How to effectively target your online ­customers with email marketing – ignore this at your peril

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WE HAVE spent a few articles looking at how your business can benefit from email marketing. This time we’re concentrating on how to bring your online shop and email marketing together.

If you’re running an e-commerce site, being able to gauge the success of your email campaigns is vital.

Online shops can be set up so that they ‘speak’ to an email marketing system. If a customer subscribes to the online shop’s newsletter, it can tell the email system details about what they have bought. This information can then be used when you want to send more targeted email campaigns.

For example, let’s say you sell pet supplies online and one of your best customers is Bob.

If Bob has bought dog products from you it would be pretty safe to assume that Bob owns a dog. You now have a new range of dog treats to launch, so you could create an email campaign aimed solely at dog owners: “Treat your dog to our new tasty doggy delights.”

By sending the campaign only to those who have bought dog products in the past, you can keep its content very specific and targeted.

If Bob has also bought cat products, you could assume that he is a cat owner as well and would be an ideal candidate for receiving news about your new cat treats, too.

The more targeted campaigns are, the more receptive your customer will be to them and the better chance you have of making that sale.

Let’s bring back Bob for a moment. According to your email marketing data, he started by purchasing puppy food a few years ago. It’s likely he still has the same dog, so you could target him with emails about products for dogs that are a few years old.

Similarly, other customers might be buying ‘senior’ foods, so could be likely candidates for receiving news about your new range of products for older dogs.

The more that time passes and more orders you receive and the more data that you can build up, the more you can start to target more niche segments.

When you send a campaign from your email marketing system, you’re likely be including links to products in your online shop.

If someone who clicks on one of those links then goes on to make a purchase from your ecommerce site, information about the purchase can again be passed back to the email marketing system. This allows you to see how much revenue each email campaign is generating for you.

As we talked about last time (http://eepurl.com/FyCWD) testing variations of your email is the only way that you’re going to find out what’s the best style of email to send and when is the best time to send it.

Try using different styles of subject line, layout and delivery day/time for your campaigns.

Over time you should get a picture of what combinations work best for your own business.

So that pretty much concludes our look at email marketing. I hope these last few articles have given you an insight into just how powerful it is, and how it is still a vital tool to have in your marketing box. Ignore it at your peril.

Until next time – good business.

Andrew McEwan of The Web Workshop in Morebattle (www.thewebworkshop.net) helps businesses in the Scottish Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.