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July 31, 2022

The Benefits of Using Email Marketing for Customer Retention and Loyalty To Your Ecommerce Business

The Benefits of Using Email Marketing for Customer Retention and Loyalty To Your Ecommerce Business

Email marketing is one of the best marketing tools that ecommerce businesses can use to keep engaging with their customers and generate more sales. When website visitors subscribe to your emails, they are telling you they want more of your content. So, how do you give them what they want? 

In this article, we'll look at everything you can do to save any lost sales as well as how to generate sales using email marketing. You'll get all the email marketing best practices, as well as some suggestions for types of emails and content you can send your customers. 

You can turn potential customers into paying customers with abandoned cart reminders and offer your loyal customers exclusive promotions and discounts. You can also use your email subscribers list to get necessary customer feedback, so you can learn what people like and dislike about your ecommerce store. 

(Image: TicketBooth)

Why is Customer Retention Important?

Customer retention is an essential part of any business. Every customer in your online store has value, and retaining customers means less work advertising to new ones. If you can get customers to be loyal to your brand, it means your products work.

You can use a formula to calculate your customer retention rate: 

Customer Retention Rate = (Customers at End of Period - New Customers During Period) / Customers at Start of Period x 100

You can calculate your customer retention rate monthly, quarterly, or yearly to see where you're improving. As you implement customer retention strategies, you can determine their success by running the customer retention rate formula at the end of every quarter. You'll be able to work out which retention strategies are successful and which ones don't work. 

Does Email Marketing Work?

There were three billion email users in 2020. Ecommerce email marketing is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with your customers. When a customer signs up as one of your email subscribers, they're intentionally signing up to get more information from you and to learn more about your products. They want to stay informed about sales, discounts, and new product launches. Your email subscribers list is a bunch of existing customers who like your brand and want to keep coming back. 

Creating a successful ecommerce email marketing strategy will help you keep in touch with your customers and improve the customer retention rate. When a new email lands in their inbox advertising a sale or discount, they'll be more likely to come back and buy more. 

When you spend $1 on email marketing, you can expect a return on investment of $42.  

(Image: Knightly Games)

Creating an Email Marketing Strategy

So, now we know ecommerce email marketing is successful and a helpful way to get repeat customers. Let's look at how you can implement email marketing campaigns and the different elements you can use. 

You can access plenty of email marketing tools to help you design an email campaign. They'll save you time and money and have many email templates you can work from to improve your marketing performance. 

Various factors can affect how successful your email marketing strategies are. There are many considerations to make in the emails you use in your campaigns. It would help if you looked at everything, from the email address you're using to send your emails down to the subject line, images, and overall email design. 

Sending the Perfect Ecommerce Email

You should consider your customers at every step when structuring your email campaigns. Your emails should encourage customers back onto your website where they'll make a purchase and improve customer engagement. 

Email marketing for ecommerce is all about driving sales and boosting website traffic. Every aspect of the email plays a vital role in driving customer engagement. 

'From' Email Address

It seems like a simple concept. Many companies use a 'no-reply' email address to run their email marketing campaigns. But you have to think, what is most convenient for the customer? If you're sending regular emails to your customers or you send a customer feedback email, they will likely want to respond at some point. 

Instead of choosing a 'no-reply' email address with a name that shows up in the inbox like NoReply, you could opt for something a little friendlier like 'hello' or 'contact us.' When you set up a name that will appear in their inbox, you can use your brand name or opt for a personal name - for example, yours. 

If you're running all the customer service at first, having a personal name there can help the customer connect to your brand. But, if you've got a team of customer service assistants or marketers, you're better to opt for the name of your ecommerce store instead. 

(Image: AMA Boston)

Subject Lines

Certain emails, like promotional emails, have a higher open rate than others. But if you don't make it obvious what the email purpose is in the subject line, the customer won't know there's a discount code or promotional deal in the body of the email. So they'll be less likely to open it. 

Every word is critical. Your email subject line is the first hook to grab the customer's attention when they see it in their inbox. Litmus, an email marketing tool, ran a study that confirmed you have four seconds to get your customer's attention, so it has to count. 

When writing subject lines, make it clear what the email is about, but also avoid sounding too salesy and desperate. It should be short, snappy, and grammatically correct. Don't write in all capitals. The customer will feel like you're shouting at them and go easy on the exclamation marks. 

You could frame it as a question: 'Are you looking for 10% off your next purchase?'

Don't set the email up as something that it isn't. For example, don't say there's a promo code inside in the subject line and then not supply one. Your customers won't trust you, and it won't build customer loyalty.

Call To Action

A call to action is a piece usually at the end of an email, although you can have multiple calls to action throughout, urging the reader to do something. For ecommerce email marketing, this would generally be a button to go through to the website, hoping to generate sales. 

You can use different types of calls to action in your emails. Here are a few examples that cover promotional emails, post-purchase emails, review request emails, transactional emails, and more:

  • Shop now for our 50% off sale
  • Repeat your order
  • Claim your discount
  • See our summer collection
  • Click here for free shipping
  • Order now
  • Click here to get your birthday deal
  • Sign me up
  • Count me in!
  • Start your free trial
  • Take our survey
  • Leave a review
  • Give us feedback
  • Let us know how we did
  • Click here to finish your order

Pre Header

The pre-header text in an email is the meta description that appears beside subject lines in someone's inbox. It needs to tell a story or be relevant to the overall email. Again, this is the following email stage that is meant to grab your customer's attention and encourage them to open the email and read more. 

Make use of it, and use it to pull on your customer's curiosity to persuade them to open the email. 

Design

The overall design of an email is essential for its readability. You're not going to read an email with paragraphs that don't make sense, clashing colors, and broken image links. Luckily, there are internet email marketing services and tools to help you design the perfect email. You can choose the exact colors your brand has to tie it in with the overall theme of your ecommerce site. 

Most email marketing tools have templates you simply have to customize for your colors and branding, meaning you'll have a perfectly designed email in less time. Anything that saves you time is a benefit. 

Preview your draft first for every email you send to ensure it looks good. Think about the customer whose inbox it's landing in and how they'll read it. 

Email Text

Naturally, the actual text in the email copy is significant. By this point, you've got the customer interested enough to open your email. You must keep them reading and encourage them to click through your website. 

However, the success of your marketing efforts isn't always down to the actual content. It's more down to timing and hooking the customer's attention with your initial subject line. It seems silly, but sadly it's true. The email copy is still necessary but not as crucial as the opening lines. 

Keep it simple and relevant, don't ramble or go off on tangents. Always make sure to proofread your copy before you send it. The last thing you want is to appear unprofessional by sending out emails riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. 

Images

When it comes to images in email marketing, less is more. Your customers don't need emails with 20 images in them. The email should be a short spiel directing them to the website in the hope of getting sales, feedback, or whatever the email's purpose. Your images should be high-quality and relevant to the actual content. 

Use your images to compliment the text. Pictures don't always load immediately in emails, so don't have your primary content in an image. If the reader doesn't understand the email immediately, they'll switch off. 

Timing

In ecommerce email marketing, even the timing of your email makes a difference. The day with the highest email open rate is Monday, and the lowest open rates are on Saturdays and Sundays. Evidently, people are too busy having fun at the weekend to open their emails, but as they go back into the working week, they are more likely to focus on their emails. 

If you want a higher customer conversion rate from your emails, then sending weekday emails works best. People are more likely to be on their phones and computers when they're working. 

(Image: SuperOffice)

Types of Email to Use

When you're running ecommerce email marketing campaigns, you can use various marketing emails to promote better customer relationships and engagement to get more sales. 

You should always start with welcome emails when you get new subscribers; from there, you can tailor and change your email marketing strategy. There are also promotional emails that can give your email subscribers a discount code just for being on your subscriber's list. Let's explore the different types of emails you can send to drive customers back to your website. 

Welcome Email

When a customer signs up and becomes one of your new subscribers, you can send them a personalized welcome email for signing up. 

Welcome emails introduce your online store and promote your brand to the customer. It's an excellent opportunity to showcase products they might have missed on your website or offer an exclusive discount for joining your email subscription list. 

Polite Reminders

Polite reminders are an excellent tool to give customers a nudge if they have an abandoned cart. 

Abandoned carts are where customers started their orders and filled up their baskets, but they haven't yet reached the checkout page. It happens all the time. To help rectify the abandoned cart, you can send out email reminders to get customers to return and finish their orders. You can also offer product recommendations, suggest products based on previous purchases, and send reminders about sales. 

Customer Feedback Emails

Contacting your customer for their feedback is an excellent tool for ecommerce email marketing. Where else will you get a list of loyal customers who have visited your website and can identify where you could make improvements? 

It could help the customer relationship and improve your website for future customers if you send out customer feedback emails to gather their thoughts on your brand, website, and products. You don't want to send them out too often, but once a quarter or once a year, you could email your subscribers and ask them to complete a short survey letting you know what they think. As a reward, you can offer a free gift or even free shipping when they place an order. 

Promoting Re-Engagement

These emails are generally sent to customers who have disengaged from your brand and stopped communicating with you. They could be a former repeat customer who now no longer buys from your ecommerce store, or they could have recently unsubscribed to your emails. 

If a customer unsubscribes, you cannot continue contacting them. However, many brands will send one final email, sometimes saying goodbye to the unsubscribed customer and offering them an exclusive discount code to make a purchase. Sometimes, this can be the tool that brings them back to your store and gets them engaging with you again. 

If you've got subscribers on your list who haven't visited your website or bought something in over six months, you can send out emails that say 'we miss you!' or offer them free shipping if they return. Re-engagement emails do help with customer retention rates. 

Information Emails

Informational emails, or ecommerce emails, are the ones you send when you're launching a new product or range, and you want your entire subscriber list to know. It keeps people up-to-date with any ongoing changes or updates at your ecommerce store and can urge them to come back and browse your products or buy something. 

If you're running a sale, who better to contact to tell than your loyal customers? Your subscriber list should be the first to know about any potential changes that will help increase sales on your website. 

Promotional Emails

A massive bonus of joining an email subscribers list is getting an exclusive discount code or promo code. Many people will sign up for 10% or 20% off their next purchase. It's an excellent method to ensure you get repeat customers. 

It doesn't always have to be a discount code. Sometimes you can offer free shipping or early access to an upcoming sale. Most customers join email subscription lists for brands to get access to discounts and promos. 

Promotional emails also have higher open and click rates than other forms of ecommerce email marketing on average. They have 14% higher open rates and 34% higher click-through rates, so customers love them. They are a large part of any successful ecommerce email marketing strategy. 

Free Gifts

Making customers feel special and valued is an essential tool that helps them connect with your brand. When someone signs up to your email list, you could take down their birthday and then, when it rolls around, offer them a free gift for being a loyal customer. Small acts like that go a long way for customer loyalty. 

If you're an ecommerce store that sells couples' things, you could take down the couple's anniversary date and offer an exclusive discount or free gift when that date is coming. It means customers feel like there's a personalized service at your online store, and they'll be more likely to return. 

Review Request Emails

When your customer is post-purchase and bought some things from your website, you could send them an email suggesting they write a review on the products they've purchased. Customer testimonials on your website are an excellent marketing tool for building customer trust in your product and brand. 

Remember, every email you send is an opportunity for more sales. When you send out your review request emails, you could upsell further products, generating more revenue as customers return and make another purchase. According to one study, 27.5% of customers who clicked on a promoted product in a review request email went on to buy it. That's a high conversion rate, and you don't want to miss out on it. 

(Image: AWeber)

The Benefits of Using Email Marketing

We've already talked about how successfully carrying out email marketing can generate more revenue for your brand. But there are many other advantages to implementing a good ecommerce email marketing strategy. Let's explore some of the benefits you'll get when you start your own email campaign. 

Keeps Customers Engaged

Customers who sign up for your emails want to know more about your brand. It means they won't make one purchase and forget about you, as they'll have the reminder every time you send them an email. The higher this list grows, the more people you have actively engaged with you. 

You'll be able to pass on relevant information like upcoming sales or new product launches or make product recommendations to them. The more customers are engaged with your brand, the more likely they'll become repeat customers. 

Reporting and Analytics

It's not just customer engagement and sales you can use email marketing for. It's also an excellent tool for measuring what's working and isn't. When you use a reputable email marketing software, you'll be able to analyze regular reports measuring the open and click-through rate on your emails. So you'll see which emails people opened the most and which emails generated more website traffic. 

Once you understand what drives website visitors, you can tailor and change your email marketing strategy to drive customers to the site and boost sales. 

Saves Time With Automations

When conducting email marketing, you don't have to go it alone. You could use an email marketing service to support you to save time and money. Plenty of email marketing software on the internet will help automate the process so that when you get a new subscriber, your welcome email is sent to them without you having to push a button. You can also use that to create email marketing campaigns and schedule your emails to send to your subscriber list. 

Automating the email marketing process means you can focus on selling more products and help with sales because your customers will keep interacting and engaging with your ecommerce store. 

(Image: Soffront)

Tips For Successful Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaigns

Now you've got all the information about how to create a successful ecommerce email marketing campaign, let's look at some of the email marketing best practices. With these tips and tricks, you'll create compelling content and emails that will bring customers back to your store. 

Be Creative

When you're writing your content and creating your email campaigns, your customers don't want something monotonous and boring. Being matter-of-fact works when you're a journalist reporting the news, but it's better to be creative and fun in your own brand stories. You can tell customer stories or use some alliteration or puns to make your content fun and engaging for the reader. 

First and foremost, be yourself. People buy into people, and if your brand values and story have a bit of your personality injected into them, it'll help your customers connect with your ecommerce store. 

Personalize Your Emails

Personalized messages are an excellent way to make your customers feel valued and like they matter to your ecommerce brand. It's an excellent method for promoting customer loyalty too. Where you can, always refer to the customer by name, and you can include other details like their city too. 

Sending out birthday messages and offering a free gift or exclusive discount because it's their special day is another way to personalize your email marketing strategy for your customers. 

Make Them Mobile-Friendly

Mobile ecommerce statistics state that around 66% of online shoppers use their mobile devices to make online purchases. 

To keep your emails suitable for mobile devices, you can write short subject lines, use a pre-header text that shows up clearly in mobile email service providers' inboxes, and keep the content short and concise. Also, ensure that your email is optimized for a smaller screen and is still readable, don't use large images. Put your CTAs at the center point of your email to be eye-catching and responsive. 

Before sending out an email, you can test it on multiple devices to see how it translates to a smaller screen. 

Every Email Should Have a Purpose

Every email you send should be relevant to your ecommerce site or their engagement with it. Whether it's a welcome email thanking them for subscribing, offering a discount, or telling them about an upcoming sale, you should keep all the content concise and focused on the primary email topic. If you spam your subscribers with lots of unnecessary and irrelevant emails, they will switch off and not be interested. 

Use an Excellent Welcome Email

In the world of ecommerce, first impressions count and are crucial for how a customer will interact with your brand. Welcome emails increase user engagement to your ecommerce site by up to 500%

Welcome emails get sent to new subscribers, which usually means they've engaged with your brand recently to subscribe in the first place. An excellent welcome email will turn them into repeat customers and can generate sales. It's all about breaking the ice in an approachable way that promotes your brand values and message. 

You can review and change your welcome email as you learn and grow, but remember it's the first message you send to your customers, and ensure the content is focused on that. 

Upsell and Cross-sell Products

Ecommerce email marketing is about getting more sales, so if you're not upselling or cross-selling products in your email copy, you're doing something wrong. When someone has bought something on your ecommerce store, you could send them a post-purchase email confirming their order and cross-selling additional products based on the ones they've already bought. 

Offering recommendations is an excellent tool for generating sales and revenue for your brand. You should take every opportunity to sell more products, and cross-selling is a crucial strategy for increasing the sales at your online store. 

Reward Customers 

Giving customers rewards for being loyal is another way to show them how much you value them. Customers want to shop at brands that make them feel wanted and that they're making a difference. There are various ways to do this; you can offer exclusive birthday deals, provide subscribers early access to sales, send them exclusive discount codes or promotional items, offer free shipping, or start a loyalty program. 

Customer loyalty programs persuade customers to buy more, as they know they're getting a reward for every purchase. It could be points that eventually convert into money off or an offer that they'll qualify for free shipping for the rest of the year if they spend enough money. You'll decide which loyalty programs work best at your ecommerce store. But ensure you're giving your customers regular rewards, and you'll keep them returning for more. 

Be Ready For Customer Complaints

When you open the door to customer feedback and customers contacting you, you must also prepare for a complaint or two. Not everyone will be satisfied with your products or service. It's impossible to please everyone. 

So, be prepared for a complaint and always be courteous and polite when you're handling your customer. Remember, word of mouth travels fast, and people share negative experiences more often than positive ones. 

Make Sure Customers Are Aware They Can Unsubscribe

A customer must understand they can unsubscribe anytime. People unsubscribe from emails for several reasons, usually to do with your brand. It could be that you're sending far too many emails, and it's annoying them. Or they could dislike your content. 

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 states that all email marketing emails should have a 'visible, operable, unsubscribe mechanism .' Unfortunately, that doesn't mean all companies abide by the law, but you definitely should. Measuring email unsubscribers is an excellent method for analyzing what has been successful and hasn't been in your email marketing campaign. 

Every marketing campaign is a learning experience, and you won't get it right 100% of the time. Learn from your mistakes, and improve for next time. 

Constantly Review

The final piece of advice we'll give you is to continuously review and change your email marketing strategy as you go. Something that worked for you as a small one-person brand might not be suitable for a bigger store with more website traffic and customers. Every experience you have in ecommerce is a learning curve, and you'll get better the more you grow. 

Don't be afraid to test new things, and analyze your reports regularly to determine what's been successful with your customers. 

Wrapping Up

In this blog, we've outlined everything you need about ecommerce email marketing. You'll be able to take everything you've learned and develop your ecommerce email marketing strategy. 

Remember that when creating your email campaign, it's crucial to have various email types to keep customers engaged. You can send discounts, welcome emails, remind customers of an abandoned cart and help with any lost sales, and so much more. Nobody wants ten of the same emails dropping into their inbox every week. 

Don't forget to personalize the emails, make your customer feel valued, and keep your emails relevant, snappy, and creative. You can have fun with it and use the reporting tools to measure your success. Even if you make mistakes at the start, you'll hone the perfect strategy and style for your business as you develop and grow. 

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