A Website without Email Marketing Is Like a House with No Roof

John W Hayes
3 min readSep 17, 2018
Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I had a difficult conversation again last week with an online retailer who was struggling with the high acquisition costs of selling via online marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, etc.) but not putting the time and effort into his own site because it hadn’t generated enough sales.

He’d given up on expensive paid search marketing, could never find the time to promote new products on social media and — the ultimate sin — never even considered email marketing.

The little traffic he did generate came from affiliate partners — although much of this came from price comparison sites, which meant most sales were based on a strategy of heavy discounting and wafer-thin margins.

No Relationships

In short, the online retailer had no real relationships with his customers — their loyalty was with the online marketplaces and affiliate sites, and he only picked up the crumbs because he fought hard to be the cheapest. While this is a common business strategy for many online retailers, it’s not an easy or very lucrative path to success.

Note: Volume sales, if not managed correctly, can be incredibly expensive. The more you sell, the more staff you need to pick and pack, the more warehouse space you need, and the more costs add up and squeeze those tiny margins.

Acquisition vs. Retention

The online retailer had thrown all his marketing eggs into one strategic basket and focused his efforts entirely on the acquisition, with nothing on retention.

Note: Acquisition marketing is always more expensive than retention marketing.

The retailer had two options:

  1. Continue down the same path and hope his competition would allow him the space to make a decent margin on a higher volume of sales (he worked in an incredibly competitive space, so this wasn’t likely to happen).
  2. Start looking at a strategy to retain and grow his own-site sales — yep, you’ve guessed it — through email marketing.

Start Small and Build

Even though sales via his site were limited, every customer engagement gave him the opportunity to build a…

John W Hayes

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile: https://amzn.to/2OO5DR5