Running an online store means zero in-person customer interaction — and this poses a big challenge when you want to build meaningful relationships with your customers in the outdoor industry. This is why email marketing makes a great channel for e-commerce. Outdoor e-commerce email marketing is about building relationships through regular communication and engagement. And it’s exactly what online businesses need to thrive.
There are various ways to generate sales for an e-commerce business. But since email marketing accounts for roughly 23% of total sales, it doesn’t take much convincing for online retailers to start harnessing its potential.
Email use is on a steady ascent among consumers and in today’s business world. Around 205 billion emails are sent and received every day — a figure that’s expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years. By the end of 2019, this number may reach 246 billion. It’s enough proof that email isn’t going anywhere.
Email Marketing: The Key to E-commerce Success
Smart online retailers know that email marketing is one of the most reliable and profitable marketing channels. But to make it work for your business, you have to build an email list first. Having an email list keeps you in the competition. It’s a business asset that no one can take away from you. Online stores rely on website traffic, particularly from repeat visitors, to drive sales. Your email list and campaigns help retain more of that traffic by providing an incentive to return — discounts, new products, valuable content, etc. — and communicating it on a regular basis.
Benefits of Email Marketing for E-Commerce
Before we discuss how you can make the most out of e-commerce email marketing, let’s first have a look at the key benefits email marketing brings to your online business.
- Email can be a powerful tool for customer acquisition. It’s actually 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. With email, you get to take the conversation about your business, products, and services to your customer’s most personal online space: their inbox.
- Email is more effective in driving traffic and sales. Having an email list allows you to reach your customers in various ways. You can leverage email campaigns to increase website traffic and enhance subscriber engagement in much deeper ways.
- Email helps build relationships with both existing and new customers. Social and search are great ways to get discovered online, but email is the best way to maintain and strengthen that relationship over time. In fact, 60% of online consumers prefer to buy new products from brands they’re familiar with.
Integrating email marketing in e-commerce requires time and attention to be successful. Here are some e-commerce email marketing tips to help you deliver better customer value and build stronger relationships.
Segment your email list for better engagement.
With the clutter going on in everyone’s inbox, the last thing you’d want to send is a one-size-fits-all email. Your emails need to be relevant to the recipient for it to get the latter’s interest and possibly drive a conversion.
One surefire way to make your subscribers feel happy and valued — which could eventually make them purchase — is by sending emails with content tailored to them. You can do this by segmenting your email list into groups with similar needs or interests.
Creating emails based on specific criteria using segmentation helps increase engagement and conversion. In the Garmin Example, they ask you as soon as you sign up what you’d like to get updates on.
Nurture your email list and provide value to subscribers.
Having loyal customers is one of the main reasons a business survives. Fostering relationships with these customers is vital to keep them coming back to your business. To do this, you have to regularly provide value to your subscribers through discounts, loyalty programs or good content.
Including a healthy amount of nurturing emails along with promotional emails is important in outdoor e-commerce email marketing, especially since not every subscriber is ready to purchase. On the other hand, creating loyalty programs further cultivate customer relationships and drive them back to your business.
Nurture your leads by delivering relevant content, interesting news, and product updates. This will keep your subscribers interested in your brand. Sending valuable, content-rich emails to your subscribers early on can make them more likely to open your promotional emails in the future, which can lead to better engagement, click-throughs, and conversion.
Follow the anatomy of a good email
Standing out in your subscriber’s inbox is one challenge you have to overcome. The good news is that you can actually do it when you know how to craft your email in a way that would entice your readers and inspire an action. Below are key elements you need to consider in your emails.
- Subject line. The first step in grabbing their attention is by coming up with a compelling subject line. Since it’s the first true contact point of email marketing, your subject line needs to entice the recipient to open your email. Create irresistible subject lines to increase your open rates.
- Body content. The main rule when it comes to your email content is to keep it short and make it visually appealing. Ensure that the reader knows right away how they can benefit from your message.
- Call-to-action. After your subscriber opens your email, the next thing you’d want is to inspire an action. Focus on a primary action that you want the recipient to take. Use action words in your call-to-action and make it visible in the email.
- Format. Mobile opens accounted for 46% of all email opens. This shows that more email recipients are opening their emails on mobile devices. With this in mind, you have to optimize mobile in your emails. Make sure the emails you send are responsive to the size of the screen they’re displayed on.
Optimize transactional emails.
Being an online business means you get to send a lot of transactional emails. Consumers interact with these emails — password resets, login details, order confirmation, shipping notifications, shopping cart abandonment, etc. — on an almost, if not daily basis. In fact, transactional emails get 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email and generate 6x more revenue.
While it may seem easier to send out default transactional emails, getting creative with it can be more effective in making your customers come back to your store for a repeat purchase. A transactional email offers high levels of relevance, and when optimized properly, can drive additional sales and revenue in the process.
Create a consistent brand experience for your prospects and customers in your transactional emails. You can use the same branding with your website or marketing emails, include special offers to entice customers to make another purchase, or give product recommendations that your customer might need.
Warby Parker came up with a clean design in line with their branding in this transactional email.
Ensuring email deliverability
Ensuring email deliverability is another important factor that determines the success of your email marketing. After all, what’s the use of sending beautiful, optimized emails when they don’t even reach your subscriber’s inbox?
The thing is, getting those emails to the inbox isn’t always easy. Email deliverability issues, such as high bounces, flagging spam filters, and low engagement, can be present. With 20% of emails not reaching the inbox, there’s a chance marketers are missing out on potential revenue and the opportunity to build a strong relationship with subscribers.
To ensure email deliverability, you have to take actionable steps that will help your emails reach the intended recipients. Start off by better positioning your campaigns to reach the inbox. Follow key steps to avoid being marked as spam. Improve reputation score and check feedback loops. Send re-engagement campaigns to subscribers who haven’t opened an email in over 12 months. These are just some of the many ways you can improve email deliverability.
Here’s a great re-engagement email to get a subscriber back to the site.
Email marketing can help take your Outdoor e-commerce business to greater heights as it helps your brand engage with customers and build lasting relationships with them. E-commerce email marketing is both a science and an art. It entails sending relevant emails to the right audience at the right time. The strategies you employ in your e-commerce email marketing will define the success of your campaign. The first thing you need to do is understand how email marketing helps your online business, then follow tried-and-true ways to let you get the most out of e-commerce email marketing.
Josh Claflin, Principal at Garrison Everest, helps companies who are struggling to develop clear brand messaging and increase revenue through online channels.