Email Marketing for Retailers: 7 Quick Tips to Help Your Drive Traffic and Engagement from Email

This is a guest post by Peter Davis.

It’s 2018, and email marketing is still the most valuable piece of your online marketing puzzle.

An eMarketer survey of small and medium businesses found that 81% and 80% of respondents, respectively, said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. Email’s usefulness was followed by organic search at 62% for acquisition and social media at 44% for retention—both rated effective by far fewer respondents than those who chose email.

Moreover, according to Litmus email analytics, email marketing commands more focus compared to social content, and small and medium-sized brands can get open rates of over 20% (compared to social media where the percentage of people who see your content pre-boost on Facebook is now 1-3%).

Clearly, email is still essential to your marketing toolkit, so strive to get the most value out of this channel.

In this post, we’ve put together 7 email action steps you can implement within the week. Check them out!

1. Get your website visitors onto your mailing list

If you’re not capturing email addresses on your website, it’s high time start. Every visitor is worth capturing, so come up with a creative or compelling offer that would get people to hand over their email address.

Take a look at what others are doing and let them inspire your efforts.

Allbirds, for instance, keeps things simple and asks users to sign up to receive product news and updates:

Little Printables, on the other hand, throws in an extra incentive, by giving a 10% discount to users who sign up for their emails.

2. Sign people up to your database in-store

Collecting email addresses in-store can also grow your database. Print out some copies and put them onto a clipboard on your counter (with a pen!) to get people to subscribe.

If you’re feeling a little more high-tech, then having an iPad (or similar) on your counter is another great way to get people to sign up, and you’ll never have issues of trying to work out what someone wrote!

If you do go down the iPad path, then we have a digital sign up page that comes pre-created with every Postie account — here’s one from one of our favourite bloggers:

PS: Feel free to send me a note and we’ll get one set up for you.

3. Send emails that people actually want to read.

Don’t wait until you have a massive list. You can get started with email marketing whether you have 10 people or 10,000 people on your mailing list. And if you choose the right tool, emails don’t need to take hours to build. (It’s exactly why we built Postie!)

Many people make the mistake of using email to only talk about sales. Don’t make the same mistake. Instead, make it a point to inject your personality into your emails. Talk to your subscribers as if you’re chatting with a customer.  Share nice pictures, and if it makes sense within the context of your email, show them nice things they can buy.

Here’s a great example from StitchFix. Rather than a big “buy now!” button, StitchFix created a gorgeous email that contains useful style tips. And while they included a call to action within the message to get people onto their site, the bulk of the email adds real value and provides excellent information.

4. Choose the right type of email to send

Mix up your email content. Make sure you don’t focus on one area all the time and test different ideas. See what works the best and combine messages to really drive those clicks.

Here are a few ideas:

  • New products – Show off everything that is new and get you recipient excited to come into the store or to hit your website. Try to plan these campaigns out, and send them whenever you have new merchandise that you want to show off.
  • Promotions – Running a promotion? Be sure to let your subscribers know. Try it out and kick your database into action, just be careful not to do this too often as you’ll tire your database out.
  • General newsletter – An email that updates your customers about what’s been happening with your brand is an excellent way to build that relationship.
  • What’s new on social – Using social media content in email campaigns can be great for showing customers what other people love. These emails can also give subscribers a bit of validation if they’re on the fence about purchasing your products.
  • Product advice or reviews – Rather than just sending “Buy Now!” messages, you may find that you have success with emails that talk about the benefits and use cases of a product in a more fun way. Mix this up with product reviews and you’ll find the perfect formula for that soft sell!

We’ve picked out some of our favourite customers at Postie, that we think are doing a great job in different areas.

The Scarf Company takes a narrow product range and explored it in-depth in this campaign.

The Supercool nails the mix of a newsletter with new product drops — we love how they sign off with their names, combine lots of product shots and drop in when they were recently interviewed for a blog.

5. Get your social followers to sign up

The easiest way you can do this is to “tease” your latest email newsletter on Instagram Stories and put a link in your bio where your followers sign up. MailChimp and Postie both give their customers forms they can use and easily edit to do this.

6. Pay attention to timing

Email timing can get tricky. For instance, while some people recommend sending emails on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays (while avoiding Saturdays), we at Postie are seeing trends like:

  • Sunday at 8pm is the best time to send an email if you’re targeting young parents.
  • 11:55am on a weekday is perfect for professionals (whether they open emails at their desk or on their lunch break, your email is right at the top of your inbox).

But at the end of the day, the “right” answer depends on your shoppers. Are your customers working in offices or wrangling young children while working from home? Do your emails prompt calls, and if so, should you send emails at a time when someone will pick up the call?

Only you can pick the best time to send your emails, but if you need any help, drop us a line.

7. Send emails more often

Don’t shy away from emailing your customers weekly or once every two weeks.

We saw the value of increasing send frequency with one of our customers recently who used to send email campaigns monthly with some good success. Their open rate was over 40% so it felt like they didn’t want to rock the boat.

We convinced them to trial sending campaigns more often, first every couple of weeks, and now weekly

The result? They’re now sending just as much traffic to their website in a week that they used to send in a month.

SENDING FREQUENCY AVERAGE CLICKS PER CAMPAIGN APPROX TRAFFIC TO WEBSITE EACH MONTH
Monthly 820 820
Every 2 weeks 866 1,732
Weekly 833 3,332

Here’s a look at one of their recent campaigns:

Final words

Email is the best thing for you to spend your time on next. You’ll drive traffic to your website and if you do it with love you’ll build stronger relationships with your customers.

We can’t wait to see your first campaign. Chuck me on your mailing list, I’d love to see it — pete@gopostie.com

Author Bio

Peter Davis is a socially and digitally minded entrepreneur. In 2009, Pete founded Get Glossy, a digital agency that he grew to 20 staff working in 6 countries. He sold that business in 2016 and Pete is now CEO of gopostie.com, a platform that improves internal and external communications by leveraging validated Instagram content into email. Postie is used by SMBs all over the world. Pete also mentors start ups through the globally renowned accelerator program Techstars.

 

About Francesca Nicasio

Francesca Nicasio is Vend's Retail Expert and Content Strategist. She writes about trends, tips, and other cool things that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and be more awesome overall. She's also the author of Retail Survival of the Fittest, a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+.