to incentivize people and it’s all about getting an honest deal. Giving your audience a coupon with a pop-up that shows up on your website two to four minutes after they've been on the site is a really easy way to push them towards the cart and get their email address.
The best customer that is going to buy through email is a customer that you already have. They are the people that are already on your email list. You have the opportunity to turn them into customers who buy from you frequently. Frequency depends on what you are selling and how you are selling it, and the proper timeline in between transactions can vary for any business. If we look at the regular cadence of people buying things, typically keeping them warm within 30, 60, or 90 days between purchases is about as long as you want to go.
But the key is to always keep in touch with people. While you're not breaking any rules or forcing any limits, it certainly doesn't make it easy for you to stay top of mind. These steps will help you create the lasting impact you need for the recipients on your email list.
1. Have a set and defined way to communicate with them. This is really important, and this falls into two different categories: the first is having content that is automated. If you use Shopify, these are automatically built into your email communication through the cart within Shopify.
When somebody places an order, they automatically get an email notification that shows what order they placed, and shipping updates if you have shipping integrated with your store. You can go a step beyond that, and start putting in some more automation like putting in a follow-up request for a product review after a week or two weeks of their purchase. If you’re targeting them to come back as repeat customers and buy from you at least every 30 or 45 days, you can send them an email that says, "Hey, it's time for you to purchase again!" about a month after their purchase.
2. Prompt satisfied customers for a product review or referral. Do you know of anyone who is enjoying your product? Then schedule an email asking them for a referral or leaving a review or sharing a post on social media about the product that they purchased from you that they're loving so much. All of these things can be triggered based on the transaction date and the follow-up sequence that's happening there. You can also create automation based on the overall order volume.
3. Offer specials and incentivize loyalty. It’s always a motivating factor to give perks or discounts to repeat customers. You can send out your emails manually, or automate them, and include specific promotions, specific instructions, or key messages that you want to deliver for somebody who's purchased from you more than once, or three or four times. You can even target specific people that have not purchased from you after they made that first initial purchase nine months ago. All of these different things can be automated triggers based on how that customer is interacting with your store.
4. Maximize the use of timeless emails. One of the best parts of email marketing is that very little updating is involved. Because it's based on your customers' behaviors, they are evergreen and are not tied down to a specific time of the day. One of the best performing emails that I've seen hasn't been edited in seven years, and it's an amazing tactic for getting people to come back to the store, leave reviews, and purchase again.
Keep your emails timeless so that your automation sequence doesn't need to be updated. It always works and you can always count on it to drive more customers back to your store.
5. Seasonal emails are a must-have. The other part is looking at timely content. Now, timely content and delivering that to your customers is when you see these holiday specials or when you see seasonal updates for newsletters that are going out. These things should not be pre-programmed because they're designed to create relatability for what's happening around your customers at that given time.
Now keep in mind, when creating emails that take events into account, it wouldn’t make sense to refer to the weather because you will probably have customers from different regions. But a holiday like Christmas, Valentine's Day, or Easter, or the yearly Back-to-School event, or even Black Friday would make much more sense. Another idea is referencing a current event such as the Olympics, for instance, if your product is related to that. You could even refer to a particular athlete you are affiliated with, who did really well in the game.
Your Web Content is Important
Now that you have different things to talk about that you probably want to cater specifically for that email, it won’t be easy to duplicate these emails in the future. To make these emails easier, it really helps to have a lot more content on your site. There are three things that can make your content great: reviews, blog posts, and testimonials.
Having really good reviews is something that you can build and include into the email. Your customers’ reviews give you social proof to others that your customers like the products that you're selling. Reviews are generally shorter, and are usually about the customer’s general outlook of how they feel about your brand or product.
This allows you to share existing content and add it in when the time is right. These can be informative content, letting the customer know the benefits of using your product, or a how-to-guide, sharing tips, tricks and hacks related to your product. It can even point to complementary products on your site that you can put together as a great little bundle.
The third is testimonials. Reviews and testimonials both talk about your product and how great they are. The difference is that a review is by a customer that has no social presence, no following, no public persona, whereas a testimonial does. If you have a testimonial from a spokesperson, whether it's formal or informal, it carries a lot of weight with it because that person's likeness being associated with your product positively benefits sales. Reviews are backed by quantity, and testimonials are backed by quality. One testimonial can outweigh hundreds of reviews.
But in certain cases, the complete opposite can happen. For instance, if it is a product for everyday use such as bath items or cleaning solutions, a hundred reviews would matter more than one testimonial or two or even five. It can be worth way more and it is super important for your automation sequence to update each of your customers tell them to share your posts about your product on social media, leave a review of your product, or share a short clip of how they're using your product as a way to help others if they're trying to decide to buy your product.
These are all things that you can do to really grow and expand and have timeless pieces that people can read when they're shopping for your products, and then drop into the email when necessary.
Structuring a Great Email
Now that you know what kind of content you can use, let's look at a couple of rules that you should include for all of the email communication that you're sending out.
The first rule of email marketing: personalization. This may seem so insignificant, but personalizing your emails should be your top priority. This makes your recipients feel that the email is intended for them and the content is tailor-made for them. It's also very simple to do: just click a button, and you can choose placeholders for first names or even full names so that when your email is sent out, your recipient's name appears in the placeholder.
Depending on the length of your email, you might want to have that 'First Name' tag repeated somewhere below in the body where you're trying to confirm a point. You can place it within your call to action, and make it read as, "Does this sound like a great deal to you, Chris?" You can even create a direct call to action saying, "Chris, we want to hear from you. Leave us a great review!" or even, "Chris, can you do a short video about you using our product?" Remember, personalization doesn't need to be limited to the first sentence.
The second rule is being able to have a subject heading that allows you to relate to people and get them to open their emails. When you're thinking about the stats of sending out your emails, keep in mind that every time you send an email, it is being monitored for deliverability, and you actually have a score that is associated with your domain. This comes down to relevance, overall authority, structure, and trust that's being built with people that are on your mailing list.
You want to be able to have a list that has a high performance. In eCommerce land, this can actually be really low metrics because there are a lot of customers that may purchase from you once, and never need to purchase from you again. But that doesn't mean you can get away with not having a clean email list, and not doing everything you can to increase those stats. Here are the stats that you want to pay attention to:
Delivery Rate - Your delivery rate is something that will show how many of the emails are actually arriving to people. This shows that your list is current.
Open Rate - Open rate counts how many of the emails you sent were opened. You can also look at how many people will mark your email as spam affecting your spam rate. But your open rate tells you how engaged your subscribers are, and also how effective your subject line is.
Clickthrough Rate - Once your emails are opened, you want to look at how many people click through to your website, or how many people click the links in your email. It all starts with having an effective subject heading, and this is what incentivizes your open rate. It piques your subscriber's curiosity and makes them want to open the email. In order to have an effective subject heading, you have to know and understand your customer.
Email Segmentation - Email segmentation is a strategy that can increase your open rates by 203%. Your subscribers are not all the same. Some may open your emails, and others may just view it as spam, keep in mind that almost all your subscribers will want two things: information and value. This is where email segmentation comes in. You can have a really great email curated, but to get different people to open the email and talk about that product, you may need different subject lines that can talk to different customers.
"We're so glad you're a customer. Tell us more." This would work for people that have purchased from you once.
"Aren't you glad you made this purchase? We're so happy you did." This could be for the person that you may have had to market to many, many times in order to convert, or maybe there is something that's holding them back.
"Your loyalty needs to be heard." This one could be for a customer that's been with you for years, and purchasing almost monthly for over a year.
Each of these customers has a different story to tell. Each of them has a positive story that can relate to another customer. Personally, I always look at prioritizing the segment of the audience based on how much you want one more of that type of customer. I would much rather have that person that's been a loyal customer and has purchased almost monthly for a year than trying to get another customer that's purchased once and then we didn't see them again, and using a subject line that relates you more to that type of person can increase the number of these kinds of customers. You can do all that, while targeting various types of customers in the process.
Action - The last part which was actually in the body is called action. Telling your customer that you are counting on them to review, and to 'click here to leave a review' is an example of a call to action. It is important that your this is structured in a way that there is no mistaking what you are asking the customer to do. You want them to do two things: you want them to click, and you want them to leave a review.
This should be placed in a specific part such as Google or Facebook, so that they also know where they are going, and they know what they are doing. It is very important to be clear, concise, and make it very, very easy to deliver on your call to action. Remember: the easier it is for a customer to do the work, the more likely it is that they're going to follow through for you.
Rules for a Great Email
Let's go over a few ‘Don’ts’ and debunk a couple of myths. Here are some of the things that you should include as boundaries.
1. Don't attach things to your email. Instead, link them to your website. As much as you can have images embedded into your email, that's exactly where they should live; they should be embedded in your email they're technically being hosted somewhere else and the idea is that you want to get people out of their inbox. You don't want them to stay there or download an attachment as much as you could have a link that's within a PDF that you're attaching.
It's much better for you to have that PDF done as a form on your website that they can fill out or that they can go there and get. Part of this is about deliverability. Attachments can flag a lot of spam filters and a lot of security features. They're just bad if you don't see that you're a trusted center and so avoid that altogether.
2. Your email list is your database. There is a debate between social media and email. The power of social media is amazing, and your customers are certainly doing something, but consider this: if you remember Vine, there was a time it was amazing and everyone was enjoying it, and then it shut down. A lot of the creators that were on Vine had nowhere to go and had to find a new platform for their content. Content creators figured out how to make YouTube videos instead. They did short videos on Twitter, and they figured out how to follow on Instagram, and now we're seeing a rise of a similar type of creators with TikTok because of the length of the videos. The point is, having followers is amazing because there are people that want to engage with you. But always remember that these followers are also tied within the platform. You are renting your social profile, and you're renting your followers because technically all of that information on social media is property of the platform, and they control it overall. However, it's different from having someone on your email list. Your email list is actually a database that you own, much like your website.
3. Avoid too much text. Keep it short and sweet because, in reality, people are probably going to scroll past your text and look for the images or look for the deal that's included. Visual elements tend to be easier to click on because they're bigger and easier than clicking on a text link, specifically if you're on your phone. Plus, it allows you to give them what they want but also have a proper message.
Now, putting 'Sale! 50% off!’ is not actually readable by the email program, especially if they are going to try to search for that later, so add it to the body of your email, but keep it concise, short, simple to give people what they want, and be able to let them decide how they can act or how to respond. Then, if you have more things to say, or more information to provide, provide a link to get them to a blog post.
4. Branding matters. Your colors, images, and brand overall are very important. This matters because when somebody sees it, they're getting that mental jog out of what your brand is. Remember, consistency is your friend with your brand which is why your emails must also be updated with your branding. Your profile, social media, website, and product photos should all have similar elements, whether it's just including the same shade of red or the same type of font. Being all over the map with your different colors in your promotions is not a good thing, and can be confusing to your customers.
When you think of some of the brands that are out there, and when you see a promotion or when you see an ad, or an image, or even the style of photography, you almost know what brand it is if you've seen it frequently without having to actually see their logo. That's what you want to establish over time so that people start looking for your style and expect your emails, hoping for good things to come to their books.
So far, what have you found that works for you when it comes to email marketing? I would love to get your thoughts and comments.
Need help structuring your emails? Send me a message here and I want to see what you create. I'll be happy to go through and perhaps feature it on a future episode where I go through and audit it with one of our copywriters from our team on how to improve or give you a huge Gold Star for doing a great job. So share with me what you create.
Want to learn more? Check out more e-commerce building practices on Ultraclick.ca.