E-commerce + Email Marketing: How to Maximize Your Revenue
We needed a home run.
It was Friday. Sales were dead. And we owed $7,000 by Monday. We had no idea what to do.
Facebook ads weren’t converting like they were just a couple weeks before. The holiday season revenue boost was still weeks away. There was a new baby adding expenses. There was a stressed-out wife.
We were still newbies, figuring out the e-commerce game as we went.
We had only one resource at our disposal that we hadn’t tapped into.
Our email list.
That pile of names and addresses of past customers and ones we had seduced into giving us their email address in the form of a discount. We had barely touched them. It wasn't a big list, just a couple thousand. Would they remember us? Would we just be spamming them? Would this even work?
With little planning, we put together the “Just because We Feel like it Sale.” And sent out seven emails over the course of three days. Overkill? We didn’t care at this point.
By Sunday we had brought in $8k generated by email. Sure we had some unsubscribes, but the breathing room it gave our business was huge. We paid off the $7k and had money to spare.
After that, we became hooked on what was possible with email marketing for our e-commerce store.
We savvied up a bit and dove deep into what we could do to maximize revenue with emails and began creating basic sequences and flows.
Within weeks, email marketing accounted for over 30% of all of our sales every month, and the beautiful part was, most of it was on autopilot with email marketing automation.
We knew we could get our offers and messages delivered right in an inbox of a past customer or interested subscriber. We didn’t have to rely on continually acquiring new customers. There wasn’t the constant worry of a Facebook or SEO algorithm change. An email list helped settle our minds to focus on other parts of growing and marketing the business. It boosted the lifetime value of our customers and was a license to print money anytime we hit “Send.”
Email marketing should be a cornerstone of any e-commerce company’s efforts to increase their revenue and build a real sustainable business. It is one of the most straightforward steps for businesses to implement to boost customer’s lifetime value.
Once you dig in, you’ll see there’s a lot to email marketing that can boost your revenue like segmentation, list building, integrations, deliverability, brand voice, software, and much more. But fundamentals first.
Here are 6 email marketing quick wins that every e-commerce store needs to implement today!
Abandoned Cart Sequences
This is the basic sequence that everyone tells e-commerce stores to implement, but it’s still surprising how few do. It’s not that hard. Create three emails to automatically go out to individuals who were in the check-out process and then navigated away. Something caused them to stop short of buying. Maybe someone came in the door and they got distracted. A kid threw up on the floor. Or maybe your shipping costs were too high.
Whatever it is, you know for sure that they were interested in buying from you to get to the point of nearly purchasing. Set up an email to go out and get them to come back to the store to finish he purchase. Show them what they were coming to buy. You don’t even need to give them a discount on the first email. You don’t want to discount your products if the price wasn’t an issue for the individual. Then set up a few more emails to be staggered out over the following couple of days to get them to come back.
By just adding these few emails, you can get about 5% of your abandoned cart users back to the website to purchase. If these emails are excellent, you could have +10% of the abandoned cart users come back and buy. That’s a whole lot more money for your store, and this is all happening on auto-pilot! By neglecting to set up even simple abandoned cart emails, e-commerce stores are leaving free money on the table.
This is a bit of a catch-all term and a buzzword, but what I’m talking about are emails that are directly related to your products and business. For example, if you sell cosmetics, that’s a consumable product someone will need to re-order at some point. Have an email with maybe a discount attached to go out to people right around the time they’ll have used up the product and need to re-purchase. If your front-end offer is “Free+Shipping,” then you’ll want to have an email come back with the product purchase this time if it’s something they’d want to buy again. The fact is, someone might intensely love your product but life gets in the way and they forget to re-order. A well-timed email can bring them back to your website to buy from you again.
Lifecycle means understanding that some products may be less frequently purchased or only needed at certain times. Giving subscribers and past customers a reason to come back that lines up with the timing of how your product is used will provide you with the ability to generate even more revenue from your list.
Reward Your VIPs
We know it as the Pareto Principle or 80/20, but it applies to email marketing as well. You’ll usually see the same names of hyper buyers coming back to your website to purchase, and these are driving a lot of revenue for you. Treat them like VIPs! Keep them happy, find out what other products they’re looking for, give them exclusive deals and offers.
They’ve consistently shown that they'll buy, so continue building this relationship with them. Don’t treat them as average subscribers on your list. Keep this crew happy and on your team, and they will keep your bank account happy for years to come.
The good ol’ email blast and promotion. This means what it says. You send out emails to your customers in bulk or to segments regularly. This isn’t on auto-pilot, but email is the best way to get in front of your customers and subscribers and give them updates on new product releases, promotions, company news, giveaways, and whatever else you can think of. You’ll be surprised at the results. If you’ve built the relationship right, the email may not even lead to someone buying the promotion you offered, but still gets them to your website and staying top of mind to purchase from you.
Don’t neglect manual campaigns simply because you think it’ll be considered spam. If it’s done the wrong way, sure, people may hate your name in their inbox, but you’ll have individuals unsubscribe making your list more realistic. Some people only email once a month or once a quarter. That’s dumb. If you have a market and know what products are working, there are likely even similar ones that you can offer, at the very least, and sell to them. Heck, there are more than enough holidays out there for you to be able to mail your list regularly. Some things are happening in your market, so there’s no reason for you to be silent with your emails.
Once again, don’t always make discounts or coupon offers to where you become the next Kohl’s or JC Penney of e-commerce. There are plenty of other things you can talk to your list about to connect with them and stay top of mind.
Lead Generation Conversion
You’re seeing more and more stores getting savvy about building email lists. Whether it’s a bar at the top to subscribe, exit intent pop-ups, or giveaways, stores are getting savvier about making their email lists. The problem is, most stores don’t have a way of turning these subscribers who aren’t buyers into customers systematically. They are usually just dumped; not the every-once-in-a-while email blast, but no sequence of any kind. What should happen is, using this sequence, once you acquire a subscriber, to introduce them into your world and show them products and offers, maybe a promotion, and get them to buy.
How many times have you subscribed to a list, then a few months later get an email out of the blue and not know who it is? You may have been interested at one time, but once you see the email, you may not be in the place of purchase or may not even remember and don’t want to spend the time to figure out again why you signed up. You need a sequence to nurture this subscriber into a buyer. By consistently following up with a subscriber, you’re more likely to turn them into a buying customer than just relying on an email blast that resonates with them and gets them to buy.
They may need to feel a bit more comfortable with your brand before purchasing. This is where manual campaigns come into play, and maybe they will buy from one of those. There are a lot of marketers out there with large lists that don’t buy and bounce. Take the time to email your list regularly and clean them out if they aren’t buyers. Eventually, they need to leave your list. There’s no need to waste money and time on people who aren’t interested in your product.
Red Carpet Welcome Sequence
Ah yes, the Welcome Sequence. After someone purchases from you, they’re going to be either happy about buying or have buyer’s regret. How you communicate with them is a great way of building the relationship, making them feel confident in their purchase and make it likely that you can get them to purchase another related product from you. The welcome sequence can be integrated into every piece from the time they are buying. You can attach a referral code or a coupon or incentive to help them engage with you on social media after they are buying. You can send emails sharing your brand story and how you came to be. Share your top-selling products they may want to check out.
Give them call-to-actions in each email to get them to bond closer with you and your brand. This welcome sequence will help bump up the average orders a customer makes, increase the revenue from a buyer within just a few days, and the best part is you don’t have to spend another cent on advertising to them. Use these emails to build a relationship with your list and make them loyal to your brand. Too many e-commerce stores take their customers for granted after they’ve purchased. By immediately working to build that relationship, upselling and cross-selling customers, you’ll have loyal customers who will or could buy from you over and over for years to come.
Here are the main takeaways from this post:
- Create a three email abandoned cart sequence
- Create a five email welcome sequence to introduce your brand, build a relationship, and upsell
- Have emails automated to send out based on the lifecycle of your product
- Send email campaigns out regularly and don’t be boring
- Treat your VIP customers like royalty, and they’ll reward you in return
- Have a set sequence to turn your email subscribers into buyers
Email marketing isn’t sexy at all, but throughout the years has consistently proven to have the highest ROI on online marketing efforts and one of the most effective ways to generate revenue for your store and also increase the lifetime value of your customers. Email marketing done right can quickly add another extra 20% to a store’s income every month. It helps you get the most out of the traffic you’re driving to the store and allows you the ability to sell and generate revenue no matter the latest algorithm or platform change. Don’t be an e-commerce like rookie like we were, and take advantage of email marketing to maximize the revenue from your store.