Digital Insights

Game Changing Email Marketing Strategies for Online Retailers

Published: December 3, 2015

Just two marketing strategies alone account for an estimated 23 percent of all new sales: organic web searches and email marketing. As an online retailer, you have a great deal more control over the latter than the former. In fact, when you are watching an online retailer who consistently grow their sales from month to month and you catch yourself wondering, “I wish I knew what they are doing!,” there is a good chance they owe their success to email marketing!

In this post, learn the kind of game changing email marketing strategies that can do the same for your online store.

This is Not Your Mother’s Email Marketing

Email Marketing Strategies

But first, it is critical to understand how email itself has changed. Email itself is more than two decades old – making it a virtual grandparent to newer emerging marketing tactics. Yet with age comes wisdom and the flexibility to work well with a variety of tools to maximize results.

Today’s email can do all of the following and more:

  • Clearly define which individuals on your list opened and interacted with your email.
  • Identify how long a prospect spent on your site and where they went.
  • Help you retrieve abandoned shopping carts and encourage those shoppers to buy.
  • Pinpoint which parts of your email received the most favorable response.
  • Send different emails to different customer groups.
  • & much, much more!

5 Game Changers You Can Start Using Today

For the rest of this post, we will concentrate on a limited number of game changing tactics you can begin to incorporate into your email marketing campaigns right away.

Tip #1: Create an annual email marketing calendar.

email marketing calendar

In the world of email marketing, this is not busywork. Rather, it may be the single most important planning tool you ever create in terms of boosting sales all year long.

An email marketing calendar should include each of the following:

  • A complete list of national holidays for the year.
  • Special holidays and events pertinent to your specific products or services.
  • Retail event days (Labor Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, et al).
  • Any annual events your business is specifically known for.
  • New product launch dates.

Even free calendar tools like Trello allow you to set up advance alerts so you never miss marketing towards an important event or holiday.

Tip #2: Wrap in “loss aversion” marketing.

limited time offer

If there is one thing a browsing shopper really struggles to do, it is to close down that browser window while an enticing “limited time offer” is staring them right in the face. This tactic is called “loss aversion” marketing and it is a scientifically proven (by real scientists!) method for getting a sale out of that waffling customer.

To cash in, don’t offer a discount (in cash or percentile form) off a future purchase. Offer it NOW, today, right there as your prospect is browsing your store and make sure it is clear that the discount expires SOON.

Tip #3: Remember birthdays and anniversaries.

Happy Birthday

If you always remember your loved ones’ special days, this will be a slam-dunk for you. But if you struggle at this, your email calendar (see #1 here) can help, as can your email list group manager. The effort will pay off when you see the jump in your email engagement – up to 5 times as high as for normal (non-personalized) email marketing!

To keep this as simple as possible, here is what to do:

  • Simply add a field to your email web form called “Your Birthday” (and any other dates you want to collect).
  • You can then set up list group segments for each month’s birthdays.
  • Statistics show that offering a birthday discount with no minimum spend rate tends to get the best response (in terms of a boost in sales).
  • Other effective strategies include free shipping and offering a percentage discount.

Tip #4: Combine email with social media.

email and social media

Email marketing is a solid win as a standalone sales boosting tool, but if you want to really pack a punch, try combining your email campaigns with social media.

Why does this work so well? In a nutshell, studies show customers who see your ad more than once are 22 percent more likely to actually make a purchase.

You will need to be sure your marketing content is formatted to display well on different platforms. For instance, you can do more with text in an email format than you can on most social media platforms (although for best results, use text sparingly in both places – images generate up to 50 percent more click-throughs than text links!).

Here is what to do:

– Format your marketing content for email, Facebook and any other social platforms you use (the more the better until you figure out where your audience likes to hang out).
– Upload the content on different platforms within a day of each other.
– Watch your store analytics to see who is coming to your site from which platforms (this will help you design future campaigns).

Tip #5: Don’t let those abandoned carts slip away.

shopping cart abandonment

If you have a customer who adds an item from your store to their online shopping cart, you know they are interested. So when they abandon that shopping cart before completing their purchase, you just need to figure out why they didn’t buy.

This is critical because studies now show you can lose nearly three-quarters of potential sales through customers abandoning their carts – and companies that send out emails within 24 hours to recapture them get nearly all of them back!

The most common reasons include these:

  • You charge for shipping.
  • They had technical issues.
  • They didn’t want to create an account.
  • They had a coupon code but lost it.
  • They weren’t sure your checkout was secure.
  • They decided to go do some price comparisons first.

Here are some things you can do to recapture the lost sales:

  • Sending a cute, clever message like, “Your Cart Misses You – Come Back!”
  • Sending them a coupon code to use when they return.
  • Offering them a freebie when they complete the sale.

By approaching your email marketing with creativity, a sense of humor and an adventurous spirit all supported by a strong tactical plan, you stand to gain back lost sales, generate new sales and build a loyal and enduring customer base.

  1. Ann says:

    Very informative post! I’ll try to adapt the strategies to my email marketing campaigns. I was also wondering if you know any good email marketing tools? What about GetResponse?

  2. Jeff says:

    Hi Ann,

    Thank you for your feedback and question. The best softwares and tool sets definitely depend on the size of the list, frequency of emails sent and of course personal preference. We have never used GetResponse, even though I know it is a popular solution. We have always been a fan of using MailChimp and Aweber as a way to facilitate email marketing campaigns. This is a good article that talks about the pros and cons through various reviews of a lot of the top softwares: