Practical Ecommerce

Treat New Email Subscribers Right, Profits Will Follow

How an online seller welcomes new email subscribers can impact (a) sales, (b) future engagement with the new subscriber, and (c) even the how Internet service providers and email clients treat the seller’s emails to other subscribers.

In the moments and days after subscribing, a new email recipient is likely to remember more about why he or she signed up; convert at a relatively higher rate; and create a pattern of opening email-marketing messages that will demonstrate to the ISP that the sender’s emails are desirable and important.

Email Welcome Campaigns Impact Sales

The email welcome series can be like a first date. If the date goes well a lasting and enriching relationship may have begun. But if things don’t go well, your “hello” might also be a “goodbye.”

In the ecommerce context, the more desirable outcome, a lasting and enriching customer-merchant relationship, impacts sales and profits. A shopper who willingly opens and interacts with email marketing messages will likely spend more and convert more readily. These shoppers are also likely to purchase much more over the lifetime of their interactions.

When you consider that according to Adobe, repeat shoppers are just 8 percent of total customers, but represent more than 40 percent of ecommerce sales, it ‘s clear what it at stake with new email marketing subscribers.

Here are some suggestions for a new email subscriber welcome series.

  1. Begin with a simple thank you and welcome message that includes a way for new subscribers to easily opt-out if they have changed their minds about signing up. Remember that it is far better, even healthy, to have folks unsubscribe than to mark as spam or even ignore, both of which may hurt message deliverability with a particular ISP or email client.
  2. Describe in brief what this new email subscription means for the recipient. If the email relationship will be a source of coupons and discounts, let the new subscriber know. If it will feature useful content, talk about that. Essentially, you will reiterate the reason that the recipient subscribed in the first place.
  3. Provide an opportunity to state preferences about email delivery and content. This could be a first opportunity to segment the recipient and thereby offer more relevant offers in the future.
  4. Shortly after the initial welcome email, send a content message. This might be a special coupon offer or the most recent content marketing email, depending the email campaign’s purpose.
  5. Carefully integrate the new subscriber into regular email campaigns that make sense based on the recipient’s segment and preferences.

This relationship could result in years of sales and profit for the merchant, and many happy purchases for the customer. We all typically enjoy getting new, helpful stuff.

Future Engagement with the Subscriber

The email welcome series should also be a source of foundational information about a customer. It can be used to collect preference information, but it can also be used to learn things about how the user interacts with email marketing.

Remember, new subscribers are more likely to interact with an email message right after signing up, especially if there was an introductory offer, such as a coupon or an ebook.

Consider closely monitoring the time of day when new subscribers open and interact with email-marketing messages, track the device used on each engagement, and monitor which engagements resulted in clicks and conversions.

This sort of data may help optimize future messages sent to the recipient. Effectively, it can provide good and ongoing data about how to segment the customer based on email interaction behavior.

A Pattern of Deliverability

Although many ISPs and email clients keep their spam and deliverability algorithms secret, it is generally held that reader engagement and message authentication can and does impact how emails are delivered. If a new subscriber never opens a merchant’s email marketing messages, some ISPs may assume that the message is not valuable for any customer.

“Sending email to new signups always carries an elevated risk of triggering spam filters, due to the unproven nature of the new email address,” says Daniel Deneweth, director of deliverability strategy at Responsys, in “The New School Marketers Guide to Email Deliverability.”

To prevent damage to deliverability, ecommerce email marketers need to ensure that they are providing good content that is properly authenticated with ISPs and email clients.

Google has a fairly succinct description of how it determines whether a message is spam or not and how it categories emails after that initial determination.

As an example, an ecommerce marketer will want to ensure that the welcome series emails — or really all emails — use a dedicated, static Internet Protocol (IP) address.

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a way for email senders to take responsibility, if you will, for an email when it arrives at the ISP or email client. Including this in email messages is a widely accepted best practice, and nearly all good email service providers will do this by default.

Ecommerce email marketers will also want to use the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which is an open-source standard created to thwart domain address forgery.

In short, make certain that both the recipient and the ISP welcome new email messages.

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Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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