One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with their eCommerce email marketing is thinking of it as a sales channel. Yes, it is technically a sales channel and can make you a lot of money in your eCommerce business… but more than just a sales channel, email marketing is a customer communication channel.
It's a place where you can have a conversation with your customers to help them make a buying decision. And ultimately, if you approach all your sales and marketing in this way – that you're helping them make a buying decision – you can go a lot deeper in your understanding of what your customer needs to hear from you at any given moment while they're making their way through the email automation journey and how you can meet them where they're at.
There are 5 types of content that you should use in your email marketing to improve your email marketing results and that's what we're going to cover here.
In addition to including this type of content in your emails, you'll want to start running some tests to better understand what your audience responds to. When you're running A/B tests in your emails the best way to approach that is by breaking down those tests over each individual KPI or key performance indicator. For example, testing subject lines to increase open rate and the calls to action you use to increase your click rate. You can learn more about running A/B tests for email marketing here.
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How to Determine What to Write in Your Emails
Knowing what to say and when to say it in your email marketing is one of the most powerful skills you'll ever develop as an eCommerce CEO. Of course, the exact right thing to say is going to depend on the product you sell and the customer you sell it to, but here is a general framework and some questions you can ask yourself along the way to create more targeted conversion-based content.
When you’re writing your emails, whether they’re campaigns or automations, I want you to ask yourself – what does the customer need to hear from me right now to take the action I want them to take?
In most cases, what we’re actually trying to do is overcome whatever objections or answer any questions they may be having.
And the content types we’re going to be covering today are all related to helping you do that while also helping the customer make a decision.
How this Applies to Different Email Automations
when you’re creating your abandoned checkout series, what is holding the customer back from finalizing their purchase?
If you’re launching a new product, what does the customer need to know about those products in order to make a buying decision?
If you’re creating a welcome series, what is the journey you want to take your subscriber on and what do they need to know about your brand and products to decide if they want to buy from you?
Consider the Timing of the Email
You’ll also want to think about the exact moment they’re receiving this email. For instance, with the new product example… is this the first email they are receiving from you or the third? What information do they already have? What have you said to them that maybe didn’t land? How else can you frame the conversation for this customer?
Pretend You're Talking to Them In Person
When in doubt, I always recommend you think about what you would say or the conversation you would be having with them if you were in person.
Messages from the Founder
One of the most overlooked strategies and content pieces but also one of the most powerful is messages from the founder.
When I am working 1:1 with someone setting up their email automations I add this type of content a lot.
In most cases, you as the business owner are the thing that sets you apart from everyone else that sells a product like yours. So whether it’s the story of WHY you started your business in the welcome series or how you incorporate your products into your own life in other automations, messages directly from you, relating to your customers in that very moment, are really powerful.
And it doesn’t have to be some epic groundbreaking content. Remember, it’s just a human on the other side of that email address. You just need to be relatable. You need to show that you understand where they’re at in the moment they’re reading this message from you.
Messages from the founder can be sprinkled throughout all of your emails and it doesn’t have to be some big epic story all the time. Sometimes you can say all you need to say in one sentence.
Example Messages from the Founder
An esthetician who says sometimes they miss their quarterly professional treatments too and that’s why they created a really great at-home skincare routine and then goes on to share her favorite products.
The knitter who loves the smell of wool and collects more yarn than she can ever possibly knit.
The candle maker sells candles because it’s her favorite form of self-care and shares her story of why candles are more than just a candle to her.
Objection Handling Content
Quite often these messages from the founder will naturally hit on the next piece of important email content which is objection handling content.
At any given moment when your customers or potential customers are reading your emails, they’re thinking of reasons WHY they don’t need to buy your stuff. Those reasons are likely dependent on the item and the customer, but pretty much everyone is going to have them.
Sticking with those same examples, the skincare customer might think they don’t need to invest in great at-home skincare because they are consistent with their professional treatments. In addition to the fact that none of us are perfect and we’re bound to miss a professional treatment once and a while we can compare the importance of at-home skincare routines to that of caring for our teeth.
If we didn’t brush our teeth everyday in between professional cleanings, we’d probably have no teeth left. In this case, we’re positioning skincare as a necessity not a luxury.
For the knitting example, maybe they do feel like they have more yarn that they can possibly knit, so we have to give them permission to get the yarn they really want. That can be as simple as sharing the relatable story that you do that too.
Or you can use the same logic I use when buying a pair of shoes that to the untrained eye looks like 3 other pairs of shoes I already own but a professional knows why and how they’re different.
And for the candle example, maybe this customer feels like they don’t need another candle. And when we speak to why and how the candle is a form of self-care to the founder we can spark that same sort of relation to our customers which could ultimately make them say, yea – you’re right. I feel that way about candles too and I do need this one.
In most cases, if you’re selling to women or people with children, the biggest thing holding them back is probably that they think they don’t deserve it, or there is someone else they’re putting first.
Price is Rarely the Real Objection
And know that rarely is the price the objection. If people are hesitating because of the price, it’s not the dollar amount that’s holding them back – it’s the perceived value of that item.
Back in my fashion and apparel days, I used to reference the concept of cost per wear, a lot. Essentially, you take the total cost of the item and divide it by how often you were going to wear that item. All of a sudden a pair of jeans that are $180, if you wear them once a week for 6 months are just $6.92 per wear. Wear them once a week for a year and it’s $3.46 per wear.
I used this same logic when my husband and I were purchasing a bed for our new home. Not only were we going bigger, thank you, king. But we also went for an adjustable higher-quality specialty mattress. It was expensive. A whole lot more than I’ve ever spent on a bed before. But when you break it down over the lifetime of that bed and consider the better quality sleep we’re getting, it’s dollars per night.
As I said, the exact objections your customer is having are going to be different based on the product and your specific customer, so you’ll want to figure out what’s going to resonate with them most.
There are also some more straightforward ways to handle objections. And that can come in the form of your value propositions.
These are the things like fast shipping, easy returns, organic, non-toxic, woman-owned, sourced locally, etc. Pick 3-5 main points about your business that are going to be important to your perfect customer, that will help them make a buying decision and potentially overcome any objections they may be having.
I love to include this in any abandonment emails and in the welcome series when they’re getting to know us. And depending on how much content you have in your emails, I would include these before I added social links. In fact, you really don’t need social links in those emails. We need them on your website, not on your social channels.
Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Your FAQs are also really powerful. Not only are you answering their actual questions, but you can use your FAQs strategically to overcome their objections too. And this goes beyond the content you share in your emails but even the FAQs on your website.
A really great example of this is a client I worked with and have mentioned before on this podcast. She sells DIY nail polish kits.
Because the kit has you mixing your own color with a combination of liquids and powders, people are often concerned they’re going to mess it up.
I mean, how many of you remember mixing paints as a kid and just ending up with a doodie brown paint color? I’m not the only one right?
One of the FAQs we created tackles this head-on:
The question: What if I mess it up?
The answer: You can’t because you can always correct it along the way and we walk you through exactly how to do that in the step-by-step directions and video lessons.
The FAQs that make sense for your brand and product are all going to be different – but you want to go beyond the typical when will this item ship type questions. Yes, those matter too, but let’s go a bit deeper into the things that might be holding someone back from taking the next step.
Social Proof + Testimonials
And that brings me to our last content type which is social proof + testimonials. We already know how important reviews are to selling stuff on the Internet right? It’s not even specific to the internet, or physical products. Studies have shown that consumers will check product reviews when shopping in brick + mortar stores.
You may have read the reviews of this podcast before you started listening to it. Which by the way. If you’re an avid listener of the podcast and feel so inclined to leave me some positive feedback on Apple Podcasts or a rating on Spotify I’d so appreciate it.
I also talk all about eCommerce customer reviews on episode 16 of the podcast if you want to take a listen. But ultimately, seeing feedback from OTHER customers about what you sell can go a long way to helping this potential customer finally pull the trigger.
The Best Way to Show Social Proof in Your Emails
And you don’t have to get fancy when you’re adding these to your emails. In fact, screenshots of those reviews are even more powerful than making it all pretty to match your email template. You can even use screenshots of comments on social media in your emails. In the past, I have just crossed out the name and covered any profile photos with on-brand elements to keep the content anonymous.
One artist that I worked with, has this flower icon that she used a lot so we covered the photos with that and then used what looked like a paint stroke to cover the user name.
I love using these in abandonment emails and if you have a small product assortment you can even show reviews dynamically based on the product the customer was planning to buy.
If you want to learn how to use dynamic content in
Take Your Customer on a Journey
When you’re approaching your email marketing, especially your automations, I want you to think of it like a journey you’re taking your customer on. You’re holding their hand through the process of buying from you. Think of yourself as a tour guide. What does that customer need to hear from you at this moment?
When it comes to helping them make a buying decision and overcoming the objections they might be having use messages from you, objection handling content, strategic FAQs, value propositions, and social proof to overcome those objections.
Use Objection Handling Content Throughout Your Marketing
Sure, we’re talking about email marketing in this episode but these same concepts can be applied to your social content, your website, your product pages, and all the places.
Learn how to track the results of adding objection-handling content to your marketing content on episode 46 of the eCommerce Badassery podcast.