If you feel a bit skeptical about reaching out to your customers via email, we can guess why. Who can forget the early days of email marketing, your inbox filled with endless spam advertising just about everything — from cheap retail products to a mysterious relative in Nigeria who left you 10 million dollars after an untimely death.
It would be unfair to put an equals sign between spamming and actual email campaigns. Spamming is illegal and wildly ineffective. Email marketing, on the other hand, can generate $38 for every $1 spent.
Email marketing’s effectiveness stems from two simple facts:
- People on your email list willingly gave you their contact information — 73% of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email. (Adestra, 2016)
- This action implies they want to hear from you — 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions (SaleCycle, 2018)
Successful e-commerce businesses know this trust should not be taken for granted. Email campaigns that produce results require a well-thought-out strategy — so let’s discover their secrets.
1. Pay attention to location and language
One consideration that is incredibly important for e-commerce businesses in the Middle East is making sure email campaigns are adjusted to Arabic-speaking audience. Many email marketing automation platforms come with templates for various types of campaigns. However, their interface is usually created with Western-audience in mind.
Since the Arabic language is read from right to left, the Middle Eastern audience is more likely to pay closer attention to page elements like text, images and CTA’s that are located on the right side of the screen.
Here you can find some advice on adjusting page layout to the needs of the Middle Eastern audience. You can keep them in mind even if your campaigns are in English. While your email doesn’t have to be a piece of art, it should be simple, user-friendly and prompt readers to action.
2. Segment your audience
While sorting customers based on their demographic data (usually available alongside contact information) is a good start, we recommend digging a little deeper. Another good idea for initial segmentation is to categorize your customers based on products they were looking for on your website. For example, if your customer was looking for a beauty product for dry skin, it is a good idea to send them promotions or content related to this preference.
Similarly, you can segment customers based on:
- Products they buy
- The way they use products
- The way they engage with your email campaigns
- The time and frequency of purchases
Each of these segments should have a different email campaign catering to their needs — more on that in the following section.
3. Build a conversation
If you want to optimize your email campaigns, you have to change the way you think about them. An email campaign is not a one-time shoot-out. Actually, it is an ongoing conversation. So, how would you start that conversation?
Marketers recommend a warm welcome in the form of onboarding email for everyone who signs up for your email list. These emails usually include a welcome, short description of benefits for subscribers, an interesting piece of content, or an offer.
But this is not where the conversation ends. You can create different email sequences for different groups of customers. For example, for the customers who purchased something, you can send an email asking them to leave a review and offer a discount code for the follow-up purchase.
For the customers who signed up but did not purchase anything, you can send discount code and promotional offer for the product they were looking at.
Another way to keep both groups of customers engaged is to send them relevant pieces of content or newsletters. Businesses that use this form of lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost, according to Marketo.
For example, you can send a listicle about trendy ways to pair shoes and bags this season for anyone who bought these items. If someone was looking at beauty products for dry skin, you can send them tips on keeping it moisturized.
On top of having carved out email campaign sequences, setting trigger-based campaigns is another way to drive sales. One of the most popular trigger-based email campaigns is shopping cart abandonment email. If used wisely, this email campaign can bring back 60% of shoppers within a day of receiving an email.
This is a great example of a cart-abandonment triggered email. It includes an image of a product, very clear call to action, as well as soothing reminders referring to customers’ common concerns such as shipping and return policy.
However, trigger-based campaigns can also be set off by visits on specific landing pages, reading certain blog posts or performing certain searches. You have the tools, so get creative.
Finally, don’t forget that the key element to any email campaign is a call to action (CTA). This call can be a simple invitation to read a blog post, take a look at your products, or purchase them, but the end destination is always your website and the end goal is always some form of action that will move a customer one step closer towards the purchase.
4. Optimize for a mobile experience
While the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices varies by age, industry, and other factors, it is safe to say that at least half of emails are opened via smartphone. Furthermore, around 47% of global Internet traffic takes place on mobile phones.
The message is clear — email campaigns and a website that are not optimized for a mobile experience can cost you roughly half of your customers and a huge chunk of your revenue.
Another specific thing about optimizing email campaigns for mobile phones refers to mobile users’ habits. For example, the highest rates of email-opening on smartphones happens mid-morning. Take this into account when you schedule email campaigns. In general, you’ll want to cater to mobile users, since they show greater conversion rates compared to desktop-users.
5. Never stop fine-tuning
You should listen to your customers even when they are not talking, by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs include open rates, bounce rates, unsubscribers, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Apart from allowing you to carve out more and less engaged segments of your email list, they will also show you which aspects of your email campaigns need reworking.
- Low open rates can be a consequence of a bad subject line.
- High bounce rate means you have a lot of inactive email addresses and your email list needs a clean-up.
- Unsubscribing can mean a lot of things, but it usually involves several factors, including low-quality email content, as well as bad timing and frequency of your email campaigns.
- Low click-through-rates may imply that your emails are not engaging enough, or that your CTAs are not clear.
- Finally, low conversion rates could be a sign that your email campaign or website landing page needs some reframing.
Whatever the problem is, nothing is unsolvable. A/B split testing allows you to experiment with subject lines, email content calls to action and other elements of your campaign. Make sure you test only a single element in one experiment, as this will allow you to attribute good or bad results to a specific factor.
While you should stick to marketing strategies that work well, getting to the point of knowing what works and what doesn’t takes some time and experimenting.
These five steps are a good start to steer your email campaigns in the right direction. Creating effective email campaigns is an ongoing work, and at times it may get frustrating — but remain patient and your work will pay off ten-fold.
We are Fetchr; a company specialized in e-fulfillment. We help e-commerce entrepreneurs grow their business in the Middle East. Let’s make it happen! One box at a time. Learn more here.