Feb 15, 2013

Email Marketing for e-Commerce

by: in Email

Email marketing for e-commerce driven sites is a very different beast than just your run-of-the-mill e-newsletter. The designs, content, call to action, tracking, and even the subject lines all need to be optimized to fit the e-commerce model. Many times it a simple switch from “informing” to “enticing”. Newsletters and other notification type emails are used to inform consumers about company news or current events. These emails can be cheeky, fun, long, and even serious if need be and are targeted toward consumers that have opted to stay in loop with this brand.

E-commerce emails are a bit different in nature. While these emails are still a communication tool, it’s important not to lose site that they are a sales tool, too.

One of the best things a brand can do to help increase their online sales is to implement a strong email marketing strategy. Once they’ve made that decision, the best thing they can do is start getting to know their subscribers. Just like any other sales call, the first thing you need to do is get to know your client. By asking your subscribers to fill in their gender, birthday, favorite products, etc., brands are able to get insight about their consumers.

Some brands think this is too much information to ask of people and believe consumers will abandon the sign up, but the reality is that utilizing your email database is only as good as the data you have. If you know nothing about your subscribers, you cannot segment emails or use dynamic content to speak more directly to them. Both of these are key to optimizing an email strategy for e-commerce.

Another mistake I see brands doing is the dreaded “no-reply” address. Even if emails are being sent out solely for sales, you still need to leave this line of communication open. You would never silence a consumer on sales call, so it’s ill advised to do so with your email campaigns. Remember email is commutation tool, and communication implies a two way street. E-commerce emails should always have some type of option for the consumer to reach the brand.

Email marketing can be used to reengage inactive subscribers, follow up with shopping cart abandonment, and even send out surveys for shoppers to complete. It’s the perfect marketing tool for brands in the e-commerce space. When email databases are tied to purchasing data, though, that’s when the real magic happens.

Brands will then be able to see, for example, that Kara bought a pair of pink stilettos (sounds about right). When these data points are tied into an email database, that brand can then send Kara an email about the blue stilettos they offer, or the pink pants they have in stock. At that point, the brand has true insight about Kara’s shopping behavior and can talk to her via email.

Email is also best used for e-commerce when the subscribers feel they are being rewarded for being on the email list. Many email platforms such as Exact Target can show subscribers’ email engagement over time and brands can then segment those users as high-engaging subscribers. Brands can choose to reward these users by treating them as email VIP’s and offer better/different deals to these shoppers.

The more information brands collect, the better they can segment and send more relevant emails to increase sales online. As technology advances, email marketing gets smarter. As email marketing gets smarter, consumers are more apt to buy. The more apt consumers become to buy, the more sales brands can make. And who wouldn’t want that?