Email Marketing: The Key to eCommerce Success

By Nathan Segal

6/27/13

At some point online or in your email spam folder you've probably seen a message like this one: "Make Money Online with Your Own Store. Get Started Today!" The message will probably go on to paint a rosy future of how your life will change if you buy their product or service.


While it's true that you can make a lot of money by selling products and services, that's where most businesses stop, with the one sale, which is a huge mistake. According to Maria Veloso, author of "Web Copy That Sells," up to 90% or more of the sales you will make will come from repeat customers.


This brings to mind another mistake by many a business. It is far more expensive to generate new customers than to sell to the ones you already have.


When building an ecommerce store a crucial element is to make use of an autoresponder, which will allow you to collect email addresses. Once you do so, you can send targeted messages to your list(s) where you offer information, as well as different products and/or services for sale. There are several ways of doing this, which are:

• Making use of a squeeze page

• Using a hover form

• Using an inline form

• Adding email addresses manually

• Collecting customer names after the sale is made


We'll look at each of these in turn.


The Squeeze Page

The purpose of the squeeze page is to capture the prospect's email address in exchange for giving them something for free, which could be a report, video, or an email series where you teach them something valuable about your product or service over time.


The squeeze page is a simple device, consisting of an attention-getting headline, an introduction, a few bullet points, sometimes a video, a closing statement and a call to action to sign up for the offering. One other thing, the squeeze page needs to be "above the fold," meaning that when it comes up, it occupies the whole screen. No scrolling is necessary.

Here's an example.

Using a Hover Form

A hover form is a short message which comes up when you visit a website. The one I use is with Aweber. You can customize the form in a variety of ways, with images, text, etc. When a visitor comes to your site, the background darkens down and the hover form dominates the viewspace. The viewer can then click on the "X" at the top-right of the form to make it disappear or they can sign up for the offer if they wish.


With this service, the user can make the form display one time or multiple times, though generally, once is enough per user.

Here's what the form looks like for my travel site.


Using an Inline Form

In this case, you create the form so it can be used inline with your site text, as in a blog, or in the sidebar. As with the hover form, you can customize the look and feel of the form to suit your website and even enter custom graphics if you wish.

Here's what the inline form looks like on my portfolion site, NathanSegal.org.


Adding Email Addresses Manually

With this method, you add email addresses manually, by typing them in. This would be the approach if you own a business and you have a signup sheet where people can add their email addresses to the form. In this case, you need to make sure you have permission to add the email address and it's wise to verify each one. Aweber has this verifying option in place, which will reduce spam complaints.

Collecting Customer Names After the Sale

In this case you would use a form much like the one above. There are several components to this form which are:

• Thanking the customer for their purchase

• Letting them know that you need their name and email address so you can send them updates (and possibly addtional information about the sale, such as downloads).

• Placing a disclaimer in the message letting them know that their email address is secure. This is important to build trust.

 

Caution: Make Sure You Use Double Opt-In

When you build an email list it's wise to use a double opt-in method to reduce spam complaints. If you're not familiar with the term, here's what it means: When building an email list using forms, you have two main options for adding  subscribers to your list. One is single opt-in; the other is double opt-in.

With single opt-in, all the user does is to fill out your form. Once they do, they receive an email letting them know that they've subscribed to your list.

With double opt-in, they fill in the form as above but when they receive a message, it asks them for permission to send them email and the message will provide a link to click to verify that they want to be a part of your list. Once the user makes that verification, then and only then are they added to your list.  

Conclusion

You now know the major ways of adding email addresses to your autoresponder program. Beyond that, you now need to learn how to market to your list and to retain their interest over time. Here are a couple of resources to check out:

Web Copy That Sells

Autoresponder Madness

Both of these will teach you how to properly market to your list(s) and make more sales over time.




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