10 Tips to Create the Perfect eCommerce Email Newsletter
Email marketing is a great way to drive a ton of sales for your eCommerce business. That is of course, if you do it right.
Newsletters are one of the biggest profit drivers in your email armoury. They give you a platform to promote you new products, latest deals, sales, and what’s new with your store.
Doing them well could mean the difference between making hundreds to making thousands or even tens of thousands more profit for your eCommerce store.
That’s why I decided to put together my top tips on how to create the perfect eCommerce newsletter that is going to make you some serious money.
Using just one of these tactics is going to help but using all 10 together. Hang on to your eCom hats because you are about to take off.
Save the best spots for your best products
Newsletters have many forms and styles. One of the classic and best approaches is to create a gallery style email that showcases many of your products. This could be a list of new products or ones that you are running a discount on at the moment.
Whatever they are, you want to make sure you are putting the best sellers in the places that get the most views. These are at the top and bottom of the gallery.
Because when looking at how people view emails, they pay more attention to the image / products at the top or bottom of a gallery. This means the products in these positions will get the most clicks.
You already know that you convert customers with these best selling products so take advantage of this.
(Image from Utility Newsletter)
Test subject lines
A/B testing, also known as split testing, is a really simple and powerful way to increase the performance of your newsletter.
Ever heard the statement that your email success is 90% down to the subject line?
That’s because it completely sets up the entire email. It not only entices people to open the email but lets them know what to expect from the content inside. Getting this right is imperative.
Luckily, most email marketing platforms know this and have a feature to let you easily split test subject lines to see which performs better.
This is done by taking a small percentage of the email list and splitting them in half. Then sending different subject lines to each group. A winner is determined based on the winning metric you tell the email platform to measure (open or click through rates) and that subject line is used in the email that is sent to the rest of your list.
A lot of people think that when it comes to subject lines, you measure their success by the number of opens you get.
This is not technically true, especially in eCommerce.
Consider why you are sending out an email in the first place? To get people to take action. For eCommerce, this action is usually to make a purchase on your website. So just getting someone to open your email means nothing.
You need to get them to click through to you website where they can buy something.
Consider this when setting up your split test.
Send at the best time for your customers
This seems obvious but that doesn’t mean that people do it. There are times that are known to work better in eCommerce, but that doesn’t always mean this is the best time for your eCommerce store.
You should test different times to see which gets the best performance. And by best performance, I mean sales. Email opens and clicks don’t count here. You need to find the best time for buyers.
Many email marketing platforms will have the ability to integrate into your website, allowing you to see how much profit you make from your emails. If not, make sure you use a tracking tool like Google Analytics to measure your sales.
You can’t get better unless you know how you are doing.
The standard times where people are in buying mode are Thursday and Friday nights as well as over weekends. Test these out first then experiment with some other days and times to see what works best for you.
Segment your list
How to segment your list really depends on the type of stores you have. Here are some of the ways you can segment your list.
Time on list
Number of purchases
Time spent on website
The email marketing platforms that integrate directly with your website will have the functionality to segment your list into these categories and many more.
The general rule is that the more you segment your list the greater the impact.
Consider this. By segmenting your customers into categories. You are able to target them with more relevant emails. This is going to increase the amount they engage with your emails and increase that all important bottom line. Sales!
Strong and obvious call to action
If I had a penny for every email I saw an email that did not have a strong call to action, I would have around £76.
It wouldn’t make me a rich man ;). But this is still thousands of emails.
Emails that took people time to create and send. Emails that were effectively pointless.
If you don’t have a clear call to action then people are not going to click through to your website.
People need to be shown exactly what to do.
Many marketers will try to be clever here and create something that is witty and funny and all things that make them think they are the most intelligent human being on the planet. Some might pull it off but realistically they just ruined their email with a shit call to action.
If you are struggling to come up with something use the KISS rule.
Keep It Simple Stupid.
A literal call to action like ‘click on the button below to buy now’ is much better than something ambiguous. Using ‘Shop Now’ on your buttons is an oldy but a goody.
This is a great example of an obvious and strong call to action from Metal Clay.
You can always test this out by using your split test feature in your email marketing tool and testing the different call to actions you use.
Use discounts and special offers
(Image from KARMALOOP Newsletter)
This is another big one. Realistically, this will drive the most engagement with you emails and the most sales.
People love a discount, it is one of the biggest psychological sales drivers within eCommerce. Well, within all business really.
I know it is tough to give away your precious profit margins but you are smart people, you know what getting hundreds of people to purchase over and over again from your store is going to do to your profits.
Up, up, up.
A great trick is to include them in your subject lines. Remember I mentioned before that the subject line sets up your email. It gets people to open them in the first place but also lets them know what to expect.
Considering 27% of people sign up to newsletters to save money. Including a discount in your subject line is going to have a big impact.
(Example of personalized subject line)
If you have already segmented your audience well and are sending more relevant emails to them, this will go a long way to personalizing your emails to the recipient's interest.
Now it’s time to take it a step further.
Think about what information you hold on these people. If they are already a customer then this is quite a lot.
Here are some possibilities;
Region / State
Now start to consider the possibilities of how you can use this information to make your emails more personal. Here are some examples.
People in London love these shoes
20% Discount for UK customers
Paul, you will love this special offer
Especially for New Yorkers, massive savings
By utilizing these pieces of information, you are going to see a massive increase in your email engagement. Experian found that by including a person’s name in the subject line increased opens rates as much as 42%.
Keep branding consistent with your website
This is an area where many people fall flat on their face. By creating an email that looks nothing like your website, you just confuse your customers.
When designing your newsletter try and keep the different elements as on brand as possible. Here are some things to consider.
Keep your buttons the same shape and colour
Display your images in the same way as on your site
Include a navigational menu to help recipients shop the right categories
Keep the colours and font the same (or as close as possible)
Use the same or similar CTA’s
Create a similar layout to your website
By following these tips and keeping it consistent, you will create a much better customer experience. This will decrease the friction to purchase.
For more information on how to create a similar email experience check out this article by SendGrid.
(Template in MailChimp)
This is one that you would hope people don’t do anymore.
Just like internet browsing. The number of people who open emails on their mobile is huge. Litmus puts this at over 53%!
This cannot be ignored. You need to make sure your email works on mobile. A lot of the email marketing tools will automatically convert your emails to mobile. However, you should still design you email with mobile in mind.
What looks awesome on desktop doesn’t mean it will look good on mobile. In fact, it rarely does.
Use image descriptions
Everybody forgets this and I mean everybody.
It’s a small detail but something that can have a big impact. People design emails based off what they see in front of them. This is their first mistake.
You need to design emails based off of what the recipient will see. This means considering how it will look on their email client and on their mobile.
It also means taking into account the email setting most people use. The email settings that are default on most email clients.
Can you see where I am going with this yet?
To load emails quicker, many emails clients will turn off the images. In order to see the images, you have to click a button or some hyperlinked text.
Lightbulb moment, right!
Most marketing emails from eCommerce stores are just blank pages until they switch the image back on. To help your customers, including an image description will give them an indication of what’s in the email.
A couple words will do the trick. Include this in all images to help people understand what they are looking at.
Shake your money maker
Newsletters will drive some serious sales. This means you shouldn’t half arse them. By following this guide, you will be able to craft effective emails.
Emails that get you sales.
People often spend too much time creating beautiful pieces of art for their emails that are made up of one big image and just images.
Don’t get me wrong, these look great and are probably really engaging for those who see it.
Realistically though, people are just seeing a blank screen when they open it. That’s if the email even gets through to their inboxes and doesn’t get picked up by spam.
The effective way to create and send newsletters is to create an equal amount of text and images. Use simple sales tactics and be very clear as to the intention of the action you want people to take.
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