Email marketing to old customers

A topic that comes up frequently on e-commerce forums is the etiquette and legality of email marketing to people who have never explicitly opted in. For example, suppose you launch a newsletter. Is it legitimate to send it to

  • all your old clients?
  • email addresses from business cards you got at a Chamber event?
  • an opt-in list from a different division of your company?

The MailChimp guys discuss this and provide some suggestions – chief among which are

  • do this with care, if at all – the best practice is 100% opt-in
  • don’t think ’email blast’ – think ‘relationship’
  • lists are not like fine wine – they don’t get better with age – so reconfirm them if they’re old
  • start with a request for permission, not a newsletter
  • expect that 50-80% of the addresses in your list will not be interested

Just because they did business with you once doesn’t mean they want to receive your marketing material now.

Abandonment rate

There’s no substitute for hard data. MarketingSherpa found that actual abandonment rates were two to three times as high as e-commerce marketers thought they were. They offer some heuristics for getting to the bottom of the problem, but they don’t discuss my favorite remedy – order total transparency. Got discounts? Show ’em. Got a shipping charge? Show it as soon as possible. Extra charges? Don’t keep it a secret until payment time; let them know up front.

The Cart Blog – inaugural post

I have wanted to start a cart blog for some time, but of course, the question was, what to call it? CartTalk? CartSeeker? The CARTerphone? A la cart? Cart blanche? Finally I settled on the most unimaginative name of all. What a surprise. 🙂

Let’s see where it goes …. I hope you enjoy it, and it benefits your business and your bottom line.

All the Best,

Scott Wilson