There are many who claim that email marketing is dead in 2021, and that we need something more instant, and more convenient.
Since we live in an instant messaging-centric world, where Facebook, WhatsApp, and Slack messages are all forms that dominate online communication, both for personal and business use; email marketing doesn’t carry the hype it once did.
The death of email may have been slightly exaggerated. In fact, it may be more powerful, and more important to online businesses – especially Amazon sellers – as ever.
Read on, and we’ll explain why, and how to effectively utilize email marketing for your Amazon business.
Is Email Marketing Dead?
“Email marketing is dead” is a saying that’s been thrown around for a number of years now.
Yet all evidence points to this as false. Email marketing is actually bigger than ever. There are more email users, and email is more accessible to us, with the mobile & smartphone culture that exists today.
There are 4 billion email users worldwide today. Approximately 306 billion emails were sent in 2020, making it by far the most used digital communication channel.
Experts believe this translates to marketing dollars as well, with the global email marketing market valued at 7.5 billion US dollars, and projected to double in the next 5 years.
It’s not just big corporate email marketing that is valuable. In fact, smaller brands and creators may be doing the best out of it.
Email newsletter platform Substack, currently has more than 500,000 paid newsletter subscriptions across their creators. Through this platform, anyone can start a free or paid newsletter,
If email is dead, why are more than half a million people actually paying to receive emails? (On Substack alone – not counting any competing platforms.)
It may be, in part, due to a resurgence in trust around email. For a while, email was developing a reputation for spam.
But new and tighter laws regarding what you can send via email and who to, have been effective in cutting down unwanted spam, and providing a greater level of protection for email users.
It’s now much easier to keep your inbox clean, and reserve that space for email newsletters or emails from brands that you actually want to receive.
That’s good news if your business is among that list.
How Email Marketing Helps Amazon Sellers
So we know that email marketing in general is still alive, perhaps more than ever. But what about specifically for Amazon sellers?
We can argue that email is more important for an Amazon store than your average online business.
Amazon is competitive, and it’s getting even more so.
There are more than 9 million sellers on Amazon worldwide, 1 million of whom are new to the platform since 2020. Whatever your category, you’re likely to be competing against thousands of similar products.
How does email play into this? Because email is something that can help differentiate you from the competition.
With email marketing, you can start building relationships and brand recognition with your customers. This is something that is extraordinarily difficult when you sell on Amazon alone.
You have limited tools to impart your brand’s image on the customer – after all, it’s the Amazon brand that they are supposed to remember.
You also can’t really contact your customers at all through the Amazon platform, except for issues vital to fulfilling or solving problems with orders.
So email marketing gives you a way to direct more personal marketing towards your customers, and build relationships to the point where customers seek out your products, rather than whatever shows up first in the search results.
What You Can Do With Email Marketing
Let’s now look in a little more detail at what kind of email marketing campaigns you can use to grow your Amazon business.
Email is a fantastic tool for product launches.
A product launch is about maximizing Amazon SEO to get your new product to the top of the search results for your main keywords. The biggest part of that is getting sales. You need to generate a big boost in sales, from the ground up, to satisfy the ranking algorithm.
The most common way to do this is with paid ads, such as Facebook Ads. This is effective, but expensive. Alternatively, if you have an email list, you can launch to your list for a fraction of the cost.
Saving as much money on launching as you can with an email list helps you reach profitability far quicker than any other method, and can be replicated for multiple products too, if they’re in the same niche.
Customer feedback & product reviews
Email can help you get something that may be even more valuable than a sale – a product review.
Reviews are by far the most common pain point for Amazon sellers.
And there are very few reliable ways to reach out to your customers and ask them to give you feedback and/or write a review.
With email, you have a personal, low-cost channel to communicate with your customers, ask them how their experience was, and ask them to do you a favor by writing a product review.
Even if an email campaign only results in 1% conversion rate in terms of people actually leaving reviews, it’s worth it to give you a slight increase on the average organic review rate.
Seasonal promotions such as Christmas, Black Friday, Prime Day and more can be a big time for your business.
People are geared up to spend money online, and this can lead to a huge boost for your sales and cash flow.
The problem is jockeying for position with all the other sellers on Amazon. PPC costs go up, lightning deals are expensive, and so too are Facebook Ads.
But if you’ve got an email list, you’ve got a differentiated and cheap way to run promotions, and capitalize on the Prime Day/Black Friday spending boom.
Insights on new products
Launch strategies, marketing, PPC etc are all important in the success or failure of your products. But even more important is the product itself.
You can end up sinking a lot of money into the abyss if you’re trying to launch a low-quality or boring product.
Email can help you get valuable insights on a product before you commit to it.
You can recruit beta testers from your list, or ask your audience what they’d want to see in a new product.
All this can help you avoid launching a product that no one is going to buy.
Increasing customer lifetime value
Amazon is so successful because of their customers’ lifetime value (LTV). See, no one just buys one product on Amazon. They’ll come back and buy again, and again, and again.
What if you could harness similar power for your business?
Obviously you can’t hope to match the lifetime value of Amazon’s customers, but you can boost your LTV above the value of a single sale with smart email marketing campaigns.
If you’ve got a wide product catalog, you can promote similar products to existing customers, or up-sell customers to more expensive purchases.
And for some products, like consumables or products with consumable features, you can send regular emails to remind people to re-stock, and generate huge value to your business over time.
How to Get Amazon Customer Emails
Email marketing is certainly a powerful tool for Amazon sellers.
But the biggest problem is figuring out how to actually get emails to use for marketing purposes, since Amazon doesn’t let you access customer information.
To build your email list, you’ll need to have a proactive strategy to capture emails outside of Amazon’s platform, where you are free to communicate and market with customers, without breaking Amazon’s rules.
Here are a few ideas to get email signups from customers, or potential customers:
Landing pages with email opt-in
Run external marketing campaigns, such as Facebook or Google Ads, for your product.
Before sending people through to your product on Amazon, send them to a landing page for your product, with an option for the customer to enter their email to get a discount code for the product.
Email opt-in on product inserts
A product insert is a small card you put in your product’s packaging.
On this card, you can add a link or a QR code to a landing page, which again offers an incentive – such as a discount for a future purchase, free content giveaway, or a place on a VIP launch list – for people if they enter their email.
Facebook lead ads
You can run Facebook Ads (or ads on any other social media platform, such as TikTok, Reddit or Twitter), with an offer for a free content giveaway, such as an ebook or video course, which the person needs to give their email address to get.
Run a contest, where entrants just need to sign up to your email list to be entered into the draw to win a prize.
Final Thoughts: Comparing Amazon Stores With and Without Email Marketing
It takes some time, effort and money to enable email marketing for your Amazon business, since you don’t have ready access to emails from your customers.
But once you have an email list, you’ll be able to use email marketing to grow your business and really separate yourself from the competition.
Amazon sellers who have and use an email list can run promotions much cheaper and more effectively, launch new products cheaper, and get valuable insights from their customers that other sellers will find it hard to do.
In today’s Amazon, where there is very little to separate you and the millions of other active sellers, a direct, cheap marketing channel between you and potential buyers is one of the best things you can invest in.
You’ll become less reliant on rankings and PPC, and take things into your own hands – helping you outlast all your competitors.
Andrew Buck is the Head of Marketing and Customer Success at LandingCube, a suit of tools to help Amazon sellers market their products in external traffic channels. Andrew and the team at LandingCube are passionate about building software tools that help online stores grow their brand, and build a path to long-term success on (and off) Amazon.