WHY READ THIS BLOG POST?
In this post, I’m going to teach you how to increase online sales using a proven strategy. I’m going to teach you the true value of collecting just a few visitor email addresses and how it can literally transform your e-commerce business. Data may not be sexy but if used correctly, can take your sales into orbit.
And what’s even better? It will be on autopilot.
“Email has the ability many channels don’t; Creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.”
David Newman, Marketing Speaker & Author
The Problem (The Ones That Get Away)
Selling online is hard enough without purposely making life difficult for ourselves. I say this because a larger majority of store owners (newbies and seasoned sellers) are only focused on sales and do not even give a hoot for those people that leave their store without making a purchase.
Think about it. You work hard putting together marketing campaigns, you probably spend a fair amount of money and your return is 5 measly sales. You get frustrated and decide not to do it again because it didn’t work.
Is that you?
But what would you say if you ran the same campaign, you captured the same 5 sales but you also collected 250 email addresses?
And from those email addresses, you would then be able to convert another 15 into sales. That means you’ll end up with 20 sales instead of just 5.
So if your average selling price is £20. You would suddenly jump from £100 to £400!!!
Yup, that suddenly puts a different spin on things and makes your campaign far more effective doesn’t it?
There are many ways to skin a cat as they say. 🙂
A 100% proven sales growth strategy for any e-commerce business (large or small)
OK, so I’ve hopefully got the cogs turning in your head that sales are not the be-all and end-all of every visitor to your e-commerce store.
Yes, landing orders is important because it pays the bills but the chances of somebody buying your products on their very first visit are slim. You can’t force everyone to buy every time.
Let’s take the conversion rate of the average e-commerce store. It’s about 5%, give or take.
5%!!!!! Is that it????? (I hear you shout at your screen)
Correct. That means 95 people in every 100 visits to your store will leave without buying a single thing.
Maybe you think 5% is high and a million miles away from where you are now. If that’s the case then don’t panic.
A recent post by the online sales platform company, Channel Advisor, reported that customers may need to touch or interact with your business 7-8 times (possibly during the same day) before they make a purchase.
This actually echoes a well-known rule called ‘The Marketing Rule of 7’ that movie-makers coined back in the 1930s. Their research suggested that moviegoers needed to see an advert for a film 7 times before they went to see it at the cinema.
What I’m saying is that customers like to research before they buy. Us shoppers have a ton of choice and we love to browse and find out more about a product so we can make a decision that we feel comfortable with.
We want to know we’ve made the right choice.
So how does this relate to capturing email addresses on my online store? How is this going to help?
You’re losing sales by not collecting email addresses
If you fail to collect email addresses on your online store you are losing the opportunity to talk to the 95% of people who leave your site without buying.
It means you can’t keep the conversation going. When they’ve gone, they’ve gone. It’s sayonara.
Yes, you can set up retargeting campaigns to follow them as they visit other sites and of course, on Facebook, but that can be expensive and you never even know whether that person will interact with your ad. It’s a long shot.
But, if someone gives you their email address then it’s a different story. You have immediate access to reach them again whenever you want and you have their permission to contact them in a more personal way.
This also means you don’t have to go down the disrupting and forcing your way onto their screens with banner ads.
You can simply start a conversation with them over email, develop a relationship and begin to build up those extra touch-points that will lead to them adding products to their basket. If you want to increase online sales then this is a massive step.
Clever ways to capture more email addresses on your e-commerce store
Almost every e-commerce store theme has an email sign-up box of some sort. In my experience, these are pretty crappy because they don’t work hard enough to encourage a visitor to enter their email address.
They’re usually an afterthought that’s stuck in the footer (not the place where many people bother looking) and they don’t catch the eye.
What’s more, it’s very common to see ‘sign up for my newsletter’ next to the button. People don’t want to be marketed to and they certainly don’t want to receive a ‘newsletter’.
A newsletter? I mean, how bloody dull!
Before we go into detail about tools to collect more data we need to put a strategy in place so people actually want to sign-up to your mailing list.
Now let’s think about this.
- What would make you hand over your email address to a company you’d never seen?
- Why would you want to continue to hear from them?
- How can they add value to your life so you actually read the emails?
If you want a future customer to share their personal details with you then you need to give them a good reason to.
You need to incentivise them and engage them with something meaty. Something they’ll love!
Yes, discount codes do tend to work and can deliver an immediate sales uplift but they obviously eat into your margin. You could be more creative and offer a FREE download (sometimes called a Lead Magnet) or access to unique content that’s fun, engaging or visually stimulating so it makes their eyes pop out.
Here are some very effective examples I’ve seen in the past are:
- 10% off your first order
- Free gift with your first order
- Free delivery on your first order
- Free style guide
- Exclusive access to a sale preview before anyone else
- Free case studies on <insert subject>
- Free white paper on <insert subject>
- Free X credits for free download
- Free Personal Demo
- Free Trial for X Days
- Exclusive access to a forum
- Free Audio Download
The incentive doesn’t need to be huge but it must be strong enough to hook your prospect and reel them in so you can begin the conversation. Once you’ve made contact with them, the point where they click on that elusive buy button starts to get much closer.
FREE Tools To Help You Collect More Email Addresses
Ok, I’ve already told you that basic sign-up boxes in your site footer do not really work so we need to use other tools to encourage people to join your email list. If you can’t increase sign-ups then you won’t be able to increase your online sales.
Fortunately, there are some great tools available that are proven to work effectively.
There are two ecommerce tools that I personally love when it comes to collecting data. These are SumoMe and Optinmonster.
Both are very simple data collecting tools that kind of do the same thing. They use clever technology to help you customise the experience so you don’t annoy your visitor.
Like me, you might not be a fan of pop-ups but, from an e-commerce and marketing perspective, pop-ups work like a dream.
SumoMe offers a suite of FREE tools that give you different ways to collect data other than just a simple pop-ups. Sure, this tool gives you the option to create standard pop-ups and A/B test them against one another but it does so much more.
It also features exit-intent technology that activates when people go to leave your store and it has timed pop-ups that appear after a specified number of seconds or specified number of pages viewed. It also enables you to create pop-ups when a link is clicked and has a floating social share tab that sits neatly on the site of your site to encourage Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest interactions.
The best part about SumoMe is that the basic suite of tools you need are FREE so it’s quick to get started. You can pay for advanced features but only if you need them. If you want to feed the data directly into your email system (like MailChimp) then you need to upgrade your plan but it’s well worth it.
The other alternative is Optinmonster. This is a fairly similar system that offers pop-ups in a mix of design themes with exit-intent technology, A/B testing as standard and you can also target visitors with different offers depending on the page they land on. Neat huh?
So you could set one-pop on the homepage, another on a particular product page and another for your blog.
Both of these software tools can be easily installed in seconds with a short line of code and are a key part of my marketing arsenal. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to capture as many email address or increase my online sales.
Email Marketing Generates a 3800% Return On Investment
Yes, let that headline sink in a moment.
According to research by email broadcast experts, Campaign Monitor, for every $1 spent on email marketing it generates $38 in return. A 3800% return on investment.
Email has also been the most profitable online marketing channel for the past 10 years.
How can you argue with that? You can’t.
OK, so now you understand the true value of collecting emails and what it can deliver in return, you need to know what to do with them now they are on your list.
The mistake that many business owners make is to pile them into one list (usually in MailChimp) and then proceed to blast out pointless, untargeted emails to all and sundry.
I probably don’t have to tell you this isn’t an effective way to utilise your email list.
Look around you at the people at your work, in a restaurant or even in the street. Everybody is different, right? That means the people on your list are different too.
Just because they have signed up to your mailing list, it doesn’t mean to say they are the exact same person. They won’t be.
You will find that some customers only like a particular product or spend more or less than others. There will also be groups of people who are similar with the same interests and it’s those you need to keep together.
You don’t need to create thousands of separate groups but you want to create a system that qualifies and weeds out the people who are most likely to make a purchase. You especially want to identify and segment those people who match your buyer persona.
That’s why we use something called our ‘marketing funnel’ or on-boarding series.
Using Marketing Funnels To Increase Online Sales
OK, don’t get scared off by this because it’s not highly technical if you think about it from a customer’s perspective.
We said earlier that a customer needs to touch a business around 7 times before making a purchase. The first time seeing one of your ads, the second was landing on your online store.
That’s 2 down, 5 to go.
The good news is that the next steps take care of themselves. Once you have your prospect signed up, they are in your funnel and you can use automatically triggered emails to carry them through from step 3 to 7 where we want them to make that purchase.
Imagine you have just joined the mailing list of a new retailer. You’ve seen the ad (Touchpoint 1), you’ve visited their website (Touchpoint 2) and you’ve signed up for their updates you been emailed an incentive of 10% off the first purchase (Touchpoint 3).
What else do you want from them?
Well, how about this?
- Touchpoint 4 – Introduction to the company & share customer success story
- Touchpoint 5 – Watch our best videos? See our style gallery
- Touchpoint 6 – Join our community on Facebook page & win X
- Touchpoint 7 – Take an extra 5% off (Order within 24 hrs.)
So there you have a simple marketing funnel in the form of an on-boarding series that you can easily set up using even the most basic email software programs like MailChimp (this automation feature is now free).
You certainly don’t have to stop at the 7th touchpoint. You could set up 100 x automated emails in a sequence if you wanted to and it would all run in the background while you get on with running your business.
Just make sure every 5th email is focused on pushing a sale, otherwise, you’ll find you are sending out lots of content but getting very little in the way of a reward.
Another important factor to note is that a marketing funnel is never perfect. Once you’ve set it up, you need to keep an eye on it and continually play, tweak and improve it to increase your open rates and click thru.
If you wanted to be more advanced, you can use different marketing funnels based on a visitors landing page, product of interest or source. So, if you had an off-line event where you launched a specific product you could enter those people into a funnel focus around the event and your product.
Each on of your marketing funnels should be tailored around your customer pain points. The aim is to get people to buy into your products and your company.
Yes, there is a bit of leg-work to set them up and write the copy but, eventually, your marketing funnels will start to send more visitors to your store and it will increase your online sales.
And the best part? It’s fully automated once set up. From capturing the first email address to sending the very last email in your sequence, everything will be on autopilot.
So you’ll be increasing your online sales, even when you sleep.
That’s the beauty of email marketing! 🙂
YOUR ACTION STEPS (To grow your email list)
OK, so hopefully you’ve digested that information. If you haven’t yet then don’t panic. Here’s a brief summary of what you need to do.
- Step 1 – Get into the email capture mindset (It’s not all about sales)
- Step 2 – Install SumoMe or Optinmonster (Takes 5 minutes to set up)
- Step 3 – Create your sign-up incentive (Make it impactful)
- Step 4 – Create 5 emails for your marketing funnel series (keep them simple)
- Step 5 – Set them up so they are fully automated (This is a quick process)
- Step 6 – Sit back and earn additional revenue. (But remember to test subject lines and open and click-thru rates)
You will find that the most time-consuming part is writing the copy for the emails themselves. It not because it’s difficult but because you need the right tone of voice for your customer that doesn’t come across too pushy.
My advice to you would be to sign up to newsletters of some larger brands to see how they use email to communicate with their customers, what language they use and what their marketing funnel looks like. This will help you visualise everything better.
Some cool brands to check out are:
- Bloom & Wild (Flowers)
- Not On The High Street (Homewares & Gifts)
- Lush (Beauty & Cosmetic Products)
- Kate Spade (Fashion)
- Michaels (Arts & Crafts)
- IKEA (Furniture)
- Birchbox (Beauty Subscription)
- Graze Box (Health Foods Subscription)
Feel free to comment, ask a question or share. I’m here to help.
I’m hoping you now understand the importance of capturing even more, email addresses and how you can increase online sales using this strategy. Growing your email database should be your primary focus because it’s 100% proven to work. It may sound obvious but plenty of businesses still ignore because they are too busy chasing the sale or ploughing resources into social media where the return is generally very poor.
If you have any questions or comments about this post then please just add them below. I will be more than happy to reply.
We’re all here to help each other.
Speak soon guys
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