In today’s digital-led economy, email marketing has become more important for driving sales and strengthening customer connections now than ever.

With mandated business closures and social distancing in full swing across the world, more and more small business owners have been turning to digital tools like eCommerce, online ordering, social media, and email marketing. Email marketing campaigns are a powerful way to reach your customers directly and generate online sales. With that in mind, we’ve listed 5 email marketing tips to help you grow your list of subscribers, write compelling content, and understand key statistics and measurements.

1. Welcome Emails are Welcome

Welcome emails are a fantastic opportunity to further introduce yourself, your store, and your brand to customers. ECommerce sites have long had the chance to follow up on a new customer’s first purchase with a personalized welcome email, thanking them for their business. Doing so is statistically proven to increase the likelihood that the customer will come back and shop again. If you collect customer emails at your point of sale or, in this day and age, by using a form on your eCommerce website, you can take advantage of this strategy, too.

Another popular and effective way of welcoming new customers is to create a welcome email offer. A typical welcome email offer is a special coupon code that customers can only get access to by signing up to receive your promotional emails. This is a great way to build your email list continuously and generate revenue. If you decide to use this strategy, be sure to make the offer highly visible and accessible to potential customers by placing it on the homepage of your site and promoting it on your social media accounts. 

Try to send out a welcome email within 48 hours of the customers’ engagement with your store. You will be fresh in their minds and they’ll be more open to your message.

2. Personalize Your Emails to Strengthen Your Connection to Customers

Small retailers are in a unique position to take advantage of email personalization. To make your email campaign as personal and inviting as possible, you can:

1. Directly address your customer by first name, i.e. ‘Dear John’ in your subject lines or at the beginning of your emails. Services like Mailchimp make it possible to bulk upload emails with their associated names and deliver personalized emails en masse. Don’t worry if you don’t have names for every email address – you can easily set up a default if this is the case, i.e. Dear Valued Customer.

2. Write from you as an individual, not from the company by making the reply email contain a real person’s name, like john@myshop.com. There is nothing less inviting to warm customer relations than an email from noreply@myshop.com.

3. Use a personal, friendly, non-corporate tone when writing and include images of your wares, your customers, and even yourself.

3. Be Action Oriented with Strong Calls-to-Action

This one of the most important thing to know about email marketing. Every email you write should seek to drive a concrete action. For example:

If you are sending a ‘brand-building’ email, provide a link to your Facebook or Instagram page and try and encourage your customers to like you and/or comment/share on your profile.

If you are sending a sales email, make it clear and easy to download/print your coupon, or navigate directly to the purchasing location on your site. This will help increase your conversion rate.

Each email should have links/opportunities for the customer to carry out your desired action (known in the industry as Calls-to-Action). It can be difficult to encourage action, so one way to combat this is to create a sense of urgency through time-sensitive offers.

SEE ALSO: The How and Why of Mailchimp Integration

4. Plan Ahead and Automate

Thanks to marketing automation features made possible by cloud-based email platforms, you can plan ahead and schedule your emails. While you don’t need to email your customers every day, it’s important that you keep a consistent and reliable stream of content so you are always fresh in the mind of your customers. In order to keep this process from becoming overwhelming, set aside a chunk of time initially to set up your preferred email program, build email templates, decide on a content schedule, and figure out your target audience for each email campaign

5. Measure Your Results

While this automation can free up a lot of time, it is absolutely vital that you make sure to track the results and adjust accordingly. Success should be defined according to how many of your subscribers carried out your desired action. Most email marketing services will allow you to quickly and easily see how each email performed. The metrics you should be looking at include: open rates, i.e. what percentage of your email list opened your email; click-through rates, i.e. how many took the action you desired; and unsubscribe rates, i.e. how many people decided they didn’t want to get emails from you anymore. These metrics will give you a good idea of whether your email was a success or not.

If you want to improve your rates, you can play with adjusting things like the subject line, preheader text, imagery, the length and tone of the copy, the layout, content, and more. If you find that you have more than one target audience or type of customer, try creating and sending different types of content to each audience by making “segments,” or sub-lists from your master email list

Don’t underestimate the importance of the subject lines and preheader text. People make very quick decisions about whether your email is worth opening. Stand out with subject lines that are creative or thought-provoking to boost your open rates and strengthen your brand. Follow email marketing best practices by keeping them short and sweet (shorter subject lines are more mobile friendly). Avoid overusing all caps or exclamation marks, as these can set off spam filters.

Looking for an easy way to collect emails online and in-store at your register? Learn more about ShopKeep’s user-friendly Mailchimp integration.

Richard Berger

Richard Berger

Richard Berger translates his years of experience in the startup & small business world into helpful advice for small business owners. As Director of Product Marketing at ShopKeep, the #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System, Richard has an unmatched understanding of POS system technology, and how it can be used to transform growing businesses.