How Retail Brands Can Stand Out in the Inbox

By Marina Hoffmeier


It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Many retail brands are trying to make a name for themselves, but are falling short on one key thing: email marketing.

We partnered with MailCharts to challenge retailers to step up their game with quality content. (After all, their crew helps big-name clients like Nordstrom and Everlane send better emails too.)

Of everything we discussed, one thing is for sure: Content sells. In order to make significant sales, you have to make significant changes to your content strategy.

Don’t be the underdog. Follow these tips from the pros to start converting subscribers into loyal customers:

Why retailers need email marketing

Question: What’s a better way of sending newsletters and promotional material to subscribers than through their inbox?

Answer: It’s a trick question! There is none.

All kidding aside, email is a great way to capture your audience’s attention in a way that produces a high return on investment (ROI). Eighty-nine percent of marketers claim that email is their primary source for lead generation. They can’t all be wrong!

Q1. Why is email marketing so important for retailers? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A1. Email drives sales. The proof is in the numbers: $38 for every $1 spent. #EmailChat

β€” Olivia Dello Buono (@oliviadello) July 14, 2016

A1. Most people check their emails all day, every day. That’s a great opportunity to get your products in front of customers. #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

A1. With email, it’s super easy to promote the right products to the right people. Relevance is key! #emailchat

β€” Kristen Dunleavy (@KristenWritesIt) July 14, 2016

Creative content is compelling content

Go beyond your comfort zone and typical sales lingo. Thinking outside of the box will give you an advantage in the industry. Don’t be afraid to get creative and be different. That’s what helps your brand stand out!

Q2. What types of content should retail brands be sending? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A2 a. I prefer mostly images in retail content. Sometimes it’s best to show not tell. #EmailChat

β€” Marina Hoffmeier (@aweber_marina) July 14, 2016

A2. Use data to promote products similar to ones a customer has already purchased. #emailchat

β€” Kristen Dunleavy (@KristenWritesIt) July 14, 2016

A2. Images can also be really powerful – Highlight your products by including high-res. photos. #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

Data is a powerful tool. Use it.

If you want to know what your audience gravitates towards, sometimes you have to look at metrics. Data doesn’t lie!

While your gut might tell you one thing, your subscribers may feel differently. Keep checking and making changes to figure out how to get the results you want.

Q3. When it comes to stats, what benchmarks should retailers be keeping tabs on? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A3 a. Definitely keep an eye out for your cart abandonment rate #EmailChat

β€” MailCharts (@mailcharts) July 14, 2016

A3. Trends in terms of click rates. Knowing what content sells vs. what sinks can make all the difference in retail #EmailChat

β€” Marina Hoffmeier (@aweber_marina) July 14, 2016

A3. Click-through rates. A high CTR shows that your audience likes your content, and it also translates to website traffic! #emailchat

β€” Liz Willits (@lizwillits) July 14, 2016

How much email is too much?

The truth is, there’s no solid answer to how often you should email your subscribers.

It all comes down to your subscribers preferences, and the expectations you set for them when you first asked them to sign up to your list.

If your subscribers want more emails, then give it to them. If your stats show you’re losing subscribers then you may want to dial it back a bit or rethink your content strategy. What works for one brand might not work for you. Keep testing!

Q4. How frequently should brands be sending promotional emails? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A4 a: That’s the million dollar question! It really depends on your brand and audience #EmailChat

β€” MailCharts (@mailcharts) July 14, 2016

A3. one ppl forget is cadence. remind your subscribers why they joined in the first place – and this isn’t always “BUY NOW!” πŸ˜›#EmailChat

β€” Tom Buchok (@tbuchok) July 14, 2016

A4. However many you send, just be sure to set that expectation from the beginning (sign up form, welcome email) #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

Design hacks for starting your revolution

Content is key but visuals are the bridge to success. It takes interaction with your customers to another level.

To avoid boring your readers, take advantage of some of the innovative and fun advancements in email design to really delight your subscribers.

Q5. What are some design best practices for promotional emails? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A5. compress those heavy duty images!! def display great creative but dont my phone wait to load it all #EmailChat #mobilefirst

β€” Tom Buchok (@tbuchok) July 14, 2016

A5. IMO, plain text emails are bo-ring. There’s so much you can do with email that to not do something unique is a waste! #EmailChat

β€” Olivia Dello Buono (@oliviadello) July 14, 2016

A5. Like @oliviadello mentioned, I love gifs that animate how to *use* the product. Show me the benefits! #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

Get ahead of the competition

β€œMy mom told me I’m a winner.” That mentality can be great for personal motivation, but sometimes it isn’t quite enough in the business world.

It takes work to stand out from your competition. Focus on your own audience, goals and achievements in order to make iterations that improve your current strategy.

A6. What are some ways brands can use email to get ahead of the competition? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A6. To get ahead of the competition, ignore the competition and focus on your specific audience. #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

A6. My new fave thing is emails with live tracking info. @lovephilosophy does this and it’s amazing. #emailchat

β€” Kristen Dunleavy (@KristenWritesIt) July 14, 2016

A6. Use emojis in the subject line! It stands out in the inbox πŸ˜‰#EmailChat

β€” Marina Hoffmeier (@aweber_marina) July 14, 2016

A6. Optimize your preview text. This is a major win for the mobile inbox β€” many clients show 60+ characters #EmailChat

β€” MailCharts (@mailcharts) July 14, 2016

Keep your eyes peeled on what’s trending

Staying on top of trends can keep you on top and even spark new ideas of your own. Knowing what works well in the market means money in your pocket.

Keep an eye out at what your competitors are doing (even in other industries) to see what’s popular among consumers.

Q7. Are there any email marketing trends retailers should take note of? #EmailChat

β€” AWeber (@AWeber) July 14, 2016

A7. Personalization based on explicit choice (eg. products for male v.s. female) and implicit behavior (eg. visited soccer gear) #EmailChat

β€” MailCharts (@mailcharts) July 14, 2016

A7. Include a live social feed in your emails! #emailchat

β€” Kristen Dunleavy (@KristenWritesIt) July 14, 2016

A7. Brands are doing some really cool things with interactive content & user-generated content. More of that please! #emailchat

β€” Monica Montesa (@missmontesa) July 14, 2016

Thought this chat was cool, huh?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @AWeber to stay up-to-date with all of the latest news, updates and info.

And of course, join us for next week’s Twitter chat (Thursday, July 28 at 12pm ET) as we partner with Really Good Emails on – you guessed it – ”Really Good Email Campaigns.”

See you then!

The post How Retail Brands Can Stand Out in the Inbox appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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