With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on economies worldwide, companies need to leverage marketing avenues that work for them and sustain them in the years to come. Marketing during a crisis requires some finesse and a careful communication strategy with current and potential customers. Government restrictions and social distancing policies have led to a rise in eCommerce sales worldwide, and it’s estimated to account for 22% of all retail sales in 2023.
In recent years, the eCommerce industry has experienced a boom due to more consumers making purchases online—some for convenience, some for more competitive online prices, and now, due to the global pandemic, out of necessity. Since many brick-and-mortar stores have shut down temporarily or for good, online channels are the only viable means now and in the foreseeable future where consumers can shop for necessities and other household and personal items. It’s predicted that online shoppers’ population will grow into 2.14 billion globally, from the 1.66 billion global digital buyers in 2016.
Keeping Your Audience Engaged
Many marketers have highlighted the importance of SEO campaigns through the years, and getting online traffic is especially important today as the pandemic limits consumer shopping options. The problem with website traffic is that most new visitors to your website or online store will not come back unless you do something about it. The reality of online customers is that they don’t usually return unless you provide an incentive in doing so—be it special pricing, discount vouchers, or freebies.
If email marketing isn’t still a part of your marketing mix, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to engage with potential customers. Below are the main reasons you should consider email marketing.
- Email drives sales
Email marketing is a channel that helps in conversions. Although there’s no way to guarantee its ROI, the UK Data and Marketing Association study shows that you can expect an average return of $ 42 for every dollar spent on email marketing. History has also shown that it frequently outperforms alternative marketing channels when it comes to customer acquisition and retention. The best thing about email marketing is that it can drive the first sale and get revenue from your most loyal and valuable customers.
- Email builds relationships
While social media and search engines are great avenues to discover potential customers, nothing beats the personal touch that email provides. It helps build and strengthen customer relationships, so your new customers become regulars. Email marketing also plays a significant role in encouraging first-time customers to make a second purchase. Returning customers are vital for business because they keep customer acquisition costs down while helping the bottom line.
- Email affects the three main growth multipliers
According to Jay Abraham, there are only three ways to grow revenue: increase the number of customers (C), increase the number and frequency of purchases per customer (F), and increase the average order value (AOV). Customer acquisition can be expensive because it can become a race against your competitors; email marketing helps by influencing these three growth multipliers simultaneously. You can set up automated abandoned cart emails to increase conversion rates (C), rebate campaigns to increase a customer’s total number of purchases (F), and lifecycle campaigns to showcase high-value products to the right customers (AOV).
How to Use Email Marketing for Effective Customer Engagement
Email may be a personal way to reach out to customers, but sending unwelcome and irrelevant messages is the quickest way for you to alienate—even annoy—them. There are three main types of marketing emails with different objectives. Knowing the right time to use them will ensure that you send the right message at the right time.
Transactional emails are those sent during checkout and whenever a customer purchases your online store. It provides key information like the order number, receipt, and tracking numbers for deliveries. Functional in nature, these emails ensure that a customer has all the required information for a smooth transaction. You can also use order confirmation emails to upsell related products, offer free shipping or other discounts, and ask the customer to join your online community.
Promotional emails are used to raise awareness about specific deals or discounts offered to certain customers. This can be useful in promoting seasonal and time-sensitive deals that relate to customer interests. You can also send emails about new products or services you just launched or provide customers an exclusive sneak peek at products about to be released in the market. This is also a good opportunity to invite them to join your online community to get subscriber-only discounts or freebies.
These are also called “triggered emails” because they are sent depending on what a customer does and where the customer is in the customer lifecycle. Cart abandonment emails are an excellent example of this because abandonment emails are only sent when customers leave items in their online shopping cart. It’s a good idea to provide incentives for customers who choose to come back and continue to check out, like discounts and waived shipping fees.
Keep your emails relevant!
Email marketing is an ideal strategy because of the low risk involved. You can start with a small list of customers and gradually grow that list or pivot when things aren’t working out and re-strategize. It’s something you can gradually implement until you have an entire strategy in place.
The power of email marketing lies in its relevance; sending emails based on customer interests and behavior is the best way to leverage email marketing strategies. It’s also vital to know where customers are in the customer journey so you can tailor your message appropriately. With the changes to customer behavior caused by the global pandemic, now is the best time to get started on an email marketing strategy and keep your customers engaged and informed.