If you want to build a sustainable, and competitive eCommerce store today, you have to be willing to invest in email marketing. A well-executed email strategy can help you scale up your brand awareness, qualify and nurture leads, increase traffic to your store, drive repeat purchases, and build a stronger, more profitable eCommerce business over time.
Building an Email Strategy for Your Ecommerce Business
In order to successfully drive more sales with email, you have to build a customized strategy that will resonate with your customers and align with your brand. To get your audience to open your emails, engage with your campaigns, and buy your products, they have to feel like the messaging you send them is authentic, meaningful, written for them specifically, and representative of the unique voice and style of your brand. If your emails look and feel like everyone else’s, you’re never going to be able to make the impact that you’d like to make.
How to Build and Send Email Campaigns That Drive More Sales
You’ve taken time to think about your audience, your brand, and your goals, and you’ve reviewed the different types of emails that you could be incorporating into your email marketing strategy.
So, the question is, what’s next? How do you put everything that you’ve learned into practice?
Here are 8 steps you should follow to start driving actual eCommerce sales with email:
STEP 1: THINK ABOUT THE TYPES OF EMAILS YOU’D LIKE TO TEST
To finalize your email strategy, review the list of email types above and decide which ones you’d like to test or implement in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. When evaluating the different types of emails described above, think about the answers you wrote down about your customers, your brand, and your goals. Which types of emails do you think your audience would respond to best? Which type of emails would they be most excited about? What are your goals for the next quarter? Do you have the resources (time, people, money) in place to implement every type of email in that list? If not, can you prioritize the ones you think are worth trying right away?
STEP 2: BUILD OUT YOUR CALENDARS AND AUTOMATED WORKFLOWS
Once you’ve made decisions about the types of emails you’d like to start sending to subscribers and customers, the next step you need to take is to build out your calendar and automated workflows.
Your master email calendar should list out every campaign you intend to send out over the next 90 days. When building this out, think about the upcoming holidays you could take advantage of, and consider the seasonality of your business. Try to work backward from the day a particular campaign will go out, and determine what you need to do in the weeks ahead to prepare. Will you need custom graphics? New product photos? New landing pages to send subscribers to? Use your calendar to figure out the work and resources you’ll need in order to send email campaigns out on time.
Your automated workflows are comprised of the lifecycle emails that you know you’re going to want to send to every customer who purchases a product from you. These are your optimized transactional emails as described above. Re-engagement emails and up-sell/cross-sell emails should also be included in your automated workflows.
STEP 3: INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
Think about the tools that you can use to automate your email marketing tasks. As mentioned above, your eCommerce platform might already include native tools that you can use to send transactional emails to your customers. If you’re using a platform like Shopify, you probably already know that there are thousands of apps you can use to test different tactics and automate tasks relating to your business. If you’d like to optimize the transactional emails you’re already sending and add some re-engagement emails, for example, look into incorporating Spently into your Shopify account.
STEP 4: START GROWING YOUR LIST
In order to convert subscribers into customers, you need to work on growing your email list. Here are 3 ideas you can work on implementing this month to convince more people to agree to receive email updates from you:
- Idea #1: Write a short ebook and promote it on social media and in your blog content. Think of the pain points you know your ideal customers have, and write an ebook that provides readers with answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Focus on leveraging yourself and your brand as a trusted resource. For example, if you sell athletic shoes, write an ebook about how to improve your running form. Gate your ebook behind a landing page on your website, and offer the resource as a free download in exchange for an email address.
- Idea #2: Launch a viral contest. Give one of your products away. Launch a contest using a contest software tool like Gleam. Offer extra entries to people for visiting your website, answering a question, or referring the contest to another friend.
- Idea #3: Add opt-in forms throughout your website. Offer a 10% discount or promo code to anyone who subscribes to your list for the first time. Note: make sure you have a welcome email or welcome email series in place before adding this form on your website! There’s nothing worse than asking people to sign up for your list when you’re not prepared to reward them with the gift you promised.
STEP 5: SEGMENT YOUR SUBSCRIBERS
As you start building your email list, work to segment your subscribers. Doing so will help you send more targeted email campaigns in the future. Separate your list by subscribers, customers, repeat customers, raving fans, abandoned cart leads, etc. To learn more about segmenting your eCommerce list, check out this article from Audiencefy.
STEP 6: BUILD OUT YOUR CAMPAIGNS
Spend time building out the email campaigns you planned out in your 90-day email calendar. This may involve using a few different tools—remember, you’ll want to build out manual campaigns to test different types of emails, and you’ll want to build out automated workflows that send emails to customers based on certain transactional triggers.
STEP 7: GO LIVE, WITH A/B TESTS
Schedule and push out your first email campaigns. To get the most ROI from your efforts, consider setting up A/B tests. For example, you could test different subject lines, graphics, copy, and CTA buttons in every email you send. Doing so will teach you more about your customers and how they respond to different messages.
STEP 8: EVALUATE PERFORMANCE
Once your emails are live, track performance in real-time and after your campaign has ended. Use these insights to make changes and improvements to future campaigns. For every email you send out, you should be tracking open rates, clickthrough rates, conversion rates, bounce rates, and overall ROI.