The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for eCommerce

The days of relying exclusively on traditional marketing channels are over. In today’s modern, hyper-connected world, there are more channels available now than ever for marketing teams to take advantage of. 

Online advertisements have largely taken center stage since most people carry smartphones and browse the Internet daily.

One of those channels that every marketing professional must pay attention to is email marketing. Emails are an inexpensive and potentially profitable component of any advertising strategy. You can not only boost sales but also raise customer engagement and communication.

But just how effective is email marketing? More effective than you think. In fact, it’s estimated that every $1 spent on email marketing can produce up to $42 in ROI. That’s a significant ROI for a marketing channel that is so easily automated. That’s also why email marketing is especially important in eCommerce, where digital communication is usually the only avenue to talk with your customers. 

Read on to learn more about how email marketing can make all the difference in your eCommerce marketing strategy.

Email Marketing for eCommerce

What Does Ecommerce Email Marketing Involve?

First off, it’s important to know the difference between the two main categories of marketing emails: transactional and promotional. The best email campaigns for eCommerce take advantage of both for an optimal customer experience.

Promotional Emails

Just like it sounds, a promotional email tells potential buyers of sales, product launches, and company news they might be interested in. These messages usually come in the form of a weekly or monthly newsletter, which you might have seen if you’ve ever been offered to join a mailing list on a storefront’s website.

Transactional Emails

A transactional email informs a recent customer regarding the rigid details of the transaction, such as order confirmations, delivery updates, and digital receipts. By contrast with promotional emails, these messages do not require a prior subscription and are sent to everyone who has made a purchase through the store.

Transactional emails offer peace of mind to online shoppers that the purchasing process is going along smoothly. To prevent landing in the spam folder, they’re also sent out using a different email address from the one used for promotional messages.

The Benefits of eCommerce Email Marketing

The most obvious reason why an online store would want to pursue email marketing is the sheer popularity of email communication. With almost 4 billion daily users of email, you’re reaching a wide audience through an eCommerce email marketing strategy. On top of that:

  • It’s inexpensive: Compared to other forms of advertising, social media engagement, and search engine optimization tactics, emails are free to start up and cheap to optimize.
  • You own the process: You have full control over how this revenue stream works with your business. That is, you can create entirely personalized experiences that work best with your brand’s overall goals.
  • Customers have closer relationships with you: Email is a chance to promote brand recognition for your business, boost sales through up-sells and referrals, and generally position yourself as a source of useful information and advice to your customers.
  • It’s easy to check your progress: Most software solutions for this type of marketing let you track important metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and others. See what works and what you can do to amplify your message.
  • It improves website traffic: To supplement search engine optimization efforts, emails can be used to encourage more clicks to your website.

Getting the full benefit of email marketing is all about having the right mindset. Let’s get into some email marketing strategies for eCommerce.

Steps And Best Practices For Marketing Through Email

You should have two separate methods for handling transactional and promotional emails, as they aim to serve different purposes and should come with their own best practices.

The Promotional Strategy

These types of emails rely on two factors: your ability to collect a list of addresses to send them to and the content you put in each message.

  • Allow site visitors to sign up: Most online stores have a dedicated form or box for entering in an address. Locations include the homepage, on the sidebar, in the footer, or even on its own page.
  • Write up basic templates for the messages: A template allows you to quickly send out an email whenever necessary. Of course, don’t forget to add your own branding, logos, and colors to make it your own.
  • Start with a welcome message: Upon signup, send out an introductory email informing recipients of your business and what information it intends to share through this newsletter.
  • Choose a cadence: Send out emails at regular intervals so that your brand stays fresh in the minds of the customers without annoying them. A weekly newsletter is a useful starting point.
  • Decide on your content: Examples include sales, product launches, testimonials, or even behind-the-scenes looks at your company.
  • Appeal to multiple audiences: Not everyone on your email list is interested in the same topics. Try to segment your market based on past purchases or demographics so that every email received is relevant to that customer’s interests.

But don’t forget to focus on the other piece of the puzzle too. Both transactional and promotional content contribute equally to the success of eCommerce email campaigns.

The Transactional Strategy

Because transactional emails tend to be a lot more formal and planned out, setting them up might take longer but the return for your business is absolutely worth the effort.

  • Keep your brand visible: Just because the focus isn’t promoting, doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a branding opportunity. Keep your logos, colors, and images in the messages to promote brand awareness.
  • Connect with the recipient: You don’t have to be too formal, even with transactional emails. Call the customer by first name and talk in a conversational tone.
  • Upsell and Cross-Sell: Another great opportunity is the chance to upsell and cross-sell based on the contents of the cart. If you’ve recently purchased a laptop, you might need a carrying bag or a wireless mouse to go with it. Likewise, a bouquet of flowers needs a vase, and a phone might need a fancy case. You get the idea.
  • Offer incentives and encourage further action: It’s not uncommon to have referral incentives in a transactional email. The recipient has already purchased from your brand and is likely to bring friends and family on board. Likewise, you could consider soliciting reviews and feedback from buyers this way.
  • Automate the process: Almost all eCommerce stores use some type of dedicated software for these messages. An email plugin for your eCommerce platform is a possible option if you aren’t interested in the technical skill required to install one yourself.

Building on this last point, there’s nothing that can boost email marketing ROI better than an automated system for writing and sending out messages.

ActiveTrail: Email Marketing Automation for eCommerce

Whether you need help with promotional or transactional emails, marketing automation for eCommerce is an invaluable tool for making the whole process more efficient.

For instance, you can automate the sending of messages at key points. If a customer recently abandons a cart without completing the purchase, the system can detect the abandoned cart and send out a reminder just in time.

A platform like ActiveTrail can dynamically segment your audience so every email has exactly what the recipient is looking for. It can also automatically send out specific messages upon certain user-specific triggers and conditions

Are you looking for an easier approach to eCommerce email marketing automation? Sign up for your free trial of ActiveTrail today.