Ten Lessons from Amazon About Email Marketing

Ten Lessons From Amazon About
Email Marketing

In the shadow of e-commerce giant Amazon’s big marketing push for Prime Day, I thought it was a good time to take a look at some of what Amazon gets so right about email. These ideas seem obvious, but many businesses shy away from or hesitate to implement them.

Are you doing these 10 things? Do you shy away from #2 or #4, like many companies? Are you stuck and unsure how to make the jump on #5 or #3?

Amazon figures out what works, then jumps in with both feet. Read the 10 lessons you can learn from their example.

#10 Great email copy and selling goes beyond your standard marketing emails. Every email you receive from Amazon is carefully written. That includes shipping notices, customer service messages and membership updates. Marketing thought goes into every common customer message. Transactional emails like order confirmations include cross-sell and upsell copy that stays within CANSPAM guidelines. 

#9 If you don’t have something to celebrate, make up a reason. Who ever heard of Prime Day a few years ago? Amazon created their own shopping holiday in what is traditionally a slow retail month.  There are all kinds of “national day of” events you can celebrate if they fit your brand. You can also invent your own celebration, like your company’s birthday.

#8 Give your best offer to your best customers. Prime members receive plenty of pricing perks. That may sound obvious, so why don’t businesses follow suit? I often see retailers save their biggest, deepest discounts for winning new customers off the prospect list. They don’t share the love with their buyers. Spread some love to your best buyers and turn them into brand ambassadors.

#7 Personalize your messaging. Show your contacts you really know them. If the only capability you have is to add their first name to an email, do it. Amazon knows a lot about me (which I won’t share here), but my customer data certainly is reflected in the emails Amazon sends me.

#6 Use email to collect user-generated content. Amazon sends plenty of emails asking for reviews. Do you?

#5 Segment your list into groups and send segment-specific content. Amazon sends different emails for users of Prime Music, Prime Video, Prime in general, customers who don’t use Prime, and more.  Amazon had 5 separate major campaigns running on Prime Day in the U.S. market alone.

#4 Create affiliate programs to promote for you. This is a great way to build your list. In the days leading up to Prime Day, I received messages from various non-profit organizations asking me to designate their charity on Amazon for donations and shop Prime Day. I may have received more promotions about Prime Day from charities than I did from Amazon. Affiliate programs are a great way to partner and build your list from existing lists.

#3 Triggered emails should drive a good portion of your email marketing revenue. When I browse a specific product or category, or leave something in my shopping cart, Amazon emails me about it.

#2 If you are not sure if you are emailing too much, you are probably not emailing enough. Amazon emails daily at least. During peak seasons, they deploy multiple times a day. Prime Day emails reached nearly 700 million messages. Don’t be afraid to lose some subscribers from frequent mailing. You will gain orders from others. If you are using targeting, triggers, and personalization in your strategy you can send more emails than you think.

#1 Put your money where the ROI is. Where did you see Prime Day promoted? It was represented in a lot of channels, but the heaviest marketing was not social, print, retargeting, search engines or television. Email messages were by far the biggest avenue I saw for Prime Day promotions. Internet Retailer reports Amazon spent only $6,000 on Prime Day keywords, yet they sent close to 700 million emails. That makes sense when you figure ROI from email marketing is proven to out-perform other channels in study after study, especially for retail brands. Amazon crafts a multi-channel strategy and puts the heaviest emphasis where the greatest ROI is.

If you’re stuck putting any of these 10 ideas into place in your email marketing strategy, contact us at ideas@peakmarketingcommunications.com.  We have ways to get you un-stuck and on your way to growth.