Elements of E-Commerce | Email Marketing: Personalization

Welcome to Thanx Media’s “Elements of E-Commerce” blog series. Follow along as we wade through the nuts and bolts of e-commerce technologies that you need to know.

Today we’re diving into modern email marketing. Emails are some of the strongest marketing tools available—email is 40 times as effective at engaging customers compared to social media. But we all know about cluttered inboxes, so do we really think anyone is opening all those email blasts? As it turns out, personalized emails are pretty effective. But customers need them to be engaging, focused and relevant to keep them from a quick trash click.

In this post, we’ll go through some of the best practices for successful email marketing using personalization. Join us in our follow-up post, Email Marketing with Automation & Data Analysis, which will walk you through automation solutions that keep your email marketing up to date and your customer base growing.

Email Marketing Best Practices to Personalize & Engage

⋅  Grow your email lists from signups — Don’t bother buying mailing lists; there is way too much email, and consumers do not have the time or patience to open email from sites they don’t recognize.

⋅  Catch attention with your headers, especially by personalizing — Subject-lines and preview lines are your chance to grab attention. Personalizing the subject line to include your reader’s name or a demonstrated interest make it more likely (26% more likely) they will care enough to read further.

⋅  Don’t end personalization at the subject line. With automation, you can keep personalizing from subject line through text and any footers.

⋅  Keep your emails short and write good copy — Readers’ attention span is best kept by 50-125 words that are well written, and entertaining or interesting (not just attention-grabbing).

⋅  Make content interactive — Asking your reader to engage with your message is the best way to help the message sink in and capitalizes on the attention already given to the email. Try some of these:

º  In-email buttons that navigate your reader to complete a call-to-action (CTA)

º  In-email navigation, with hamburger menus or search

⋅  Use animation and video — Make sure your reader can see your message easily, even if they don’t fully read your content; animations, like thoughtful and relevant GIFs, and short videos are easy to consume and easy to remember. These also help emails feel interactive.

⋅  Tie your emails to the customer journey — Make emails personalized by responding to the customer’s behavior, e.g. reminding customers of items in their carts. Automation offers the ability to respond to many different behaviors with targeted email; we will look at these more closely in the second part of our email-marketing discussion, so check back!

⋅  Use the captured attention of transactional emails — Emails such as order confirmations and receipts are viewed 4-8 times more often than other marketing emails. Why waste this time with your customer? Include more information that will entice the customer back.

⋅  Send live social media feeds via email — Expand the reach of a Twitter or Facebook feed by sending updates via email. Don’t send every update and do make sure this type of email is targeted to the reader’s interests.

Check back for our continued discussion: learn how to implement these email-marketing goals.

Part 3 | Source B2B E-Commerce Talent Creatively

Welcome back to Part III of our series discussing the three key issues highlighted in the Forrester report “B2B E-commerce: A Trillion Dollars For the Taking”. Now that we’ve talked about the importance of optimizing the B2B customer experience and reviewed some tips on how to overcome channel conflict between e-commerce and direct sales, it’s time to talk about staffing.

Technical and Nontechnical Talent Needed for B2B Organizations

B2B organizations moving into e-commerce need to begin staffing to optimize the B2B experience to match B2C expectations. This will include:

  • merchandising,
  • personalization,
  • marketing, and
  • technical management

for creating online features such as those common to B2C online shopping.

In addition, B2B organizations need to address more complicated:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Sales force enablement
  • Purchasing workflows
  • Complex pricing models
  • Custom catalog and contract pricing
  • B2B specific fulfillment methods

Finding the Right Team

Staffing for the future of B2B e-commerce is going to necessitate training, collaboration, and creative thinking. The Forrester report “B2B E-Commerce: A Trillion Dollars For the Taking” offers a couple of insights:

  • Import talented B2C staff — According to the report, “Most B2B e-commerce executives tell Forrester that they prefer to hire employees who have a background in B2C e-commerce on the grounds that many strategies and tactics that have succeeded in B2C will also succeed in B2B.” A winning strategy is to hire talented B2C professionals: they can share insights to help create B2C-like experiences while being trained on B2B needs.
  • Convert promising internal employees — Many companies initially grow a B2B e-commerce presence by establishing a cross-functional team from tech management, marketing, and customer service for initial website setup. Rather than repositioning your focus or looking for outside staffing after your website is up and running, the report suggests that success may come from retraining these internal resources as part of an ongoing e-commerce team.