5 Frequently Overlooked Ways to Boost Revenue
During the busy holiday shopping season, retailers are looking for new ways to stand out in crowded inboxes. With shoppers in spending mode, it’s an ideal opportunity to engage them and start building loyalty. By focusing on a few, but often overlooked key areas, retailers can yield incremental revenue opportunities and gain an edge on the competition. Here are five ways to give your retail email program a boost:
1. Make it easy for consumers to opt in and provide information. Take advantage of the seasonal increase in site traffic by ensuring every page on your website has a benefit-driven email opt-in form. Collecting the email addresses of interested shoppers, even if they don’t make a purchase, will grow your database and allow you to continue to market to these consumers throughout the year.
Take this one step further by creating a preference center that allows consumers to help you make the email relationship as relevant as possible. Remember to ask for important information during the opt-in process, such as subscribers’ preferences related to format and frequency. Invite subscribers back to your preference center throughout the relationship to update their choices or address a more detailed, but still relevant, list of questions.
2. Use a welcome program to engage new subscribers. It’s always important to welcome new subscribers with open arms, so don’t let the holiday hustle and bustle cause you to overlook this important step. Effective welcome programs can drive subscribers back to your website, motivate them to make an initial purchase, increase their order size and become loyal shoppers.
Begin by sending new subscribers an initial message, distributed immediately after they opt in. Use this message to confirm subscription details and restate your email program’s value proposition. Ask to be added to their address book, invite them back to fill out a profile and/or request additional contact information. You can even offer new-subscriber incentives toward their next purchase.
Follow up your welcome message with a timed series of emails that show subscribers even more of what you're about. Highlight new or popular products, or even provide a survey that seeks to learn more about their first impressions and what they hope to get out of the email relationship.
3. Provide an experience that encourages social sharing. 'Tis the season for social sharing. When a loyal fan shares your messages to their social networks, you extend your reach by 24.3 percent on average, according to a Silverpop study. Make this possible by first researching which networks your subscribers are most likely to share on. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious ones, but depending on your niche, other social networks may also yield impressive social-sharing rates.
Test offers, copy and location to find out which elements are most "shareworthy." Some content practically begs to be shared, such as sneak peeks, special incentives or limited-time offers, while lengthy newsletters are less likely to be shared. Identify your most active sharers and offer them special benefits as appropriate. They can have a huge impact on your bottom line, so cultivate increased loyalty and give these brand ambassadors further incentive to share even more.
4. Create cart- and browse-abandonment campaigns. Shoppers have many reasons why they may fail to complete a purchase, especially during the busy holiday season. In fact, according to SeeWhy, on average, online shopping carts are abandoned 71 percent of the time. Retailers can recapture a significant amount of lost revenue simply by reminding consumers to purchase the items they were clearly interested in.
When optimizing your cart-abandonment program, consider creating a multiemail series, with the first message sent within a few hours after abandonment. Adopt a service tone, asking if the shopper had a problem at checkout. If so, offer to complete the transaction in other channels.
You may even want to consider not waiting for a cart to be abandoned before reminding shoppers of your value proposition. Browse-abandonment messages, which usually take the form of a friendly email noting the shopper looked at certain products and then left the site, can build on the success many retailers have had with cart-abandonment messages. These messages also confirm that you're in tune with recipients’ specific interests and that you want to be helpful.
5. Expand your email program beyond the purchase. Remember that post-purchase messages don’t have to be limited to purchase confirmations and shipping updates. By moving toward a "transactional 2.0" strategy, you can keep your email program fresh well beyond the moment of purchase — and help turn new customers into loyal shoppers.
Invite buyers to review their purchased product(s) and/or share the review with their social network connections. When customers do so, you can follow up with a review notification informing them that their review has been posted, thanking them for their help and potentially offering a discount or special offer. Other effective post-purchase messages include bounceback, replenishment, product use/care tips, feedback requests and purchase anniversary emails.
With so many advertising and marketing messages flying at consumers on a daily basis, retailers don’t have a lot of time to engage. By delivering relevant content and responding to customer behaviors using these tactics, you’ll not only make a stronger connection, but you can tap hidden revenue sources in the process.
Loren McDonald is vice president of industry relations at Silverpop, an Atlanta-based provider of engagement marketing tools. Loren can be reached at email@example.com.
Related story: Holiday and Social Media Spirit in Email Marketing