Amazon and eBay continue to be dominant in their markets, with Amazon named the No. 1 online retail site in 2013 (according to research from IMRG and Hitwise) and eBay driving $419 million in online sales to their site on Cyber Monday.
So what can we all learn from the tactics these 2 giants of online retail employ with their email marketing, to continue driving their success?
Here are our 5 email marketing lessons to be learnt from Amazon & eBay.
1. Think Beyond The Thanks:
Thanking customers for their purchase encourages loyalty and can be effective in helping drive repeat business.
But simply saying ‘thanks’ every time a purchase is made can get a little boring and repetitive for all parties involved.
Follow Amazon’s lead and use the Thank You as an opportunity to further engage with your customers. In the example below, Amazon is asking Si for a review on the packaging of his latest purchase. Why? Because his responses will help them make their next ‘thank you’ email to Si even more personalised.
By regularly updating the content of your ‘thank you’ emails with additional suggestions, requests, or purchase ideas, you can begin to build up a greater buyer persona and in turn stop your automated responses from becoming predictable (and probably ignored).
Take a leaf out of Amazon’s book and start tracking everything that your customers tell you so that you can begin to put together content that talks with your subscribers as if it were a one-to-one personal conversation and not a blind email blast.
2. A Gentle Reminder:
Here’s a nice trick Amazon employ to help deliver upsell/cross-sell messages. They are using email marketing automation to deliver an email offering added value – free additional downloads in this case.
Who wouldn’t mind hearing about freebies they are entitled to? So the open rates and engagement here are likely to be high.
So Amazon are also taking this opportunity to talk about another feature that they’d like to encourage engagement with– Amazon’s Cloud Player and AutoRip.
So it’s not even an upsell pitch. It’s using a personalised, added value offer to drive engagement with an new service. Nice touch.
3. Get To The Point:
If users show or register interest in an item, eBay use this to its full potential by sending out a series of ‘reminder’ emails. These are effectively auto-generated transactional emails.
However, eBay don’t just passively suggest that an item you were interested could go soon. They are much more persuasive than that!
In the email to the left, eBay uses short, snappy and punchy sentences to create a sense of urgency, encouraging the reader to bid. And they’ve put a useful button there for the user to do just that.
It’s obvious what eBay want the user to do and they haven’t made it hard for them to take action. It’s a good tip: make it clear and easy for your potential or existing customer to follow through on your call to action in your email messages.
In this second example, eBay has highlighted that the mobile app makes it easier to bid and not miss out on items. These emails may be short and sweet but they pack a punch.
4. Be timely:
Timing is everything when it comes to effective email marketing automation. Because it’s still all about ‘right person, right message, right time.
Here, eBay have taken advantage of a post-Christmas mood that many of us are familiar with; the disappointment of unwanted gifts.
With clever use of a witty subject line, this email will stand out against the sea of ‘Christmas Sale!’ emails flooding everyone’s inboxes at this festive time of year.
To take a leaf out of eBay’s book, hook your email marketing onto something very timely, topical, of the moment, and tie your subject lines in tightly.
(Don’t under estimate the power of that subject line: 35% of email recipients open emails based purely on your subject line. See this blog post for more.
5. If you don’t have the data, chance your luck
eBay might assume that every online purchaser is a potential online seller. Are they right in that assumption? Probably not. Buying and selling are 2 different mindsets for many of us.
But I think eBay know that enough sellers are potential buyers to make this prospecting email pay off.
So take this tip from eBay. Even if your data on potential customers is vewry limited, don’t be afraid to chance your luck with some test campaigns.
That way you’ll have the data you need to back up your targeting decisions much sooner than you think.
Both Amazon and eBay are highly focused on using the customer data they gather to deliver automated, personalised experiences to the inbox. Experiences that draw upon motivations, actions and behaviours.
From gender to birth dates, from preferences to browsing and purchase history, both retailers harness the potential of these customer insights to serve content and send automated email marketing campaigns that resonate with individual recipients.
For practical guidance on collecting, enriching and harnessing customer data for data-driven email marketing, take a look at our free guide: Data-Driven Email Marketing