If I had to explain the criteria that determine email marketing success in eCommerce to a 10-year-old, this article is what I’d show them.
If you find yourself steering off course, frustrated and not knowing what to focus on, come back to this article and simply set a goal for improving one of these 3 principles and you’ll quickly get yourself back on track.
1: Deliverability = More eyeballs on your messages
Deliverability is the cornerstone of email marketing success (and SMS marketing) but it’s consistently the most neglected.
Why is this?
Probably because deliverability is a technically complex subject that isn’t as sexy as abandoned cart flows and countdown timers.
Yet without a robust sender reputation and optimised sending infrastructure, none of your strategy will matter as you won’t be able to reach the inbox of the intended recipient.
The term “deliverability” is often confusing to many, but the subject as a whole is simply about ensuring successful inbox placement via the ISPs (Gmail, Outlook, etc) to ensure your message reaches your intended recipient.
I think most email marketers take for granted what deliverability actually is due to Klaviyo’s default account setup enabling you to send emails to your database from day 1. However, taking the time to learn the basics of deliverability can massively increase the ROI of your email marketing program, and a few small steps to optimise your sending infrastructure will put you ahead of 80% of most merchants who never bother to take this step.
What are these steps?
- Set up a dedicated sending domain (or sub-domain)
- Update your DNS records and understand email authentication
- Decide on a dedicated IP VS shared IP pool
- Warm your sending infrastructure
It takes less than a day to set this up, especially if you’re not moving to a dedicated IP (most merchants won’t unless they’re a high-volume, sophisticated sender).
While this step takes less than a day, the uplift over time is astronomical if you’re adhering to good segmentation practices by managing sending through your own domain.
It is no exaggeration to say that I’ve seen a consistent uplift of email opens of 5-10% on a campaign level through setting up this crucial first step and moving away from the default Klaviyo setup.
Imagine you have 100,000 people on your list you email once per week with a 25% open rate on average with Klaviyo’s default sending setup.
Over the course of the year, that’s 1.3 million impressions. Increase this by 5%, however, and you’re now reaching 1.56 million impressions. That’s 260,000 more eyeballs on your emails - a staggering lift over time that compounds to a very significant difference.
It’s even more eye-opening when you start working with brands who send at a higher frequency (and, let’s be honest, most send anywhere from 2-5 times per week).
More impressions & greater reach = more eyeballs on your emails = more sales
Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Looked at through this lens, it’s insane to think that most people don’t even bother making some small tweaks to their sending infrastructure or take email deliverability more seriously. Hopefully, this short article encourages you to change that.
2: List Growth = More scale to your program
You can’t scale your email/SMS marketing program unless you continuously acquire new customers.
This is why the whole acquisition VS retention argument is absolute nonsense. Acquisition and retention are inextricably linked. You cannot retain a customer before you acquire them.
Your job as an email marketer is to collaborate in creative ways with the acquisition team to drive list growth, as it’s a KPI that can lead to increased impressions from your marketing sends and more revenue.
You’ll want to devise list growth strategies that focus on:
- Signup forms for new customers
- Signup forms for returning customers (i.e. getting SMS consent if you don’t already have it)
- Co-marketing opportunities with other brands in the ecosystem to strengthen acquisition opportunities
- Lead generation ads on paid social channels
- Sweepstakes (sometimes, unfortunately…) where relevant
- Social media competitions
All of these strategies can help drive list growth, and lead to more impressions and clicks on your emails and thus, more revenue over time.
The catch-22 here is the list needs to be quality before quantity. Be prudent with your deployment of the above techniques, as some of them may generate poorer quality leads.
We once had a client collaborate with a very well-known celebrity (A-lister) that collected 8,000 emails to their database during a sweepstake competition. I was adamant at the time these leads would be hurtful to our deliverability, but the client insisted we push them into our Welcome Series. Lo and behold, spam complaints went through the roof, and we had to do some serious work to salvage the account. Keep that in mind when you create strategies to drive list growth.
However, all things considered:
More subscribers = more reach = more conversions
ALSO READ: 9 Pillars of Email Marketing Success
3: Clicks = More revenue for your brand
The more traffic you send back to your website, the more conversions you’ll drive.
If you go into Google Analytics for any eCommerce store, you’ll normally find (9/10) that traffic from email drives more conversions at a higher AOV than other channels such as paid social.
Why is this?
Quite simply, your subscribers are already aware of your brand, familiar with your value proposition, and more likely to convert if they browse your website.
Therefore, the goal should be quite simple: maximise their browsing sessions by getting them back to your site.
Year over year, if you increase traffic to your website and the conversion rate is stable, you’ll increase sales.
The caveat here is that incessant product promotions wear thin after a while and lose effectiveness over email.
When this happens, clicks will stagnate and deliverability will be eroded.
The solution? Great quality content (like below).
To maximise clicks, you need to have a blend of timely product offers and excellent, engaging content. Both can drive traffic in equal measure when executed correctly.
As a rule of thumb, I like to send 2 content emails out for every product push, depending on the brand.
Understandably, there is the question of resource allocation within the company that potentially makes this strategy harder to execute for some. However, if you’re posting blogs, tutorial videos, and other marketing collateral, simply hosting them on pages on your site and driving customers back to them will generate sales if executed consistently.
More clicks = more returning customer browsing sessions = more sales
Let’s wrap things up and summarise the 3 fundamental pillars of driving more revenue with email marketing.
- Optimise your deliverability to maximise inbox placement and impressions per send
- Deploy positive list growth strategies to increase your reach consistently
- Create excellent content that drives more traffic (clicks) back to your website from your subscribers
If you nail these 3 tenets and always focus on them, you’ll always achieve strong results.
I cover this more extensively in Monster Email Marketing where I explain the exact strategies I've used to win deals with 8-9 figure DTC brands and continuously drive an additional 15% revenue from every email campaign you send.
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