Email marketing is the stalwart of modern communication. Reliable, scalable, and a direct channel to communicate with your audience. Modern naysayers and technologists will always have the latest communication gizmo that is going to kill email… but like the Terminator, it’s not going anywhere.
However, there is one challenge that remains constant: creating better email campaigns.
In this post, I want to outline five strategies for maintaining and improving your email engagement so that you can stand out from your competitors and continue building your business.
There are many marketers who do not respect their customer’s inbox and, as a result, they hit their audience with non-stop emails. Act now! Limited offer! Buy buy buy!
It’s a good thing you don’t send a deluge of emails like that though. Right?! But what about the negative consequences of poor marketing? Are your customers suffering from email fatigue?
Open rates are declining now as readers are less likely to open marketing-related emails. Moreover, if they do open your email, it is imperative to add value and relevant content. You don’t want them to add you to their “do not open” list!
Here are the results of a 2016 study by Smart Insights that shows key email metrics by industry:
Your email efficacy will depend on your niche, geography, and variables like Subject Line and content. But it is helpful to see global benchmarks for other email marketing campaigns.
Emails and the Amazon seller
The email game is slightly different if you are an Amazon seller. You can reach out to your customers via Amazon’s messaging service, however, there’s no guarantee that your recipient has opted into your emails.
For that reason, you have to be especially captivating and engaging from the beginning, in order to start off on the right foot!
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Why is engagement important to sellers?
Email marketers like to think of their customer relationship as a long continuum: from awareness to interest, from purchase decision to post-sale. Depending on the sales cycle, this continuum could last a few days to a year, or even longer.
As an Amazon seller, the time frame is short and sweet. You’ve already sold your product, and now you have one goal with your email followup: a product review. Therefore, you need to have a sniper-like mentality with each email you send.
Be precise, have a specific goal, and don’t overshoot (ie don’t send too many emails)!
And here are five ways to add value with your follow up email campaigns:
1. Test subject lines
As an Amazon seller, because you only have a few chances to follow up to get a review, each email sent to your customers is critical. Therefore, you want to test different subject lines to ensure you have identified the optimal subject line that gives you the best open rates possible.
Subject lines that are direct, relevant to a customer’s needs, and engaging are going to increase the likelihood of an open. This is where it is vital to have a deeper understanding of your customer personas, so you can tap into their needs and desires.
Let’s use the following as an example: our bamboo marshmallow sticks, called Jungle Stix.
It’s a seasonal product (summer and fall are peak seasons), and is sturdier and longer than our competition’s alternatives. It’s a great product for family and social events around the campfire. For those reasons, in my email I would want to play up those qualities.
You need to be thoughtful and creative. If customers don’t open your emails, they are unlikely to leave a product review.
2. Test send times
There are some general best practices around send times and which time yields the best open rate. But this data is based on a bunch of emails sent to people who are not your target audience. You’ll need to find out what works best for your own customer base.
Jungle Scout can help you do that.
It gives you the ability to time your email delivery, anywhere from ‘asap’ (as soon as possible) to 15 days later. That means you can specify when an email goes out based on when the order has been confirmed, shipped, or delivered.
And when it comes to converting an Amazon sale into an Amazon product review, this customizable email delivery feature can be set according to the content and goal of the email.
For example, you may want to let your customer know you received their order. In that case, you would choose “asap” and “Confirmed”. As soon as Amazon can confirm they bought your product successfully, and they let us know, we’ll send an email to your brand new customer!
Give people time
However, if you want to ask for a product review, then you need to give your customers time to use it. Requests for a review should be spent several days AFTER the product has been delivered.
To be even more specific, if you sell a supplement (again, just as an example), you would want to ask for a review at least two weeks after delivery. Your customers need a chance to experience the effects of the product.
But if you are selling a cell phone case, it can be used and experienced immediately. For a product like this, you may want to send your review request within a week of it being received.
In the end though, the only way to find out what works best for your customers is to test! Test different time intervals. Time different event triggers. Try to send out emails at different time sequences, and determine which combination generates the best results.
Your audience will tell you what’s working when they open your emails!
3. Segment your audience
The key to successful email marketing relies on thoughtful segmentation. This is because you only want to send relevant and engaging emails to your audience. And not every customer fits the same customer profile.
So think about the messages you send, and the reader on the receiving end of the email.
Now, if you were running an eCommerce store hosted on your own website, you could get much more specific with segmentation. It could be based on past behavior on your site, purchase history, or any number of characteristics. But segmenting on Amazon is much more limited.
On Amazon, you can send different email campaigns, depending on which SKU or child ASIN your customer purchased.
For example, if you have a private label brand with several products, you would want to tailor your messaging based on the product they purchased, and not just flat out asking for a product review regardless of what was in their cart.
Taking it one step further, you may want to highlight different features and benefits depending on the purchase. Let’s say you sell a high-end product with a warranty or guarantee. You need to elaborate on that, reinforcing the products quality.
Or, if you have a product that is less expensive than your competition’s, you can assume your customer is cost-conscious. Therefore, you can mention the immense value of the product, despite it’s low price point.
Remember, your main goal is to align your customers’ needs with your messaging to maximize relevance and value.
4. Calls to action
There is one classic line from the movie Glengarry Glenross that is oft-repeated in sales seminars:
“ABC: Always Be Closing.”
The best sellers are laser-focused on one thing, and that is the sale. But when it comes to Amazon, the sale isn’t complete until you’ve gotten (or tried to get) the review! So the “sale” you need to get is a product review; laser-focus on that one thing.
Don’t send an email asking for several things. Imagine yourself on the other end….you just purchased an item, then you receive something along the lines of:
“Can I get a product review? Am I a good seller? Can I get seller feedback? And please tell your friends to buy my product! Oh, and go to my website and subscribe!!!”
Oh heck no!
If your customer only has to focus on a single request in your email, then the likelihood of them taking action increases significantly. Reduce your “Call to Action” to only one action-item per email, and you will see your email engagement improve. Your product reviews should increase as a result too!
5. Test frequency of emails
As I mentioned before, email marketing is a double-edged sword: a very effective marketing tool to empower you as a seller, but a tool that can torpedo your efforts if misused.
One of the most common causes of unsuccessful campaigns is burning through your email list. By this, I mean that you have sent too many emails—emails which aren’t relevant and don’t add value—and therefore your customer list has tuned you out.
To avoid that from happening to you, test the frequency with which you send your emails. Find out if you’re sending too many, or too few.
And before you enable your email campaigns, think through your “funnel”. How you will “convert” your reader and get them to complete the desired action?
Your funnel should allow you to build a relationship with the reader, establish trust, reinforce the value of your product, and ask for your product review.
Can you implicitly do this in one email, or two, or three? Email fatigue kicks in very quickly these days, so if you can accomplish the above in three emails or less, you’re doing well.
Plus, as I mentioned earlier, each email you send has the added challenge of getting the reader to even open it! It’s a challenge that gets more and more difficult after each email.
I hope these five suggestions help you increase your customers’ engagement through your email campaigns. There are so many moving parts when you’re communicating via email, and each challenge is a potential roadblock to you achieving your goal. But don’t let it get you down.
The good news is that your customers will tell you what works for them. The better news? You don’t have to ask them a thing! By split testing and monitoring the results, your shoppers will tell you which images, bullet points, titles, price, etc. are more enticing.
And if you’re using Jungle Scout to send your automated email campaigns, the Reviewer Analytics dashboard is a simple way to identify which email strategy yields the best results.
Best of luck to you!