It’s kind of funny… At SmartMail, we’re kind of obsessed with email marketing. And it just so happens that we are all avid music fans.
So when we were listening to the Beatles the other day and started changing the words around to tell of eCommerce business woes and email marketing strategies, we decided to take it a step further…
Here it is. 52 email marketing best practices and tips we can learn from the Beatles.
1. “Yesterday” – Send the Same Email Content With a Different Subject Line to Shoppers Who Didn’t Open Yesterday
There’s a good chance that some of your shoppers did not open that email you sent yesterday. Did you know that you can send the same email again to those shoppers but use a different subject line that incentivizes them to open even more than yesterday? You can easily create a simple segment like this in most email platforms like MailChimp, Active Campaign, and others. This email marketing tip will help you reach the shoppers who didn’t yet open your emails without annoying the ones who did.
2. “Don’t Let Me Down” – Make Every Email Count with Meaningful, Relevant Content
Before you send your next newsletter, look at your price points, offers, and the products you’re promoting, and give it the “so what” test.
Most digital marketing companies will tell you that if you can say “so what” to any of your email content, then nix it. This email marketing best practice is key because if you’ve been lucky enough to actually have your shoppers open up your email, in the first place, then make it count! Otherwise, your list will become stale and your open and CTRs will decrease. Remember that great email marketing is about quality, not quantity and volume.
3.“I Want To Hold Your Hand” – Make Shoppers Feel Safe With The Use of Confidence Building Imagery
Always remember, sending emails is an important part of the sales (or resale) process, so reinforcing your brand’s value proposition and showcasing why shoppers should feel comfortable with purchasing from you with the use of confidence-building imagery will help them feel safe and confident to complete their order as if you’re holding their hands. Using trust signals, like reviews, in email can increase click-through rates by 25% and, as a result, conversions.
4. “Here Comes The Sun” – Create Irresistible Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates
Use irresistible subject lines so that when your shoppers see an email from you in the inbox they’ll get that warm, fuzzy feeling like seeing the beautiful sun on the horizon. This email marketing tip is all about evoking the emotions in your shoppers that will cause them to open up your emails. Looking for ideas of great subject lines? Check out this list of 101 Subject Lines.
5. “Hello Goodbye” – Use Email Retargeting to Say Hello When Shoppers Say Goodbye
Did you know that about 30% of your site traffic hits a category page, 20% will view actual products, and only a mere 5% will add those products to a cart? Use email retargeting campaigns to say hello to your shoppers when they say goodbye. Email retargeting includes the following campaigns:
- Homepage abandonment emails
- Category or brand abandonment emails
- Product page abandonment emails
- Site search abandonment emails
- Cart abandonment emails
Sending campaigns like these can help you convert up to 30x more traffic, or more! They also help with customer engagement and increasing your eCommerce business’ overall revenue. At SmartMail, we help online retailers grow their sales by sending campaigns like these. Click here for more info.
6. “Twist and Shout” – Know When and How to Offer Promotions in Your Emails
The last thing you want to do in your online business is to train shoppers to feel like they’ll get coupons whenever they want. When it comes to “twisting,” or in other words, giving away coupons and discounts, twist carefully so you don’t end up “shouting” too much! Idea: When it comes to offering incentives in an automated email series, like cart abandonment, hold off on any incentives until the second or even the third email. Shoppers may likely come back without a discount if you just address other barriers to closing a sale, like a customer service issues and product questions. When you do offer incentives, use minimum order requirements and/or running promotions already on your site to help, not hurt, your bottom line.
7. “Revolution” – Don’t Reinvent the Wheel; Emulate the Big Guys
Leave the revolution up to John. For everyone else in the eCommerce space, try to emulate market-leading strategies by online retailers like Amazon. Now, to be clear, we are not saying that you should be copying whatever your competitors are doing. This email marketing tip is about identifying intelligent email marketing strategies that are used by successful, larger retailers and then applying those or similar strategies to your own online business. Idea: Sign up for other retailers’ newsletters, abandon products and carts on their sites, take a look at what they’re doing and see how you can do the same thing.
8. “All You Need Is Love” – Adding Social Media Imagery to Your Emails
Social sharing buttons can increase CTRs by 158%, and all it takes is a simple little image placed at the bottom or top of your email (just make sure it doesn’t distract from any other more important, revenue-related calls to action), and then you can just watch the love flow in. Here are some best practices for integrating social media with your email marketing campaigns.
Ok, so there’s no eCommerce email marketing lesson here, but we just love this song so we had to put it in here. What’s your favorite Beatles song? Share it with us in the comments below. (We need a new office playlist, anyway.)
10. “We Can Work It Out” – Always Use Customer Support Callouts
Like we’ve said before, email is an important part of your sales process. In this email marketing best practice, it’s essential for you to highlight your customer support details within email campaigns so that shoppers feel that you will always be there to help “work it out”. If you make it easy for shoppers to work things out by being in touch, including a phone number, a link to FAQs and contact us forms, you’ll settle the nerves of those undecided shoppers and get them one step closer to completing a purchase.
11. “Here, There, and Everywhere” – Be Here, There, and Everywhere with Mobile-Friendly, Responsive Emails
Nowadays, over 53% of emails are read on a mobile device, and that number is only growing. We can’t emphasize how important this email marketing best practice is. Optimize your emails for all devices with a stellar responsive design. Keep in mind that on mobile, large images as the focal point are key, and displaying blocks vertically will work better for mobile than the horizontal design that fits desktop. Remember this email marketing tip so that your email campaigns can always be here, there, and everywhere for your shoppers.
12. “Get Back” – Get Shoppers Back to Where They Once Belonged by Sending Browse Abandonment Emails
Browse abandonment emails point shoppers back to the exact spot in the sales funnel at which they dropped off. The most common form of this email marketing strategy is cart abandonment email campaigns. But what about all the other shoppers who browsed and left before even adding any items to their cart? For example, if a shopper left your site on a category page, send them an email that links them back to that category. Or if a shopper abandoned a specific product, bring them back to that exact product page with the product content populated in the email. Push more of your shoppers to where they once belonged with browse abandonment emails. Campaigns like these tend to yield up to 7x higher conversion rates than any other marketing channel. If you’re wondering how to implement email campaigns like these, SmartMail is an excellent tool to start with.
13. “Magical Mystery Tour” – Take Your Shopper On a Journey To Discover Your Brand With a Magical Welcome Series
There are lots of tips for creating a winning welcome email series, but here are a few best practices that especially stand out:
- Send a series of three emails instead of just one welcome email
- Offer an incentive to new subscribers (check out the tips #15 and #45) about how to do that without breaking your bottom line)
- Shoppers who are in the process of receiving your welcome series should be kept in a separate silo so that they don’t receive redundant or multiple messages. Instead, only start sending them general promotions after they’ve received your entire welcome series.
14. “In My Life” – Personalize Your Emails to Make Them Relevant to Each Individual Shopper
Amazon generates around one-third of its revenue from personalization efforts, including personalizing the content displayed in the emails they send to shoppers. Remember, personalization goes beyond inserting the shopper’s first name into a subject line or body copy. And your shoppers have a lot going on in their lives. Places, people, faces, friends and lovers. Use personalized product recommendations that suggest products related to a shopper’s browsing behavior on your site to make your emails standing out in your shoppers’ lives and relevant to each shopper on a one to one basis.
15. “Can’t Buy Me Love” – Don’t Buy or Rent Email Lists, Build Them Yourself
One of the most common questions online retailers ask is, “How can I grow my email list? Firstly, you should NEVER buy a list of email addresses. Instead, you can leverage the traffic already on your site to collect more email addresses with popups or lightboxes. This email marketing tip can be so effective that it even helped this company increase their subscribers by 600%. Idea: Use filters and targeting rules to display popups to shoppers based on their on-site behavior. This will ensure that you don’t annoy your shoppers and instead entice shoppers to subscribe.
16. “The Long And Winding Road” – Implement a Full Lifecycle Email Marketing Strategy that Covers the Entire Shopping Journey
From a shopper’s initial visit to your homepage all the way through to post-purchase, the shopping journey is a long and winding road. Email consistently outperforms other marketing channels, 6 to 1, so why not use email to engage with shoppers at every step along the way? Although this song may have been the last number-one single from the fab four, taking its message for email marketing to heart by implementing a full lifecycle email marketing strategy will help you increase conversions, customer engagement and AOV.
17. “All I’ve Got to Do” – Use Crystal Clear Call To Action in Email
The goal of your emails is to get shoppers buying things on your eCommerce website right? One of the most important elements within your emails to achieve that is your call to action. Make every call to action clear as day to shoppers so all they have to do is click on that button and voila…mission accomplished. Keep calls to action unified across your email to help shoppers focus on what you want them to do.
18. “Any Time At All” – Send Triggered Emails in Real-Time, Never in Batches
When you send emails that are triggered by the behavior of your shoppers, make sure to send them in real-time for increased conversions. For example, your eCommerce platform may offer a built-in tool for sending cart abandonment emails in batches, but by the time the batch goes out, chances are that you’ve lost those shoppers for good. Send each behavioral email in real-time so that each shopper receives it within the optimal window for conversion.
19. “Across The Universe” – Offer An Array of Product Recommendations in Your Emails
To increase the CTR on emails that contain product recommendations, it’s important to offer your shoppers a variety of types of recommendations that span across the universe of your inventory. Think about it: if a shopper didn’t pull the trigger, sure they may be interested in what you have, but they may not want the exact products they saw, so offer a mix of related products, cross-sells and upsells, and site-wide top sellers in your product recommendations.
20. “She’s Leaving Home” – Email The Shoppers Who Bounced From Your Homepage
Did you know that up to 70% (sometimes more!) of eCommerce traffic bounces from the homepage? The statistics can be scary. But don’t fret…you can send emails to the shoppers who have left your homepage without getting any further with behavioral email tools like SmartMail.io. Although homepage abandoners may exhibit a low purchase intent, they make up a huge amount of your eCommerce traffic. Sending a homepage browse email that includes sitewide top sellers will help you get to the top of your shoppers’ inbox and minds, even after they’ve already left home.
21. “I’ve Got a Feeling” – Put Your Feelings Aside and A/B Test Everything
Let’s face it. When it comes to email performance, your opinion doesn’t matter much. That hunch…that feeling…put it aside and A/B test your campaigns. Always! Not sure where to start or what to test? Check out these case studies for inspiration.
22. “From Me To You” – Use an Actual Person in the From Name of Your Emails
When you go to send an email series, a generic company name in the “from” section in your email makes it easy for shoppers to ignore and never open. You can increase the open rate and CTR by sending emails from an actual person in your company. This makes the email experience more personal so your shoppers will feel like you’re singing to them “just call on me and I’ll send it along with love from me to you.” (Tip: Remember, like all great tactics, if you overuse them, their effect will wear thin, so make sure that it makes sense for the campaign you’re sending, and use it thoughtfully.)
23. “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” – Send Win-Back Email Campaigns
Life does go on, it’s true. Sometimes, all your customers need is a bit of Ob La Di to say “Hi, we miss you, come on back!” The perfect way to say that is by sending win-back email campaigns to re-engage lapsed customers who haven’t been back to your site for a while.
24. “Nowhere Man” – Use These Tips to Improve Email Deliverability
Worried about missing your shopper’s inbox? Not sure what you can do to make it there? Don’t be a nowhere man and get lost in the spam folder. These 3 articles are filled with tips, tricks, and best practices to improve deliverability:
25. “Every Little Thing” – Review This Checklist Before Hitting Send
Every little thing does matter, and whoever said it doesn’t obviously wasn’t a Beatles fan – or an email marketer. There are a ton of factors and elements to get right before hitting send on any email campaign, so before you launch, review this checklist from the Email Monks to make sure that you’ve covered all your bases.
26. “You Won’t See Me” – Reach More Shoppers With Browse Abandonment Emails
The reality is that you won’t see most of your shoppers reach the checkout on their initial visit. Sure you can retarget those shoppers who browsed your site with display ads or social media, but shoppers tend to prefer email when it comes to engagement. Browse abandonment emails are the perfect triggered campaign for this.
27. “Help!” – Enlist the Help of Experts For Improved Email Campaign Performance
It’s ok to ask for help, and the Beatles got it right. When you truly want to improve the performance of your email campaigns, you can enlist the help of somebody, not just anybody…an agency or service (like SmartMail) that can help you expand and improve your email marketing strategy, and in turn, increase revenue for your online business.
28. “For No One” – Improve Email Validation To Ensure Your Emails Aren’t Sent In Vain
You put all this effort into creating a stellar email campaign…and then some emails may never reach shoppers because of little mistakes you could have easily avoided. Brush up on email validation best practices to ensure that your email subscriber list is full of real, correct email addresses. Smashing Magazine has some great tips and tutorials for improving email validation for your site.
29. “No Reply” – Include A Real Reply Address in Your Emails
It’s annoying as a shopper to get an email with “no-reply”. When you send emails with a no-reply address, you’re actually creating another barrier to conversion. Instead, use a real email address in the “reply to” section of your emails and check out these best practices from Campaign Monitor.
30. “I’ll Follow The Sun” – Test Your Destination URLs Before Sending
As we said, the goal of your emails is to get shoppers clicking back to your site, right? Well, if you’re going to want shoppers clicking links that are supposed to lead them back to your site, then you better make sure they work properly. This may seem obvious, but it’s an easy detail to overlook when juggling all the moving pieces that go into implementing an email campaign. Test the URLs in your emails so that your shoppers can “follow the sun” back to your site. Check that each link leads shoppers back to the correct destination. Ideally, send shoppers back to specific, relevant points on your site rather than pushing them back to the cloud homepage where they can easily get lost.
31. ”Because” – Follow Industry Experts to Improve Email Strategies
Because there is so much fake news and info out there, so much hot air…It’s crucial to sort through it all and find (and follow) real industry experts and thought leaders so that you can constantly be up to date on the most effective email marketing strategies. Here are some of our favorites:
32. “Think For Yourself” – Don’t Copy Your Competitors
Just because your competition is sending a certain type or style of email campaign does not mean that what they’re doing is actually working. Of course, when it comes to emulating strategies of other successful online businesses, you must always think for yourself to find what truly works for your business.
33. “You Can’t Do That” – Make Each Email Campaign Worth It
Sending out email campaigns just for the sake of sending something or crossing it off your marketing to-do list is a huge no-no. Seriously, you can’t do that! Every single email campaign you send for your online store should have a specific objective or goal, and all the elements of the campaign should match that. Consider the engagement level of your subscription list. If your message isn’t going to hit the spot then you need to include a better offer, a better promotion, a more relevant call to action, or…You Can’t Do That.
34. “Dear Prudence” – Using First Names in Email and What to Do When You Don’t Have One
It’s always good to use a customer’s first name in the subject line and body copy. This may seem like a given, but it’s very important to remember that the more personalized your emails can be, the more likely they’ll convert. Email personalization is a huge topic and one worth exploring since it does not stop at simply inserting a first name. Here are 6 more personalization tactics you should know about.
35. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” – Displaying Product Prices in Emails
Here’s a fun fact. At SmartMail, we ran a test between emails that displayed the price with the products they featured against emails that displayed the products without the price. Guess which email had a higher click-through rate? The one without the price display. Why? Sometimes all your shoppers need to see is a face – the product itself – and that’s enough to spark their curiosity and bring them back to your site. Even if your competitors are displaying product prices in their emails, think for yourself, test it yourself, and see what happens.
36. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band Club” – Promote Your Loyalty and Rewards Program Through Email
Everyone wants to belong, and everyone wants to be a part of something. Online shoppers are no different. Promote your loyalty and rewards program through email to get the word out to shoppers and give them an opportunity to be a part of the club. Wondering how to get started? These email marketing tactics from Sweet Tooth Rewards should help.
37. “With a Little Help From My Friends” – Get Ratings and Reviews From Customers
Sometimes all you need is a little help from your friends, and what better friends to call on for that task than your loyal shoppers? Send post-purchase emails to customers and ask them to help you out by reviewing and rating their online shopping experience on your site.
38. “I Should Have Known Better” – Track Email Performance For Increased Success
It’s great to put all this thought and planning into the implementation of your email campaigns, but what happens after you’ve pulled the trigger? It’s essential to track key performance metrics on your email campaigns to ensure that what you’re sending is actually working to improve your business. Stay on top of those metrics regularly so you won’t ever find yourself saying, “I should have known better,” when looking back on your email marketing strategy.
39. “I Saw Her Standing There” – Send Product Browse Abandonment Emails to a Large Portion of Your Store Traffic
Product browse abandonment emails tend to generate 5x more sales than cart abandonment emails. Why? Simply put, there are a lot more shoppers who abandon a product page than there are shoppers who abandon a cart page. In fact, while 20% of your site traffic will actually view a product on your site, only 5% will make it to your cart page. You’ve got all of those shoppers just standing there – all that traffic. Engage with them smartly and increase sales for your online store.
40. “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” – Implement a Full Email Marketing Strategy
The majority of your eCommerce traffic is going to leave your site before ever completing a purchase. So why not use one of the strongest marketing channels out there to leverage that site traffic and turn it into more sales? Implement a full, overarching email marketing strategy that follows the entire shopping journey from start to finish and beyond including behavioral emails and broadcast emails. You’re going to lose that traffic, (traffic you likely paid for in some way or another), so it makes sense to do whatever you can to get it back.
41. “Two of Us” – Send a First Purchase Thank You Email From Your CEO
Getting someone to make their first order is always a challenge, but the easiest way to encourage customers to come back and buy again in the future is by building a relationship with them. One effective way to do this is by sending a thank you email that comes from your store’s CEO or founder. This personal approach makes each customer feel special and important. And Don’t worry, you can easily automate an email campaign like this so that your CEO won’t actually have to send individual emails to each purchasing shopper.
42. “Please Please Me” – Include a Variety of Featured Products in Your Promotional Emails
It’s safe to assume that each promotional email you send out will have a specific special offer you want to present to your shoppers. In addition to the main item that’s on sale, make sure to include other products and offers like top sellers or categories because who knows what a shopper might click on and proceed to buy? You want to inspire them to take another look and ensure solid click-through rates, so please, please them with a variety of options in your emails.
43. “She Loves You” – Send Post-Purchase Emails To The Shoppers Who Love You
If a shopper loves you, then you know you should be glad. And what’s more: existing customers are 9x more likely to convert and tend to spend 500% more than new customers. Send post-purchase emails like win-back campaigns and replenishment emails to tap into that pool of shoppers who really do love you.
44. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – Delay the Giving Away of Coupons
When creating an email sequence for shoppers, it can be tempting to pull out all the stops to get them to convert. But wait! You’ve got to hide your love away…in behavioral campaigns like cart abandonment emails, it’s actually better for your bottom line to hold off on offering any coupons or discounts because sometimes all a shopper needs is a friendly reminder to come back to your site and they may just purchase on their own. Delay offering special incentives until the second or third email in your sequence, unless you can highlight a running promotion you’ve already got on your site.
45. “Ticket to Ride” – Award New Subscribers With Coupons
A shoppers’ email address is worth oh so much, and if you’ve successfully gotten a shopper to sign up for your email list, give him a ticket to ride and make it easy for him to complete a purchase on your site. A welcome email to new subscribers is a great time to offer special incentives and coupons.
46. “It Won’t Be Long” – Optimize the Timing of Your Email Campaigns
When it comes to sending emails, timing is everything. And when it comes to behavioral emails, sending the message in a sequence within 45 minutes of a shopper’s visit will help keep your online store in the front of your shopper’s mind. After all, it won’t be long before they move on, possibly to another competing site, so time your emails just right.
47. “The Night Before” – Send Customers a Follow-up Email a Day After Purchase
Send the shoppers who purchased on your site a follow-up email a day after their completed order to say hi, how’s it going, and hey, check out these great products, too. Sending a follow-up email 1 day later can be up to 115% more effective at converting than emails sent, later on, so reach out to your paying customers to follow-up about what happened the night before and watch the conversions increase
48. “Eight Days a Week” – What’s the Best Day to Send Email Campaigns?
Like we said, with email, timing is everything. And the facts may surprise you. See, every online business is different, so you need to do your due diligence before drawing conclusions. Check out these 10 studies that will help you decide when the best day is to send your email campaigns.
49. “She Said, She Said” – Link to FAQs and Customer Service to Meet Shoppers’ Objections
While we may sound like a broken record at this point, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to understand that the emails you send to your shoppers are an integral part of the sales process. With that in mind, include helpful links to FAQs, About Us, and Customer Service sections in your emails so that you can effectively address any objections shoppers may have to complete their order, no matter what she said, she said.
50. “Getting Better” – Constantly Improve and Update Your Email Campaigns
It’s often easy to set up an email campaign and forget about it once it’s gone live. Big mistake. Take time on a consistent basis to evaluate each email campaign’s performance and see how you can improve it. Look at your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates, and identify opportunities to get better.
51. “You Never Give Me Your Money” – Send Triggered Emails to Convert More Site Traffic
On average, between about 67 to 98% of the traffic, you drive to your site will not be giving you their money. At least not on that initial visit you worked so hard to get in the first place. Sending triggered emails can bring back that traffic to your site once more, and coupled with stellar conversion rate optimization strategies, you’ll end up increasing your conversions, for sure.
52. “Penny Lane” – Increase Conversions With the Most Effective Marketing Channel: Email
Email tends to deliver a 3800% ROI, and it’s the preferred marketing channel by online shoppers. So why not use it to increase conversions for your site so that you can take a stroll down Penny Lane?
Email Marketing Best Practices and Tips From the Beatles? Who Knew!
You may also like: 15 Incredibly Surprising Email Personalization Statistics – Infographic
About the Author
Daniel Kohn is the CEO and co-founder of SmartMail, a company that helps eCommerce stores and online retailers increase sales, average order value, and lifetime customer value through email.