A guide to email marketing for online stores

guide-to-email-marketing-for-online-storesRunning a successful e-commerce business requires more than fresh web traffic and a groovy online store. You need to start a relationship with your web visitors and customers so they will come back again!

Used properly, email marketing is a key tool in your marketing arsenal. Use it to keep connected to your audience and drive sales by occasionally sending them interesting information and special offers. Be mindful of the SPAM Act before you start though, and read about the requirements here.

There are five important elements to good email marketing:

  1. A permission-based email list
  2. Relevant and valuable content
  3. A professional email marketing service
  4. A well constructed HTML email
  5. A specific landing page

1. The list

Your list can be put together from email addresses given to you by people who want to hear from you. This might include current customers and your enewsletter subscribers. Make sure your list is cleaned of bounced or unsubscribed email addresses on a regular basis.

If you have enough information to segment your email list into sub groups (customers, Sydney subscribers, shoe buyers etc), write specific email content for each group. The more relevant the message, the more likely it will be read.

2. The content

What is the reason for your email?

There is no point emailing everyone just to tell them you’ve got a new desk (you can use social media for that!). Only send out emails if you have something relevant and valuable to share. It could be your cool and interesting monthly enewsletter, a special discount, a sale, a customer event or you may even be running a competition.

3. The email marketing service

Sign up with a professional email marketing provider like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor or Mad Mimi. They have all the tools you need to carry out professional-looking email marketing campaigns, such as designer HTML templates and post-campaign activity reports.

4. The HTML email

Your email marketing provider will offer lots of different tested email layouts, so you don’t have to worry too much about the design and if it will work. However, there are a lot of ways you can increase the chances of your email being read and acted upon.  My next blog post will be full of great tips to help you make the most of your email communication.

5. The landing page

Where are you sending people when they click on your links? They need to be on a logical trip. Remember to be specific, so if you’re promoting a new collection, the link should go directly to that collection, not your homepage.

If you need to make a new page of information to send you readers to, you can read how to do that in this Knowledge Base article.

Keep improving!

Your email marketing service will automatically track the number of emails successfully sent, bounced, opened, forwarded and the number of clicks on a link, and provide this in a simple report. Use this information to learn what worked and what didn’t so you can improve your next email. As a benchmark, an average email open rate is around 22% and click through rate about 4%. Better than this and you’re doing well!

You can see how many website visits came from the email and even resulting sales if you have set this up in Google Analytics, so you can form a whole picture of the effectiveness of the campaign.

My next post will be full of great tips to help you make the most of your email communication…. so stay tuned!

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About Alison Hardy

Alison Hardy Alison is a freelance copywriter and content marketer. She specialises in dynamic online copy that helps small businesses reach and connect with the people that need them.

With a Southern Pommie accent and an unAustralian dislike for seafood, Alison came to Australia at the end of the last century. Despite these obvious disadvantages, she was offered a job in the ecommerce department of a local Internet company and has been working in digital communications ever since.

In the heady days of the first dot com boom, before she became a queen of copy, Alison helped produce websites. But project management wasn’t creative enough for this sassy lassie so she switched her attention to marketing and communications. Much more fun!

She spent the next 10 years in marketing roles, promoting businesses in the education, art, technology and online retail industries. This invariably involved writing persuasive copy online, offline and sometimes even in the line at the post office. Her talents helped her produce powerful copy for a wide range of purposes like websites, flyers, adverts, enewsletters, emails, social media and blog posts.

In 2012, she became one of the growing number of fearless people who take a leap of faith to work for themselves. Nowadays, you will find her in her slippers with a cat on her lap, wrestling sentences to create smart content to bring businesses to life.

A wordsmith, online champion, creative problem solver and a lover of strong tea, Alison has been working with us at Spiffy Stores for many years. She has helped us with marketing advice and writing content for our website, blog and knowledge base.

She’s pretty nice to work with, and thankfully has learnt to polish off a prawn or two so she can’t be all that bad. If you would like to hire her to write great copy for your website or marketing materials, visit www.alisonhardy.com for samples of work and her contact details.