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Email Marketing for Retailers: Everything You Need to Know

Email marketing is a proven way to increase sales, engagement, and custom loyalty. Here’s everything you should know about email marketing for retailers.

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Email Marketing for Retailers Everything You Need to Know

Retailers can benefit greatly from marketing their products through email campaigns. Email marketing involves sending commercial messages or promotional content to a list of subscribers who authorized the sender to send them emails.

The advantages of email marketing include:

  • Cost-effective: Email marketing allows retailers to reach a large number of customers at a low cost.
  • Builds relationships: Email marketing helps retailers build and maintain relationships with their customers by providing them with valuable information, special offers, and personalized messages.
  • Targets specific audiences: Email marketing makes it possible for retailers to segment their email list based on demographics, interests, and behavior. This allows them to tailor their messages to specific audiences, instead of blindly promoting to a general audience.
  • Provides measurable results: Email marketing gives retailers the means to track the success of their campaigns and make data-driven decisions to optimize their strategy.

How to Start an Email Marketing Campaign for a Retailer

Creating an email marketing campaign may seem intricate, but it’s easy if you understand the basic fundamentals of email marketing itself. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step is to identify your target audience. What style of customer are you trying to reach? The best way to answer this question is by looking at what you have to sell. If you’re selling clothes for toddlers, then your target audience is likely to be mothers. If you’re selling luxury home goods, then send emails to the upper-middle class.

Identifying your audience should be the first step; this will help you define how you proceed with the next steps. One of the many advantages to email marketing is that you don’t have to waste funds marketing to people who are not interested in your products. Instead, you can identify your target audience and send promotional offers directly to them. Take advantage of this power in email marketing by identifying who’s most likely to buy from you – and focus on capturing their attention.

Plan Your Content

Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to plan your content around what they prefer to see. Even if you capture your ideal group’s attention, if they aren’t interested in the content you’re presenting them with, they won’t engage with your brand.

Here are examples of content that retailers can send to their subscribers:

  • Promotional emails
  • Newsletter emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Welcome emails
  • Re-engagement emails
  • Survey emails

Create Your Content

Now that you’ve decided on the content you want to send to recipients, it’s time to develop it. Managing an email marketing campaign and developing content that’s engaging will require two different skill sets. You may want to hire a content writer or graphic designer to generate the content, depending on the type of plan you have.

If you’re confident that you can develop amazing content, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Don’t create overwhelming visuals
  • Keep the branding consistent
  • Provide value
  • Don’t make the email size too big
  • Optimize for mobile

Choose Your Email Marketing Tool

There are a range of email marketing platforms you can use that will help create and distribute your emails. These platforms have templates that help develop email campaigns, as well as tools for automation, metrics tracking, and subscriber data analysis. Some of the popular email marketing tools include:

  • Mailchimp
  • Converterkit
  • Constant Contact
  • AWeber
  • Campaign Monitor
  • MailerLite

Many email marketing platforms have free services that offer all the basic features you need to maintain a small email list. However, if your list grows or you need more advanced features, you can buy a paid subscription for as little as $10 a month. Some of the premium subscription tiers are over $100 a month for larger retailers that need special features.

Come Up with an Email Acquisition Plan

Once you’ve chosen the email marketing tool that best suits your needs and budget, think about how to attract subscribers. Coming up with an email acquisition strategy is all about identifying where your target audience congregates and how to encourage them to sign up for email updates. The most popular email acquisition methods are:

  • Opt-in forms
  • Content marketing
  • Social media
  • Virtual or physical events
  • Pop-ups
  • Sponsored promotion in other newsletters
  • Referral programs
  • Lead magnets
  • Giveaways
  • Surveys

The most important factor to consider for your email acquisition strategy is: keeping the value you provide front and center. The audience wants to know what they get if they sign up, so be sure to center your email acquisition strategy around the value you provide.

It’s important to note: the last four suggestions (referral programs, lead magnets, giveaways, and surveys) are great ways of building your email list fast, but they don’t guarantee loyal customers. If you incentivize an audience by promising them a spot in a giveaway or a chance to get a discount if they refer a friend, they will likely only stick around to get the short-term benefit that was offered. It’s much better for the long-term health of your email list to focus on marketing the signup to people who are interested in the actual content you provide.

Test the Email

Before sending the email to your growing list of subscribers, send a test email to yourself. Verify that it’s the right size, mobile-friendly, and that the design looks both professional and easy to understand.

How to Manage an Email List for a Retailer

So, you’ve created your email marketing content and you’re slowly building your email list. Here’s what retailers need to do to manage the campaign and keep their subscribers engaged:

Segment Your List

Email segmentation involves dividing your email list into smaller groups, based on demographics, purchase history, or other factors. This will allow you to tailor your emails to specific groups of customers. Many of the top email marketing platforms offer segmentation tools.

The more segmented your email list is, the more targeted and personalized your emails can be. According to this Marketing Science study, personalizing emails can increase sales’ leads by 31%.

Review Your KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that give you an insight into how successful your email marketing campaign is. Tracking and analyzing these metrics are the best way to understand what parts of the campaign were the most successful, which ones failed, and how you can improve the campaign to achieve better results. Common KPIs you should track are:

  • Click-through rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Forwarding rate
  • Open rate
  • Return on investment
  • Unsubscribe rate

Optimize the Campaign

After reviewing the KPIs, think about the best strategies you can leverage to improve campaign metrics. Are you providing value to your subscribers? What does it mean if your open rate is good but your conversion rate is lacking? Come up with an email campaign optimization strategy based on what you review to create a more effective campaign.

Email Marketing for Retailers - Best Tips and Practices

Going forward, you will need to use the best practices for really honing your campaign. Keep in mind:

  • Don’t buy email lists. Buying email lists can harm your sender reputation, damage your brand’s reputation, and lead to legal and ethical issues. 
  • Don’t ignore email hygiene. Scrub your email list frequently and remove invalid, inactive, or unengaged addresses. This will improve the deliverability of your campaigns and give you accurate subscriber metrics.
  • Create re-engagement campaigns. Create re-engagement campaigns to understand why certain subscribers no longer engage with your emails. These campaigns are great ways to connect with a subscriber, maintain brand awareness, and determine if you want to keep them on your list.
  • Use clear subject lines. Your subject line should be clear, concise, and compelling, and it should accurately reflect the content of your email. This will help to improve your open rates and drive more clicks.
  • Include a clear call-to-action. Your email should include a clear and prominent call-to-action that encourages subscribers to take action, such as by making a purchase or checking out a new product.

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