Top 10 email tips for retail marketers

Here it is at last, my top ten email tips for retail marketers.

In a previous post I scoped my 20-11 tips (you can read them here) and now it’s time for the final 10.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below – I’m more than happy to add any valid last minute additions. I’ll even give you a shout out if your tip makes the cut.

  1. Utilise the snippet

Some email inboxes also display an auto-preview of the top of each email, sometimes called a snippet, when they receive an email. This often flashes up in the bottom right hand corner (in Outlook for instance) and is an opportunity for marketers to appeal to the reader and persuade them to open the email.

So make sure you’re using the snippet to portray the most catchy and interesting information about the email.

  1. Test your subject lines

Subject lines are hugely important and as one of the easiest variables to change you should be continuously testing what works and what doesn’t. Some email service providers allow you to run subject line tests and then send the winning subject line to the balance of contacts.

  1. Reviews

    Reviews are a powerful marketing tool and should be gathered wherever possible

    Motivate customers to review the product they’ve bought via email

In the modern world reviews and social proofing are incredibly powerful. Positive reviews and genuine advocacy can work wonders and it is sensible to do what you can to encourage this sort of behaviour among your repeat and loyal customers.

However, gathering reviews is easier said than done. Consider replaying other customer’s reviews to stimulate contribution and advocacy amongst new purchasers.

Try to set this up as an automated email that’s sent a few weeks after the product reaches them so they’ve had the chance to use it and it’s still fresh in their mind.

  1. Use order confirmation to drive future sales

In a similar vein to transactional emails there is also potential in the order confirmation email specifically. You know what the email subscriber bought, so use this information to recommend other products they might like in the order confirmation email. Once the rules are in place and the automation set up, it’s an on-going tool for driving additional sales and revenue.

  1. Make the most of transactional emails

Your transactional emails should primarily tell the customer the status of their order. This doesn’t, however, mean that you can’t use them as an opportunity to engage the customer or upsell other products.

Needless to say, transactional emails don’t need to be dull notifications. With a bit of creativity and personalisation, they can become powerful hooks to drive engagement and repeat customers.

  1. Cart Abandonment Emails

Improving cart and checkout abandonment is typically one of the highest value areas to focus on when it comes to conversion rate optimisation. After all, if someone has added an item to their cart, they’re an extremely well-qualified potential customer.

If you’re using software that enables automation, you can quite easily setup a rule that detects whether a person visits the cart or checkout page, but not the order confirmation / thank you page.

When this criteria is met, an email can be sent to them (providing you have already gathered their email address) asking them why they didn’t complete their transaction or providing an incentive to purchase.

  1. Reactivation Campaigns

Gathering data can be a long-term process and when subscribers stop engaging and go dormant it can be incredibly frustrating. By running a reactivation campaign you can re-engage with inactive subscribers and bring them back into the fold. Show them the value you provide and use different subject lines to get their attention. If you don’t get a response after four or five emails you should probably remove them from your contacts as there are risks and issues with continuing to send emails to non-responsive contacts. One of the main dangers is your emails being flagged as spam by mailbox providers (such as Gmail) and your beautifully crafted emails being sent straight to the junk folder.

Read this white paper on reactivation campaigns for more.

  1. Birthday Emails

Similar to a welcome email, you should consider a birthday email that is automatically sent to a subscriber on their birthday or during their birthday month. This is an excellent opportunity to engage positively with a customer. A quick word of warning however, make sure that it is appropriate for your brand to be sending birthday emails.

For more, read this white paper on best practice for email birthday programmes.

  1. Welcome programme

Subscribers are at their most engaged when they have just signed up to an email programme.  After all, they have just given you permission to email them.  However, before you pop them into your regular communications programme, the best thing to do would be to send a welcome email or series of emails to introduce them to your brand and build engagement. It would be a good idea at this stage to provide a discount or something of value for free to really add to the positivity they are currently feeling towards you.

For more, read this white paper on best practice for email welcome programmes.

  1. Segmentation

Segmentation and the ability to send different messages to different consumer types is integral to modern email marketing.

We are past the era of spray and pray. Brands need to communicate effectively with their customers and that means relevancy and it’s impossible to be relevant when you send the same message to everybody. In order to tailor communications you need to be able to profile and segment your audience.

For more, read this white paper on the Art of Customer Profiling.

Email marketing – the stepping stone to cross-channel marketing

I hope you found the above useful and it’s left you with a few new ideas to consider.

Yes email marketing is important and I’ve only really scratched the surface in this article. Each point deserves an article by itself and I will endeavour to expand on the key points in future pieces but for now I’d like to leave you with one final thought.

Email marketing is a key channel in digital marketing and should be playing a crucial role in your on-going marketing strategies. However, it’s time to look to the future and be prepared for cross-channel and the demands of modern customers.

Customers expect a single brand experience not a number of disparate channels working separately and it is my belief that email needs to play the central role in that evolution. As the most important channel marketers need to start with email and slowly align other channels with their email strategies. This is the sensible and pragmatic approach to cross-channel marketing.

Experian Marketing Services is the leading global provider of customer insights, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers.

Experian Marketing Services was recently named a ‘Strong Performer’ in the July 2015 Forester Wave report. You can download the full report here.

By helping marketers identify best customers, find more, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.