Email marketing is one of the core staples in digital marketing channels. It’s also one of the first to create the digital movement. The return on investment exceeds most other digital marketing strategies due to its low-cost effort.
Another reason is most people have an email address and they never change it. This makes it an ideal tactic for every ecommerce owner to use.
If you're excited now, then let's begin with this ecommerce email marketing guide for beginners!
What is Email Marketing?
Email advertising is a way to communicate with your clients and prospective customers via email. It is sending email newsletters containing information that gets the reader to actively do something like purchase a new product or read a new blog post.
For example, if you signed up for Nike’s email list, you will occasionally get email newsletters from Nike telling you of their latest products, stories, and so on.
In addition to being one of the most cost-efficient and affordable types of marketing, email marketing is also fast to set up, allows you to develop a connection with your email subscribers and build brand recognition with regular exposure to your brand. While also promoting repeat purchases from current customers.
Should you use Email Marketing in your Ecommerce business?
Email advertising is among the most crucial advertising tools for online businesses, and it is not only for large brands with big budgets.
Email marketing is among the most cost-efficient methods of advertising, making it good for new entrepreneurs or small businesses with small advertising budgets. A 2015 study by the DMA found that for each $1 spent, email has a typical $38 return on investment.
The email market is essentially your audience who wants to see your ads. This makes the impression and click-through rates higher than most other methods, such as paid social media advertising.
The truth is that you do not even need to spend a dollar on email advertising. There are email marketing services that you can start for free when you’re starting out and do not have that many email subscribers yet.
I will share more about these email marketing services and what they are below, but first, do you know what an email list is? And what are email list subscribers?
Let’s find out!
What are email lists and subscribers?
An email subscriber is a person who willingly signed up their email address on your website to be added to a list. This list will receive the marketing emails that are sent out, used either by you or your business.
When people talk about a list in email marketing, they are essentially talking about the number of subscribers that would receive an email from a service provider that you sent.
If you’re not sure what an email marketing service is, then keep on reading!
What is an email marketing service?
An email marketing service is a company that helps you send email marketing messages by providing an email marketing platform or email tool.
A whole lot of companies offer email software as self-explanatory. Meaning you can create and send emails, newsletters, and email promotions by yourself without help.
While the emails will be sent via your email marketing service provider, it will still be attached to your email address.
This means it’ll look just like the email was sent directly from you, and when a subscriber replies, it will be sent to you just like a normal email conversation.
It’s important to be using a business email address for your subscribers to know you are a professional business. If you don’t know how here’s a previous article to get you started for free.
A few of those companies also have free versions of the email software to use and are familiar with the platform until a certain amount of subscribers is reached. (Most are 2,000)
If you're interested in finding the best email marketing service provider for your ecommerce store, then check out our other article here.
Important spam rules
The most important rule to remember in email marketing is to send them to your audience as if they were a close friend. This is important because there are spam laws in email marketing you must comply with but don’t worry; every email marketing service provider makes them easy to follow.
The major rules are to keep the content of your email relevant to your email subject and why they signed up to your list.
If you’re selling jewelry, it’s going to be misleading to have an email with “40% off all necklaces” or outrageous claims that aren’t true.
Another rule is to honor their request of unsubscribing from a button at the end of every email.
Email marketing service providers have options for the unsubscriber to state their reasoning for unsubscribing, but they are not obligated to answer. They also should not be contacted unless they choose to re-subscribe on their own.
The dangers of not following these rules can lead your subscribers to send your emails to the spam folder, which can make your email marketing service provider ban you from using their service again.
This ban can also be applied to Gmail, Outlook, etc. as well. If too many people send your emails to the spam folder, it can cause your future emails to be automatically sent there as well.
What are the different types of Ecommerce Emails?
Let’s take a closer look at some samples of every type of email that you can send to your subscribers that will help your business be more successful.
For each type of ecommerce email, I will include real-life examples and why they work so well. If you're interested in seeing more examples from famous companies, then check out Really Good Emails.
Welcome emails are an introduction to a person who subscribes to your email list.
By combining a special offer, it can be used to convert a visitor into a paying customer. Even if you don’t have an online store ready, you’ll still be able to send a welcome email when someone subscribes to your email list.
Kate Spade, a luxury design brand, sends a welcome email upon registering for their email list on their website. In a handwritten font, ‘thank you’ on top of an envelope shows a sincere and personal message for taking the time to be interested in what they offer.
Notice their careful choice of words ‘among the first to know’ to make their announcements in their emails feel special. Followed by ‘new arrivals, big events, and special offers’ to let you know what you will be receiving in the future from them.
Kate Spade closes the email with a ‘special treat’ of a 15% off code that can be used to get a sale right now with the call to action button to shop now.
With the flow of gratitude, to know what's coming ahead, and then taking action now, makes a customer into a lifelong fan.
Fleur & Bee starts with an image of their line of skin care products in an elegant brand presentation. They greet with ‘Welcome to the hive’, which is their term for being a part of a special group. This works great because people love a sense of belonging.
They follow this by expressing gratitude and what to expect from their future emails.
Lastly, they invite you to shop with a discount and with a reminder of their shipping benefit.
Key takeaway: Show gratitude with expectations of what’s coming next. Feel free to include a special offer if possible.
Cart Abandonment Emails
Did you know that an average of 69 percent of shoppers abandons their carts, costing ecommerce businesses an estimated $260 billion in lost revenue?
The easiest method is to remind shoppers there is a sale within the email. Being clear on what to expect will lead to higher chances of being opened and converted.
According to Salesforce data, 60 percent of shoppers return after getting personalized emails after abandoning their carts. They usually plan to return, and sending them later is a timely reminder that will get them to convert.
If you’re not sending abandoned cart emails, then you need to be sending them!
Everlane has a great example of a clear and simple way of reminding the visitor they left an item in their cart. ‘You have great taste - but we might be biased’ shows their brand personality in a quick and short way.
Showing the product image with its description is a great reminder of why they added it to the cart in the first place. Be sure to include what they expect and the problem it solves as well.
By reinstating the product with a call to action ‘take another look’ to return to their cart, they are creating an easy way to capture a potential lost sale.
Food52’s abandoned cart email gives a gentle nudge of a reminder that the product in their cart might not be there forever. This creates a sense of urgency to purchase it in fear of missing out on it forever.
Another point that makes this type of email successful is the near the end of the email (called the footer). Food52 makes it clear on the customer service benefits of incentivizing sharing credits with a friend and express shipping available. If you have a benefit to present to your visitors, it’s always worth it to remind them of it.
Key takeaway: Cart abandonment emails really are a must. They can be entertaining for the product or inviting shoppers to return to your website. They also allow you to give a gentle reminder of all the great customer service benefits you provide.
If you're interested in learning more about abandoned carts, then check out our beginner's guide here.
That guide will explain everything you need to know on how to get started with recovering your abandoned carts!
Transactional emails are automatic emails for the product or inviting shoppers to make an action. Order and shipping confirmations, account creation, and charging mails are all considered transactional emails.
These mails can serve a couple of different purposes, such as build reassurance for the product or invite your customer to share the purchase with their friends.
Key takeaway: Don't dismiss transactional emails. They offer up another chance to engage with your clients and build brand loyalty.
Roark, a men’s clothing brand, sends an order confirmation after every order to display what the customer purchased in an easy to read manner.
It ends with a call to action to view the order status to see when it will arrive. Underneath is convenient information to their support help if necessary.
Netgear makes wifi routers and tries to make the setup process as easy as possible. Their transaction email shows all the details they need in order to register and set up their wifi router.
They also know how tricky it can be, so they included a call to action to contact support if they need it. This is proof of great care of their customers in helping them before they even know they need it.
Key takeaway: Make your transaction emails easy to read with clear information to contact you if they need it.
Sometimes you want to talk to your subscribers. This can be anywhere between product research and feedback on the direction of your branding. It can be any question you would like to know more about or let them express their experience so far.
There are tons of free survey providers available like survey monkey and google forms that will allow you to add the link to your email.
The best way to get people to complete a survey is usually with a reward of some type.
It helps to make your survey short (3-6 questions), so it doesn't seem like a chore. To make the experience easy, give multiple-choice questions, and keep the open-ended questions sparingly.
The harder and strenuous it is to complete, the less likely they will do it.
Ritual starts off by letting the reader know they’ve been interacting with them before (by subscribing, visiting the website, purchasing from them before, etc.), so this allows them to feel secure in asking for feedback.
Ritual also assures the time it will take will be short by saying ‘promise’, ‘only’, and ‘5 minutes.’ These words were perfectly chosen.
The word ‘promise’ is something you can hold accountable and conveys confidence that they’ll keep their word.
‘Only’ implies that’s all you have to do or need to know. This reassures the survey process won’t be complicated.
’5 minutes’ is a quantifiable number that adds to the promise without being vague. By not giving a number, you’re allowing a cautious reader to know it'll take 1 minute or 30 minutes and may not bother at all.
Key takeaway: It’s in your best interest to be mindful of the reader’s time, so be mindful of that so you can get the feedback you need.
Is the email subject important?
While the design and content of your email for your subscribers are undoubtedly important. What can be as important is the subject line of your email.
The subject line is the text you see next to the sender’s name in your inbox. It’s also the first thing you see whenever you receive a notification of an email. This is why the subject is so important. If it’s not something that captures their attention, then the subscriber won't open the email and delete it.
It’s one of the culprits in asking, ‘why aren’t people opening my emails?’ it’s because of the subject line.
Entice that curiosity that leads into checking out the email but don’t be misleading. Never deceive your audience into thinking it’s something when it’s not. This can easily lead people to unsubscribe and never look back.
Here are some tips for crafting creative subject lines based on successful ecommerce brands:
Sephora, a leading provider in beauty and self-care products, uses the subject line “Products the celebs are wearing”
- HP: “Stop wasting money on ink”
- Seafolly: “A new product you won’t pass on”
- IKEA: “Get more kitchen space with these easy fixes”
- Guess: “25% off your favorites”
- Topshop: “Get a head start on summer”
What makes these subject lines used by successful ecommerce brands is:
- They are action-oriented. They have the confidence to tell their subscriber what they should do and why it matters.
- Sparks curiosity. A new product is vague enough to make someone want to check it out without being deceptive.
- When in doubt, use numbers. They stand out easier amongst the words.
- Use a friendly tone like how you would receive an email from a friend.
If you have been dismissing email marketing, it could be the time to consider it again. Today, email marketing is delivering huge returns for ecommerce.
It does not need to be as simple or complex as you want as long as it meets your brand expectations.
Remember, you are a guest in the inboxes of your subscribers, and they are only one click away from hearing from you. Be polite, courteous of their time, and deliver value.
As you get started, you need to get them interested and follow through with the promises you make. Provide people what they have asked for and email on a frequency that lines up with their expectations. There is no formula for this; it is what works best for you or your company's brand.
Lastly, you can move on to segmentation and analytics once you have mastered the basics. (Don't forget to use email marketing tools to make your life easier)
Start sending different kinds of emails to different groups of individuals and constantly be improving based on the engagement you receive.
We will cover more about that in later articles.