When you’re driving traffic to your eCommerce store and trying to increase your sales, you have 3 different routes you can take:
- Organic traffic, like Google SEO, your Instagram followers, or your Facebook audience.
- Paid traffic, like Facebook Ads, Google Shopping, or Instagram ads.
- Or, you can bring back your existing customers using email marketing.
By far, the easiest and cheapest method for increasing your sales is bringing back visitors that have already made a purchase from your store. They already know you, like you, and trust you, and are more willing to spend money with you than any other traffic source you can use.
Even with this being said, most eCommerce stores simply don’t focus on their email marketing strategy the way that they should.
With the right strategy in place, you can lower your cost per customer acquisition and increase your average lifetime value. You can’t just throw some emails together and pray for the best, though. You need precise planning and implementation.
When the pieces come together, you’re going to be kicking yourself for not working on your email game sooner.
Your Email Marketing Campaign Strategy
Every email marketing strategy has 5 key components that must come together before it can be considered successful.
- Collecting the visitor’s email.
- Getting your subscriber to open the email you send them.
- Getting them to read the email when they receive it.
- Getting them to click the links in the email.
- Getting them to make a purchase on the sales page.
- Get one step wrong, and your sales are going to take a dramatic hit.
- Get each part of the process right, though, and your sales numbers will increase.
- Here’s how to work your way through each step in the process.
Here’s how to work your way through each step in the process.
Step #1: Collecting Your Visitor’s Email
Before you can send out any emails, you need to actually collect their email address. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Even so, many eCommerce stores aren’t doing it, or aren’t utilizing the list that they’ve built.
To start collecting email addresses, here’s where you need to ask them to submit it:
- On your homepage.
- When visitors attempt to leave.
- In exchange for a free gift or incentive.
- When they place their order.
And once you’ve collected it, make sure you’re actually using the data you’ve got. A little later in this post, we’re going to break down some of the more successful campaigns and why they work the way they do.
Step #2: Getting Them To Open The Emails You Send
Simply having an email address and sending out emails isn’t enough, though.
Once you fire off the emails, you need your subscriber to actually open them. That’s where your email headline comes in.
The headline is your one chance to grab your subscriber’s attention and, in a sea of filled inboxes with unread emails, can actually be the hardest part of implementing any email marketing strategy.
Writing attention-grabbing headlines is an entire post on it’s own, but when you’re writing emails you want to make sure that you’re offering them something that shows them an immediate benefit, and that you’re getting creative.
Creative headlines will always outperform boring and bland headlines, and people’s inboxes already have enough of those in them. Don’t add to the pile.
Step #3: Getting Them To Read The Emails
Once you’ve gotten your visitor’s attention when they’re scrolling through their inbox, and actually gotten them to open up the email you’ve sent, you have to get them to read through it. People tend to scan when they’re online, and emails are no different.
That means you need to make it easy for your subscriber to quickly scan through the email you’ve sent, while making sure that you’re guiding their eyes exactly where you want them to go.
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have just enough content to get your point across, without overdoing it with a huge wall of text. One sentence should lead into the next until you get to the end.
Step #4: Getting Them To Click The Links
If you’ve managed to capture your subscriber’s attention and keep it until the end of the email, your next job is getting them to actually click on the links that you want them to click on. This is referred to as your “call to action”.
Your CTA (or call to action) has two main purposes. The first is to entice the visitor to click on the link, and the second is to begin preselling what is on the next page -- your products.
That means your CTA should be benefit focused. Instead of simply saying “click here”, you could use a CTA similar to “click here to receive the benefits”. This is assuming that you’ve already sold those benefits inside of the email copy itself and that the page you’ve linked to finishes the deal by delivering those benefits.
Step #5: Getting Them To Make A Purchase
If you’ve pulled together the previous aspects and used your email to presell your subscriber on why they should buy, you shouldn’t need to do much more work on your actual product sales page.
But you’re not a lazy store owner, right? Didn’t think so.
Tying your product sales page into your email, and making it a continuation of your email will dramatically increase your conversion rates.
Pulling this all together to make one smooth, seamless experience is the end goal of every email marketing campaign. If you don’t make it seamless, you risk losing sales every step of the way, until you end up making zero sales because the campaign simply failed.
When You Should Be Sending Email
Now that you know how your campaign should actually flow, it’s time to figure out one of the other aspects that many eCommerce store owners and marketers seem to get wrong -- how often you should actually be emailing.
Ask 10 different marketers when the best time is to mail, and you’re probably going to get 10 different answers. That doesn’t help when you’re trying to put together a successful campaign.
With that being said, there are certain times that you should absolutely mail your subscribers. Any additional mailings should be based on your experience with your list and how often they actually want to hear from you.
A warmed up list will not have any problems with you mailing more often. However, if you don’t have a relationship with the list -- outside of them purchasing products from you -- and your brand doesn’t have a “personality” yet, you may want to keep mailings to a minimum.
After years of experience, here are the absolute best times you should be sending emails.
To Welcome Them To Your List
Whenever you’ve collected an email address from your store, the very first thing you should be doing is sending out an email to welcome them and thank them for joining.
Your initial email can have a few different purposes. First, you can simply thank them for subscribing. You can also introduce them to your deals and discounts section. You can ask them to “like” you on social media. Or you can simply include your store’s contact information.
Your welcome email is going to set the stage for any remaining emails that you’ll be sending to your list, so it’s worth the time (or money) to get this email right.
To Confirm Their Shipping Information
When a customer makes a purchase from your store, they need to be informed on what’s going on. They want to see that the order has been accepted and acknowledged so they can rest easy, knowing that it’s going to be heading their direction.
When the order has been processed, you need to send out an email with the shipping information included in it.
Whichever company you’re using for shipping will provide the tracking information, and there are apps available that can help you automate the process of sending those tracking numbers to your subscriber.
Aftership is currently one of the best apps for sending shipping information through email.
To Inform Them Of New Products
As your store grows and evolves, you’re going to add new products to your catalog and remove old products that aren’t selling as well.
This is a perfect opportunity to email your list.
You can let them know about the new products that are coming in so you can begin to build hype. Then, once they’re launched, you should have sales coming in on day one.
You can also send them an email letting them know about products that you’re going to be discontinuing soon, alerting them of any potential discounts and letting them know that they will no longer be in stock.
To Remind Them Of Sales
When you post a new sale, or list high-selling products for a discount, you’re going to want to notify your subscribers.
Sending out a quick email with the specific products that are being discounted will generate some sales, especially if the products are already known to sell well.
You don’t want to abuse this tactic, though, or your subscribers could figure out that they simply have to wait for you long enough and you’ll eventually list the products that they want in a flash sale, or something similar.
To Recover Abandoned Carts
Abandoned carts are a huge issue for eCommerce store owners. Normally, when a customer adds products to their cart and then decides they don’t want them, the sales are lost.
With a combination of ad retargeting and cart abandonment emails, you can recover those lost sales and turn them into positive revenue for your store.
Send an email the following day, or even a few hours after they’ve abandoned their cart for a chance to bring them back and complete the sale.
To Confirm Their Delivery
Some packages may get lost in transit, and your customers are going to be left wondering what happened -- especially if they do not check the updated tracking information you sent them.
When this happens, you’re going to end up with a customer nightmare on your hands. Rather than wait until a missing package becomes a real problem, send a notification when the package has arrived at their doorstep.
Then, if the customer doesn’t receive the package, they’re not going to be completely upset by the time they contact you for customer support.
To cross sell or upsell other products.
Once you’ve turned a visitor into a customer, it’s going to be substantially easier to generate more sales from those customers again than it will be to bring new customers into your store.
It’s going to be cheaper, too.
The best way to increase your average lifetime value from each customer is to get them to purchase other products. To do this, fire off an email that contains products similar to what they’ve purchased, or upgrades to what they’ve already purchased.
Making money on the backend through cross sells and upsells is where the long-term million dollar eCommerce stores are setting themselves apart from the fly by night shops that won’t be here a year from now.
To Reengage Them
If you haven’t heard from your subscriber in a month, or two, why not reintroduce yourself and keep your store fresh in their mind? Sending a reengagement email is the best way to do it.
Awakening inactive customers, or sending a reminder about products they’ve purchased, products they may want to purchase, or simply to remind them you’re alive and thinking about them is an easy way to bring them back to your store.
Don’t overdo this strategy, though. In general, it’s best used as a last resort tactic, and can work against you if you happen to abuse it.
7 Types Of Emails That Make Sales
Now you know how your email campaign should flow and the best times to actually send the emails, the next step is figuring out how to write the emails themselves.
Most good copywriters will use templates to craft emails, and some templates work better than others. You can’t necessarily copy and paste the template and make it work for your audience, though.
You’re going to have to take the fundamental principal behind what makes the email work, and then craft the message so it’s specific to your customers.
Here are 7 types of emails that work to generate sales.
A great way to get your visitors to act on a product you’re selling is to implement social proof.
When people see legitimate reviews from other people, they’re more inclined to make a purchase than if you simply ask them to buy.
As you get reviews on the products you’re selling, include them in the emails that you’re sending out. Future customers will see the reviews and get first-hand experiences about how your products can help solve the problems they’re having.
This is one of the highest converting email templates you can use, especially when you’re selling higher priced products.
One eCommerce store, Harry’s has grown to more than $6,000,000 per year in revenue simply based off educating their subscribers about the products that they’re selling.
Providing education to your subscribers has a couple different effects. First, it builds customer loyalty. Then, it increases your average customer lifetime value.
If you find an opportunity to educate your subscribers on using your products, or new ways to solve other problems they’re having related to your products, jump on it. Send out a quick email with the information contained inside, even if you’re not directly asking for the sale.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry you’re working in, especially when you have a niche-focused eCommerce store, is a great way to increase your sales.
It’s also a great way to generate emails you can send to your subscribers that they’re actually going to look forward to, and open.
Whenever you see something that’s shareworthy in your industry, grab it and share it with your subscribers. News, events, changes in products, blog posts from bloggers, you name it. Any type of content that you think your subscribers would want to see can be curated in an email.
Scarcity is, arguably, one of the most powerful strategies you can use when you’re trying to get people to take action and make a purchase. Humans are simply hardwired to jump on your offer for fear of missing out.
Nobody wants to miss out on a good deal, especially when that deal is going to end soon or a limited number of products are being sold.
You have to be careful with scarcity when you’re using it, though. If you overdo it, or the offer comes off as unbelievable, you’re going to end up making zero sales.
Get it right, though, and your sales will skyrocket.
Everybody wants to feel like they’re special, or that they’re the only people getting a good deal.
Making them feel that way is easy when you give them exclusive deals that aren’t sent out to your entire list. This strategy is best when used for long-term customers, but it can be used for your entire list of subscribers on special occasions, as long as you don’t overdo it.
You can combine it with scarcity to add a little extra flare and create a bigger impact.
To get the most out of it, create a subscribers-only coupon code and then put a short time limit on the coupon code so that it expires, mixing both exclusivity and scarcity.
Most eCommerce store owners are familiar with sending out discount codes to their subscribers, and offering them to their visitors.
Instead of using a percentage-based discount code, though, there’s another way to grab people’s attention and get them to take action and make a purchase.
Rather than offering a percentage discount, offer them a specific dollar amount in store credit.
For instance, if you’re running a 15% off discount on a $40 product, change the framing of your offer. Tell them that they have $6 in store credit.
Most people aren’t going to want to miss out on free money, and offering a specific dollar amount makes their brain associate the offer to free money, rather than spending money to save a specific amount.
Another template that can help you re-engage your audience is to “check in” with them.
You can remind them of the purchase that they’ve made, include a piece of news that you’ve released, or remind them to leave a review on the products that they’ve purchased.
If you’re at a loss for words, you can get away with thanking them for being a loyal customer and use the email as an opportunity to stay in touch with them, showing them that you care. The goal is to keep your store fresh in their thoughts.
Email Marketing Made Simple
The biggest takeaway should be that you don’t have to hire an expensive copywriter or a high-end marketing firm to manage your email campaigns.
Following the flow that we laid out for you in the beginning, emailing your subscribers during the times that we listed, and then using some of the proven templates will help you bring visitors back to your store and increase your revenue.
Email marketing is one of the highest ROI marketing strategies you can use in your business, and if you’re not using it, or at least using it properly, you are costing yourself more money than you realize.