Updated: Apr 14
I’m a big fan of email marketing when it’s done right. Generally, that means only sending emails to those who have subscribed, sharing engaging content (not just pushing for sales) and not bombarding people.
A few years back, email marketing had a bad rep and I shirked away from the practice. It was seen as pushy, intense and the emails often didn’t load properly. Now, email marketing has gotten smarter. As a result, open rates and click-through rates can be far higher than social media and search engine advertising. Additionally, if you’re doing it yourself it’s often free too.
Of course, the other thing it can be is time-consuming. However, if you’re hosting a store on a platform like WIX or Shopify that has built-in email marketing, and if you properly plan and set up your funnels, then it can become a simple and effective means of connecting with your customers.
Often, the most difficult part of email marketing is deciding what you want to tell your customers.
Here are my top email marketing ideas for online shops:
Order Confirmation and Shipping
Order confirmations and shipping information are usually sent out automatically. This email is essential so I recommend testing it now and then. Also, just because it’s automatic doesn’t mean it can’t be personalised. How much depends upon your app/plug-in or platform. Usually, you can at least edit the content to get your voice across.
Once somebody has made an order, their email should go into your contact list so you can keep in touch.
IMPORTANT - It’s always best to add a brief note to your forms to let anyone who is providing an email address know that you may send them the odd keeping-in-touch email.
A very good email to send after someone has made an online purchase is an upsell. This should include other products the buyer may be interested in. You might also include a special discount as a thank you for their first purchase, for new customers.
Whilst it’s tempting to include a whole host of other products, overload can be off-putting. Besides, the longer an email takes to load, the more likely it will be deleted before your products can even be displayed. When marketing emails land in an inbox there’s usually a very small window in which to win over the recipient. Many people scroll through emails with their finger hovering over the delete button so you’ll want a fast-loading email with a strapline or image that catches their attention immediately.
Reviews are so essential to your marketing and sales. You can have the most beautifully written content in all of your communications, but it’s what other people are saying about you that really matters. The best way to get reviews is to ask.
So, a few days after a customer should have received their purchase they should receive an email from you requesting feedback. Of course, you’ll want to express your thanks for their order and your hope that they are pleased with their item. Afterwhich, a link to somewhere they can leave a review is perfect.
Where you collect your reviews depends on your business. You might choose to use Google Business, Facebook or even LinkedIn. Usually, the source you get most of your website traffic from is best.
Reviews on your website are essential but you may find you need to do this manually. The good news is, there’s no reason why you can’t use a review you got on Facebook, by email or from any other source, on your website also. I update reviews on my website every few months and I make sure there is always a broad selection to cover all services I offer.
More than this though, reviews also make great content for highlighting in social media posts.
The Abandoned Cart email is a very effective one. We lead such busy lives and now we're able to shop as we go, using mobile phones, items often get put into a cart and we get interrupted before we complete the transaction. I often find I’ve placed items in a cart and then need to take a break because I’m not yet ready to make a decision.
To get the most out of Abandoned Cart emails you’ll want to ask users to log in before they add items to a cart. Most platforms have an Abandoned Cart email you can automate. If not, there is a plugin you can get to work with most sites.
I recommend sending your Abandoned Cart reminder a few hours after the bag has been left and then again a day later if the purchase has not been made.
IMPORTANT - accept rejection after two reminder emails. Too many Abandoned Cart reminder emails can come across as desperate.
The above emails can be sent to those who have made or almost made a purchase through your website. But what about those you haven’t won over yet? Or those you won over a while back and want to stay in touch with?
Check out our Ideas For Your Email Marketing Newsletter blog for more ideas.