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9 Tips for Newsletters & Email Marketing in E-commerce

10.09.2021, 8m

Email marketing has been around nearly as long as the internet itself. Because of that, it can sometimes be seen as an old-fashioned marketing strategy. In actuality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Email marketing is still a very profitable marketing tactic!

The Advantages of Professional Newsletters

Sending out email newsletters to your subscribers can bring many benefits to your business. 

For starters, newsletters allow you to address your customers personally (more on this later). Not even social media can do it to the degree that email marketing can. Being able to address them personally with relevant information can increase the chances of purchases and perhaps even more importantly, increase customer loyalty.

Speaking of relevant information, you can send out promotions directly to them. Whether it’s a Black Friday sale, a Valentine’s Day offer, or a discount for Mother’s Day, you can inform your customers of upcoming events in a timely manner. 

Another huge advantage of sending out newsletters is that they are incredibly cost effective. Having a good email marketing system tends to be quite affordable, especially compared to other marketing efforts. 

Email marketing statistics 

If the points above don’t prove the point well enough, some statistics on email marketing should convince you.

In the chart below, you can see that email marketing revenue is estimated to continue increasing, reaching a total of $17.9 billion by 2027. 

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Source: Statista

If we look to the UK specifically, we can see that email marketing is in the top 3 for successful marketing channels.

statistic_id1231767_leading-marketing-channels-in-the-uk-2020

Source: Statista 

How’s that for old fashioned?

Now that the benefits of newsletters and email marketing are clear, let’s have a look at some of the most important things to keep in mind when creating a newsletter campaign.

The most important steps to create a successful newsletter

There are a lot of things to keep in mind if you want to run a successful newsletter. It all begins with your recipients:

Generate newsletter recipients

If you want to create a professional newsletter, the first thing you need to do is get an audience! Remember, you need to gather this list in the right way (otherwise, you risk paying some hefty fines). The GDPR regulations set forth by the EU in 2019 are there to make sure websites acquire and use data like this responsibly (and legally)!


GDPR FAQs whitepaperWant to read more about the GDPR? Check out our free whitepaper!


With that in mind, take the opportunity to promote your newsletter wherever you can. Stick a field in your footer. Place banners or pop-ups throughout your site. Let people know in the checkout. If you send an email confirmation after a purchase (you should!), then add a link at the bottom to get them to sign up. 

You might even want to consider incentivising users to sign up by giving them a one-time use discount on their next purchase if they sign up. Just be clear about what your offer is and what benefit it brings them to sign up for it (more on this later). 

Segment your newsletter recipients

Segmenting your newsletter recipients might make sense for you to do at different stages throughout your business’s development. However, it’s an important thing to keep in mind now while you’re getting started as well. 

Segmenting your newsletters might be a logical strategy, especially if your shop has a variety of customer personas. If your target audience is varied, then it makes sense that you’d want to send them different offers and different content. The obvious example would be to segment by gender. If you’re a fashion brand, you wouldn’t necessarily want to promote your sale on women’s clothing to your male customers, would you? 

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Segmenting your audience can lead to better open rates (source: shutterstock.com/Andrii Yalanskyi)

If you have really loyal customers, you might want to create a special newsletter for your VIPs (e.g. early access to new products). 

By making your newsletter more relevant to the reader, you will definitely increase the odds of them opening your emails, thus making your marketing efforts really valuable!

Offer value

You’ve got your list set up. You’ve segmented your audience. It might sound silly, but it needs to be said: offer value to your recipients!

If you’re strictly offering discounts, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, this may not get you consistent open rates. That’s not to say that offering discounts and promoting sales is a no-go (seasonal emails can be a great way to get traffic to your site). It just might not build much of a relationship with your audience in the long-term. 

If you’re going to take it an extra step, you can offer them content. If you run a blog to build your site’s search engine ranking, this content is perfect for adding to your newsletters (as long as they are useful and relevant to your audience). 

If you’re a fashion brand, you can offer styling tips. If you sell electronics, maybe you have a product review blog or video. This strategy works particularly well for niche markets. Whatever the case may be, give them a reason to open your emails consistently. 

Use newsletters to get their attention with good subject lines

Great content and real value for your audience is clearly important. However, getting your audience to open those newsletters in the first place can really be a challenge. If you’re in sales, this shouldn’t be much of a shock to you. You don’t sell the steak; you sell the sizzle, right?

In this metaphor, your subject line is the “sizzle”. That doesn’t mean you should be inauthentic or disingenuous, but try to catch their attention with a good subject line. What is the best content offer you’ve got in this newsletter? Highlight it in the subject line! Offering a big discount? Make sure it’s in the subject line!

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(Source: shutterstock.com/Marie Maerz)

It’s worth noting the technical side of things as well. Make sure your subject lines are no longer than 75 characters (including spaces). Some mobile devices go even lower (iPhones can be as low as 41 characters in portrait mode), so be economical with your texts and make sure the eye-catching points are at the beginning of the subject line. 

The design of your newsletter

The design of your newsletter should have one main goal: get the user to wherever it is that you want them to go. Most likely, this will be your website. 

Some of your readers will want to get to the point right away. For them, make sure you put the link or call-to-action (CTA) button towards the top. 

Other users may want a bit more information before the commit to the click. For those users, you should give them a taste of what they should come to expect and then place a second CTA at the bottom of the newsletter. 

Your email marketing platform most likely has an option for you to greet your recipients by their first name (provided you have this information in the system). Add this into the subject line and you increase the odds that they’ll open the email.  

Make sure your emails can be read in dark mode. Not everyone likes reading their emails with a white background, especially those night owls who read emails from their bed at night. 

Speaking of reading email in bed, make sure your website is mobile responsive. In other words, make sure the design of your emails look good on mobile phones. These days, most emails are actually read on mobile devices. Many professional newsletter tools therefore offer a series of ready-made responsive templates, which you only have to adapt with your content.

Sending the newsletter (at the right time)

You should definitely consider the time that you send out your newsletter. This refers to the time of day, day of the week, and even the time of the month.

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(Source: shutterstock.com/Chutima Chaochaiya)

Generally speaking, as a B2C company, you will probably want to send out your promotional emails towards the beginning of the month when your users have gotten their salaries (depending on their market - many European countries receive their salaries monthly, while others receive them bi-monthly). Also, keep holidays in mind. 

If you’re not sure about the time-of-day, or day of the week, you should consider running some A/B tests...

A/B testing 

A/B testing is one of the most important strategies in marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, A/B testing refers to testing different elements of what your audience sees and analysing which version produced better results.

In the context of email marketing, you might test one or two versions of a subject line against each other to see which one leads to more clicks. In this example, one subject line might be very informative while the other one might be a bit more click-baity. 

Although you might think you know what your audience will react to, it’s always worth running A/B tests because you’ll be surprised more often you think. There are so many elements that you can test. However, it’s generally a good idea to test one thing at a time so you can pinpoint what element is having a greater impact. 

As mentioned in the previous section, you can also test different times and days of the week for sending out your newsletters to see what times lead to better open rates.

Analyse your results

Analysing your results is important for A/B tests, but for other parts of your business as well. This goes for newsletters as well. 

Make sure to check how your newsletters perform, whether it’s the time of day, the segmented lists, the types of subject lines you use. Make sure you see what links are being clicked. This can influence what you highlight in your subject line or even the order of the content that you place in your newsletters.  

Be legally compliant

As mentioned before, it’s getting more and more important to be legally compliant in the digital world these days. The Wild West days of the internet are slowly evolving, particularly in Europe. 

Make sure you’ve acquired email addresses legally. Make sure you store customer data responsibly. Make sure you always include an “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of your newsletters and promotional emails. Email recipients should also go through the “double opt-in” workflow to confirm they’ve chosen to be added to your email list. 

Conclusion

Newsletters and email marketing campaigns can be very fruitful for your business if done correctly. With proper planning, they can give your sales a nice boost while also building up customer loyalty.

Trusted Tips: Create successful email campaigns - download our free whitepaper

Portions of this article were contributed by guest author Kevin Grimberg.

The title image is sourced from: shutterstock.com/StockEU