What are the top online retailers doing with email that makes them so successful? Loren McDonald and the team at Silverpop had the same question and, thankfully, the research to answer that question. During a BIG !deas session at the Summit, McDonald covered a number of practices that the top 600+ retailers are doing that others are not. Here are just a few areas he touched on to compare to your own email strategies:
1. Opt-in Processes. According to McDonald almost half of all retailers are hiding their opt-in messages at the bottom of their webpages. There is, he said, a difference between how the top retailers position opt-ins and the rest of the retailers on their websites. Of those on their top retailer list, 92% feature the opt-in throughout their website prominently, compared to only 84% of those not on the list. In addition to making sure that your customers can easily find your opt-in, McDonald recommends considering thinking beyond the traditional opt-ins. For example, follow Moosejaw’s example and include an opt-in on your Facebook page. McDonald said that since 66% of people prefer social sign-up instead of filling out a form, the better customer experience will be found by offering both ways to sign-up.
2. Welcome Emails. Consider all the emails your company sends. Which one was is the most important? McDonald says it just might be your welcome email. Using the example of Tafford Uniforms, he explained that the first welcome email sent to customers generates six times the revenue of a broadcast email. And yet, according to their research 32% of retailers are sending no welcome email at all.
3. Opt-out Alternative. 34% on Silverpop’s top retailers list offer opt-out alternatives. That drops to just 22% for the rest of the retailers. There are a number of alternatives that you can offer in addition to a opt-out including letting subscribers change how often they receive emails, what format they come in, which email address they come to, etc. According to McDonald, often 20-30% of subscribers will stay if you offer them alternatives. Retailers might even consider offering a “snooze” options to their customers like J&P Cycles does. Allowing customers to take a break from newsletters and emails for a month or two would certainly be preferable to them unsubscribing and potentially not signing up again.
Whether you are a top retailer or just getting started, making sure you are doing the above will go a long way in ensuring your email marketing is effective and your customers are happy to hear from you.