Email communication has been in use by the general public for roughly two decades now. In that time, the death of email has be touted again and again by various sources and outlets. With each new communication modality, such as social media, and most recently, Slack, many people were ready to tout the demise of email.

This has clearly never been reality. In fact, Adestra just released a 2016 study showing that email is stronger than ever. 73% of Millennials prefer to receive messages from businesses through email. Even the power of social does not compare to email.

Email has the power to generate leads, engage consumers, and amass sales; this is why email marketing is still one of the most powerful marketing modalities available. Despite email's prominence and ability, many ecommerce businesses fail miserably to convert through email.

While there are a number of reasons an email marketing campaign may not resonate with its intended audience, chances are many brands are making the same mistakes time and time again.

To help you alleviate the nightmare of not reaching your potential customers through the emails you spent hours generating, here are four essential elements ecommerce brands must include in their email marketing campaigns for stellar results.

Follow Up on Missed Sales

This may seem a bit obvious, but surprisingly enough, only about one third of e-retailers actually follow up on abandoned carts via email. With shopping cart abandonment rates increasing approximately 15% between 2010 and 2015, this is an opportunity that ecommerce brands cannot afford to miss.

GlassesUSA.com is one such retailer who has cracked the code on missed sales. The company's efforts have led to a conversion rate of 11 percent, which is sky-high for their industry. Boaz Ariely, Vice President of Online Marketing at GlassesUSA.com, points out that, "in some cases people leave a shopping cart for simple reasons such as an interruption or perhaps the credit card they need is not at hand."

The online glasses retailer will send out a series of follow up emails to gently remind customers about their cart; their second email will often contain a discount to incentivize the shopper. Mr. Ariely commented on this by stating, that "the key is to figure out the timing of when you send your first, second and third email, and the incentive doesn't necessarily have to come with the first email."

Following up on shoppers who were ready to buy but didn't ultimately make a purchase can be a huge win for retailers and can also help build brand loyalty by providing an extra discount to shoppers for their patronage.

Optimize Emails for Mobile

Mobile devices have become so ubiquitous in the past serval years that they simply cannot be ignored. At this point, nearly 70% of American adults own a smartphone. And since these devices can handle nearly every task that can be completed on a desktop, more people are opening up and responding to emails on small screen devices. Back in 2013, Pew Research Center found that 52% of cellphone owners use email through their device. When it comes to the aforementioned Adestra study, 86% of their respondents use mobile devices to read and reply to emails.

If you are thinking that bypassing email and going for SMS marketing is a good idea, consider this 2014 Forrester Research study which uncovered that 42% of emails from retailers were opened on tablet devices. The bottom line is that if you are not optimizing your emails to be mobile responsive, then you are missing out on massive portions of your audience who cannot be bothered with cumbersome email formats.

But it isn't just your emails that need to be mobile-friendly; your landing pages must be optimized as well. Daniel Brzezinski, the CMO of Email Marketing platform GetResponse says "If a consumer follows a link found in an email to a landing page that is not mobile responsive, they're likely to quickly leave the page and never come back. It's just a waste." Any website, landing page, blog post, etc. that isn't optimized for mobile is truly a headache that users just won't bother with. "In the age of mobile, you must provide these users with a seamless experience - otherwise, you will lose an ever-growing segment of your audience," adds Brzezinski.

Be Human

Nobody wants to interact with any piece of content (be it blog posts, emails, websites, or otherwise) if there is no personality permeating through the prose. Drab and boring emails, or worse yet those that people can tell were generated by a bot, serve no purpose for your marketing efforts.

The key to engaging recipients, beyond a great subject line, is to tell an excellent story. A compelling narrative is what makes any admirable piece of content successful. Your copy has to pull readers in and make them want to know more.

Consumers are turning away from typical marketing experiences at an unprecedented rate and have great resistance to sales messages. When brands tell a story, that defiance becomes minimized as a human element is introduced and sales pitches become something less abstract to readers.

Know the Types of Emails to Send

One big problem that retailers have when sending out marketing emails is sending materials that consumers don't care about. When it comes to sending communications to consumers, SaaS companies and ecommerce companies alike can send out welcome emails or account activation messages. But let's face it, no one who is buying products from an online retailer cares about the company's mission statement. While this is fine for SaaS companies to send, it only serves to turn off ecommerce consumers.

The point here is to stick to what you do best; email customers about current deals, relevant products to their interests, transactional emails, and other things that you know will pique the consumer's interest.

On Yaniv, Founder of Online Performance, an SEO and ORM firm says "As a marketer, you have an unlimited number of options to reach potential customers via email and it is important to know how to use email marketing effectively." You can take advantage of email marketing to share original content, company updates, promotions, and much more. "Keep in mind that each and every marketing email you send on behalf of your company should have some sort of objective, but simultaneously maintain a visual appeal," adds Yavin.

Email marketing is still as relevant today as it ever was. By perfecting your subject lines, including prominently placed CTAs, providing the occasional incentives, and going the extra mile to make sure you are connecting with your customers, the chances of your brand pulling in more sales drastically increases. Don't overlook this immensely powerful marketing channel.

Published on: Apr 11, 2016