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.
Fortunately, you don’t have to come up with eCommerce email ideas on your own. In this article, we’ll lay out 13 eCommerce email marketing best practices that will help you connect with new customers and turn existing customers into raving fans.
If you want to know how to get eCommerce sales—and keep them growing—through email marketing, keep reading!
1. Start With a Welcome Email Series
When new subscribers sign up for your eCommerce newsletter, they’re expecting to hear from you. That’s why they signed up.
The best time to reach out to new subscribers is right after they’ve signed up; this is when they’re looking for an email from you.
We recommend sending a welcome email series of at least 3 emails so new subscribers can get to know you a little bit before they go onto your regular mailing list. This way, you can show off a little bit, set expectations about your relationship, and maybe even segment them so your future communications with them are even better.
Do subscribers really care? You bet!
Welcome emails have 86% higher open rates than other emails and generate, on average, up to 320% more revenue per email than other promotional emails.
Here’s an example of a text-only welcome email from Copy Hackers (click to enlarge):
This format may not work well for eCommerce businesses with more visual products like fashion or beauty, so here’s another example from Moosejaw (click to enlarge):
You can set up a welcome email series in your email marketing service provider (ESP) to automate this process.
If you don’t already have an ESP, we recommend Constant Contact. Constant Contact is beginner-friendly, has excellent support, and is powerful enough to handle the most advanced tasks you can throw at it… Like the welcome email autoresponder you’ll want to set up. 😊
2. Use Personalization to Target Different Segments
You may have more than one target audience that you’re trying to reach. It’s not uncommon for a product or service to appeal to more than just one segment of the population.
But what if you know you’re not going to be able to reach your entire audience with a single message? That’s where personalization comes in.
Personalization can drastically improve open rates, clicks, and engagement while reducing bounces, unsubscribes, and spam reports. If you’re not segmenting your list and personalizing your emails, you need to start now.
Sending emails with content that’s tailored to each audience segment is a great way to keep your subscribers happy, and subscribers who are happy are more likely to buy.
So, how can you make this part of your eCommerce email marketing strategy?
You could start by segmenting your list into the standard demographics like age, income, education, and maybe gender identity if it really matters for the products or services you’re offering.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. While demographics tell you easily-discoverable details about your subscribers, psychographics go deeper into things like their values, personality, and interests.
Together, this creates a complete and incredibly valuable picture of your subscriber and how to communicate with them.
You can easily segment your subscribers in Constant Contact by contact details, behavior, Shopify activity, click habits, as well as the email lists they choose to be on.
Here’s a look at some of the criteria available to you:
3. Offer Exclusive Discounts to Loyal Customers
Keep your most loyal customers coming back to your store again and again with a loyalty program.
Repeat customers are the bread and butter that will feed your business and help it grow. And one of the quickest and easiest ways to build a committed and loyal following is by creating a special loyalty club for your best and brightest.
There are so many ways you can do this… Some eCommerce newsletters are themselves hyped as the loyalty club—you sign up and you’re in.
But we think it should be a bit more special for your most engaged customers. Using your email marketing service along with your eCommerce solution can help you find just the right segments to target.
Connecting Constant to BigCommerce, for example, will bring up these segments:
Check out that Repeat customers segment. Perfect for a loyalty program, don’t you think? 🤩
Using that segment, you could easily send out an email just to your repeat customers, letting them know of their special status and make these relationships even stronger, all while encouraging them to head back to your store with exclusive offers.
4. Send Promotional Sales Emails for All Subscribers
While your VIPs should definitely get some VIPerks, don’t forget about the traditional promotional sales that will bring in your other subscribers.
Seasonal and holiday-themed sales email marketing campaigns are a great way to get the attention of subscribers who haven’t yet taken the step from window-shopper to consumer.
Just look at the entire Black Friday & Cyber Monday phenomenon and the holiday shopping that happens during November and December.
Those two months alone account for 25% of annual retail sales. And email marketing is responsible for about 20% of that. In dollars, that’s more than $138 billion!
If you’re not already taking advantage of scheduled sales, get started. You can download our 2019 marketing calendar to get you started.
Here’s an example of a promotional email from Rumpl (click to enlarge):
You can pretty easily set up the coupon code to automatically apply to the cart with BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce to make it REALLY easy for subscribers to buy.
Adding the link in your email service provider should be a breeze, too. Here’s what it looks like in Constant Contact using Shopify:
5. Create Responsive, Well-Designed Emails
All emails coming from your eCommerce business need to be responsive and well-designed, from welcome emails to promotional emails and including transactional emails.
This doesn’t mean that every email has to have images and GIFs. In fact, text-only emails do really well when they’re interesting.
What this does mean is that your emails need to:
Be Visually Appealing
This can be done with images, yes, but you can also use non-image formatting like headings and bullets to break up text and make your emails easy to read.
Look Good on Mobile
Chances are, your email service provider uses responsive templates that automatically adjust based on the display screen’s size. With Constant Contact, you can preview or send a test email to make sure things look the way you want.
Be Easy to Understand
It’s best to focus on a single call-to-action in each email, so start out with a plan!
Capture the Reader’s Interest
Never underestimate the power of your words. Start with a hook and make sure your email copy pulls your reader deeper into the email as you go.
Don’t forget that you can also upsell and cross-sell in your emails! This is especially effective for transactional emails.
6. Test Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Email split testing meant a $2.2 million difference for former U.S. President Barack Obama’s email marketing campaigns.
We’re not kidding when we say that if you’re not split testing, you’re leaving money on the table.
If you’re not familiar with split testing, it’s as simple as taking the original version of your email and testing it against another version of your email where you’ve changed a single element, like the call-to-action, subject line, part of the design, or some of the copy.
You can easily test your email subject line’s in Constant Contact with the click of a button:
7. Send an Abandoned Cart Email Series
More than 75% of shoppers will abandon carts. Those are just the facts. But that doesn’t mean that those sales are gone forever.
If you’re collecting email addresses and tracking site usage, the next logical step is sending an abandoned cart email series when shoppers leave without completing their purchases.
Once again, you’ll want to use Constant Contact’s email marketing automation features, as well as integration with OptinMonster and your eCommerce store to get the best results possible.
See just how easy it is to create a killer abandoned cart strategy.
8. Grow Your Email List
Every year, your subscriber list is going to decline by about 22%. That means is super important to keep getting new subscribers and continue building your email list.
There are so many places to put optins to grow your email list: your site’s sidebar, headers, footers, etc.
But, there are other places that you can capture leads too.
Catch Customers During Checkout
During checkout is a great time to ask customers to subscribe since they’re riding the high of their decision to buy, so it’s clear that they value your products.
Many email marketing providers have plugins with eCommerce platforms that let you do this easily.
Ask for Signups in Transactional Emails
We briefly mentioned that transactional emails are a great place for upsells and cross-sells, but you should also include a way for customers to stay in touch with your brand.
9. Ask Engaged Customers for Reviews
We talked about social proof earlier, but we’re going to do it again. This time, we’re talking about a specific form of social proof: reviews.
When you have engaged customers that are buying from your store and clicking on your emails, you should feel confident to reach out to them and ask for a review.
10. Set up a Referral Program
Word-of-mouth marketing is a form of social proof and it’s one of the most powerful marketing methods you can use. This makes a referral program an excellent addition to your marketing toolbox.
With a referral program, leads coming to your eCommerce business get there through social proof from someone in their own network that they already trust.
When you consider the fact that 92% of people trust recommendations from peers over advertisers, you can see just how powerful this type of program can be.
11. Send Notifications About Back in Stock or Wishlist Items
If a product is out of stock, it’s a great idea to let shoppers sign up to be notified when that item is available again. Or, if you let shoppers set up wishlists, set up an email automation to occasionally send them updates about those products.
Shoppers like to be kept in the loop about the products they really want. Plus, it’s a great way to keep them engaged with your email marketing campaigns.
Once you have their email address, don’t forget to ask if they want to opt in to your newsletter!
12. Use eCommerce Email Marketing Automation to Follow Up With Leads
Using eCommerce email marketing automation is the best thing you can do to keep your email marketing scalable and consistent without sacrificing relationships.
You can set up automated email campaigns in Constant Contact, or your email service provider of choice, to automatically do cool things like:
- Send a welcome email series to new subscribers
- Send abandoned cart emails to shoppers who didn’t complete their checkout
- Notify customers when an item they looked at or left in their cart goes on sale
- Check in when subscribers that haven’t engaged in a while to make sure they still want to be on your list
- Send out birthday or anniversary emails to celebrate your subscribers
- Promote events or webinars
- Share content
All without losing the personalization that’s so important in building and growing relationships.
13. Track Your Results
To get the best results from your email marketing you need to be monitoring and improving your campaigns.
There are a lot of moving pieces to an email marketing strategy for eCommerce and a lot of metrics to track. Check out our guide, How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Email Campaigns, to learn everything you need to know about maintaining list health and improving the ROI of your campaigns.
There you have it! The best eCommerce email marketing tips to get the most out of your customer relationships and send your sales soaring.
The first step to email marketing is building your list. You can do that with OptinMonster, with or without an email marketing service. OptinMonster comes with Monster Leads to safely store your leads right in your OptinMonster dashboard until you’ve decided on the right email marketing service for you.