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How to Create a Sales-Generating Email List for Your eCommerce Business

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It may be the oldest form of digital marketing, but often the oldies are the best for a reason. Yes, that’s right – email still reigns supreme when it comes to generating sales and leads for your eCommerce business. 

There’s nothing quite like the ability to send marketing material directly to your customer’s inbox. Not even social media can compete with that access. 

This article will demonstrate how you can create a sales-generating email list, opening up a marketing channel that will boost sales, conversions, and your overall eCommerce business prospects. Let’s get started. 

1. Define your audience

Identifying your target audience is crucial to the success of your email marketing campaign. It is one of the essentials of email marketing nowadays. Here’s how to define your target audience.

First, identify your current audience by collecting their demographics and other personal details. These include age, gender, location, and income. 

You can find this personal data using various tools. Google Analytics is a great one to use, and its custom segments can reveal lots of rich demographic data such as age, gender, and interests.

You should also review your customer database. Use the information that you have available from these sources to get a better understanding of your customers. 

2. Create a buyer persona

Once you’ve gathered relevant data, create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of the type of customer you want to target. 

You can have multiple buyer personas for your eCommerce business. Don’t create too many – this can become unmanageable. Below is an example of a buyer persona. It should give you a sense of what you should aim to create.

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The immediate benefits of having a clear buyer persona are clear. You will better understand your customer base. Those insights should translate into marketing material that engages your target audience and sales material with higher conversion rates.

One golden piece of advice when creating your buyer persona – don’t waste time on irrelevant information. You need to profile your buyer’s decision, not the buyer per se. After all, the buying decision is what you want to influence, as this is what leads to those precious sales and conversions. 

3. Create separate product landing pages

Creating separate product landing pages for your website is a tried and tested method of boosting those all-important conversion rates and eCommerce email marketing sign-ups. 

You want to give each customer the impression that the shopping experience is personalized to them. The more appreciated and welcomed each customer feels, the more likely they will trust you with their email address. 

The primary purpose of a landing page is to promote instant sales and conversions. Therefore, the more landing pages you have, the greater the chance of sales and direct action on behalf of the user. 

Great landing pages have clear call-to-action elements, such as ‘buy now’ or ‘shop now’ buttons. See how Fitbit demonstrates this so effectively below.

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Each landing page you create should target a different customer segment and address special offers, deals, or products you offer.  

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Many landing pages ask for a customer’s email address outright. The business often offers something for free in exchange for the email address (also known as a lead magnet, which we will discuss next). It certainly works for Starbucks below. Their loyalty program offers premium consumer perks such as easy ordering, exclusive offers and free coffee in exchange for an email address. 

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Play around with different landing pages such as these, and see what works best for your eCommerce business. Just don’t forget the SEO element – you need to be mindful of ways to attract traffic to your website in the first place. 

4. Use lead magnets

Handing your email address over to a company you might not entirely trust is not a particularly appealing prospect. Many companies use a lead magnet to entice people to part with their email addresses. 

In exchange for their email address, you give them something in return. The type of ‘reward’ you can offer varies, from special subscriber-only discounts to free gifts, free shipping, or even the chance to enter a competition and win a prize.

The value of a lead magnet cannot be overstated. According to Single Grain and Hubspot, 65% of marketers consider generating leads as the hardest challenge to overcome. This fact applies to collecting email addresses too. Lead magnets are the most effective way of tackling this issue. 

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Freebies are another key to the heart of the consumer – or at least their email addresses! Offering free downloads, free ebooks, and early access to certain content are valuable lead magnets that have been tried and tested to work. 

Check out how this beauty brand gives out a free ebook to anyone signing up for their newsletter. The use of the word ‘FREE’ in capital letters and colorful imagery around the call to action sections of the landing page are all designed to encourage conversion. ‘Download Now’, the most important button on the entire page, is in bright pink so you can’t miss it. 

The opt-out button, ‘No thanks, I’m not interested’, is in small print to disincentivize people from deciding not to sign up with their email addresses. 

Generating a buzz around your brand, the fear of missing out, and the chance to either win or get money off are all effective lead magnets that you can use as leverage to get those essential addresses. So choose one that’s most suitable for your eCommerce business, and run with it.

5. Look at different lead generation strategies 

Ok, so you’ve chosen a lead magnet that’s impossible for consumers to resist. Great job! Now you need to figure out how to maximize exposure. 

Even the world’s most enticing lead magnet is pretty useless if you’re not displaying it to consumers effectively. They may be annoying, but popups are still one of the most effective ways of generating leads on your website. The key is to make them as least annoying as possible while still being effective.  

Make your popups feel as organic as possible, not in stark contrast to the rest of your webpage; your web design should not suffer as a consequence of forcing popups into your main web page. Otherwise, it’s blatantly obvious that you’re after one thing and one thing only. 

Conversely, you could use a little humor to sweeten the deal. For example, openly acknowledge that popups are annoying but use honesty to make the user feel a little more appreciated (rather than pure marketing fodder). Check out the example below to see what I mean.

A few other lead generation strategies you can try to promote your eCommerce email marketing campaign are chatbots. These aren’t as obnoxious as pop-ups (they usually appear in one corner of the screen, rather than taking up the whole page. 

Also, they can serve other purposes (such as giving the customer information on your products/services) and fulfilling their original goal of obtaining an email address.

Choose a lead generation strategy that best represents your customer segment. Or, consider trialing both approaches in an A/B split test to see which one results in the most leads.

6. Choose the right email marketing software 

One of the common email marketing mistakes to avoid is choosing the wrong software. Features such as data segmentation, ready-made templates, in-depth analytics, and seamless third-party integration are all aspects you need to consider.

Plenty of email marketing tools can provide the above features and other valuable perks such as Gmail extensions, so it’s simply a case of choosing one that works best for you.

Monitoring your open and click-through rates is one of the most fundamental factors to consider. Such analysis will identify whether your eCommerce email marketing campaign is converting and succeeding – or not. 

Your marketing emails need to have an advantage over the hundreds, perhaps thousands of others that land in inboxes each day. Some providers offer more features but a steeper learning curve, while others may lack the integration you need. Since many offer free trials, try some out first before committing to one. 

Again, testing will help you to identify the software best for you. You may find that certain premium features are unnecessary, allowing you to choose a more cost-effective option that still achieves your aims.

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In Closing 

An effective eCommerce email marketing system is crucial to the outreach of your brand. Finding new customers and retaining current ones is much easier when you have access to people’s email addresses.  

A cornerstone of your marketing strategy, email marketing is an ever-popular tactic that is showing no signs of slowing down in the 2020s. With the tips gained from this article, you should have no trouble setting up a system that will help you quickly gather those addresses. Greater sales, conversions, and brand growth will follow from the hard work put into this aspect of your marketing strategy.

About the author

David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.