How to Put Together an Email Marketing Campaign: The Ultimate Guide for Beginner E-Commerce Sellers
You always hear about the importance of marketing with email, but has anyone ever really shown you exactly how to put together an email marketing campaign? Probably not.
And so when you’re inevitably staring at that blank screen as beads of sweat start to pop up on your head, you start to feel the inevitable pang of analysis paralysis. Where do I start? What should I say?
Don’t panic. This guide will show you everything you need to know about how to put together your first email campaign whether you’re a seasoned e-commerce seller or you’re just venturing out into the world of selling your products online. Let’s get started!
With Email Marketing, One Size Does Not Fit All
The most important thing to remember before you ever type a single word is that the best e-commerce email marketing campaigns start by correctly identifying your audience. You’re going to have people at different stages in the funnel. You wouldn’t send all of them the same blanket email, but this is exactly what most e-commerce retailers do.
Instead, you should segment your emails as follows:
People Who Are Interested in What You Have to Sell
These are the people who haven’t purchased from you yet, but they’re interested. These are the people at the top of the funnel. They might be researching, comparing products, or otherwise deciding if it’s something they really want.
Therefore, your goal with them is to focus your e-mail marketing campaign on getting them to take that next step. They may have already downloaded a coupon, for example, but haven’t used it yet. You can use a handful of proven tactics here such as urgency (the price will only be this low until Friday and then it goes back up), or even fear (we’re running low on our most popular sizes, so order now to ensure you can get your best fit).
Another common strategy when you put together an e-mail marketing campaign is to use these emails to answer the most common questions you’ve received about your products. Think of it as a mini-FAQ and an opportunity to solicit questions from your audience while they’re still in the “just looking” phase. Not only does this answer, the questions they may be thinking of (but haven’t asked), but it also opens up a communication channel so that you can learn more about them and their needs.
People Who Have Bought from You Recently
There are a variety of e-mail marketing templates that can be applied here, but it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunities depending on what type of engagement the user has with your company or products. For example:
Transactional Emails - Most e-commerce retailers just send out bland, boring receipts. Make yours stand out by encouraging users to follow you on social media or even better, invite them to share things like an unboxing video of your product or a photo of them with your product.
Cart Abandonment Emails - Remind engaged users of the items they’ve left in their cart, as well as encourage them to complete their purchase. Common reasons why they may have abandoned their cart include things like: high shipping costs, payment processing errors, product not available in their preferred size/color, or the same product available at a cheaper price elsewhere. While you cannot account for all of the reasons, try to take steps to fix the things you can and remain competitive.
Renewal Notifications - If you have a product that has an expiry date or run out after a given time, it’s a good idea to send renewal notifications with a small percentage or amount off if they renew within a certain time period.
Special Promotions and Sales - The most common type of e-mail notification, you want to be sure that the promotion or sale ties in with their purchase in some way. For example, a woman shopping for maternity clothing might not really be interested in your back-to-school sale (at least not for a few years!)
Reward or Loyalty Programs - Customers love being rewarded for their loyalty to a brand, and they’re more likely to make another purchase (and another, and another) if they’re continually rewarded. Stores like Kohls use this method both online and in their brick-and-mortar stores in the form of “cash” that can be used only during a certain time but can add up in terms of bigger savings as customers buy more.
How-to Videos - If your product is a novelty item, technical or geared toward beginners, it may be a good idea to introduce them to how it works or how to get the most out of it via a Youtube video or series walking them through the first steps. This can also cut down on the number of support tickets coming through!
Noteworthy Events (Birthdays, Holidays) - A great method to foster loyalty is to send customers a little digital birthday or holiday card with a coupon inside. That way, if they didn’t exactly get what they wanted for their birthday (or any other special event), they can always spend that money online at your store instead!
People Who Have Bought from You in the Past
Finally, there are people who have already purchased from you. You may not think that these people need any more convincing to make a purchase (since they’ve already bought), but by not engaging them, you’re definitely leaving money on the table.
You can further segment this email by targeting messages to customers who haven’t bought recently, versus those who haven’t bought for several months. There are about as many reasons why they haven’t bought lately as there are reasons why they have, so it’s up to you to check-in and see how the service was if there’s anything they have questions about if the product is everything they expected, and so on.
What Should I Write When I Put Together an Email Marketing Campaign?
If you’ve already segmented your audience and you find that blank message staring back at you, it’s important to put yourself in the user’s shoes and think “what would I open if I were them? What about this message would encourage me to not only open it but click on what’s inside?”
For example, with the first stage buyers at the top of the funnel, you’re going to have to prove to them (and quickly) what makes you different, unique and worth doing business with. Don’t just make an irresistible offer: make them an offer with a story behind it. Make it compelling, interesting, engaging. Have them give something (spend $X) to get something (get Y) -- the common of these being free shipping.
Don’t forget to let them know how often you’ll be emailing them, and what kind of information they can expect when they hear from you. Emailing your users about every little announcement will dull them to your more important messages, and is a surefire ticket straight to the circular file.
The Bottom Line on Getting Started with Your Campaign
The most important step that you can take when it comes to marketing with email is to simply start. You don’t have to crank out all of these emails at once. Work on it piece by piece. Try an idea and test it out. That’s the beauty of email marketing in the e-commerce world; as you improve and learn more about your audience, your messages will naturally become more tailored, more engaging and as a result, convert better!