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eCommerce Marketing

7 Ways to Make the Most out of Email Marketing for eCommerce Merchants

7 Ways to Make the Most out of Email Marketing for eCommerce Merchants

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

2 years ago


7 Ways to Make the Most out of Email Marketing for eCommerce Merchants

Email marketing is often one of the most underrated yet most important marketing channels for online businesses. Just look at the statistics: 91% people use email at least once a day and 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week.

One of the advantages of email marketing is that it contributes almost effortlessly to your online community building. There is no easier way to keep in touch with your customers. So lets discuss how to do it right.


Keep regular contact

Your customer relationship is like any other relationship - it needs to be cultivated to flourish. Email is a great tool to to look after this relationship – to both communicate and to build trust. Of course eventually, the goal is to encourage a sale. Unfortunately sending one email every now and then will generally not achieve that goal. Emails need to be sent regularly to keep customers interested. How often is a tricky question and depends on your audience and type of industry. You naturally don't want to send too many emails but you don't want to send too little either. Ask yourself: how often your customers need your content? Do you have content that will provide value and keep them interested on weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis? 

You could also test sending emails at various intervals and monitor their opening rate, this way you will be able to see what works better for your particular industry. The main point to keep in mind is regularity and consistency - it's not good to send three newsletters in a week and then nothing over the next 6 months. 


Don't sell – inform!

The times where newsletters focused simply on selling are long gone. Of course, the ultimate goal of email marketing is to increase sales but pushy, obtrusive emails are likely to land in the bin, or worse, in a spam folder. As in every other channel of digital marketing quality content rules in newsletters as well. Try to think what is interesting to your customers, what information they would find to be useful, what would keep them excited. Keep the content conversational, personal and friendly. No one likes to read boring emails! If your shop has a blog you may think about repurposing your blog posts into newsletters. Your customers will appreciate pieces of advice, tips or trends delivered straight into their inbox. 

Don't forget to reward your customers - 60% people subscribe to a newsletter to receive a special offers or discounts. Providing special deals in your newsletter is great way to make subscribers feel important and appreciated.


Is your subject line good enough?

Make your subject line intriguing and interesting so that the recipient wants to open your newsletter. Asking a question is good way to pique recipients' curiosity. Describe what's inside the newsletter but try to keep it below 50 characters – that's how many are visible in preview mode of most email clients. Avoid words like: free, help and % off – as per a Mailchimp study they are likely to trigger spam filters.

Subject lines fewer than 10 characters long had an open rate of 58%
- Adestra July 2012 Report


A strong call to action is a must

So you spent lot of valuable time crafting your email. Even if it looks beautiful, is full of useful information and its open rate is 90%, if it lacks a call to action then all this time and effort is wasted. A call to action is vital and to do it right you need to ask yourself the following: what is the purpose of your email? what do you want to achieve? and create your call to action accordingly. Give your customers a chance to do what you want them to do, i.e. browse products in your store, like you on Facebook or write a review. Make it persuasive but don't overcomplicate it, simple words as always work best “See new Products” will likely work better than “Our fantastic new collection is just one click away“.


Optimize for mobile

It is projected that in 2015 number of mobile email users will be nearly 2 billion. That means it is more then likely your newsletters will be seen not on computer screen, but on a mobile device. Make sure your newsletter is responsive and displays property on mobile screens. Tools like MailChimp have tons of responsive newsletter templates, be sure to check them out.

48% of email is now opened on a mobile device


Make sure it works without images

Most email providers automatically disable images. This means that your newsletter shouldn't rely entirely on graphic elements. Make sure it contains informative content besides images, don't forget to add alt text to your pictures and never, ever hide your call to action behind images. Below are two examples of newsletters with disabled images. First is from Amazon and it has easy to spot, above-the-fold call to action. Second, from BeautyEmporium is missing alt text and call to action.
Test it!
Split tests are great way to improve your newsletters. To run split test simply create two (or more) newsletters with different content, different subject line or different call to action. Send each version to an equal number of people from your list and you will be able to see which version generated the best results. Remember though to test one thing at a time – otherwise you won't know which element worked and which didn't. 


The bottom line

Email is a very powerful tool and if your newsletters convey clear message and are nice to look at you will see that they can work miracles for your business. Much like everything though - test, test, test! 

Want to get feedback on your latest email campaign? Share the link in the comments below and we will be happy to take a look.

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