Imagine opening your email in the morning and seeing dozens of sales notifications from your ecommerce store overnight. This is the power of a simple automated email marketing campaign. The right automated email marketing flows allow you to generate passive sales so you can focus your attention on other areas in your business, or in this case, on getting a solid night’s sleep.

Many ecommerce businesses do not capitalize on the power of their email list. Whether you just haven’t gotten around to it, think it’s too time-consuming, or you’re too dazzled and all-consumed by social media and other marketing channels, it’s time you make it a priority and pour some time and energy into setting up an email list.

If you have an email list but aren’t actively engaging with your email subscribers or working on building your list, you’re potentially losing out on big money.

What to Look for In an Email Marketing Platform?

The right email marketing platform will allow you to control the messaging you want at the right time, segment your audience based on nearly any variable you can think of, and integrate audiences with other social media channels to build lookalikes and re-market to acquire more sales. But above all, it will allow you to automate your email marketing campaigns.

Automation means emails can automatically be triggered to send out to your prospect when they do something like sign up to your newsletter or email list or proceed to the checkout but abandon their cart.

If you have started, or are about to start, email marketing for your ecommerce store, then this article contains three practical tips to make the most out of your email campaigns and skyrocket your revenue.

Develop a Powerful Welcome Email

Attracting a new subscriber to your store’s newsletter is always a moment to celebrate. Research shows that email marketing has the best ROI, beating all other channels, including TV, radio, and paid search. Adding subscribers to your email list is good for business.

When you get a new subscriber, don’t merely add them to your standard broadcast list. Consider this the start of a new relationship. Make sure they enter a ‘Welcome Flow’ that introduces them to your store so you can begin to nurture that relationship.

Why should you bother creating a Welcome Flow?

A welcome email is one of the most effective types of marketing emails around. According to a Shopify email marketing expert, every ecommerce business “ should have an automated sequence of emails sent to newsletter subscribers educating them on their problem, what they care about, and tying the information into your products.”

Your prospect’s interest in your store is at a heightened level the moment they subscribe. Your intent shouldn’t necessarily be to push a sale in the first email, but you can, however, maximize your chances for a sale by sending a welcome email to them immediately. It’s natural for your open and click-thru rates to decline over time after the initial sign-up so it’s vital to make the best first impression you can.

If you are wondering what your welcome email should contain, here are some popular and proven elements.

Elements of a great welcome email

  • Has at least one clear call to action.
  • Think of the common questions new visitors to your store, who don’t know about your brand, need to have answered for them to become customers. These can be drip-fed into a sequence over time.
  • Requests the subscriber whitelists the store’s email address.
  • Encourages them to follow your social media.
  • Introduces your brand story to the prospect.
  • Offers an introductory discount.
  • Educates about shipping and returns.

You don’t have to include them all as it can confuse the reader.

Create a Shopping Cart Abandonment Email

Cart abandonment is a fact of life for every ecommerce store. Reasons for this happening might include:

  • The shopper could still be in research mode and wasn’t ready to make a purchase.
  • The checkout process adds unexpected charges like shipping and souring the transaction.
  • A request to create an account annoys some shoppers.
  • The checkout process is too complicated.
  • A failure by the shopper to find a discount code to reduce the price.

Of course, you can’t recover all abandoned carts, but you can rescue some revenue with an automated flow. Sending a cart abandonment email to a shopper one hour after they leave your store can regain 6.33% of transactions.

Don’t over-complicate your cart abandonment email. Showing a picture of the abandoned item is a good idea, and a link back to their cart is necessary.

You may find that offering an extra incentive like free shipping or a small discount can help increase revenues. You can test these offers against a simple reminder email. More on this in the next tip. Some retailers also add an element of urgency by highlighting low stock levels for the abandoned item.

Don’t feel that you must follow the herd with your abandonment emails. Some prospects may find a polished HTML email off-putting. The key is to know your audience and engage with them on a level they resonate with.

Set up an automated cart abandonment flow so if the person doesn’t buy from the first email reminder, you can create a discount ladder in subsequent emails to provide more motivation to buy. A discount ladder can look like an email reminder, free shipping, 10% discount, 15% discount, or even a dollar figure discount. All discounts should be time-sensitive to promote urgency and be limited to that subscriber so the savings cannot be misused.

A/B Test Your Email Marketing Content

When you have created standard templates for your stores’ automated emails, create another version of them at the same time so you can A/B test them.

A/B testing is the process of sending out two or more versions of an email, to equal parts of your list, then seeing which version performs the best.

Seeking marginal improvements in your email marketing messaging can have a dramatic impact on revenue.

Most good email marketing platforms allow you to add a variation to an email campaign by duplicating your email so you can modify.

Next, choose how you would like the versions distributed.

When starting out with A/B testing, stick to 50/50 distribution. This will send the first version to one half of your email list, and the second version to the other half. You can then later check your analytics to determine the best performer. Then start the process again with another variation.

Another way to test triggers, time delays, audiences, discount amounts, and other variables is with the visual flow builder.

There are some best practices for A/B testing. Ideally, you want to split-test major variables early like an entire email design. What’s important is you test one variable at a time to know what causes the performance change.

But, as the example above shows, you can A/B test three or more versions of an email. This is more advanced and works better if you have a larger number of subscribers that will produce data you can have confidence in.

What are the best elements to A/B test?

You can test almost any element of your emails. For example:

  • Subject lines
  • The discount percentage or fixed amount
  • Whether HTML or plain text is best
  • Call to action text
  • Shipping information
  • Button text and color
  • The position of your call to action
  • Different images
  • Adding social proof

Approach A/B testing as a long-term undertaking. Aim to make small incremental improvements that add up over time. Once you can’t make any further improvements, then you have your best version of the email.

Don’t consider your best-performing version ‘perfect’ though. Instead, think of it as the best for now. It is the king of the hill that can be knocked off at any time. Changes in your market, popular culture, or advances in technology can mean performance wanes over time. Look to refresh your email marketing efforts routinely to keep in step with your competitors.

Email marketing can be tricky to get right, but its potential ROI means it can’t be ignored.

Set up a welcome email, one for cart abandonment, and start A/B testing them then see the difference it can make in your revenue. As you build your list, you’ll be building a revenue-generating engine that you have full control over.