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How to make your customers buy again – 7 essential email marketing tips

Email marketing can be a tricky beast. How can you send mass emails without getting spammy, incensing your customers until they vow to boycott your company forever, and actually use it to generate sales?

Simon Horton of ecommerce plugin supplier ShopIntegrator shares some key steps in encouraging repeat custom and keeping your customers happy.

Engaging subject

Your subject line will make or break the success of your email marketing campaign. One third of people decide to open the email or send it to the trash based on the subject line alone. It must tie-in with the content and not just be a trick to get them to open the email.

Subject lines should ideally be under 50 characters long. They must get right to the point and give the reader a reason to continue. Avoid using only capital letters, as that’s like SHOUTING!

A study by MailChimp (http://kb.mailchimp.com/article/best-practices-in-writing-email-subject-lines/ ) has shown that certain words increase the likelihood of getting trapped in the spam filter. Words to avoid include Help, Reminder, Special, % off, and Donate.

Relevant and timely content

Constantly sending emails with offers will result in a high drop off rate as people become disinterested and mark your emails as spam – or unsubscribe. Vary your content to provide interesting and relevant information that keeps readers engaged, e.g. quirky facts, useful tips, reviews, etc.

Remember: it’s better to send out targeted emails to a subset of your marketing database rather than sending broad content to everyone – you’ve far more chance of connecting with the customer and giving them what they need.

Clear call to action

What do you want to achieve? There need to be clear calls to action so the recipient is in no doubt about what they need to do next. Use large buttons with intuitive labels, such as ‘Click here to do xyz‘, which link to a relevant page on your website. Don’t make it difficult!

Targeted landing page

Driving traffic to your website from a successful email marketing campaign is only the first step on the customer journey. Follow up on this: create a targeted landing page which supports the key messages in your email rather than just sending them to the homepage. If you want them to sign-up for something, create a sign-up landing page – if it’s a sale, make it a landing page for all those discounted items.

Consistent design

When you send an email, make sure it mirrors the design of your website. It will be more effective for being consistent. For content, use short paragraphs of text and bullet points, broken up with headers and sub-headers. Most importantly, including images is a good way to draw people’s attention.

Perfect timing

The time and frequency with which you’re sending out e-shots is important. Leave it too long between emails and your readers will have forgotten you, and you’ll be marked as spam. Send too often, and you’ll be marked as spam. Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win – but remember, you can!

The time of day is also important., Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Think what they’re likely to be doing and if they’ll have time to look at your email when it arrives. Will they look at it at the 09.10 am rush? Or are they more likely to click when it drops in their inbox at 4 pm when they’re a bit bored and ready for a distraction?

Test and analyse

Try sending your emails at different times of the day : see what gets the best click-through rate. Use the analytics in your email marketing software to evaluate engagement rates combined with your website’s analytics, to give a clear picture of how your vistors are getting to your website and how their journey progresses.

While it takes time and effort, don’t forget that but if you get your email marketing right you will certainly get more repeat sales and remain in the minds of your customers – so it’s worth persevering!