So let’s say you’ve got your eCommerce store set up with solid foundations in hosting and a good platform, and now you want to determine how you can sell more. Many times, your gut response might be to set up an ad campaign to find new customers. However, I’d argue that one of the most effective things you can do is work on your email marketing with previous customers. Not only have these people (most likely) already purchased, but they’ve agreed to hear more from you, so chances are they want to purchase more and will convert at much higher rates.
Getting customers to your website is great, but email marketing can be one of the most effective tools in your selling arsenal (check out this WP Beginner article on why email can be so important). First, giving out an email address is usually a much lower barrier for customers (or prospective customers) to cross, which in turn provides you multiple opportunities to engage this person. Building an email list should be important to your business, as it allows you to create a relationship with your customers to build repeat sales (which are cheap, since we all know customer acquisition costs money). Why do you think companies are willing to pay so much money to acquire email lists? They know that email is a powerful marketing tool, and that when used correctly, can drastically improve sales. Email marketing turns purchasers into customers and helps you grow your business.
Many of you know from your own habits that emails (1) reach your target audience, and (2) if written effectively, are very likely to be read (especially compared to a print mail offer). Email marketing improves overall customer satisfaction and reduces the risk of returns or negative reviews since customers feel a connection to the business or product. If done well, your customers will feel like they’re part of a community or ecosystem, and it allows you to simulate a “one-on-one” type of exchange without ever doing so.
You’ll still have to write quality emails to make sure they’re read by customers (and not instantly deleted), but having some tools to help you understand and test which emails increase conversions will also be really valuable.
Email Marketing Tools
If you want to manage a list of customer emails, you’ve probably already looked into some of the management systems available, like Constant Contact, MailChimp, or AWeber. These are only a few popular solutions, and selecting one will really depend on how you see the needs of your store and communication evolving. One thing I would consider would be whether you want the ability to split test (A/B test) different emails to see if you encounter a performance difference, or the ability to segment email lists so that you avoid sending customers irrelevant emails (for example, if customers tell you what kind of products they’re interested in, you can send them related information rather than info on all products). I’ve used MailChimp for both of these in the past and found it really useful.
There are also a couple of other options you should consider. Mail Poet (formerly Wysija) has an integration with EDD for checkouts, but is a free plugin that integrates tightly with WordPress. If you want to launch a newsletter with an easy-to-use interface, this may be something you want to try. However, it doesn’t allow you to split test different emails or segment users, so whether you use it or not depends on how to plan to approach your email marketing. It also lacks a lot of integrations with other cart systems at the moment, but has a growing user base and I think more integrations will come. The other option I would look at is Follow-Up emails for WooCommerce, WPeC (coming soon), or Jigoshop if you those platforms. Follow-up Emails has some useful auto-responder and coupon capabilities that you may have trouble finding with other email marketing platforms, and is built-in to your eCommerce plugin so that you don’t have to manage emails from a different dashboard.
Integrating Email Marketing and eCommerce
Now let’s talk about how each of these integrations fits into your store. Many of them already have generic integrations with WordPress, which is awesome. Usually, they allow you to use a shortcode or widget to provide a signup form. While this is useful, it’s also not as effective as it could be. Integrations with eCommerce platforms usually allow you to embed sign up checkboxes or forms within the checkout process so that you target your best audience: people that are willing to buy your product. Here are some of the most popular systems and which platforms have integrations for them:
Note that there are huge differences in price for some of these; that’s because each integration does different things, and some are official vs third party plugins. Some just add opt-ins at checkout, while others provide more management options and shortcodes/widgets so that you don’t have to use two different plugins. Don’t forget to consider support if you’ll need it. Regardless, if you haven’t decided on an email marketing system yet, you can see what choices are available to you for each platform and get started improving conversions from customers you’ve already paid for!