It’s probably not news to you that running an ecommerce business is no small feat. You’re trying to juggle about a dozen “top priorities,” including fulfilling orders, working with vendors, trying to reach new traffic and drawing existing customers and previous visitors back to your store. Many businesses are relying on search engine optimization for ecommerce and paid search marketing to increase their business’s visibility and attract new visitors to their websites, but aren’t going back for previous customers aside from posting on social media.
While social media marketing is an excellent tool, it’s not the best tool in your arsenal to draw clicks to your website. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect with customers. Nearly three-fourths of customers prefer email communication, and when you’re reaching out in a way your customer prefers, they’re more likely to take the next step, in this case, shopping your ecommerce store.
However, writing emails and sending them out is time consuming, and you’ve got enough on your plate. Fortunately, there’s software available that will do much of the heavy lifting for you. So, to help you save time while increasing conversions, we’re sharing some simple, but effective email marketing automation tips for your ecommerce store.
Setting Up Email Marketing Automation
Your first step toward liberating yourself from minutiae (some of it, anyway) is to choose your marketing automation software and set it up. There’s dozens to choose from, but we recommend HubSpot for the following reasons:
- It’s free! Yes, there’s a premium option that comes with wonderful features, but the free marketing tools are excellent for small businesses.
- It’s easy to set up and use, even for beginners.
- There’s plenty of support and learning resources to improve your marketing workflows.
- You can expand your marketing as you need to.
Once you choose your email marketing automation software, just follow these steps to getting them out to your customers and email subscribers:
- Write your emails. Your software will let you create sequences, ie: a series of emails that will go out at scheduled intervals, or single emails.
- As you write an email or a sequence, assign it a “trigger” – meaning the email will automatically be sent when a customer takes a certain action. For example, a welcome email is triggered to go out when someone subscribes, or an abandoned cart email is triggered when, you guessed it, a customer leaves your website without purchasing what’s in their cart.
Technically, that’s all there is to it! Write it, set your triggers, get return customers coming back to your ecommerce store!
Email Marketing Every Ecommerce Business Needs
Once you have your email automation software set up, you can go ahead and write up emails you want to send out.
A Welcome Email
Getting a customer’s email address is valuable information that starts the whole opportunity to send them valuable coupons and shop information to attract them to your store. You want to make that connection as soon as possible, which is where a welcome email comes into play.
Within minutes of capturing an email address, they should receive an email that includes:
- Thanking them for signing up.
- A warm welcome to your community.
- What your business is about – your mission and values.
- What the subscriber can expect – you’re not going to spam them, only send them valuable information like new product alerts, sales, etc.
- A gift or incentive to shop at your ecommerce store – this is optional, but a discount code or free gift is often effective and appreciated.
Note: You can also set up a welcome sequence, also known as a drip campaign. This is a short series of emails, usually between three and seven, that provide more in-depth information about your business, some useful resources, information about your products, and often a personal story or a customer experience.
Abandoned Cart Email
Having a visitor to your website is great, but having a paying customer is better. Often a customer will put items in their cart, then not have time to finish the transaction or get cold feet. After a while, they may forget entirely about their purchase and your ecommerce store.
Using email marketing automation, you can create a trigger that will send a reminder email about three days after a customer abandons their cart. It can be very simple, just a “Hi ______, When you were at our online store, we saw you didn’t complete your order for:” then list items, and provide a link to their cart. That’s all you have to do, but you can also include an incentive coupon to help seal the deal.
Celebrate Big Events with Customers
Showing your appreciation for your customers is a huge way to attract them back to your store. In a time where ecommerce can be a bit impersonal, adding the personal touch gives you a great advantage. Celebrating big events with your customers and providing them with a gift to use, such as a discount code or a code to get a freebie item is a proven way to boost conversions. Here are some examples of some automated event emails:
- Birthdays (make sure you have a place to capture customer birthdays in your subscriber form!)
- Your business anniversary – think “Today marks our __ anniversary, and our business is celebrating another year thanks to customers like you!”
- Customer anniversary
- Holidays – go with traditional days, emails for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other shopping events, but also look for the random holidays that work with your business. For example, if you sell bedding, pillows or comfy throw blankets, send out an email on August 10th celebrating National Lazy Day (be sure to put those items on sale or send a discount code for them!).
We Miss You
Only about 20 percent of your customers make up 80 percent of your business, so you can’t afford to lose repeat customers. If someone hasn’t made a purchase in a while, send an email letting them know you miss them. Include some new items to your store or any changes, that you value their business, and add a discount code to sweeten the email.
Upselling is a great way to boost your sales and profits and having an ecommerce store makes it easy to upsell both at the time of purchase and in the future. You can automate upsells based on purchases, and while this may lead to having to write and link a lot of emails, the payoff is huge.
For example, if you sell winter gear, and a customer buys a coat, sending an email that includes winter accessories like your most popular scarves, hats, and gloves will draw your customer back for a repeat purchase.
Leveraging Email Segmentation
If you have a large list of email subscribers, it may be difficult to provide personalized communications to them. That’s where email segmentation comes into play. This divides your list into smaller segments based on criteria you set and allows you to target that group with more personalized, relevant marketing.
For example, if you are a global ecommerce business, you can create groups based on geography and provide them with emails for holidays celebrated in specific nations (like Boxing Day or Canada Day). Common examples of segmentation include:
- Previous purchases
- Purchase frequency
- Customers with a high average order amount
- Customers who only purchase items on sale or clearance
When you create an email to send out to your list, you can send it to everyone or just specific segments, improving your open and click rates.
Understanding Email Marketing Analytics
While email marketing analytics is a blog post on its own, knowing even the basics of your analytics can help you tailor your emails to be more effective. Your email marketing software will provide you with information that includes:
- Open rate – who read your email. Average is between 35 percent and 45 percent.
- Click-through rate – how many clicks your email got, and which links were the most effective (if you had more than one).
- What time people read your email
- How people read your email (on mobile or desk top)
Just using this information, you can improve your conversion rate. For example, a low open rate means you should consider sending emails at a better time (based on what time people did read your email) and including a stronger, more engaging subject.
Increase Your Ecommerce Sales with TheeCommerce
At TheeCommerce, we have a team of marketing experts that excel in reaching your target audience and driving traffic to your website, whether through email marketing, paid search, or SEO. Our team will work with you to create a strategy that reaches both new and existing customers, helping to boost profits while saving you time to focus on running your business.