Email marketing is an excellent way to engage customers and increase both site traffic and sales. However, not all email messages are equally effective.
While there are many things that e-commerce merchants might do to improve the effectiveness of their email marketing, here are seven ideas to consider.
1. Have a Singular Focus
E-commerce marketers often send relatively frequent emails to the same customer list or segment. This is especially true during the holiday shopping season (from early October through the end of December). Given the frequency of emails and how busy recipients are, it can be effective to focus on a single call-to-action or a single category or item in each email.
As an example, a singularly focused email might mention a special sale on a particular category of products, but not necessarily show the recipients three different sale offers.
2. Aim to Specific Customers
Whenever possible, online retail marketers should target messages to customers. If you sell men’s and ladies’ clothing, as an example, you may want to send separate emails, targeting each category based on known customer preferences.
Target segmentation also reduced: bounce rates, abuse report rates, and the number of recipients who chose to unsubscribe.
3. Write a Compelling Subject
Recently, Google added tabs to its popular Gmail email client. One of the default tabs has the title “Promotions,” and most email marketers have seen roughly a 1 percent drop in open rates from Gmail users seemingly as a result.
In response, marketers are doing a lot to convince customers to move promotional emails from the Gmail Promotions tab into the Primary tab. But in truth, these messages are promotions. So maybe a better strategy would be to focus on standing out, regardless of how a recipient’s email client has categorized the email message.
Writing great subjects can be something of an art, but consider using testing and measurement to determine which subject lines work best for your business.
4. Use Attractive Images and Graphics
Regardless of all the media resources available, pictures are still important. They can also do a good job of conveying brand or product information.
Notice that leading online retailers — from Amazon and Walmart to the Gap and Zappos — all use large and attractive graphics in their email marketing campaigns. These are companies that spend a significant amount of time and money optimizing, and they all use great graphics.
5. Don’t Depend on Attractive Images and Graphics
Unfortunately, not every email recipient will see your attractive images and great graphics, since many users will block images at least initially.
One easy way to do this is to simply include good alt tag data with your email images.
6. Optimize for Mobile
Four in ten American adults read emails on a mobile device, according to Constant Contact, the email platform. This implies that if an ecommerce marketer is not optimizing email messages for mobile devices, 40 percent of potential customers — folks who may have been interested in an offer — might not read or interact with the message simply because it doesn’t work well on their device of choice.
To make emails more mobile friendly avoid using table layouts and inline styles that impact appearance. Also, consider segmenting email lists based on the type of device a user is likely to use.
7. Optimize Landing Pages
Remember that promotional email marketing doesn’t end with the email. It must send the interested recipient to a landing page to complete some action. Be certain that your landing page delivers the recipients what was promised.
Offer a clear path to conversion. If you were promoting a 30 percent off discount on hats, be certain your landing page shows hats that are 30 percent off and include clearly marked “Add to Cart” buttons or similar.
Optimize for the device, too. If you took the time to segment your list by device and create a special mobile-optimized email, make certain that the email links to a mobile optimized landing page.