Best Practices: Email Marketing for Couponing Sites

Email marketers spend countless hours fine-tuning their content, but when it comes down to it, what’s the one thing email audiences expect to see from marketing emails? A good deal.

More than half of consumers expect to see discounts in the marketing emails they open. In fact, PwC’s Total Retail survey found that email was the preferred channel for receiving discounts and promotions from brands.

That’s why couponing sites are uniquely suited for email marketing success. An email newsletter with nothing but good deals has already won half the battle. From there, it’s a matter of building your email list, making sure your list gets your emails, and optimizing your emails for maximum effect.

Here are a few ways to ensure that your email program is the real deal.

Use email capture to turn one-off site visitors into repeat couponers.

Digital coupon sites typically see the vast majority of their traffic from search or social referrals. These visitors set out to find a discount for a particular product, or perhaps they were curious about a deal their friend posted on Facebook. Either way, visitors from these sources tend to leave as quickly as they got there, perhaps never to return again.

Collecting the email address is the key to building lasting relationships with this passing site traffic. Email gives you a way to deliver deals directly to your audience, without having to rely on search or social algorithms. The right email capture strategy can help you grow your email list, and therefore, your direct audience.

Here are some resources for crafting your email capture strategy:

Keep new visitors engaged with a good welcome email.

Welcome emails typically see about a 50% open rate—twice that of most newsletters. That makes them an effective tool for getting your message in front of your audience.

A good welcome email lets new subscribers know what they can expect from your regular emails. Plus, if you include a strong CTA in these emails, it gives you a chance to direct them back to your site at the peak of their interest. Following welcome email best practices gives new subscribers a good first impression of your email program, ensuring they keep opening and clicking.

Never let a transactional email go to waste.

Transactional emails (such as order confirmations or shipping updates) typically get opened more than any kind of email. Sometimes, more than once: many types of transactional emails have an open rate of over 100 percent.

Customers open these emails because they provide a necessary piece of information and a sense of completion. Like welcome emails, you can use this to your advantage by including a way to engage users with every transactional email.

Show customers the information they’re looking for, then provide a relevant CTA to keep their attention. Whether you provide a selection of related deals or a coupon to share with a friend, you increase the chances of getting these users back to your site while they’re still interested.

Send mobile-friendly email.

On average, mobile conversion rates are only about 1/3 that of desktop conversion rates.

In some cases, this comes down to intent: some people use their phones to browse and their desktops to purchase. Still, in other cases, it can be the result of a poor mobile web experience. If visitors have to pinch, zoom, and scroll just to fumble through a form, they’re probably not going to convert.

Email is no different. 55% of email is opened on mobile, which means that mobile design is a must for marketing emails. After all, over 70% of people will delete emails that look bad on mobile without reading them, let alone clicking them.

Maximize relevance with email list segmentation.

As a couponing site, you have a unique view into your audience. The coupons subscribers click give you valuable insights into their interests and habits. By using this data to improve the relevance of your emails, you increase the likelihood of keeping subscribers engaged.

Used effectively, email segmentation allows you to tailor communication to different parts of your list. You can segment your audience by geographic location, purchase history, level of engagement, or other data they provide.

Offer multiple newsletters.

Another way to segment your subscribers? Let them do it themselves.

No two subscribers are alike. Each may have separate preferences for email frequency and the types of content they receive. By offering more than one newsletter or letting subscribers set their frequency with a preference center, you allow subscribers to tell you which email is most relevant to them.

If you offer coupons in a variety of categories, consider email newsletters for each one. That way, you ensure maximum relevance. You might also convince avid couponers to subscribe to multiple newsletters. The more email they receive, the more opportunities you have to engage them.

Use email re-engagement campaigns to wake up lapsed subscribers.

Of course, email engagement doesn’t always last forever. No matter how great your email is, many subscribers will eventually stop opening your email. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be permanent.

A good email re-engagement campaign can wake up your sleepy subscribers. In fact, sometimes these campaigns result in subscribers who are more engaged than they were before. Try segmenting your unengaged subscribers and targeting them with content designed to remind them of your email’s value.

Remind subscribers to spread the word: social sharing and forwarding.

When people see a good deal, they tend to let their friends know. Even if it’s not a deal they can use themselves, surely somebody else might benefit from it.

If a user wants to spread the word, don’t get in their way: make it easy to share. Test whether including social sharing buttons in your email increases engagement, or remind them to forward deals to a friend. Not only can a forwarded email result in a new subscriber, it can also aid your inbox placement by sending a good engagement signal to ISPs.

89% of consumers consider price a top factor in their purchasing decisions, and many of these consumers seek out coupon sites to ensure they’re getting the best deal. By building an email relationship with your audience, you help ensure that they turn to your first.

Melanie Angel
Editor, PostUp PlayBook

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