It’s 2019, and email marketing is still among the most effective marketing techniques to strengthen retail businesses – whether you sell online or offline or both. In fact, according to  an eMarketer survey of small and medium businesses, 81% and 80% of respondents – respectively – said email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. Following email was organic search at 62% for acquisition and social media at 44% for retention, both of which were rated by far fewer respondents than those who chose email.

Additional research has shown that “when it comes to attracting new customers – email works almost 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter combined”. If that’s not enough to convince you, there’s also the fact that people are three times more likely to make a purchase when they click on links in emails than compared to social media.

If you’re ready to increase your revenue with email marketing, here are four actionable ways to use email to get those registers ringing.

Collect Email Addresses Efficiently

The key to an effective email strategy starts with efficiently collecting email addresses. When it comes to getting them from customers in-store, don’t resort to having them fill out a form. Instead, capture email addresses electronically so they are entered directly into your system with your point-of-sale system. Most modern POS systems enable retailers to enter customer information at checkout, so ask to provide their email address when you’re ringing them up.

When customers buy from you online, they’re probably already giving you their email addresses and basic details as they go through the checkout process. Now your job is to ensure that they opt-in to your newsletter. Simply add a mailing list checkbox on the checkout page of your eCommerce site so shoppers don’t have to re-enter their details and can just click the checkbox to be automatically entered into your email database.

Segment Your Contacts

Now that you have a great email list going, it’s time to break down your email list into groups based on demographics or behavior so you can personalize your emails for maximum effectiveness. Break your list into groups based on gender, location, age, and even inventory preferences if that is relative to your unique business. Also divide them up by behavior such as past purchases or their Internet browsing activity to ensure you can better target future emails to their specific interests. Keeping this in mind, while it’s more time intense to create specific emails for each segment, this niche approach to your email communication will help you generate stronger engagement from your audience. In fact, segmented campaigns drive a 760% increase in revenue, so it's worth making sure the emails you're sending are relevant to your customers.

Create Mobile-Friendly Emails

Think about your own experience when you’re on your phone and encounter an email that doesn’t display properly. Are you frustrated? Disappointed? Or do you not even waste your time and simply hit delete? The reality is, even when something interests you online if there is a moment of friction you are likely to move onto something else. And this same reality holds true for your customers.

As a retailer, it’s critical that your emails look just as good on a smartphone or tablet as they do on a desktop. According to Marketing Land, an estimated 66% of all emails are now opened on mobile devices, and if your email marketing campaign isn’t optimized for mobile, 80% of recipients will delete the email.

Make sure you have an email service provider that offers simple templates that will automatically adapt your emails to mobile formats. Keep your subject lines short, use a single column template, choose a larger font size, display smaller images to reduce load times and bandwidth, and provide a distinct call to action. Collectively these efforts will help you strengthen your email marketing efforts and ultimately your customer engagement, as well.

Send the Right Types of Emails

It’s not just enough to send emails; you have to send emails that are important to the receiver. Mix up your content and test different ideas to see what kinds of messages get the most clicks. Don’t only talk about sales. Instead, inject your store’s personality into your emails as if you’re chatting with a friend. Share fun pictures, and if it makes sense given the situation, show them related things they can buy. Get creative yet stick to your branding. Over time, you will identify what makes sense for your one-of-a-kind retail business.

Additionally, consider these ideas for emails, as well.:

  • New Products — Show off things that will get the recipient excited to come into the store or to click on your website. Plan out these campaigns and send them whenever you have new merchandise that you want to show off.
  • Promotions — Do you have something special you're running? Be sure to let your subscribers know, adding in a sense of urgency ("for a limited time," for example) that will bring them into the store or to your site.
  • Social Media Updates — Using social media content in email campaigns can be great for showing customers what other people are doing with your products, and also an additional avenue to get your brand name out there.
  • Coupons — Every customer love to save money, and if they think they might find savings in your email, they're more likely to open what you send. Offer coupons but make it so your customers must redeem the discount in person to drive more traffic to your store. It's also helpful to tie coupons to specific events, like holidays and birthdays.

The Final Word

It’s estimated that the number of consumer and business emails sent per day in 2018 was more than 281 billion. Make sure yours are the ones that get read by following the above tips - and make sure you have a diverse product assortment to keep those customers coming back. 

Want to give yourself more reasons to send relevant and exciting emails for your customers? Discover products to help boost your sales by attending ASD Market Week this upcoming March 17-20, 2019 in Las Vegas.  Learn more here.

Written by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle of Retail Minded. Select images from