eCommerce Email Marketing Best Practices for 2017

eCommerce email marketing

How do customers want brands to communicate with them this year?

I bet most of us would guess text messages or push notifications. But actually, 72% of U.S. adults want companies to communicate with them via email.

Now that you know your customers want you to send them emails, here’s another thing to know about email marketing trends before you start blasting their inboxes—it’s estimated that 225.3 billion emails will be sent every day in 2017 and consumers will receive nearly 105 emails a day.

With the number of emails expected to flood into your customers’ inboxes this year, you want to make sure your emails don’t get overlooked or deleted. Here are 3 eCommerce email marketing best practices for 2017 to make sure they won’t.

Tip 1: Be selective when automating your emails.

Time is money, and frankly, when running a business, you don’t have the time to manually send out email after email day after day. That’s why we’re all so grateful for platforms that allow us to automate emails.

But besides using an email automation tool, you need to use another tool—the marketing funnel. This funnel allows you to map your email automation to the customer journey. Those five stages are:

  1. Awareness — Show the value of your product.
  2. Consideration — Build a better relationship with consumers.
  3. Conversion — Convince consumers to buy from you.
  4. Loyalty — Keep customers through great service and valuable content.
  5. Advocacy — Turn customers into brand advocates.

Once you have these stages down, then you can figure out how to automate emails throughout a customer’s lifespan.

For inspiration, here are a couple I really like.

Ann Taylor email with Kate Hudson

[Source: shopify.com]

There are a few reasons why this email works well. One, because it has Kate Hudson and she’s one of my favorite actresses. Two, I love the loudness and boldness of it, and three, Ann Taylor does a great job of enticing consumers to buy from them in the consideration stage by offering them a discount code. Not every eCommerce site can offer that, but if you can, it’s a great way to generate sales shortly after someone subscribers to your email list. 

Michaels personalized email

[Source: shopify.com]

Nurturing email subscribers is a great way to close potential customers. And this email from Michaels does a killer job with nurturing. The eCommerce made email is easy to read, looks nice, has a good subject line and best of all, it has a handful of calls to action, all of which are helpful to on-the-fence shoppers.

Tip 2: Segment your email lists. 

Segmenting email lists has proven to do two things for companies: improve open rates and improve click-through rates. In fact, MailChimp found that segmented email campaigns received 14.31% more open rates and 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

You know your eCommerce business better than anyone, which means you also know how to segment your email lists better than anyone. But, in your industry, there are a few preferred ways to segment you should consider using:

  • Customer Type — Label customers as new to your store, visited but never made a purchase, purchased only once and purchase on a regular basis. Doing so will help you tailor your emails to each customer type and turn potentials into customers, first-time customers into loyal customers and loyals into brand advocates.
  • Type of Shopper — Do you have subscribers who are discount-only shoppers? Do you have loyal subscribers who pay full price for each item they purchase? Then send each shopper type emails tailored to their shopping needs.
  • In-store vs. Online — If you have both a brick-and-mortar and online shop, then target subscribers by their location. Those near your physical location should receive in-store sales emails, but obviously, those who live states away shouldn’t.
  • Interests — If you sell apparel and accessories and notice a customer only clicks on or has purchased black and gold jewelry, then send them similar and new products that fit their interests. If you’re a baby store, target email subscribers who you know have a boy or a girl, or even follow along with the age of their child and send emails regarding age-appropriate products.
  • Engagement Level — Monitor emails based on a subscriber’s activity. If they haven’t been to your site or opened one of your emails in awhile, send them a “we’ve missed you” email. Ask them to reconfirm their subscription and offer them a temporary discount code. If they don’t use it, save yourself the money and nix them from your email list.

Tip 3: Be more visual in your email design.

Years and years ago, emails were just lines of text. But the future of email marketing is in more visually appealing and engaging emails. People don’t want to spend their time reading when they can be better told something through colorful graphics or video or entertained with interactive elements.

One entrepreneur boldly stated that “2017 will be the year of interactive email” and I think he’s right. When I open an email, I want to see things like a carousel that lets me click through a few pictures, sliders, image galleries, HTML5 videos and add-to-cart functionality.

But, a word of caution: don’t just create interactive emails to create something you think is cool and your competitors will think you’re cool for doing. Create them because you understand your target audience, you know they will positively impact your email marketing campaign and you or whoever is over your emails has some coding knowledge.

What eCommerce email marketing best practices will you be following this year?

About Kirsten Metcalf

Kirsten is a graduate of Brigham Young University, earning her print journalism degree in April 2012. Before coming to Stryde, she was a sports reporter and then the sports editor for BYU’s newspaper, as well as a remote sports editor for Deseret Connect. Although she’s from Missouri, she’s a die-hard Kansas basketball fan. When she’s not watching KU play or pumping out content for Stryde, she’s most likely watching movies or Netflix in her workout clothes whilst drinking a Pepsi and eating popcorn.

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