Email marketing is a magical thing. Instead of waiting for a new or past buyer to stumble on your site, with email marketing you can take a product page and literally send it to the subscriber’s inbox.
But because marketers exploit email marketing so much its effectiveness goes down with each passing year. Shoppers are getting more emails, and they’re receiving these emails more frequently.
Here is the typical story with nearly all email marketing programs: they start with the online retailer sending maybe one email a month. Then one day you decide to send 2 emails every other week and see a nice bump in sales. Aha, doubling frequency had a 80% lift in sales (it isn’t as good as 100%, but hey, 80% ain’t too shabby).
A few months pass and you get antsy so you up the frequency to 3 times a month. This time the bump in sales is even smaller but the overall revenue through your emails is still impressive. When you were sending an email a month you had time to craft a thoughtful message that had a personality. Now email marketing is more cookie cutter.
The trouble with this story is that it leads to a bad place because eventually you’ll end up sending emails twice a week. What you’re experiencing here is the law of diminishing returns; and it sucks.
So what’s the way out? Send customized emails: messages that have a very specific focus and are addressed to a very specific subset of your mailing list.
Should a person buy Goodyear tires, he or she may be added to Goodyear’s mailing list. When winter rolls around, it stands to reason Goodyear would like to let their customers know about their new snow tires. Do Goodyear customers in Florida need that email? No. But Michigan customers do. And if you want to make this email even more effective send it out to Michigan shoppers 24 hours after a major snowstorm.
Jeromes.com is a furniture site. On their homepage they have a link to a page called Jerry’s Bloopers (pointed by red arrow in screenshot below):
First of all, this is a super clever page name and the link begs to be clicked. Then, when you do click it you’re greeted by this banner–
Very clever. I love it.
I predict that in 5 years free shipping will be the norm.
Let me paint a picture. E-commerce started to take off 8 years ago because manufacturers who were paying slotting fees (definition) to stores like Macy’s and Sears realized they could use Google AdWords to directly establish 1:1 relationships with their customers, and save a crap load of money.
Obviously this didn’t make Macy’s and Sears of the world too happy so they made threats (“If you want our shelf space you better not think about setting your own store.”)
But you know what they say about holding back a tsunami.
It was this uncoupling that really made e-commerce take off. To get a sense of how big e-commerce is today consider this: Bigcommerce and Shopify are two well known shopping platforms and they host 95,000+ and 200,000+ independent businesses respectively. That’s 300,000 mostly small entrepreneurial businesses on just these 2 platforms. And there are over 100 large platforms out there (not to mention custom stores).
But there is an elephant in the room: shipping fees. The data is very clear on this: shoppers hate the idea of paying for shipping. Some data is open to interpretation; this isn’t.
If you’re selling a high margin item you can absorb shipping fees. But if you’re selling a handmade soap for $6.95 you have no option but to charge shipping.
Jet.com is a site that’s had a lot of publicity recently (is touted as an Amazon killer) because they’ve identified a way (details) to give shoppers lower shipping prices.
But Jet.com has scale and soaptopia.com doesn’t.
For the Soaptopias of the world to survive they need the help of UPS and FedEx. These shipping giants have scale and (if they put their mind to it) can figure out a way to disrupt shipping price structures.
For example, if the FedEx truck is delivering a package to house 5498 in my neighborhood then the marginal cost of delivering one more package to house 5497 is nearly $0. Right now FedEx doesn’t share those profits.
A small business would always want to have a direct 1:1 relationship with their customer (they don’t want to depend on jet.com) so they want UPS and FedEx to develop a solution. If FedEx charges soaptopia.com 50% less for shipping (based on marginal cost argument above) then soaptopia.com can (and must) absorb the remaining 50%. Moment that happens US e-commerce market will grow from $300 billion to $900 billion. It’ll be a win for soaptopia.com, FedEx and soap shoppers all over the US.
Just my 2 cents.
I was on owletcare.com. Then I moved my mouse to exit the site and saw this popup–
This is a very clever strategy because while owletcare.com knows I’m not going to buy right now (I’m exiting in under 30 seconds) they want to at least get some demographic info about me. And what’s even more clever is that they’ve shown a multiple choice question that’s very easy to answer, so most people will select an option (it’s pretty much impossible to not make a selection if you have a baby). And once you’ve made the selection (I selected the 0-6 months option) they show a new screen–
What’s really clever about the second screen is that it is related to the option I selected (0-6 months). The copy reads, “Owlet is designed to fit most children up to 18 months old and give your Peace of Mind“. The “Owlet is designed to fit most children up to 18 months … ” line matches my selection. Also, the Peace of Mind messaging is smart because it’s the emotional need Owlet is looking to solve. Obviously every parent wants peace of mind, who would say “no” to that?? And below that is the big ask: enter your email here. Oh, and by the way, the appearance of a smiling baby isn’t an accident.
This is how great marketing is done.
Great About Us pages draw us in and remove any lingering shopper doubt. We wrongly assume that large companies can’t have a warm and fuzzy About Us page. They can. Here’s one example: https://www.4imprint.com/infopages/AboutUs.aspx
Once you’ve successfully attracted, engaged and converted someone the next logical step is to inspire them to invite their friends.
Pebble is a watch company.
They’ve created a video that’s targeted to people who own a Pebble. The video introduces a new, more classic design, and requests Pebble fans to spread the word–