Is There a Difference Between Marketing Emails and Transactional Emails?

With so many varying types of email options for marketing professionals to utilize, it’s not surprising that the terms marketing emails and transactional emails are used interchangeably.

The reason they’re often confused is that they both fall under the same umbrella term of marketing email messages. Yes, while these two types of emails are similar in some respects, there’s a significant difference between marketing emails and transactional emails.

The difference between marketing emails and transactional emails

Knowing the difference between marketing emails and transactional emails is critical because you don’t want to misuse your email marketing efforts. That’s why we’ve decided to recap what each type of email message is, in terms of a traditional email marketing strategy.

Marketing emails

Marketing emails are emails that serve a specific purpose: to inform your readers and nurture them through the sales cycle.

Now, it’s important to note that marketing emails come in dozens of different forms and can include any of the following:

  • Welcome emails
  • Thank you emails
  • Lead nurturing emails
  • Listicles
  • Infographics
  • Email newsletters
  • Re-engagement emails
  • Cart abandonment emails
  • Post-transactional follow-up emails

 Example of an email newsletter

Source: Really Good Emails

What can seem confusing is the fact that transactional emails are a type of marketing email; however, it functions very differently than these other types of emails, and we’ll cover that momentarily.

Another way to help simplify the difference between marketing emails and transactional emails is to think of marketing emails as messages that are sent to prospective leads. What’s important to keep in mind here is the fact that, according to the customer lifecycle, customers are always treated as potential leads, and here’s why.

This is a visualization of the typical customer lifecycle.

Customer lifecycle journey

Source: Alexa

The red arrow indicates that the customer lifecycle never ends. So how can a repeat customer be considered a “potential” lead? It’s easy when you visualize it this way:

Customer lifecycle journey

Source: Alexa

Each of the purple arrows indicates the moves of the potential customer. The only time that the lead is not a potential customer is once they’ve entered the purchase stage.

However, once they leave the purchase stage, they, again, become a potential lead. Instead of being a “new” lead, they become a repeating lead. This helps marketing teams visualize them as a valuable, loyal customer.

To become a loyal customer, you must keep coming back for more, and that’s why the customer lifecycle never truly ends.

The idea behind marketing emails is the fact that each message is designed to keep the lead moving through this cycle, and that includes the use of transactional emails.

Now, to minimize confusion, we’re going to use the same visual, although, we’re going to highlight where transactional emails belong in this cycle:

Customer lifecycle journey

Source: Alexa

There’s only one place where transactional emails belong. These messages belong between the purchase phase and the post-purchase phase, whereas the other types of marketing emails can and should be used throughout the rest of the customer lifecycle. So what makes transactional emails so different from other marketing emails?

Transactional emails

Transactional emails are defined as email messages that are system-triggered to be sent to a subscriber who’s made the conversion to a customer.

These emails, again, are technically a type of marketing email. However, they don’t hold the same power as the other examples because you aren’t using your email platform to inform the reader.

Instead, you’re using this particular type of email to thank your subscriber for making a specific conversion (a purchase, download, signup, etc.) and then providing them with any relevant information regarding their conversion.

Now, a typical transactional email that consumers expect to see is email receipts regarding purchases they’ve made.

Ecommerce transactional email example

Source: Really Good Emails

In this example from Blue Bottle, they include all relevant information, including the customer’s order number, the items purchased, price, and shipping information. Instead of informing your reader, you’re confirming an action took place.

This is why transactional emails don’t fit in with the other typical marketing email. Those emails help to nurture the relationship between you and your subscribers, whereas transactional emails are primarily a confirmation of a transaction. Now, they can also be used as vessels to continue the conversation between you and your brand, such as a follow up to your transactional email or by including an upselling offer along with your transactional email.

Take, for example, this email message from Dollar Shave Club. Once someone has made a purchase with them, they can follow up on their transactional email with several types of emails, including a feedback email or a product review request. In this case, they used their follow-up email to announce their new service.

Subject Line: Forget something in your last box?

Transactional email follow up example

Source: Really Good Emails

This post transactional email is what moves your customers back into the customer lifecycle once they’ve made their initial conversions. This is where the informing stage begins anew.

Again, the transactional email is the confirmation of the action. The method in which you use to follow up on the transactional email is the next step in the marketing email process.

Aside from the traditional post-purchase confirmation, transactional emails can come in several different formats, including:

  • Event confirmations
  • Signup confirmations
  • Download confirmations
  • Order confirmation
  • Reactivation emails
  • Password reset requests
  • Shipping confirmations
  • Card declined messages and more

Email marketing best practices: The difference between marketing emails and transactional emails

When it comes to email marketing best practices, there’s little difference between marketing emails and transactional emails. Both follow the same best practices for addressing readers, design practices, and so on.

For example, when designing your marketing and transactional emails, you want to personalize your messages as much you possibly can. This means including as much subscriber data in creating your content as possible, including their:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Geolocation
  • Email preferences and more

This ensures that you’re sending only the most relevant content to each subscriber, no matter which stages in the customer lifecycle they’re in.

Another email best practice that’s shared by both marketing and transactional emails is designing with their readers in mind.

This means designing an email with either a responsive or mobile-friendly template and utilizing design best practices, such as utilizing images to help tell your story, sharing scannable content, and making CTAs easily visible for those who want to take a quick peek without having to go through each piece of the message.

Finally, you want to make sure that you’re A/B testing both your marketing and transactional messages to ensure that your content is suitable for your readers.

Do your readers want more newsletter-type content? Do they prefer transactional emails with a shipment tracker included in the message? No matter what type of email you plan on sending, always plan on running several A/B tests to ensure email success.

Where email marketing best practices differ for marketing emails and transactional emails

The primary difference between email marketing best practices with marketing emails and transactional emails is the type of content that you’re sending. Again, marketing messages are warm and informational, whereas transactional emails are usually very straightforward and thankful, since your reader just acted on your CTA.

The tone of each of these emails will depend heavily on the tone of the brand; however, many marketers find that transactional emails are much less professional compared to other marketing emails because transactional emails don’t have to convince readers of anything (since they’ve already made the conversion).

Marketing emails, however, depend heavily on a professional, authoritative voice to give the reader confidence in the brand and whatever it is they’re offering.

For example, let’s look at two emails from similar brands within the same niche. One is a marketing email by FromYouFlowers, and the other is a transactional email from ProFlowers.

 Comparison of a marketing email and a transactional email

The marketing email has a warm, friendly tone to it, as does the transactional email, because of the niche that both brands belong to. Now, take a look at the content the two emails include. The marketing email uses more promotional verbiage to encourage readers to click on images and learn more about the products. The transactional email, however, focuses on the customer’s purchase and what they can expect moving forward.

Wrap up

When it comes to understanding the differences between marketing emails and transactional emails, you need to understand that they both belong to the same process; however, they’re two very different types of emails.

  • Marketing emails: inform the reader and move them throughout the customer lifecycle.
  • Transactional emails: confirm that an action took place.

Ready to put your email marketing to work? Check out these 5 steps to triggered emails that generate revenue.

The post Is There a Difference Between Marketing Emails and Transactional Emails? appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

6 Ways to Improve Your Email Campaigns By Next Month

Finding ways to improve your email campaigns has never been as essential as it is right now.

2020 has brought forth quite a few challenges to marketing professionals, as the need for contactless business has skyrocketed. More individuals are looking to increase their online sales, and, to do that, you must foster relationships between your brand and your customers.

Your email campaigns are vital, and here’s why

We see a rise in online shopping activity, thanks to online giants such as Amazon, Walmart, Costco, and others. Reports from earlier this year have suggested that, in 2019, the ecommerce share of total global retail sales was 14.1% and projected to continue growing by approximately 2% each year.

Ecommerce share of total global retail sales from 2015 to 2023

Source: Shopify

While these statistics are promising for those in ecommerce, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online retailers are seeing explosive activity, especially in areas that have typically never seen such activity, such as online grocery orders. Forbes recently shared data from Rakuten Intelligence, which stated that online order volume from grocery merchants rose to approximately 201.1% between March 12, 2020, and March 15, 2020.

Again, while those numbers are promising for some, they aren’t being spread across all industries, as more and more consumers are reserving funds for what’s considered “essential.”

The best thing that brands can do now is continuing to build and nurture relationships with their current consumers, and the best way to do this is through email marketing. There’s never been a better time to reevaluate your email campaigns, and Campaign Monitor is here to help.

6 ways to improve your email campaigns

These 6 tips are must-know practices that should be used not only when revamping email campaigns, but during the initial creation process as well.

1. Practice good email list hygiene.

One of the most important pieces of your email marketing campaigns is your email list. It used to be enough to amass the largest subscriber list possible. Now, however, having the biggest list doesn’t mean anything if they’re inactive or if it’s made up of the wrong audience.

That’s why your team needs to take the time to go through your email list at a minimum of twice a year to weed out those who’ve simply lost interest. However, it should be done more frequently, such as quarterly. This action is known as practicing good email list hygiene.

The idea is to remove any email addresses that have bounced back, remove unengaged subscribers, and update any email address change requests from your subscribers. Once you’ve cleaned up your list, you should also send out a subscription update email that asks your readers if they still want to be a part of your mailing list. This ensures that your list is genuinely made up of individuals who wish to receive the content you work so hard to create.

Opt-in email example

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Automate your email campaigns.

Timeliness and consistency are essential when it comes to keeping your email list engaged. Time is money for most brands, so it’s impossible to sit down and send an email to everyone individually. That’s why, if you haven’t started already, you need to start automating your email campaigns.

Email automation is the process of creating email campaigns that are sent out after an individual has triggered a message by completing a predefined action. For example, when someone new signs up for your email list, they should receive a welcome email that welcomes them to the community, thanks them for joining, and explains what it is they can expect from your brand.

Welcome email examples

Source: Really Good Emails

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to send all that information in a single message. You should break it up into several different emails spread out over a predetermined amount of time. For example, you could send a thank you email first, welcoming them for signing up. A day later, you could send them an office “welcome” email that expresses how grateful you are for them taking the time to choose to sign up and join the community. You could also include a special promotion in this email as a secondary thank you to them. Finally, a day or so after your second message, you could send out a “what to expect” email outlining what they’ll be getting from you.

The highlight to automation is that, once you’ve set up your email series, you simply have to define the triggers, which can be a particular action or a specific timing, and they’ll be sent out for you every time these triggers are met.

3. Improve your email copy.

When it comes to improving your email campaigns, you need to make sure the copy of your email is performing adequately. While many will focus on the text of the actual email, it’s essential to point out that email copy is also included within your email subject lines and the preheader text as well.

Vital parts of an email

Source: Campaign Monitor

Each piece of your email copy plays an important role in your email campaign’s success. For example, your email subject line is the very first piece of content that your reader will see when they see your name in their crowded inbox. Believe it or not, 47% of email recipients will open your email based on your subject line alone, so you must spend adequate time creating the best subject lines you can.

You then have to follow it up with compelling preheader text. According to MarketingSherpa, the addition of compelling preheader text has the potential of increasing your open rates by 30%.

As for the body of your email, you want to ensure that it’s not overly salesy, relates to each reader you’re sending it to, and leads to a compelling CTA.

Email example

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Proper segmentation is vital for creating highly personalized content.

Today’s consumers only want the most relevant content to show up in their inbox. Studies have shown, time and again, that consumers have no problem unsubscribing from a brand’s email list if they receive content that they don’t find relevant. It’s the second most popular reason why people hit the unsubscribe button.

The only way to combat this issue and improve your email campaigns is by properly segmenting your email list into in-depth, defined categories.

Many brands struggle with this because they feel as if they can’t get too personal with their subscribers and ask them for too much information. The best way to gather this information is by creating an email preference center that each subscriber has to fill out.

Example of an Email Preference Center

Source: Campaign Monitor

Once they’ve done that, you can categorize your subscribers accordingly, ensuring that you’re sending only the most relevant content to them as possible.

5. Pay attention to send frequency.

If irrelevant emails are the second most popular reason behind those pesky unsubscribes, what’s the number one reason? Getting too many emails.

Top Reasons for Unsubscribes

Source: MarketingSherpa

While receiving too many emails can lead to unsubscribes, so can ghosting your readers. This is where email automation can come in very handy. Setting up time triggers for your email campaigns can help ensure that you’re spacing out the timing of your content and not overloading your readers or making them feel as if you don’t care.

Email Automation Process

Source: Campaign Monitor

Your email send frequency matters more than you may think, and the only way to determine the best send frequency that’ll appeal to your readers is by testing it out.

6. A/B test all emails before sending them.

A/B testing to improve each of your email campaigns is crucial because it’s the only way to perfect the content you’re sending out to readers. It can also be used to help you determine how often to send to readers, what types of content they prefer, and which CTAs they respond the best to.

Example of A/B Testing Email CTAs

Source: Campaign Monitor

Now, it’s important to point out that A/B testing should only be used to test out a single element of an email at a time. This is the only way to ensure you’re getting the right information on whatever it is you’re testing.

Wrap up

There’s never been a better time to sit down and work on ways to improve your email campaigns. Keep in mind that these are only six of the many tips that can help you improve your email campaigns sooner, rather than later:

  • Email list hygiene is a must
  • Start automating your campaigns, if you haven’t already
  • Work on improving your email copy
  • Practice email list segmentation
  • Your email send frequency can play a part in your campaign success
  • A/B testing your emails is vital

Ready to become an email marketing pro? Be sure to check out this infographic today.

The post 6 Ways to Improve Your Email Campaigns By Next Month appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

How Using a Countdown Timer in Email Can Improve Conversions

Email marketing stands as one of the most effective forms of marketing for large and small businesses alike. Email consistently puts your message in front of your target audience—customers who’ve requested to see your content in their inboxes.

The ability to quickly test and alter your methods sets email marketing apart as one of the most straightforward strategies—and obvious go-tos—for marketers. With the advent of interactive emails and the countdown timer email, emails have become fun for customers to open, and are becoming a more convenient means of shopping and applying discounts to their purchases. Since everyone loves a shortcut, ease of use is a significant factor in the effectiveness of email marketing.

The countdown timer—what is it?

A countdown timer is used to create a sense of urgency and to persuade a customer to take immediate action. By giving the impression of scarcity and setting a deadline for your customers, they’re more likely to take action.

You’ve seen countdown timers used in marketing schemes before, maybe without even realizing it. They appear on landing pages and websites during sales or events and are often used on television (like shopping networks). Countdown timers are typically placed front and center but are often quite subtle.

Time-based scarcity as a method of marketing psychology is incredibly effective. By adding countdown timers to your email marketing strategy, you’ll instill a sense of urgency and scarcity (FOMO) through highly targeted content, delivered directly to your ideal customer.

5 tips for using a countdown timer in emails

The purpose of a countdown timer is to improve conversions and increase sales. Consider these five factors when using a countdown timer in your emails:

1. Be honest about the timeline.

Creating a sense of urgency is useful for improving conversions, but always be honest about your offer—and its deadline—when using a countdown timer in your emails. You’ve worked hard to earn your customer’s trust. Using fake deadlines for the sake of the sale will alienate your customers, and your company will lose credibility.

2. Be clear about the offer.

Clarity should always be a priority in any marketing campaign. When using a countdown timer in an email marketing campaign, the offer must be stated very clearly for the customer. Provide information that helps the customer and encourages them to meet a deadline. Too many details—or multiple offers—will confuse the customer and may even cause them stress. Keep it to one offer and one countdown per campaign.

3. Don’t overdo it.

Use countdown timers sparingly. They’re fun and beneficial, but, if you start to use them in every email, or even for every sale, your customer may grow tired of the scheme. When a timer is used too often, it may begin to seem like a sales gimmick. Once again, you’ve worked hard to earn your customers’ trust. Countdown timers will be most effective when your customers can believe in the information they’re getting.

4. Keep it above the fold.

Like any critical piece of content, countdown timers should appear above the fold. The deadline is important to the customer, but, if it appears only after scrolling, the customer may be confused about the deadline’s legitimacy—or miss it entirely. Emphasize the urgency of the offer’s deadline by keeping the countdown timer front and center in your email campaign.

5. Position the CTA near the timer.

Simply announcing a sale and setting a deadline isn’t enough. The effectiveness of your countdown timer will ultimately depend on having a strong CTA. Position your CTA close to your countdown timer. Your customer should see how to act and when to act in the same section of your email.

5 examples of countdown timer emails

When used in emails, countdown timers should draw attention to your CTA, not distract from it. Keep the timer and CTA together—above the fold—and consider visual hierarchy, color psychology, and language—just as you would with a landing page or any other marketing campaign.

When the customer’s eye is drawn to the moving countdown and your CTA, they’ll be persuaded to act based on the information they gather from the surrounding content.
The following five examples show effective countdown timer emails in action.

Contests

Using a countdown timer to inform customers of contests, sweepstakes, or giveaways is an excellent way to get more eyes on your content. A countdown timer will instill a greater sense of urgency: “Act now to win.”

Suiteness’ contest email campaign uses a countdown timer to invite subscribers to join the contest ASAP.

Source: Really Good Emails

Coupons

Many customers will clip coupons and then forget them in a pile on their countertop. A month later, they have a stack of expired coupons. By using a countdown timer email to send coupons to your customers—and making the email interactive so the customer can redeem the offer from their phone—you’ve increased your chances of conversion simply because of ease of use.

Starbucks has nailed this tactic. In this example, Starbucks includes a coupon in their email, with a subtle reminder of the coupon’s expiration date. The customer can show this email at the counter or save the coupon image to their phone.

 My Starbucks Rewards’ coupon email campaign with a coupon expiration date

Holiday sales

Countdown timer emails are often used to alert customers of holiday sales. The timer may inform your customer of when a new holiday sale is about to begin (like Black Friday or Cyber Monday). It can count down the days left to shop before a big holiday too (e.g., “You have 24 hours left to buy your wife a Christmas gift. Do it now.”).

Overstock holiday sales email counts down the days left to shop before a big holiday.

Source: Milled

Live events

Seminars, concerts, conferences, and conventions are time-sensitive events. A countdown timer email lets your customer know when tickets will be available, and how much time they have left to reserve a seat. The email may also offer the customer a discounted price when they purchase their tickets within a specific time frame.

Synapse’s live event email campaign counting down the days left to buy tickets

Source: Really Good Emails

Sales events

Companies often run sales of their own. Seasonal sales, inventory sales, and new product launches are frequent events that’ll require an email campaign. Using a countdown timer in your email to announce an upcoming sales event—or to count down the time left for a sale—is effective for improving conversions and increasing sales.

Primary’s sales event email campaign telling the reader that it’s the last day to claim a free hoodie

Source: Milled

How to create urgency with a countdown timer to improve conversions in 4 steps

Creating urgency and scarcity are tried and tested marketing methods that persuade customers to take action—and to do it quickly. When used appropriately, a countdown timer email can be incredibly useful.

Countdown timers give customers a clear, visual cue, telling them that the best way to get what they want is to act now.

Follow these four steps to create urgency in your countdown timer email:

1. Set a deadline.

Think strategically when setting your deadline. Don’t give your customers too much time to think about whether they want to act, but don’t make the deadline so short that it drives them away. When deciding on the duration of your countdown, remember to create urgency without causing stress.

2. Create scarcity.

Limited-time offers can boost sales by 226%. The customer must know when you have a limited quantity of the product or service you’re offering. If the product or service is limited in any way, then time is limited too. Include scarcity details in your copy and CTA to take full advantage of your countdown timer.

Harry’s offer free holiday shipping that ends in two days

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Use specific language.

Use urgent language in your email copy, especially in your header and CTA. Phrases like “act now,” “hurry,” “limited number available,” and “time-sensitive offer” are examples of active language that promotes your offer and creates urgency. The tone of your copy should be compelling, convincing the customer that, if they wait, they’ll miss out.

4. Include a strong CTA.

An effective piece of marketing comes down to having a strong CTA. Know what your customer wants and offer a solution. Be clear and concise in your CTA, making it easy for the customer to act and enticing them to act right away. Using phrases like, “shop now,” or “reserve your seat today” creates a sense of urgency and will motivate the customer to take action.

Wrap up

Using time-based scarcity in marketing is incredibly effective for improving conversions. Instill a sense of urgency and scarcity by using a countdown timer in your emails, delivering highly targeted content directly to your ideal customer.
Remember to:

  • Be honest about the timeline.
  • Be clear about the offer.
  • Use countdowns sparingly.
  • Keep it above the fold.
  • Position the CTA near the timer.

Master the art of creating an effective countdown timer email. Read our article, “How To Add A Countdown Timer To Your Email Campaign.

The post How Using a Countdown Timer in Email Can Improve Conversions appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

Amplify Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy With Audience Data

Why do you need ready-to-go ecommerce workflows in your email marketing toolbox?

The main reason is this: Small businesses, startups, and nonprofits must perform a balancing act between efficiency and never sacrificing functional depth at any point in the subscriber’s journey, whether messaging a customer, member, or donor.

The right tools make marketing and advocating for others easier—and they increase the likelihood of prospects buying or donating since people will see themselves reflected in your brand or cause.

Relevancy plays a powerful role in making conversions. More than 90% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations, Accenture Interactive finds.

Another reason to lean into smart ecommerce tools is for the help they provide people just beginning their ecommerce and email marketing efforts. You’re busy and you might not be a digital marketing expert—at least, not yet.

Shopify puts the value of automation in context:

“In any organization, there are hundreds if not thousands of small tasks that take between two and five minutes to execute. Individually, they never appear to be a significant time-waster. Together, however, they devour productivity and stunt growth. Automation simplifies these tasks, drives efficiency, and allows you to experiment.”

Whether you’re launching new products, managing finances, tracking inventory and courting suppliers, or you’re meeting with nongovernmental organizations, hiring developers, and planning charity events, your time is understandably tight.

But there’s a third reason to invest in the right tools for your small business.

Buyers and donors have their own set of expectations that can’t be ignored. Today, your customers and donors want to talk to your organization. You must listen to and heed your target audience. They want you to reflect the trust they put in causes and brands. When that happens, they become your advocates across the digital landscape and in social channels.

This landscape continues to intensify as the spending demographic shifts. Here’s an interesting statistic: Gen Z spends two to three times more on shopping through social channels than the average consumer, according to the “2018 Omnichannel Buying Report” from BigCommerce.

Gartner ecommerce analysts predict that by 2023, the majority of organizations using artificial intelligence in their digital commerce will achieve at least a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction, revenue, or cost reduction.

If you’re up to date on the best practices in digital marketing, you know you need the right data and tools to automatically pull information and engage and convert buyers or donors wherever they enter your ecosystem: through product reviews and giving campaigns on social channels, on landing pages, in carts, and through newsletters.

But what do you need in an ecommerce marketing tool and why? Here are six ways you’ll want to use these tools today and why these capabilities matter in helping your organization with growth, revenue recovery, and conversion.

1. Leverage customer feedback in marketing communication.

Your product or social cause isn’t always going to be enough on its own.

Additionally, donors and consumers—who want to be found on the channels they use—share and interact with brands through email, social media, and mobile experiences. The most trusted brands and social causes pay close attention to personalization and social proof, and they leverage it.

Here’s an example from Revolution Tea that wraps testimonials and survey data into an email to help further validate its products and service.

Revolution Product Review Example

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Combine message personalization with audience segmentation.

Ultimately, a human makes the decision to buy from or give to you. Customers who are fully engaged represent a 23% higher share of profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer, according to Gallup research.

The right ecommerce marketing tools pay attention to and segment communication efforts based on these human preferences and buying and giving habits.

Here’s a tactic that uses both personalization and segmenting based on location. Use information collected from your ecommerce platform to personalize your email campaigns. For example, WooCommerce might tell you which subscribers live in a certain geographic area based on billing addresses. You can then use this information to send emails tailored to a subscriber’s physical location, which is useful if you’re promoting an event in a particular city.

Here’s another example: Use people’s names or special occasions to personalize your emails, as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation wildlife charity does on donor birthdays.

WDC celebrate special day learn how

The data is clear: Being as human as possible works. Per Monetate, 86% of companies getting high return on investment online reported that personalization made up at least 21% of their marketing budgets.

Our own research finds emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Likewise, marketers note a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.

3. Integrate the right ecommerce stack.

Automated functions depend on advanced data intelligence. Businesses will want tools that can capture customer information, interpret events, and then automate decisions based on that data.

Tools that automatically integrate with your ecommerce platform are essential. You’re not going to burn more developer hours on back-end integration with shopping platforms. You’re just not set up for it (nor should you have to be).

Advanced segmentation that welcomes new signups, captures product reviews from customers or donors, and can use those reviews in multiple mediums will help save time and ensure consistency. That ecommerce marketing stack should also be able to send reminders to people who abandoned their carts, upsell with personalized receipts, and target customers or donors based on their preferences and behavior.

CM Commerce leverages all of your customers’ purchase, demographic, preference, and engagement data. We seamlessly connect with your Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce platform.

4. Optimize your time and your value to customers on day 1.

The sooner you’re generating revenue or inching closer to donor targets, the sooner you can scale and make an impact on your bottom line or your cause.

You might need an email-centric ecommerce tool that works right away—that can take your store’s URL and start immediately pulling the most relevant customer data.

But remember, you’re not the only one with time constraints. Your customers’ time and experiences matter, too.

It’s a fact of ecommerce today: Cart abandonment happens often. If your account setup, checkout flow, and shopping cart take longer than customers expect, they’ll abandon their orders.

People are easily distracted or disappointed when a digital process feels like it could (or should) be faster. According to a Baymard Institute study, 69.57% is the average rate of ecommerce cart abandonment. It’s even higher for mobile consumers, at 85.6%. The same study finds customers want an ideal checkout flow of 12 to 14 steps, yet the average storefront flow has 23.48 steps.

5. Humanize ecommerce with product reviews from your customers.

All customers and prospects expect validation from reviews and positive social sentiment. They look to other real people.

Even with a personal voice in your approach, your customers and donors will seek independent validation from others. Sentiment matters. There is no better marketing than word-of-mouth, user-generated buzz, and positive customer testimonials.

And it goes further than your efforts on your website, email marketing, digital ads, and search and SEO efforts. Social proof makes it easier to validate sentiment and tie it to your sales.

“The basic examples of social proof can be found in users leaving reviews, comments, recommendations, or social sharing,” notes the Search Engine Journal. “This form of user-generated content and its demonstrated ability to create social proof can lead to higher conversion rates, and thus sales.”

Across industries, the average uplift in conversion rates between customers who view content created by other buyers and those who do not is a whopping 161%. It’s even higher for apparel (207%), health and beauty (203%), and food and beverage (203%), according to Search Engine Journal.

CM Commerce provides a unique set of options to turn happy customers into the best form of advertising. A few simple steps make it easy for brands to immediately capture customer feedback, solicit reviews for recent purchases, and feature that social proof on the brand’s website to accelerate additional purchases.

Don’t sleep on social proof. Leverage it as important data that can be reused and personalized. After all, ads with customer-generated product reviews have a click-through rate four times higher than those without.

6. Create and foster loyalty by building trust.

Go beyond surface-level information when you collect data from your customers and donors. Find ways to ask about their hobbies, food choices, personal life, or habits.

Did they just have a baby? How often do they use a particular app? There are so many ways to create targeted emails and further your efforts.

For example, check out this newsletter from Grammarly.

Source: Really Good Emails

Grammarly collected data on a customer’s typing habits and corrections that were made with the free version of its software. The company went above and beyond to share personal statistics about productivity and accuracy.

The number in the “advanced mistakes not corrected” section may sway the customer to buy the premium package offered with the discount. This newsletter could result in both a win for the customer (problem solved) and a win for Grammarly (sale made).

Wrap up

You never need to sacrifice functional depth at any point in your target’s journey or waste time on getting your ecommerce email marketing set up and working with your shopping platform.

Look to these tactics for help:

  • Embrace the feedback loop with your customers and donors.
  • Personalize your messaging and marketing tactics with segmentation.
  • Integrate the right ecommerce stack.
  • Optimize your time on day 1.
  • Humanize ecommerce and leverage the reviews from your customers.
  • Foster loyalty—and build trust in your brand during every experience.

From welcome emails to re-engagement campaigns and beyond, we seamlessly integrate with your ecommerce platforms—Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce—so you’ll have all the features you need to exceed your goals.

CM Commerce features:

  • Pre-made conversion campaigns to recover revenue from abandoned carts
  • Follow-up segmented and personalized emails for cross-selling
  • Product reviews that spotlight your happy customers and build trust (and sales)
  • Automated feedback to increase repeat revenue
  • Ready-to-go templates or custom versions, coupons, and rewards with your branding

Try CM Commerce today for free.

The post Amplify Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy With Audience Data appeared first on Campaign Monitor.

5 Unconventional Email Campaigns To Run This Holiday Season

This is a guest post from Addison Burke.

The holidays are fast approaching, and so are the biggest sales events of the year.

If you’re looking to compete with Amazon’s 49.1% of all online shopping sales, you need to get your campaigns ready in advance.

But standard campaigns won’t cut it. You need unique, exciting, and fresh campaigns that customers haven’t already seen before.

Capturing sales with email campaigns requires more creativity than ever, as people now receive more emails than ever before.

Read on to discover some of the most unique email campaign ideas that you can draw inspiration from and implement this holiday season to improve sales.

1. Run your campaign early.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are holidays you can’t miss when it comes to online sales. Each year during this season, people spend over $700 billion.

Hundreds of millions of emails are sent during the holidays, so driving valuable clicks during this time leads to an even more competitive season. With all competitors going full force during the holidays, what’s your best option to stand out?

Running campaigns early.

You can see how Vida runs an early campaign in this great example:

This Early Black Friday deal is an example of an unconventional email campaigns

Source

Sending out this sale two months before Black Friday does two things: it prompts more sales and generates awareness that Vida will provide Black Friday sales all season long.

Since few competitors are doing pre-Black Friday deals this early, customers will likely remember Vida for their holiday-friendly deals.

Running your campaigns early can also help you gauge a few key factors to improve your actual holiday campaign:

  • Inventory: do you have enough, did you beat projections, and should you plan for more?
  • Offer: was the offer valuable? Did it resonate with people? What was your conversion rate?
  • Send times: test multiple email campaign sending times to see which drives the highest engagement.
  • Site: did your site handle the jumps in traffic? Or did your uptime and speed fail you?

Sending campaigns early gives you far better insights with less risk.

If you’re waiting until the day of to test these factors with your standard campaigns, you’re facing more competition, more risk, and less profit.

2. Give to your customers (and you shall receive).

Most email marketing campaigns around the holiday season are the same:

“Come buy this,” “Come spend your money on X,” “Get 15% off if you spend a fortune.”

You’re effectively asking something of the user without giving them anything (of real value) in return. In short, you’re asking your user for a purely transactional relationship.

Unfortunately, transaction-based relationships don’t foster positive brand awareness, and they don’t create loyalty from customers.

And, when consumers are blasted with promotions, loyalty becomes more important than ever.

This holiday season, run campaigns where you personalize and give back to your users.

For example, showcase to your loyal customers that you notice them and how loyal they actually are, as Lyft does:

Lyft uses data to send unconventional email campaigns

At the end of your email, reward them for their loyalty without forcing them to spend money.

Don’t give them a coupon that they can use on orders over $XX. Instead, just give them a coupon or a discount that’s worth their time.

This fosters even deeper loyalty and recognition.

3. Create custom audience landing pages.

Whether you’re selling digital items or selling direct-to-consumer goods, custom landing pages convert (over 200%!).

What are custom landing pages?

Custom landing pages are sales pages that target either a specific product segment, target audience, or both.

For example, take a look at this landing page from Bay Alarm Medical:

This is an example from Bay Alarm Medical's safety email campaign

Now take a look at this landing page for a separate product:

This is an example of an email template from Bay Alarm Medical

Notice how each landing page follows a templated theme, but the content is customized for the specific product and segment.

Doing so allows you to better customize your CTAs and send the right landing page link to the right audience.

See Campaign Monitor’s free templates here.

Sending customers to a more general page might lead to fewer conversions.

Why? Less personalization. Generic landing pages or your homepage aren’t specific enough, and it can be more difficult to find specific items.

Customers need to feel you’re tailoring your content to their pain points and specific needs. And by using templates from page-building tools, it takes just minutes to scale for different audiences.

Typical development costs for websites start at $2,000 on the low end, according to Website Setup. Using an inexpensive website building tool, on the other hand, allows you to create dozens of landing pages for different target segments or product niches:

Examples of website builders

Source

This way, you can design a single page, duplicate it, and customize the offering for each individual segment.

No need to spend thousands on custom development. Simply design one page and scale it for your needs.

4. Shift your focus from selling to brand building.

Holiday sales can be great for your business, but they can also damage your reputation.

Every business wants those holiday sales, and some may send batch-and-blasts to see what sales they can achieve.

These are often ignored, and many companies tend to inflate their listed prices, making discounts worthless. This isn’t just bad for your brand, but also for trust and loyalty.

When running your next holiday campaign this year, consider taking a different approach—one that focuses on your brand development in the long term, rather than short-term sales.

Case in point, Everlane:

This example from Everlane is an unconventional email campaign for the holiday season

Source

Even more daring, the Everland subject line stated, “This is not a sale.” Consumers can’t help but click.

Instead of a standard attempt at driving sales via coupons, Everlane changes the game, promising to give every penny earned on Black Friday to their factory workers for better benefits.

Yeah, that’s a lot of money, but it’s money spent on the well-being of employees who make the product.

That translates into better company culture, brand awareness, and a better product in general.

While you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) copy this idea as is, you can modify it to fit your needs.

Can you partner with a local charity (if your business is local)? Are there certain causes that your company employees can vote on? Or causes your consumers might be interested in contributing toward?

Look for ways to build your brand and make the world a better place.

Consider investing in the long game: It just might be your next home run.

5. Develop an interactive and ongoing campaign.

Standard campaigns can work, but they aren’t very engaging or exciting for most recipients on your list. And while small discounts are nice, they’re not especially unique.

So, how do you stand out? Luckily, the delivery method can be just as impactful as the actual discount.

Boring emails net boring and dull engagement rates. Take a hard, honest look at your last holiday campaign.

How was the engagement rate? Was the open rate low? How did it compare to your industry benchmarks? If so, your offer was probably not compelling enough.

If you fall into the lower engagement category, don’t worry—you have plenty of time to spice things up this year.

For example, Forever 21 takes its Black Friday campaigns to a whole new level:

Try using interactive content for your unconventional holiday campaigns

Source

Instead of just emailing customers a coupon code to redeem, they drive engagement that leads up to Black Friday, helping to build hype for the sales to come.

By using a scratcher-style game, users can win up to 25% off their shopping, in addition to already existing sales.

This gives people the psychological feeling of commitment and, once they’ve won the prize, it’s highly likely they’ll put it to use.

Can you develop interactive content to engage subscribers and unlock more leads?

If so, try this for your next holiday campaign. Ditch the cookie-cutter templates and produce an unforgettable experience for your existing and potentially new customers.

Wrap up

The holidays are fast approaching. Now’s the time to get ahead of the competition and run holiday email campaigns.

But you can’t just recycle and repeat old tactics.

If you want to stand out this year and drive more sales than ever, it’s time to get unconventional.

Start by running your campaigns early, building up hype and brand awareness before you fight for precious, thinning inbox space.

In your campaign, don’t ask them to do anything. Instead, provide them value with zero strings attached.

Create custom audience/product landing pages to better personalize your offers.

Shift your focus from selling to brand awareness. While sales are great, so is long-term awareness of your company and steady growth.

Lastly, develop something interactive that people look forward to each holiday.

Want better holiday sales? Run these unconventional email campaigns.

Addison Burke is a freelance writer that teaches businesses how to grow through better digital marketing.

The post 5 Unconventional Email Campaigns To Run This Holiday Season appeared first on Campaign Monitor.