Bringing in new customers is a challenge every e-commerce business runs into. It’s a never-ending process of identifying a target audience, generating interest and, eventually, turning this interest into leads and conversions.
This is why taking current customers and turning them into repeat customers is so important. It’s less expensive to create repeat customers and yet returning clients have the power to drastically increase revenue streams. That is exactly why a business must understand how to propel current customers into buying again.
One of the best ways to go about doing this is through email marketing. Email marketing is effective, cost friendly, and with just a few easily crafted messages it’s possible to bring previous customers back into the fold, educate them on new products and generate a greater revenue stream. It just takes specially designed and articulately crafted messages to spur these repeat purchases by using E-commerce Email marketing.
Why Email Marketing?
There are a number of marketing opportunities every business needs to take advantage of. However, most of these forms of advertisements are better suited for going after new customers than bringing in new ones. The previous customers will already come across repeat advertisements designed for new clients, so they will receive these branding reminders from time to time. However, in terms of drawing customers back in and converting them into repeat clients, not else matches up to email marketing.
As Sale Cycle (2018) points out, during a 2017 Email Marketing Census, 73 percent of top performing online channels said email marketing provided either good or excellent return on investment. Just four percent said it had a poor ROI. Search engine optimization performed the next best with 72 percent saying good or excellent. Only two other forms of marketing, PPC and content marketing, are above 60 percent. All of this points to the power of email marketing and why it is so important to take advantage of.
Different Kinds of Email Marketing Emails
Not all forms of email marketing are the same. In fact, the message that should go out depends heavily on what stage in the buying process a former customer is. Whether they just made a purchase or haven’t interacted with the company in a while, different kinds of emails are necessary.
Looking at different e-commerce email ideas can help with this and point any business in the right direction for how to better connect (and bring back) customers. According to Sleek Note (2018), there are 11 different kinds of e-commerce email messages a business needs to look into. These 11 different emails fall into three broad categories: welcome, trigger and retention.
Welcome emails greet a customer after making a purchase. This can be a standard message if someone enters in their email to receive a sales discount. However, if they have made a purchase the message should be specifically geared toward their purchase and even offer suggestions for future purchases based on what they just bought.
In general though, for a business looking to capitalize on its former customers, it is important to focus on retention emails. Of the 11 different kinds of e-commerce email messages, there are just three retention-based email types.
First, there is the re-engagement/win-back email. This is a message sent out to a former customer that has not visited the website or made another purchase in several months. These contact messages often include special discounts and bonuses for returning to the website (such as a discount on future purchases, an added gift or a buy-one-get-one offer).
The second retention email is a survey email. This goes out after a customer makes a purchase and asks them what they thought of their shopping experience. Here a company can learn what it’s doing well and what it can improve upon. It may also act as an opportunity to provide participants of the survey with a discount code usable on future purchases. In a way, it acts both as a win-back email and as a survey email all in one.
The third kind of retention email is a customer appreciation email. Everyone likes to be thanked and told how much they are appreciated. As children turn into adults and go about their professional lives an offering of gratitude becomes less and less frequent. This is what helps make a customer appreciation email so much more impact.
The email can be as basic as telling a customer how much they are appreciated all the way to providing a special discount. Sometimes the smallest sign of appreciation is all that’s necessary (there’s a reason why insurance companies and dentist offices send out holiday cards).
For a business looking to generate additional income from previous clients, utilizing these retention email ideas can help boost sales and transform a one-time customer into a repeat customer.
Stages of Email Marketing For Repeat Customers
Top performing email marketing utilizes a stage schedule. This schedule is based on the previous interest and purchase history of a customer. In graphical terms, it is a funnel approach. The beginning of an email marketing campaign is wider spread as it attempts to connect with potential customers and generate interest. Then, as the customer becomes more accustomed to the brand and the products it offers, the marketing becomes more finely tuned. This is known as a funnel e-commerce email sequence.
An email marketing sequence is made up of three stages. The first is the “Interested” stage, the second is the “Engaged” stage and the third is the “Lapsed” stage. Going after repeat customers begin half-way through the engaged stage. This is because customers have already demonstrated an interest in a product and have made their first purchase.
According to Digital marketer, there are several points of interest within the sequence for a business to focus on. This begins within the “Engaged” stage. First, the e-commerce email examples begin with sending out messages to repeat customers in hopes of generating secondary purchases. These emails may provide service alerts, upcoming events, special promotions and information regarding a rewards program.
Other emails that make up the Engaged stage include page triggers (when a previous customer returns to the website and searches a particular product but doesn’t make a purchase), as well as birthday and special event messages.
Lastly, there is the Lapsed stage. There are two different forms of emails that can (and should) go out during this stage in order to help bring customers back into the fold. The first is a trigger email that goes out if a customer hasn’t made a purchase within a set period of time. The second is if a customer hasn’t opened a received email or clicked through the email in a set period of time.
These lapsed emails can be scheduled with the help of e-commerce email marketing software. The right email list service provider should be able to help a business generate emails based on when a previous purchase was made. This way, the emails are augmented and go out automatically. The marketing department of a business already has a good deal on their plate, so they will not be able to personally stay on top of the last time a previous customer visited the website. However, with the email marketing software, it is possible to recapture these customers and improve the chance of these former customers making secondary purchases.
Above All Else, Focus on the Subject Line
When sending email, customers already know where the message is coming from. If they’ve shopped with an online retailer before they will recognize the email.
However, that doesn’t mean a former customer will always open the received email. There needs to be a reason behind opening the message. A customer knows sales copy will great them when they open the message, so they need to have a reason to open the email advertisement.
There are a number of alterations a business can implement in its approach to retrieving customers and pulling them back into the fold. However, it doesn’t matter how great the e-commerce email marketing templates are or how incredible the e-commerce email ideas are if the subject doesn’t interest an email recipient they won’t even bother to open the message at all.
The subject line of any message will make or break its potential. In fact, according to Neil Patel and reported by Digital Marketer, the subject line of an email impacts a recipient of the message more than all other points of interest.
As the graph below shows, the time of day an email is sent impacts six percent of users, while the frequency of emails sent also has a six percent impact. The call to action within the email impacts five percent of those receiving the message while the creativity of the email impacts 19 percent of former customers. The subject line though of a message impacts 62 percent of recipients.
The receiving of an email marketing message already knows who it is from and that they are receiving it in hopes of making another purchase. It is the subject line that acts as the bait and hook. Without quality bait on the subject line, customers will swim right on by.
Segment Email Lists
Gathering emails and generating a large email list will help in reaching out to repeat customers later on down the line. However, it’s critical to avoid mass sending the exact same message to all former customers. Someone who purchased a new cell phone last month will not be interested in sales on more cell phones. Likewise, someone who just bought a men’s pair of shoes will not likely be interested in women’s eyeshadow.
Sending mass email messages to everyone is a fast way to stunt repeat conversion rates while increasing the chance of a former customer blocking future emails. Segmenting email lists can help with this and is one of the most important eCommerce email marketing tips every business needs to follow.
As Shopify points out in its instructional “How to Grow Your eCommerce Business with Email Marketing” self-help guide, segmenting email lists is crucial for boosting reader engagement. Shopify, one of the worldwide leaders in e-commerce storefronts, recommends segmenting an email list based on a number of customer’s variables.
- Segmentation List Based on Customer Type
First, Shopify suggests creating a segmented list based on customer type. This includes new customers who just made a first purchase, loyal customers to buy on a regular basis and inactive customers who have not made a new purchase in several months.
- Segmentation List Based on Customer’s Interest
Second, Shopify indicates it’s important to further segment the email list based on a customer’s interest, including what they have purchased in the past. What a customer buys offers a window into their personal lives, so creating customized lists based on what someone has bought will help increase click-through rates.
- Segmentation List Include’s Previous Location & Engagement
Other points of interest for creating a segmented list include the location of the former customer, and their previous engagement with the business (if they’ve responded to previous emails in the past or if they are not linking back to the website after viewing sales copy).
According to Mail Chimp and reported by The Atlas (2017), email segmentation has a major impact on the success of email marketing.
By segmenting emails a sent message is opened 14.31 percent more frequently, has an increase in clicks by 100.95 percent and sees a reduction in a site’s bounce rate by 4.65 percent. Recipients of the message are also 9.37 percent less likely to unsubscribe from the e-commerce newsletter.
All of this makes segmenting one of e-commerce email marketing’s best practices.
Email Templates Are Critical
The makeup of an email plays a big role in whether someone even receives an email or not. According to Digital Marketer, if an email is nothing but a block of text without any kind of branding aspects to it the message is more likely to be kicked to the spam folder.
Likewise, if it’s nothing but large images and animations the email service will likely sift it over to the promotions folder. While ending up in the promotions folder is better than spam, the desire for any business email is to end up in the “Primary” folder.
An email template will help in generating the right combination of visuals and text. An email marketing service that provides these templates can also help with segmentation, which is beneficial as well (and why searching for the right email marketing service provider is important).
Am appropriate email template makes it easier to generate user-centric messages. It also makes it easier to craft messages that will open properly on mobile devices.
As Cognique points out, while nearly 50 percent of all opened emails are done so on a mobile device, only 11 percent of all email templates are optimized for mobile viewing. Of those who use their smartphones and tablets for viewing emails, 69 percent will delete a message instantly if it isn’t formatted correctly.
All of this points out just how critical it is to select an email template that uses the right combination of text and visuals, formats the email for mobile viewing and helps with segmentation lists. All of this, when funneled through the right service provider, will play a major role in how successful an email marketing approach ends up being.
Take Advantage of Special Events
One of the best times to return to the well of previous customers is during special events or specific times of the year. These are times when individuals are more likely to click on advertisements and make purchases.
According to Optin Monster (2018), taking advantage of seasonal and holiday shopping events while integrating holiday themed visuals within an email template, is an excellent way to boost sales. As one of the top e-commerce email marketing best practices, this is an easy way to send out messages to previous customers in order to boost sales.
As Clean My Emails points out, 93 percent of online retailers indicated Cyber Monday is their most important and busiest day of email marketing. 83 percent said Thanksgiving is the second most popular as it comes the day before Black Friday (other top performing email marketing days include Free Shipping Day, Green Monday and December 6th).
In order to take advantage of a special holiday or time of year, it is important to let message recipients know what they can expect to find within the email. This is where posting vital information within the subject line pays off. As Omnisend points out, 44.7 percent of emails containing the term “Black Friday” saw an increase its own rate, while the terms “Sale” and “Off” each saw around a 28 percent boost. Using a percentage in the email (such as 40% off) increased the open rate by 32.8 percent.
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of customers outreach available to any business. It doesn’t matter if a company specializes in lawn care services or it sells custom shoes, email marketing maintains a direct line of communication between former customers and the business. As long as a customer had a favorable experience with the business during their previous interaction, they are more likely to make subsequent purchases. By following these tips and suggestions, any company is able to utilize e-commerce email marketing to generate a higher revenue stream.