Email is the lifeblood of e-commerce brands. Why? Because email marketing is one of the most engaging and (if planned well) cheapest marketing strategies out there. With email marketing, you have a lot of freedom — you could control the flow of information your audience gets, the time they get it, and create different paths based on your needs.
If you’re just getting started with email marketing, it may seem a little daunting. However, we’re here to help you grasp the basics so that you could create an effective email marketing strategy. Here’s a crash course on the metrics to pay attention to, the different types of email campaigns, and email best practices.
And bonus: There’s even an email template for you to kickstart your email marketing campaigns!
Metrics to Look For
Before you send your next email, ask yourself: Do you have a goal for your email marketing? Whether it’s generating more leads or turning them into customers, you need to decide which metrics you should track to reach those goals. Here are the important metrics to look out for:
The open rate is a percentage that tells you how many subscribers opened their emails. The most critical factors that impact the open rate are the subject line, the sender information, the send time, and the pre-header text.
The click rate is a percentage that tells you how many successfully delivered campaigns registered at least one click. If the content resonates with the audience, chances are that the click rate is going to be good. The graphics used, the email layout, and the size of the buttons can all influence the click rate.
Pro tip: Doublecheck that the marketing tool you’re using excludes the unsubscribe link from this percentage. This can skew your reporting.
Click to open rate
The click to open rate (CTOR) compares the number of unique clicks and unique opens. This is an underutilized metric by many marketers. The CTOR allows you to see whether your content is engaging enough for people who open your emails. If the CTOR is high, this indicates that people are clicking through to learn more.
Track the links with UTMs
Most email marketing tools will give you the option to track your links. This is an excellent start to gathering meaningful insights. UTM parameters are the best way to analyze what people do on your website after they click-through from your campaigns.
Pro tip: Check out the Campaign URL Builder by Google. This is one of the easiest ways to add campaign parameters and track your campaigns in Google Analytics.
Make sure you’re mobile-friendly
According to Hubspot, 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices. This makes the use of a responsive template imperative for the success of your campaigns. Make sure that, before pressing the send button, you test your emails on mobile devices as well.
Keep an eye on the deliverability rate
Be sure to use spam filter testing and deliverability monitoring tools. In a recent study, 72% of marketers said that they monitor delivery rates and inbox placement.
Now that you know what you want to track and have an understanding of these metrics, you’re probably wondering, “How well am I performing compared to the rest of the industry?”
The average open rate for all industries is 21.33%. For e-commerce brands, the averages are the following: 16% open rate, 2% click rate, and 0.27% unsubscribe rate.
Types of Campaigns
One-off email blasts and campaigns
An email blast is a single email message that’s sent to a large group of recipients. This type of email includes promotional emails (like Black Friday or seasonal deals and sales), one-time broadcasts (like privacy updates), or any announcements.
List segmentation plays a significant role in the success of this type of email. Try to send targeted emails to your users with content or offers that’s alluring to them. Don’t be afraid to try different segments based on the characteristics of the target personas that your brand might have or different types of buyers according to their past purchasing behavior.
Depending on the type of brand you’re building the strategy for, different triggered emails may be relevant. Here are two examples of triggered emails every direct-to-consumer (D2C) or e-commerce brand needs to make:
The welcome email will always be the email with the highest open rate. When users sign up for an account or subscribe to your service, they expect a welcome email. This email should be triggered in real-time and thank your new users for signing up. This is your opportunity to delight them and start building your relationship.
A cart abandonment email is an essential tactic that any brand can use. The goal of this strategy is to remind users of the products they previously added to their cart. This email is your second chance to convince them to complete the purchase. What helps an unsure buyer is a testimonial, a product review, or a limited-time coupon code.
A drip campaign is composed of multiple emails that are sent out automatically on a schedule. A drip campaign contains more than one email, but the subsequent emails are all time-based, as opposed to in-app or purchasing action. (That’s their main difference with triggered emails. 😉)
Drip campaigns are a fantastic way to nurture prospects or educate users on a product. A drip campaign helps create several points of follow-up so that you can build a relationship with your list.
Four Tips to Always Remember
There’s no universal anatomy of the perfect email — it’s totally up to your industry standards and your brand’s aesthetics.
Use this template to help you build out your email campaigns.
Before you kickstart your email campaigns, here are some basic things you should be mindful of:
- Let’s face it. It’s pointless to continue going after people who don’t intend to buy or try out your product. Remember to scrub your email address list regularly and remove those who don’t show interest in your emails. Periodically cleaning your email lists will result in better deliverability and performance results.
- Think about the timezone of your recipients and test the optimal time for your list. This isn’t about you — it’s more about their convenience. According to a recent study, the best time to send an email is Tuesday to Wednesday, late-morning (around 10 am), or early afternoon (around 1 or 2 pm).
- Make sure to leverage promotional-based periods during holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s day, or Cyber Monday. Remember that setting up promotional campaigns can take some time. Prepare yourself by breaking down the tasks involved in launching a campaign. Think about the offer, the email content, any supporting materials and creative work that may need to be done, and how you’re going to coordinate the email release with a social media blast or press coverage. The sooner you start working on that, the more time you’ll have to structure your promotion.
- Images and animations in emails can look cool and make your email stand out. But, make sure you don’t overdo it. Image-based emails tend to get pushed to the promotions tab.
Next up on your email marketing reading list — Email Marketing 101: Audience Building and Email Content.