Article first published May 2015, updated May 2019
If you’re an eCommerce marketer, you are in a unique position to get incredible value from email marketing.
You can literally send a campaign and within minutes watch revenue come in the door as people click-through from your campaign and make a purchase on your site.
It’s incredibly powerful. But are you leveraging the power of email to its full potential?
In this post, we’ll share with you 5 campaigns all eCommerce businesses, regardless of size or complexity, can start sending today to drive more sales and revenue.
1. New stock notice
Encouraging repeat purchases is a critical driver of revenue for any eCommerce company
In fact, according to research it costs 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep your existing ones.
One way of encouraging repeat purchases from your existing customers is by keeping them updated when you have new items in your store.
Fashion retailer Kate Spade does a good job of this with their regular new arrivals campaigns.
The simplicity and focus of this email is the key to its success, with a single call to action that encourages readers to click-through to their website to check out the new arrivals.
When creating a new arrivals campaign for your store, consider these best practices:
- Keep it focused – At the end of the day, your goal is to drive people to your online store where they can check out your new arrivals and make a purchase, so keep your email focused on that goal and remove any extraneous elements that may distract people.
- Try including images of the new items – Unless you have a really loyal audience who love everything you sell, just telling them you have new arrivals probably won’t be enough to motivate people enough to click-through to your site. To overcome this, try including professionally-shot images of some of your new arrivals in the email itself. This increases people’s desire to see the full range and drives increased clicks.
- Target your campaigns – If you’ve received a new range of womenswear, it’s probably not the best idea to send the email to your male customer base. Not only will doing so decrease your open and click-through rate, but it will send negative signals to email providers that could land your future campaigns in the Spam folder. So segment your list and send the campaign to those you know are going to be interested in your new arrivals.
- Consider where you link to – There is nothing worse than clicking through from an email campaign announcing some new arrivals, only to land on the homepage with the new arrivals you were promised nowhere to be seen. To maximize the sales & revenue you get from these campaigns, make sure you drive people to a specific page on your site that shows them all the new arrivals and gives them an easy path to purchase.
2. Targeted campaigns & newsletters
Sending regular email newsletters is a powerful way to keep people up to date with the latest promotions and items in your online store, and is a great way to drive existing customers back to your site to make repeat purchases.
Australian eCommerce retailer The Iconic know this and send a great weekly newsletter.
The targeting of this newsletter is what makes it so effective. Although The Iconic also sells women’s clothing and I’m sure had countless new arrivals that week, they know I am a male customer so only send me information about the latest menswear.
When creating a regular newsletter for your online store, keep in mind these best practices:
- Target your newsletter – Even though it’s a regular email newsletter, make sure you’re sending the right content to the right segment of your list. Segment your list based on their gender, location, interests or whatever is relevant for your store, and then send separate newsletters to each segment or use dynamic content to automatically show the right products to the right subscribers.
- Create distinct sections for each product in your newsletter – Research has shown that people scan email campaigns rather than reading them word for word, and they only spend a maximum of 50 seconds on your campaign. To cater for the scanning reader, create separate sections in your campaigns complete with both text and images to make it easy to for them to find content that interests them and click-through.
- Position your most important content at the top – Eye tracking studies show that attention drops off the further down the email a message is, so position your most important and highest-value offers at the top of your email so they get the most attention and enjoy the highest click-through rates.
3. Review request email
Showing customer reviews on your website is a proven way to increase conversions. In fact, analysis from Bazaarvoice shows products with reviews have a 10% higher conversion rate than those without.
So when someone purchases a product from your store, it’s a great idea to send them a follow-up email asking them to leave a review of the product on your website.
This email from Direct Shoe Warehouse is a good example:
The single focus of this email is what makes it so successful. By focusing both the imagery and copy on getting you to log in and write a review about your recent purchase, Designer Show Warehouse are able to build a library of reviews on their products that increase sales and revenue.
When implementing a review request email in your own online store, consider these best practices:
- Make it automated – You could manually send a campaign a few days after every purchase, but that would take a lot of time and resources to coordinate. Instead, set it up as an automated campaign that goes out automatically to everyone that makes a purchase. That way, you can be building a library of reviews on your site that help increase sales & revenue without lifting a finger.
- Offer an incentive – While you will get some people to click-through and leave a review without an incentive, it can be useful to offer something extra to help motivate people to leave a review. Discounts on future purchases are a great incentive to offer here, as not only do they compel people to leave a review but also encourage them to make repeat purchases while they are there.
- Use buttons – Our own tests have shown that using buttons in your email campaigns can increase click-throughs by 28%. So when creating your review request email, make sure to include a call to action button as opposed to just text to help increase the number of people that click through and leave a product review on your site.
4. Birthday email
A birthday is an exciting time for anyone, and also a time in which people are willing to treat themselves a little.
By setting up an automated birthday email that goes out to your existing customers with a special birthday offer, not only do you make them feel like a valued part of your community but you encourage them to return to your online store and make a purchase.
Omaha Steaks do a great job of this with their automated birthday email.
Not only does the email wish the reader a happy birthday and show they care about their customers, but it provides them with a highly-relevant offer ( a free chocolate cake) that encourages them to make a purchase.
Some best practices to keep in mind when setting this email up for your online store:
- Automate the email – It would be an organizational nightmare to try to manually send a campaign to every one of your customers on their birthday, and the effort would far exceed the reward. Instead, set this up as an automated email campaign using the date of birth your customers enter when making a purchase on your online store. That way, you only need to set it up once and it will continue driving sales and revenue for you for years to come.
- Use beautiful imagery – Using beautiful imagery is an incredibly effective way to increase people’s desire to obtain something. In fact, in their early days, online accommodation provider, AirBnB was able to double the number of bookings by simply using professionally-shot images of their properties. So when making an offer to someone in your birthday emails, make sure to include beautiful images (like Omaha Steaks have) to increase their motivation to take your offer.
- Use action-oriented button copy – Rather than saying something generic on your button, like ‘Claim now’ go for something action-oriented and benefit-focused, such as ‘Get your free chocolate cake’. This reinforces the benefit of clicking through and makes it clear what will happen when they click the button. When we tried testing generic copy vs benefit-focused copy in our own emails, it improved click-through rate by 10% and it can definitely work for you as well.
5. Re-engagement email
The re-engagement email is a bit of a Hail Mary. It’s a campaign you send to customers who haven’t purchased from you in a while in an attempt to get them re-engaged with your products and making further purchases.
Sporting retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods does a great job of this with their campaign:
The key to this email’s success is the 20% discount offer. By giving dormant customers an offer that they wouldn’t get normally, you give them an extra incentive to come back to your store and make a purchase.
If you’re considering implementing the Hail Mary email in your own store, consider some of these best practices:
- Make it automated – So long as you have information like the customer’s last purchase date in your email marketing software, it’s super easy to set this up as an automated email campaign that goes out 3-4 months after their last purchase. This saves you from having to manually send it each time and means it working for you even when you’re not.
- Remove friction words from your button copy – Friction words are words that imply the reader has to do something that they don’t specifically want to do. Common examples include Download, Claim, Redeem, etc as they imply the user has to make some sort of effort. So when writing the button copy for your Hail Mary email, avoid this kind of terminology and instead use something like ‘Get 20% off my next purchase’ to reinforce that the reader is getting benefit from taking the action.
- Include images of products the user could purchase – Although it’s great to offer readers 20% off their next purchase, they may not have an immediate need for your products in which case it’s largely irrelevant. To overcome this and encourage them to make a purchase, include images of some products they could get at a 20% discount to stir people’s impulse buying habits.
6. Testimonial email
Customer testimonials are a powerful tool for building trust, boosting conversions, and, ultimately, increasing revenue. The reason testimonials work is simple: Everyone wants help in making a decision. Therefore, people look to others who’ve experienced your product for help.
Source: Really Good Emails
This is where you make it easy for your prospects by creating testimonial emails to help them along the buyer journey. How do you create a testimonial that’ll convince even the toughest of skeptics?
- Use quotes from your best reviews. Pull quotes from some of the best reviews you’ve received on a product your prospect is interested in and include them in an email. Be sure to include a clear image of your satisfied customer as well.
- Create video testimonials. Another great way to bolster your e-commerce email marketing is to create video testimonials. These work best for people who are still top of the funnel and need to see and “experience” your product before making a decision.
- Use influencers. If it’s good enough for a celebrity, it’s good enough for everyone, right? That’s the psychology behind influencer marketing. You can also harness this concept in your campaigns by featuring an influencer in one of your testimonial emails. To pull this off, ask an influencer in your niche to try out your product and give a testimonial.
You’re probably wondering how you can get customer testimonials. It’s actually quite easy, especially if you use an automation tool like Campaign Monitor. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Automate: Send a triggered email five to seven days after a new customer purchases.
- Segment: Create a segment made up of your best customers and ask them for a testimonial.
- Reach out: Reach out to those who praise your product on social media and ask them for a testimonial.
You’ll be surprised at the number of people struggling to decide whether to buy your product or not. Use the power of a testimonial to nudge them in the right direction.
7. Survey email
One thing that’ll help you increase conversions on your eCommerce store is improving your user experience. In order to do that, you need to get feedback from your customers on their experience with your store. It’s important that you understand which parts of the customer journey they enjoy and where an improvement is needed. The best way to get all this information is by sending a survey email.
Source: My Feel Back
Thanks to automation, sending survey emails is also simple.
- Automation is key. As always, set up triggered emails to make this easier. Give your customer a few days (three to five) to enjoy your product before sending the survey email.
- Personalize your email. Personalization is the key to endearing yourself to your customers. By treating your customer like a VIP, they’ll be more likely to oblige your request to fill out the survey form.
- Highlight the benefits. Filling out a survey form is work. In order to increase the response rate, let your reader know why taking the survey is beneficial to them.
Getting customer feedback is important to the success of your eCommerce store, as it helps you optimize your customer’s journey.
Integrations are key for eCommerce email marketing success
Although the email campaigns mentioned above can drive significant sales & revenue for your eCommerce store, many of them require you to have information about your customers stored in your email marketing tool.
For example, sending targeted new arrivals campaigns and newsletters requires you to have demographic information on your customers (such as gender, age, location, etc) stored in your email tool while automated campaigns like review requests and Hail Mary emails require you to have your customers’ last purchase date available.
It would be very difficult to try and manually keep this information up-to-date, but by integrating your eCommerce platform with your email marketing software, you can ensure this data is always available and ready to be used to segment your lists and send high-performing campaigns.
With email marketing software like Campaign Monitor, this is really easy to do. Campaign Monitor integrates with all the major eCommerce platforms, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, Etsy and more.
To learn more about integrating your eCommerce platform with your email marketing software, check out our free guide.
eCommerce marketers are in a unique position to get an incredible amount of value from email marketing. They can literally send a campaign and watch revenue come in as people click through from the email and make a purchase.
If you’re an eCommerce marketer and aren’t sending these 5 emails campaigns to your customers then you are likely leaving revenue on the table. So set up an integration between your eCommerce platform and chosen email marketing software today and start sending some advanced campaigns that drive sales and revenue.