Net-a-porter makes 32% of it’s revenues (over $1.5 million dollars per month!) off the back of email newsletters.

The Direct Marketing Association says the ROI of email marketing is as high as $43 per $1 spent. As evidenced by Net-a-porter, building up an email markeitng list can be incredibly valuable – the secret lies in how to maximise the effectiveness of your list.

Below I’ve laid out a proven tactic for lifting your e-commerce newsletter conversions. This is a trick used only by the savviest of email marketers though it is now easy enough to do that any online store can make the most of it.

To make it work you’ll need to be sending out email newsletters. My recommendations to get started are Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp – both offer extremely simple toolsets yet are very robust. Write in the comments if you have any questions on where to begin, I’d love to help you get up and running.

Remarketing and why it’s awesome

Remarketing is the practice of retargeting individual customers who have expressed interest in specific products. It has recently become very popular in the world of display advertising and you will often notice adverts following you around the internet. Check out Australian e-commerce marketing powerhouses such as StyleTread and you’ll see what I mean.

Remarketing works. For every $1 you spend on display remarketing you’ll make $10 back on average. This is impressive but the great news is that email remarketing is up to 5 times as effective. Five times!

There are many psychological reasons remarketing works. As an example, statistics show that 85% of people who abandon checkout before completion state they intend to return. Reminding customers or offering them the right deal often prompts them to make a final decision.

The concept of remarketing is perfect in any situation where you know a customer has interest in a product or deal. Abandoned checkout is one case but in this guide we’re going to look at remarketing to customers when you advertise a special offer in your email newsletters.

Killer email remarketing

80% of the e-commerce newsletters I receive in my inbox (and I sign up to a lot) are advertising an offer available for a limited time only. Take this example from J.Crew, sent on Wednesday, September 19th.

As we can see, the offer expires on Friday. Firstly, it’s worth noting that these special offer emails work, no doubt about it. Secondly, as there is only three days to grab the deal this is the perfect scenario for some targeted remarketing because we can create a sense of urgency!

When sending email newsletters like the one above, here’s some practical steps for what you can do to lift your conversions by as much as 30%:

a.           Track what customers do after clicking through from the email newsletter. Do they look at women’s dresses or men’s shoes? Do they add anything to their cart? You can automate this with behavioral marketing software. It’s extremely insightful and, these days, very affordable.

b.           Send targeted emails to users who click through from the initial newsletter and then view a product that is part of the sale. For example if I click on the J.Crew offer and look at a pair of patent leather red pumps, I should receive a follow-up email that not only reminds me the sale is about to end but contains an image of and a link to the red pumps I actually looked at. This personalisation is very important as it builds rapport and speaks to each user individually.

c.           Send the follow-up email 12-24 hours before the sale ends (Thursday at 5pm, for example) to build a sense of urgency.

d.           Do not send emails to customers who have already bought something. They should go into another remarketing campaign that targets up-sells or cross-sells.

This is just an example, for illustrative purposes. It is not an actual campaign implemented by J.Crew.

The combination of personalisation and urgency created by following these steps is killer and is an example of re-marketing at it’s best. You’ve already done the hardwork building your list and selecting your sale items so you should maximise your conversions from each and every email you send out.

The best news is that you can automate this kind of remarketing using email marketing tools – including managing how frequently users receive remarketing content. This automation allows you to ‘set and forget’ your campaigns and, with conversion rates as high as 30%, you’d be mad not to invest a few hours in getting things going.

Get to it!

So, what are you waiting for? Compliment your email newsletter provider with some good behavioral marketing software and next time you send out your e-commerce newsletter watch your sales soar.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or via Twitter (@veroapp) about what behavioral emails you might have used in the past. How have you configured them and what returns have you seen? If you implement the above suggestions I’d also love to hear how successful they’ve been! Get in touch if you have any broader questions or want advice on ways to set this up.

Happy emailing!

Chris Hexton is one of the guys behind Vero, email remarketing software. He spends his days working with companies to improve their conversions using email. When not working he enjoys reading endless novels on his Kindle and playing his guitar. You can get in touch with him via @chexton on Twitter.

    6 replies to "Double The Effectiveness of E-commerce Newsletters"

    • Jeremy McDonald

      The ROI for e-marketing amazes me. But I think there is often a saturation point to sending too many as personally when I get bombarded too frequently I tend to just ignore them all. It’s also about finding that balance.

    • Heather Stone

      Awesome peek into a whole new level of newsletter marketing. If you use newsletters, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

    • Mark

      Thanks for the great article.

      Email marketing is to often cast off as spammy and a thing of the past – yet it’s often just misused!

      I just have to think about the amount of cash i have unexpectedly blown due to EMD’s!

    • Mark

      Excuse the typo! EDM*

    • Troels

      How can I do something like this when I’m already using a combination of Mailchimp and KissMetrics? Do I really need a 3rd tool to achieve this?

    • Chris Hexton

      @Jeremy – there is definitely a saturation point. Testing is the best way to find your ideal frequency and cotent. I know that’s quite an open comment but there are so many options (how many products to feature, design, email subjects, days of the week, time, etc.) that there is no other way! Hopefully tips like those in this post help give people a head start.

      @Heather – thanks for the kind words. Hopefully I can hear some new success stories based on people using this tactic.

      @Mark – ’emails of mass destruction’ ;)? If you deliver value (the whole point of segmentation, I think) then you are already on your way to being less spammy. There is no doubt email can easily be abused so one has to constantly be aware of what their customers want.

      @Troels – very good question. I have used both tools and although you could easily track the customers behaviour in KISSMetrics I’m not sure there is an easy way to circle back and drive a new campaign in Mailchimp. Someone could definitely export users who do XYZ from KISSMetrics and add them to a new campaign in Mailchimp, though that is manual unfortunately :(. Happy to brainstorm some more if you want chris AT It’s probably also worth noting, Vero integrates with KISSMetrics, just in case that piques your interest:

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