In ecommerce, the impact of repeat customers on your bottom line can’t be stressed enough. Research shows that repeat shoppers, meaning customers who come back again and again, tend to spend £9.21 at their favourite shops on average. That’s 7 times higher than the average online shopper! Not only that, but online boutiques receive an average revenue of £4.26 from their returning customers -- three times more than the £1.40 they get from first-time buyers!
Of course, there are much fewer returning customers than there are first-time buyers, which means that you have to do everything in your power to nurture your existing relationships if you want to start your own online store and grow it into a successful business. One of the key ways to do this is through email marketing, as it takes your business into someplace personal: a customer’s inbox.
There are 3.6 billion email accounts in 2013. By 2016, the number will reach 4.3 billion
While it may seem like email marketing is a thing of the past, email continues to drive more sales than social media sites while giving you all-day access to many of your customers. Just think of how many workplaces block Facebook or Twitter, but allow employees to check their email accounts. Not only do people check their email all day, but the younger section of the workforce often keeps their Gmail open all day in order to chat with their friends discreetly in the browser. This makes email marketing a crucial tool for keeping the customers you’ve already made and getting the word out about new products.
One of the first things to remember about email marketing is that no one wants to read spam. Think of the commercial emails you receive, the ones you’ve actually opened, and ask yourself why you engaged with them. The answer is probably that the company offered a value exchange. You have to prove to your customers that you’re not just there to promote yourself, but to exchange the value of their email address with valuable information from your company. This can come in the form of discounts, updates on the industry or big events that you’re planning to attend, or even just first-looks at new products.
Like life, email campaigns are nothing without a purpose. Don’t send out emails that are a jumble of company, tips, discounts, and so on. Make sure that each email has a message -- and, if possible, target that message to specific users. If you know that a person purchased a handbag from your spring collection, they are a prime candidate for receiving news about matching wallets or other accessories in the line. Of course, you can’t target every user in this way, so be sure that each of your emails is focused and sends a clear message. Make sure your email promotes a new product, gives a call to action to attend an event, promotes a sale that your online boutique is putting on, or other specific instances so that you can be sure your customers get the idea.
Of course, it’s difficult to get people to sign up for your mailing list without any content. A newsletter is the perfect reason to justify your sign-up form, and the perfect way to regularly keep your brand at the forefront of your customers’ minds. It not only nurtures your relationships with existing customers, it offers value in terms of that they may spread to new customers via word of mouth, and sets you up as an expert in your industry.
There’s no point to a brilliant email marketing campaign if no one can read it. That means you need to make sure your emails are readable -- in both HTML and rich text forms -- on computers as well as mobile devices.
It also gives your emails an extra edge if they link customers to specific landing pages -- for example, if you’re promoting a new product, the link they click should take them specifically to the product at the price advertised in the email. How many times have you clicked on a great offer, only to be sent to a company’s homepage, left to hunt for correct page on your own? Landing pages mean no confusion, and boost your chances of making a sale from the click. Internet users are fickle, so these landing pages need to be optimised for mobile also. According to Google, 61% of users who have trouble accessing a site once say that they are unlikely to return. 40% say that they’re likely to go to a competitor -- so check your landing pages and make sure every link works before you send the emails.
64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line
Customise Your Emails
Personalise them with a name if possible. Think of your brand and type of customers it attracts, and write for that audience.
Web Version Of Your Email
Include a link to the web version of your email for users that cannot view images in their email clients.
Keep It Relevant
You lose credibility if you send emails that are way off base for your customers’ needs.
Make It Easy To Unsubscribe
No one likes being trapped in an email list, and even losing customers is a small loss compared to the goodwill an easy unsubscribe shows.
Keep text short and scannable for key information.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Analytics show that Tuesday and Wednesday are perhaps because they’re slow days at the office, often get higher rates of response.
Keep The Format Consistent
Keep the format of your regularly scheduled emails (i.e. newsletters) consistent. Remember, when it comes to small online boutiques, branding is everything!