Creating an Effective Email Campaign for Retail

If you are running an online store, you should then realize that Emails aren’t dead. It is not growing as other media are but definitely still in the game in terms of getting visitors, and converting sales.

Free-Shipping

image courtesy of mint.com

This article is mainly focused in the retail perspective as I have been studying different newsletters from online shops focused on the cosmetic and skin care industry. And what I am about to write next is a series of conclusions and generalisation that came about.

FREE Shipping!

Ok that may have came out wrong but what I am really trying to say is that companies should highlight the reasons why customers should buy from you.

Free shipping is definitely something that is enticing enough specially if you are promoting in your locality, why buy somewhere else if you can buy on a local website that gives you free shipping.

Exclusivity

Make your recipients feel special, give them a reason why they should keep their emails in your database. May it be something that you promote now or in the future. Make your customers feel special and that they are the only ones who can receive this offer because they are part of your mailing list.

Personal touch

Also termed as segmentation in the sender’s perspective. You can tailor each email in as much as how you track certain individuals in your list. Segmenting a list can greatly give more turn overs, more conversions.

Imagine if you can market something that is relevant to their previous purchase, wouldn’t that be a good push.

After studying a series of retail email newsletters from known brands, I have came to a certain conclusion on what is current and what works in terms of content.

Straight Offer

Very common and most safe newsletter to send. Choose a product or a few products in your catalog that you want to feature or is putting your marketing effort on and send a newsletter of it with the call to action, Shop Now, or Buy Now, or Buy this item.

Buy this get this free promo

Another common way of pushing your products is by giving free stuff or samples that would add value to main product you are selling. I see this for products that usually has high prices or kind of luxury.

What they want to do is to reel you in for more giving more to what they are already offering. Buy this and get a trial size is the most common.

Usable Content

Tips, tricks of the trade, knowledge base, these are the things that might be relevant for your customers to know. As long as you feed your customers intellect and asks nothing in return is always a good rapport for an eCommerce shop.

Understand and win these little battles with your subscribers, the more they open, and read the higher the probably that when a really nice offer is sent that they would open that also.

They are very graphical, and comes around in 2-3 different design layouts

The retail industry targets customers that are not usually tech savvy, they are your everyday shoppers, bloggers which does appreciate a knack for beauty and the graphically attractive.

An observation I had was even though these retail shops sends more than 1 newsletter a month, they make it a point to present it uniquely even though they are doing the same thing e.g. making an offer, or presenting a sale.

Mobile Friendly

4/10 newsletters I have received from the brands I subscribed to are mobile friendly or in technical terms responsive. I recently watched the video from moz.com on how to increase your email conversion by 150% and they directed me to going mobile friendly and focusing on the most important contents of your newsletter.

Is mobile really here already and ready to make the numbers? I think the answer is a sounding YES. Mobile is here and it will just continue to grow.

People are becoming more and more busy, but with mobile – they are now EMPOWERED.

Let’s take advantage of that and get our messages across to them at any time.

In conclusion, well, some people teach and some people do. I am more of the Do kind, so let’s work with your brand and see how fitting your email marketing campaign is for your business. Let’s tailor it, create more content for it, and start converting.

Thanks for reading all the way through here!

White Hat Email Marketing is the Name of the Game

Been so busy lately but I found a really great article to share.

Many marketers tell me that they are frustrated with the size of their email marketing lists and their slow rate of growth. Because many business owners equate a big list with success, they often end up considering strategies that are a long way from email marketing best practices and which might even blur the lines of legality.

Unlike other areas of online marketing (particularly SEO) where so-called black-hat marketing techniques are adopted (often unwisely) to game search engines, email marketing is governed by law and policed heavily by the ESPs and ISPs who have a reputation and a quality of service to maintain. In this respect, white hat email marketing is the only real game in town. However, that doesn’t stop some email marketers from taking unadvised shortcuts – often at their own expense.

Bad practice #1: cheap lists

Successful email marketing can usually be credited to three factors: permission, relevancy and the quality of the message or offer. An untargeted list falls at the first hurdle. It is, however, possible to rent lists from reliable sources – such as trade magazines supporting your industry, in which case you would normally provide the list broker with the campaign and they would deliver the email for you. Whenever you rent a list, it is vitally important to optimize your landing pages to capture details from interested parties.

Bad practice #2: harvesting data from dubious sources

I’ve seen this done in more than one marketing department. Scraping contact details from old databases (which might have followed a salesperson from their last place of employment).  Permission to send bulk marketing communications should not move from one company to the other as easily as employees. If your new employee wants to work their old network of contacts, they need to pick up the phone.

Bad practice #3: targeting old data

Just because your company had a relationship with a prospect or customer years ago, it doesn’t mean they suddenly want to start hearing from you unexpectedly again. An email marketing relationship needs to be built from the initial client/company engagements and regularly maintained. If you have not contacted someone in the past six months, try to re-engage them before targeting them with regular email marketing campaigns. Failure to do this will result in poor levels of engagement and spam complaints.

Five white-hat tips for growing your list the right way

1.    Think quality first: List size isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Your primary focus should be on list quality. As you grow (using the tips below) you should try and maintain this quality. Remember that a big, untargeted list can drive up your email marketing costs and potentially impact negatively on your reputation, damaging the return on investment you see from your email campaigns.

2.    Plan for conversion: When someone lands on your website, don’t let them go without offering them something. Even if they don’t buy, you want them to return, and email marketing is the most efficient way of doing this – so incentivize them to leave their email address with you. The offer of a free newsletter is not a great incentive. Instead, offer them the promise of fantastic future deals, greater insight into the products or services you offer or something that money can’t buy, like a competition or prize drawing.

3.    Get social: Social media is a great way to engage and hold conversations with your clients and potentials customers. However, it is not always a great selling environment. In an ideal world, your social media followers should also be your email marketing subscribers and vice versa. iContact (email marketing from Vocus) gives you all the tools you need to drive email subscriptions via social media as well as socializing your email marketing messages via sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. To maximize the subscribers sharing your email marketing content, make sure you produce great content.

4.    Collect contact details offline: Brick and mortar retail outlets and tradeshows represent an amazing opportunity to collect contact details. An online retailer would not let a customer make a purchase and walk away without providing their email address – so why should a traditional retail operation? You’ll need to train your staff to take down the details correctly. Don’t forget to incentivize people to surrender this information.

5.    Build new list segments to find new value: I like to encourage email marketers to keep their messages short and to the point. Any secondary offers should be simple links, so as not to distract from the main purpose of the campaign which should be targeted and relevant. For example, if a fashion retailer has previously sold women’s fashion to a customer they should target that customer with similar products. However, if they click on an alternative offer (for example children’s fashion) – this can be tracked with your email marketing software and their name added to another list. This will mean that they receive more marketing emails from you, but you can be happy in the knowledge that all campaigns will be permission-based and relevant.

Source: iContact