eCommerce emails and email marketing have long been used as a business tool, and a proverbial fishing rod, complete with a shiny hook and an irresistible morsel attached to the end. Why? Because it works.
Statistics show that marketing emails continue to work well when it comes to attracting the attention of potential customers – so much so that 93% of B2B marketers still use email to distribute content, 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, and a whopping 99% of consumers check their emails every day.
We know what this means for marketing professionals, and communication-conscious organisations like banks and insurance providers, but the newest questions are: ‘How do eCommerce emails work, and are they worth it?’ To answer, we first need to understand the various types of marketing emails.
The Difference Between B2B and eCommerce Emails
In a nutshell, B2B is a term for one business selling to another. In other words, business-to-business sales. B2C on the other hand relates to business-to-consumer sales.
eCommerce, or B2C, deals with and delivers directly to the customer, with less branding, staffing, and commercial fluff between you and your client. Therefore, it is only natural that a little more TLC will be needed to keep everyone happy.
Due to the different avenues used regarding each type of marketing approach, the type of communication and email structures need to be different too. Some of these differences can include:
Business-sized purchases, or B2B related interest, come with a level of commitment that the average consumer will never consider taking on. For example, the average person cannot afford to buy a company jet, while this may be a consideration for some companies. These types of sales take time. They include multiple decision makers, and often work via multi-leveled exposure and coxing methods. For example, webinars, whitepapers, case studies, and statistical evidence.
In comparison, B2C, or eCommerce purchases, are usually done by your average consumer looking for a new pair of shoes online, or a quick weekend getaway. They are not interested in the data behind the purchase, beyond the basic details like warranty, capability, and price. They are buying it because it is convenient, and eCommerce emails need to be just as convenient.
B2C Needs Less Content
When looking for those shoes online, you are not likely to be interested in the history behind the manufacturer, their backstory of success, or how your purchase affects the market. You just want new shoes at the best possible price. Because of this, many eCommerce-based emails are fashioned more like a store brochure, with eye-catching images and big pricing fonts. Less time spent on unnecessary reading means more time spent on buying. Simple.
A Different Level of Value
The type of purchase your client is looking for will greatly impact the level of information they will need in order to make that purchase. According to a Google study, 81% of smartphone purchases are spontaneous. More often than not, these purchases are ‘emotional’ and do not actually need a lot of convincing. Whereas, B2B emails tend to be more informative, motivational, and thought provoking. Many eCommerce emails are created to excite the customer, and draw attention to the product – tapping into the psychology behind spontaneous purchasing. Purchasing spontaneously can be exciting, and even more fun when you have someone to spur you on.
3 Types of Successful eCommerce Emails
eCommerce can often speed up the process of commercial purchasing. It is faster and more exciting. It thrives on want, spontaneity, and convenience. However, this does not mean the process should be rushed. When it comes to traditional marketing, there is a formula to be followed. eCommerce emailing is no different. There are three different, and equally important, emailing structures that can, and should, be used to ensure a successful transaction:
Marketing Email Engagement
Usually the first step in the securing of a lead, ‘engagement emails’ can be seen as the welcome mat of marketing. A great way of viewing lead conversion is by picturing a journey. One that starts at point A – being little to no product awareness, and ends at the finish line – a very happy sale. In reality, this is a process that each client goes through in order to work with you or buy from you.
Call this process the ‘introductory phase’. These emails tell the public who you are, what you do, and usually include a link leading to more information. If done correctly, they can attract the attention of the recipient, making them engage with the content. Especially if you add a voucher or coupon to further increase interest.
Important tips to keep in mind when sending out engagement emails include:
Keep things simple
You need to remember that, at first glance, your new lead has no idea of who you are or why they are being contacted. That vital ‘interest’ or ‘investment’ has not yet formed, so sending long winded emails will only bore them. In fact, statistics have shown that as much as 41% of recipients only pay attention to the first line, or subject line, of a new email. Getting quickly to the point is vital to moving on to the next stage.
Segment your emailing list
Knowing at which point your lead is in the ‘journey of conversion’ is an important step in ensuring that you give them what they need. Have they been contacted before? How did they react? Is a re-engagement email required, or can things be taken to the next step? Taking gender and age into consideration can also play a big role in how you design your approach. Aiming your efforts at an appropriate target market could increase your chances of success.
Nurturing Marketing Emails
Once you have secured the recipient’s attention, the main aim is to keep it. That is exactly what nurturing emails are for. No one likes to feel as though they have been forgotten. In marketing, it is vital to let your leads know that their ‘attention’ is valued, and can be rewarded. This is the ‘getting to know each other’ phase. Ask and answer questions, give extra information, and hint at rewards as a form of encouragement. People love rewards and encouragement. Some examples of how to correctly work within this phase include:
A follow up email that ‘gently’ reminds the recipients of the benefits waiting for them, like the voucher you originally gifted them, or the expiry date on a specific sale.
Allowing a more in-depth contact
Feedback is important. Ask the client why they did not follow through. Is there something specific they need, or something that could be improved? Nurturing is a form of caring, and people respond well when they feel valued.
As mentioned earlier, spurring on of spontaneity leads to sales, but only if the ‘journey’ steps have been correctly followed. Call it the punch-line, the hook, or a sale, this step needs to be handled in the right way to ensure success.
Correct use of subject lines is an absolute must. A subject line hints at what the recipient may gain from opening the email. Using phrases like ‘loyalty points’, ‘flash sales’, and ‘discounts’ are a great way to entice the recipient to engage with the email. Make your heading pop – the more attention it grabs, the better your odds are of making a sale.
Personalize the content. By this point, if all went well, you should already have had some communication with the recipient, picked up on some of their interests, and are on a first name basis. Sales emails work best if they are personalized according to this information. Adding a personal touch, like a name, could make your recipient feel like they have received an invitation, rather than spam. You could even use emojis.
Put your best foot forward. This is the time to show off what you can offer, and why the client needs what you can offer. Include images, details, and benefits wherever possible. Making a client feel as though they cannot live without your product ensures that you will make the sale.
Finding the Right Formula for your Needs
Marketing can be challenging. Customers are becoming wiser, marketing professionals are becoming pushy, and a unique approach is becoming harder and harder to find. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all eCommerce email that that will ensure results. Marketing is a lot like gardening and, in the end, you really do reap what you sow.
When a healthy effort is put in, the possibility of favourable results can increase dramatically. When choosing your eCommerce email approach, the best way to go about it is to keep variety in mind and keep it exciting. A bored customer is a lost customer.
Whether using an engagement email, a nurturing email, or a sales email, each one has a specific place in the journey, and a specific point. When used separately, they might work some of the time. However, when used together, they can lead to customers for life.