Checklist: 20 Ways to Improve Ecommerce Email Marketing Performance

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Email marketing continues to be one of the most lucrative digital strategies for eCommerce brands. The average ROI for every dollar invested in email marketing is $38 in return, according to Salesforce. Furthermore, developing advanced email campaigns is easier than ever. Almost half of all eCommerce brands use some for of marketing automation to segment, generate, or send emails.

While email marketing is a powerful tool for eCommerce brands, not every company is fully maximizing its digital efforts. If you are still developing your email strategy or want to make improvements, this guide will help. Use our checklist of 20 ways to improve your eCommerce email marketing performance to grow your sales and engagement.  

Improving Segmentation and Targeting

1. Clean out your email lists. It’s not enough to have an impressive email list with thousands of addresses that you blast daily. Make sure you are sending the right emails to the right people. Delete disengaged emails and focus on the quality of the emails, not the quantity.

2. Let customers set their email preferences. If you’re sending a few emails per day, your customers can get burned out on your content. Instead of a full unsubscribe, let your audiences decide what emails they want to receive and how frequently they need them. It is better for your customers to receive a few targeted emails instead of none.

3. Know the buying patterns of your target audiences. Each segmented audience has its own buying patterns. Some are more likely to buy at certain times of the month while others only want steep discounts or deals. Use data and a single customer view to learn what makes a shopper likely to buy.   

4. Consider investing in AI or software tools that segment customers. Modern automation allows you to segment customers like never before. Between demographics and user behavior, these tools can curate dozens of lists and update them in a matter of minutes. If you want a more advanced email process, consider investing in a system that segments customers for you.

email marketing

Netflix regularly sends recommendations based on what you watch.

Engaging Lost Customers

5. Email dormant customers. This is an easy and effective way to engage customers long after they’ve made a purchase. Send discounts or offers to customers who haven’t been to your website or converted in the past few months. Maybe they just need a reminder to come back to your brand.

6. Send replenishment emails based on customer use. If you sell items that customers need but regularly run out of (like pet food, contacts, body wash, etc.) put your buyers on a replenishment schedule. These emails remind people to restock before they run out, or worse before they have to buy from one of your competitors.

7. Set up alerts for in-stock items. Whether you’re teasing a new release or temporarily out of certain items, let customers know when the products are ready to buy. Set up an email alert button on your product pages to bring back customers who couldn’t get what they wanted earlier.

8. Remind customers about their wish lists and loved items. If you allow customers to create wish lists or favorite items to return to later, use this engagement to bring customers back. Send emails whenever there is a price drop or limited inventory to try and spur action.

9. Reward customers based on their loyalty status. If you have a loyalty program, send emails with specific offers for loyal users. Show how special your customers are by immediately letting them know that this is an exclusive offer.

Nationwide brings customers back with monetary offers.

Updating Your Email Design  

10. Add your branding to your confirmation emails. Transaction and confirmation emails have incredibly high open rates. Use this space to share brand content, entice customers to keep shopping, or reward buyers for their loyalty.

11. Involve your content team in your eCommerce email process. Email marketing doesn’t just generate sales. It also serves as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and communicate with customers. Invite your content and design teams to get creative with the email content to create enticing, brand-building messages.

12. Don’t forget your preview text. Marketers often focus on their subject lines without thinking about the preview text. Use these first few words to further hook recipients and make them want to click.

13. A/B Test your email designs. If you’re not ready to commit to a new design or form of brand messaging, A/B test it. Let your customers decide what they like and don’t like from your creative team.

Bank of America tries to share content through its email communications.   

Building on Your Marketing Efforts

14. Include your referral program in your emails. It takes two seconds to forward an email on to friends. Encourage recipients to forward the content and reward them if their friends make a purchase. This helps you grow a referral program with minimal effort for your customers.

15. Make strategic recommendations to customers. If you based your retargeting emails off of past purchases, develop a strategy to encourage customers to take action. Make compatible recommendations and cross-sell suggestions to enhance the products that customers already bought.

16. Encourage customers to leave reviews. Another way you can grow future sales and improve product pages is with customer reviews. Send emails inviting customers to review their purchases a week or two after they receive them. Be clear that they will only have to answer a few questions to complete the review process.

17. Learn from your past experiences. Study the performance of your email strategy to see which content types work and which ones don’t. Challenge yourself to beat your past successes.

Penguin Random House uses emotional hooks to bring people back to check out their books.

Other Best Practices

18. Consider a mobile-first approach to email design. It’s 2019 and more than half (55%) of emails are opened on smartphone devices. If your metrics match or exceed this number, you may want to consider a mobile-first approach to email design, or at least focus your efforts more on how your mobile emails look.

19. Fight to stay out of the spam filters. The spam filter is your biggest enemy. If your subject lines seem too aggressive or follow similar patterns as spammers, then your messages could get filtered away. Quality content and engaging subject lines should minimize this risk.    

20. Follow all FTC guidelines for email marketing. This includes having a physical address in your email body, letting customers unsubscribe, and honoring their subscription requests. The fines aren’t worth ignoring the CAN-SPAM Act. 

Every company has strengths and weaknesses in its email marketing efforts. We can help you improve upon your strengths while identifying your weaknesses. Take our email marketing maturity assessment to see how strong your email performance is and start your improvement journey today.

Cutting Edge Methods to Grow Email Sales Faster in 2022

Drive campaign results and automation excellence while taking your email to the next level with our 2022 Email Playbook (PDF).

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