How to set up an e-mail marketing strategy for your e-commerce?

Thomas Pedegaye (EmailClub)
Created
October 27, 2021
Modified
November 29, 2021

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If you are an e-merchant, you know it: e-mail is one of the cheapest tools to build loyalty and communicate with your customers. But how do you set up an e-mail marketing strategy on your site? How do you acquire, leverage, and clean up your e-mail base?

In this series of EmailClub and Bigblue articles, we'll go over the essentials of e-mail marketing, so that you too can maximize this channel.

For the next 5 weeks, we'll be bringing you an article every week. At the end of this series of articles, we will compile all these tips in a white paper called "Everything you should know if you have one day to spend on e-mail marketing". 

You can pre-register HERE to receive it as soon as it is published.

1. Back to basics: the principles of e-mail marketing for e-commerce

Setup and attribution:

Whether you're using Klaviyo, Omnisend, Sendinblue, it's important to understand and set your attribution window.

You want to make sure to control the attributions so that you can be confident in the accuracy of your performance, and draw conclusions based on data.

What is the attribution window? It is the period of time during which a conversion will be attributed to one of your emails.

For example,  the default Klaviyo attribution is set to 5 days opens or clicks: a conversion will be recorded if the recipient of an email places an order within 5 days after the email was sent, as long as they have interacted with the email in the meantime.

We strongly advise you to set this to two days. For example, if you send an e-mail on Saturday morning, a conversion that takes place on Sunday afternoon will be attributed to it. On the other hand, a conversion taking place on the following Tuesday will not be attributed to this e-mail.

Mobile first
As with your website, you obviously need to think mobile when preparing your e-mail marketing. With almost 50% of the French consumers shopping online on their mobile, you can't afford to miss out on a mobile-optimized email marketing experience.

We recommend you start on mobile, then make sure your emails are compatible on desktop (by optimizing creatives for example) rather than the other way around. This way you will get a smoother result on mobile.

No lies

As with all of your communication channels, your customers will appreciate an authentic approach and truthful communication, especially when it comes to email promotions.

If you use a CMS that has an integration with your CRM tool (for example the Shopify Klaviyo couple), you have the possibility to automatically generate limited-time discount codes, which will allow you to offer limited-time offers without deceiving the consumer.

Imagine a customer who finds out the day after a limited time offer that the code is still working, you risk losing their trust. On the contrary, a customer who would not be able to use an expired discount code will be all the more reactive to your future promotions.

Be rigorous
Once your messages have been sent, you will not be able to modify them.

Remember to make sure that your links work, that your messages are coherent and without mistakes or typos...

Your brand image is at stake: prevent errors before sending your message.

A little tip: a cold reading often allows you to detect errors that you might have missed. Also, remember to systematically click on all the links in your e-mails.

2. E-mail acquisition


In general, you have 3 main ways to collect emails on your site:

  • During a cart abandonment
  • With a form in the footer of your site
  • With a Pop-Up, displayed during the navigation on your site

In Europe, the acquisition of e-mails must be done in accordance with the European Data Protection Regulation in force. This includes ensuring that you collect (and respect) users' consent to e-mail marketing messages.

In exchange for subscribing to the newsletter, it is often recommended to offer a discount on the first order.  

We will come back to this subject in more detail next week in a special PopUp and welcome series article, as well as in our white paper that will be released at the end of this series. You can pre-register here to receive it as soon as it is released.

3. Marketing automation

Marketing automation concerns all the messages that will be sent following the action of a prospect or customer on your website.

Whether it's about converting your prospects or retaining your customers, a good marketing automation strategy will help you boost the performance of your marketing strategy, and at a lower cost.

 In general, and in order not to make your subscribers regret having taken an action on your site, we recommend relatively short sequences of 2 to 4 emails. The exception to this rule is post-purchase flows such as customer onboarding or order anniversaries, which can involve a larger number of e-mails.

Sequences that must be put in place to maximize your performance:

Email marketing performances

A. Welcome Series: 2 to 3 welcome emails following the registration to your newsletter. Do not forget :

  • Welcome promo code if you have one
  • Remind the vocation of your site (to propose quality cat food)
  • Present your entire range (with an integrated product feed)

B. Shopping-cart abandonment: 2 to 3 emails following a cart abandonment on your site

  • 15mn/2h/1day is a good sequence (right after, a few hours after, the next day)
  • No promo code on the first email
  • If code afterwards, keep the same format (%vs€) and propose a better one on the last one
  • Think of specifying on the last e-mail that it is the last one, to reassure your prospect that he will not be contacted indefinitely, and increase the urgency effect of your last offer
  • Think about personalized coupon codes: unique and limited in time, they will have a positive impact on the conversion and will reinforce your authentic speech
  • Couple this sequence with 2 sms (30mn - 2 days for example) if you send sms.
Shopping cart abandonment email flow

C. Post-purchase: repeat

  • 2 to 5 in the first few weeks after ordering to maximize the customer experience and increase repeat business
  • If you have a maintenance product, send an email about maintenance
  • In general, the objective of this sequence is to bring value to your customers and to offer them complementary products and/or a discount on their next order at the end of the sequence

From newsletter registration, through shopping cart abandonment, to more advanced strategies such as loyalty programs, there is an infinite possibility of sequences to set up on your site.

We will come back to automation in more detail in dedicated articles, as well as in our white paper. You can pre-register here.

4. Newsletters

Newsletters are the ideal opportunity to communicate with your base at a lower cost.

Informative or transactional, they allow you to maintain your relationship with your customers, and to maximize the lifetime value of your customers.

Newsletters will be discussed in more detail in the last article of our series (as well as in our white paper ndr).

Find below your checklist to maximize this channel:

A. Anticipate
Prepare your editorial calendar 1 month in advance to be sure not to miss anything: commercial events, product launches, etc.
B. Segment
Select an active segment:

  • Include: opened an email in the last X days (depending on your sending frequency)
  • Exclude: bought in the last X days (the time to receive his order, very little thanks to Bigblue...!)
  • Exclude: is in an automation sequence (so as not to confuse the performance of those)

C. Test
As always in e-mail marketing, tests will allow you to maximize your performance.

Tests to plan: day and time of sending, objects, formats, type of CTA, etc.
D. Alternate
Consider rotating content and promotion to ensure that you continue to provide value to your customers, and thus maintain their interest in your emails.

To sum up!

As you can see, there are many ways to maximize this exciting channel.

If you are an e-merchant and you are starting to do some volume, consider contacting a specialist to help you maximize this channel.

This article was co-written with EmailClub, an e-mail marketing agency for 7 and 8 figure e-merchants, you can contact them here.

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