Last updated - July 8, 2021
E-commerce business owners (and Marketers) today are spoilt for choice when promoting a product or service on the internet. Majority of which default to digital ads across Google and Facebook to drive traffic to their website. And while these are extremely potent and viable choices for your marketing needs – is it the most effective channel?
The short answer is No. No, it’s not. A closer look at reported ROIs for all significant marketing channels reveals that email marketing is 40 times more cost-effective than social media marketing and about 20 times more than digital advertising. This is mainly because email marketing requires a significantly lower investment than promoting across social media or digital ads. But also because native advertising platforms and the ones on social media, by design, limit your post’s outreach unless you invest heavily into promoting it.
More importantly though, this cost-effectiveness results from the platform’s nature in itself and how its elements can directly impact user conversion rates. It’s become increasingly important to segment your audience to be marketed with content that is personally relevant and accessible to them. This works in favor of email marketing as emails are generally consumed within the privacy of one’s inbox (as opposed to publicly available social feeds/display ads) where they stay permanently and easily accessible until manually deleted by the recipient. Also, email is the only platform that can truly be personalized with recipient details and curated content is extremely valuable for any business. Since most social media and digital advertising is a blink and a miss chance that may or may not individually appeal to a target user.
So what are some simple and sustainable email marketing strategies you can deploy to substantially grow your WooCommerce store? Read on to find out.
Whether it’s a list of favorite items to purchase later or a traditional shopping list to share with family and friends – Wish lists should be part of every e-commerce store’s user interface as it promotes the habit of cataloging products users are interested in but not necessarily have the intent to purchase immediately.
This works in your favor by not only providing valuable data about your user’s validated tastes but also by eliminating transactional barriers by making products easily accessible for purchase on return visits by the user.
(Yith is one of the highest rated Wishlist plugins for WooCommerce)
Wishlists offer a huge content opportunity for stores to cash in on using emails. Email your users with curated product recommendations inspired from their wish lists, offer time bound discounts on saved products and bonus rewards for sharing wishlists with friends and family. Emails can also be used to send out reminders and updates on depleting inventory to create a sense of urgency and scarcity to push for a purchase.
Give users the option to collaborate with their friends (registered on your website) to curate multiple lists as per their tastes and need. It’s the digital equivalent of shopping together and hitting the trial room before checking out. And can be as simple as sharing the same wishlist between two accounts that synchronise changes simultaneously. It may be well worth the trouble since 84% of people reported they trusted product recommendations from friends and family the highest when it comes to making a purchase.
Product reviews not only enable customers to share their opinions but also can be highly influential for prospective customers in making a purchase decision.
Word-of-mouth traditionally implies the collective goodwill a product or service acquires on the basis of its users actively speaking positively about it to their peers. As such, product reviews directly equate to word-of-mouth for websites as nearly 90% of consumers look for a review when purchasing products online. This is especially true for new e-commerce stores that need to build up credibility and social proof for their business.
(CusRev is one of the highest rated Product Review plugins for WooCommerce)
Integrated alongside wishlists – product reviews can be sent as email updates to users that have the product saved for later purchases. Incentivizing your customers with redeemable rewards for submitting reviews along with highlighting the most upvoted (or helpful) reviews with a dedicated email or a shoutout on your store’s email newsletter will not only invite more reviews by gamifying the whole review process – but also promote the product to new buyers and motivate your mailing list to consider making a purchase.
Give your customers the option to share their review with friends and family. Reports suggest that reviewers like the admiration and validation of their opinions from their peers. Giving them the opportunity to let people know gives them a subtle incentive to contribute more.
The distinctive difference between a generic referral program and a milestone referral program is the latter’s incentive nature of tiered rewards. Traditionally, users on e-commerce stores tend to make 1-2 referrals in lieu of a one-off benefit – usually a discount in form of store credit. This works great to get a couple of new customers every once in a while, however it doesn’t maximize the potential of your referral system.
A milestone referral program fixes this by setting up referral goals (milestones) for customers to reach in order to avail unique offers and rare rewards meant as tokens of achievement. Think of it as a game where you level up each time you make a referral and receive better benefits as you keep referring more and more.
(AutomateWoo is a robust and versatile referral plug-in for WooCommerce)
A milestone referral program can be set for any aspect of your marketing that encourages store visits by new users. You could set it up to grow your newsletter mailing list to a million subscribers, to promote a specific product or promotion or even a conventional store referral program. Besides referral emails being sent out, the channel can also be used to entice and encourage more referrals from customers by reminding them of the rewards in store for their referral efforts.
When done right, referrals are effectively the most lucrative channel of marketing. Make the process of referring as simple as humanly possible for your customers so you don’t lose them mid-process trying to shuffle between browser windows to search and type in one contact email id after the other. Use a contact picker so users can send invitations directly from their preferred email address books.
(Make the sharing process easier and better to get more referrals)
Gift Cards & Coupons
I know what you’re thinking, gift cards sound like a fancy way of getting paid referrals. And that’s true to a large extent but there’s no incentive for your customers to preemptively purchase gift cards for their friends and family without truly benefitting in any way. A slight twist could be an up front automatic discount on a customer’s first order that’s reflected in a gift card coupon that can only be used by another person. This will infer a first time purchasing customer to push the reward forward – in perpetuity with each new customer.
(Loom Gift Notes is a simple plug-in that lets you personalize your gift cards)
Have your customers give you additional details like selecting products/categories of interest to the gift card recipient in order to personalize your gift card email further more and to segment new referred customers into the right nurturing funnels, leading to 44% more purchases. Regular email reminders of pending rewards and special discounts based on the sender’s selection will incentivize recipients to make a purchase faster than you know it.
Delight customers for their generosity by showing them some love. Reward frequent buyers of gift cards with a special coupon for a year round flat discount attached to their account. This encourages users to purchase more from you and also develop loyalty when receiving something unexpected in return.
Newsletters can be game changing marketing implementations when done the right way. Capable of bringing a variety of relevant content to your readers/customers based on their interests and activity on your website – a regularly scheduled newsletter can bring information on active promotional campaigns, products, shout-outs, trend reports, reward program etc., to drive return visits and traffic to your store each month.
the very first step to succeeding with newsletters is to segment your audience on the basis of their interests and activity on your website. Create messaging funnels for readers at different stages of the buyer cycle and curate your newsletter content to contain a variety that’s attractive to a specific target audience. You could also embed a reward system (similar to milestone referrals above) to encourage your consumers to share the newsletter forward.
Find excuses to feature your customers on your newsletters. This can be for winning a reward, making the most referrals or submitting a review. This validates customer efforts and inspires others to follow. The recognition could also motivate featured customers to share the newsletter with more people than they otherwise would have.
(TheHabitSociety offers a newsletter feature as the ultimate reward)
The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Email Marketing Strategy.
Segment Your Audience
Carefully analyze user behaviour data and interaction to identify and funnel your visitors into the right messaging buckets. Segmenting your audience makes sure you are meeting your prospective buyers at the right stage of the funnel with content that’s appropriate and valuable to them. It helps you craft better messages, relate to your reader and be directly relevant to your email recipients.
Personalize Your Marketing
Email is the only marketing channel that can be personalized even at scale. So be sure to use dynamic fields to directly and independently address each of your recipients with their names. Get creative with your customer’s data to find talking points that engage your audiences. It’s well worth the effort since 26% of marketers reported seeing a $3-5 ROI for every dollar spent on personalized marketing. That may not sound like much until you are part of the 9% that reported $20 or more ROI for the same dollar.
Make Sharing Easier
Be it a shout-out on social media, a referral using email, or a direct message across the internet – Make it easier for people to talk and share about your product, brand, and business with their circles. Have direct social media share buttons on all pages of your e-commerce website, use a contact picker for all forms that require your user to input an email address, and regularly remind customers to share the love. It’s prudent really – make it easy to share, and people will share more.
Analyze The Right Data
Equally prudent to making sharing easier is the necessity to analyze the data you gather about your customers and actively seek ways to improve their customer experience. And not just analyzing drop-off or click-through-rates but also unique sharing metrics like sharing viability, email open rates and cost per acquisition. More and more e-commerce stores collect visitor data but rarely dive deeper into analyzing their metrics, don’t make the same mistake.
Being Generic and Boring
A common mistake e-commerce stores make is skimming on opportunities to showcase and show off their brand a little. Ending up with email campaigns that feel generic, uninviting or dull to readers. Whether it’s an announcement, an update, a promotion or the monthly newsletter – emails offer a great opportunity to embrace your brand personality and connect with your readers in a way that entices your audience beyond your website.
Trying Too Hard
Another common mistake is to show-off your brand a bit too much. While it’s great to embrace your brand essence as suggested above – it’s also important to practice moderation. Don’t forget – the ultimate star of all your communication is and should be your reader. If what you have to say is too self preserving or self involved then it’s going to turn off your audience and potentially cost you a potential paying customer.
Having A Terrible Referral UI
The biggest impediment to getting a substantial number of referrals is just how difficult, counter productive and taxing making a referral typically is online. Email ids are complex and not necessarily memorable. Yet, most e-commerce stores expect their users to input email addresses into the refer field from memory. Or worse, by switching to another browser window, finding the email address, then switching back and typing them. Over and over – separated by a comma. It’s terrible. A mistake made ever so often despite having a simple fix.
Ignoring Your Best Customers
Any action your customer’s take in your favor could lead to lucrative results for your business. So make sure to dedicate resources and efforts to acknowledging, rewarding and celebrating each customer that puts in the effort to promote your brand. Send reminders about incentives and rewards to encourage more shares and gratify their efforts at every step of the way.
And there you have it. 5 simple and sustainable strategies to grow your WooCommerce store and the best practices you should follow to see substantial results. Good Luck!
If you have any questions or additional suggestions sound off in the comments below!
If you would like to quickly assess your website’s current sharing features to grow your word-of-mouth sales – Check out our 3 Step Better Sharing Workbook.