Email marketing offers an excellent opportunity for a retailer to boost customer loyalty and sales without the expenditure that other forms of advertising demand - it's a no-brainer.
Many of the tips included below will apply to other industries as well, but - where appropriate - the retailer's specific circumstance has been taken into account. Read on for ten steps towards more effective email marketing...
Always crucial as it is the first thing people will read, a retailer-specific issue is that subject lines offering free gifts or discounts can look a little like spam. Use intrigue, information, puns, limited time-periods, free shipping and other special offers to get people to click through, but be aware of the spam issue.
This relates both to the recipient and the sender. You want the consumer to feel like they are more than just a name on a list, so aim to personalise as much as possible. In terms of your image, add photos of people on your team and use real names to add a personal touch to your brand.
Your content must always be engaging and relevant; what could this mean? Try compiling lists of popular products, including customer reviews and making it seem like the recipient is being let in on a secret before the average shopper. Don't be afraid to add links purely for entertainment, particularly if your product range is not glamorous.
If you have an internet shop - or another online call to action - the link should be prominent and you must double-check that it works. For those who are attempting to mobilise consumers to get to a physical shop, the address and opening hours should be equally visible.
Use sign-up links on your website and other online methods to get people involved, but make sure you do not ignore offline options. Position a sign-up sheet at the point of sale along with a reason to give their email address, such as a discount offer. Only ask for basic information at this point, as too many questions will put people off.
The timing of your emails will have a significant impact on your success; for example, a B2C retail marketing email on a weekday evening could catch people more in the mood for browsing than the same message on a Monday morning.
You want to get to know who you are talking to; you will have only asked some basic questions when they first became a subscriber, but you should aim to find out more about them. Ideally, you want to understand their motivation for purchases, but any extra information is useful.
One of the aims of the game is to engender greater loyalty towards your shop, so keep this at the back of your mind whenever you are organising a campaign. Make sure you are rewarding frequent shoppers; plus, use trigger emails, shopping trolley abandon alerts and other follow-ups to develop the relationship.
It should be made as easy as possible for consumers to share the content you send, since this could allow you to reach your recipients' friends and potentially sign up more subscribers. Include social media and email sharing functions within the message.
You may not want people to leave your email list, but sometimes these things happen. Ensure that they go happily by making the unsubscribe process easy; the alternative is potentially being reported for spam or simply having a consumer bad-mouthing your brand.