I’m going to let you in on a secret. I am constantly watching things on eBay. Nike Dunk sneakers, namely. I have over 40 pairs of this style of sneaker, no exaggeration. Shown to the right is the Nike Dunk "Tiffany". I have started to know them all by name.

Why should you care? Well, I get a lot of email, as I’m sure you do. eBay did something very simple and intuitive in an email to me earlier in the week with the subject line- “Six days only- collectible sneakers”

I think to myself- “I love collectible sneakers! But I only have six days left! I better open this email!” And so I did, and I read through the whole thing. And I maaaayyyyy have bought some more collectible sneakers. In the span of a single email, eBay did these four things right:

1. They took what they knew about me

Ebay has SOOO much data on my habits. I log in, I look at sneakers, I watch certain items, come back to others. In addition to highlighting their “sale” (that wasn’t really a sale) they offered current listing based on my recent history. Simple assumptions from my browsing history, set in a dynamic template, displaying other items I might not know about. Sometimes guessing at what your customer wants using modeling or segmentation works best, but if you have the data of what your customer has been looking at, remind them! 

Plus they used personalization in the title and the body text. A simple consideration, but always a nice touch.

2. They introduced immediacy

If I didn’t open that email within the next six days, what might I miss? Could these collectible shoes disappear???

I know from being on eCommerce sites, especially eBay, that there are always more collectible sneakers right around the corner. But giving me a deadline introduced the simple concept of urgency to the equation. There are many ways to do this, whether it is “Last chance to register” or “sale ends tomorrow,” giving your recipient a timeline improves open rates. The subject line was short, and 60% of it was spent telling me this sale was for “Six days only,” a good precursor to act now.

3. Segmentation

If my wife had gotten this email, she wouldn’t have opened it. Neither would my father. And chances are, eBay wouldn’t have ever sent a shoe collector email to them. Many businesses, however, do send blanket emails without any segmentation. With a crowded inbox, breaking out your customers and prospects based on purchase habits, identified preferences and employing some modeling techniques will boost your open and conversion rates significantly.

4. Triggering

Since I don’t know how eBay decided to send this email, whether a purchase triggered the send, or watching a certain number of items, but it would be fairly safe to assume they used some sort of marketing automation inspired by a trigger of some sort. If you have the option, or are paired with a marketing partner that can, having triggered emails based on an action is a great way to boost your email marketing campaign. Marketing automation can help you build the brand story as a “Choose your own adventure” of sorts, with each step of the courtship and purchase carefully orchestrated.

So use these four tips to help boost your opens and conversions, whether you are selling collectible sneakers or not!