If you are running an online business and you are not using email marketing, you are losing money, simple as that!
Email marketing has been proved time and time again to provide a better ROI than virtually anything else you can do. All you need is a customer list and a regular newsletter.
That said, there are many ways to use email and very few businesses truly make the most of the opportunities to profit from this powerful medium.
In this post I am going to share with you, a number of ways that you can use email to sell more and grow your revenue. And the best part? Most of these are things that you can do right now for an almost instantaneous boost!
Abandoned Cart Emails
This is an incredibly simple idea but one that can quickly boost your sales. The fact is, that on average, 60-70% of carts are abandoned. That’s crazy! It means that for every sale you make, you probably already lost 2.
By setting up an abandoned cart email system (here’s a plug for wordpress) you can capture the details of anyone who gets a certain way through the checkout (basically, you want them to at least enter their email address) so that you can send them an email (or a series of emails) and ask them to come back.
This system can very easily be automated and if you can rescue even a fraction of abandoned carts that’s a sale (and even a customer) that you might otherwise have lost.
Here’s a good email strategy to try:
- Email 1 – 1 hour after cart abandonment
Just a plain text email, asking whether anything went wrong or whether they need any help, try to seem personal. This email is also a great way to discover problems with your checkout that you can fix.
- Email 2 – 2 days after cart abandonment
Send a branded and templated email reminding the customer about their cart and applying some time pressure such as “hurry before these items sell out”?
- Email 3 – 1 week after cart abandonment
Send a branded and templated email, be meek and tell the customer you don’t want to lose them, then offer a discount code if they complete their purchase within 1 day.
Follow Up Emails
Most ecommerce platforms have a fairly standard set of emails that are sent out after making a purchase, but that’s a huge opportunity lost. There is so much more that you can do with your follow up emails, so make sure you get creative. Here are some ideas (and a few more from Armando at PracticalEcommerce).
Rather than just a standard “thank you” email, write something in plain text as if you were writing it directly to the customer and really thank them for their custom, tell them how much you care and that if they have any problems to get in touch.
Spell out exactly what happens next, how long they should allow for delivery etc… This is an opportunity to prevent customers from feeling frustrated and therefore keeping them happy.
Ask for feedback
Maybe a week after dispatch, send an email asking for feedback. Ask if they like the products and service. This might also be a good time to send them to your online review service (as long as your service is good!)
This is more related to the follow-up emails suggestion but perhaps a little more audacious. Nonetheless, this can work well in some niches.
The idea is this:
Once a customer has completed a purchase, depending on what they have bought, send a follow-up email offering them a discount on upgrading their order. Perhaps to a bigger size, another one in a different color, a better version…
I suggest experimenting with the best way to do this, you can try sending the “upgrade” option immediately after purchase, or you could try the “buy another one” option a couple of weeks later. See what works best for your customers.
Let’s go down a more traditional route now:
For an e-commerce business, the obvious way to build your list is by asking your customers to sign up at checkout – and you should certainly be doing this. But it is also a great idea to add an email signup form somewhere on your site. Adding one within blog posts can work well.
The power of email marketing is immense, so never leave a chance to sign up new customers.
The key here is trying to incentivize users without blocking an immediate sale, and offering an email course is a good way to do this. Ultimately though, you have to experiment and see what works for you. Here are some more ideas from Csaba at Optimonk.
All of the email ideas I have discussed above revolve around emailing your existing customer base, which can be very powerful on its own. But if you harness a good referral scheme you can send emails to the friends and family of your customers – and then to their friends and family… so on…
The premise is simple, you offer your customers an incentive to send an email of their friends – usually in the form of a discount or gift voucher. Generally, you would also give their friends a similar discount.
There are many plugins for the common e-commerce platforms which will give you this ability, so it should be easy to set up and automate.
Finally, of course, we have the regular newsletter – traditionally you would use this to tell customers about your latest stock offers, new styles, discounts etc…
If you are not already doing this, then this is probably the top priority – even a half-baked newsletter is likely to bring in more revenue than doing nothing.
But my recommendation is to put some real effort into planning a newsletter that customers genuinely look forward to receiving. Here are some ideas:
- Personalise your emails based on what your customers have bought previously, don’t just shove the same products down every customer’s throat.
- Plan your offers so that you have some variation, this way you can appeal to different customers without boring them with the same discounts every time.
- Experiment and take note of what works. Make note of your most successful emails and try to spot the patterns.
- Include regular non-sales emails that focus on being interesting, enjoyable, funny, etc… Make them worth reading.
After reading the above I hope that you have a good deal to be getting on with! The great thing about email marketing is that the results of it should be seen very quickly. So go forth into the world and become responsible, but highly effective, email marketers!