Hilda Kibet March 31st, 2021

5 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing in 2021

Last year, Cyber Monday sales reached over $10 billion in the U.S alone and in 2021, it’s predicted that the number of online shoppers will increase by 1.32% to 230 million.

There’s no doubt about it – eCommerce is growing faster than ever. And email marketing is a vital aspect of that growth. So if you’re looking to expand your eCommerce business or even just improve your current email marketing program, here are some tips to help you create truly impactful email marketing campaigns in 2021.

What to do

DO – Use human-centric language

In 2020, we realized the true power of humanity. If you want your customers to form a real connection with your brand and keep returning to your site, you should ensure that all your email marketing campaigns have a human touch. Use simple, relatable language, write with a friendly tone and make your message absolutely clear. Unless it’s for an incredibly specific audience, your campaigns should be free of jargon. And if the campaign is to communicate a discount or special offer, the mechanics should be incredibly easy to follow.

DO – Create holiday promotions

The way we celebrate special occasions and send gifts has changed in the past year. Now, E-Gift cards and online promotions are a wonderful, safe way to help your customers enjoy the holidays and increase your ROI. Choose days that are appropriate for your specific brand or service and begin planning your campaigns as far in advance as possible. It’s also worth reviewing what your competitors have done in previous years to help you create an offer that will really stand out.

DO – Invest in a good ESP

With more consumers turning to online shopping than ever before, it’s imperative that you have effective cart abandonment and browse abandonment email flows in place for customers who leave your site before purchasing.

In a study conducted by Barilliance, it was found that sending a cart abandonment email within 24 hours could help recover up 20.3% of sales. 

And, according to SalesCycle, cart abandonment emails have open rates of up to 46.6%, with 35% of those who opened the email ultimately making a purchase.

A strong, reliable ESP like Klaviyo, Bronto, or MailChimp can help you create effective flows that are automatically triggered. Some, like Klaviyo, will also allow you to filter these flows using parameters like products browsed, etc.

DO optimize your emails for mobile

This sounds like such a simple thing and yet, so many email marketing campaigns are still not optimized for mobile use.

However, with over 46% of all emails being opened on mobile (and possibly more at the time of writing), this is crucial.

Here are some simple ways to create mobile friendly emails:

  • Use mobile-ready templates.
  • Write an attention-grabbing pre-header and a short, impactful subject line.
  • Make CTA buttons slighter bigger than they would be on a desktop template.
  • Place your CTA as close to the hero title as possible.

Another thing you might consider is using SMS marketing in conjunction with your email program. ESPs like Klaviyo offer this service and with an average open rate of 82%, it’s definitely worth adding to your marketing strategy.

DO hire an email marketing agency

While it’s true that email marketing boasts an incredibly impressive ROI, you’ll only enjoy those returns if you’re sending targeted, beautifully designed, well-timed email flows and campaigns to the right audiences. This is where the email marketing professionals come in.

Not only will they help you plan, craft, and roll out effective email campaigns, they will also continuously report on the performance of those campaigns, adjusting where needed to help you generate the kind of revenue you’re looking for.

Not only that, the right email marketing team will help you build your all-important subscriber list and do all the legwork when it comes to segmenting that list. Of course, you will pay a fee for this, but the results (and the time and effort it will save you) are completely worth it in the long term.

What not to do

DON’T annoy your audience

According to surveys like this one, one of the top reasons customers unsubscribe from marketing emails is simply because they’re receiving too many of them. In fact, the frequency of your communication is just as important as your products and services. So, how often should you email your list?

The consensus, based on various surveys and the experience of many email experts, is twice a month. However, if your business has high turnover, like a fashion brand, for example, you might want to send 3 or 4 monthly campaigns, featuring new stock and discounted items. The best way to find the right number of sends is to see what your audience responds to best – start with 2 sends a month and watch your unsubscribe rates. If they remain low, you can add additional campaigns if needed.

DON’T send the same thing to everyone.

A huge factor in the success of your email marketing program is how personalized your emails are. This doesn’t just mean adding the recipient’s name to the subject line and showing them a reel of recommended products, it also includes sending relevant content to the right people.

You do this by segmenting your email list.

Using list segmentation allows you to create different ‘groups’ within your subscriber base for more targeted sending. You can begin with purchasers and non-purchasers and, depending on your ESP, funnel down into even more specific categories like location, previous purchases, interests, etc.

The more you know about your audience, the more valuable your content will be to them.

DON’T send without a strategy

Before you even THINK of creating an email campaign, you need a strategy – a good one. You need to determine:

What your goals are

Who you’re talking to

How much you’d like to spend on your email marketing

How you can use email marketing to stay relevant to your audience.

Your strategy should answer all these questions. Essentially, it’s a roadmap to your future success. 

DON’T forget the legalities

Over the last few years, new privacy laws were introduced to help protect consumer’s personal data. As a marketer, it’s required that you comply with these laws. Both CASL and GDPR require a customer’s express consent before you can send them any marketing communication, while GDPR states that a double opt-in is necessary in order for you to send a customer any marketing campaigns.

You can get your customer’s consent using simple email flows that are automatically sent to any new subscribers through your ESP. 

It’s also important that, according to the CAN-SPAM act, your customers can easily opt-out of any communication. This means clear communication around opting out and unsubscribe buttons that are clearly visible in all emails.

Wrapping Up

With eCommerce on the rise, it’s more important than ever to up your email marketing game. So start with a clear goal, a great strategy plus a good ESP and you’ll be on your way to enjoying the kind of ROI you’ve always wanted.


Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Hilda Kibet

Hilda Kibet is the email marketing coordinator at Codecrew, a leading email marketing agency in Oakland, California.

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