Having trouble thinking of catchy subject lines, promotions or newsletter topics? Leslie Leach, head of marketing and operations at Plantt, an e-commerce solution for garden centers, shared her expertise on email marketing basics and fun campaigns at Cultivate’19 in Columbus, Ohio.
“First, it’s important to understand the five steps to a great customer email,” Leach said, “which are the subject line, body, CTA (call to action), timing and mobile.
For a strong subject line, she suggested using numbers and avoiding salesy language. For the body, Leach advised focusing on benefits, writing in third person and personalizing the message. For the call to action, Leach said it should be easy to spot and thoughtful and should avoid the overused, “shop now” language. She also advised to send emails any weekday between 10:00 and 11:00 A.M., and to always test emails on mobile phones to ensure device adaptability.
According to Leach, open rate is dependent upon how strong your subject line is, but the click through rate is equally important because it shows that consumers are digesting the information. “Click through rate is how well you deliver on what you promised in the subject line,” she said. “You want to bring those two things together for a great email.”
Email campaigns can fall into the welcome, promotional, social, automated, special and newsletter category. Leach suggested using an assortment of campaigns for creativity and personal touch.
A welcome email is used when an account is first created. It can incorporate a generic “thank you” to new users or the return policy to establish confidence for online shopping. “Any way to just make people feel comfortable about shopping with you,” Leach said.
Email two is a follow-up that is intended to build trust between the company and consumer. According to Leach, using testimonials is a good way to connect and establish trust. “Sharing what people think of you makes you more credible in their eyes,” she said.
The abandoned cart email is used when potential shoppers move items to their cart, but never finish the check out process. This email reminds consumers about their items and shows them that you care. “A re-targeting ad is when someone visits a particular item on an e-commerce site and neglects it, but sees reminding ads afterwards,” Leach said. “This is the same but by email.” This is also a good chance to suggest similar items that may complement a purchase, she said.
Segmentation is sending the right email to the right person at the right time. Some e-commerce behaviors that can be segmented are average order value, purchase frequency, previous purchases, products browsed, geographic location and personality.
Personalized emails can also fall into the segmented category by separating consumers into potential customers, website shoppers and repeat shoppers. For potential shoppers, you can offer first-time only coupons, suggest products based off previous purchases for website shoppers and offer loyalty coupons and request product reviews from repeat shoppers.
Promotional emails are good for announcing new products and services or highlighting on-sale items. According to Leach, purchase rates are higher when a “click here” link is included.
The category sale email focuses on one department and includes a set time frame of when the sale begins and ends. According to Leach, this campaign can be fun by leveraging psychology. By using FOMO inducing language, or the fear of missing out verbiage such as “limited time only” or “just a few days left,” Leach said consumers are more likely to purchase items they think they cannot get any other time. Flipping language is another way to leverage psychology. “Instead of saying ‘$10 off,’ say they have $10 to spend to make it sound more like a gift or credit, rather than a percentage off,” Leach said.
These campaigns are ideal for getting rid of leftover or excess items. They're also a good way to get consumers to shop online and browse extra items they may be inspired to purchase.
Special occasion emails are great for capitalizing from birthdays, holidays and seasons, Leach said. Birthday emails can suggest personalized items, while holiday and seasonal emails can suggest themed gifts that are contingent upon on the time. Leach suggested building a 12-month calendar to stay organized.
"This is something you can do to strengthen your social media presence and following,” Leach said. “You can ask consumers to invite friends to sign up, take a photo with success stories and use special hashtags for your garden center.”
Educational campaigns can be a mixture of curated and written content to inspire purchases and share knowledge. “It’s a much lush way of educating and encouraging them to buy something,” Leach said. She suggested doing an email round-up of information that’s helpful to certain regions, seasons and popular purchases.
While Leach suggested using the campaigns that work for you, she advised using a mixture of emails, like these 11 campaigns, to keep consumers enthused, involved and looking for more.