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Email marketing for ecommerce

Running an online business is hard. And, without an email marketing strategy for eCommerce customers, it can be impossible to build the meaningful relationships you need to grow.

Email marketing is hands down the best way for businesses without a physical storefront to connect with customers in a timely and relevant way.

If your email marketing is program is underperforming, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of revenue (even if you do have a physical storefront).

Want to grow your ecommerce business without spending a fortune on marketing channels you hardly control?

In this post, I’ll show you how you can increase your ecommerce sales using a channel that, unlike many others, isn’t pay to play.

Tips for better ecommerce email campaigns

So what can you do to make sure your campaigns move the needle? Here’s a list of 10 tips for better ecommerce email campaigns.

While we’re focusing here on online stores, don’t forget to follow these best email marketing practices, too.

1. Send your emails at the right moment.

Marketing automation workflows will help you send triggered emails when your leads are most likely to convert.

How the email engagement rates compare for triggered emails and other message types. Data from the Email Marketing Benchmarks report.

2. Personalize your email campaigns.

Don’t just rely on generic email campaigns that aren’t aimed at anyone specific. Make sure the content and arguments you use in the communication are relevant to the target audience you’re trying to convert.

Personalized email from Grammarly

3. Make your content engaging.

Know what type of content’s most engaging for your customers. Do these emails contain videos? Or maybe it’s user-generated content? Analyze your results and use the data in your favor.

Engaging email content from Patagonia

4. Always be optimizing.

Your gut feeling’s important, but we’re often biased and choose things we’re more familiar with rather than what’s best for us. The same goes for your email campaigns – use data to formulate A/B tests and optimize your campaigns and win in the long game.

5. Ask customers for their help.

When optimizing your email communication don’t forget the key element behind all of what you’re doing – your customers.

Ask your customers for their feedback to learn more about what it is they’re looking for.

Use survey emails to get to know them better, to overcome their doubts, and improve your email campaigns.

And don’t put roadblocks preventing your customers from sharing their voice. Change that no-reply email address to something more human.

Don’t make it a marketing stunt.

Start caring more about your customers’ opinions and whenever possible, fix things where others have found problems.

6. Use social proof for more effective marketing campaigns.

Once you’ve gone with the previous best practice, don’t stop – turn your customers into brand advocates. Customer reviews and opinions are the best piece of marketing you’ll ever have. And when it finally happens, make sure the customer’s appreciated and that others know about it.

Mahabis featuring quotes from happy customers in their email campaigns

7. Segment your audience

Not all customers are the same, we all know that. But only few marketers change how they communicate in their email campaigns based on who they’re targeting.

So be different and figure out whether your best customers, high spenders, those with the high average order value, or trendsetters, should all be treated the same way.

Do they all need a discount code to be convinced to buy your new line of products? Or maybe it’s enough that they’ll be the first ones to get it? These are the types of questions you’ll want to answer before your next email campaign.

8. Use power words to make your copy even more effective

Ecommerce email campaigns often focus on beautiful images and flashy design. But that’s not all there is to successful email campaigns.

Email copy is just as important. So pay attention to it. First, start with your subject line. Over half of all email recipients base their decision whether to open the email on that one single factor.

Then go with the preheader, header, and your call to action buttons. They all should reinforce your message and help you convert your recipients into buyers.

Coursera using compelling copy throughout their message

9. Aim for all devices

It’s been said too many times already, but I’ll say it one more time. When designing your email campaigns, landing pages, and ad campaigns – focus on all the devices your customers might be using to access them.

If a single element in this equation’s not working, you might be wasting your marketing budget and your customers’ interest.

Pay attention to the images, size, and placement of your call to action buttons, the product page, check out process, and everything else your customers might encounter on the way.

You’ll want the experience to be as smooth and friction-less as possible.

10. Pay attention to your mailing frequency

Every once in a while, we all get tempted to send an additional email campaign. We do it thinking that there’s little harm in it and the outcome can only be good for the business.

While in many cases that might be true, the data from our study seems to be telling a different story. Before you decide to increase your mailing frequency make sure to analyze the data carefully and take note of when you’re making the changes.

The number one reason why subscribers opt out of email campaigns is because they receive too many emails in general.

At the same time, the total revenue you’ll make from the campaign may outweigh the costs of attracting new customers to replace the ones who unsubscribe.

Whatever you decide, make sure your long-term goals aren’t sacrificed by your short-term plans.

5 Must-have ecommerce email campaigns

We’ve just discussed how email marketing can be used by ecommerce brands to facilitate their customers’ journey.

Now let’s take a look at the best ecommerce email campaigns – those that can help you build stronger relationships as well as those that are aimed to sell more products.

5 ecommerce newsletter ideas

Welcome email

Someone visited your store, became interested in your offer, and signed up for the newsletter – now’s the time to delight them with your welcome message.

The welcome email might be the most important email you’ll ever send. Not so surprisingly, the average open rates for welcome emails are often above 80%.

But what goal does a welcome email serve?

There are many, but the most important one is to reinforce your brand and get people to click-through to your website.

Whether it is to learn more about the offer, redeem the discount code, or see the latest trends – your welcome message should delight your new leads and convert them into paying customers as quickly as possible.

Below’s an example of a welcome email from Adidas. Notice how it successfully makes you feel like you’re part of a community and gets you back on the site, to shop for your new favorite clothes.

Onboarding campaign

Soon after the welcome email comes the time for your onboarding emails.

The goal of an onboarding email series is to familiarize your new recipients with the brand and the full-range of products and services you’re offering.

It doesn’t have to be long. It could be a short, two to three email series. Just make sure that in your email communication you discuss the most important elements of your offer.

These could be the types of categories you’re selling, your best-rated products, or the terms of free returns and delivery.

For your inspiration, here’s a newsletter from Huckberry, an ecommerce brand that backs up its products with inspirational content.

Flash sale campaign

At the end of the day, your ecommerce email campaigns should be designed to generate sales revenue, both long-term and short-term.

While the previously mentioned types of campaigns are focusing on the long-term results, you shouldn’t forget about the quick, time-bound campaigns.

Flash sale campaigns are designed to do just that. Create a sense of urgency, get your customers to act quickly, and generate revenue fast.

How can you achieve this? Do a blow-out sale flash campaign that lasts for 24 hours or throughout the weekend.

Send a couple of reminders to a selected customer segment – those who engaged with the email, click through to the site, but haven’t placed the order. Or those who haven’t even opened the first email.

Just make sure that the offer is worth it. You don’t want to create a fake sense of urgency when there’s no actual value for the recipients.

Cheap tricks will end up costing you money in the long run. So when focusing on short-term results, make sure your brand image stays intact.

Cart abandonment email

I’ve already mentioned the cart abandonment emails, but it’s such an important message you cannot ignore it.


Because cart abandonment emails can have a high impact on your sales results. They’re sent less frequently, but they’re aimed at people who are *this close* to buying from you.

All they need is to get a reminder, perhaps an additional incentive, or be reassured that they can trust your website and they’ll get value out of this deal.

And since many customers expect to receive cart abandonment campaigns, they often get average open rates of 40-50% and CTRs above 15%.

Here’s one more example of what your win back campaign could look like:

Product recommendation emails

There are only two options: your email recipients either have or haven’t already bought from you. In either of those scenarios, you can send product recommendation emails and try to convince them to take action.

If they haven’t bought anything from you yet, go with the best-rated products.

Got the information about the source of the lead or what they’re interested in?

Yes – Good, then use it to send personalized emails.

No – That’s fine, just go with the best-rated products, but make sure to test that in the future.

If they’ve already bought from you before, the situation’s easier. Just recommend them the best products, based on their behavior. Use an automated algorithm or your own knowledge to offer them whatever fits their situation best.

Product recommendation emails are relevant and that’s what makes them successful, too.

Here’s an example of a product recommendation email that was sent to me at the right moment.

When was that? In this case, shortly after I made the first commitment and bought my first product from that brand.

How will you grow your ecommerce business?

Now that you’ve seen how email can help your ecommerce business, it’s time you answer this one simple question: What’s the first step you’re going to take?

If I had to choose a campaign I’d launch for my online store first, it’d definitely be one of the following – welcome email, post-purchase follow-up, or cart abandonment email.

But even if you don’t have a product to sell just yet, you can use email to introduce a new one.

So go on, connect your online store with GetResponse and launch your first email marketing campaign today.

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