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11 effective ecommerce email marketing tips

Topics
1Audit your subscriber list
2Review your engagement data
3Use segmentation and automation
4Grow your subscriber list
5Improve your email subject lines
6Optimize the preview text
7Create an irresistible call to action
8Send at the right time
9A/B test key elements
10Hone your transactional emails
11Create a seamless experience
Final thoughts

Social media and influencer marketing channels may be all the rage, but ecommerce email marketing remains an essential element of online life.

Ecommerce email marketing allows you to directly notify your subscribers about new products, discounts, promotions, deals and more, without worrying about navigating complex algorithms that impact reach.

If you're looking for simple ways to breathe new life into your ecommerce email marketing, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ve listed 11 simple yet effective tips to implement into your email marketing strategy today.


1. Audit your subscriber list

Your email subscriber list is the foundation of your email marketing. It holds all the people who’ve ever signed up to receive your newsletter.

However, if you’ve been email marketing for a long time, that list will occasionally require some cleaning. It’s unlikely that all of the subscribers who signed up for your spring sale a few years ago (for example) are still actively opening and interacting with your emails.

The truth is, it’s better to have fewer subscribers who are highly engaged than many subscribers who never open your emails.

Here’s what you can do: create a segment of people who haven’t opened any of your emails during the past six months. Send them a series of re-activation or re-engagement emails with a strong subject line and an enticing offer. Alternatively, ask directly if they want to remain on your subscriber list or unsubscribe. If they still don’t open, remove them from the list.


This approach will also help to eliminate invalid email addresses from your list. Remember, the more up-to-date your email list, the less likely your emails will be caught by spam filters.

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2. Review your engagement data

If you want to improve your ecommerce email marketing results, it’s essential to look at your previous engagement metrics and evaluate the best (and worst) performing email campaigns.

First, study your open rate and click-through rate. If your open rates are good but the click-through rates aren’t, ask yourself if you’re sending emails that are relevant to your audience. If your open rates aren’t good, it’s likely the subject lines that need improvement.

Here are some other possible reasons your campaigns are underperforming.

  • The offer was not attractive enough

  • You’re not upselling effectively

  • You’re sending emails at the wrong time

  • You use the wrong messaging for this segment

Start adding a tracking code to your email marketing campaigns (if you aren’t doing that already). If you use Google Analytics, the tracking code will help you see which campaigns are bringing in the most customers and driving the highest email marketing ecommerce conversion rates.


3. Use segmentation and automation

Automated messages (that still feel personal) are the future of email marketing for ecommerce. Many email marketers no longer send the same email to everyone. Instead, they use digital marketing automation within their email marketing software to segment their subscribers according to:

  • Purchase history (existing customers, type of product, repeat customers etc.)

  • Demographics (age, gender)

  • Interests (browsing history on your website)

  • Any other data relevant to your business

If two people visit your ecommerce store at the same time on the same day but browse or purchase different items, ideally you should use email automation to send different personalized emails to them as a follow-up. This makes customers feel more connected with your brand, as your marketing seems to understand them better.

Retailers can send a free shipping coupon to a person who abandoned their shopping cart at checkout on your website (these are called abandoned cart emails) or offer a unique “win-back” discount to a customer who hasn’t visited your online store in a while (re-engagement emails).

It all starts with a welcome email, though. As soon as a new subscriber signs up to your email list, they should be entered into an automated series of welcome email templates designed to keep them engaged with your brand and ultimately convert them into new customers.


4. Grow your subscriber list

Adding new subscribers to your email list is important, but remember that quality is just as important as quantity. Make sure you have a strategy in place to attract potential buyers that will convert, rather than focusing solely on growing a subscriber list for awareness purposes.

Here are some fresh ideas for growing your email list and incentivizing purchases:

  • Create exclusive content marketing from your top blog articles. For example, offer an ebook or guide that readers can only download once they’ve subscribed.

  • Offer a loyalty program. Invite potential customers to subscribe to your rewards/loyalty program. Set up a landing page outlining the main benefits and ask your users to create an account and opt-in to your emails.

  • Launch a giveaway. Give people the chance to win a prize by subscribing to your email newsletters. Make sure the prize is relevant (e.g. a new product you’re promoting) to attract people with purchase intent.


5. Improve your email subject lines

Writing a good subject line isn’t easy. You have a maximum of 50 characters (as the majority of emails are opened on mobile) to summarize the essence of the email and provoke interest while staying out of spam filters.

To generate more opens, try the following tips.

  • Include the recipient’s name to inject personalization

  • Mention an exclusive deal

  • Add an icon or emoji if that aligns with brand guidelines

  • Create urgency with phrases like “today only” or “last-minute”

  • Include a question to evoke curiosity


6. Optimize the preview text

The preview text, also called the pre-header, can persuade more customers to open and read your messages.

The pre-header is the text that’s visible in most email inboxes after the sender and subject line. Essentially, it’s an introduction to the email content and hints at what’s inside. If you don’t create this text yourself, the first bit of text from the email templates will be used as the preview.

You can make it funny, informative or persuasive. No matter what you do, don’t leave it blank as you’ll miss an opportunity to capture attention and inspire opens.

In each of the email examples we’ve shared so far, the preview text either extends the subject line or serves as another hook for the reader to open the message.


7. Create an irresistible call to action

The next step is to drive traffic to your ecommerce platform with a strong call to action (CTA). Here are some tips on creating yours:

  • Use a CTA button (rather than text) to make it obvious

  • Keep the text short and unambiguous, e.g. “Shop Now” or “Save 40%”

  • If your email is long, break it up with several CTAs

  • Try to include your CTA above the line

Your CTA button should correspond to the link destination. For example, if a CTA reads “shop the sale”, the landing page should be a sale page. Similarly, if you send cart abandonment emails, ensure the CTA returns them to a purchase page, rather than an empty cart.


8. Send at the right time

Finding the right time to send your emails can be tricky, especially if your audience is diverse or international. The best way to navigate send times is by analyzing your open rates (and click rates) over long periods to identify trends in which send times were the most effective. Remember to exclude your triggered emails from the data and look only at scheduled automated emails.

Note: Many email marketing best practice studies claim to have discovered the best general sending time for promotional emails (e.g. 10 AM or 1 PM on weekdays). However, this can vary significantly depending on the audience and the type of email, so there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution.


9. A/B test key elements

A/B split testing can help you learn what works best for your email marketing ecommerce campaigns. You can test practically anything, from the sending time and subject line up to the placement and color of your CTA button.

When using email marketing tools to A/B test, you’ll simply have to establish the size of the test group (for example, 5% of subscribers for each version of the test) and the winning version will be automatically sent to the remaining 90 percent of subscribers.

Each customer segment is different, so don’t apply the results of one test to your entire database. If you want to know exactly what works and what doesn’t, make A/B testing a habit. Also, make sure you test and optimize your emails for different email service providers, such as Gmail and Outlook.


10. Hone your transactional emails

Transactional emails, such as order confirmation emails, are not promotional in nature so you may not consider them part of your ecommerce email marketing campaigns.

However, transactional emails usually have higher open rates than promotional emails as they carry important information like registration or purchase confirmation, status updates and shipping notifications. First-time buyers and repeat customers alike want easy access to this information, which means that transactional emails offer the opportunity for implementing your brand’s voice, design and personality.

Here are some ideas for branding your transactional emails.

  • Add links to your blog or, social media

  • Include exclusive deals

  • Encourage customers to make referrals

  • Link to how-to videos or user guides

  • Try cross-selling by including product recommendations based on purchase history

  • Show your brand’s design and tone of voice


11. Create a seamless experience

It’s important that every stage of the customer journey is seamless, particularly in the transition from your email to your ecommerce site.

From the moment your audience sees your subject line in their inbox to when they click on the CTA and are brought toa landing page or product page, everything the user sees must present a consistent, high-quality user experience.

Since many readers will see your email on mobile devices, your mobile email shopping experience and checkout flow must be as simple and intuitive. Make sure you test your ecommerce email marketing campaigns numerous times, on different devices, before sending.


Final thoughts

In the past, ecommerce email marketing was just about delivering the right marketing message to the right person. Now, ecommerce email marketers need to master multiple dimensions to send the right email to the right person at the right time, while also creating the right experience. This helps to turn your subscribers into loyal customers and increase their lifetime value to your business.

This advice and examples in this article will prove helpful in making small, but important, tweaks to your ecommerce email marketing strategy.

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