Email marketing is a potent tool to connect with potential customers. Unlike other channels, email marketing allows you to be personal and laser-focused in your messaging. However, with billions of emails sent out every day, you have to know how to stand out.
This article will show you how to create impactful e-commerce newsletters that will help you generate more leads and grow your business.
1. Build a customer persona
The biggest reason any eCommerce newsletter fails to get results is that it’s not relevant to the subscriber. Relevancy is the key when you craft your newsletters. Buyer personas can help you with that.
You can categorize your audience and segment your email list with a buyer persona. Let’s look at how you can build one. Here’s a sample template you can take inspiration from:
Where do you get all that information, though?
Use tools like Google Analytics to track what languages your audience speaks, which browsers they use, how they heard about you, their ages, demographics, and more. The tool will also help you determine whether they’re first-time or returning visitors, how frequently they visit your site, how long they stay, and what device they use.
You can also ask your customer-facing sales personnel and account managers. You can get this information from customers themselves, too. Just send them a survey and give them an incentive so they’ll respond.
If you’re still struggling to figure out how to start with differentiating your ideal customer profiles, try by looking at the main benefits of your product. It will allow you to discover which types of customers those benefits will help the most.
For example, if one of your product’s main benefits involves cutting downtime to create sales proposals, it’s likely that individual sales representatives and their support teams are one customer persona you should have.
Suppose you have another product that provides data insights across sales, finance, and marketing fields. In that case, you’d need another different customer persona–the CEO who needs more of a “bird’s-eye view” of their company.
2. Add images and videos
Adding images and videos to your eCommerce newsletter is a great way to make it more engaging and visually appealing. Statistically, videos increase click-through rates up to 55%, and over 65% of consumers prefer to receive emails with images in them. You can include images and videos in different ways.
You can, for example, include high-quality product images from your online store so that your email recipients will see the details of each product. Or you can embed a gif or use a screengrab from your YouTube channel video and then link that to that video on your channel.
Images and videos help you convey your message effectively.
Check out this newsletter from the French Connection, which incorporates both images and videos:
The images are both eye-catching and add value to the content. The video here helps customers make decisions by showing how the models look when they’re wearing French Connection products. This doesn’t mean that you must-have models for your newsletter, but having access to some pictures related to fashion or any other category could do the trick.
Choose a simple design layout and colors that are bold and appealing. Also, make sure your images or videos are optimized for mobile to ensure a great user experience across devices.
3. Include a strong CTA
You need a call-to-action (CTA) in your newsletter. That’s the only way your email recipients will take your desired action, after all. Your ultimate goal, in this case, is to get them to make a purchase.
Because you want to persuade email recipients to take your single desired action, you can’t have too many of those CTAs in your newsletter. There’s such a thing as choice overload. When consumers are faced with too many options, they do not pick any.
For best results, test multiple CTAs before you settle for one. In general, though, you need to keep the CTA short and crisp. It shouldn’t be subject to multiple interpretations either. Check out the example below:
Notice that there’s only one way to interpret the CTA. If you click on it, you can get a discount. As a general rule, avoid CTAs such as “Get started” or “Let’s go.” When in doubt about whether a CTA is appropriate, ask other people how they’d interpret just that when they see it in a newsletter. If people give you varying interpretations, it’s best to look for another CTA.
4. Segment and tailor your content
Nothing sets off a customer than receiving bulk emails that are irrelevant to them. That’s why segmentation is important.
It allows you to segment your audience list based on relevancy. By creating laser-focused emails for specific groups, you can boost your engagement, gain better open rates and reduce the likelihood of unsubscribes or being marked as spam.
Segmented campaigns can drive a 760% increase in revenue. Marketing automation tools like MailChimp can help you with the segmentation. But there are steps you need to follow first.
You need to identify your audience groups in the first place. That is pretty straightforward once you have your customer personas. Your email segments should be based on those.
Once you’ve segmented your list, you can create content that caters to each segment:
Let’s take a look at an example. The following emails are emails from the same brand that targets two different sets of customers:
The above example from Close.io targets startups that are more interested in making sales. They’re also somewhere at the top of the sales funnel, where they’re getting to know the company.
On the other hand, the example below targets recipients who are already near the bottom of the funnel and are looking for customer relationship management software:
You can be as detailed as you can with your segmentation. Take note, though, that the more email segments you have, the more content you need. So, if you’re a one-person marketing team, it might be best to stick to the primary segments until you get more people on board to help you create the other content.
5. Ask for referrals
Email newsletters are an excellent medium to collect referrals. Under a referral system, you use your existing audience to get new subscribers. Your existing subscribers recommend your brand to their loved ones. New users are usually not hesitant to accept these recommendations because these were made by people they know.
To get those referrals, you can create a simple referral call to action like what The Body Shop did:
The email uses a catchy image and explains the simple 3-step process in the referral system. Notice that The Body Shop includes an incentive for the recipient to make the referral in the first place. That’s very important.
Although you can rely on people just referring your brand to others, it’s going to take a long time before you get an adequate number of referrals that way. People don’t typically do something without getting anything in return.
Make sure that your referral incentive will also benefit you as an eCommerce company. For instance, notice that The Body Shop’s reward for the person who made the referral is a The Body Shop discount. That means, when they do get the discount, they’re more likely to make a purchase on The Body Shop.
So, you don’t just get an additional lead in the end. You get sales, too.
Additionally, you can ask your reader to forward the newsletter to a friend who might be interested. Just include a ‘forward to a friend’s message at the bottom of your newsletter and a link to subscribe, like the one you find in the newsletter below:
Of course, for your referral system to work, you need your content to be, well, valuable. Because even if you give an incentive to refer, people are not likely to do that if your content is subpar. It’s, after all, their reputation on the line.
6. Make it easy to unsubscribe
You need to give users the option to unsubscribe from your eCommerce newsletter. Unsubscribes are better than getting marked as spam. If your email is marked as spam, your sender reputation is affected, which might affect your chances of getting your other emails delivered to recipients’ inboxes.
You can just put the ‘Unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of your newsletter. Something like this:
Besides, you can use the opportunity to get feedback from the people who unsubscribed from your newsletter to determine what you can improve from your newsletter in the first place. That way, you can prevent future unsubscribes. To get that feedback, you can just send a simple survey once these recipients click on the unsubscribe button:
Just make it easy for them to answer your survey. Instead of asking those who unsubscribed to type their reasons for doing so, give them multiple options, so all they need to do is click on which ones apply.
An eCommerce newsletter can help you generate leads. The key is to know how to create a good one in the first place.
You learned tips on how to do that from this article. Build a buyer persona, use more images and videos in your email, and have a clear CTA. To make your content relevant, use segmentation to segment your audience list, ask for referrals to grow your list, and always give the opportunity to unsubscribe if they want to.
Follow these tips while creating valuable content for your newsletters, of course, and you’ll be well on your way to generating more leads for your business.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade eCommerce solution. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.