One of the key factors in the success of any eCommerce site is great marketing - and email is one of the most effective of all Internet marketing strategies.
Growing a strong, valuable mailing list is something that must be built into the fabric of your eCommerce business right from the start - because it takes time to grow a good list.
A mailing list helps to protect your store from sudden drops in organic search traffic (whenever Google introduces a new algorithm change) by giving your business access to opt-in subscribers who are already predisposed to buying your products. But, because managing a mailing list can be a quite a chore, many online store owners don't have an effective email strategy in place.
This article will show you how to integrate GetResponse, one of the world's leading email marketing services, into your online store to help save time, effort and money growing and maintaining a valuable list for your business.
Because email marketing comes with a fairly serious amount of administrative overhead, it's important to utilize a good service to automate repetitive tasks and save on labor costs.
We did a comparison of a number of leading services and found GetResponse to be significantly more user friendly, better designed, and generally faster and easier to use. You can check out a comparison review at Comparing email marketing services for beginners - GetResponse vs. Constant Contact.
Adding a mailing list sign-up form
In order to integrate email marketing features into a shopping cart, you need the following:
- An account on GetResponse
- A sign-up form to allow site visitors to subscribe to your list
- Sign-up form embed code to paste into your shopping cart
Creating a sign-up form with GetResponse
Follow our complete, step-by-step guide to creating an embeddable sign-up form using GetResponse to get started.
In short, you will cover the following steps:
- Create a free GetResponse trial account
- Create a new campaign
- Create a new sign-up form using the graphic Web designer
- Embed the sign-up form code snippet into your store
You should find that the graphic form designer is really easy to understand and use, and you can customize virtually any feature of your sign up forms' look and feel, and behavior.
You can also create any number of different forms to suit any number of different campaigns - this makes it easy to maintain separate lists for different purposes (i.e. general customers, suppliers, clients with special requirements, etc).
How to embed the form snippet
Depending on which shopping cart software you are using, the way in which a mailing list form snippet is embedded can vary. If you haven't yet decided on a shopping cart solution, I recommend you follow our beginner's guide to starting an online store with Bigcommerce.
For the purposes of this article, I'll show how to integrate email marketing into a Bigcommerce store because it is one of the best hosted eCommerce platforms around. I should point out that Bigcommerce comes with native email marketing integration for a number of services (like Constant Contact) - but based on our research, GetResponse is one of the best to use, and it's easy to integrate regardless.
Once you have copied the embed code (steps 4 and 5), click on Design from the main menu to bring up the following page:
Click on Browse Template files, and then select Footer.html from the Panels in Template block at the top left of the page:
This will display the template code responsible for displaying the various panels in the footer section of the site. One, in particular (on most default themes) is important to us - Panel.SideNewsletterBox.
You can now find this panel by looking at the Panels in Template block at the top right of the page (it updates automatically depending on what template file you are viewing):
Simply delete the existing code and replace it with your own sign-up form snippet code, and click Save.
You can now view your store to see the changes in effect:
Obviously, you will need to design your form so that it matches the look and feel of your store. This can be done from the GetResponse form designer without having to modify the Bigcommerce template files again.
With your mailing list Web form now clearly visible on every page of the site, you can be sure that, over time, more and more customers will sign up. Make sure you promote and incentivize sign-ups. People won't subscribe unless there is a clear value offering.
Hopefully, you won't have any problems combining two of the best online business technologies to grow your own business, but drop a comment if you have any problems...