Email marketing has been one of my major sources of revenue for our digital marketing agency. For several years, my relationship with MailChimp and Aweber has been one of my best learning experiences so far in digital marketing. It has some challenges like any other platforms but I’d like to share with you how I managed to go through it all and found the best practices that I still use today. So today, I’m sharing with you some email marketing tips and tricks.
It first started when a friend of mine contacted me to manage his eCommerce business. To be honest, I have no prior knowledge of managing that type of online business and my expertise in content writing and SEO. I took it as a challenge and spent a lot of time researching and attending online training and seminars.
The business is a drop shipping that solely relies on traffic for sales. They don’t have any email marketing, almost zero customer support, and almost no social media presence (they have a Facebook page with about 40 followers).
Fortunately, they have good traffic which is the sole source of their sales. I dug deep into the business and found out that they don’t have return buyers and their conversion rate is less than 0.1%. I was challenged and immediately designed my marketing plan which focuses on the online store, Facebook, and of course, email marketing.
CHALLENGES IN EMAIL MARKETING
Earning Email Subscribers
I did start from scratch starting our email list from zero subscribers. The website was redesigned and we installed the subscriber app, placed banners, and created a simple landing page for potential subscribers.
Lead Magnet in Email Campaign
We know that people are more willing to give their email addresses if they will get something in return. That is why we offer a lead magnet on our website and social media. For those who aren’t familiar, a lead magnet is a free gift you bribe to your visitors in exchange for signing up on the email list. We use eBooks, coupons, and giveaways.
Yes, I hate it myself but whether we like it or not, it’s an effective way of getting subscribers. It works because it grabs the attention of the visitors. Of course, you need to use the right targeting options. You need to display the popups where the visitors are likely to subscribe.
Fullscreen Welcome Mat
I did try a fullscreen optin takeover. It appears right when you land on the page. Those fullscreen takeovers let you grab the visitors’ attention with a message which shows the minute they land on your website.
Email Campaign Clear Offer and Purpose
We clearly state the benefits that our customers will get if they will subscribe. I believe that having a clear proposition will make people trust you and hit that opt-in button. We state that we provide product updates and special offers only through our emails and not anywhere else.
Let people know specifically why they should sign up for your emails and how they will benefit by doing so.
Always organically build your email list rather than buying subscribers. By creating a sidebar opt-in tab, you can encourage email subscription on your website. At the end of your articles, you can also attach a sign-up button. Another approach is to provide a reward such as a free trial or a demo in exchange for subscriptions.
Email Low Open Rates
For about 2 months, we slowly noticed an increase in our email list. I started scheduling email broadcasts and simple email campaigns. The problem is that our open rate is less than 10%. I had to figure out why our email wasn’t attracting customers. I made changes in my scheduling of emails and tested several types of subjects that best attract the recipient’s attention.
I put some serious thought into the creation of our subject line in every email that we compose, whether it’s an automatically generated email or an actual campaign.
Customers spend an average of 4 seconds inspecting your email in their inbox when making a decision whether to open it or not, and you will need a straightforward subject line and offer something of value to your customers. I no longer use sales terms like ‘special offer’ and ‘discount.’ I keep the subject line short and easy to read.
Customize it with customer information (Name or City). And always be honest about what you offer.
In 4 months, we were able to achieve a positive result although not the target that we wanted. We reached the 12% open rate and our highest click-through rate of 6.88%!
We reached 22% open rate that year when we had our Black Friday email campaign. Since then, we always had a good open rate whenever we had big campaigns. I just made sure that our offers are placed in the email subject and in the first paragraph.
Email Subscriber Retention
In 6 months, we already enjoyed 4,000 subscribers but we are also losing a few every minute. At this point, we had to make an effort to keep all active subscribers.
We check our subscribers and designed our email list segmentation. Sending relevant emails to the right audience is the best way to make sure that your subscribers continue to subscribe. It means that your email subscription list will have to be segmented properly. Use segmentation, you can fix multiple buyer personas ‘ different pain points. With our email segmentation imposed, we brought down the lower unsubscribe rate to 25%.
Email Low Click-Through Rates
Another email marketing challenge we had was our low email click-through rates. Even if recipients open our emails, it doesn’t mean they’ll read through the whole thing and click on the links we placed inside. Most of them don’t read and since they’re not clicking, we had a low chance of making them into paying customers.
Ascend2 said on its blog that about 53% of email marketers have issues with low click-through rates (CTR).
Re-engagement Email Campaign
Segmentation of our email list also helps in improving our click-through rates. However, we also put into consideration the disinterested subscribers. There will always be someone who hates receiving a bunch of emails every week and we had to do something about it.
What we did was conducted a re-engagement campaign the following year. We asked our subscribers if they still want to keep receiving emails or what frequency of emails they want to receive.
Low click-through rates can be the result of your spamming emails approach. You send emails too often or you send them to the wrong segments.
Other Important Tips in Email Marketing
- Make it personal-Use transactional data to customize your emails, and you will get a much more favorable outcome.
- Consider automation-In email marketing tools for e-commerce, leaning on an automated program can be much more effective than trying to construct and send customer emails on your own. Such systems can be configured to produce appropriate, personalized messages that are created and sent automatically when specific events occur.
- Upsell and Cross-sell -When a customer has bought an item, they will be more willing to make new purchases. Upselling and cross-selling is a good way to make something more of a single small sale. You can automate your emails to send offers of related products to buyers.
Like any other marketing channel, there will always be new email marketing obstacles. But don’t give up easily because by making the correct steps and analyzing your performance, you can always find a way and succeed.