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In 2021, global ecommerce sales totaled $4.9 trillion, and this number is set to double in the next 6 years.
To claim your own share of those sales, you’ll need to create a positive customer experience — the easiest way to do that is with email marketing.
In this post, we’ll explain the many benefits of email marketing for ecommerce businesses, and how to create a winning strategy that’ll help your sales skyrocket.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Fundamentally, it’s the art of using email marketing to generate sales for your ecommerce business.
The reason why these 2 concepts go hand-in-hand is because being able to sell your products online relies heavily on customer relationships.
Email marketing is the vehicle you use to create and nurture those relationships.
Ecommerce email marketing is slightly different from other email campaigns for 2 main reasons:
However, your ecommerce marketing efforts aren’t restricted to just what goes into your emails.
You’ll also need to put work into:
Don’t let the effort put you off though — email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of up to 4400%!
Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits email brings to the marketing table.
There are several reasons to lean into email marketing if you run an ecommerce business:
1. Connect directly with ecommerce customers
Because email marketing puts you in direct contact with your email list, you can reach out to new customers and start building a relationship with them.
You’re also able to stay in contact with existing customers and maintain that connection, encouraging them to purchase from you again.
2. Drive more sales through email
While your ROI is never guaranteed, email marketing does remain one of the most popular and successful methods of converting your first customers and getting more revenue from loyal customers.
You could also sell your offers directly to your email list, although this breaks away from the traditional ecommerce model.
3. You own your contact lists, not any third-party platform
It’s easier to get more likes and followers on the different social media platforms, but converting followers into customers is twice as difficult.
On top of that, those platforms tend to change their algorithms to prefer any content that keeps people on their platform, and off of your website.
With email marketing, you’re in full control of the details of your audience, and it’s far easier to engage and convert them.
Now that you understand how powerful an email strategy can be for your ecommerce store, let’s discover the kinds of emails you’ll need to send.
In any ecommerce email marketing strategy, there are 2 main types of emails that you’ll send:
1. Promotional emails
2. Transactional emails
While both types of email can help you nurture your relationship with your customers, they do so in different ways and at different times.
Keep reading to find out how each type of email can contribute to your overall strategy.
These are defined as any email messages that you broadcast to a wider segment of your audience to drive sales.
Promotional emails can include:
The purpose of promotional emails is generally to help ecommerce business owners stay in touch with their existing customers, outside of their purchases.
This means there’s a lot of flexibility to what this kind of email contains, but you must ensure that what you share is relevant content.
In contrast, the contents of transactional emails are a little more strict.
These are defined as automated emails sent to inform customers about any purchases or account activity that occurs with your ecommerce business.
Transactional emails can include:
Now that you understand what promotional and transactional emails are, let’s dive into some best practices that’ll affect all of your email marketing efforts.
Email marketing comes with specific rules and tactics that help business owners achieve their goals.
However, the rules apply slightly differently if your business is in ecommerce.
Ecommerce has had a massive surge in popularity in the last few years, and there are now millions of online stores.
With email marketing’s unmatched return on investment, those millions of stores are flooding customers’ inboxes.
To stand out from that crowd and make your brand more memorable than the rest, you need to have eye-catching email designs.
You can create an email design that gets the right kind of attention by:
Above all else, we advise that you keep your email design simple — you don’t want to distract your customers from the information they need.
Here’s an email from Cotton On that uses a simple but effective email design that offers free shipping and a free gift:
If you make your future customers feel valued, they’re likely to reward you by purchasing your products.
72% of consumers flat out refuse to engage with any messaging that hasn’t been personalized.
Depending on the size of your customer base, adding a personal touch to your emails might seem like a mammoth task.
Luckily, an email marketing tool like systeme.io simplifies it all, so that you can send the right message to the right customer, at the right time.
Personalized emails can have the following features:
Simple personal touches like these can have a big impact on your customer’s overall shopping experience.
To get a real understanding of the different segments of your audience, you need to monitor their behavior.
There are several ways to use customers’ behavior to further personalize your interactions with them:
Brandless uses customer stories and user-generated content to further promote their products while they show appreciation for their fans:
However, you need to have a solid contact list full of customers before you can start monitoring their behavior.
If you’re still at the beginning of your journey, you should focus on growing your email list first.
If your ecommerce site already has an established presence online you can further maximize your email campaign with A/B testing.
Alternatively, you could send your campaign to a small segment of your audience, monitor and tweak it based on the results, and then send it on to the rest of your audience.
When your customers purchase from your ecommerce store, you need to send them an order confirmation right away.
The same is true for when they initially sign up to your email list.
There are several benefits to sending quick emails like this:
You too can automate these kinds of responses with email marketing software.
85% of all email users check their emails on their smartphones, and if your business is 100% online, you can’t afford to ignore this statistic.
While a good mobile ecommerce site will help you make a good first impression, email is where you can really build a strong rapport with your audience.
This email from Swamp Rabbit Cafe mimics the layout of a printed receipt but is also completely mobile-optimized:
If your emails aren’t optimized for mobile devices:
This means your click-through rates, and ultimately your sales will suffer.
The final best practice for email marketing is all about keeping your messages and data collection lawful.
This is particularly important for ecommerce businesses because you handle a lot of personal data from your customers.
There are several email marketing rules you need to follow to stay compliant:
If your emails aren’t compliant, you’ll end up triggering spam filters and no one reads an email that ends up in their spam folder.
Now that you have those best practices locked in, it’s time to start building out your ecommerce email marketing strategy.
So that it’s even easier to accomplish, we’ve divided this strategy into 3 parts:
Let’s get started!
One of the most important ingredients in any email marketing campaign is an audience to send you messages to.
You’ll need to connect with your ideal customers, build trust with them, and then start pointing them in the direction of your products.
We’ll start with how you can reliably reach your audience.
Contact details are the ticket to connecting with your audience.
You can get hold of this golden ticket by choosing an opt-in process where interested site visitors can give you their contact details.
To implement a successful opt-in process, you’ll need to:
Some ecommerce platforms come with the ability to build opt-in forms, but their functionality can be pretty limited.
One of systeme.io’s customizable opt-in templates
Partner with a digital marketing tool like systeme.io and use high-converting opt-in form templates to make this step even easier.
Once someone has signed up to your mailing list, they’re expecting to hear from you — don’t leave them hanging!
We suggest you set up an automated welcome email sequence to greet new subscribers.
Welcome emails come with some undeniable benefits:
This initial email sequence is an opportunity for you to introduce your offers, establish your authority, and begin building a relationship with your audience.
Why not offer a welcome discount code to new subscribers as Cat Caboodle does, and incentivize them to make their first purchase:
It’s unlikely that your ecommerce platform supports welcome emails without using a clunky, external integration with an email marketing service.
Look at all-in-one software solutions like systeme.io instead — it’ll save you from technical headaches.
After going through your welcome emails, you can start sending subscribers your more general promotional email campaigns.
Irrespective of your niche and your offers, it’s a bad idea to broadcast the same email to your entire contact list.
Instead, use contact tagging to segment your email list based on your subscribers’ interests and behavior — you’ll be delivering more relevant content and see better email performance overall.
Then, you can and should include the following in your promotional emails:
These kinds of email marketing campaigns can be set up ahead of time and automated to send over several days or weeks.
Here’s an example of a holiday promotion from Good Pair Days:
Incomplete online purchases lead to lost sales and with an average cart abandonment rate of 79.8%, you need to address them.
Creating a cart abandonment email campaign is a strategy that many brands use to help customers complete the sales process.
Here’s an example of an abandoned cart email from Lego:
There are several reasons why these abandoned cart campaigns work so well:
However, you cannot expect every customer to return to their abandoned cart, just because you’ve notified them.
You’ll need to provide an incentive like low stock, a discount, or even free shipping to seal the deal.
Building out your transactional emails may take a little bit longer than the promotional side of things.
However, once it’s complete, it’ll run on its own in the background for years to come.
These emails are about more than just racking your customer purchases, they can be mobilized to help your business too.
Here are a few things you can do to help you get started.
As an online retailer, transactional emails form a core part of your business communication.
Like any other element of your online presence, you should make your emails recognizable by aligning them with your brand.
Depending on your email service provider, this can be easily achieved.
You can customize your transactional emails by:
Combining this with personalization is a winning recipe that’ll encourage customers to trust you with their purchases.
That’s exactly what Amazon does with this order confirmation email:
Most ecommerce platforms allow you to customize your online shopping carts, which is another great idea.
You can nurture your customers by rewarding them for supporting your business with your transactional emails.
Whenever a customer makes a purchase, you can offer them an exclusive discount or deal.
This serves as a reason for them to purchase again while also making them feel like they’re important to you.
There are several ways to reward your customers:
Online retailers can upgrade their transactional email strategy by using a referral program where loyal customers promote your offers for you.
Just because a customer has made a successful purchase with you doesn’t mean that you can forget about them.
Even in your transactional emails, you need to continue to build on and maintain your relationship with your audience.
Include any of the following in your email copy:
The email from Taco Bell shows you how simple it is:
There are plenty of benefits to this simple addition:
The final step in creating a fool-proof ecommerce email marketing plan is to choose an email marketing platform.
While there are plenty of options to choose from, we’d like to introduce you to a hidden gem that’s shaking up the digital marketing space.
Systeme.io is an all-in-one digital marketing platform with powerful email marketing capabilities.
This software gives you the power to:
But what does all of this actually mean for ecommerce businesses?
You can keep track of your leads and customers easily, and target different streams of your audience with tailor-made emails that boost engagement.
You’ll also be able to contact any customer with ease as your customer’s information is stored and protected on your contacts list.
If you’re looking to attract new potential customers, opt-in forms and squeeze pages will automatically capture their information, and add them to the correct list.
You don’t have to think twice before reaching out to a customer or resending an important message as emails are unlimited with systeme.io.
You’ll also save yourself a lot of time by setting up email campaigns that are triggered by customer behavior — we help online businesses work while their owners sleep.
Digital products are automatically sent, online course access is granted, and you can even accept product returns without lifting a finger.
While this might sound impressive, you’re probably groaning inwardly at the thought of setting up a clunky integration. . .
Luckily, systeme.io needs no integrations — you can run your entire ecommerce business from one place!
Beyond super-charged email marketing, you can also use the following features:
There’s no end to how a systeme.io account will support your ecommerce efforts.
Usually, software like this is out of reach for small online businesses, but not anymore!
With systeme.io, you start for free, and you can stay that way if you like.
There are 4 scalable pricing plans on our platform:
systeme.io’s pricing plans
All of our plans, even our Free plan, come with the following:
If you’re ready to commit to a partnership with systeme.io, why not opt for annual billing?
You’ll get a 30% discount, and we’ll help migrate your entire business for free.
The power of email marketing is undeniable, especially for ecommerce businesses.
Using this post, you can channel that power towards your own business.
Combine transactional and promotional emails for an email marketing strategy that’ll win you more customers every day.
Take your ecommerce email marketing to the next level by partnering with the best — systeme.io.
Other posts about email marketing:
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