Although I’ve been focusing a lot on the warehouse in these last few months, I’ve also been studying up on email marketing. I had the chance to attend the Bronto Summit as well as become a Bronto Certified Specialist. Email marketing was something that I didn’t have much experience with in the past so I’m really learning everything from the ground up. The first thing I set out to do was try and find out what marketers are doing today so that I had some frame of reference. This was tough to do, so after several months of browsing around and speaking with marketers I thought I’d share what I learned. Keep in mind much of this is anecdotal and based on random conversations, so someone else might have a completely different opinion. My goal was simply to learn the basic standard of complexity and strategy that email marketers are expected to meet today. So based on my observations, this is the minimum any serious E-commerce company should have in terms of sophistication and strategy.
- You should aim to exceed the average click through rate of 3.4% in retail. (Clicks/Delivered) * 100 = Click Through Rate. This is an excellent metric to watch to see how you’re doing vs. the experts in retail.
- You should aim to exceed the average retail open rate of between 14% and 21% (depending on what source you believe). This is all about subject lines and timing. There are a million different theories on how to best do this and I intend to test them all. Test subject lines all day against each other. Any ESP worth a damn will easily allow you to test many. Test words, punctuation, phrasing, capitalization, word count, context, etc. Basically test anything you can think of. You never know what will work. No matter how great the sale, it does’t matter if they never open the email.
- You must have a signup welcome email, and preferably a 3-5 part welcome series. This has been so effective it blows my mind. Every so often I check in on this totally automated campaign and am astonished at the generated revenue. Make sure you take advantage of this strategy,
- You must have an abandoned cart email. This email in particular is like printing money. The metrics are dramatically different than anything else. I wouldn’t believe it except that so many other people have told me they have the same results. If you only do one thing on this list you must do this today. It is easily the most qualified prospect you will ever encounter and the conversion rate shows it.
- You should have a post purchase series. Staying in the customer’s peripheral after the sale is important. You spent all that money acquiring the customer, now nurture the relationship. Obviously don’t spam the customer, but try to send them useful information pertaining to their purchase to enhance the brand experience.
- You must upsell in all transactional emails. Not listing other products in your transactional emails is a complete waste of a contact. Make sure every time an email is sent there is a tasteful opportunity to buy more from you. This is a business after all.
- Email frequency should be at least weekly. Some people might shy away from sending frequent emails, but not sending them frequently enough is just as big of a problem. If you don’t send frequently, your customer will not become familiar with your brand and may even forget she subscribed. At that point you’re inviting all sorts of trouble. Keep the emails steady to manage expectations.
- You should have at least 3 segments in your list. Honestly, this is low in my opinion. I had many conversations with marketers though and was surprised to find this was the normal amount they thought one should have. Sending one blast to everyone is a waste of a good list, so see what you can do to segment them. Some ideas might be a top customer segment, a regular customer segment, and a prospective customer segment. You can easily find ways to market to these segments more efficiently when segmented.
So as I said I’m still new to this area, so I’d love to hear any feedback and suggestions from people with more experience than me. Post your thoughts and additions in the comments!