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Any business that uses marketing will sooner or later be concerned with the funnel, a concept that tracks the user journey from that of a total stranger to a fiercely loyal customer, even an advocate. Most strategies in marketing, if not all, are directly tied to the marketing funnel, tailoring the approaches used to reach the customer depending on what stage they’re in. This is just as true for email marketing, where the line between targeted marketing and spam can be very blurred for some.
Spam is like email marketing in one way and one way alone, it is an email targeted at you. Aside from this, spam offers nothing that email marketing does. Email marketing is a valid method of growing/maintaining a business, whereas spam is a scam tactic used to steal private information. To put it simply, check out the following comparison:
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Grow business and maintain contact with clients. Difficult to get rid of.
Trick people into handing over their personal information.
Offers specials and deals on merchandise to provide mutual benefit to the business and customer.
Does not acquire any more information than the customer is willing to give.
Does not interfere with customers’ private data.
Keeps customers up to date with their favourite companies.
Sent under a brand name.
Easy to unsubscribe/opt-out.
Whether or not people receive them is in the customer’s hands.
Makes false offers in an effort to steal bank/identity details.
Frequently asks for extraneous information under false pretences.
Harasses customers for information if they are not compliant.
Provides no useful information to customers.
Always under a false identity.
Difficult to get rid of.
Sent without the target’s consent.
When it comes to E-commerce email marketing best practices we have to examine them in relation to the marketing funnel, otherwise our strategy will be all over the place. The typical funnel has five sections, each one categorising a different stage of the customer journey from someone whose never heard of your brand to someone who is actively promoting it.
The stage at which a potential customer (or ‘lead’) has been made aware that your business exists.
When the lead decides to look into your business and see whether or not you are meeting their pain points.
When your lead becomes a customer, either making a purchase or other desirable action.
Due to good service/quality, the customer repetitively converts.
The customer starts spreading your business through sharing content or word of mouth.
Let’s take a look at E-commerce email marketing best practices when used in conjunction with the marketing funnel.
This is the first step in your email marketing. Before you can actually start sending emails, you need to lay the groundwork for what it is that you want to achieve through this campaign, and then make sure that you’re set up properly for when customers actually start coming in and the funnel activates.
1. Set Goals
This is much more involved than saying “I want to achieve x goal with my email marketing because y.” Setting Goals may start with a statement like this. Perhaps your store isn’t doing well and you want to incentivise more people to buy. Maybe you’re facing an epidemic (touch wood) of abandoned carts. Whatever the reason, it’s useless to set goals without proper research. Tools like CrazyEgg or Hotjar provide heatmaps and screen recordings, giving you direct access to resources that show you how customers are using your website. Use this information to see what it is that’s making customers not do what you want them to, then set this as your goal.
2. Be Mobile Friendly
Although you should always target desktops, make sure that whatever email marketing tool you use, whatever other features it may have, that it has the ability to craft email designs specifically for mobile. Most simple online interactions are done through mobile phones these days, and email campaigns that don’t offer mobile friendly content invariably miss out on huge amounts of engagement and conversions. It’s best to design for mobile first and do your desktop design second.
3. Set up Automation
Email marketing requires the user to think ahead in terms of the journey their customers will take, draft the appropriate emails, and then use the features of their email marketing tool in order to set the emails to send at a specific time, date, or after a certain user action. This automation allows you to focus on your email marketing once or twice a week, rather than crafting dozens of emails daily and sending them individually to specific addresses in your mailing list. Automation and how you use it will be what carries you through this campaign.
Now we’ve set the groundwork for your email campaign, now it’s time to put it into action. Create a landing page or pop-up on your website that invites customers to sign up to your mailing list in exchange for a special or a deal. Now we come to the first stage of the funnel.
4. Welcome Series
Let’s not start advertising too heavily too quickly. All email addresses that sign up should receive emails welcoming them to the company. The first email will be sent immediately after the customer signs up, containing whatever incentive reward you offered in exchange for their email address. This email should also reaffirm that the emails will benefit the customers and that they can unsubscribe at any time. Not only this but a welcome email series will help you project which customers you can rely on for regular engagement, and therefore plan future emails better and with more accuracy.
This is where your customer starts to investigate your business a little more. Their awareness of your business has been changed into an active interest. They want more information about you, your products, and what your brand stands for. Let’s give them what they want.
5. Segment and Personalise
Analytics from the welcome series of emails should give you plenty of information regarding which customers are the prime targets for further emails. Customers with the highest open rates are likely more interested in who you are and what you’re doing. Segment your lists according to their open rates. Give higher open rate addresses more frequent emails with updates about the company, information about its formation and the goods/services it offers, and special deals to use in the store. Lower open rate addresses should only receive specials.
Special offers and promotions are most of the reasons most people sign up to mailing lists. Make sure that with your offers, you’re giving additional value to your customers. Look at what items are selling the best and build on it by throwing in a freebie with that particular item, or having a percent-off special on that item for a limited time exclusive to email list members.
7. Improve Deliverability
“Improving deliverability” simply means improving your legitimacy. Authenticating your email domain, allocating your IP, and other methods can all be used to improve the authenticity of your emails in the eyes of the internet, keeping you out of the cursed spam folder and maintaining your legitimacy in the eyes of the customer.
8. Keep a Clean Email List
This is in reference to how you acquire the emails on your mailing list. A “dirty” email list is one that has been bought. There are many companies out there that come by customer emails through unscrupulous means. Using these lists is both illegal, and damaging to your business, as when someone who didn’t opt into your email campaign starts getting emails from you, it puts a blotch on your reputation and frustrates customers, turning them into the anti-advocate.
After buying something, your leads have now become customers or conversions. This is where the trick of email marketing lies – audience (or customer) retention.
9. Encourage Reviews
When a customer buys an item, your next email to them will likely be a receipt. This receipt can contain a discount code in order to increase the chance of a repeat purchase. However, after the receipt, there should be an email scheduled to send about a week after the purchase (or longer depending on average delivery times) prompting your customer to leave a review. Again, a review can be in exchange for a discount code or other incentive. Reviews work because they turn your audience into an advocate for at least one time, and the more positive press you have, the more chance there is that you’ll sell more in the future. If the customer responds to an email with a screenshot of the review (positive or negative, don’t sell your credibility for falsehoods, sooner or later people will catch on) then you can send them a reward in the form of a discount code.
10. Abandoned Cart Series
Just as with the welcome series, you want to have an email series set up and automated for the event that a customer puts items in their cart and then leaves without converting. This is a fairly common occurrence, and there’s usually two reasons for it. Either the customer just wanted to see what the shipping cost on their items would be, or they were distracted and forgot to put the items through. Either way, a well-timed email with a small discount code to incentivise finalising the purchase could be that little extra nudge customers need to get pushed into conversion-land.
The customer has done all they can. They’ve become aware, they’ve researched, and now they’ve bought from you. For now, the ball is out of their court, and it’s up to you to show them that their faith in you was well-founded.
11. Maintain Sender Reputation
Respect your audience! Don’t send them dozens of emails in the space of a few days. Don’t market aggressively, and don’t always talk about yourself. Segmenting your email lists into sub-lists is important because it allows you to personalise the content that the sub-groups within your clientele will receive. Be unobtrusive, offer quality content, and always reward your customers for their conversions. These three tips, coupled with impeccable service or product quality, will cement your reputation as a trusted brand, and with it, the loyalty of your customers; encouraging repeat conversions.
Now the customer is actively introducing you to their friends and family like a new romantic interest. Any chance they get they’re sharing your content, using your product, demonstrating it to those close to them, and just generally showing off your brand. What is there for you to do now?
12. Test, Review, Improve
Email marketing is not a one-and-done thing. The primary purpose of an email marketing campaign is to establish a mutually beneficial channel of communication between you and your customers. Make sure that you’re constantly tracking the analytics of the emails you send out, noting what encourages conversions and what increases bounce rates. Review the analytics and change things up accordingly.
As informative as this blog might have been, this is time you could have spent doing something you enjoy, or working on your business. And as much as we hoped you enjoyed this blog, we know that our services can help you out so you need never read one like this again.
Traffic Radius offers fully comprehensive marketing services, but one of our specialties is email marketing. Our experts are highly trained, emphatically creative, and very professional. Aside from this our extensive experience in the industry, as well as our international outreach make our company one of the most trusted in Melbourne, aside from the fact that we have a roster of over 400 regular clients that we’ve helped meet their goals and aspirations through our marketing services.
Why not contact us at this page or call us on 1300 870 901 and see what we can do for you?