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October 16, 2013

E-mail Marketing is the Key to Successful eCommerce

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles)/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Marketing professionals have long exploited all forms of social media, SEO content and advertisements to make their presence felt in any site even somewhat related to their product. Selling, however, is a very human interaction and is best done in a more personal format. Actual conversions occur more often via e-mail than through any other channel. E-mails allow for conversations with potential customers and stand a greater chance of convincing them to buy.

How e-mail marketing works?

If you have a product you want to sell, start brushing up your e-mail strategy. ROI from e-mails is a whopping 4,300 percent, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Also, more than 50 percent of people who receive marketing messages in their mailbox not only take notice of them, but use the discounts and special offers. In fact, they often agree to be on the mailing lists of selected businesses. So if you aren’t already there, get cracking and build that mailing list.

How does it work with social media?

Let’s consider the case of a small business looking to market online. Typically it will use Twitter and Facebook because these sites are free and posts can be viewed by a larger number of people.

Think deeper, however? Is the use of such sites really free? Will Facebook not prefer its paid advertisers over a small business? Will the content of such businesses then be allowed to eat up precious cyberspace and be visible to all and sundry? Check out these possibilities.

You might even start a Facebook fan page and gain a small following, but your little slot to the right of the Facebook screen may be completely missed by a person in a hurry or one eager to only connect with friends. Are you noticed at all?

Twitter is another forum where your tweet may be lost in the clutter and the clamor for attention. Your tweet is classified according to its perceived value and may not appear in a specific keyword search. It’s the developer’s prerogative to use any filter they choose, and a business that does not invest in advertising on its portal has little value for Twitter. Its algorithms will happily weed you out and you will be tweeting to no purpose. You simply cannot take your target audience’s eyeballs for granted.

Engage your target audience

You need to engage your target audience in a dialogue and that calls for giving them personalized attention through a suitable medium. Custora, a predictive analytics platform for eCommerce marketing teams, recently studied the data of 72 million customers shopping on more than 80 retail sites. The findings tell an important story. Online retailers have quadrupled the rate of customer acquisition via e-mail alone, while Facebook and Twitter lag far behind. Facebook and Twitter languish at the bottom of the growth charts of customer acquisition channels, while e-mail marketing rides high, second only to CPC (costs per click). Organic searches are, of course, still the most preferred methods of customers to engage online retailers.

Another important finding of the Custora study was that the average lifetime value of customers acquired via e-mail was higher than those that came on from social media. Twelve percent of the e-mail acquired customers continued to buy the company’s products, while only one percent of Facebook acquired customers remained with the product.

Comparison of e-mail marketing and Twitter

Noah Kagan, American entrepreneur and founder of AppSumo conducted an experiment. He tweeted some information and then sent it to everyone on his mailing list as well. He got a total of 109 clicks from a potential 13,000 Twitter followers. His mailing list of 3,547 people yielded 882 clicks. The math is clear. (Information courtesy: Justin Premick).

The logic is also clear. E-mails are like the mailboxes of yore. People were always eager to know what the mailman dropped in there. E-mail captures the attention of people more intimately than does a tweet. A member of your target audience may not access Facebook for a week and your precious post will be relegated to ‘older posts.’ Whereas, he will see your mail whenever he accesses his inbox.

E-mail marketing withstands Google’s new algorithm update

Google is systematically devaluing some of the older methods of SEOs. Padding your content with keywords is frowned upon (and penalized). Article marketing, link buying and many other linking strategies have been relegated to ignominy. Google’s Pandas and Penguins are now sniffing out guest posts, infographics and even press releases. The single most important issue here is that it is harder and harder to appear in an organic search, even though it may be the most preferred method of customers to reach retailers.

A wise retailer, therefore, uses the next best strategy: e-mail. He writes sincere content about his product, the customer remains on his mailing list as he chooses to, no one treads on any toes and all is well with the online content marketing world.

Please note the two equally important aspects of e-mail content marketing:

  • Building e-mail lists
  • Attractive content.

The former typically uses PPC and will be discussed in a separate section. Let us focus on content building for now.

Content building and e-mail marketing

Content building is an ongoing investment. Text will undoubtedly work, but try using new media tools — videos, podcasts and the like — to engage a wider age group. You would benefit from having a steady content team skilled in searching, writing and creating interesting graphics, animations and presentations. Above all, you need someone who can create and maintain an easy and attractive website design from where you collect your visitors’ mail IDs and build up your mailing lists. One-time visitors will gradually be converted to regular customers when your name pops up often enough into their inbox.

Make your e-mail content simple

When they see your mail, they should be assured that it is not just to pester them to buy, but that there is useful and interesting information in the mail. Let them also know about your new products (and you might want to offer the loyal customers a discount on the same). Get their testimonials; remind them to shop with you if they haven’t been there for a while. Let them simply browse and enjoy your store and your new content without necessarily buying.

E-mail marketing it the best way to gently nudge your customer into visiting your site.


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Ramya Raju is a freelance writer/web designer from India who writes on varied topics like English courses, SEO, Web design, mobile marketing etc. She eight years of content writing experience and has worked for top blogs and websites. She is an extrovert who likes photography, anthropology and traveling to different countries to learn the culture and living of the local inhabitants.

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