No matter how many marketing channels we’ve been coming up with, email marketing remains the most effective one for two important reasons:
- It’s your brand’s owned assets, so it won’t go anywhere within a day (unlike organic rankings which always might)
- It’s highly targeted: Your subscribers already know, so they are likely to interact and convert, especially if you time and personalize your emails well.
And yet, email fatigue as consumers get bombarded by more and more marketing emails, especially in the ecommerce sector where every brand sends out special offers on a weekly or even daily basis.
Here are a few email marketing tricks that will still drive ecommerce conversions:
If you send emails too often, your customers will feel overwhelmed and start ignoring the emails. Worse, they might unsubscribe from your emails. Worst of all, they may report your emails as spam and cause all kinds of trouble for you in the future.
Sending marketing emails less often might seem like the obvious solution, but many studies suggest that emailing too infrequently causes just as many problems as emailing too often. For instance:
- You miss out on branding opportunities: If customers aren’t getting many emails from you - but they are getting emails from your competition—you’re missing out on a chance to keep your brand top-of-mind.
- You miss out on chances to make the sale. The less often you reach out to customers via email, the less likely you are to spur them to buy.
- You could hurt your sender reputation. If you don’t send marketing emails at least once a month, you won’t build a strong sender history and your emails could get blocked.
- You’ll struggle to keep a clean list. Email addresses can go bad quickly. If you send emails less than once a month, it will take you longer to catch invalid email addresses and maintain a clean list.
So what can you do to develop the ideal balance between too much, and too little, marketing email?
It depends, but don’t send them more often than once a week. In fact, once a week may very well be a perfect frequency in most cases, as your customers won’t have time to forget you.
In fact, there may be a better approach: Segment your list and vary frequency from segment to segment.
First, segment your email recipients into three categories:
- Primary: These recipients engage actively with the emails, regularly opening, deleting or acting on emails.
- Secondary: These recipients get a lot of promotional emails but engage with only a small percentage of them.
- Dead: These recipients almost never do anything with their marketing emails. These accounts are likely abandoned emails.
Then approach each category differently.
- Focus mostly on the primary recipients, since they’re the most valuable. In addition to interacting with email the most often, they’re also the most likely to complain about it - so be careful before adjusting their frequency one way or the other. Gather as much data as you can, and run tests with small subgroups of primary recipients. Pay attention to complaints whenever you do these tests so you can adjust frequency before you offend too many of these subscribers.
- When it comes to secondary recipients, you don’t need to worry as much—which gives you greater leeway to experiment. Since they aren’t as valuable, and don’t complain about emails nearly as much as primary recipients, you can test different frequencies on secondary recipients without much risk of making things worse—and a great likelihood of making things better.
People skim content rather than reading it outright, and the first thing they’ll look at is your email subject. Instead of writing witty subjects, think like a newspaper editor and write headlines that tell the reader exactly what is in the story they are about to read.
Here are some tips for writing effective email subjects:
- Keep it brief: A subject line should be concise and to the point. Avoid using excessive words or convoluted phrases.
- Be clear but don’t reveal much: You want to tell people exactly why you're emailing about but they need to still be curious enough to read the rest.
- Use keywords: If the email is part of a project or discussion thread, include relevant keywords in the subject line. This will help the recipient quickly identify the email and understand its context.
- Avoid using vague or misleading subjects: Vague or misleading subjects can confuse the recipient and make it more difficult for them to prioritize the email. Avoid using subjects like "Important" or "Urgent" unless they are truly relevant to the content of the email.
- Personalize the subject line: If you are sending an email to a specific person, consider including their name or a reference to a previous conversation in the subject line. This can help grab their attention and make the email feel more personal.
Overall, the goal of a subject line is to grab your customer's attention and give them a clear idea of what the email is about. By following these tips, you can craft subject lines that are effective and engaging.
Text Optimizer will be helpful at suggesting some terms that would work in email subjects well. Just type your email topic and see which words will be considered relevant to that topic:
No one will engage with your ecommerce email if they don’t even see it in their inbox. Provided you have a solid email database of real working email addresses, emails fail to be delivered for two main reasons:
- Your email is being labeled by a spam filter. As spam filters get more aggressive, be sure your emails get past them.
- Your server is not working properly
To minimize both risks, try these steps:
- First, refrain from sending emails from free email accounts. They'll be caught.
- To prevent your primary domain name from being marked as spam, get a different domain name to fuel your email marketing efforts. Namify can help you find a very affordable one.
- Verify that your emails don't appear spammy. Try Mail Tester as well to determine whether your email is likely to be labeled as spam. The app will evaluate your message content, verify the most prevalent blacklists, run it through the most major spam filters (including Gmail), detect broken links and more
One of the hardest things for an ecommerce owner is to constantly create new content for email marketing. As I’m sure you’ve learned, once you start, you really need to keep it going.
A possible solution? Uncover and use the best of what other people have already written. In other words, curate content.
Content curation is a great way to turn your brand into a knowledge hub and get your customers dependent on you for niche trends and top stories.
Yes, you have to do some heavy lifting at the start – but it quickly goes faster and gets easier! First, subscribe to a lot of blogs and newsletters that are relevant to your industry. As you sift through them, start unsubscribing from anything you don’t learn from. You’ll quickly whittle down your must-read list.
Then leaning on that experience you had, put together your own newsletter that will be as good or better than those that got you hooked. Have your team help you: I'm sure they will enjoy putting these niche email digests together and it will keep them excited and motivated as well. Another great way to learn about big niche news and trends is to monitor related Reddit accounts. I use Visualping to notify me when anything goes hot on subreddits that are relevant to my industry:
One thing to note: Always attribute the information you share back to its original source, or you could be accused of piracy/theft/plagiarism/dishonesty and find your reputation in tatters. Remember, your goal is to do legwork, not steal.
Creating “best of” lists, especially when that includes information from recognized experts and thought leaders in your industry, is a super smart move. The ideas are really endless:
- Best blogs on a specific subject
- Funniest viral videos
- Smartest advice
- Most beautiful product packaging
- Favorite restaurants for business meetings
- Top yoga moves for relaxation
Just make sure whatever list you create is related to your industry and is relevant to your audience.
We all know that visuals beat text in terms of engagement – so why not apply this knowledge to your calls-to-action? Instead of linking text, create a button that uses straightforward text, like “Sign Up,” “Learn More,” or “Buy Now.”
A call-to-action (CTA) is a specific action or request that you want the recipient of your email to take. For example, a CTA might be to visit your website, download a file, or register for an event.
Here are some tips for writing effective CTAs in your emails:
- Keep it simple and direct: A CTA should be clear and straightforward. Avoid using complicated or confusing language.
- Use action-oriented language: Use verbs that encourage the recipient to take action, such as "click here," "download now," or "register today."
- Make it easy to take the desired action: The recipient should be able to take the desired action quickly and easily. Provide a link or button that takes them directly to the relevant page or form.
- Use a contrasting color or design: The CTA should be visually distinct from the rest of the email. Use a contrasting color or design to make it stand out and grab the recipient's attention.
- Test and optimize: Experiment with different CTAs and track their effectiveness. Use the results to optimize your CTAs and improve their performance.
By following these tips, you can create effective CTAs that encourage your email subscribers to take the desired action.
All the big email marketing services include buttons in their templates, but of course you can also insert your own.
Riffing on what I discussed about CTA buttons, one of the reasons that people love visuals is they create an emotional connection. Therefore, it’s wise to always use high-quality images in your emails – but you need to use them thoughtfully.
Place images on the left side of your emails, because our eye naturally travels down an email there (I don’t know why – but this has been proven). Additionally, use images of people – they can evoke strong emotions and set a mood.
Don’t overdo it with images though. One image per email is enough. Add fun memes, your team’s pictures, etc. Make those images part of context!
Ecommerce email marketing is art: There is never a single tactic that will always work. Continue experimenting with different email marketing tricks, measure your results and come up with more tricks to try!