How to Create an Email Marketing Strategy for Your Online Store
Bells and whistles continue to ring across the internet, claiming to be the ‘secret’ to business growth, marketing, and more money. But email marketing retains the top spot in terms of ROI and remains the number one method for companies to communicate with their customers.
Thus, creating and implementing an email marketing strategy for your store should be a top priority if you want to increase revenue without spending tons of money.
If you’re not fully utilizing email marketing for your business, and you’re looking to increase your revenue, this article is for you.
Let’s look at some keys to creating and implementing the best possible email marketing strategy for your store.
1. Establish a goal
Every strategy starts with goal-setting. What do you want to increase with your emails? Sales? Brand awareness? Thorough product education? Positive reviews? Maybe it’s several of these.
Get specific with your goals. How much do you want to increase sales? How many new reviews? This gives you a tangible benchmark to reach and helps you gauge progress — ”We’re halfway to our monthly goal!”
Setting specific goals dictates everything else in your strategy. It will help you determine who you send messages to, what those messages say, and the actions you ask readers to take.
2. Define your audience and types of email
Your audience is going to depend heavily on your goals. You don’t want to send every email to every subscriber — you want to find those who are going to be most receptive to your message.
If your goal is to increase reviews, focus on previous customers. You can then create two segments — those who purchased recently and those who haven’t bought anything in a while.
You can use a tool like MailPoet to remind recent customers about their purchase, feature a specific item they bought, and ask for a review. You can also set automated emails that send a request to future buyers a couple of weeks after they complete their transaction.
For those who haven’t been active in a while, you’ll need to provide a bit more context to remind them of your brand. This can also serve as an opportunity to re-engage them with your newest offers.
If you want to grow revenue, think about new versus existing customers. Give newbies more information about products, include testimonials, emphasize customer support channels, and highlight any generous return policies you may have. Emails to existing customers should focus on upsells, related products/services, new product launches, and refer-a-friend programs.
The more specific you can be, the better. Instead of emailing everyone about a product that you know isn’t super popular, you might email just those who already bought one. They’ve indicated that they like the item, so you could offer to sell them a few more at an amazing discount!
If this audience is too narrow, you can expand to others who’ve shopped in the same category. If the item is similar to something else they liked, they still might be more likely than your average subscriber to buy it.
People like emails that are relevant to them. Even more importantly, they really dislike a bombardment of emails that aren’t. You may decide that you want to touch each subscriber no more than five times per month. So by defining your audience and sending emails to specific groups, you can save those touches for the absolute most relevant emails and really boost your performance.
3. Think about the frequency of your emails
There isn’t really a set number of emails you should send in a given time period — it all depends on your business and your audience. For example, if you sell a membership program that includes recipes for the workweek, it may make sense to send an email every Monday with meal ideas. Or, if you target busy professionals, you might just send a roundup of tips and news once a month so as not to overwhelm their already-cluttered inbox.
But it’s also important to consider the time you can invest in writing effective emails. Can you be consistent and send a newsletter every week? Or would it be better to send it once a month? After all, you don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver or, worse, send out ineffective or poorly-written emails.
Here are some tips for determining the right frequency:
- Consider starting with monthly emails to see how that works for your audience and schedule. This will help you get used to sending consistently, and you can always increase the frequency later.
- It’s generally better to send fewer, well thought-out emails instead of more, quickly-written, sloppy ones.
- Consider automating your emails and using templates to save time (more on this later).
You may need to play around a bit to find the sweet spot for your specific situation. Make sure to keep a close eye on your email analytics to determine effectiveness and consider reaching out to subscribers directly to find out what they prefer.
4. Establish a format/template
You don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time you send out an email — this can be time-consuming for you and confusing for your customers. Instead, create a few set formats and templates that you can reuse based on the type of email you’re sending.
There are two types of email formats: plain text and designed.
Plain text emails are quick to create and typically don’t look like a marketing email, which might help you get attention. However, they can be boring and are limited in terms of layout and options for showcasing products. And, without a visual reminder, some folks might not remember or recognize your brand.
Designed emails offer more options for grabbing attention and engaging with customers. They promote your brand visually with a consistent look and feel, reassuring customers that they’re coming from you. Plus, they’re reusable and can include elements like buttons — which can lead to more clicks. However, they can also be time-consuming to create and require expertise to design and perfect things like mobile responsiveness.
But if you’re not a designer, don’t worry. MailPoet makes it easy to create visually appealing emails that are as simple (or as complex!) as you’d like. Use the drag-and-drop editor to put elements exactly where you want them without needing a line of code. And you can even save templates for future use!
5. Create content with value, not just a sales pitch
Creating compelling content helps you stand out from all the other emails sitting in subscribers’ inboxes.
If every email you send is just another sales pitch, it won’t be long before subscribers tune out your messages or mark you as spam. The trick is to deliver value while also showcasing your products or services.
If your goal is to boost sales, think about how your emails can strengthen the relationship with your customers and encourage them to come back. Include how-to guides, product tutorials, exclusive looks at new products, pictures from charity initiatives, or case studies.
Also consider fun and informative articles on topics of interest to your audience. If you sell camping and outdoor gear, for example, offer articles with tips on campgrounds and hikes. It doesn’t always have to be original content — link to good articles on reputable, non-competing websites or partner with influencers to create unique content that you can use.
6. Take a multichannel approach
Make email one of several marketing channels you use, driven by your overall strategy. People spend time on a variety of platforms, and your marketing mix should be a reflection of how — and where — your audience spends their time.
If you have a large social media following, create exclusive, email-only opportunities to encourage them to subscribe to your list. Now, you can reach them in more than one place! It goes the other way, too. In your emails, include an option for subscribers to follow you on social media or sign up to receive a physical catalog.
Use consistent messaging and graphics across all channels so your fans recognize your brand and trust they’ve made it to the right place. To be more efficient, you can reuse content from one platform on another. However, make sure that each at least occasionally has something unique and exclusive — that way people have a reason to follow you multiple places.
7. Measure and improve
It’s important to regularly step back and take stock of what’s working and what’s not. In the day-to-day scramble of running a business, it can be easy to push this task aside, but it’s critical to making your email campaigns more effective.
Most platforms offer data on how well your messages are engaging subscribers. Here are some pointers for using this information to improve your strategy:
- Keep an eye on your stats and make incremental improvements. You might notice that emails get higher or lower engagement on certain days or times, for example. Or perhaps certain types of content generate more clicks than others.
- If you’re getting a high number of unsubscribes, review your content, process, and strategy. It could be something simple! For example, if you tell people they’re signing up for a monthly email, but you send them updates every week, you could be driving them away.
- Most importantly, remember why you’re sending email marketing campaigns. Are you reaching your goal(s)? Do you need to try a different approach? Check in regularly to ensure you’re not getting off track .
8. Build your list
Emails are pointless without a quality list of subscribers. But how do you create that list? Here are some tips:
- Make it easy to subscribe on your website. A prominent callout with a quick and easy sign-up form is essential. And add this where it can’t be missed — your homepage, sidebar, or a footer that’s on every page.
- Experiment with the location of your forms. You might try adding them to popups, banners, or in the middle of blog content (just don’t be too intrusive!).
- Add a signup button to your checkout page.
- Emphasize the benefits of signing up. Will they find out about the latest sale items and deals? Be notified of in-store events? Get special promotions only for subscribers?
- Introduce opt-in bonuses (e.g. join our list to get 10% off your first order).
- Get consent every time. Don’t add someone to your list unless they’ve explicitly opted in.
- Use your other marketing channels to encourage sign-ups.
9. Save time with automation
Email automation is like having an entire team of marketers that just wait for the best time to send out targeted messages to specific subscribers. And the right message with perfect timing equals stellar results.
But this particular team doesn’t take up space in your office, or more importantly, your payroll. And once you’ve done the work to create automations, they just work — days, nights, weekends, whenever you need.
So what kinds of emails can you send with automation?
10. Choose an email platform that’s right for your strategy
There are many email platforms out there, each with different features and benefits. Take the time to research the differences so you can determine the right one for your business, audience, and budget.
If you’re not an email developer, you probably want to find a tool with a drag-and-drop builder. If you’re short on time, choose one that focuses on email automation. The priorities are up to you!
The power of email
Email remains one of the most effective tools to engage potential customers, retain existing ones, and expand your reach. Regular, thoughtful communication is the key to success. The right strategy, paired with tools to help you work more efficiently, only makes things better.