4 Strategies for Better Email Marketing

Proven strategies to get your ecommerce brand on track.

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By Jennifer Spencer Originally published

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While there is no denying that email marketing has incredible potential for ecommerce brands, many struggle to generate the sales results they'd like to see. Research from Adestra reveals that 73 percent of millennials list email as their preferred method of getting contacted by a business. A study from Campaign Monitor found that more than 50 percent of American adults check their email upwards of 10 times each day.

Needless to say, there are a lot of opportunities for reaching customers, but you'll only accrue email opens and conversions if you use a multi-faceted strategy like the one outlined below to help your messages stand out.

1. Use double-open emails to extend your reach

Worried because the email highlighting your newest product didn't have a very high open rate? The work that went into crafting that email doesn't have to go to waste. With a double-open campaign, you send the same email to everyone on your list who didn't open the original message. The only thing that changes is the subject line. Sending these emails three to five days after the original can spur additional opens and even serve as a form of A/B testing. A case study from OkDork found that this increased open rates by 30 percent.

Related: The Influential Executive's Guide to Email Marketing

If your initial email has a 50 percent open rate, and then 50 percent of those who didn't open the original email click on the double-open message, you could significantly increase your sales, all thanks to a simple resend.

2. Know the best time to send

While sending your emails during a weekday will typically lead to a higher open rate, the time of day will also make a difference. Consider this takeaway from a case study conducted by Chronos Agency, designed to test data that indicated mid-to-late afternoon had the highest open rate: "We conducted a series of three AB tests. In all tests, the emails were exactly the same, including the subject lines and the content. The only differences were the send times. In all three AB tests, the variations were 10 a.m. sending time and 4:15 p.m. sending time. Interestingly, the results were unanimous. We saw the highest open rates and even revenue at around the 4 p.m. mark."

While the case study supports the general consensus about mid-afternoon being the best time to send marketing emails, the study's authors note that the optimal time could vary based on your subscriber demographics. Consider running tests where time of day is the only variable to find the best time for your audience.

3. Make cart abandonment a a top priority

Cart abandonment is a major problem for ecommerce brands, but it also represents an important opportunity in your email marketing. While there are many reasons why someone might abandon their cart, sending a followup email to remind them of what is ready for checkout can often be enough to generate a purchase. As with other ecommerce email marketing campaigns, segmenting your audience so you can better personalize your messages is essential for driving conversions via cart abandonment emails.

In an article for The Next Web, Chris Donald recommends segmenting abandoned carts into categories such as, "Customers with high-margin items in their cart, customers with high value abandoned cart, first-time cart abandoners [and] repeat abandoners." Additional research from Moosend indicates that roughly 10 percent of those who receive cart abandonment emails will end up making a purchase, which can significantly boost your revenue.

4. Use a customer's checkout to grow your email list

If you don't have a large email list, it will be hard to keep customers in the loop regarding your latest products and promotions. Because of this, you should look for every opportunity to get customers to subscribe to your email list while they are on your site — and one of the best times to do this is during checkout.

During the checkout process, a customer has already made the decision to buy, so they are already interested in your brand. Adding a question during checkout asking if they'd like updates about products or special deals comes at a time when they are emotionally more likely to opt in to your email marketing.

Another advantage of making the ask during checkout is that customers have already submitted their information for shipping and billing. You don't have to create a separate form to collect their name and email address. By making signing up for your list as simple as checking a box, customers are more likely to subscribe, which will prove vital for your future customer-retention efforts.

Related: This Is Why Email Marketing Still Outperforms Social Media

As with any other ecommerce marketing tool, successful email campaigns will require a fair amount of A/B testing and trial and error. But as you use these tactics to optimize your email efforts, you will be able to drive higher open rates and more conversions for your store.

Jennifer Spencer

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

CEO of Energent Media

Jennifer Spencer is the founder of Energent Media, a digital marketing firm for tech startups. She is passionate about helping brands leverage content to share their stories with the world.

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