The digital landscape changed a lot during COVID-19 due to repeated and long-lasting quarantines on every side of the globe.
With online sales skyrocketing, businesses, especially SMBs, invested more time and effort into their online presence and online stores, rightfully so:
As the statistic above shows, online revenue increased drastically in 2020, making brands rethink and optimize their web presence through digital marketing, especially its most cost-effective component, email marketing.
Why Email Marketing for eCommerce?
Email marketing is the practice of sending marketing messages to prospective and current customers via email in order to sell, educate, or build loyalty.
Apart from being cost-effective, email marketing has an ROI that’s hard to come about:
Unlike the ROI of other digital channels, this ROI is measurable. What is more, email marketing can allow SMBs to interact with their users by giving them the chance to control the tone through hyper-personalized and relevant correspondence.
For SMBs, integrating email marketing tactics into their marketing plan can prove to be beneficial for the following reasons:
- It can increase a brand’s revenue. An email newsletter can go a long way, especially when it’s targeted and includes products the users have already interacted with – but more on that in a bit.
- It can nurture customers and build relationships by opening a dialogue with the users that is more personal than a social media post or a targeted ad.
- Email marketing’s versatility can boost growth. eCommerce SMBs can use email marketing to increase average order value, retain old customers, or acquire new ones.
- It’s not subject to an algorithm. The user can choose whether they’d like to open the email or not and whether its contents are helpful to them. The user can also decide whether they’d like to interact with the brand in the future or unsubscribe from the list altogether. The same cannot be said about sponsored ads, for example.
The catch is to know how to make eCommerce email marketing work when users are more suspicious of ads but, at the same time, more eager to spend money online.
Use the Right Tools for Your eCommerce SMB
The first thing to do would be to look into email marketing and marketing automation platforms that offer options to lead you closer to your email marketing goals.
First of all, you’ll need to choose a tool that can help you build your list through lead-gen tools and segment and personalize in a non-robotic way. Email marketing and marketing automation platforms, like Moosend, can offer all the basics an eCommerce SMB can utilize. The options can be as sophisticated or as simple as a marketer needs and can include robust email editors, customizable email marketing templates, automation options, as well as segmentation options, and design elements that catch a user’s attention.
Refrain from rushing into a purchase. Instead, nail eCommerce email marketing for SMBs by using the trial-and-error method and deciding which email marketing platform works best for you and your audience.
Use Lead Generation Tools
Lead generation tools like landing pages and subscription forms can work wonders for eCommerce marketing for small businesses. These tools will help you build a meaningful and highly convertible email list with interested leads.
Create a subscription form that will make sense for the users and showcase your brand’s tone and what you can offer upfront. Incentivize the users’ efforts with a discount upon signing up or a little gift with their first purchase.
On the other hand, ensure you create an interactive landing page with a little quiz or a form that will narrow down the users’ options and recommend the right thing at the right time. Again, incentivizing their efforts would be a great idea.
Use a landing page link in the email newsletters you send to your existing subscribers for best results. Make it shareable and urge them to share it around. This will boost your word-of-mouth marketing efforts and turn your users into brand ambassadors.
In both cases, remember to use double opt-in. New leads will receive an email that will ask them to confirm their email address. This may add a little more friction in the subscription process, but will work wonders down the line.
Double opt-in will help you create a customer database with interested leads who have spent some time and effort interacting with your emails. What is more, it can eliminate the possibility of typos or fake email addresses that can potentially harm your deliverability rates.
Laser-Targeted Segmentation and Hyper-Personalization
After creating your eCommerce SMB’s email list, you can start segmenting and personalizing based on your data and the buyer personas that fit said data.
At this stage, using AI and machine learning tools is necessary. That way, you’ll be able to understand user preferences and create segments so small that a marketer wouldn’t have been able to distinguish without the help of a clever tool.
Laser-targeted segmentation can lead to hyper-personalization. Email marketing campaigns that speak to users on a one-on-one basis and seem like a natural continuation of their actions regarding your brand can lead you closer to your eCommerce KPIs.
Don’t shy away from asking users what kind of emails they’d like to receive from your brand. Like Buzzfeed:
This will give you an advantage when it comes to segmentation. What is more, this action will engage users enough to look into your website a little more and decide whether it’s for them. It’s a win-win situation, as you’ll gather more data and more interaction and engagement. At the same time, the users will have complete control of the content they’ll receive from you.
eCommerce Email Marketing: The Essential Campaigns
Now, it’s time to decide on the email marketing campaigns you will send. Messages that are unsolicited or irrelevant can get you many unsubscribers. And unsubscribers can harm your deliverability rates and your efforts altogether.
The main email marketing campaigns for your eCommerce SMB are the following:
- Welcome email campaigns
- Classic, personalized email newsletters
- Cart abandonment emails
- Transactional emails
- Thank-you emails
- Reactivation emails
The above email marketing campaigns can help you welcome users, retain them, and increase their Average Order Value (AOV). They can also give you insights into scoring your leads and determining the likelihood of them proceeding with a purchase.
Welcome Email Campaigns
Welcome emails are the ones that set the tone of the user-brand interaction. They have a fantastic open rate, and they can boost your Customer Retention Rate down the line.
A welcome email aims to give more information about the brand and the frequency of email newsletters. Essentially, they “show users around the place” by giving them insights on products, blog posts, or social media posts you may schedule down the line.
A welcome email campaign is typically the first email campaign a user will encounter and interact with. So, make sure the email subject line is enticing and memorable and goes beyond the “Hi, [First Name]” basis.
Classic, Personalized Email Newsletters
This is the most common category, as its objective is to provide users with curated, personalized content. This email needs to be relevant and give advice rather than sell.
A classic newsletter needs to feel like a natural continuation of your welcome email. Use personalization, showcase your latest products and announcements, and create a lasting impression while leading users further down the sales funnel.
Your aim here should be to continue the good impression of your welcome email and gently lead the user towards a purchase.
An email newsletter’s importance is paramount when it comes to building a strong brand identity as well. According to Forbes, “To stand out in the crowd and maximize your marketing efforts, maintaining strong relationships with clients through consistency is significant.”
Email newsletters are there to keep the dialogue between users and brands alive and going.
Cart Abandonment Emails
This is an email that should be sent after a user has done more than interact with your brand.
There are many reasons users abandon their carts, with the most common being additional shipping costs. This is why cart abandonment emails that remind users of what they’re about to miss out on while offering a “solution” to common cart abandonment reasons can boost conversion and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).
A cart abandonment email sequence can also lead users further down the sales funnel towards an actual purchase.
By sending a cart abandonment email, SMBs can utilize two facts to their advantage:
- This email stems from a user action
- This email can create an emotional response
By tackling the issue that made users abandon their cart in the first place, you create an environment where the user feels safe. And a brand that listens and gives back to its community is a brand with a better relationship with its customer, increased interaction, and, in the end, increased sales as well.
A transactional email is there to ease the user’s mind after completing a purchase. It aims to notify users of their order’s status. This makes it one of the most crucial components of your email marketing campaigns for eCommerce.
However, it’s also essential to brands, seeing as a transactional email can boost revenue and sales when coupled with upselling and cross-selling options.
When sending a transactional email campaign, make sure to include a tracking number and go the extra mile by giving a discount code for the user’s next purchase. This will boost your CRO efforts and the user’s appreciation of your brand.
This is a great place to establish authority and engage with your customers simply because they’re there to support you and boost your brand.
A thank-you email campaign is not the place to try and sell. It is sent purely to please customers for being there and interacting with your brand. You can also thank them for sharing common values.
This email is a great place to create content for your customers without anything else in mind. Use video testimonials with other customers or core members of your organization thanking your audience for just being there for them. Ask them what they’d like to see you change about the way you interact and communicate with them.
The main reason behind this eCommerce email marketing campaign is to give something back to your community and actively show how much you appreciate your customers – both prospective and existing ones.
This is one of the email marketing campaigns you need to send to ensure the quality of your email list. Many users will bounce back, many won’t be interested in your product anymore, and others may not use the same email address.
In that case, sending a reactivation email to people who haven’t opened your emails in a while is necessary. That way, you’ll ensure your brand is up-to-date with its current audience, and you’ll minimize the possibility of having emails bounce back and harm your deliverability rates as much as unsubscribers would.
After all, promoting your website and your brand to non-openers makes no sense down the line. You are wasting time and resources on prospects who are not interested. A reactivation email will help you manage your goals better, as you will have only interested subscribers to talk to and, eventually, better chances at conversion.
Design or No Design?
In 2022, both options are just as good as we see minimalism and a friendly tone take over.
Plain text emails are not polished but are personal and conversational. They feel like the user has received correspondence from a friend, and they’re talking to them. Not to mention that they have next to no association with branded, sales-y emails that are automated and robotic.
On the other hand, branded emails can get you more sales and revenue, provided the design is clever, not confusing, and optimized for mobile and desktop views.
A general rule of the thumb would be to use plain-text emails to create a relationship and establish it. In contrast, HTML emails should be reserved for special instances, like announcements, discounts, or special offers.
Of course, this is just a rule of the thumb. In any case, ensure you take even the most underused customer segments into account to know exactly what your users need to see.
The best thing about email marketing for SMBs is that it’s cost-effective. At the same time, marketers can never say that it was a waste of money.
As long as you A/B test and create a strategy that will make sense for you and your audience, your eCommerce email marketing for your SMB will set you on the right track.
About the author
Téa Liarokapi is a Senior Content Writer for Moosend, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas - and cats - to play with.