6 email marketing ideas to stand out in a crowded inbox

6 email marketing ideas to stand out in a crowded inbox

These days, consumers are inundated with marketing emails. Every business you interact with wants your email address, and every one of them is doing their best to make sure that their email will be one of the lucky few that recipients actually open. With all the competition, it’s more and more difficult to make an impact.

However, email marketing is still an extremely powerful tool for ecommerce sellers.  But with the average person receiving 88 emails each day, you need to do something special if you want your clients’ emails to be opened and engaged with.

We’ve put together a collection of six great email marketing campaign ideas that can help take your marketing efforts to the next level. In addition to being effective strategies for increasing your client’s ROI, these campaigns represent great opportunities to upsell or expand your service offerings to your clients. Moving beyond standard newsletter marketing will ultimately help your clients get more value from their ecommerce stores, while demonstrating your value as a marketer and helping you build long-term client relationships.

1. “How to use your new purchase” emails

email marketing campaign: new purchaseA huge missed opportunity for many online retailers is the gap between customers placing an order and actually receiving what they’ve bought. The perfect time to build hype for the product is when someone is waiting for an anticipated purchase to arrive. A well-timed email here can make the customer feel good about their purchase decision, and increase the chances of them having a positive experience with the product when it arrives.

“The perfect time to build hype for the product is when someone is waiting for an anticipated purchase to arrive.”

At a marketing conference I attended last year, one of the speakers talked about purchasing a high-end espresso machine, and receiving an email from the company suggesting he clear a space on the kitchen counter for it ahead of time. He cleared the space, and got more excited about his new espresso machine every time he walked through his kitchen.

This exact approach won’t work for every company — the kind of email you’ll send here depends on the kind of product and the kind of company you’re representing. The key is to get the customer to take some kind of action or consume some specialized content that is designed to reinforce the good feelings they have about their purchase.

Subject: Congratulations on your purchase of a straight razor!

Hi Bob,

First, I’d like to thank you for purchasing a straight razor from Shaving.com. You’re becoming an elite member of a community devoted to the finer things in life. We can’t wait for you to shave with your razor for the first time, and we hope you’re as excited as we are!

Now, since many of our customers are purchasing their very first straight razor, we’ve put together a guide for the proper usage and care of your razor. You can watch the video on our website, but here are a few of the most important highlights:

  • Don’t store your razor in the bathroom. The humidity is bad for it, and will reduce its effective lifespan. Traditionally, sock drawers have been a common home for straight razors.
  • Be careful to only put the razor away dry. It’s a good practice to wipe the blade dry, then apply a small amount of oil to keep it in good condition.
  • Be very careful not to bang or tap the razor on the edge of your sink or on fixtures, or you’ll dull or nick the edge. The less frequently you need to sharpen your razor, the longer it will last.

With proper care, your new straight razor will last a lifetime. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Congratulations again!




This technique can be especially effective with more expensive or complex purchases. A single email before the product arrives can help reduce customer frustration and eliminate customer service issues, by setting customers up to succeed when they finally get their hands on their purchases.

2. Abandoned cart emails

email marketing campaign: abandoned cartApps make it easy to identify and contact customers who have initiated a purchase but then abandoned their carts before finishing the transaction. As a marketer, abandoned cart emails can be an extremely effective way to reconnect with consumers and remind them of why they were interested in buying from your client in the first place.

Abandoned cart emails are an especially good opportunity to lean heavily on the brand voice. This kind of marketing messaging represents a kind of “Hail Mary” pass as your last chance to capture potential customers before they disappear. These emails should really capture the spirit of the brand because if you can get the recipient to feel a connection with the company you’re representing, they’ll be much more likely to come back and complete the purchase.

Subject: Did you forget something?

Hi Emily,

I couldn’t help but notice that you added an item to your shopping cart here at GameStore.com, but then left before completing the transaction. I feel like I rolled a critical failure on my customer service check!

I get it. You’re a busy person, and things come up! Or maybe you were wearing your Ring of Resistance to Great Deals on Gaming Accessories, and decided you didn’t want to buy what you had in your cart after all.

But either way, I wanted you to know that I’ve saved the item in your cart for you, just in case you were intending to come back. You can access it by clicking here.

See you around the gaming table!




There are many effective ways to write abandoned cart emails, and the best option in any particular case will depend on what kind of brand you’re representing. Some brands will work well with funny or irreverent messaging, while it may be more appropriate for others to be more serious. Whatever messaging you decide on, though, remember that your goal is to make a strong impact on the recipients so you can bring them back.

3. VIP outreach emails

email marketing campaign: vipThere are few things that people enjoy more than being told that they’re special. If you reach out to your clients’ best customers, tell them that they’re the best customers, and offer them special deals as a reward — most will be flattered. And more importantly, they’ll be much more likely to pay attention than if you just sent them an email about a sale.

Personally, I fall for this one every time. If I get an email with a subject line saying something like “Thanks,” I’m way more likely to open it. Then, if I see I’m being rewarded for being a loyal customer with some kind of special discount, I’m almost definitely going to go out of my way to take advantage of that. Contrast that with the dozens of emails offering deals of the week that I get every day, that I never even open.

Subject: You’re the best!

Hi Calum,

I was just going through some records and discovered that over the past year, you’ve spent more in our store than 80% of our customers.

I want to personally thank you so much for sticking with us! Customers like you are the reason we’re in business. In order to show my appreciation for your loyalty over the last year, I’d like to offer you a 30% discount on any pet food item in our store. Just enter the coupon code VIP2017 at checkout!

Thanks again, and here’s to another year together!




This strategy requires that you track your clients’ analytics, but this is something you should be doing anyway. Letting customers know that you value their business can have a huge payoff — I’m definitely not the only person who’s a sucker for this approach.

4. Emails to reconnect with lapsed customers

email marketing campaign: reconnectThe flip side of VIP outreach is trying to reconnect with former loyal customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while. Reaching out to customers with a special offer that says, “Hey, we missed you,” is a great way to get their attention. It’s also a great way to remind former customers of why they once spent so much money with your client.

Just like the VIP outreach emails, you want to include some kind of very special offer when you’re trying to reconnect with lapsed customers. It’s likely that many of the people in this category have been receiving your regular marketing emails and are ignoring them. If you want these people to start making purchases again, you need to make it worth their time.

Subject: Haven’t seen you in a while

Hi Dawn,

It’s been a long time since you’ve made a purchase at Johnny’s Mixed Nut Emporium. I hope it wasn’t something we did. I want you to know how much we valued your business, and I’d like to extend a special offer to you. If you’d like to come back, we can offer you a box of our Premium Mix for 30% off.

This discount isn’t available to the general public. I’m only extending this offer to you because you were such a valuable customer for so long, and I want to make sure that you understand how much we miss you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or any concerns about the service you’ve received in the past.

Thanks for being our customer,


Remember, this person likely stopped buying from your client for a reason, even if it was just price-related. A gentle, conciliatory approach is often best when reaching out to people in this category.

5. Influencer outreach emails

email marketing campaign: influencerHere’s a tip that isn’t about reaching out to customers directly — instead, this strategy is about connecting with an influencer (someone with a large online audience) who hopefully will be willing to be an evangelist for your product.

It’s important to keep in mind that the internet is full of people talking about “the power of influencer marketing,” and anyone who has any kind of audience is regularly getting dozens of emails from marketers asking them to check out one product or another. If you’re hoping to piggyback on an influencer’s audience, you won’t find much success with a generic approach.

A popular genre of comedy on Twitter is journalists and other public figures posting screenshots of wildly inappropriate marketing emails. One of my faves was a Google employee posting an automated marketing message from an “SEO expert” that said something along the lines of, “I’ve identified several SEO problems with your website, google.com, that is keeping it from ranking as well as it could.”

You don’t want your clients to be mocked this way, so be careful about who you’re sending emails to and what you’re saying to them.

Subject: Want to see a better fidget spinner?

Hi Aiden,

I’m a big fan of your YouTube channel — your latest video about the new Taylor Swift single cracked me up!

I noticed you’ve been tweeting a lot for the last few days about fidget spinners. I thought you might be interested in the new Fidgetless Spinner that some friends of mine are working on. It’s a self-spinning fidget spinner that frees your hands up to flip bottles, dab, or do anything else. I’d be happy to send you one to check out!

Let me know if you’re interested, and thanks for all the great YouTube content.

Take care,


The key to actually succeeding when reaching out to influencers is to write a custom email for each person you want to contact. Make it obvious you actually know who they are and what they do, and make sure you have a good rationale for why you’re sending them this email.

Have they expressed interest in companies like your client in the past? Do you know they already use a similar but inferior product? Be human, and don’t be their fifth form email today with a [first.name] personalization tag still visible in the copy.

6. Re-engagement campaigns

email marketing campaign: reengagementFor email marketing campaigns, average open rates range between about 15 percent and 25 percent. That means that, at best, 75 percent of your subscriber lists are ignoring any given email. Re-engagement campaigns are designed to connect with these subscribers who are on your lists but who rarely, or never, engage with what you send them.

If your clients have a large number of subscribers in their email lists, a re-engagement campaign offers a chance to tap into this potentially huge audience. Even managing to connect with 5 percent of your unengaged subscribers can represent a very significant increase in the return on your email campaigns.

Subject: Where have you been?

Hi Laura,

We’ve noticed that you haven’t been around much recently. We get it — sometimes we all feel like we need some distance.

But since you’ve been away, you probably haven’t seen all the cool new stuff we’ve been up to lately! If you have a few minutes, come check out the site and see what we’ve done with the place. And while you’re there, take a look through the store, because we’ve added a $10 credit to your account that you can spend however you like.

If you have any feedback about the changes to our website or our products, please feel free to drop me a line. I’m always happy to hear from long-time subscribers like you!



If they’ve been ignoring your emails for a long time, it will take something special to get them to notice you now, and the subject line is especially important. This is a time when you need to be bold with your copy — and since these are people who aren’t interacting with your marketing attempts anyway, you have very little to lose.

Connect with customers

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers, but you need to do something to stand out above all the marketing noise that most people receive. The best way to do this is by using the data you’ve collected about your clients’ customers to create offers that actually appeal to them.

The email ideas listed in this post can have a huge impact on the return you can get from your ecommerce store, a little creative thinking combined with a strong email list is sometimes all you need to make a really big difference.

Need some help implementing a comprehensive email marketing strategy and automate your sales? Talk to us today

5 Content types to boost ecommerce

5 Content types to boost ecommerce

In our busy and bustling online world, you want fans, customers, and prospects to be able to find your company, and ultimately purchase your products. However, it can be tough to gain visibility in today’s noisy ecosystem.

Most ecommerce businesses bet on paid advertising, email marketing, and social media to boost traffic and sales. These channels are essential, but they’re not complete without the content that fuels them.

Publishing relevant content that provides value to your audience helps you connect with them, ultimately making your marketing efforts more effective. 

Here are 5 different ways you can use content to boost your ecommerce marketing strategy.

1. Turn to video

It’s no secret that people love watching videos. After all, videos provide a great deal of content in a short amount of time compared with text.

Today, video accounts for 74% of all online traffic, according to a report from Kleiner Perkins Partners. And, according to Recode, videos on Facebook are watched for roughly 100 million hours each day.

When it comes to marketing ecommerce businesses, there are certain types of videos that resonate. Here are three types to try:

  • Product videos – According to econsultancy, 96% of today’s consumers find videos helpful when making an online purchase. A product video gives you the opportunity to show your product in action, painting a helpful picture for your audience.
  • How-to videos – Searches with the keyword “how to” on YouTube are growing 70% year over year, according to Search Engine Land. It’s obvious why– internet users frequently search for videos to help them find the best products or complete tasks.
  • Emotional videos – When you’re able to reach someone’s emotional core, you have a better chance of compelling them to buy your products. That’s why videos with a deliberate goal to stir emotions perform so well.

2. Create custom images

Ecommerce businesses sell products, and promoting these products via images is especially important. Whether you are promoting products, launching a campaign, or looking for attention on social media, great images are your best bet.

The thing is, you have to create images that connect with your audience and serve your brand. That often means creating custom images, rather than relying on placeholder stock photos.

These custom images can be used all over the web– from your email marketing efforts to your blog posts, to your landing pages, to your social media sites.

3. Leverage user-generated content (UGC)

When it comes down to it, people trust other people more than they trust brands or advertisements– 71% of consumers feel that reviews by other customers make them more comfortable making a purchase decision, while 82% of consumers find user-generated reviews extremely valuable.

User-generated content (UGC), offers you the opportunity to leverage what your audience is already saying. Exploring UGC helps to increase engagement with your audience, gain an understanding of your customers, and help with your SEO efforts.

Let’s have a look into various types of user generated content you can harness for your ecommerce business.

  • Product ratings and reviews – Product ratings and reviews work as social proof. Reviews create a sense of trust which boosts customer’s confidence. Customer reviews with user-generated photos allow shoppers to connect on a personal level and imagine themselves using your product.
  • Questions and answers: A questions and answers on your product pages can add immense value. Having an option to ask questions enable visitors to ask for any missing info and your published answers will not only serve the visitor who asked for it but all your future visitors.
  • Social media posts: For an ecommerce business, social media is a very efficient channel for engagement. If you don’t have an active audience already on social media, your UGC campaign may not take off on its own.

Pro tip:If your audience isn’t creating content on their own, you can encourage them to share their thoughts about your products on social media. Some ecommerce retailers provide a coupon code or or blog feature in exchange for an honest review.

4. Create blog posts for your audience

While video content is a trending topic, written content still plays a big role in ecommerce marketing strategies.

After all, the written word allows for nuance and elaboration. Plus, the ability to communicate detailed information at a pace determined by the readers makes written content a natural fit for instructional materials.

If you have a blog, ensure it is hosted on your website or ecommerce site for the best SEO benefit.

Wrap up

We’ve shared 4 different ways you can use content to boost your ecommerce marketing strategy. Remember, content works best when it’s highly relevant and targeted for your consumers so try different types and formats and see what works best for different channels. When you find what works, do more of it.

Email Automation: Explained

Unlike email newsletters and one-off campaigns where you create and send to a bunch of people in one go, an automated email campaign means you set it up once, and then it’s automatically sent to one particular person, when they meet a certain trigger.

Take for example somebody signs up for an account on your website. The first email might welcome them to your brand and show them how to get started. Two days later you might send them another email with links to some popular resources or offer them a discount code for a fist purchase.

Rather than manually creating and sending email campaigns to every person when they sign up – and again two days later encouraging them to make a purchase – you can set up automated welcome emails that gets sent whenever a new person joins, and at the same time, set up your second automated email with a trigger point (e.g. 2 days after initial sign up) with their discount code for their first purchase.

That’s the beauty of email automation: You save yourself time and money by only needing to set up the email once, and as people meet the trigger you defined (e.g. two days after initial sign up) the email will send without any additional effort on your part. It essentially ‘automates’ your email marketing for you. How awesome is that?!


How to Customise an Email Template in 7 Simple Steps using Nextwave’s Mailer

How to Customise an Email Template in 7 Simple Steps using Nextwave’s Mailer

Thanks to modern email design tools and templates, the days of having to know HTML and CSS to create amazing emails are well and truly behind us. Phew!

With the Nextwave Mailer email builder the possibilities or generating beautiful emails (that your customers will actually want to open and read) are endless.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the 7 simple steps to help you design and build a custom email (from start to finish) using an email template and the drag and drop email tools.

Step 1: Choose a template to get started
The first step in customizing your email is to select a template from the Nextwave Mailer template library. You’ll find a wide variety of templates to choose from simply by clicking on a category under the ‘create new’ heading on the left hand side of your screen e.g. newsletters, events, feedback etc.

The template you choose will be partially based on the type of message you’ll be sending, such as a marketing offer, transactional email, newsletter, announcement, or event invite. Different objectives call for different formats and layouts, so consider which template will complement the message and objective of your email campaign.

For example, let’s say you’re sending out an email marketing campaign to announce a new collection of items in-store and online. For this post, we’ll pretend we are an email marketer at Liberty Trading Co.



Before you can select your campaign template, you’ll need to create a new email campaign by clicking on the big green ‘create a new campaign’ button to the right of your screen, define the campaign and sender details and click ‘next’. This is where you can select your campaign template.


Step 2: Add a new hero image
Once you’ve selected the template you want to use, click ‘Replace’ to swap out the existing image and insert an image of your own. You can use a big, bold hero image that goes full-width across the screen.


Step 3: Edit your image
Once you’ve inserted your hero image, you can edit it right within the builder. Simply click on the ‘edit’ next to the thumbnail image in the left sidebar.

Editing capabilities include everything from simply enhancing the image, to adding effects, rotating orientation, resizing, cropping, colour correcting, lighting, sharpness, and removing blemishes.

In the example below, you can see how clicking on the lighting option expands into more specific features such as brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows.

Once you’ve made your edits, click ‘Save’ and your new image will be updated in the template.

Step 4: Add alt text and links
Now that your image is set, you can add alt text – this is the text that will display when a subscriber has images off within his or her email inbox. To add alt text, simply click on the image and add the alt text in the appropriate box.

Additionally, you may like to add a link so when your image is clicked, it takes the subscriber to your website or product page.


In the example above, clicking on an image of a cushion brings up the toolbar with these features on the left side of the screen.

Step 5: Tweak your template
Want to rearrange or add sections to your template? No problem, you can do so in a matter of a few clicks!

To add content sections such as text, images, spacers dividers, buttons or surveys, just select the appropriate button from the left-hand toolbar and drag it to the section of your email template where you want to place it.


Alternatively, if you want to rearrange sections (as seen in the example below) highlight the portion you want to move with your mouse (e.g. a product image such as the cushion highlighted below) and move it to the new spot. This is helpful if you don’t want to switch to a different template, but you’d like to see a different ordering of the sections.


Step 6: Add a CTA button and customize the copy
When it’s time to create a custom call to action button (i.e. SHOP NOW – as seen positioned under the product images in the screenshots above) that will drive customers to your website, all you need to do is to use the ‘Button’ option – located in the left sidebar. Then, when inserting your conversion-driving CTA button, ensure you customise it with your brand colours and text as well as size, style, corner type and alignment. All of these options will appear once you click on the button tool in the left sidebar.


The best part when creating CTA buttons now is that no HTML/CSS skills needed. Hooray!

Step 7: Preview on mobile
Before sending out your beautiful email campaign, be sure to preview it on mobile to ensure everything is displaying correctly.

You’ll see the mobile preview right within the builder simply by clicking on the ‘preview’ button to the right hand side of the screen. Scroll down to see how your template looks in this format from top to bottom.


Why is this step so important? Because research shows that about 53% of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and it’s the most popular environment for a subscriber’s first interaction with an email.

Now you know how painless it is to customise your email marketing campaigns using Nextwave Mailer – and without the need for coding or CSS skills – there’s no stopping you!

Using customisable templates as your foundation, you can design a unique, well-branded email campaign in minutes.

Email Marketing Campaign Checklist

Have you experienced that moment of dread when you discover an error in your email marketing campaigns? Or do you hover over the send button for what seems like hours wondering what you may have forgotten?

This is what we like to call ‘Sendphobia’ and it’s something many marketers have experienced.

However, by having a rock solid email signoff process in place you can eliminate errors and rid yourself of ‘Sendphobia’ forever.


What is an email sign off process?

An email sign off process defines the stages an email campaign goes through to ensure it is error-free and approved by all relevant people in your organisation.

It is made up of two critical parts: A map of the approval process and a campaign checklist.

For instance, we have a flow chart which lays out the whole email process from briefing the email through to post-campaign reporting. We don’t look at it every time we send email out, but it is there and it is defined. It’s useful to show new people who become a part of your working group as it will help them understand their place in the process flow.

We also use a campaign sign off checklist which we apply to every campaign. This specifies the person responsible for signing off their part of the email and confirms that you’ve also completed some pre-send tasks.


Why do we need an email sign off process?

In short, to avoid situations like this….

“I sent an email wrong, then sent it wrong again. To 700K. That was a bad day”
“I sent the wrong email to about 3500 subscribers in my second week on the job… Doh”
“I remember once sending an email to myself 25,000 times.”

However, it isn’t just about avoiding mistakes either.

An email sign off process is also really useful for setting the team’s expectations – what do they have to sign off (Is the information about a product correct? Do they approve the design?) and when are they expected to deliver their sign off by?

Chances are you’ve got a specific date you want your campaign to be sent by and anyone delaying on their feedback can disrupt that. Making people aware of not just their responsibilities but everyone else’s too increases awareness of the process and keeps the momentum going.


Building your own email sign off process

Step 1: Work out who needs to give approval

The first step in building your own email sign off process is working out who needs to give approval.

This is going to be different for every organisation and can even differ between different types of email campaigns (new product announcements versus new blog post emails for instance), so you’ll definitely need to customise this to suit your organization’s unique attributes.

A few questions to answer though:

  • Who needs to sign off on design and client compatibility?
  • Who needs to sign off on correct product information?
  • Who needs to sign off on legal requirements?
  • Who needs to sign off on spelling, grammar & links?
  • Does senior management need to sign off before sending?

Once you’ve worked out who is responsible for approval across different areas, it’s time to focus on defining exactly what checks each person needs to do.


Step 2: Work out what needs to be checked

Once you’ve worked out who is involved in the approval process, it helps to define what each person is responsible for checking.

Not only does this help to reduce errors in your campaigns, but it will speed up the approval process by making sure people only comment on the areas they are supposed to.

I’ve had situations in previous roles where campaigns took days to get approval because everybody wants to have their opinion on the color of the heading or the positioning of the image. By defining what people are in charge of checking, you put boundaries in place that prevents fruitless arguments.

Again, this is going to differ for your organisation and even between campaign types, but here’s a few ideas for ‘checks’ to include in your checklist:

  • Is this email being sent to the correct list & segment?
  • Has the ‘From’ name been checked and from a recognisable name?
  • Has a working ‘Reply To’ address been set?
  • Does it look as expected across desktop clients (Outlook, Postbox, etc)
  • Does it look as expected on mobile devices?
  • Does it include a working Unsubscribe link?
  • Are all product descriptions accurate?
  • Are sizing options correct?
  • Is product/stock availability correct?
  • Is the email subject line free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Is the email preheader free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Have you setup appropriate fallbacks for any personalisation tags used?
  • Is the email copy free of spelling errors?
  • Is the email copy free of grammatical errors?
  • Is there a plain text version of this email?
  • Is the plan text version free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Do all links lead to the correct place?
  • Do all buttons link to the correct place?
  • Are all images linked and leading to the correct place?
  • Do all images have explanatory Alt text for when images are blocked?

Once you have worked out who is responsible for approvals and worked out all the checks each person needs to perform, then it’s time to build your Campaign Checklist.


Step 3: Build your campaign checklist

Now that you have defined who is responsible for approvals and what checks they need to perform, you can build it into a useable spreadsheet.


Step 4: Start using your checklist

Now that you’ve built a great email campaign checklist, it’s time to start using it to make sure your campaigns are free from errors.

While everybody’s email sending process is different and you can use it however you like, one of the best things to do is simply run through the checklist right before sending as this will ensure everything is ticked off before you hit the point of no return.

Here are a few tips for using your fancy new campaign checklist:

  • Use Google Docs – If your organisation allows, use the Google Docs version. It allows multiple people to be working on the one centralised document at the same time and keeps a record of all changes made, including who wrote what and at what time. That way, if something ever goes wrong you’ll know exactly who approved it and when.
  • Keep the document as an audit trail – Always keep the checklist in your company’s file system in case you or anybody else needs to refer back to it later.


In conclusion

Sendphobia can definitely be scary, but by building a campaign sign off process specific to your organisation and running through it each time you send an email marketing campaign, you can help prevent errors and actually make sending campaigns an exciting and enjoyable experience that drives business results.

So get your campaign checklist template in either Google Docs or Excel format and start using it within your organisation today.

Talk to us for assistance with email marketing

digital marketing, the right website for results

Do it yourself website builders are great if you are just starting out.

Do they help manage website leads through to conversion, manage the various processes and workflow required to drive engagement and sales.

For example, can they do the following basic functions?

Marketing popups to drive engagement with offers

Personalized trigger emails

Integration with an email marketing platform

Thank you for signup /purchase pages – Track campaign performance via paid Ads

Enhanced tracking for Google Analytics – Reporting. Track sale value data via specific channels and campaigns

We’ve found many website builders do not offer these necessary functions.

So when choosing the platform to run your business on, ask yourself;

Does this platform have what I need to cost effectively run my business in a competitive space?

Will it help with my ongoing marketing?

Talk to us today for a free consultation on how your business can succeeed online.


How brick-and-mortar businesses can build a customer email list

How brick-and-mortar businesses can build a customer email list

As a brick-and-mortar business, do you find it difficult to collect your customers email addresses and build a list?

Just because your business is largely run offline, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a ton of value from building a customer email list.In this post, we’ll walk through why it’s important for brick-and-mortar businesses to collect customer email addresses and outline a 2-part formula that will help you build a massive email list that increases your revenue.

Why brick-and-mortar businesses need to build an email list

There are a number of reasons who brick-and-mortar business would benefit from building their email list:

Your customers use email

While it might seem like everyone is on Facebook and Twitter these days, there’s a good chance a higher percentage of your customers have email addresses over Facebook & Twitter accounts.

In fact, while Facebook claims to have over 1.35 billion users and Twitter has over 270 million users, research shows there are more than 4 billion email accounts worldwide, meaning email has a reach 3x greater than Facebook and 15x greater than Twitter.

This is particularly true if your customers are generally a little bit older.

Statistics show that while Facebook has a high adoption rate amongst 18-24 year olds (89% of internet users in this age bracket) it’s gets significantly lower in the older age brackets, with only 65% of internet users between 50 and 65 years old using Facebook (and less than 50% of internet users over the age of 50 using it).

Regardless of which way you cut the data, more of your customers are using email than they are using Facebook & Twitter combined so it’s a much better way to reach them.

It’s the most effective marketing medium on the planet

According to a recent study by VentureBeat email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available, beating out social media, paid search, TV and radio among others.

This is particularly true when comparing it to social networks like Twitter. The average tweet has a click-through rate of around 0.5%, while the average email has an end click-through rate of around 3%.

This means you are 6x more likely to get a click back to your website from email than from Twitter.

In fact, influential marketing blogger Derek Halpern ran a test where he sent an offer (in his case, a blog post) to the same number of people via both email and Twitter. Here are the results:

  • 300 people clicked through to the blog post from Twitter
  • 4,200 people clicked through to the blog post from email

For business owners like you, this makes a huge difference to how many people you manage to get through the front door and purchasing your products and services.

You own and control your email list

Building a follower base on social media networks is kind of like renovating a rented house.

It may be all good and enjoyable for a while but eventually the rules will change, and because you don’t own the house, there isn’t much you can do about it.

The perfect example of this is Facebook continuing to restrict the amount of followers a brand’s post can reach in an attempt to drive people to their paid advertising options.

Analysis from advertising agency Ogilvy showed organic reach was at 6% (a decline of 49% from peak levels in October), meaning that every time you post a status update on Facebook for a new product you have in stock or a new promotion or sale you’re running, less than 6% of your followers will see it.

Email on the contrary is an open platform that no one organization controls. When you send an email campaign, there is no master algorithm limiting how many people will actually receive your campaign.

Similarly, if you read the terms and conditions of most social networks, you don’t own any information about the followers you’ve amassed. If you decide to leave Facebook because LinkedIn is a better platform for your business, you can’t take those followers with you, you have to start again from scratch.

On the other hand, if you wanted to switch email providers (to Nextwave Mailer for instance), you can export your email list from the previous provider and import it to the new one. You own all the data and can take it with you wherever you go, meaning you’ll never have to start again from scratch.

How brick-and-mortar businesses can build their email lists

Now that you understand the importance of building your email list, it’s time to get to work building your list.

Fortunately for you, there is a 2-part formula for building your email list that is followed by many of the most successful list builders around. That formula is:

A valuable incentive + simple subscribe opportunities = large email list

While it is a little bit of a simplification, it’s also just logic. No matter how many subscribe opportunities you present to a person, it’s unlikely they’ll act without a valuable incentive. And no matter how good your incentive is, you’ll never get people to subscribe if you don’t make it super easy for them.

The real question is, what makes for an amazing incentive? And how can you make subscribing to your list really simple and easy?

Let’s dive in and answer both those questions:

Part 1: A valuable incentive

There are a huge number of ways in which you can provide an incentive for people to join your email list, and it really depends on the type of organization you are marketing and the tactics through which you choose to market it.

For instance, retail stores are likely to have different incentives they can offer than a financial services firm, so the key is to pick out what makes sense for your business to offer based on what would resonate with your audience.

Some incentives you could use include:

Discounts and offers

Offering discounts or various other value-added offers is one of the quickest and easiest ways to incentivise people to join your email list.

Here are a few ideas you could implement today:

  • Discount at purchase – Offering customers a small discount at the point of sale can be a great way to capture their email address and build your list. What person about to hand over their credit card wouldn’t want 5% off their purchase? By offering a discount on their purchase, you can capture their email address and continue marketing to them for years to come, driving repeat purchases that will far out weigh the small amount of money you lost by offering the discount.
  • Discount on next visit or service – Another great incentive you can offer to get people to subscribe to your email list is a discount on their next purchase from you. Not only is this a great offer that will get them to hand over their email address, but it helps drive repeat purchases by giving people a reason to come back to your store (particularly when combined with an email campaign about that great new product you have in stock).

Early access and exclusive promotions

If your have built up a reasonable level of brand awareness and affinity over the years, then offering early access and exclusives as an incentive to subscribe to your email list can be extremely cost-effective.

Here area few ideas you can implement today:

  • Early access to new products – People like to be the first to own something and be seen as ahead of the curve, so offering people early access to new products before their friends can be a great incentive to get them to subscribe.
  • Access to special discounts and promotions – It’s well known that access to special discounts and promotions is an effective way to build your list, so creating special discounts and promotions that are only available to email subscribers can be a great incentive to get people to join your list.

Giveaways & contests

As humans, we have an innately competitive urge and are motivated to win prizes.

You can leverage this to build your email list by running giveaways and contests where people give over their email address for the chance to win a prize.

The key to success with this tactic is making sure the prize is a valuable enough incentive for people to hand over their email addresses.  Consider some of these best practices:

  • Make the prize unique and exclusive – More often than not, a unique and exclusive prize will gain more attention than a big, cash prize. For instance, Queensland Tourism’s “Best Job in the World” campaign offered the winner a job as the ‘Caretaker’ of the Great Barrier Reef, which essentially involved touring the reef and its associated islands and blogging about it for a year. This unique, money-can’t-buy prize not only attracted over 34,000 entries but also secured an estimated $400 million worth of media coverage, being picked up by CNN, Time and NBC to name a few. So when deciding on your prize, consider the things you could offer beyond just cash and iPads. Cooking classes with your head chef or exclusive behind the scenes tours are all great examples of money can’t buy prizes that really appeal to people.

Part 2: Simple subscribe opportunities

Just like there are a number of incentives you can offer, there are many ways you can make subscribing to your list super simple.

Not every one of them is going to be relevant for you though, and certain techniques will be more suited certain incentives being offered. The key is understanding the incentives you are offering and then picking the subscribe technique that best matches it. Here are a few ideas:

Ask at point of sale

This method is particularly effective when combined with incentives like discounts and offers.

By getting your employees to ask every customer if they’d like to join your email list to get a discount or special offer at the point of sale, you’re hitting every possible customer with a very compelling and simple offer.

So much so that stationery company Paradise Pen Co. actually collect 80% of their customer emails in-store, while just 20% of people sign up online.

Paradise uses gift cards to incentivize the sign up in-store. Initially the company tried paper gift certificates, but when it switched to using plastic gift cards that could be redeemed online, gift card redemption rates jumped from 9.5% to 20%.

Paradise also tested different expiration dates on the gift cards, and found that giving customers 12 months made them more likely to redeem the cards, and thus make extra purchases that drive revenue for their business.

Place a subscribe form in-store

When someone says email subscribe form, we usually tend to think email input boxes on the web, but they can be physical too.

One the most simple ways to get started is to set up a basic signup form in-store. You can grab a clipboard, a pen, and print off some sheets of paper with a spot for the customer’s name and email address, and you’re ready to go.

If you’re doing this though, try to give people some structure for entering their address (like using a one box per letter form rather than offering just a free-form space for customers to fill in). A New York hotel chain found using boxes helped them get more legible email addresses from customers after they saw a high percentage of email addresses they couldn’t use because the handwriting was too ambiguous.

If you want to get more technical, and save yourself some of the hassle of manually adding email addresses to your mailing list from a handwritten form, you could use an app to automatically turn an iPad into a beautiful email subscribe form.

Collect business cards

Manually writing down your email address is a pain, and can be a barrier to entry that prevents you from collecting as many email addresses as you could.

Fortunately for you, many people have their email address on their business card and providing a method and incentive for them to drop their business card is a great way to collect emails.

This works particularly well with incentives that can be communicated without talking to a person, like a contest for instance.

As long as you clearly communicate (through signage and promotional material) what the prize is for entering, people will happily drop their business card in for a chance to win.

Then each month, choose a random card from the bowl to give the prize to, and enter the email address from each customer’s card onto your mailing list.

Use your receipts and packaging

Another clever way of drawing attention to your newsletter is to add instructions for joining the mailing list to the bottom of receipts or in the bags and packaging your customers leave the store with.

By slipping in a small flyer that outlines what the incentive is for joining the list and provides a clear path to joining, you can actually capture customer’s email addresses once they’ve left your store.

Email marketing tools like Nextwave Mailer provide customizable email subscribe pages you can direct people to, or you can use tools like Unbounce to create more customized landing pages and integrate them with your email list to ensure all new subscribers are automatically added.

In conclusion

Building your email list and sending regular, high-quality campaigns to those subscribers is a fantastic way for brick-and-mortar business owners to grow their revenue.

It’s far more effective than any other marketing channel available today, and with tools like Nextwave Mailer is also much more simple to execute.

So take some these list building tactics and put them in use in your business today, the earlier you start the bigger your list will be and the more sales and revenue you’ll be able to drive from it.

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Each time you send an email, you should be aware that a huge portion of your subscribers are going to open your message on their phones or tablets — not on their desktop computers or laptops.

It seems that every other week a new study cites an overwhelming number of people who read emails on their mobile devices — 51 percent according to Litmus, 66 percent according to Movable Ink.

The numbers vary, but the savvy content marketer knows that overlooking mobile-friendly emails is a big mistake.

A mobile responsive website design displays your content properly no matter how someone views your website, and you can ensure that the emails you send look great as well, whether or not you have a mobile-responsive email template.

Here are 10 essential tips for transforming your message into a mobile-friendly email. For more information on how Nextwave can help you with your email marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out Nextwave commerce

1. Compose short subject lines


The amount of space mobile devices provide for displaying subject lines can make even the most succinct writer cry herself to sleep.

Even though some email clients will display your entire subject line text, many do not.

And since your subject line in an email is akin to your headline, you don’t want to cut it off and miss an opportunity to connect with your reader.

The solution is to either keep your subject line short — 40 characters or less is a good rule of thumb — or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

2. Use a single-column template


On a mobile-device screen, multiple columns typically appear condensed and confusing to navigate.

A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward even when it’s viewed with different email clients.

Single columns can also simplify your design and spotlight your important content.

3. Keep your email under 600 pixels wide


While most modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs, there are exceptions.

When your email width is 600 pixels or less, users won’t have problems viewing emails that were formatted for large computer screens.

Set a width attribute in your email template’s table tag to 600 pixels or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

4. Use a large font size


Since a 10-pixel font is difficult to read on a desktop computer screen, and small screens make small fonts even smaller, most people will delete your email before they’ll squint and strain their eyes in order to read your tiny text.

A font size of 13 or 14 pixels makes your email substantially more readable on a small screen.

But don’t be afraid to go even larger than that. Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.

5. Display small images


Smaller images reduce load times and bandwidth. Many mobile users still use 3G or slower, connections, so the speed at which images load is vital.

If you have technical chops, or know someone who can help you, use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.

Another option is to shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal to both load your images faster and conserve your user’s bandwidth.

6. Provide a distinct call to action


A call to action should prompt your email recipient to do something. Generally, that “something” is tapping (or clicking) a button that further leads him down the path you want him to take.

Your call to action needs to be large enough for him to easily and effectively do this on a mobile-device screen.

Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers, and while mobile manufacturers have created devices that accurately respond to your actions, they’re not perfect.

If your readers have to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, then there’s a chance they won’t bother.

Display a compelling call to action that is at least a 40 pixels square — and preferably larger than that — to keep the reader engaged with your email.

7. Don’t make your call to action an image


Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses. So if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email client doesn’t have images enabled for your sending address, she will not see it.

After all the work you put into crafting your emails, it’s a bummer to miss an opportunity to get your reader to take action.

But the trouble is that when recipients do view images, they often improve click-through rates.

If you decide to use an image for your call to action, make sure the image has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”

That way, even if the image isn’t shown, the message in your ALT text will still appear.

8. Avoid menu bars


As I mentioned above, since fingers are not precision instruments, tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.

I recommend avoiding them completely. It’s an email, not a website, so you don’t need a traditional menu or navigation bar.

With emails, stick to the basic building blocks of the web: links and images.

9. Don’t stack links


Stacked links cause the same problems as other tiny forms of navigation. Here’s an example of stacked links:


If you imagine stacked links within a paragraph, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally click the wrong link.

Also, when two words are right on top of each other, you may mistakenly link the two words to the same destination rather than assigning a distinct link to each word.

Including multiple links in an email is fine, but be sure to look at a preview of the email and separate links with other text, images, or whitespace as needed.

The reader’s experience is your first priority


Think about your own experience when you encounter an email that doesn’t display properly on your mobile device.

Even if it’s from a source that interests you, you may not want to spend extra time deciphering the message.

And if you can’t see the action the sender wants you to take, you certainly won’t take it.

Instead of putting your reader in this undesirable scenario, you can easily create mobile-friendly emails that display properly on any device.

What special steps do you take to produce an optimal mobile-viewing experience for your email readers?


Using Nextwave Mailer, any email campaign you send will automatically be optimized for both desktop and mobile email clients – We can do all this for you – This means you know it will look just as great on an iPhone as it does in Outlook or Gmail. We even make it easy to see how your template will look on a mobile device as you build it.

Email Marketing is not dead!

Email Marketing is not dead!

If you think Email Marketing is a thing of the past – think again.

Email Marketing may be old-school, but it’s still the king of conversions.

Good email content deepens your relationship with your audience through effective subject line writing (getting your messages opened), your distinctive voice (getting those messages read), and delivering quality, niche specific content your prospect needs and shares with others (inspiring referrals and word-of-mouth).

Nextwave Mailer provides custom templates, social sharing features and easy-to-understand reports. Each campaign is automatically optimised for mobile devices & looks great in every email client. Nextwave can help you get the most out of your newsletter lists, and turn those clicks into cash.


Email the Leading Driver of Visitors to Top Retail Sites

Interesting article about the power of email marketing, not the least of which is that 19 percent of shoppers surveyed said they visited a top retailer’s online storefront after receiving a promotional email from the company. Eight percent said they were driven there by search engine results, and only five percent said their decision to visit one of the top 40 retail websites was primarily influenced by social media channels such as recommendations on Facebook or Twitter.

Read the full article

We offer a self-serve email marketing system that makes newsletters and promotional emails a cinch. Join 200+ clients using Nextwave Mailer for their email marketing strategy, see the website for more info, or get in touch with us today if you’d like to discuss this effective marketing strategy.

Six Ways to Engage, and Convert your customers

Converting visitors into customers is about more than just supplying great product information. It’s about more than a great design, simple navigation and customer service links. The basics–such as page design and content presentation are certainly necessary. But if you want to grow a loyal customer base for the long term, you have to reach even further.
Here are six ways to engage visitors and turn more of them into actual customers, bringing friends with them.

  1. Serve up the ideal newsletter. Contrary to what some social media “experts” say, people still like to receive email from companies they love and from stores that carry items or product lines to which they’re devoted. By integrating useful tips and links to articles or invites to forums, you’re opening up a channel for conversation, of which customers will take advantage.
  2. Encourage customers to rate and comment on products. Customer ratings and reviews help sell products better than any description. This is because people trust other people more than they do a business that writes copy specifically to sell merchandise. And let the not-so-good ones in, too, because this keeps it all real.
  3. Take a poll. Thinking about changing the home page? Wondering which product line your customers really want? Ask them. Simple polls that use images instead of lengthy text questionnaires will garner the most responses, and shoppers appreciate being asked for input.
  4. Host a gallery. If you sell products that people love to show off, let them do just that. Sell model kits? Invite customers to show off how they put it all together. Home decor? Prompt them to share photos of their new living room. You can even take it a step further by hosting contests where the users vote, and the winner receives a store gift certificate or specialty item.
  5. Run a blog. A blog is a suitable add-on for most online stores because there’s always something to talk about, show off or review. From electronic gadgets to wall art to craft stores, people love content which revolves around their own passions. By mixing “feel good” stories, new product announcements and thought-provoking ideas, a blog gives you the flexibility to be more creative and more personal. You should invite and encourage comments, because it is user responses that truly drive the traffic and ranking of a blog, not just the content.
  6. Host a real contest. The web is riddled with useless contests, especially across social media. The problem is, most of these provide little value to the retailer or the visitor. A campaign designed to increase Twitter followers doesn’t necessarily bring you people who will visit your website. So, while giving away an iPad to a random new face on Facebook or Twitter sounds like a big deal, small, lesser known businesses are better off reaching a more dedicated audience by giving away store-related prizes for real shopper engagement. Remember, it only takes a handful of loyal shoppers to bring you hordes of new customers.

Whichever way you go, keep this one directive in mind: Ask questions. Questions inspire people to respond, whether it concerns new products they’d love to see you carry, or insight on features they wish they could use at your store. It’s all about getting people communicating. The more people communicate, the more incoming links you’ll get. The more people talk positively about a product, the more likely they are to share their experience, not just at your site, but across the web via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The more people talk, the more time new visitors will spend checking out what they have to say and, in turn, the faster you’ll grow your base audience and your business.

Tip of the day: shorten your email by using teaser content

Instead of putting an entire offer or promotion in your email, use teaser content that points to more information on your website or blog. This has the added bonus of providing customers and prospects with more of a reason to click a link and make their way over to your site. It also creates the possibility of up-selling other products and services on your website.

Should I Purchase an Email List?

Question: Our company struggles with building a proper opt-in email list. Do you recommend purchasing opt-in email lists? If so, are there reputable vendors that you can recommend? We are just getting started, and I’d like to do this right.

Answer: Don’t cut that check just yet. We do not recommend buying email-marketing lists because many lists contain:

  • Old, inactive email addresses that bounce, a red flag for ISPs.
  • Spam traps, email addresses set up specifically by ISPs to identify spammers. If you send to these addresses, they’ll think you’re a spammer, too.
  • Recipients that are not interested in your message and quickly hit the “This is Spam” button. Get too many spam complaints, and you can quickly tarnish your sender reputation and maybe even end up on blacklists.

As a last resort, it’s ok to purchase a list for telesales and direct mail. These lists have the same problems outlined above in terms of outdated information and people who don’t want to hear from you, but you won’t experience the same immediate, punishing effects with these channels as you would with email.

If you do choose to buy a list for telesales and direct mail, convert these prospects to bona fide, permission-based email subscribers by including an offer to win something of value in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter or online campaign.

Here are some approaches to building your own in-house email list that we do recommend:

  • Partnering with industry associations to include bylined articles or valuable content in their newsletters and communications, which drives traffic back to your newsletter program. In order for this to work, you must offer something valuable to the association, like content they don’t have access to or a chance to become more visible to your customer base.
  • Social media and networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogging to help drive audiences to your subscriptions and downloads.
  • Search engine marketing via Google to promote offers that drive newsletter subscriptions.

Good luck building – not buying – your permission-based email list.

Growing Your Email Subscriber List With Contests

Adds new signups quickly, but can cause problems, too

Cultivating a solid, permission-based email list can take a lot of time. So some businesses understandably get impatient waiting around for their lists to grow.

For these businesses, online contests may be an attractive quick fix. As an example, let’s say a newly launched shoe e-retailer, Shoe-Fanatics.com, wants to grow its email list really fast. So it partners with a well-established fashion news website Fashion-Freaks.com, to run a contest or giveaway. Fashion-Freaks.com has been around for years, and they’ve built up a subscriber list composed of users with the same demographics that Shoe-Fanatics.com is looking for. Fashion-Freaks.com will send an email promotion to its readers, recommending they all visit Shoe-Fanatics.com to enter a contest, or redeem a nice coupon. When readers of Fashion-Freaks enter the contest, they can opt in to Shoe-Fanatics’s email marketing list.

Consider these tips

So here are some tips if you’re thinking about using contests to boost your list. We’ll use the example above, and pretend you’re the shoe e-retailer:

Perform some due diligence. Opt-in to Fashion-Freak’s website, and research its list management practices. If it uses single opt-in, its list may be larger, but prone to prank email submissions and typos. If it uses confirmed opt-in, the list will be smaller, but higher in quality and response rates. Try unsubscribing from their list. Do they make it a difficult, or impossible process? That’s a bad sign, because it means they could have lots of angry recipients on their list, who will undoubtedly end up hating you too.

Don’t send out contest email yourself. Let’s say everything checks out, and you decide to work with them. You want to send an email promotion to the subscriber list. They should already have a “Fashion-Freaks.com recommends…” sort of email template for this sort of thing. They’ll probably ask you to follow their guidelines and create an email that they’ll send on your behalf. Sometimes they’ll design the email for you, because they know what makes their readers click better than anyone. The point is, the email list stays with them, and they do the sending for you. Remember, these aren’t your subscribers yet. If Fashion-Freaks.com offers to give you a copy of their email list, don’t take it. Those subscribers don’t know you, and will report you for spam. And chances are, the list has already been sold many times before you, and is very dirty.

Communicate clearly, disclose everything. You’ll send your email creative, and it’ll take readers to a landing page signup form. When they sign up, make it abundantly clear to entrants that they will be receiving email marketing from your company. Don’t bury this fact somewhere in the contest rules. Use the opt-in method, not the opt-out method. Better yet, use confirmed opt-in. Down the road, if a forgetful entrant reports you for spamming, her ISP will trace the email back to your signup form. If they see anything less than a pure, permission-based opt-in form, they will be more likely to block future emails from you. On that note, make sure your opt-in form collects IP address, date, and time-stamp information for all new subscribers (this is your “proof of opt-in” if you’re questioned by ISPs or anti-spam groups).

Respond quickly. When people enter your contest, send an immediate confirmation email. Include a copy of your email-marketing newsletter (or send it separately), so they get a feel for who you are, and what to expect. The point is, you don’t want to wait too long before they hear from you. Contest entrants tend to be forgetful.

Segregate lists. Don’t just add all new subscribers from the contest into your master customer list. I’ve seen too many companies want to “remove all those contest freeloaders” from their list, because their response rates brought down their averages, or their complaint rates were jeopardizing their deliverability. Save entrants into their own database, or flag them so you can filter them out if you ever wanted to.

Remind subscribers of contest. Remember, contest entrants are forgetful. And they’re really just looking for a prize. When they get their first, non prize-related email newsletter from you, make sure you include a prominent reminder of how they got on your list. Find a way to mention the fashion website partner in your introductory paragraph, or at the very least, put a permission reminder in your footer (“You’re receiving this email because you entered a contest and opted-in at…”).

If organic list growth is just not fast enough for you, using contests can indeed be a fast and cheap way to grow your list. But if you don’t cover all your bases, you’ll end up with an inferior quality email list with “bad apples” that can spoil your whole bunch.

Talk to us today about employing these email marketing strategies.