20 Simple eCommerce Email Marketing Tips to Boost Sales

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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For online merchants, eCommerce email marketing is one of the single most effective tactics for earning sales.

For some, this claim might seem egregious considering the utter ubiquity of social media platforms. However, when comparing email marketing and social media performance, OptinMonster notes that:

“60 percent of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email. On the flip side, only 12.5 percent of them even consider a buy button as a purchase driver on social media.”

Given this information, one of the most valuable tasks a retailer can engage in is building their email list and honing their email marketing strategies for generating sales.

Part of the reason why this tactic is so important is that it gives merchants an edge on their competitors. Email lists are proprietary data exclusive to a single seller. Therefore, this is a premier relationship-building avenue.

Moreover, since customer retention statistics show that 80 percent of a brand’s future revenue will be driven by 20 percent of its existing customers, relationships are vital to a business’s bottom line.

Taking all of this into consideration, logic follows that the strategies a retailer employs in their email marketing efforts are crucial as email is essential for establishing brand loyalty and increasing customer lifetime values.

With this information in mind, let’s explore the top 20 eCommerce email marketing tips and tricks for boosting online sales.

#1: Subject Lines Matter

Starting from the top (literally), subject lines are the first thing that consumers encounter in their inboxes. Therefore, these headlines must be capable of arresting the receiver’s attention.

Writing great email subject lines is dependent on several factors. In addition to crafting subjects that are short, concise and adequately summarize the contents of the message, they should spark the recipient’s curiosity.

dicks sporting goods promo email

Ensuring well-written subject lines is a prime tactic for increasing email open rates.

#2: Consider the Copy

While the subject line of emails is vital to getting consumers to open a message, the copy is critical for earning click-throughs.

When it comes to writing email copy that sells, retailers must pay special attention to the length of the message (more on that momentarily), the usage of strong verbiage in an active voice and the inclusion of power words and compelling calls-to-action, along with similar copywriting techniques.

#3: Brevity Is Key

People are busier than ever. The bottom line is that they don’t have the time or patience to read marketing emails that drone on and on about, well, anything.

Therefore, craft eCommerce emails that are concise and to the point while still clearly conveying their intended message.

dicks sporting goods email coupon

A prime methodology for achieving this aim is to employ high-quality images that condense marketing messages into just a few words.

While there is a strong temptation for retailers to cram tons of descriptive and convincing text into email messages, resist this urge to help inspire click-throughs.

#4: Mobile Optimization Is a Must

As if it has not been repeated ad nauseam, mobile optimization is a critical tactic for just about all things digital.

live nation sales feed

When it comes to eCommerce email marketing, email open rates reflect that nearly 62 percent of emails were opened on mobile devices in 2018. Given this information, a failure to ensure the mobile-friendliness of email campaigns is a surefire strategy to tank click-throughs and conversions.

Since most emails are opened via smartphones and tablets, merchants must consider the medium and employ easy-to-read fonts, quickly scrollable layouts, proper spacing and optimally sized CTAs.

#5: Think in Sequences, Not Silos

Before diving into the specifics on the types of emails to employ, retailers should realize that sending out singular emails is not a profitable or engaging strategy.

Instead, it is necessary to consider how to turn an individual message into an inspiring eCommerce email marketing campaign that consists of a series of emails.

Not only do email sequences help to keep customers engaged, but they also speak to them at various points in the buyer’s journey, thereby facilitating higher sales figures than individual email blasts.

Popular email sequences

There are various kinds of email sequences that retailers can employ, most of which are covered below. These email cycles include:

  • Welcome sequences
  • Onboarding sequences
  • Repeat customer sequences
  • Abandoned cart sequences
  • Re-engagement sequences

To provide a clear example of how this works, let’s take a look at the welcome series first.

#6: Employ a Welcome Email Sequence

When a customer subscribes to a retailer’s email list, they want to hear what that seller has to say and offer.

Therefore, a welcome series is in order as they are currently on the lookout for email communications from that store.

The welcome email series should be anywhere from three to six emails, thereby allowing consumers to get to know the brand, what it offers, what consumers can expect and similar information that acquaints shoppers with the store. Moreover, providing subscribers with an initial “Thanks for subscribing” coupon sure won’t hurt conversion rates.

Welcome emails stats

This notion is supported by the fact that “welcome emails get 86 percent more clicks than regular promotional messages. They also get 336 percent more transactions and earn 320 percent more revenue per email than other email messages,” as reported by Respondr.

#7: Supply Shipping Notifications

When shipping products to customers, it is essential to provide them with order confirmation, shipping and delivery emails. These communications are necessary for keeping customers in the loop and updated on the status of their orders, which is vital to an excellent customer experience.

nike ad in email

Sending confirmation and shipping emails (which are another sequence) helps to engender trust among consumers by assuring them that their products are on the way.

#8: Ask for Product Reviews

Leveraging product reviews to increase sales is a common tactic in eCommerce. However, in order to get reviews, sellers must typically ask for such assessments.

Social proof is a necessity in today’s low-trust digital landscape. Therefore, when merchants have engaged consumers who are placing orders and clicking on email communications, it is vital to reach out and ask for a review.

Of course, timing is critical for these emails, and buyers should have enough time to experience their new items before receiving such a request.

However, not all store visitors will complete their purchases. In fact, most will not convert. For those folks, abandoned cart emails are in order.

#9: Create an Abandoned Cart Sequence

Reducing cart abandonment rates is critical for eCommerce retailers, given that the industry average hovers at about 70 percent, according to research from the Baymard Institute.

While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, all hope is not lost.

By integrating an abandoned cart sequence into eCommerce email marketing efforts, retailers can recapture a considerable amount of lost sales.

The most fruitful way to utilize this series of emails is to reach out within the first 24 hours of abandonment. If that initial contact does not reel buyers back in, touch base multiple times over the next several days.

Moreover, offering an incentive like a percent off coupon or free shipping might be just the nudge that a consumer needs to convert.

#10: Make Sure Promotional Emails Reach All Subscribers

While it is important to personalize eCommerce email marketing communications (more on that momentarily), it is also necessary to showcase general sales and promotions to a retailer’s entire audience.

When it comes to holiday shopping events, email is a powerful modality for getting a shopper’s attention and driving online sales.

For instance, in 2018, Black Friday sales broke records, pulling in over $6 billion in online sales. Indeed, a significant chunk of these profits was driven by eCommerce email marketing campaigns. As OptinMonster explains:

“Email marketing was responsible for 24 percent of holiday sales during the 2018 holiday eCommerce season. In other words, email marketing alone brought in $169.8 billion in revenue for businesses during just the last two months of 2018.”

That said, personalization is still an essential tactic.

#11: Segment Subscribers for Personalized Communications

Much of the success behind the eCommerce email marketing list is customization via segmentation. By segmenting audiences into defined groupings, retailers can send out hyper-personalized messages that are more likely to result in clicks and conversions.

Frankly, there are tons of ways that sellers can segment their email lists. These categories of customers are often based on personal characteristics, on-site behaviors, organizational affiliations and many other defining features.

Popular segmentation strategies include

Some of the most popular segmentation strategies include:

  • Age/Gender
  • Location
  • New customers
  • Loyal customers
  • Repeat visitors who have not purchased
  • Cart abandoners
  • Those who clicked certain CTAs

By targeting specific groups with relevant messages, retailers can likely increase their sales and customer loyalty.

#12: Create a Referral Program

Word-of-mouth is potentially the most powerful form of marketing that exists. This is because, as Nielsen reports, “more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83 percent) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.”

Therefore, a referral program that rewards current customers for bringing new shoppers into the fold is an effective strategy for boosting sales through email.

By building out share-worthy referral emails, retailers can engage their audience, build customer loyalty and earn new shoppers all at the same time.

#13: Promote Customer Loyalty

Employing eCommerce promotions that inspire loyalty is vital for building a retail business. After all, repeat customers are the financial bedrock for most brands.

firehouse subs rewards point email

Therefore, creating emails that aim at building a stronger customer-to-company bond is essential for boosting a business’s bottom line.

Some examples of loyalty-focused emails include:

  • Life event emails (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
  • Unexpected rewards for frequent shoppers
  • Milestone emails

#14: Re-Engage Dormant Customers

Given that it is far easier to sell to existing customers than to convert new ones, retailers must establish strategies for re-engaging email subscribers who disconnect from a brand for a period of time.

This eCommerce email marketing tactic is particularly important given that a significant portion of new shoppers will not place a subsequent order. Therefore, figuring out how to encourage that elusive second purchase is critical to increasing sales overall.

When crafting re-engagement emails to win back customers, it is wise to utilize emotional language like “We miss you.”

However, it is important to note that these emails should not be a one-off occurrence and should instead be turned into an automated sequence, as discussed earlier.

#15: Send Out Wishlist Reminders

Customers love to create wishlists. If you don’t believe us, just reference Amazon.

However, products often get buried in these digital archives. Therefore, sending out wishlist reminders to customers can be an excellent tactic for pulling them back onto the site to shop.

Moreover, when products sit in a wishlist for an undetermined amount of time, things tend to sell out. When those items become available once more, retailers have the perfect opportunity to let customers know of the product’s availability status.

#16: Upsell and Cross-Sell Relevant Items

Upselling and cross-selling are two of the most profitable eCommerce email marketing tactics that retailers have at their disposal.

nike shoes top picks

These emails are usually segmented (and therefore highly personalized) based on a shopper’s previous purchases or on-site behavior. Because the items promoted are similar or related to merchandise that a customer already purchased or viewed, there is an increased chance of them feeling compelled to get the complementary product.

#17: Promote New Content Offerings

Content is more important than ever for eCommerce retailers. The reason for this is that consumers now conduct more in-depth research on nearly all topics and potential purchases than older generations.

Because of shoppers’ insatiable thirst for knowledge and entertainment, eCommerce email marketing is crucial to an effective content marketing strategy.

Sending out the latest content to email subscribers serves a variety of purposes, including answering burning questions, providing relevant industry or brand-related news updates and keeping customers entertained and engaged.

However, when sending out content offerings, retailers should avoid focusing too much on sales as there are plenty of other emails that fill that role.

Additionally, merchants have the option of sending out new content to all their subscribers or segmenting the audience by their interests and only providing them with relevant information. The fact is that not all consumers will be interested in every newsletter or blog a brand produces. By splitting customers up by interests, retailers can potentially increase their email engagement rates and click-throughs.

However, whichever approach a seller decides to take, remember that (much like with content marketing itself) consistency is key.

#18: Include Images and Videos

This topic was lightly touched upon earlier but deserves revisiting for its potential to increase clicks and sales.

pizza hut coupons mobile device

Images have, in many ways, become central to email marketing tactics. With platforms like Instagram touting over a billion users, the power of visuals cannot be denied. However, pictures aren’t the only effective email eye candy.

Video is vital to eCommerce SEO strategies because of its popularity with online audiences. Be that as it may, the same notion holds true for eCommerce email marketing.

When analyzing the impact of video on email campaigns, Campaign Monitor reports that video content increases email open rates by 19 percent, click-through rates by 65 percent and drops unsubscribe rates by over 25 percent.

By utilizing compelling images and videos in a company’s email marketing efforts, there is a considerable chance that the campaign’s most important KPIs will all see a substantial increase.

#19: Give the Sales Pitch a Rest

We understand that the core function of a retailer is to increase a company’s sales. In fact, that is the entire purpose of this piece.

That said, if all a seller does is push products in the email communications, buyers are likely to unsubscribe in droves. When a retailer is relentless in their pursuit of sales, customers can become fed up rather quickly.

Therefore, it is necessary for merchants to temper their sales drive with a healthy dose of emails whose sole purpose is to inform, educate or entertain an audience–sales push entirely absent.

nba game email

By merely trying to communicate with an audience without any underlying financial motive, consumers are more likely to view a brand favorably when compared to one that just wants them to empty out their pockets.

#20: Constantly A/B Test eCommerce Emails

As with any marketing effort, it is vital to continually split (or A/B) test email communications to ensure that a brand is employing the most effective headlines, copy, images, CTAs and other core components for a successful eCommerce email marketing push.

There are a variety of tools that businesses can use to test the efficacy of their email campaigns, including:

Establishing effective eCommerce email marketing strategies is essential to growing a retail brand, as email is still a powerhouse when it comes to sales generation.

Utilize the tactics outlined above to boost your brand’s engagement, customer loyalty and sales.

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