There is a growing belief among retail professionals that email marketing is king. According to one survey, about 80 percent of retailers believe that email marketing improves customer acquisition and retention rates. While retailers’ faith in email marketing is reassuring, what’s even more so is what our consumers have to say about it.
In a recent Adobe survey, consumers resoundingly agreed that they prefer when brands contact them via email over other methods. The only problem here is that they do not always feel like brands use email correctly or appropriately, as a quarter of the survey respondents just won’t open emails when they think there’s nothing of interest or value in them.
Knowing this, what are you to do as an e-commerce business? You know that email marketing is a great opportunity to reach your consumer audience, but there’s a potential that, if done poorly, you could compromise all that hard work you have put into building your email list as well as your customers’ trust and loyalty.
If you want to connect with customers through email, then timing is critical. With projections putting the number of email users at over three billion by 2020, and with over 257 billion emails sent out each day, now is a great time to whip your email marketing efforts into shape and make them count.
Here are 8 timed opportunities e-commerce companies can use to connect with their audience through email:
1. Welcome Email
Whether someone has created a new account while signing up for blog notifications or making a purchase, it is always a nice gesture to send a quick and simple welcome email. No need to worry about the sell here. Just say “hello” and establish trust that you will use their email to share exciting news and special offers with them.
2. Order-Related Emails
There are a lot of steps involved in the ordering process, which means you should have an automated set of messages ready to go out as each step is triggered. For instance:
- When an order is placed
- When an order ships
- When an item is backordered (or comes back in stock)
- When there’s a delay in delivery
3. Post-Purchase Email
Confirmation emails are always a nice gesture. Think of them as a digital thank-you note. Again, this will support the relationship you have kicked off in the welcome email. If you really want to impress them, include a summary of what they bought, provide a brief FAQ to help with their purchase, and share customer service details in case they run into issues.
4. Shopping Cart Email
Whether they got distracted by a screaming infant or they are still mulling the decision to press that “Purchase” button, you will occasionally have customers who leave products behind in their shopping cart. If you have a tool that can detect this sort of (in)activity, send them a friendly reminder.
5. Product-Related Emails
Experian found that marketers experience a 760 percent increase in revenue when they create personalized and segmented emails. The best way to do this? Use what you know about your customers’ product preferences and previous purchases to notify them when:
- A popular item they wanted goes on sale
- A new product release is coming up
- There’s been a change to an item on their wishlist
6. Rewards Program Email
If your e-commerce store has a rewards program, you will definitely want to use email to keep your customers in the know.
- Email customers with details on the program if they have not yet signed up.
- Email customers already in the program with details on their rewards points and what they can do with them.
- Send out very succinct and boldly designed notices about upcoming loyalty days and rewards opportunities.
7. Automated Reengagement Email
When you have customers on your list that haven’t made a purchase in a while (say, 30 days or so), use automated reengagement emails to hit them with special offers and incentivize them to come back.
8. Educational Email
Finally, don’t forget to schedule regular emails full of educational content. You can include links to your latest blog posts, announce new product lines, share customer-generated product videos, or advertise an upcoming live chat Q&A on social media.
Kristin Naragon of Adobe summed up the goals of e-commerce email marketing perfectly:
“Marketers must adapt their approach to address email behaviors and avoid adding to the noise of the inbox. This means fewer emails and ensuring those sent are mobile-optimized, personalized and contextual to offer the best possible digital experience.”
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