Emailing customers is a great way to grow brand recognition and sales for your eCommerce business. Unfortunately, there are a number of pitfalls that can make even the best-intended campaign a failure. Your online store customers want to hear from you, but want to do so on their terms and in a way that serves their interests. Great emails show appreciation and deliver value. Great emails strengthen the relationship and reinforce the customer's good decision to do business with you. Bad emails are impersonal, untimely, and all about the online store - not the customer.
To send customers of your online store great emails that they want to receive and help grow your business, it is important to understand what NOT to do. Here are mistakes to avoid, essentially a list of "worst practices" when emailing customers on behalf of your online store.
Mistakes to Avoid When Emailing Customers
Don't be spammy
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it is still a problem. Spammy emails are unsolicited messages that are generally sent in bulk. They are often low-quality and full of promotional material or links to websites that are trying to sell something. Not only are these types of emails annoying, but they are also a surefire way to get your messages marked as spam and end up in the recipient's junk folder. If you want to avoid being labeled a spammer, make sure that you are only sending emails to people who have signed up to receive them (more on this later).
If you are emailing customers from your primary domain then it is critical that your messages not come across as SPAM. If they do, both customer and SPAM filters will start to think negatively not just of your email messages, but also of your business as well. It is possible to send so many unwanted emails that enough customers mark your messages as SPAM and your entire website becomes inaccessible. That would literally ruin your online business completely.
Don't be impersonal
Another mistake to avoid is being too impersonal in your emails. This can come across as cold and sales-y, and will likely turn customers off. Instead, focus on building a relationship with your recipients by personalizing your emails as much as possible. Use their name in the subject line and throughout the body of the email, and include other relevant information like their purchase history or product preferences.
When emailing customers, it is important to be friendly and empathetic. This means putting yourself in the customer's shoes and thinking about what they might want or need. It also means being understanding and considerate and responding to any questions or concerns in a timely manner.
Friendliness and empathy go a long way in establishing trust and building relationships with customers. They show that you care about your customers' experience and are willing to go the extra mile to make sure they are happy. This is essential for online stores, as customers can easily shop elsewhere if they are not satisfied with their experience.
Make sure to always aim for a friendly, helpful tone in your emails, and always be prepared to respond to customer inquiries promptly and politely. Building strong customer relationships is key to the success of any eCommerce business.
Don't be untimely
Another common mistake is being untimely with your emails. This can mean anything from sending too many emails (bombarding your customers' inboxes) to not sending enough (leaving them wondering if you've forgotten about them). It's important to strike a balance here and find a cadence that works for both you and your customers. A good rule of thumb is to start slow and increase frequency only as needed.
You also want to make sure that your messages are hitting your customers' inboxes at a time when they're most likely to be read and acted on. Here are a few tips for picking the right time to email your customers:
Send emails early in the morning. Studies have shown that people are more likely to open and act on emails that arrive in their inboxes first thing in the morning. This is because they haven't had a chance to get bogged down by all of the other messages they're going to be receiving throughout the day.
Another great time to send emails is later in the day when people are winding down and preparing for bed. This is a great time to send them messages with promotional content or links to your online store. Emails sent in the middle of the day are likely to disappear into busy inboxes and work obligations. Be mindful of when you send your emails if you want them to be read and, hopefully, responded to.
Pay attention to holidays and other special occasions. If there's a holiday or special occasion coming up, send an email blast reminding your customers about it. This is a great way to show them that you're paying attention to what's going on in their lives and that you care about them.
Don't make it all about you
When emailing customers, it's important to remember that it's not all about you or your online store. Your messages should always focus on the customer and their needs. This means including helpful information, special offers, and anything else that would be of interest to them. If you make the mistake of making your emails all about you, you'll likely see a decrease in engagement and even opt-outs.
Instead, focus on building a relationship with your recipients by personalizing your emails as much as possible. Use their name in the subject line and throughout the body of the email, and include other relevant information like their purchase history or product preferences. This will help to ensure that your emails are seen as valuable and relevant by your customers.
Don't forget the call-to-action
Every email should have a clear call-to-action (CTA) that tells the recipient what you want them to do next. This could be something as simple as clicking through to your website or taking advantage of a special offer. Without a CTA, your emails will lack purpose and direction, and are less likely to result in conversions.
Don't use a "no-reply" Address
Using an email address like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org is a huge mistake. Customers and recipients of the email feel frustrated that they have to track down how to contact you in another place. Even worse, by using this kind of email address you are implicitly telling them "I want it to be difficult to get in touch with me. I do not actually want to hear from you."
Instead, use an email address that will allow customers to reach out to you directly with any questions or concerns. This could be a general customer service address or even your own personal email address. The important thing is that it is easy for recipients to find and that they know their message will actually be read.
Don't forget to customize your emails
So much technology exists to make customization and personalization simple. Avoiding this technology is a huge mistake. Customers expect not only to see their name in an email but also a reference to their order or a different product they might find interesting. Avoiding customization (either by hand or using technology) is downright lazy.
Emails are more effective when they are specific to an individual. Using Windsor, for example, to customize the videos in your emails gives recipients a dynamic and highly-personalized message to consume. In addition to improving the effectiveness of your message and increasing the chance of a successful conversion, Windsor videos help you stand out in otherwise crowded inboxes.
Don't hide the unsubscribe button
One of the biggest mistakes that eCommerce businesses can make is hiding their unsubscribe button. This can lead to a lot of customers leaving your list, and it can also be seen as being rude or unprofessional.
The best way to avoid this mistake is to make sure that your unsubscribe button is easy to find and prominently displayed. You should also make sure that it's clear how to unsubscribe from your list and provide a link to more information if needed.
Making it easy for customers to unsubscribe from your mailing list is not only the polite thing to do, but it's also the smart thing to do. It ensures that you're only sending messages to people who are actually interested in hearing from you, and it helps keep your email list healthy and engaged.
Best Practices Are Great, just Remember to Avoid Worst Practices, Too
By avoiding these five common mistakes, you can set yourself up for emailing success and start growing your eCommerce business. Just remember to keep your customer top-of-mind with every message you send.