7 Email Strategies

Whether you are new to email marketing or have been refining your email strategies for years, there are seven initiatives that are essential for your continued email marketing success.

Increase Your Segmentation Efforts

Email marketing data offers incredible segmentation power and the ability to take advantage of small audience segments that might otherwise be financially or technically difficult to reach. If you haven’t started segmenting your list and sending more targeted messages based on recipient data or behaviours, start today.Most of the research in the email industry indicates that segmentation yields significant gains in email conversions.

Some typical strategies for segmentation include:

Geography. This is an easy, fairly obvious segmentation strategy. For example, your customer in Florida is unlikely to be interested in a snowmobile. And your customer in Minnesota probably isn’t interested in a jet ski—in the winter, anyway. Geography can also be a powerful indicator of buying patterns and other influences on the purchase cycle. Take the high tech industry, for example. In high tech pockets like Silicon Valley early adopters are far more common.

Demographics. This is another easy one, and can make a lot of sense. For example, we know men and women can interpret information quite differently. Younger vs. older audiences take in information in different ways as well.
Job title and function. Are you emailing potential users with no—or all the—buying power?

An owner or CFO may want to know about ROI. A middle manager may just want to make his or her job easier. And an engineer or programmer wants to find better ways to work. And so on.

Purchasing frequency. Less frequent purchasers may require a time sensitive offer to encourage them to act. Or maybe you want to reward frequent buyers with exclusive privileges via email. Monetary spending. Adjust resources so you’re dedicating your efforts toward customers who spend the most money with your company.

If you have been segmenting your email audiences, don’t stop. Try to find new ways to segment and look at segmentation based on historical email activity, perhaps treating people who are frequent “clickers” or “openers” differently.

Rethink and Refine Your Opt-in Campaigns

Perform a check-up on your opt-in processes. Review everything from the data fields you’re collecting to the confirmation email you are sending afterwards. Small changes can mean big gains in new audiences, as well as setting the proper expectations for subscribers.

The language you use, the support graphics, and the staging techniques you employ can make a huge difference—between being totally ignored and creating an evolving, dynamic relationship that can enhance database precision, enrich dialogue, and help you showcase a larger scope of services.

Furthermore, if you’re not using strict opt-in policies, start now. As recipients continue to tire of unwanted email, you’ll continue to see declining response rates if you are not using an opt-in-only process.

Clean Your Lists and Try to Maintain Them

Perform a thorough cleaning of your email lists. This does not necessarily mean blindly deleting a bunch of names, but rather using segmentation strategies to treat historically inactive recipients differently than people who are actively opening and clicking on your email messages. Here are some suggestions for periodically cleaning house:

Design for Disabled Images and Preview Panes

Audiences are increasingly looking at your messages without images turned on. (It may not be their choice, but rather the default of their email client.) Make sure your messages are still readable and compelling without images. This may mean designing messages using fewer images, or including a short list of articles at the top of your newsletter.

This technique works well for people who are viewing your message through a preview pane as well. Making sure enough content is placed in the upper right hand of the message to give recipients something to act upon will be important to success rates.

Institute Authentication Standards

Email authentication has reached critical mass, and will continue to grow in importance for email delivery. If you haven’t already, make sure you set up SPF records, Sender ID records, and mail using Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication whenever possible. Proper use of these authentication methods will help your deliverability and will contribute to building a positive reputation for your domain.

Your IT department and/or email service provider should be able to provide specific steps on how to set up these authentication methods. They can also verify which authentication methods are set up already if you’re not sure. The chart below shows a very simplistic and conceptual view of email with and without authentication.

Expand Your Email Testing Efforts

One of the best ways to refine your email strategy is through testing. If you’re a beginner at this, the simplest form of testing is splitting your email list into A and B segments, and sending each segment a message where one element, and only one element, is varied: subject line, copy, image, layout, offer, call to action, etc.

Then analyse the results to determine which variation was more successful in increasing response, and optimize future messages accordingly.

Whenever you’re testing, remember the six steps for email testing success:

1. Ask a question

2. Form a theory

3. Create the test

4. Segment the list

5. Measure and analyse results

6. Make changes

If you’re already a testing pro, or have performed some tests in previous years, keep refining what you have learned to continually improve your campaign performance. As with many of the other initiatives we’ve outlined, small and continual gains can provide major dividends.

Rethink Tired Campaigns

Marketers are increasingly seeing the power that email marketing can have when used properly as part of the marketing mix. We encourage you to go beyond the status quo with your over-arching email efforts and aggressively build your campaigns to deliver better results and new opportunities.

Rethink campaigns that have run for a while, and look at analytics to uncover new avenues of content or functionality that your audiences may respond to. Email offers a unique platform to quickly and cost-effectively change campaigns for the better. Take advantage of these unique abilities to maximize your efforts.

Making Your Shopify Store a Success

You may not be aware that there are many other applications and software connections that you can integrate with your Shopify store. With all of the various programs that are being added each month, it is likely that even this list, current at the time of the writing, will be outdated by the time this book reaches you.

But if you understand some of the programs that are now available, you will be able to find more of the same in the more recent programs offered, or simply newer versions of the ones mentioned here. At the very least, when you have completed this chapter you should be able to know where to look for add-on applications that will make it much easier to run your Shopify store.

Accounting:

Accounting is one of the most important parts of your business management. You need to keep track of what you are spending and how much, so that you can make adjustments that will make your business as profitable as possible.

In addition, you’re going to need a down-to-the-penny tracking to report your taxes and have all of your paperwork in order if you need to defend your accounting in an audit. Luckily, Shopify can be integrated with some of the biggest third-party accounting software packages like Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero and more.

Inventory Management:

You’ll also need a way to keep track of your inventory and the tools that are offered by Shopify may not have every feature that you require. You can automate the process of replenishing inventory as little or as much as you’d like.

You can track what the frequency of item sales so that you can get recommendations on which ones you need to replenish right away and which ones you can worry about later one because the chances are lower of them selling, and you can even automate the process of ordering if you like. Whatever inventory management setup you prefer, you can find a software solution that will provide it.

Customer Service:

When it comes to customer service, you want to go the extra mile. You need people to feel as if they can get in touch with someone if they have a problem because otherwise, they might not buy from you in the future.

There are a number of automated solutions that you can integrate into your Shopify store that will make your customer service better and easier to manage. From feedback and comment systems to live chat support, there are many ways that you can integrate third-part applications to make your customer service great.

Social Media Management:

Social media management isn’t just a good idea in today’s online business, it is absolutely vital to the success of every ecommerce website out there. Social media management is definitely one of the aspects of your site that has the most automated tools associated with it.

Whatever social media platforms that you are using, there is probably an application compatible with your Shopify store, and for the major ones, there are many. Shopify already has some integrated Facebook and Twitter tools available.

Marketing:

Marketing is something else that you might need some extra help with. Because marketing is important no matter what kind of business you are in, but difficult to manage if you are a one-person ecommerce website, automated tools that help you market your products are definitely a plus. Often, marketing is combined with social media, but there may be other avenues that you’re pursuing as well.

Sales:

If you want to create more sales, you need to implement some compatible third-party programs that concentrate on things like upselling a customer, or giving them impulse buying options, as well as things like customer loyalty programs that make them want to come back.

Reporting:

There are definitely some reporting tools that are already integrated into your Shopify store, but if you want to get more information than what these standard tools provide you might have to install third-party applications that give you more comprehensive reports.

Things like what your customers viewed before they made a purchase, how long they spent on the purchase page, which products they skipped over and most definitely where they came from to get to your site are all details that you can gather and analyze to make your sales numbers higher.

Shipping:

Shopify probably has one of the best shipping programs already integrated into the store. The way it works is this: a customer purchases an item from you, including the shipping cost. You then purchase the postage-included shipping label from Shopify at a discount – with the amount of the discount depending upon which plan you are currently enrolled in – and send your customer’s item on its way. However, if you don’t want to use the integrated shipping tools for whatever reason, Shopify does allow you to set up your own custom shipping options.

Misc. Tools:

There are far too many tools out there that can be integrated into Shopify to include a list here, but what might help you further are some suggestions on where you can find these programs. One of the richest resources is right on Shopify’s own user forum.

There are probably hundreds of threads with programs that can be integrated into Shopify, and if you have a particular question, there are other Shopify users there, some of them with many years of experience, that can help.

Why You Should Start a Shopify Store

While there are some enormous benefits to starting an ecommerce website, there may be even more benefits to doing it with the Shopify platform. In fact, many of the risks and the potential problems mentioned in this introduction that come with having your own e-store are minimized or eliminated thanks to the Shopify platform.

Whether or not you start an ecommerce business is up to you, but if you decide you are going to, you definitely need to do it using the Shopify platform. Here are just a few reasons.

  1.  Your store design costs normally would be thousands of dollars, for getting a website designer that not only has the skills to create a great looking website, but also to program all of the ecommerce functions you need including security. But with Shopify, there is no huge investment of thousands of dollars. You just pay one of four tiers of pricing and you get the perfect ecommerce website.
  2. You get the benefit of the entire Shopify team. You aren’t just getting a website template with Shopify, you are getting a ready-made store that has already had all of the bugs worked out and has been re-designed and re-worked so that it functions perfectly and has just about every feature that you could possibly want.
  3. The platform is so intuitive that you can start building your store right after logging in. You might have to look at the help pages to use some of the more advanced features but for adding products and customizing design as well as other basics, you can start doing it right away with almost no learning curve.
  4. You have some incredible security. By law, an ecommerce website has to take certain steps to protect a customer’s financial information, but you don’t just get sufficient security with Shopify, you get some of the most highly rated security features of any ecommerce platform on the market today. You don’t have to worry about programming security protocols or making sure that your site is protected on all sides from thieves who want your customer’s credit card numbers. Shopify does all the work for you.
  5. Shopify is designed to help you reach your SEO potential. If you were to pay a designer for a custom ecommerce site you would spend thousands of dollars or perhaps even tens of thousands of dollars and you wouldn’t get the features that you get with Shopify. One of those features is their search engine optimization. With Shopify, your e-store has the best chance possible to rank high in the search engines and bring you lots of organic traffic.
  6. You get analytics that tell you exactly what is going on. With Shopify, you can see exactly where your customers are coming from, what keywords they are using to reach your site and where they go once they get there, not to mention how long they stay. All of this information has one primary purpose – to allow you to tweak your Shopify site and your marketing and promotion efforts to get as many people coming to your site as possible and then getting them to stay there once they arrive. You still have to offer great products, but Shopify helps you market your site much more effectively and gets customers to show up, which is half the battle when it comes to ecommerce.
  7. Your site is already optimized for mobile and will continue to be optimized in the future. With Shopify, you get a responsive website that will work with any mobile device and as this quickly becomes the primary way that people shop, your ecommerce website is only going to get better, as the engineers behind the platform ensure that you always keep up with the technology.
  8. You get hosting with your site. Shopify has an advantage that many ecommerce platforms do not share – your site is hosted by them, and your payment gateway and other shopping cart features are already taken care of. Not only does this save you money since you don’t have to pay for hosting, you also will always have enough bandwidth to support your traffic and of course, you get security with the hosting that is unrivaled.
  9. Shopify is extremely reliable. Shopify didn’t get to their spot as the number one ecommerce platform by accident. They are so popular and so widely used because of how reliable the platform is. When your store begins to get more traffic, you will lose money for every second or minute that your site id own. Using Shopify minimizes the chances of this as much as possible.
  10. Shopify has numerous apps created for your use. The Shopify app store has some talented designers creating programs that you can use to make your ecommerce store even better. You can customize the appearance of your site and do a great deal with Shopify but with the app store you can create an unstoppable force in the world of ecommerce.