Three Email Marketing Tips for Merchants

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 10 Sep, 2012

Every Monday morning I wake up to an inbox that is exploding with emails - as I'm sure is also the case with most of you reading this article.


Thankfully I have multiple email addresses, so I can avoid the problem of having to separate my retail and daily deal promotions from the mail that requires more immediate attention. And although this strategy makes it easy for me to find exactly what I need, it also means that merchants who want to capture my attention have to work twice as hard to stand out from the rest of the promotional weekend emails that have overtaken my inbox.


Although many merchants may not spend a lot of time revamping their email strategies (especially with more time being put into emerging channels like mobile and social), it is important to remember that email is still the king of marketing. This is because this channel reaches a targeted audience that is made up of people who are already customers, and therefore are also more likely to engage with promotions and other content once they open the message.


But enticing consumers to interact with an email is easier said than done, which is why merchants should take a second look at their email strategies in order to receive the best return on investment (ROI) from this marketing avenue. Check out these three email marketing tips for delivering emails that consumers actually want to open below:



Catchy Subject Lines


First impressions are everything, and this is especially true when it comes to email marketing. In fact, 30 percent of an audience will decide whether or not to open an email based solely on the subject line, which is why a little creativity can go a long way.


There are a few best practices that email marketers should always implement when creating a subject line, such as staying away from heavy punctuation and using less than 50 characters. However, when brainstorming subject lines, merchants should also stay away from using too many capital letters or symbols, as well as words that can be associated with spam, such as "free" or "limited-time offer". Although both of those words may seem ideal to include in the subject line of a promotional email, these terms can actually have a negative effect on deliverability metrics.


The best way that marketers can examine their subject lines before they send emails is by testing. Once a variety of subject lines have been created, marketers can send them to a portion of their lists and then gage success by comparing open rates. However, marketers on a time crunch can also quickly test subject lines with Twitter. Simply type the subject line, link to content and send the tweet - then monitor how many opens can be attributed to the social network.



Getting Personal


When attempting to stand out from the rest of the emails within an inbox, personalization is key. This doesn't only mean personalizing the message with the recipient's name (although, that is a good start), but also personalizing by the recipient's interests.


There are multiple ways you can get personal with email, including offering different types of newsletters that enable consumers to sign up based on their interests, as well as segmenting your email list based on various factors, such as spending habits, demographics or preferences. For example, you would use different language to engage a 24 year old than you would to engage a 50 year old, and would also probably send different content to a male customer than a female customer. By segmenting your email list, merchants not only have a better chance at having more customers actually open their emails, but also a better chance that consumers will interact with the emails as well.


Another way that merchants can get personal with email is by asking for feedback. Feedback is a very valuable and free tool that all marketers should leverage. Even negative feedback can be looked at with a glass half-full attitude, because not only does it means that customers are interacting with your brand, but it can also provide you with valuable insights than can be used to improve email marketing campaigns.



Retargeting with Email


If a catchy subject line and personalized message didn't get your consumers to convert, you could always try retargeting with email, which can help combat against one of a merchant's biggest nightmares - shopping cart abandonment. Retargeting allows merchants to send emails to customers who recently abandoned their shopping cart, in order to remind them about the purchase that they almost completed.


For example, email marketing provider Listrak offers a shopping cart abandonment solution that can be leveraged to capture the consumer's email address, name and other insights, including information about the merchandise the customer left in their cart. This data can then be used to create and send behaviorally-targeted emails to cart abandoners.


It is important to note that retargeting emails tend to see positive results, especially because the retargeted customers already have a strong interest in the products or services that they were previously browsing. In fact, a recent study from retargeting solutions provider SeeWhy reveals that an average of 20.8 percent of cart abandoners go back to a site and make a purchase after receiving a retargeted email, as well as spend 55 percent more than shoppers who didn't abandon their carts.