There is nothing more exciting to a business owner than growing their business. They like to see new customers walking in the front door (real or virtual) and watching revenue trend up. If you have an online store, digital marketing channels are a must to keep your business growing. There are a ton of channels available, but the options can also be confusing: paid search, SEO, banner ads, social media, review sites, just to name a few. It can be overwhelming, and many business owners feel they lack the expertise to know which channels to invest in and what is best for their business. However, even with all these options there is one channel that online sellers absolutely should not forget about…email marketing. Email marketing for retail works.
You may be thinking to yourself… “But email has been around forever? Does it still work? Should I care about email marketing for retail?” The short answer is YES. According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of online adults use email, with more than 60% checking it daily. If you’re still not convinced, here are three reasons why every online seller should be using email marketing.
1. Email marketing is measurable and actionable
If you send an email newsletter on a platform like GoDaddy, you’ll get back a wealth of information including who received it, opened it, or clicked on different links within the email. You can even see who shared your newsletter by forwarding it to a friend or sharing it on social sites. That’s a lot of great data! No other channel can give you such actionable insights.
Some tools also integrate with analytics tools like Google Analytics to tell you which contacts clicked through to your store and actually made a purchase, as well as how much revenue that purchase provided.
Email marketing is also highly actionable. A well-targeted email can take a potential customer right to the place you want them to be…a product on special, a recent blog post, or a video of customer testimonials. You can also contextualize your links with the right messaging to really optimize the behavior you are looking for.
Remember, the better you target your email newsletter or promotion, the more your readers will feel you are communicating with them personally. And you can also take them to products, promotions, or events that will be most relevant to them.
2. Email marketing for retail is engaging
It’s pretty tough to inspire via paid search or banner ads, but with the right content in an email newsletter you can generate real fans and even brand evangelists. Whether it be sharing testimonials from other customers, a story about how you found a great product, or a simple thank you to a group of loyal customers, email marketing is a great way to build a community.
If you’re new to email, sharing a recent blog post is an easy way to try this out. If you don’t have a blog, just write a short message to your audience or customers. It doesn’t have to be long to be engaging. In fact, most folks prefer a message that is short and sweet! Just focus on a topic that is relevant to your business and one that you also think your readers will care about. For example, if you run a boutique clothing store, your thoughts about an emerging fashion trend or a review (with pictures) of a recent industry event could be great ways to engage your audience.
3. Little cost + strong engagement = High ROI
How can I put this…email marketing for retail is cheap. There is no sponsorship fee and no CPM to pay to advertisers. You may need to invest a little in an online tool to help make it easy and provide the great measurement I mentioned above but some are free. Here’s the best part…because of its low cost and great ability to drive engagement, email marketing offers a very high Return on Investment (ROI), particularly for online retailers who can use email to drive more product sales. If you want to read more about the power and profitability of email marketing, this article from the Harvard Business Review gives some great insights.
In closing, I’ll leave you with one last recommendation: be relevant. Consumers don’t want to be on the receiving end of an “email blast.” But they appreciate communication that is meaningful (a message that they will care about) and timely (a message that comes at the right time). So make sure you target well and use information like location, gender, or past purchase behavior to your advantage.