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4 Essential Email Marketing Practices for Ecommerce Businesses (Plus Bonus Tip)

The eCommerce space is a highly competitive landscape, where, as a store, you have to be proactive on all fronts like sourcing products, shipping, customer service, and marketing. Even when it comes to marketing for eCommerce business, a lot of businesses are in competition with each other. One way to stand out from the competition is through email marketing.

Email marketing allows you to build your own loyal subscriber and customer base whom you can reach out to anytime and inform, sell, build relationships with, and learn and improve. It is also a great method to increase your sales.

Let’s look into 4 essential Email marketing practices, plus a useful bonus point, you can use for your eCommerce business.

1. Capture leads and grow your mailing list

A healthy email list with engaged subscribers can prove to be one of the biggest assets for an eCommerce business. How is that?

Well, according to BigCommerce only 2% of visitors buy something on their first visit on an eCommerce site.

To get people to buy from you, you have to establish familiarity. In fact, return visitors are 2.3 times more likely to buy something from you than first-time visitors.

And here’s where an email list comes in handy. If you can get people to share their emails with you on their first visit. You can send them emails to attract them to return to your website.

To get people to share email addresses, you have to place opt-in forms on your websites. These include pop-ups, topbars, scroll boxes, and embedded forms.

All these forms are placed on your website to capture a visitor’s attention. You offer something of value to them and in exchange, they give you their email addresses.

To increase your chances of getting as many first-time visitor emails design your opt-in forms so that they:

  • Are contextual, i.e. they offer something that is relevant to a user’s visit
  • Attract attention through good timing, design, and placement
  • Use language that is suitable to, and appealing to visitors (knowledge of buyer personas helps with this)
  • Are easy to read
  • Have a strong call-to-action
  • Include irresistible lead magnets (discounts, coupons, enter-to-wins etc.)

Then when you start collecting subscribers, you can send them emails to deliver on what you promised, along with ongoing promotions, new catalog updates, and even stories from your blog to keep them engaged and coming back to your website.

2. Use list segmentation

Email list segmentation is about classifying your subscribers into different groups and communication with them according to this classification. The idea is that different groups of people respond differently to marketing messages, with segmentation, you can craft campaigns that work for each of your target groups.

As a business, you’ll be more likely to convert customers if you can determine attractive ways to reach your targeted demographics using list segmentation.

A targeted approach for relevant communication

Segmenting your email list allows you to take on a targeted approach to reaching your audience. You’ll have groups of subscribers who respond differently to different messages. You will find that some messaging that one group finds valuable will be of no interest to another group.

Segmentation of your email list makes it easy to create a targeted approach to reach your audience. Through segmentation, you can reach different groups who respond differently to messages tailored to them. This way, you’ll only reach people who are interested in a specific message you have to give.

 A small example is segmentation through gender. You wouldn’t want to send a catalog update of female apparel to men, they wouldn’t be interested in most cases.

Keep your customers happy and engaged

Another advantage of list segmentation is that customers feel more listened to when you send emails to segments. If your emails are tailored to certain segments, you can expect better engagement from readers, a better response means more clicks throughs, and more click-throughs mean more sales.

Sell more with segmented audiences

Finally, you can go for a direct sell approach by using email segments. If you’ve made segments according to interests and past purchase histories, you can send emails with links to relevant products, thus increasing your chances for more sales.

3. Create drip campaigns

Drip campaigns are a great tool to keep your subscribers engaged and interested while getting them to commit to your calls-to-action. They are a series of automated emails sent to a subscriber after they take a certain action either on your website or with an email, sent out at specific times and dates. 

Drip campaigns can help you:

  • Nurture fresh leads
  • Revive interest from disengaged subscribers
  • Keep your brand fresh in the customer’s mind
  • Create more sales

You can trigger a drip campaign to reward loyal customers, nudge customers to checkout when they abandon carts, and to upsell and cross-sell products.

Example of a drip campaign flow

Credits: ActiveCampaign

Here’s an example of an abandoned cart drip campaign:

  1. Customer abandons cart
  2. They receive an automated abandoned cart email within an hour with information on what they abandoned and asking them how you can help complete the purchase
  3. Send them a discount 24 hours after abandonment if still no engagement
  4. Final email after 48 to 72 hours with an even deeper discount (this email is optional)

To learn how to create drip campaigns, you can follow this guide or go through this resource.

4. Track and measure results

It won’t matter how well you’ve optimized your forms, if you’ve crafted the perfect drip campaign or if you’ve come up with a killer segmentation strategy if you can witness their results.

Tracking performance and measuring results are crucial to any successful email marketing strategy.

Once you know your goals and know what you’re trying to achieve with the mentioned email marketing practices, it’s time to measure their success through metrics.

KPIs and metrics that’ll help you figure out if you’re headed in the right direction with your changes include:

  • Click rate
  • Open rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Number of impressions
  • List growth rate 
  • Unsubscribe rate

All these numbers will carry a story and will help you figure out if the changes you introduced were successful or not. Even if you find you’re doing well, never stop experimenting and trying new ways to attract more customers

Find out more about these metrics on HubSpot’s blog.

5. Bonus Tip: Understand your buyers

Have you noticed how your tone changes when you speak with your friend compared to your boss? It can be the same topic but the way you convey the idea alters.

You use a different tone, your choice of words vary so does the level of frankness and formality. 

Now imagine if as a business your audience consisted of financial buyers but your messaging was as if they were family friends. In this case, even if your products are exactly what your buyers want, they won’t buy from you because you weren’t able to appeal to them in a style that works for their personality type and lifestyle.

When you understand your buyer’s persona, you get better insights and learn the best eCommerce marketing strategies to reach your target customers.

Build your buyers’ persona

To start building your buyers’ persona, start with internal conversations. Consult your teams and see what customer insights and customer pain points you can gather. If you have a sales team, they’ll be most knowledgeable about what makes your buyers tick, and how to approach them.

Then speak with your marketing team to discover how your buyers end up on your website, which channels they use for discovery, and what keywords bring them to your business.

After you’ve gathered valid assumptions from your internal teams, it’s time to talk directly to customers. Ask questions that help you understand their behaviors, their challenges, and the value they seek from shopping online. These insights can also help you tailor your product offerings.

When you’ve gathered information internally and externally, start gathering and grouping customers according to their demographics, careers, and consumer habits.

By now you’ll have qualitative and quantitative data on your buyers.

You will use this data to create segments and profiles of characters that are ideal representatives of your target buyers. These will be your buyer personas.

example of a buyer persona

You can then use buyer personas to close more sales, write better content that suits these people, optimize for SEO so these people find you easier, display products that resolve their needs, and write copy that appeals to their mindset.

To learn in-depth on how to create buyer personas, read this guide from smartbugmedia.

A closing note

Competition for customers in eCommerce is intense and one good strategy to alleviate this pressure is to use reliable email marketing practices.

With a combination of optimizing lead collection, growing your email list, sending smart segmented emails, using automated emails and measuring and improving results of these various activities, you can expect to see a spike in the number of sales your eCommerce business experiences.

Finally, to put all these things into place and make sure your effort actually pays off, make sure you learn about your customers by building buyer personas. These will allow you to refine your communication and attract your target audience.

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Rukham Khan is the content lead at MailMunch who works with a passion to write for budding entrepreneurs and marketers. In his free time, you can find him polishing his video editing chops or sweating it out on the jogging track.

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