December 01, 2018
The Importance of Email Marketing and Why You Need an Email Marketing Strategy

Congratulations! You did it. You opened your online store, you have sales starting to come in, and you are ready to step up your marketing strategy.

Today we will discuss email marketing, one of the most effective tools available to help you make more sales through your ecommerce store. We will talk about email marketing best practices — the tactics that will help you implement your email marketing strategy.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Email Marketing?

If you are new to online marketing, email marketing (in a nutshell) is simply the practice of sending emails to a defined list of subscribers with the ultimate goal of boosting your sales results.

Despite all the “hype and hoopla” over various forms of social media and the “shiny objects” of other digital marketing tools, and despite the digital pundits and gurus who have declared email marketing dead and finished, it is not. Far from it.

Targeted email marketing can still be a very effective way to drive traffic to your WooCommerce store and help you win more sales, but you need to have a solid email marketing strategy and follow email marketing best practices.

Email Marketing: Strategy vs. Tactics

Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. – Sun Tzu

Online marketers often confuse strategy and tactics. They are complementary but not the same. Strategy refers broadly to the goals you want to accomplish. Tactics refer to the specific tools and best practices that will help you get there.

Email Marketing Best Practices

To paraphrase online marketing legend Dan Kennedy, you want to be “a welcomed guest, not an uninvited pest.”

With email marketing, you are a welcomed guest. Your subscribers chose to opt-in to your email distribution list. They decided they want to hear from you. Doesn’t it make sense that this will give you an advantage over other marketing channels?

Indeed, email can be a very effective addition to your online marketing toolbox. But you have to do it right.

Once you’ve determined your email marketing strategy, it’s time to start harnessing the power of email marketing best practices. Keep reading to learn valuable tips that will help you get the sales results you want and need.

Finding the Right Email Marketing Tools for You

Good news! You have a lot of options in searching for the right tools to help you implement your email marketing strategy. There are so many choices you might feel confused and overwhelmed.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution here, so consider your unique situation. Determine what you need before you begin your search.

  1. Are you on a tight budget and able to get by with a program with limited features?
  2. Or do you have a large budget and need the benefits that more features can deliver?

Regardless of your needs, you can find the program you are looking for — if you know what you are looking for before you begin your search. Knowing will save you a lot of time, confusion, and frustration. It will also help you choose the right email marketing program for you.

How You Can Identify, Attract, and Grow Your Email Audience

It has been said, “you can’t sell steaks to vegans.” Translation: you need to have the right audience for your email marketing campaign. Their perception that you are relevant to them is crucial to your success. If they don’t fundamentally care about your product or service and what it can do for them, they won’t buy from you. Your email marketing results will tank.

So do a “deep dive” and really learn in detail whom you are trying to attract. Mentally put yourself in their shoes. Do surveys of your current list members and previous buyers, and ask them what’s important to them in relation to your offering.

Visit the online forums and social media pages they frequent. Read the online and print publications they read. Watch the TV programs they watch. Observe and analyze what your competitors are doing.

Then put together a detailed “ideal buyer profile” (sometimes referred to as an avatar) and write your email content and copy accordingly.

Ask yourself, “What problems do my audience members have that I can solve?” Then give them what they want. If they are “vegan” list members so-to-speak, don’t try to convince them to buy steak.

Email List Quality vs. Quantity

You want to grow the size of your email subscriber list, but that’s not the most important goal. Think about it. Would you prefer a list of 10,000 indifferent subscribers who never opened your emails and bought from you? Or would you rather have an email list of 1,000 rabid fans who bought from your WooCommerce store often and couldn’t wait to tell their friends about you?

Here’s a tip you may find counterintuitive: don’t cast a wide net with your email marketing and try to be “all things to all people.” Be targeted and laser-focused on giving your audience what it wants. Be bold, be unique and original, be courageous. Take strong stands and have firm opinions.

Yes, you will lose some subscribers who were never going to buy from you anyway, but your core audience will grow more loyal to you and more enthusiastic about your emails!

Once you have the fans on your list, give them a reason to remain on it. How? With stellar content that they anticipate breathlessly. Content that is so good, they would gladly pay for it, but you generously choose to freely give it away instead.

These tips will help you build and keep a very enthusiastic subscriber list that buys from you.

What’s in It for Me?

Remember the acronym, WIIFM? It stands for “What’s in It for Me?” Every single time you try to persuade your potential customer to act, including opting into your email list, he’s asking himself WIIFM? Make it clear how he stands to benefit from joining your list.

And don’t keep your email list signup form only on your home page or buried in some hard-to-find spot on your site.

  1. Put it clearly and prominently on every page of your website
  2. Put it on your blog
  3. Put it on your social media pages
  4. Make mention of it in your offline marketing

Look for unique and creative ways to proactively get the word out about your email list, and in keeping with the WIIFM principle, make it abundantly clear to people why they would want to sign up with calls to action that convert.

Writing vs. Copywriting

The difference between the almost right word & the right word … it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. – Mark Twain

Copywriting is the art and science of selling through the written word. You need good copywriting to help ensure the success of your online store whether you choose to learn the craft yourself or hire a professional copywriter to handle this crucial aspect of your online marketing. Copyblogger has lots of valuable resources that can help you in your quest to understand more about this important topic.

How To Test Emails for Success (A/B Testing)

A huge benefit of email marketing is it gives you the ability to test and refine your approach, so you can enjoy increasingly better results. Email marketing programs from the most basic to the most advanced offer you A/B testing, or “split testing” capabilities.

When you run an email marketing A/B test, you compare two versions of an email blast with the goal of learning which one performs better in terms of open rate, click-through, conversion, etc.

It’s important that you only test one variable at a time. For example, send out two emails that are identical, except for different subject lines. Or in one, including a P.S. or a different call to action, etc.

A Word on Email Marketing Metrics

Email marketing programs generate a ton of different metrics you can use to help in your quest to optimize results. So which ones most deserve your attention? And more importantly, which metrics require action? Let’s look at three.

Open Rate

This metric is the percentage of your emails that actually get opened by subscribers. It’s critical because if your message never gets opened, nothing else matters. Your email marketing efforts will fail.

This article has some brilliant ideas to help you craft compelling, eye-catching subject lines that get opened more often and help boost your email marketing results. As you read it, pay special attention to the concept of combining curiosity and benefits.

Click-Through Rate

Your message has to get opened, obviously, but it also has to “convert” your reader into doing the thing you want them to do. When they have finished your email, do you want them to go directly to your WooCommerce page to make a purchase? Do you want them to register for your webinar or live in-person event? Do you want to redirect them to your website to download your latest white paper or case study?

To accomplish any of these through your email marketing, you have to first persuade them to click through your email to another place on the web. This is where powerful copywriting and a strong call to action come into play.

Conversion Rate

This metric is dependent on success with opens and click-throughs. Once your readers have done these first two steps, have they then taken the next action you wanted them to take in order to convert? Did they make the purchase? Did they register for the event? Did they download your white paper?

If so, that was a successful conversion. This is the ultimate goal of email marketing, so pay special attention to this crucial metric.

Stick to a Winning Strategy and Find Success

Email marketing is still the king of the online marketing world. While not everyone succeeds at it, you can! Implement a solid email marketing strategy and follow best practices including those in this article, to help you carry out your winning strategy, and you will enjoy a great deal of email marketing success.

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