Incredibly knowledgeable and charismatic, a Manchester United fan living in Liverpool, Adam Kitchen pushed the right buttons during this new Ecommerce Growth Stories session.
What more could we wish for?
While giving his best advice on how email marketing should actually be done in eCommerce, we were all ears.
And now, we invite you to do the same.
Let’s get started!
Who is Adam Kitchen?
Adam Kitchen cut his teeth in eCommerce at 17 years old working with the fastest-growing sports nutrition retailer in the UK over 14 years ago. Since then, he’s achieved his dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, living in Hong Kong, Bangkok, and doing his stint as a freelance digital marketer across Europe, Israel and Asia.
After returning to the UK 4 years ago, Adam has owned – and failed – with his own store, before applying his learnings to setting up his niche email marketing agency for eCommerce brands, Magnet Monster, which has seen great results using innovative strategy and world-class design for fast-growing D2C brands.
What are marketers doing wrong?
I think everyone’s doing the same thing. I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people. I think the problem now, what I see the trend is that – I’ve been guilty of this in the past, as well – thinking that you can just acquire customers from Facebook and Instagram and that you can blast them as much as possible, get the revenue up that way.
I’ve done that before. I’m not saying I haven’t followed that methodology, but I think you quickly realize that with the cost of acquisition going up, you actually need to focus on not how much you can bleed out the audience, you need to drive the unsubscribe rate down as low as possible and segment people properly.
I think it just goes back to the philosophy in general that if you keep someone engaged for a prolonged period of time, they’ll buy from you anyway. You don’t need to sell to them. So I think where marketers are going wrong is that they’re looking at email as a sales channel where it’s not, it’s actually an engagement channel. If you distribute content and you focus on talking to the audience, they’ll buy from you anyway. What everyone’s doing: 20 percent off, 50 percent off, 30 percent off – and that’s the only strategy. Whereas I would like to think we’re trying to differentiate and provide experiences when people receive the emails.
So I would say that where people are going wrong with email is that they’re looking at email solely as a sales channel. Where it needs to go is becoming an engagement in a conversational channel, which was its original purpose. How do you do that? I think you need to work towards having higher open rates over a period of time and high engagement and not being sucked into vanity metrics, where you’re going, “Oh, the click through rate is high.” You need to look at why the click through rate is high, what the objective of the email is.
People are so conditioned to pigeonhole again, like how much revenue does this email do? How was the click through rate? And when you look at these metrics, you siloing email as just a way to milk the audience. While, as everyone knows, you actually need to engage people and keep them interested in the platform and they’ll buy from you anyway.
The content-sales email ratio
Obviously, this depends on the brand that you work with. It goes back to the “you need buying from the brands”. First of all, we have people approaches where they say they’ve got no content to share. They’ve got nothing to say. We need to get the sales up. So you need to be able to work with something. As a rule of thumb, I like to recommend two content or engagement-related emails to one sales campaign. If I’ve got more materials, sometimes we don’t even send any sales campaigns.
We work with some brands that don’t do discounts. They completely buy into that philosophy. So I like the approach where the more content that you have that’s genuinely valuable and related to that segment, just send that instead. Because if people go to consume content, whether it’s on your website or your email, they’re going to buy from you anyway. You don’t need to force them into a browsing session, just condition them to engage with the brand.
So as a rule of thumb, I would probably say two to one in terms of engagement and content towards product focus, but I would go even lower than that., if you’ve got more things to say. And obviously, look at the segments that you’re sending to. That’s very important.
Short copy or long copy?
It’s about context, unfortunately. I don’t think there’s a black or white answer. What I would say in general, especially for e-commerce, the trend is to build emails to skim, especially if you’re going for a really visual branded experience. I think it makes sense to have very clear headlines and short, witty copy.
We actually have an amazing copywriter whose background is in long-form copy, and he likes to write really long-story-based emails. But because we’re trying to be quite design-centric, we continuously have to teach him to write less copy for the emails.
I see my sisters, I see how they consume emails on the phone, they’re skimming the emails. So I think the majority of the time now, I would say build emails to be able to be skimmed quickly unless you’re in a specific industry where that type of long-form educational storytelling works well.
This podcast is sponsored by VTEX.
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