Email marketing. Either you're already doing it, or you know you should be. But WHAT is it exactly that you should be doing? Here are some straightforward tips on where I suggest starting (but remember, taking action is better than not taking action, so start with what you can do and build upon it as you go)!
How To Build Your Email List
In terms of marketing strategy, emails can be a superpower for your boutique! A strong email list allows you to communicate directly with your people, keep them updated on the latest promotions, and offer exclusive deals and discounts.
But every new store starts with an email list of zero, right? So how do you even start to grow that list - and keep it growing?
Optimize your opt-in form
First, make sure your opt-in forms are visible and easy to use and that your website is mobile-friendly. (Remember, people must be able to sign-up from their phones, too!)
We also recommend that your email opt-in doesn't pop up as someone lands on your homepage - give them a few seconds to get a feel for you first!
Give them an incentive to sign up!
10% off their first order, a freebie with their first order, or anything to make it really tempting to hand over that email!
Send a few welcome emails
Allow your customers to get to know you, your business, and what you have to offer with a short welcome series of emails. This way, they know what to expect from you. We'll get to what should be in those emails in a moment.
Send high-quality content consistently
Share about sales and big events, but also make sure to send some non-salesy emails too, to keep things balanced. (Need ideas for non-salesly posts? We've got a list!)
Collect emails IRL
Maybe you have a B&M, and you could be adding your in-store customers to your email list? This can work for pop-ups, too!
Run Facebook ads
Use Facebook's targeting options to reach your ideal audience and direct them to your opt-in form.
Use social media
Promote your juicy discount or freebie on your social media platforms to drive traffic to your opt-in form.
Offer something exclusive
Make your email subscribers feel special by offering exclusive content, such as early access to new arrivals or super offers.
Participate in co-marketing
Partner with other businesses or influencers in your niche to reach a wider audience and attract new subscribers.
You want to personalize your templates (no matter whether you are using Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Marsello, Omnisend, the list goes on). Personalized, branded templates are not only more aesthetically pleasing, and more memorable - but they can also save you TONS of time. You should not be re-creating the wheel each time you go to send out an email. None of us bosses have time for that!
PS: Your Shopify auto-mails (all 23 of them) need some branding love, too. We recommend the Shopify app called 'Orderly Emails' for that!
Now, at the very least you should have a welcome email going out to your customers on subscribing. And while you can get way more fancy, here are the basics I'd recommend:
- Changing that Welcome email to a 5-part series instead (here's a sample outline for you):
- Welcome (short with discount code)
- Introduction to you! (No hard sells or asks. Why should they follow you or care?
- Then what they can expect from the FB group and why to join.
- Why shop with your boutique? Fun, informative, reasons they should choose you.
- Push the sale/tell them to check out your latest new arrival
- Then a 3-Part Abandoned Checkout series (this could be AFTER the one that Shopify already sends out for you):
- Email 1: 24 hours after checkout abandoned
- Email 2: 2 days after checkout abandoned
- Email 3: 4 days after checkout abandoned (possibly add an incentive here, the only issue is that it would be a one-time use code so it would only work once so if someone abandons checkout again, they will get that same code - but you can mention in the email that they will only be able to use it once too)
- Then a 3-part 'Win Back' or 'Customer Activation Series:
- Email 1: It's been 90 days since they've made a purchase (offer a discount code)
- Email 2: 2 days later (remind of discount code)
- Email 3: 4 days later (last chance at discount code)
Ongoing Email Campaigns
What should you be sending?
- Weekly New Arrivals emails - fo sho!
- Emails highlighting any sales/promotions you are running
- Emails letting your customers know you are about to go live in your Facebook group
- Themed emails:
- Mad about Plaid
- Everything Cozy
- We Heart Floral
- Meet the Team
- Outfit combinations you'll love
- This list could go on!
- A few other email ideas:
- Did you know we offer Sezzle?
- Have you downloaded our app yet? Use this code on your next app purchase!
- Are you using your loyalty points, girl?
One option to save time is to plan this out ahead of time (I know it's not easy to find the time to do this, but it can save lots of time down the line if you can)! Even if the email is for another purpose, I'd always highlight a couple of actual products in your emails as well.
How often you should be sending?
Well, it depends on how much you focus on this as a marketing strategy, if you have been sent any at all thus far. And if you have, what your results have been? Many boutiques send daily emails, which is a large source of revenue for them (obviously, you have to have a decent list of subscribers already to get these results). If you have yet to send any, starting with 1-2 per week and building upon that as you strengthen your open rates (and revenue per email) is a great way to get started.
Your Open Rates + Email Deliverability
Deliverability and industry-wide open rates are much lower than any of us would like. But there are things you can work on over time to improve these. But I want to note there are two key ways to increase your open rates:
#1 Working on the details of what/when you are sending to optimize based on what is working for you. So this could include:
- day/time you are sending
- subject line
- email preview verbiage
- percentage of your email that is very promotional (graphics for example vs plain text)
- who you have the email set to say it's coming from (your boutique name, vs your name, etc.)
- PS: All of these above points are the same things to consider when you are looking at your click-through rates, and conversion rates as well. Always be working to optimize!
#2 Your actual deliverability.
Meaning your emails ability to actually HIT your subscribers inbox instead of going straight to Spam. This one is a bit trickier and requires some elbow grease and patience. Basically there is an 'algorithm' of sorts that decides how safe emails coming from you are. This is based on things like unsubscribe rates, how often subscribers are marking your items as spam or deleting them unopened, whether subscribers are having positive interactions with your emails (engaging with you). Crazy, right? Sooo this is why it can help to do things like:
- Making sure you are keeping it clean in terms of adding folks to your list. This is up to you, and it's just what's legal, but you should never be adding folks to your list without their permission.
- Cleaning your list up every quarter - remove those that have been inactive with you the entire quarter prior. You're increased open-rate once you do this will help the 'email algorithm gods' to deem your emails safer, thus hopefully bypassing some of those spam filters.
- Segmenting - you may have better luck with overall open-rates and engagement on your emails if you really try to cater emails to specific segments so no one is getting something that doesn't apply to them or they just aren't interested in. Some ideas here:
- If you have a storefront, having a local segment so that you aren't bombarding out of town/out of state folks with irrelevant information to them.
- If you have some folks that are very very active with your emails, you could segment them as such (Very Active) and email them more often, vs a (Rarely Active) that may be better to only send for very important matters or just not as often (emailing them too much may cause them to just unsubscribe.
- There are sooooo many other ways to segment, depending on your email platforms capability! You can segment by past purchases, typical size they wear, etc.
Your long term strategy is to really give value in your email marketing. So again, whether you are nurturing your community, keeping them up to date with relevant news, or just keeping the conversation going, this is something you want to build over time to drive traffic to your site constantly. And build that know, like and trust factor!
And if you need more help with emails - we know people!
XOXO, Angela & The Hot Mess Gals