Simple Strategies To Elevate Sales From Email Marketing

by Hannah Dudley
18 January 2016

email marketing

Did you know that 66% of online customers over the age of 15 made a purchase because of a marketing email?

That’s an impressive conversion rate. But there’s no denying your customer’s email inbox is a noisy, competitive space – MailChimp alone sends billions of emails every month for over 9 million users. Somewhere in between the opt-in special offers and last-minute sale announcements, you’ve got to make yourself be heard.

Fortunately, in our fast customer-led environment, there are some really simple things you can do – right now – to get your sign-ups moving along the funnel to become happy, engaged, paying customers.

Get fussy about focus

Emails that get results require just one thing: a single call-to-action.

In 2014, Crazyegg increased their email conversion rate by 30% by clearly conveying what the offer was, and why it benefitted the customer. How? They created a dedicated page to sell their subscription list, telling potential subscribers exactly what they would get and how often.

crazy landing page

Think about it. Before you hit send, ask yourself: why are you sending this email? What is it exactly that your subscribers are getting? No subscriber wants to receive long, rambling emails stuffed with irrelevant content .

And as tempting as it is to always add an extra ‘nudge’ towards a sale – particularly when you’ve got ROI to prove – one activation goal per email also means you'll resist the urge to include competing call-to-actions. Multiple buttons littering the foot of your email (five different social media icons + a ‘shop now’ button + your telephone number) create way too much noise for your reader and dilutes the message.

According to unbounce, a quarter of all unsubscribes occur when the email content is irrelevant. Focusing on a single outcome per email is a simple tactic that goes a long way in building ongoing trust and engagement.

Make an entrance

In 2008, just 40% of brands sent a welcome email to their new subscribers. These days, 80% of brands send this type of email – and with good reason.

Your welcome email is the customer’s first interaction with you, that is initiated by you. They’ve already taken the first step: they filled out the form, signed-up, made the purchase. Now it’s your turn.

Take this example from Evernote. It’s on-brand, uncluttered, and it gets straight to the point:


Rather than overwhelm the customer with competing calls-to-action, Evernote uses the product’s key benefit as a prompt to download the app.

The secondary call to action at the bottom is particularly clever – it anticipates that the customer may have questions, but doesn’t assume they have the time or inclination to do so before actually exploring the app. It’s entirely optional.

Best of all? The whole email is optimised to fit one screen. There’s no scrolling, which means a better overall experience for the majority of your users: mobile.

Whether you send a link to download, free shipping code, a simple ‘hello’, access to members-only content, or just a witty one-liner, show your customer that you appreciate the invite / purchase and give them a preview of the communication style they can expect from you.

Up your subject line game

Recent research by MailChimp suggests that high open rates are driven by simple, straightforward subject lines. And while that may sound a bit boring, MailChimp notes that because the majority of customers get so much spam in their inbox, the slightest suggestion of spam will be deleted immediately.

Take the below examples, which were immediately banished to the spam folder.

Sure, you need to catch your customer’s attention (and sometimes, saying upfront that everything is 50% is the only way to do it - particularly if your customer opted-in to be notified of special offers) but use spammy words like ‘FREE’ or ‘WIN’, and not only will the impact will be lost, but your email won’t make it past the spam filter:

spam subject line

Smart businesses get a little creative, but keep it short.

They use pronouns, provoke questions, and spur action all while having a little on-brand fun. They get that emails are a soft-sell; a great way of nurturing customers towards a sale and developing a relationship with the brand:

good subject line

good subject line

It’s true that your customers will judge your email by its subject line, so let them decide if it’s worth getting excited about, by telling - not selling - what’s inside. So go ahead – surprise and delight, but stick to plain english. Some brands call for poetry, but more often than not, you just want your customer to know what they’re getting.

Learn to not sell

91% of customers check their email at least once a day.

 And while occasional sales emails are welcome (as the customer, I really do want to know when you have a special offer code for me, or are launching a new product) checking-in to share a snippet of relevant content, or thoughtfully curated editorial, is really nice reason for customers to want to hit the ‘read more’ button and engage with your brand right now.

One business that does this really well? Behemoth beauty blog, Into the Gloss. In fact, ITG (as it affectionately known by readers) built their product around content.

With some 10 million page views per month, this hugely engaged community of users provided invaluable business insight into the gaps in the market. This led to the creation of a capsule of products that reflected what ITG customers were looking for right now.

With the exception of the odd product launch, ITG keeps their emails focused on the content that made them – on the intrinsic value that attracted the customer to their business in the first place.

into the gloss

In the example below, notice how the body content is optimised to look and read like magazine editorial –  punchy paragraphs and hero images, with not a garish sale in sight:

The key goal here is to remember that email marketing is all about the long-term, nurture to purchase – keep your focus on customer retention over attention.

Stay true to yourself

Brand consistency is key.

Treating emails as a continuation of your brand’s narrative leaves a strong impression in the customer’s mind, which effectively paves their way back to your site.

A business that does this exceptionally well is ecommerce renegade Frank. Built via a strong instagram following, Frank’s body-centric branding permeates everything the business does on social, in email, and on their site:

frank email

Like the above example, the majority of their marketing emails drive the customer to Frank’s social accounts, usually with a call-to-action to share the experience of the product.

But it is the brand’s consistency with tone of voice, which strikes the perfect balance between cheeky and aspirational, that is central to their success in appealing to their mostly young, mostly female demographic.

So how well does your email continue your brand story? Does it fit in with your product or onboarding process? Is it a logical ‘next step’ in your brand’s story? Think about what makes sense for your customer.

Don’t try to be everyone’s BFF

If you’ve got the data, segment.

According to research by Hubspot, targeted and segmented lead nurturing emails generate an 8% click-through rate, compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% click-through rate.

The lesson is don’t just cast the net wide and try to appeal to everyone. Target the customers your email content will benefit most, and you’ll boost their engagement with your brand. For example, if they gave you permission to contact them via a purchase, acknowledge that.

If you don’t have the data, consider timing.

Sending an email about a dining package for two on a Monday morning? Maybe not. But send it at 4.45pm on a Thursday and you may just be onto something. Keep it relevant to your customer’s demographic, context, and purchasing history.

After all, nothing creates brand affinity quicker than a punchy, targeted email that reminds customers why it was a good idea to get on your email list in the first place.

Be cool with unsubs  

Having a clear, easy unsubscribe button – and process – builds transparency and trust between you and your customer.

Take the below example from the Priceonomics blog. The unsub process is a cinch – and easy to locate at the foot of the email.

priceconomics email

Once they click on the unsub button, customers are just a click away from getting off the list. Too easy!

priceonimics emails

Making it easy for your customers to unsubscribe gives your customers the freedom to leave at any time, which makes the relationship feel more like a choice, less like a hard sell.

Keep on tweakin’

When you get it right, email marketing is one of the most awesome ways to increase your sales and boost your customer engagement.

It’s been around for a long time, but as we always say, sometimes the best new channels aren’t new at all! The beauty of email is that is it’s personalisation, so sometimes just a small change can lead to significant improvement in conversion rates.

Over time, many small (and a few major) tweaks, combined with insightful analysis, can dramatically increase your results.

Don’t stop there – get more leads from your email marketing today. Find out more about Salmat's email offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.


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About the author
Hannah Dudley
Campaign Manager - Contact and Managed Operations

Hannah Dudley is the Campaign Manager for Contact and Managed Operations at Salmat. With experience working for businesses of all sizes in Australia, UK and USA, Hannah is driven by the power of customer and marketing insights. Hannah is passionate about helping businesses understand and reach their customers in an effective way, resulting in business growth.

More articles by Hannah Dudley