The Ultimate Email Marketing Guide for D2C & E-commerce Brands
Email marketing is one of the oldest and most effective strategies to grow your brand. It helps you build relationships with your audience while also driving conversions and amplifying brand awareness. D2C businesses and eCommerce brands can leverage email marketing effectively for hyper-growth.
To understand how powerful email marketing is, let’s have a look at some stats:
- Email is 40x more effective for customer acquisition than social media
- For every $1 you spend on emails marketing, you can expect an average return of $38
- 81% of SMBs still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel and 80% for retention
- 60% of consumers have made a purchase after receiving a marketing email
- 28% of US online shoppers report subscribing to store or product emails in order to stay informed on brands they care about
But the email marketing approach of D2C and eCommerce brands is very different from others. In this blog, we will discuss how email marketing can help you to grow your business, and give you a few tips to help you get started with a successful email marketing campaign.
Quick Email Marketing Guide: How To Do It Right!
Get the Setup Right
First things first. After getting your website domain, you’ll need to update your Domain Name Server (DNS) records for sending authenticated emails. In simple words, setting up the DNS records properly is key to successful email delivery. It is basically the phone book of the web that organizes and identifies domains. Here is a nice article by Google on understanding DNS basics.
The 3 DNS records you must know about are:
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records – The SPF is a TXT record on your DNS that specifies which hosts are allowed to send mails for a given domain. When a mail server receives mail that seems to come from your domain, it can check if it’s a valid message. Some mail servers reject mails if they can’t validate that the message comes from an authorized mail server.
- DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail) records – DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) allows the receiving mail server to check that an email was indeed sent by the owner of that domain
- DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) – DMARC ensures that the sender’s emails are protected by SPF and DKIM and tells the receiving mail server what to do if these checks fail.
These are the 3 DNS records you must update to build a good reputation for your mail server. If the DNS record isn’t there, your emails might get rejected by the receiving server or end up landing in spam. Apart from this, also make sure that you have separate IPs & Subdomains for transactional and promotional emails. This will ensure that your transactional emails don’t land into spam.
Follow All Best Practices
If you want your emails to get noticed, then you must follow these 6 best practices:
1. Write short, engaging email copy – Your email copy should be precise while having actionable words to inspire action and blend beautifully with your CTAs. For instance, see how GasBuddy has separated every section distinctly with CTA in the first fold of the email:
Apart from this, your emails should be consistent. You might have different templates for different types of emails, but everything should flow for a cohesive brand feel. You can be serious, trendy, comic, etc. Just write an email copy as if you would talk to that person. How you sound will help the audience form a bond with your brand that goes beyond a great price or product. It will help create connections and trust.
2. Decide the Frequency – Wondering how many emails count as too many? Well, your optimal email frequency depends on your business goals and your target audience. You can take into account these three factors as you plan your email frequency:
- How often do you have anything worthwhile to send to your audience? – There must be some value to all the emails that you send to your customers, be it a product announcement or a discount.
- What are your competitors doing? – You can subscribe to your competitor’s email list and see the frequency of emails they are sending and use it as a starting point.
- What are you selling?/How big is your business? – If your business involves giving massive discounts to customers on a daily basis, then it makes sense to send emails daily to your customers. On the other hand, if you are a luxury brand, then the trick is to send limited emails so that your users do not forget about you.
Pro tip: A general rule of thumb is to send an email when the probability of users reading it would be high. You don’t want to spam your user’s inbox with irrelevant emails.
3. Choose the Sender Name/ID carefully – Sender name matters. It impacts whether recipients will open your email or not. A survey of American consumers found that 42% of people look at the sender’s name first when deciding whether to open an email or not.
The most common sender name is simply your company’s name. However, you should give it a personal touch by sending from a specific employee with the pattern: <your first name> from < company> i.e. Marc from MailChimp. This builds trustworthiness.
Pro tip: Ensure your sender ID is short enough to fit most customers’ displays on mobile and web.
4. Deliver emails at the right time – It is widely known that emails should be sent on weekdays. What works for your brand should be decided based on the data from your A/B tests. Check at what time during the day you get your highest open rates, click-through rates, click-to-open rates, and replies.
A tip here could be to keep your audience in mind for figuring out the time to send the emails. For instance, if you are sending emails that include a discount, you may want to send it during the lunch break or in the evening after office hours, simply because your target audience might be more likely to check it during that time.
Pro tip: Most experts recommend Tuesdays and Thursdays as the best days to send emails and the recommended time to send is usually 10:00 AM and 1:00-3:00PM. But remember to take the A/B test and find the right time that works for your brand and TG.
5. Regular A/B testing – You can craft an effective email campaign through A/B testing. A/B testing your emails with regard to the email copy, subject lines, CTA, day, time, etc, is a must in order to find out what resonates better with your target audience.
It is important that you keep hypothesizing and testing. Here are examples of some scenario-based A/B tests:
- Good open rates, poor CTR – In this case, you need to A/B test your CTA, the content of the email, etc.
- Good inbox placement, bad open rates – In this case, you need to A/B test your sender name and subject line. There are various tools that you can use to identify the inbox placement of your emails such as Maligun and Glockapps.
- There are no conversions – You might want to A/B test if the CTA should be above the first fold or below it. You can check if addressing the user by name in the content or subject line is boosting conversions.
6. Personalize your email campaigns – This is amongst the most basic email marketing best practices. One way to break the noise is by personalizing your emails. This does not necessarily mean using their first names in the subject lines or email body but sending them emails with respect to their journey with the brand.
For instance, you can share with them your product recommendations based on their past purchases or provide discounts on their wishlist products! You can also give them discounts on their birthdays!
Improve Segmentation with Lists
Never write to your whole audience at the same time. Remember, you can’t be all things to the people. Therefore, segment your lists. Some of the key defining features while segmenting may include:
- Engagement with the email
- Past actions (and inaction)
- Survey or poll results
- Recent activity or purchase
For every email, focus on writing for that one person. Then, only send it to the audience that will find it relevant. For instance, if you want to create different lists on user’s buying behavior, then it would be:
- List 1: Product added to cart but not purchased
- List 2: Product added in the wishlist but not purchased for the last 15 days
- List 3: Specific pages viewed on the website, but nothing added to the cart
Now, the email you write for the first list won’t be relevant to the second two lists. Therefore, don’t keep jumping into the inboxes, demanding attention, when the same offer might not really apply to all of them!
Send These Different Types of Emails To Your Customers
As an eCommerce or D2C brand, here are the types of emails you must send to your target audience:
The welcome emails are instantly sent to the customers when they make an account or sign up for your email list. This is a good opportunity for you to explain to them what they can expect from you and your brand, and sweeten the deal by offering an introductory discount on their first purchase. Here’s an example of Headspace’s email:
2. Abandonment Emails
You should always set up checkout, cart, browse, and site abandonment emails for better conversions. These ensure you don’t lose on easy sales. Here’s an example of a cart abandonment email by Levis:
3. Confirmation Email
This is a transactional email. It’s sent automatically following a transaction, confirming the order placement. Here’s an example of a confirmation email:
This is one of the best ways to get new customers. You can encourage customers to share your products with their network and get themselves a discount in the process.
These are the “we missed you” emails wherein you can try to get your existing customers back to shop by offering a discount, asking for feedback, etc. Have a look at this example:
6. Survey Emails
Customer feedback is crucial for growth. You can send survey emails and ask for feedback to improve your products and offerings. Here’s a great example by Frye:
Metrics are the lifeblood of any email marketing campaign. Metrics give you important insights and help you in building an effective email campaign. But there are some email metrics that should be checked every day, some weekly, and some monthly.
Pro tip: You can check the email marketing benchmarks for D2C businesses here. Knowledge of benchmarks will help you prioritize what needs to be improved.
Some Other Useful Tools for Email Marketing
Sharing with you links to some tools you will find useful in your email marketing journey::
- Google’s Postmaster Tool to know our domain & IP reputation. It is a free tool and also shows delivery errors, spam reports, feedback loops, etc
- https://www.senderscore.org/ to know your sending reputation on a scale of 1 to 100. Anything below 90 is a low sender score
- Edatasource to know the inbox placement of your emails and check if there are any deliverability issues
- Mailtester to check the spam score of your email content. This is a free tool. It gives a score from 0 to 10. The lower the score, the more spammy is the content
Onwards and Upwards
Focus on engagement, personalize the experiences, think about customer journeys, and most of all, defend the relationships that are being built through the email marketing channel. If you found this blog useful, do share it with people who might benefit from it 🙂
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