Growth Marketer Academy: Episode 19 – Use Email to Get More Sales from your eCommerce Site (without spending more on ads) – Part 1
One of the most effective lead generating platforms for driving eCommerce sales may surprise you.
I know what you’re thinking. Everyone says email is a dying medium. But when it comes to driving sales and engagement, nothing works better.
Even better – Automation lets you use behavioral-linked triggers to send the right email to the right individual, right when they’re ready to buy.
Which can make email marketing your money-making machine.
The Overwhelming Benefits of Email in eCommerce
When it comes to sales conversion rate, email is king.
Second only to search.
All other channels barely even register.
Statistics from Shopify:
72% of customers prefer email as a means to stay in touch with brands they like
Acquisition is just part of the story.
Retention and customer lifetime value are critical for your bottom line.
How Email Fits Into Each Stage of the Buying Lifecycle
Stages of a customer lifecycle:
Email helps you move people through these stages
Win back lost customers
By strengthening relationships.
Too many promotional email blasts?
you’ll fatigue your customers
You need to add value and nurture your relationship.
What Makes A Great Ecommerce Email?
Your email has to:
- look good,
- read well,
- and provide a clear benefit to readers on the first read.
Let’s look at elements that demand your attention:
The ‘From’ Name
The ‘from’ section informs users who the email is from.
This makes the name you display in the from section important:
You don’t want to sound questionable
You’ll be written off before the recipient even sees your message.
Make it easy for readers to figure out exactly who the email is from.
Use your company name.
If you’ve sent one email with your brand name, don’t change it up and use another name in future emails.
Don’t use an employee’s name in this section
(unless your brand revolves around a person).
There’s no need to personalize just yet.
The ‘From’ Sender Address
This email address appears next to the sender’s name when a recipient opens an email,
Avoid using noreply, because:
- It’s likely to get caught up in the spam filter.
- If that doesn’t happen, the email copy sends a negative vibe
- Doesn’t foster a feeling of openness or dialogue.
Allow recipients to reply
your email address should let users know they can
(even if emails are automated).
This creates a better user experience
Improves engagement rate
Makes it easy for people to reach out to you when they have a question.
OR, you can try these options
- Match your sender address to your from name
Notice how Underarmour’s sender address mimics the sender name.
Visual continuity creates a subconscious feeling of trust.
- Personalize sender email address for the purpose
Consider tying the sender email address to a specific purpose
firstname.lastname@example.org for sending newsletters
email@example.com for offers
JetBlue does something like this for providing customer support:
The Subject Line
Subject lines receive a lot of love when it comes to email marketing.
This is because subject lines have the most impact determining the success of your email campaigns.
Your subject line determines if your email gets read.
Don’t get it right and there’s no chance to convert.
Your subject line needs to communicate why someone should open and read your email. Must be:
- and informative.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Keep it simple
People scan text, particularly in a full inbox.
Shorter subject lines (<50 characters), make it easier to scan & quickly determine your offer.
Test your subject lines for simplicity using the 4-second rule:
If it doesn’t lead to an open within 4 seconds, try something else.
- Avoid spam trigger words
Every other eCommerce store is trying to sell stuff.
They use words like ‘free’ or ‘percent off.’
They may also use money symbols or capital letters to highlight an offer.
This means these set off spam alerts on email clients
Your recipient is likely to tune it out.
Email services like Gmail automatically route emails like these to the “Promotions” tab – They may never be seen.
Dixie Horse & Mule Co’s subject line seems super spammy.
You can be promotional occasionally,
Avoid using overtly sale-focused language and symbols in the subject line.
- Target people’s inherent fears
Low supply, high demand.
People act predictably when scarcity exists
(whether natural or artificial)
Fear of missing out on a product or deal encourages action
Minted does this really well, keeping it short while conveying urgency:
DON’T over-do it.
If every subject line you send alludes to urgency, users will soon catch on and stop believing you.
Your always urgent tone will lead to fatigue and annoyance
When a person receives an email, they expect it to be tailored to them.
To most marketers, this means mentioning the recipient’s name.
Unfortunately, everyone is doing this now.
To stand out, try personalizing subject lines based on other factors:
- level of brand loyalty shown.
Consider mentioning a specific product that the recipient has shown interest in.
- Never stop testing
Use these tips as a starting point to create your subject lines.
Then test and tweak constantly to optimize your results
Track your open rates
Run A/B tests
Identify what works best for your particular audience.
A few more things about subject lines…
Don’t repeatedly blast the same type of emails
This decreases engagement over time.
If you send the same kind of message frequently:
- Keep a current list of subject variations that you can use,
- Consider structuring your message as a recurring email
- This allows recipients to quickly identify that the email includes familiar content.
A recurring email is the one exception to the “don’t use the same subject line” rule.
Don’t mislead your audience.
Your email should exactly match with what your subject line hints at.
A misleading subject could increase your open rate
At the expense of customer trust.
When recipients feel duped, they aren’t going to spend money with you.
Test it before you send it:
to test your subject line’s battle readiness.
If you want to read more about subject lines,
Check out our “Supercharge your Email Open Rates with Killer Subject LInes” post:
Preheaders are sometimes referred to as preview text.
A short summary text
Follows the subject line in most email clients.
Lets you to provide a preview of the content in your message to readers before they even open it.
Your preheader is basically a continuation of the subject line.
The two components need to work together to pique interest and get the recipient to open.
Combinations that ramp up curiosity
or improve the level of emotional connection with your brand
Tend to perform well. Notice how men’s clothing line Topman uses both elements to initiate a conversation.
You can include a CTA to increase open rates.
Here’s an example where the sender makes it super clear what action she wants the recipient to take:
Other factors worth considering in your pre-header text include:
- An irresistible offer
- Communicate your value add
Length of your pre-header text is important.
Since email clients have varying character limits, don’t make your pre-header lengthy.
Here’s a breakdown of the differences you need to be aware of.
Limiting your pre-header text to 40-50 characters is a safe bet
Ensures nothing gets cuts off regardless of device and email service used.
Always test how the pre-header visually affects your email.
The pre-header ALSO appears at the beginning of the body of your email (once the email is opened).
If it detracts from your core content, hide pre-header text in the body of the message.
Now That Your Emails Are Being Opened…
There is still work to be done.
The Email Body (Copy)
Your email copy should stimulate readers to think and act on ONE conversion goal.
Focus your message on a single audience
rather than your entire email list.
A florist with a stock of new roses might segment their list to target men who buy roses for their partners.
Here are some tips for email copy:
- Be Concise
Avoid large chunks of text and/or lengthy sentences
Quickly make it clear why you’re emailing someone
With clear, concise, and easy to read copy.
It only takes a few seconds to figure out why they have emailed you.
It’s easy to read
Doesn’t try to hide what they actually want you to do after reading it.
- Be conversational
Make sure your emails are:
- fun to read
- and have some personality.
Ways to keep things fresh:
- telling a story,
- sharing mistakes you’ve made,
- using personal anecdotes
Here’s an example of a great Black Friday ad:
It creates excitement around its promotions with engaging copy.
- Add urgency
Your emails themselves should include motivation to act now.
Procrastination is inherent in human nature.
If your recipient feels they can put off acting on your offer or CTA for a week, or a month, they’ll leave it for later
Email will languish in their inbox until it is inevitably forgotten
It will eventually get swept off to the trash folder.
The Email Body (Design)
If your emails read like an ad, recipients will tune out.
Emails should be designed to get readers to your store, quick as possible.
A clean simple design is best.
Match the design (and copy) of your email to the intent of your readers.
If you’re just looking to sell a product (or announce a sale):
A high-quality image with few words will work.
If your product is complicated, send recipients to a landing page to learn more.
Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Plan for no images
Some email clients block images
Unless a user manually opts-in to see them.
Data analysis from Google indicates that image blocking affects 43% of emails.
When designing your email, consider how your message will look without images.
Avoid embedding critical content within images
This includes your CTA!
If you must, include alt tags to help readers follow along.
- Make images impressive
If readers are able to see images, engage them with stunning visuals.
Use high-quality photographs
Help potential customers ‘experience’ the product.
If you can place the product in context, showing how they can use it, even better.
Use images that are:
- and/or build emotional connections (see below).
- Limit everything within 600px
Scrolling left to right sucks.
If your email requires horizontal scrolling, content that’s not initially in the frame of sight will likely be overlooked.
Eye-tracking studies show people scan content, so facilitate that habit.
- Make your email mobile-friendly
More and more emails are being opened on small screens
Make sure they read well on mobile devices and tablets.
Use responsive email design.
Design your email in this format to ensure that your email dynamically adapts for ‘best-viewing’ regardless of which device readers are using.
- CTA that’s easy to spot
Include at least one CTA
Multiple if your email requires vertical scrolling
Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do.
Make the CTA large
Make them appear clickable.
Important: your CTA must link to the right page.
if you want recipients to buy a specific product:
CTA should take them to your product page
NOT your home page.
You don’t want a convinced customer to have to hunt through your site’s navigation.
Take them exactly where they want to go
Phew, that’s a lot of great info about how to craft the optimal eCommerce email. I bet you’re ready to get crackin’!
But WAIT! It’s not all about sales and promotions.
You have to engage with your customers so they want your emails with a variety of email campaigns.