When you have an ecommerce company, you want to make your website as engaging to visitors and customers as possible. Not only do more engaged visitors convert and become customers at higher rates, but they also tend to leave more information about themselves—and that information can be used for targeting them with relevant offers and promotions.
However, it is obvious not all customers will convert. In fact, rarely will any ecommerce website have a conversion rate of over 10% to 15%. Visitors will visit your website, then leave without performing any actions. And if you do not manage to engage them, they may never return again. For this reason, it is important to re-engage with visitors before that happens. That way, they will remember your site, increasing the likelihood of them visiting it in the future.
Still not sold on the importance of re-engagement? Consider the following:
- There are more than 640 million active websites online.
- Of that 640 million active sites, there are approximately 20 million ecommerce websites. Only 600,000 of those sites make more than $1,000 USD annually.
With so many sites to choose from, it is no wonder why many websites only see single purchases.
There are three popular ways you can go about bringing visitors to your website: SEO, PPC, and social networks. Each of these methods has its advantages and drawbacks. SEO is often one of the primary means of acquiring visitors. While there is value in being a top-ranking website, your success depends on whether or not the user will click on your link in the search results. And if they do click, you are still working with an average conversion rate of 3.04%.
PPC campaigns, on the other hand, have a conversion rate of 2.70% for paid search and a rate of 0.89% for display ads. The costs of acquisition of the PPC traffic tends to grow on an exponential level—the more traffic you acquire using PPC, the more you pay.
Then there is direct traffic, with an average conversion rate is 2.93%. As a general rule, direct traffic is not part of a customer acquisition strategy, as it looks at visitors who are already familiar with your website, brand or products.
The final type of acquisition is email marketing. This gives you direct access to your customers, where you can create personalized messages that persuade readers to convert. In fact, personalization is why emails generally have the highest conversion rate—4.29% on average.
As you can see, email is the most effective of the four acquisition channels. Read further to learn more about how you can optimize your email engagement campaign.
Types of email engagement
The best way to use emails to engage and drive sales is to contact existing customers.
The primary reasons for this are:
- You have customer email addresses and have an idea which products they like.
- Knowing what the customers like can help you send laser-targeted emails, which customers are more likely to open and click through.
There are several types of messages you can send to customers to re-engage them. If successful, you can inspire customers to return to your website and make a purchase. Let’s see what these email campaigns can be:
- Thank you email
- New product announcement
- Sales notification
- Surveys and feedback emails
- News and interesting events on your site or field of business
- Discussions or solutions relevant to the products purchased
Thank you email
In the process of purchasing, (most) customers provide you with an email address. This opens the door to engaging them with a post-purchase thank you email. And since their previous interaction with you resulted in a purchase, customers should be primed to receive an email from you with some degree of trust. For this reason, your post-purchase interaction with customers should be thanking them for their purchase. This will lay the cornerstone of your future relationship with the customer.
You can use the thank you email to:
- Offer upsells or cross-sells to a customer.
- Draw their attention to the rest of your offer.
- Offer some advice on how to use the products they bought (if the products have multiple functions).
You can even use the thank you email to ask for feedback from your customer, invite them to register their products or become a part of your community and enjoy additional benefits.
To see how the thank you email can be used to optimize re-engagement, check out this example Flatspot sends when customers sign up for their newsletter.
New product announcement
Most ecommerce stores routinely add new products to their lineup. Contacting customers and informing them about these product changes is a good way to engage them. What’s more, thanks to email communication, connecting with them is easier than ever. Since it is extremely likely that you will know a lot about existing customers through their purchasing data, you can use this as a moment to offer them products they are likely to buy.
Here is a good hypothetical example of new product promotion:
Say you have an ecommerce store selling clothes, and a customer named Jane bought an item from your summer collection. Since you already know what types of product Jane likes, come spring, you can target her with items from the spring season she may be interested in.
Knowing what customers bought in the past, as well as how much money they typically spend, you can send out promotional emails informing them of new items. In Jane’s case, you can promote items in colors or styles she prefers, effectively increasing her chances of making another purchase.
Moreover, by matching your offer to the customer’s preferences, you make your email more relevant to the buyer.
Most ecommerce stores offer discounts and buy-one-get-one-free sales. And connecting with customers over email is an excellent way to inform customers that you are offering one or more products at a reduced price. As the new product information, you can use any data you have about your customers to send a more personalized and relevant offer.
Sending sales notification emails helps grab the attention of your existing customers and re-engage them with your website. As a result, they will be more likely to visit your site and convert again.
A good example of the sales notification is demonstrated by Payless’ email above. It offers 25% off all products as part of their Cyber Monday special, which is great for tempting existing customers and cart abandoners to visit the site and make a purchase at a reduced price.
Surveys and feedback
Did you know that emails are also great for gathering feedback from your customers?
Once a customer makes a purchase from your store, follow up with an email asking for feedback. There, you can ask if the customer found a good use for the product and if it fulfills their expectations. Sending feedback emails gives customers a chance to voice their opinions on products, your services, and any other relevant information—all of which can be used to improve your interaction with subsequent visitors and customers.
Just how valuable is feedback? Incredibly.
You can use positive feedback for testimonials and recommendations, while negative reviews can be used to learn which areas of your business need improvement. Additionally, conducting surveys enables you to learn more about your customers’ preferences, helping target them with relevant offers or optimizing your website to better suit their needs.
News and interesting subjects
Newsletters let you send customers scheduled emails covering important and interesting news about your company, your products or general field of your expertise.
For example, a company specializing in electronics could use newsletters to present new products and events (such as updates to mobile operating systems for devices they sell), as well as talk about interesting topics related to electronic devices or technology as a whole. This kind of email campaign is great for re-engaging with customers, giving them a reason to visit your website and buy products.
As you can see in the example above, Hush Puppies has been in business for over 60 years. And by including that in their newsletter, they are able to increase trust as well as generate website traffic through deals and discounts.
Discussions and solutions relevant to purchased products
As you build and maintain your online community (such as a forum or a social media community), try sending interesting posts and solutions to customers who bought from you. Anything from tips on how to use the product more effectively to solutions to common problems can go a long way in re-engaging your customers.
Retargeting is one of the most successful email tactics for a good reason. By connecting with low-activity customers, you’re able to remind them of your brand while touching base with them to see how they’ve enjoyed their purchasing experience thus far.
If a customer viewed a product and engaged with your product page, you can consider sending them an email with an offer for this product as soon as you can. You will profit from a timely relevant email and show your customer you care.
Consider the following: An ecommerce website selling high-quality linen moved from an exclusively SEO campaign to a shared email campaign, with 30% of its revenue coming from emails, in just one month by running a retargeting campaign.
The website had approximately 20,000 visitors a month, and 90% of them came to the website through organic search. In fact, the website ranked the first in few keywords specific to linen and bedding.
After creating a customer survey, the website owners discovered that a large number of customers were very satisfied with their products. The survey alone resulted in over 50% increase in conversion rate and more than a 25% increase in revenue.
While it was obvious the customers were very satisfied with the quality of service and the products, this did not translate very well into conversions. In fact, the traffic reaching the website through the organic search had very low engagement and conversions. They discovered that the visitors were not interested in purchasing linen, but rather wanted to learn how to care for the bedding they owned.
The first email campaign the website started in the form of July 4th sales and resulted in the acquisition of less than 200 new visitors in the first month it ran. However, the revenue was out of any proportion to the number of visitors. Moreover, the campaign generated revenue of slightly over $2,000 USD or ⅕ of overall revenue for the month in which it runs.
The company was able to achieve this result with less than 1% of all traffic reaching the website—a clear demonstration of how important email marketing is, even for sites with SEO.
In another case study, an ecommerce company achieved similar growth through email marketing. By using an email marketing platform to target customers with relevant data, they were able to boost revenue and re-engage their customers.
The company in question used Klaviyo, one of the more popular tools used for email campaigns. The other two popular email campaign tools are ConstantContact and MailChimp. While each platform is a little different, all enable you to retarget customers and boost conversions through a well-planned email campaign.
Using email may seem basic when compared to PPC and SEO, but it is one of the most efficient ways to convert visitors. Just remember, an optimized email is one with a catchy subject line and relevant content the customer benefits from reading.
Moreover, never forget to include UTM parameters in your email. That way, you can track the source of traffic and attribute the conversions correctly to an email campaign. If that sounds difficult, do not worry! Thanks to this free tool from Google, you can track emails in seconds.
Finally, always remember to add a dedicated landing page for your campaign that matches your email content. If your email offers a 10% lower price and free shipping, make sure to include it on the landing page where the visitor can immediately see it.
With these elements in place, you will be able to create an optimized email re-engagement campaign that increases traffic and converts leads into customers.