Email marketing can be extremely lucrative if you invest in growth hacking your email list.
According to DMA’s research, in 2017 the average return for each £1 spent on email marketing was £32.28. And that is the average which means that if you know what you are doing you can get an even higher return on investment.
The secret to successful email marketing
You need to consistently provide value to your subscribers. Sure, there are quite a few things that you need to keep in mind, but if you fail to provide value nothing else is going to matter.
Think about it.
How do you feel when you open your email and see a bunch of new messages in your inbox?
And if you have hundreds or even thousands of unopened emails waiting for you, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra sparked a discussion on Twitter when people noticed that she had 257,623 unread emails.
People started sharing screenshots of their phones and it quickly became clear that this problem is widespread and that inbox zero is a distant dream to most of us (believe it or not, someone named Piyush Raka managed to outdo Priyanka thanks to his 381,753 unread emails, though there have been doubts about the credibility of that screenshot).
Now, of course, Priyanka and Piyush are outliers, but you need to remember that your subscribers are almost certainly getting more email than they can handle.
What does that mean for you?
It means that you need to earn your place in their inbox with each and every email. You need to focus on growth hacking your email list. Drop the ball once and maybe they will be forgiving enough to give you a second chance and open your next email. Disappoint them several times and they will stop opening your emails and will eventually unsubscribe. So think carefully before sending anything to your subscribers.
Ask yourself, “Does this provide value?” No? Not sure? Then don’t send it.
Go back to the drawing board. What does “providing value” mean? It means giving your email list information that helps them solve problems that they are struggling with.
For example, Beardbrand is great at email marketing, and they send their subscribers a mix of male grooming tips, interesting content like barber videos, and, of course, sales pitches. They certainly wouldn’t have the success they enjoy today if they didn’t put so much effort into growing their email list and providing value to their subscribers.
And if you don’t know what your potential customers are struggling with, then you are not ready to market your product. You need to do extensive market research first to understand your target audience better than they understand themselves.
Only then will you be able to provide genuine value to your target market.
What everyone needs to know about email marketing
Okay, so now that you understand the importance of providing value, you need to make sure that you convey your message in the right way. You know that saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”
Keep it real, you still catch yourselves judging books by their covers. When was the last time you bought a book with an ugly cover?
Well, it’s the same with emails.
If you don’t compose an email in the right way, no one is going to read it, no matter how great the content is. So here’s what you need to pay attention to:
Copywriters are obsessed with headlines.
You can blame David Ogilvy, also known as the “Father of Advertising,” for that: “
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
There are copywriters who specialize in email marketing. Guess what they are obsessed with? That’s right. Subject lines. The subject line is what the recipient uses to decide whether the email is worth opening or whether they should just archive it immediately. So you better make it good. Get the subscriber to do a double-take.
Pique their curiosity. Make them go “What the…”
Anything but bland and boring (within the boundaries of reason, of course, don’t alienate your subscribers by being too provocative!).
Do you enjoy reading on a screen? Well, guess what? Your subscribers don’t enjoy it either. That’s why you need to make your emails as readable as you can:
- Break up the text into short paragraphs (3-4 lines max!)
- Add subheadlines to break down the text.
- Break up the text even more by using bullet points.
Can you see the pattern? Yes, exactly, it’s all about breaking up the text. Your email should be easy to skim. Otherwise, no one will read it.
Provide a clear call to action
Okay, so you got the subscriber to open your email. Now what?
Well, that’s for you to decide, but whatever you do, don’t leave them hanging. End your email with a clear call to action. Want them to reply to the email? Ask them to reply. Want them to click on a link? Ask them to click on that link. Want them to check out a product? Ask them to go to a product page. And don’t be coy about it.
This is email marketing, not courtship in Victorian England. There’s no need to be dropping hints.
Just ask. Tell the subscriber what they should do next.
Email marketing for eCommerce
General email marketing principles discussed previously apply to everything from blogging to eCommerce to SaaS. However, as an eCommerce entrepreneur, you also need to be familiar with the specifics of email marketing for eCommerce.
Klaviyo’s three most popular flows are the abandoned cart, welcome series, and customer win-back. When combined, they totaled over 16 thousand messages sent to over 97 million people. The abandoned cart flow has the highest revenue per recipient at $5.81. This shows you the opportunities that come with setting up different types of flows, and not just sending out generic email blasts.
Choose the right email marketing software
There are a lot of great email marketing software options out there. Which one should you pick? Your best bet is to go with an email marketing software company that specializes in email marketing for eCommerce.
For example, Klaviyo is completely focused on eCommerce and offers powerful tools that will help you maximize the revenue from email marketing. Most importantly, they have automated product recommendation emails and automated abandoned cart emails, which as we just discussed are absolutely crucial.
And sure, Klaviyo isn’t as cheap as other service providers. But seriously, who do you trust more? Someone who specializes in eCommerce or someone who sells to anyone and everyone? As with everything, you need to pay a premium for specialization, but it brings a sort of quality that generalists can’t compete with.
Use pop-ups to grow your email list
Yes, you hate pop-ups. So does everybody else. But guess what? They work and this will help you grow your email list. And that’s why you should use them on your website. According to Sumo research, the average conversion rate for all pop-ups is 3.09%, meanwhile, the top 10% of pop-ups have an average conversion rate of 9.28%.
This means that even if all you manage to create is an average pop-up you will still get 3 subscribers out of every 100 people you show the pop-up to. Powerful stuff. You should have three types of pop-ups on your site:
- Welcome pop-up which you show to a person when they open your website.
- Product page pop-up which you show to a person when they stop on a particular product page.
- Exit-intent pop-up which you show to a person when they are about to leave your website.
Keep in mind that people’s impulse is to close the pop-up immediately so you need to grab their attention with a strong incentive. And the best incentive is a discount of some sort.
Have opt-in forms on your website
Pop-ups are not enough.
People have the impulse to close them immediately, so you want to provide potential subscribers with an alternative way to sign up for your email list.
You can do that by adding static opt-in forms to your website. Location is debatable, it depends on how your sales funnel is constructed, but you need to put at least one opt-in form on your home page. Also, make sure that you clearly describe what people will get if they subscribe, don’t just say something vague like “Get updates.” What can you offer that is actually valuable?
For example, take a look at Bearbrand’s opt-in form, which not only lists what you can expect to get when you subscribe but also invokes the desire to be a part of a community.
And if you aren’t sure how to convey the benefits of subscribing to your email list, then you might want to ask yourself whether you are providing value at all. It’s possible that you need to think more about your offer.
Have a killer welcome email
According to Klaviyo, welcome series emails have an average open rate of 63%. They also have 86% higher click-through rates. It’s your chance to grab the subscriber’s attention, reinforce the value of your offer, and set the tone for all the subsequent emails.
For example, take a look at this welcome email from Rapha, which they open with a picture of cyclists and then explain what kind of emails you can expect from them:
They also remind the subscriber why they should buy Rapha products: Note how there are two clear “Shop New Arrivals” calls to action plus four smaller “Find out more” calls to action. Do the same in your welcome email. Set expectations for upcoming emails, remind the subscriber why your products are great, and tell them what to do next.
Send emails that add value
It might be tempting to send your subscribers a lot of promotional emails because they directly generate revenue. However, they don’t provide value, which is why you should resist that temptation and focus on adding value instead. Are you offering information that helps your subscribers solve their problems?
Now, of course, you run an eCommerce business, not an educational charity, so you need to send promotional emails once in a while. What matters, though, is the ratio of promotional emails to educational emails.
Get it right and people will be receptive when you make your offer. Get it wrong and they will stop opening your emails. When in doubt, always err on the side of value, not on the side of promotion.
Use personalized product recommendation emails
Gone are the days when you could just blast your entire email list with the same exact product recommendation. Now everyone expects personal recommendations that are tailored specifically for them.
Where did people get this idea? Think about it. Who sends you personal product recommendations? Yes. Amazon. That’s who you have to thank for spoiling our customers.
You are spoiled too. You also want personalized product recommendations. For example, if you recently browsed Grant Cardone’s books on Amazon, you probably won’t be surprised by this email:
But if you have never shown any interest in romance books and Amazon sent you an email recommending “50 Shades of Grey,” you’d probably be confused. Were you browsing the romance section in your sleep? Your customers have the same high expectations shaped by the biggest online store in the world. Luckily, with the right email marketing software, you can meet those high expectations and increase your revenue.
Use automated cart recovery emails
As you probably remember, cart recovery emails are the most profitable emails an eCommerce business can send. That’s not surprising. According to SaleCycle, the average global cart abandonment rate is 79.17%.
That means that almost 8 out of 10 people who put products in a shopping cart end up abandoning it. Meanwhile, cart recovery emails allow you to remind the customers about the products they were interested in, which means that you are bound to recoup at least some of those sales that would have otherwise been lost.
For example, say you were shopping on Victoria Secret’s website, but then you got distracted. You might get an email similar to this one:
Note how Victoria Secret not only reminds you that you have left a product in your cart but also why you wanted to buy it in the first place. You might remember that in one of our previous articles we discussed how successful brands don’t sell products, they sell dreams.
Well, Victoria Secret is selling the dream of feeling sexy, and in its cart abandonment email, it makes sure to remind you that you wanted to buy that bottle of perfume because you hoped that it would help you feel sexy. This is a very important lesson in copywriting.
You need to know what it is that you are actually selling (hint: it’s not your products). The better you understand that the more persuasive your emails will be, and the more revenue you will generate.
Once again, email marketing can be extremely lucrative, and you can get an incredible return on investment with it. However, it is not magic. You can’t just do the bare minimum and wait for your revenue to skyrocket. It’s not going to happen.
So start taking email marketing seriously. Really put in the effort. Use automation. Craft compelling subject lines. Add calls to action. And, most importantly, provide value to your subscribers.
It will pay off.