Abbie Whitehead, Digital Marketing Manager at Velstar


With the pandemic continuing to disrupt the lives of many, major retailers that once relied on brick-and-mortar stores are being forced to shift their focus to ecommerce. As a result, competition for attention has never been more fierce.


So, how can you stand out from the crowd?

This is where email marketing comes in. There are 3.9 billion daily email users and with 138% of shoppers spending more when marketed to through email, it can be your biggest revenue generator.

To help ensure your email marketing campaigns are a success, I’ve outlined 5 tactics that will get your customers opening, clicking and buying in no time.


1. Grow Your Email Marketing List

First and foremost, the foundation of any successful email marketing campaign is a strong subscriber list. You must prioritise building your audience as soon as possible. The larger the better – you’ll reach far more people and ultimately maximise revenue for your business.

Throughout the customer journey, there are various opportunities to capture email addresses. For example, if you haven’t already you should have a sign-up form in the header or footer of your site. And I’d recommend adding in-line forms to your most visited pages for maximum visibility.

Additionally, as part of the purchasing process you’re already asking your customer for their email address, so add an opt-in option and use this data for retargeting email campaigns.

Also, I’d recommend adding Facebook Lead Ads to your paid social strategy, as these can be really effective for list building. From experience, new subscribers are much cheaper to acquire than new customers, this coupled with a series of welcome emails is a sure-fire way to drive conversions.

The above list of email subscriber growth tactics are a great basis, but one way you can supercharge your efforts is through the use of pop-ups. Impossible to ignore, pop-ups are a great way to engage a new customer from the outset. But be sure to entice them with an offer they can’t refuse like limited deals, instant discounts or an amazing giveaway.

Some shoppers don’t intend to buy from your store immediately, this is where ‘Wish Lists’ or ‘Favourite’ buttons come in handy. Allow guest shoppers to save their favourite items and offer them the option to receive these selected items if they sign up.

Finally, why not take advantage of your current customer base with a referral program. Your existing customers are already familiar with your business and love your products, which make them excellent brand advocates.

Don’t forget to regularly clean up your subscriber list too!


2. Analyse Previous Campaign Success

Once you’ve got your list-growth tactics in place, it’s time to analyse your previous campaign performance and take valuable insights for future planning.

Focus on campaigns with the highest open and click rates and identify key themes such as email design and creative, subject lines and call-to-actions.

Also, track clicks across your campaigns and examine which particular sections, promotions, images etc on your email campaign are most effective.


3. Competitor Analysis

If you’re trying to get ahead of your competitors, you’ll need to find out what they’re doing. Pay close attention to the frequency, timing and the types of content they’re sending their customers.

But remember focus on what differentiates your brand from your competitors. Competitor analysis isn’t about stealing ideas, instead, it’s about identifying opportunities. What works best for their audience may not work for yours, particularly in the age of COVID-19.


4. Personalise Your Emails With Segmentation

Personalisation can significantly improve open rates, clicks and engagement. Sending emails with content that’s tailored to specific audience segments ensures that your email content resonates with the receiver, which will generate better results.

You should start by segmenting your subscriber list into standard demographics such as age, gender, income, education etc. But you should also go one step and use website activity to build behaviour based segmentation.

For example, you could create ’viewed product’ segments to target specific customers who have looked at particular products. This is a great way to convert leads into sales for your business.


5. Automate When Possible

Sending the right email at the right time can be a drain if you’re doing it manually. This is where automated email flows come in.

Rather than tracking each interaction with your ecommerce store separately, it’s easier to automate email flows responding to specific actions. You should consider creating automated email flows for user online behaviour, abandon cart, post-purchase and individual milestones.

Furthermore, for some brands, you could create automated product replenishment flows. These are an excellent way to send users replenishment reminders and entice repurchases. This can be achieved by giving the user three chances to make that all-important purchase. Firstly, with a reminder, then with a dynamic discount code and lastly with a reminder that the discount is soon to expire.


6. Increase Open Rates With Killer Subject Lines

All too often brands miss the mark when it comes that all-important subject line. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into your carefully planned promotions and beautifully designed email templates – if your subscribers can’t see them, what’s the point?

Subject lines are used to reduce inbox invisibility, drive urgency and increase purchase intent. They need to be short, snappy and attention-grabbing. Use emojis, make them fun and compelling. Give your customers a reason to open your emails.


7. Test, Test & Test Some More

Data-driven decisions are the difference between good and great marketing. When it comes to determining what resonates with your audience A/B testing will be your greatest ally and should be a core part of your marketing strategy.

An A/B test will allow you to show different creative and copywriting to a subset of your audience to test what makes them more likely to complete the CTA on your email.

To ensure you’re accurately testing your email campaigns, here are some best practices:

  • Develop a hypothesis
  • Test one variable at a time
  • Make no more than 4 variations
  • Ensure you have a big enough audience
  • Never edit a live test


8. Leverage Other Marketing Channels

When it comes to building successful email marketing campaigns you should consider harnessing the power of other channels too.

Since the pandemic struck the globe, mobile usage has surged; with the average person spending over 4 hours on their mobile phone and checking their phone more than 150 times, it provides ecommerce owners with a fantastic opportunity to communicate with their customers and generate revenue.

SMS and email marketing should be used to complement one another. For example, you can involve SMS for time-sensitive messages such as delivery or payment updates. Or use SMS to gain new email subscribers by offering various incentives such as discount codes.

Additionally, social media channels should be used in conjunction with email marketing. Adapt your content to different platforms and formats to find a winning combination.

In conclusion, COVID-19 has brought with it an opportunity for mass growth like never before. But the reality of that is a highly competitive market. In order to stay one step ahead of your competitors, you’ll need to get smarter and refine your marketing strategy. Your email marketing campaigns are a great place to start.