E-commerce is a spectacularly competitive industry and it takes a lot of a new online store to build a name for itself. With millions of online stores vying for customers’ attention, making enough sales to stay afloat can be a challenge in itself. This is why e-commerce business owners have to be smart about their marketing and invest in strategies and tactics that will yield results. One practice that has definitely been shown to yield amazing results is email marketing.
Email Marketing Statistics
In order to best understand the value of email marketing for e-commerce companies, you do not have to look further than the cold, hard numbers.
For one, almost everyone (91% of people to be exact), open their inboxes every day. If we were to compare this to daily users of Facebook or Twitter, where daily use rates are around 75% and 42% respectively, it becomes obvious that a promotional email is far more likely to be opened the same day.
Perhaps even more importantly, email is actually the preferred channel of communication for e-commerce customers. In fact, when they are asked to choose a channel through which they would most like to communicate with online businesses (not just e-commerce stores), nearly 75% of people say email. Another number that should paint a picture is the fact that two-thirds of online consumers say they made a purchase because of an email they received at some point in time.
When we are talking from a simple investment standpoint, email fares far better than pretty much any other marketing tactic for e-commerce companies. Namely, Digital Marketing Association recently came forward with data that the average ROI for email marketing is 3,800% for e-commerce companies. Put differently, for a single dollar invested in email marketing, an e-commerce business can expect a return of $38. On average.
It is important to point out, however, that it is not just about the numbers with email marketing in e-commerce. It is also about the innumerable possibilities of this type of marketing. It may not seem that way to someone who has never done email marketing before, but it is actually a fantastically versatile type of marketing.
Purely promotional emails are probably the first thing that comes to people’s minds. These are emails which inform customers and potential customers about ongoing or upcoming deals that they shouldn’t miss out on. These emails also inform recipients about new products that became available at the store or about time-limited offers that are just “too good to miss out on”.
And while these promotional emails are the most direct way to use email marketing to boost one’s e-commerce business, they are definitely not the only possibility.
For one, there are the transactional emails that do not contain overtly promotional material but instead serve a different function. For instance, you will set up welcome emails for people who subscribe to your email list or who become members of your website. You will send emails informing people of their purchase and letting them know what they can expect in terms of delivery. If you want to convert your email campaign successfully, you will leverage these transactional emails to tell a brand story, to make customers feel special and to provide a unique experience that will turn them into repeat business.
When you throw in cart abandonment emails, retargeting emails, and a few other types, it becomes quite clear that a smart email marketing practice can do more things for your e-commerce store than any other form of marketing.
Doing it Right
Of course, in order for you to be successful in email marketing, you need to know how to do it right. In an article like this, we can only cover the basics, unfortunately.
For one, you have to start building your email marketing list as soon as possible. Namely, the law prohibits you from spamming random people and you can only send your e-commerce emails to people who have opted-in. In other words, you have to entice people to subscribe to your mailing list, usually by offering special deals and loyalty awards.
You will also want to ensure that you have segmented your email list properly, categorizing people according to a number of metrics that will help you send more precisely targeted emails that have a greater chance of converting.
It goes without saying that you will also want to learn about and experiment with the actual emails that you will be sending to your customers. This will involve quite a bit of A/B testing and serious data crunching, but it will be worth it. The good news is there is no shortage of email marketing tools that can help you with the more demanding parts of this.
Of course, when deciding on the incentives that will stimulate potential customers, you have to factor in your margins. In other words, a 70%-off offer will definitely bring you customers, but if you are losing money on such a deal, it will be counterproductive.
Email marketing is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best ways to market an e-commerce business. That being said, you have to invest time and money in it if you wish to do it right.
In the end, however, it will pay off.
AUTHOR: James D. Burbank is the editor-in-chief of BizzMarkBlog. He has years of experience in advising e-commerce businesses on marketing and brand promotion in general.