Segment or Die

Email marketing is a magical thing.  Instead of waiting for a new or past buyer to stumble on your site, with email marketing you can take a product page and literally send it to the subscriber’s inbox.

But because marketers exploit email marketing so much its effectiveness goes down with each passing year.  Shoppers are getting more emails, and they’re receiving these emails more frequently.

Here is the typical story with nearly all email marketing programs: they start with the online retailer sending maybe one email a month.  Then one day you decide to send 2 emails every other week and see a nice bump in sales.  Aha, doubling frequency had a 80% lift in sales (it isn’t as good as 100%, but hey, 80% ain’t too shabby).

A few months pass and you get antsy so you up the frequency to 3 times a month.  This time the bump in sales is even smaller but the overall revenue through your emails is still impressive.  When you were sending an email a month you had time to craft a thoughtful message that had a personality.  Now email marketing is more cookie cutter.

The trouble with this story is that it leads to a bad place because eventually you’ll end up sending emails twice a week.  What you’re experiencing here is the law of diminishing returns; and it sucks.

So what’s the way out?  Send customized emails: messages that have a very specific focus and are addressed to a very specific subset of your mailing list.

Should a person buy Goodyear tires, he or she may be added to Goodyear’s mailing list. When winter rolls around, it stands to reason Goodyear would like to let their customers know about their new snow tires. Do Goodyear customers in Florida need that email? No.  But Michigan customers do.  And if you want to make this email even more effective send it out to Michigan shoppers 24 hours after a major snowstorm.

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Strategic Chat does something clever. On their checkout page when a shopper clicks the “Terms and Conditions” link to read terms Proactive proactively shows a chat popup–


The lesson here is that if there is a spot on your checkout where shoppers drop off it’s a good idea to go the extra mile to address concerns of shoppers who reach that point.

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No Michigan Sales Tax

Personalization works—


When I see a message like screenshot above (pointed by blue arrow) the thought that crosses my mind is, “Michigan residents don’t have to pay sales tax.  I’m a Michigan resident.  Awesome.”

Turns out, this kind of location based targeting is pretty simple.  Just add a piece of free javascript code ( to your site and then the code will know the visitor’s state by looking up their IP address.

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Social Sharing

On when you get to cart page they have a clever design element that shows a partial 5% off coupon code—


On click we see this popup—


The idea is pretty simple, shoppers who are incentivized by the discount can access it by letting their Twitter or Facebook friends know about the order.

Idea described above is a plug and play widget by, so you can implement it on your site too.

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