There are many ways to reach customers of online stores.
These include social networks, content marketing, display advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), affiliate marketing and more.
But when viewed from the point of view of investment returns, there is a channel that is hard to beat. Do you know what it is? Yes, this is email marketing .
According to the DMA, email newsletters give an average income of $ 38 for every $ 1 invested. Similarly, according to the results of our report for 2017, email has become the best channel of digital marketing in terms of performance.
This is easy to believe, given the recent change in the display algorithm in the Facebook news feed (priority is given to news from friends), the change in the display of Google ads (not the right, but the top and bottom organic output results block) or the new Google experiment with the search results page, during which, for a small number of information requests, the results of organic distribution were deleted and only one definite answer was presented from the “knowledge cards”.
The trend is obvious – you have to pay to stay in the game . And if you want to attract more customers, you must constantly increase the budget for advertising.
Fortunately, in the case of email, the situation is different. After the contact agrees to receive emails from you, you can run an email marketing campaign without worrying about organic search results and external algorithms. Of course, if at the same time you control the rate of involvement and deliverability.
In this article I will tell you why email marketing is an indispensable attribute of a business, especially ecommerce business. With the help of marketing specialists from The Baby Sleep Site and Only in Your State, I will also explain how to use email in marketing communication strategies.
So, let’s begin.
What is the effectiveness of email marketing?
I have already mentioned the ROI of 3,800%. Sometimes it is difficult to relate to reality, if you do not know how much money you invest in attracting customers.
Other metrics , such as the average discovery or clickability rate, are more practical. Especially if you are running an online marketing campaign on social networks or using display advertising.
In the “Global Email Marketing Statistics” report, we analyze quarterly average performance indicators of companies in various industries. As of the 1st quarter of 2018, the average discovery and clickability rate is 24.29% and 3.97%, respectively.
In other words, approximately every fourth contact to which you send a letter will open it. Compare this with the organic search results on Facebook, and you will see that this is a good result.
This is the average figure for all types of letters. If we take the trigger letters, the results will be even higher – the average rate of discoveries and clickability is 45.7% and 10.75%, respectively. Clicks more than two times more than regular mailings.
Since you are not selling through email campaigns, it’s quite difficult to determine the conversion for this channel. Therefore, you need to run several campaigns exclusively for your subscribers and compare the results with other channels.
How to use email marketing for online stores?
One of the main advantages of email-mailing is that it works perfectly at all stages of the customer’s life cycle .
It doesn’t matter what your goals are:
- attract new leads
- convert leads into buyers
- or retain existing customers
… email will help you improve performance.
Let’s see how email campaigns work at each stage.
No company can exist without an effective strategy to attract customers.
This is especially true of online stores. As a rule, you do not serve a certain group of clients (even if they are very solvent). Instead, you do everything so that your online store is visited by as many customers as possible.
What does email have to do with it?
With the help of subscription forms and landing pages you establish and maintain contact with customers. If they share their email address, you can send newsletters and inform them about offers and special promotions.
This is especially important if potential customers are not yet ready to make a purchase when they become acquainted with your brand.
Here is what Nicole Johnson , head of The Baby Sleep Site, says on this:
Email marketing plays an important role in our customer acquisition strategy. Clients take time to understand our philosophy and learn what our company does, and email marketing helps us build relationships.
Also, email can complement other customer acquisition campaigns using different digital marketing channels.
Maura Hughes , head of e-commerce at Only in Your State, shares her thoughts:
Email marketing is a key element in our customer acquisition strategy. He is responsible for such stages of the client’s life as reflection and awareness. We drive traffic to our pages through social media marketing and search, and only after that we launch web platforms and a series of welcome letters to convert leads into buyers.
Potential customers may agree to join your contact database for various reasons.For example:
- Promo code (for example, 10% on the first purchase)
- Free shipping
- Ability to be the first to receive the latest offers
- Exclusive promotions
- News about sales or appearing in the sale of certain goods
Select offers (or lead magnets), based on the characteristics of subscribers. Do not offer participation in the loyalty program to those who are targeting a small one-time purchase.
If you are interested in learning more about how to use email to attract customers, we have articles on collecting an extensive database of email stores online stores with a focus on SEO, PPC and effective design landing pages.
Now let’s see how email marketing can increase conversions in ecommerce.
The simplest thing is to run advertising campaigns or launch grand sales on such holidays as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But it only works for those who are willing to make a purchase.
As Nicole Johnson of The Baby Sleep Site noted, not all potential customers are ready to make a purchase right now. Therefore, the so-called campaign of cultivation (warm-up) can be useful.
In short, the campaigns of growing (warming up) leads or drop email campaigns are designed to turn customers into real buyers by sending them a series of letters at regular intervals.
Sent one letter at a time. Their goal is to strengthen the link between the brand and the customer , offering additional value.
Nicole continues to explain:
We use email marketing to convert contacts into customers by sending them a chain of emails with free content, as well as emails explaining how we can help and what is cooperation with us.
Similarly, Only in Your State uses welcome letters to convert leads into buyers.Email automation is just one of the tricks they resort to and which gives on average 50.55% of unique discoveries.
Please note that the cultivation process you can start at any time , not only immediately after the subscription.
Below is an example of a reminder letter about an abandoned basket with a similar purpose.
This letter – part of a series of 4 letters sent by American online retailer American Giant – focuses on another aspect of the special offer.
If you do not complete the purchase of this hoodies, you will most likely receive:
- a letter saying that “your favorite” sweatshirt is still on sale,
- a letter with information about the “lifetime warranty”, thanks to which you can return the goods for free at any time in the future, because this company “will exist for a very long time”,
- a letter with the history of creating a “classic full-sized zipper” and a story about how this product was called “the best sweatshirt of all time” by Slate magazine,
- The last letter is a reminder that you can continue shopping and return the goods for free at any time.
Most often, cultivation (warming up) of leads is used:
- in introductory campaigns – to turn newbies into buyers
- in brand awareness raising campaigns – to be among those brands that first come to mind contacts that are not yet ready to buy, but are interested in offering
- in campaigns of reactivation and return of clients – in order to “win back” those leads that previously showed interest or have already made purchases from you.
In one of our webinars, we studied how Casper uses lead cultivation (example below) in introductory campaigns.
If you want to run lead-breeding campaigns or other campaigns aimed at leading conversions, you should think about including marketing automation.
Marketing automation makes it easy to send the right content to the right contacts at the right time.
Why does it matter? Because the audience is more active in responding to a proposal that is relevant to it.
You can read more about this in article 5 of marketing automation scenarios, which will raise conversions in E-commerce to incredible heights .
Holly Sutton wrote an article explaining why reactivation letters are as important as letters that boost sales. I completely agree with her.
In order to attract a new client, you often have to reduce the threshold of minimum profitability. Offering free shipping or a 10% discount, you often barely cover the costs incurred.
You do this through multiple sales, resulting in a high customer lifetime value ( CLV ), and hope to recover the money spent in the long term.
Email campaigns do an excellent job of it, because you can use them in different ways to increase brand engagement and loyalty .
You can convince contacts to do something or other by sending them welcome and reactivation letters.
Nicole Johnson of The Baby Sleep Site follows a different tactic:
We send reminder letters about an abandoned basket in order to understand what our customers think at the moment of purchase. We automatically send a letter with a request to leave feedback on the site and indicate the reasons why the customer left the basket.
Without a doubt, polling letters work wonders.
Only In Your State’s Maura Hughes talks about her strategy for retaining customers via email:
We use campaigns to return customers who have not made a purchase or no longer interact with the brand. We also have an automated campaign, reminiscent of an abandoned basket, and a loyalty program, offering discounts on new products to existing customers. In addition, we send emails after purchase to increase brand loyalty, get product feedback and suggest other popular products.
As you can see, there are many ways to use email campaigns to retain customers.
Do not forget that you need to start thinking about this as soon as possible .Communication at the beginning of the client’s life is no less important than communication in the final stages, when the client becomes inactive.
Customer return campaigns are a great way to retain customers. At the same time, a well-thought-out delivery letter can be a key to the heart of your audience.
And how do you plan to develop your online store?
You already know how useful email can be. Now is the time to answer one simple question: How do you begin?
If I had to choose the first campaign for my online store, I would definitely choose from the following: welcome letters, letters sent after a purchase, or reminder letters of an abandoned basket.
If you have not yet decided what product you are going to sell, you can always use email to acquaint customers with the new product.
We encourage you to turn to the GetResponse platform and launch your first email marketing campaign today.