There are 217 million digital shoppers in the U.S., and that number is expected to grow to 224 million by 2019.
As the popularity of buying online increases, so does the ease with which consumers can browse, buy, and ship items straight to their home. Forget going to the store and waiting in line; these days, shoppers want a digital buying experience that trumps traditional in-store methods.
Part of the success of this buying experience stems from smart email marketing strategies that convert email subscribers by paying attention to what they want.
Here are four tactics to add to your eCommerce marketing strategy to convert your subscribers into paying customers:
1. Say thank you
A surprising number of consumers feel unappreciated by brands. According to Customer Experience Insight, 60% of consumers stop dealing with a company because of “perceived indifference.” In other words, consumers don’t think brands value them.
There’s an easy solution to this problem: say thank you. Show your customers that you care, that you appreciate every purchase they make – big or small.
- Host a customer appreciation sale,
- Say thanks on social media, or
- Create email campaigns that thank subscribers after they make a purchase or just because.
The email should include a message of appreciation and perhaps a reward of some kind like a coupon.
Thank-you emails aren’t just about sending warm fuzzies, they’re about driving conversions too. A thank-you email sent after a purchase achieves a 13x increase in revenue compared to other promotional emails.
PRO TIP: Consider connecting your thank-you email to a holiday. Tell subscribers that you appreciate their business when a holiday rolls around and give them something special. Online retailer and Campaign Monitor customer, Birchbox, does just that in this thank-you email that’s connected to Valentine’s Day.
2. Provide free or same-day shipping
Shipping costs are a deterrent for many online shoppers. How much of a deterrent? Consider this: according to the Walker Sands Future of Retail report, 9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is their top incentive to shop online.
Some eCommerce businesses have adopted a free shipping policy on every order. La Mer, an online skincare company, for example, has done just that. In every email, the eCommerce brand reminds subscribers about this added perk:
Source: La Mer
PRO TIP: Offering free shipping can be costly, so it’s not ideal for every brand. However, you can offer free shipping on an occasional basis, like during the holidays. Or, you can offer free shipping to your loyal customers. Simply segment your email list and send your VIP customers a coupon code for free shipping.
Consumers say that if free shipping isn’t available, they’d like faster shipping options. According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail report, nearly half of online shoppers say they’re willing to pay for same-day shipping, but it’s offered by only 9% of online stores.
Consequently, if you can offer same-day shipping, you should be promoting it in your email marketing campaigns.
3. Send special offers to special subscribers
Keep your eCommerce business top-of-mind by sending subscribers offers that encourage them to check out your website, browse your inventory, and make a purchase.
MarketingSherpa’s research shows that 91% of consumers want promotions. And while coupons are in high demand, that doesn’t mean you should send a 15% off coupon to everyone on your list every week.
One of the best tools an eCommerce store can use is segmentation. You can segment your email list and send tailored coupons, gifts, or offers to each one. Aren’t sure how to segment your list? Here’s a quick list of popular ways to group, or segment, contacts:
- Demographics: Age, gender, income, education
- Buying behaviors
- Buying frequency or loyalty level
Take a look at this deal sent from a wireless earbud company and Campaign Monitor customer, Jaybird. It features a gift idea for Mother’s Day with a reduced price. This email can easily be segmented for different groups. For instance, the email could be sent to loyal customers that made a purchase in the last two months.
PRO TIP: How many promotional emails should you segment and send per month? The answer varies by business, but the same MarketingSherpa study reports that 62% of consumers say they’d like to see promotional emails in their inbox at least weekly. Setting up a steady cadence of deals keeps your product relevant and give subscribers convenient buying opportunities.
4. Run a Refer-a-Friend campaign
Consider running a refer-a-friend program to convince current customers to a make a purchase.
It’s true, the idea of a referral program is to incentivize new subscribers to join your list and make a purchase. And it’s an effective acquisition tool. Eighty-four percent of consumers trust referrals from people they know. But, you can use this as a conversion tactic too. How?
Give current subscribers a can’t-resist reward for making a successful referral. Typically, referral programs offer a small discount to subscribers who bring in new customers. But, if you make the incentive really enticing, you can increase conversion rates with existing subscribers too.
So make the referral incentive something great, something subscribers can’t pass up.
You can make the referral the focus of the email or add it to an existing campaign. Here’s an example from Shutterfly, the online photo-printing company, which offers a free photo book to existing customers who refer a friend.
PRO TIP: To create and track a referral program, you might want to consider using an app like InviteReferrals that works alongside an email service provider like Campaign Monitor. The program can help you track the success of referrals and make sure both new and existing customers are rewarded for their efforts.
While eCommerce businesses face stiff competition, there are simple marketing tactics that can help you acquire and retain customers. Converting subscribers into paying customers can be done, and, with the tips discussed above, you’ll be on your way to increasing website traffic and converting subscribers in no time.
Kim Courvoisier is the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Campaign Monitor.
She loves all things marketing and good puns. Follower her on Twitter at @Stiggy1.