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How Email Can Drive Your Ecommerce Sales

January 8th, 2013 ::

By Karen Axelton

While social media may get all the buzz in the marketing world, when it comes to boosting ecommerce sales, statistics show that email is still more effective. Data from trade organization the Direct Marketing Association show that email outperforms social media advertising by three to one when measured in sales per advertising dollar spent. This year alone, during the key Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend, the number of online shoppers who bought something after visiting an ecommerce site from a social networking site declined by 26 percent compared to 2011, IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark reported. On both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, “social sales” accounted for less than 0.5 percent of all online sales.

How can you make your email marketing messages more effective?

  • Target your messages. A generic email blast about a sale won’t be as effective as specific emails targeted to different consumer groups based on their behavior. You can target emails based on what consumers have done in the past (such as past purchases) or what they’ve browsed on your site recently.
  • Whet shoppers’ appetites. Limited-time offers still work well to drive shoppers from your email message to your website. “Today Only,” “Just 3 Hours Left” or other subject lines that convince customers they’d better act now are a good way to get shoppers to click through.
  • Use landing pages. Be sure when shoppers click through your emails they don’t just go to your home page. Create a landing page designed for that specific email that includes strong calls to action to persuade customers to act. For instance, an email touting a sale on children’s clothing should go directly to your children’s clothing sale page.
  • Don’t let shopping carts sit abandoned. Many customers put items in their shopping carts, then don’t check out. Set triggered emails to remind customers of their waiting items or update them when a price has changed on something in their cart.
  • Use cookies and online advertising. Use cookies to track customer activity on your site. Then when customers browse your site, you can serve up ads later on unrelated sites for the products they viewed on yours. This is a great tactic to keep your website and your products top-of-mind until customers are ready to buy.
  • Be aggressive about retaining your email list. Instead of a simple “unsubscribe” option, consider offering a range of choices on your unsubscribe page. For instance, some e-tailers ask customers if they’d like to see the emails less often, such as once a month instead of once a week. You can even set up your unsubscribe to ask customers if they want to take a break (such as three months off) from emails before receiving them again.

Image by Flickr user Jonathon Narvey (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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