Email Marketing and Email Automation Tools
Put simply, email marketing is the method of using email to market your products or services to potential customers.
If you engage with businesses online, you’re likely the target of email marketing campaigns every day. Think about the emails you receive when you sign up for promotions, purchase products or abandon a cart with a retailer – or around the holidays, when all the brands you shop at are vying for your attention and your inbox real estate. And if you open the emails and buy the products, their emails are working.
Email marketing can be big for ecommerce businesses especially – in fact, 91 percent of people like to receive promotional emails from brands they patronize. Unlike other forms of advertising, your customers typically expect you to share products and updates via email. Email marketing also allows you to develop and nurture relationships with your customers – bringing with it huge benefits to your bottom line when it comes to customer loyalty and retention, lifetime value and more.
Here, we’ll go into why email marketing is so important for ecommerce and multichannel businesses, best practices and tools for email automation, and performance reporting for email marketing.
How is email marketing beneficial?
Email marketing is effective for ecommerce brands primarily because it can help increase conversions. In fact, the buying process happens three times faster through email than it does with social media.
Email marketing is also a great way to increase brand awareness and brand loyalty. Creating and sharing valuable, relevant content positions you as an expert in your industry, and regularly communicating with your leads and customers – in a targeted, personalized way – keeps your brand on their minds as they’re making purchasing decisions.
Finally, email is a direct communication channel — and when you utilize it, you’re interacting with your customers in a way that not many other platforms provide. Emails can be highly personalized, making your customers feel individually valued. That feeling of value will help customers return again and again. And in most cases, an email marketing campaign is fairly cost-effective to get off the ground, especially in comparison to paid advertising – research suggests that email marketers make $39.40 for every $1.00 they invest.
So – how can you launch your own successful email marketing? Let’s take a look at what you need to do.
Build (and segment) your email list
Segmenting, or splitting up, your email list is an essential step to launching an effective email marketing campaign – it means you can target your email communication to the right audiences and personalize your messaging to different groups based on demographics or behavior. But before you can segment your list, you need to build it.
If you don’t have an email list yet, begin collecting email addresses through a form on your website or blog. For example, when you visit Old Navy’s website, you see a pop-up offering you a 20 percent off coupon in exchange for opting in to Old Navy’s promotional emails.
Once you have a growing email list, you can segment your customers, dividing them into different groups based on certain criteria. This is an important step: marketers have seen a 760 percent increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
Segmenting your email list allows you to send more personalized emails, which increase open click rates as well transaction rates big-time. It makes sense – not every email you send will apply to every person. By segmenting your email list, you can ensure that people only receive emails that are relevant to them — meaning they’re far more likely to take action and less likely to unsubscribe.
How should you segment your email list? A few basic ways include:
- By demographic (like age, gender or marital status)
- By location
- By purchase history (for example, segmenting out abandoned cart customers, first-time buyers, repeat purchasers or refunders)
- By customer status (like active, at-risk, lost or VIP)
- By spending habits (including discount code users, full-price purchasers or big-ticket spenders)
Make sure you use an email automation platform or CRM that allows you to segment customers like this. Your analytics platform might even be able to help, since segmenting on things like purchase history, customer status and spend requires information from your ecommerce platform. Glew provides 24+ prebuilt customer segments (including the ones mentioned above) and the ability to create custom segments based on customer data points – you can even push segments directly to your email platform.
After you segment your list, you’ll want to send different emails to each type of customer. For example, if segmenting by purchase history, you might send everyone on your list an email with the subject line “Treat yourself” — but the contents of each email will be different, recommending specific products for each person based on what they’ve bought in the past.
You can get more specific with your segmentation, too. A few segments offered in Glew include:
- At risk: This segment captures all customers who are within 20 percent of your store’s lapse point and at risk of becoming lost. You may want to send them a win-back campaign with a promotion to encourage them to purchase again.
- High AOV: This segment captures all customers who have an average order value higher than your store’s average order value. They’re big contributors to your bottom line – reward them with exclusive offers or early access to sales.
- Most active customers: This segment applies to customers who have made three or more orders in a selected range of dates. You know these are your most active shoppers. You may want to encourage them to opt into your loyalty program or become brand ambassadors.
These segments can help you figure out not only what to send each customer, but when to do it.
Wondering how to find the information you need to know to segment your list? Just ask. For example, if you want to segment your email list by age, include a place on your email opt-in form for people to indicate their age range.
For other segments, your ecommerce platform (and, if you have access to it, a reporting tool like Glew), can help you track purchase habits and make sure each customer is getting product emails that make sense for them.
Create your ecommerce email campaigns
Once your email list is segmented, you’re ready to launch your first email campaign. There are a few different types of email series that ecommerce companies may find beneficial. We’ll break each one down:
Welcome email series
When someone subscribes to your email list, a welcome email should be the first thing they receive from you. You can send a single email that encompasses everything you want to convey, or break it up into a series of shorter emails over a few days:
- One confirming the person’s subscription
- Another providing some basic information about your brand
- A final email prompting the user to take an action (maybe visit your website or follow you on social media)
Welcome emails are beneficial because they provide a basic overview of your brand and set the tone for upcoming emails and communications. For example, this welcome email from Apple Music briefly explains the benefits to which a new user now has access:
Email nurture series
The goal of a nurture series? To push leads through your sales funnel, eventually helping them convert and make a purchase.
Emails in this series might educate your customers about your products, tell the story of your brand, or celebrate an upcoming holiday (like Ringor Softball did below) – without being overly transactional. These types of emails build your relationship with each individual lead — and, eventually, each customer.
Send this email series when a customer (who already has an account with you) adds products their cart, but leaves your website before checking out. Use a subject line and copy that invokes an emotional response, hooking the would-be customer back in. This example from Brooklinen, below, is conversational and reminds you about the benefits of their brand:
No matter what type of email you’re creating, there are a few key best practices to follow.
Email marketing best practices
Enticing subject lines
Subject lines are what convince a reader to open your email. A good subject line will communicate that the contents of the email are valuable, driving someone to want to open and see what’s inside. If your email includes product recommendations or announces a sale, you’ll want to indicate that in the subject line, creating a sense of urgency (“Limited time only — 10 percent off!”). And finally, keep your subject lines short. Thirty to forty characters is ideal so the subject line doesn’t get cut off.
The body copy you include inside the email is equally important – after all, once you get them to open, you want to engage them and ultimately drive them to action. Again, be concise, and skip the fluff. If you’re selling something, words like “reserve,” “buy,” and “download” help people take action.
Visually appealing design
Don’t overlook your email design, either — visuals stick with people much longer than text. Keep it simple and visually appealing, and use colors and images that tie in with your company’s branding. For example, Glossier, below, uses high-quality imagery, layers in their brand colors and adds clear CTAs like “Shop Now.”
What’s the goal of your email? Chances are, you want to drive users to a specific action – whether that’s taking a survey, buying a product, signing up for a loyalty program or using a discount code. Use a clear call-to-action that defines what you want them to do so there’s no confusion. Often, a brightly-colored CTA button with a descriptive word or phrase (“Get Started”) gets high conversions.
Best email automation tools for ecommerce
Ready to get started with an email marketing strategy? There are a few tools designed for businesses – and used by thousands of ecommerce merchants – to communicate with their customers via email. Using email automation tools can help you save valuable time and money. Here are a few of the best email automation tools created for ecommerce companies:
With 16 million users worldwide, MailChimp is one of the most well-known email automation platforms out there. This marketing tool provides tools for social media, landing pages, and more, with a special focus on email — offering a design studio, predictive segmentation tools, and automated emails that send when someone subscribes or otherwise sets off a trigger.
Mailchimp can also integrate with a plethora of other tools, including Glew. If you use Mailchimp along with your ecommerce platform, Glew provides you with helpful information like abandoned cart items and top product recommendations, letting you send highly personalized emails. You can also push customer segments created in Glew – like VIP customers, active customers or at-risk customers – directly to Mailchimp. Glew even tracks the performance of your Mailchimp campaigns alongside your other marketing activity and performance.
Used by many large and growing ecommerce brands, automation and email platform Klaviyo is ideal for online merchants. This tool, which combines email automation and, recently, SMS capabilities, offers several features that help you learn about and communicate with your customers — such as segments that update automatically and data science that helps you time your emails based on purchase patterns. Klaviyo also has pre-built “flows” for welcome emails, abandoned cart, abandoned browse and more, making it easy to get up and running.
Like Mailchimp, Glew also integrates with Klaviyo to provide email campaign reporting, customer segmentation and product recommendations. Use these tools to launch and personalize your automated email campaigns in Klaviyo, as well as track performance in Glew.
Dotdigital’s engagement cloud offers several helpful tools for marketers, including email, social, SMS, chat and more. You can create visually appealing messages in the drag-and-drop email builder, set up triggered email campaigns, and personalize emails based on subscriber data. You can also track your email marketing analytics with Glew’s Dotdigital integration.
When you set up the integration, Glew will connect and import all your campaign metrics from Dotdigital, letting you view metrics such as open rate and click rate and see the orders and revenue your campaigns are driving. See at a glance how individual campaigns are performing so you can figure out what you need to tweak, and see your email channel performance in comparison to other marketing channels.
Track and report email marketing metrics
Tracking your performance is essential to making your email marketing strategy the best it can be. If you don’t pay attention to your email marketing analytics and metrics, you might be wasting your time with campaigns that aren’t performing – or missing out on opportunities to capitalize on.
Email performance metrics give you important information about why an email campaign might be successful or unsuccessful — information that you can use to inform your future marketing decisions.
Key metrics to track for your email marketing include:
- Open rates: Open rate refers to the percentage of subscribers who opened a certain email. This metric tends to average around 30 percent for most companies.
- Click-through rates: Your click-through rate (CTR) counts the number of people who clicked on a link inside your email. If your CTR is low, try adjusting the design and copy around your CTA.
- Conversion rate: Your conversion rate takes your CTR a step further by measuring the number of people who not only clicked on the link, but then made a purchase.
- Bounce rate: Bounce rate indicates how many subscribers did not receive your email because it was bounced back by their email provider. It can help keep your email list healthy by indicating which email addresses might be fake or outdated. A bounce rate around 2% is healthy – anything higher than that can have negative consequences when it comes to your email deliverability.
- ROI: Your overall return on investment on an email campaign can help you figure out what kind of profit you made in comparison to the resources you put in.
- List growth rate: This metric shows how fast your email list is growing.
There are other email metrics you can and should track, too, but you’ll be in a good place if you start with this list.
Reporting on your email performance
Tracking your email marketing analytics is only half the battle — you also need to report those metrics on a regular basis, and find an efficient way to share them with your team.
Glew’s performance reporting software provides essential email metrics such as open rate, click rate, campaign performance, and more. Filter results by channel to see your KPIs at a glance, and view metrics like orders, net profit, average order value and lifetime value from email.
With performance analytics tools like Glew, you don’t have to toggle back and forth between tabs and spreadsheets to understand the ROI you’re getting from email marketing and other channels. Instead, the information you need is pulled automatically. You can also create reports to automatically share with your team daily, weekly or monthly. Start a free trial to see more.
Most email service providers also offer built-in reporting tools. For example, Mailchimp shows all of your stats in one place, helping you understand your audience by observing their behavior. MailChimp also compares your stats to those of your competitors, offering benchmarks so you can see where you need to improve, while Klaviyo also offers reporting on the performance of your emails, as well as the sales and revenue they’re driving.
Leverage the power of email marketing
If you want to compete in the ecommerce space, it’s essential to leverage the power of email marketing to connect with your customers (and prospective customers). Use email automation tools to save time, and don’t forget to track your email marketing analytics so you can see where you need to improve. Email marketing can help your business get to the next level.
Summary: Email marketing and email automation tools
As we wrap up our ecommerce analytics guide, let’s review chapter 4:
- Email marketing is one of the best ways for ecommerce brands to communicate with customers, encourage brand loyalty and drive sales.
- The buying process happens three times faster through email than it does with social media.
- Research suggests that email marketers make $39.40 for every $1.00 they invest.
- Segmenting your email list is important to ensure that you’re sending targeted, personalized communications to your customer groups.
- You can segment your customers by demographics (age, gender, location), buying behavior (number of purchases, days since last purchase) amount spent with you, discount code usage and more.
- Set up automated email sequences for welcome emails, abandoned cart emails and nurturing email sequences.
- Ensure your emails have enticing subject lines, clear, concise copy, visually appealing design and compelling calls-to-action for best results.
- Setting up email automation? Consider tools like Mailchimp, Klaviyo and Dotdigital.
- It’s critical to track email marketing metrics like open rate, click rate, conversion rate and bounce rate. If you use an additional reporting or business intelligence platform, you can also track profit-driven metrics like sales, revenue, profit, AOV and LTV from email.
Feel like you have a pretty good background on ecommerce platforms, Google Analytics, social media advertising and email? Don’t get too comfortable – there’s a lot more to cover when it comes to ecommerce platforms and tools that can help grow your business. Stay tuned for more – and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!