Email marketing is a powerful way to connect with your audience and build new income streams for your ecommerce business. We sat down with Abound’s very own email marketing expert, Ellie Stamouli, to pick her brain on what she recommends for Abound makers to get featured in our emails, and what she thinks all makers and retailers should be doing with their own email lists.
What’s the role of email versus other marketing channels (social media, experiential, etc)?
All channels are needed, but email engages with customers and puts your brand top of mind. Using data that comes built in with email systems like Klaviyo helps you deliver the right message at the right time. Email also allows for tailored messaging so you can segment data and target specific audiences.
How do makers get featured in Abound’s email campaigns?
Everyone has a fair opportunity to be featured, it really just depends on your profile and the emails we happen to be sending.
The most important things brands can do to increase their chance of being featured is to complete their Abound profile early and with quality content in every area available. Some brands choose to only upload a few products when they begin with us, but we encourage people to upload their entire line immediately so that we can feature them in our ‘new arrivals’ emails. Brands with only a few items are less likely to be featured, and we send these emails weekly to all of our retailers.
Make sure that you’ve completed your brand story, ideally with a few short paragraphs about what makes your brand unique and what your personal story is. Retailers love looking at this section of your profile so it will help you no matter what, plus our email and social teams use this section to write copy about your brand when you’re being featured.
Also make sure that your product photography is up-to-date, high resolution, and on point. Your header image should be a relevant lifestyle image that instantly evokes what your brand is all about. The ‘managed by’ photo should ideally show your smiling face, even if you’re shy, people want to connect with a human, not another version of your logo. Your product photography should be high quality and include some lifestyle photos as well as product photos. The perfect size for us is square (ideally 760×760 pixels), since that’s the crop featured in email and Instagram. Multiple photos on each item, especially ones that show the product being used in various situations, also help tremendously.
We also send out weekly topical emails, so if you have products that are seasonal or holiday themed, please upload them as early as you can so they’re up in time for our early promotions.
What email strategies should makers and retailers be using for email campaigns that go directly to their customers?
First, choose the right email service platform, I recommend Klaviyo because it has great templates so you aren’t starting from scratch. For small business owners who are worried about being overwhelmed with getting into email marketing when they already have a whole business to run, I recommend getting two automated campaigns started: your welcome email campaign, and an abandoned basket email campaign.
When someone lands on your website, have something set up so that they know they can sign up for your email list in a fairly obvious way. Don’t just put the signup in your footer and assume people will find it. After that, make sure that as soon as they sign up, they get a welcome email with a 10%+ discount. If you aren’t doing this already, this is the best way to capture lost sales with email. After that, you can continue a welcome series of emails that keeps those customers in touch with your brand.
The other big must for small businesses is to have abandoned basket emails. If someone gets all the way to putting something in your cart, there’s a good chance you can convert that into a sale.
Just a few more notes on email campaigns, remember it’s twice as expensive to convert a new customer than to make an existing one come back, so it’s really worth it to email people who are already your customers. It’s always great if you can use customer’s social media photos with your products to promote them. If you have products that need to be bought at regular intervals, set up an email campaign to make sure they’re getting an email from you at those intervals. I always recommend A/B testing everything, because as much as there are trends, there are always exceptions to those trends. Test everything from copy length, to button color and send time.
This is a lot to do, how do you recommend managing this for someone who isn’t experienced and/or doesn’t have the time?
YouTube and other platforms have free training courses where you can learn a lot. Each email platform usually also has its own training course. You can always hire a consultant, which can be a great option if you have the budget to do so, experts can often get these systems set up in the fraction of the time it would take someone unfamiliar with email to do.
How often should you be sending emails?
Once you start emailing people, you have to keep up—or else they’ll go ‘cold’, ie. unresponsive. That’s why it’s important to pick a flow you can maintain, every 2 weeks is a good flow in general for small businesses, and it can even be once a month.
Make sure you’re emailing people based on how often a customer would need to repurchase a product, and whenever you need to update people about noteworthy things that have happened within your business.
How can folks do a better job at getting subscribers to join their email list?
Start with the homepage, it should be easy to find a way to subscribe easily. Have it at the top navigation as well as a popup. The best way is to have a timer so that the popup doesn’t happen immediately, but allows customers to browse for a bit and then see a popup.
For the actual content of the popup, I recommend a good image, playful wording, and talking about your products. Make them want to subscribe! You can also use your social media to convert people to your email list, remember, if Instagram goes down tomorrow you’ll still have your email list!
How do you make an expressive subject line?
Personalization—use the name of the person or subject you’re trying to reach in the subject line. Also, keep it succinct, utilize the preview text as a continuation of the subject line or to get more interest, pull out a quote from a customer on how that customer is getting value from you, and try to uplift people using humor and positive messaging!