09Nov
By: Justas Markus November 09, 2016

Most online business owners think email marketing is as simple as sending mass promotional emails every week to all email subscribers. Billions of promotional newsletters are flooding people’s inbox everyday. People, more or less, hate and ignore advertising newsletters. Today, email marketers need to open their eyes for new email marketing best practices.

How do you notice people are doing email marketing today? Mass promotional campaigns used to work in the past but not anymore. Nowadays when people are much more selective about which emails to open and which to ignore than in the past, successful newsletters campaigns need to be executed with best strategies that focus on achieving final goals.

In this article, we are going to address email marketing best practices that can ensure high conversion rates and boost sales for eCommerce business owners. These email marketing strategies are inclined towards personalization, automation and responsiveness to generate the best results for online stores.

Personalized email flow wins customers

Winning love and trust from customers requires much more efforts than sending mass promotional emails on a weekly or monthly basis. How you communicate with your customers via emails gives them a great idea of how you truly care about their experiences. The more you treat them as individual instead of just another subscriber as everyone else, the better impression they have of you as a caring and trustworthy brand among thousands of identical online stores on the Internet.

What is the email marketing best practice that can help you make every single customer feel personal and cared for during their whole shopping journey with your brand? A personalized follow-up email sequence can help you stand out from the crowd and deliver a WoW experience to your customers. Let’s explore how in details:

#1 Welcome email that simply surprises new customers:

We would never expect a personal thank-you email from the owner of an online store we spent 5 minutes browsing on the Internet. We would probably think they must be too busy to reach out to a random customer just to say hello. Imagine how we would feel when they actually reached out to us, expressing appreciation that we had paid a visit on their web store? Building long-term relationship with first-time customers can start with simple initiatives as sending a welcome email from your own email domain, saying hi and telling them how much you hope to see they come back in a near future. Plus, ask for their permission to receive emails from you in a couple of days to introduce your new collections which you think they might be very interested in. Who would say no to a busy business owner still taking time for a polite courtesy?

#2 Personalized product recommendation emails that sell the right things to the right customer:

Each shopper has different preferences and needs, thus suggesting the same items to everyone is not a smart selling strategy. Don’t push your customers away by sending them irrelevant products they have no interest in. Instead, suggest to each individual customer the right items you think they will mostly want to purchase. Does that sound unrealistic? 

It is if you intend to implement the strategy manually. However, email marketing best practices have proved that the strategy is possible with eCommerce personalization technology. Smart recommendation engines, when plugged into your site’s back-end, can collect and analyze browsing and purchasing patterns of each customer. By learning each individual’s interests based on their behaviour on the website, it helps you “hand-pick” the products a customer might like the most, and cross sell to them by email.

personalized-emails

#3 Bring your lost sales back with Abandoned Cart Recovery emails

The truth is, eCommerce conversion sees the biggest drop at cart page, where 68% of online shoppers abandon their order and leave the site for good. There are people who may never have the intention to purchase in the first place. Meanwhile, a lot of customers probably lose connection to your site due to external factors, which would be such a big waste if you didn’t make efforts to convert them back.

Sending emails to remind them of their unfinished carts works well to retain unintentionally leaving customers. You want to increase the chance that they will make purchase, offering exclusive discounts, free shipping or suggesting alternative options could be great ideas to try.

Customer segmentation is your secret to success

The key to personalization in automated email marketing is customer segmentation – the practice of dividing a broad customer base into more focused target groups of similar characteristics, behaviors, or preferences. The aim of segmenting customers into specific subsets is to convert them better with customized content that are relevant and useful for each individual. This is one of the most important email marketing best practices out there, so pay close attention. 

Depending on how you want to target your customers, there are certain attributes and events that help you build customer segments. While attributes define the customer personas such as gender, location, language, income…, events are actions they take along their customer journey, that help you predict their interests and trigger appropriate email campaigns.

customer-segmentation

You should be sharply clear about who you want to target and what you aim to achieve in the end before creating a segment. Targeting inactive customers who haven’t come back to the store within the last 20 days is totally different from targeting those who view many products but don’t purchase. Don’t forget to analyze and A/B test regularly to determine which segments convert the best via your engaging campaigns. Determining “worthy” customer segments will help you switch your focus and resources to the right direction.

The email elements that make huge impact with small changes

Just as how much the email sequence and customer segmentation strategies impact your final conversion goal, the newsletter itself matters a great deal. The most relevant email marketing statistics (open rate, click rate, conversion rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate…) all lead to the final conversion goal. You can certainly improve the result of your email campaigns by applying email marketing best practices in crafting these impactful email elements:

  • Subject line: is the first impression of the newsletter that grabs recipient’s attention and directly affects the open rate of the campaign. Concise and catchy email subjects are much preferable, especially when more and more people are opening emails on their mobile phones and tablets whose screens have limited space to show subject lines in full (which is recommended to increase the chances people open emails).  
  • Preview message: Not many people pay attention to preview lines in emails – the first words of the email content that appear right after subject lines in the inbox screen. Most email skimmers will read preview message to decide whether they will open the email to grasp more details. Write a capturing preview line and double-check by sending a test copy to your inbox. Ask yourself this question to determine whether your preview line is good enough: would I be interested to know more after reading these few words?

 

preview message email marketing best practices

  • Captivating content: On top of everything, the email you send to your customers is the content you want them to care about. People only care about things that are relevant, interesting, and valuable specifically to them. Personalized content with emotional message that taps into exactly what your customers need can make a huge difference. The heart of content lies in how much you understand your customers and their pain points: learn what they need and deliver solutions in your message.
  • Clear CTA: You can go about how you are thankful or how your new products are desirable, but lack of clear instructions will lead customers nowhere when they finish reading your email content. Summarize the purpose in a bottom line of your email content to get customers take your desired actions.

Beautifully responsive on mobile devices

A recent 2016 research by Campaign Monitor has stated that approximately 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices, and that the number of emails opened on mobile devices has been increasing by 30% on yearly basis since 2011. The numbers say it all: email campaigns that succeed today are those designed to be beautifully responsive on any desktop or mobile devices. When you design your email template, send a test copy to make sure the template looks nice and readable on all desktop and mobile devices.

responsive-email-marketing-best-practicesEmail marketing best practices that are worth your efforts

With a 3800% ROI prospect (which means for $1 spent the return profit is $38), email marketing is definitely the marketing channel that is worth a lot of efforts and attention. Armed with these email marketing best practices, it’s time for you to get serious about making this channel work best for your business:

  • Don’t spam your customers’ inbox with same newsletters on a predictable schedule. Instead, design an email flow that triggers proper campaigns when customers take specific actions on your store.
  • Email personalization comes along with customer segmentation. Define target customer groups to better trigger them by their actions.
  • Small changes when made smartly can have huge impact on your campaign performance, so pay attention to elements that make up your email campaign.
  • Going mobile is the new trend. Want your email campaigns to blow off? Make sure they are beautifully responsive.

Apply these email marketing best practices, test them out using A/B testing technique, keep track of important email marketing statistics to improve your campaigns. If you try hard constantly, your hard work will pay off.

  • Ksa

    Which email marketing programs allows you to segment your audience by past purchases, location, etc?

  • Justas Markus

    Hey, Ksa. Thanks for you question! You should try to use Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor for that. Also, there are some extensions like Litmus for these email marketing programs.