Email Marketing for Online Retail

According to the e-Marketing Outlook 2013, survey by Octane Research, “Email continues to be effective marketing channel with a staggering 99% of the respondents revealed that email marketing programs were effective in meeting desired goals in 2012.”

With email marketing’s ability to bring in immediate clickthroughs, makes it an important medium of communication for online retail companies in comparison to other offline organizations. Email Marketing also allows ecommerce companies to target consumers by altering emails as it helps to analyze customer order history and by creating a strong automated email marketing strategy and businesses can foster growth.

Why Email Marketing?
Many believe that Email Marketing is an important medium for customer acquisition, and according to a survey by Octane Research, customer acquisition is the primary goal for marketing initiatives with more than 50% of Indian Marketer opting for it over customer retention of brand awareness. Apart from this, it is also seen as a way to find new customers and retaining old ones; marketers also find it as way of getting additional businesses and building relationships with clients.

Best Practices
Though email marketing is cheap and keeps brands visible, but companies need to follow some practices while designing their email marketing campaign and especially while designing their newsletter as its important to reach right consumers with the right message and at right time; then only businesses can reach good results.

  • Must fit your brand: While designing your email marketing, brands must make sure that their campaign suits their brand i.e. it must be as per the company’s colours and logo, as this makes the readers to feel more familiar with the brand.
  • Content: Sending an email is just not enough, but to make sure that customer click or read, the content must be engaging and should educate and inform the customers; for this marketers must keep in mind:
  1. Subject: Must be attention grabbing
  2. Must have social media icons
  3. Should have a clear call of action
  4. Consistent branding
  5. Easy to unsubscribe
  6. Use images with links
  7. Right content to image ratio
  • Send what customer wants: As all customers or buyers are not the same; marketers must segment their newsletters rather than sending them to all the customers so that the customers receive only what’s relevant for them to check. They should also make groups or categories based on the type of customer i.e. customer, potential customer or new customers; which category a particular customer looks for; as sending this type of relevant data helps in to make recipient get involved,  engaged and also gives them a feel of personalized correspondence rather than making them feel exaggerated by sending large number of newsletters, as poorly targeted emails lead to fall in engagement, loss of attention and thus decreased response.

  • Frequency and correct timings: Correct frequency and timings for sending emails is the key drivers for bringing in more consumers to the websites; marketers must plan their plan their email marketing strategy keeping them in mind. As per Octane Survey, “Almost 70% has been sending emails to their customer base at least once a week. 32% are mailing daily and 37.7% are mailing weekly.” Too many emails may lead to high un-subscription rate and few emails may result in brand not being at the forefront of the customers mind. Many marketers even face immense trouble in choosing the correct timings and frequency for engaging customers by email communications. Few believe that emails must be sent on the consistent basis for keeping consumers informed about additions on the website.
Related Read:  How 3 Unicorns Started Their Marketing on Twitter


  • Email List: Focus on Quality not Quantity: Be it any medium of marketing the primary objective i.e. customer acquisition remains the same; but marketers must not only focus on building their email list but building list of customers who bring value and revenue to company; Quality must be focus not Quantity. As you are just not building email list but building company’s value thus marketers must focus on high performing email list.
  • Links: Though there are no rules for the links in email marketing, but it’s always preferred that the links must open directly to the website aligned with the email content as this makes purchasing easy. With this, number of links in the mail also makes a difference, few believe that too many links gives a chance for high clickthroughs on the website, but they should keep in mind that this doesn’t only reduces readability of text but also makes mails end up in spam.
  • Think about Mobile: While planning the email marketing campaign one should always remember that with the integration of smartphones and tablets, large number of customers open their mails in these devices, if this ignored the opportunity to market will be lost. So marketers must make sure that the landing pages must be optimized for mobile.
  • Measure your success: For knowing how much email marketing has contributed to reach out your set goals or met objectives, brands must constantly review its statistics;
  1. How many opened the message
  2. How many unsubscribed
  3. How many visited website

In email marketing, one of the significant challenge faced is ‘Reaching Inbox’, marketers are trying to outsource this business function to ESP (Email Service Providers). By outsourcing to ESPs and leveraging the scale offered by cloud computing marketers are able to get the best performance without the need for additional investments. Thus by outsourcing to ESPs, the campaigns are delivering optimum results and driving up the impact of email marketing.(Octane research). To reduce inbox clutter marketers should;

  1. Use light images
  2. Identify best time to send emails.
  3. Proper subjects and messages
  4. Increase personalization and targeting
Related Read:  How 3 Unicorns Started Their Marketing on Twitter

Expert Comment

“There is no denying in the fact that, email marketing is a great tool for business owners to use and let their audience know about the promotions, new arrivals, contests, and other significant things. It is a communication channel between the business and its customers. There is no such so called challenge in this medium of communication. Businesses can easily reach to the inbox of their customers and let them about their products, offers and other things in a very effective manner through pictures, videos and written text. It is rather one of the most cost effective communication medium which can be used to target a large number of audiences. But, the main thing to be considered in email marketing is make your customer read your mail every time, so the information you are sending in your emails should be of interest to the customers otherwise unsubscribe rate can swell and the whole purpose of email marketing fails abruptly,” said Manoj Chandra, Founder & CEO,

  • Zain Sayed

    Email marketing is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Email marketing can be done to either cold lists or current customer database. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to:
    Sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business,
    Sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately,
    Adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers

    Email marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies for several reasons:
    An exact return on investment can be tracked (“track to basket”) and has proven to be high when done properly. Email marketing is often reported as second only to search marketing as the most effective online marketing tactic.
    Email Marketing is significantly cheaper and faster than traditional mail, mainly because of high cost and time required in a traditional mail campaign for producing the artwork, printing, addressing and mailing.
    Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of email subscribers who have opted in (i.e., consented) to receive email communications on subjects of interest to them.
    Almost half of American Internet users check or send email on a typical day, with email blasts that are delivered between 1 am and 5 am local time outperforming those sent at other times in open and click rates.
    Email is popular with digital marketers, rising an estimated 15% in 2009 to £292m in the UK.