Email marketing can have a huge impact on the success of an ecommerce company. It can help build and strengthen customer relationships, are easy to scale and can get more eyes on your products and services to drive sales.

However, if your email strategy is not tailored to your business or your customers’ needs, you are wasting your time. Depending on the type of business you have, you have to adapt your tactics accordingly:

Business-to-consumer companies tend to use emails for awareness, loyalty and repeat visits. The goal is usually to engage with customers to entice them to purchase more, thereby increasing their customer lifetime value. Therefore, B2C emails tend to focus on products, loyalty programs, contests and more.

Non-enterprise business-to-business companies focus on both retention and new customer acquisition. In terms of lead nurturing, focus is usually on inbound marketing by providing resources like infographics, white papers, ebooks and videos to speak to pain points.

What You Need First

Before you send your first message, you first need to identify your target audience. Buyer personas are generalized representations of your ideal client(s) based on market research, interviews and surveys. It includes demographic, behavioral and motivational details which can then be used to tailor your content.

For example, a B2C customer may expect emails on product recommendations based on their preferences. A B2B customer may expect content emails with relevant tips and advice.

Refining Your Message

Email is a great medium for split testing. The bigger your list, the more significant your results will be. When testing, be sure to test one thing at a time to get the most accuracy. Elements you may consider testing include:

  • Subject line
  • Body message
  • Images, including content, quality and size
  • Message layout and design
  • Call-to-action
  • Opening line
  • Closing line

The website behave.org (formerly known as WhichTestWon) provides great examples of real split tests. Website members receive insight on which tests won and why. Here are a few examples:

Arial vs. Calibri – Which Typeface Won 70.7% More Email Clickthroughs?

Arial vs. Calibri – Which Typeface Won 70.7% More Email Clickthroughs?

Email Subject Line + Creative Test: Which Combo Lifted Applications 558% for this Florida Law School?

Email Subject Line + Creative Test: Which Combo Lifted Applications 558% for this Florida Law School?

Which Overlay Headline Increased Leads for Reebok (2012 Email Testing Awards Gold Winner)

Which Overlay Headline Increased Leads for Reebok (2012 Email Testing Awards Gold Winner)

Investing in a CRM (customer relationship management) tool can help manage your contacts. Additionally, it can help with the testing process by providing the following:

  • Insight on customer engagement
  • Insight on open, click-through, conversion, growth and bounce rates
  • Overall ROI
  • Visibility of lead location in the funnel
  • Consistent messaging as well as targeted messaging

Do It Right

Before initiating a campaign, you must have clear goals in mind. Make sure your content is concise and written in a style that your audience will be receptive to. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before hitting send:

  • Why are you sending the email?
  • Who are you targeting?
  • What is your message?
  • Where do you want the email to take them?
  • When are you expecting a CTA?

Keep these points in mind to get the most out of your email strategy, whether your goal is customer acquisition or retention.