Definition: Email marketing is a digital marketing channel that engages prospects at various stages of the funnel, engaging and maintaining their interest. Because of its versatile nature, email is a vital tool for online retailers who want to stay top of mind with consumers.

How online businesses use email to engage customers

Email is utilized throughout the sales funnel and is a key revenue driver for many online retailers. Common emails include:

  • Newsletters: Engage users with information about the industry, company news, and
  • Promotions: Often sent to existing customers, promotional emails alert users to new products and sales.
  • Abandoned Cart Notifications: Indecision, nontransparent shipping charges, and a variety of other reasons cause customers to leave a cart before purchase. These notifications remind them and can boost conversion by 15% or more.

Measuring the Success of Email Marketing

The following metrics are used to judge the overall success of email marketing:

  • List Growth Rate: This measures how many addresses are being added to the company's list of contacts. More contacts is not necessarily better - a small list of leads who are likely to buy is better than a large list that doesn't care.
  • Bounce Rate: A 'bounce' is an email that was never successfully delivered. This indicates a problem such as the account no longer being in use, and businesses need to trim these addresses on a regular basis.
  • Click-Through-Rate: This calculates how many people are clicking one or more links in the email (typically taking them to a product page or special offer), and is one of the major signs of interest in an online store.
  • Conversion Rate: An extension of the previous metric, the Conversion Rate calculates how many people are finishing what they've been prompted to do. The most common criteria for this is purchasing a product or service, but it is possible to use other criteria, such as filling out a form to provide more information about themselves.
  • Revenue Per Message: This metric calculates how much profit, on average, a company made throughout its campaign. The calculation is a simple division of total revenue by the number of marketing emails sent.

Checklist for an Effective Marketing Email

Individual needs for ecommerce businesses vary, but the following elements of marketing emails have been proven to improve the overall conversion rate.

  • One Topic: Emails with multiple marketing messages are seen as "busy." Restricting them to one topic focuses the reader on the actual message and tends to result in measurably higher revenue per message.
  • Attractive Design: Simple designs that complement the message without distracting from it are best. Remember that many emails will be opened on mobile devices and many accounts have disabled images.
  • A Clear Call To Action: Readers should never be wondering what to do next, especially when you want them to purchase something.
  • The Result of Experience: Every campaign should teach something new about customer behavior and what elements (designs, offers, etc.) they are responsive to. Use this experience to improve the messages on a regular basis.

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