Ecommerce email marketing can work wonders for your bottom line. In fact, many entrepreneurs rely heavily on their email lists when it comes to product launches, sales, clearances, and more.
However, you need to know how to use ecommerce email marketing the right way. Today, I’m going to show you how.
What Is Ecommerce Email Marketing?
Ecommerce email marketing refers to the process of collecting email addresses from interested consumers and sending them emails on a regular basis to promote events, share discounts, offer free shipping, highlight new products, and more.
Essentially, it’s a direct communication line with your prospective and current customers.
People who sign up for your email list want those incentives. They’re interested in your annual Memorial Day Sale, for instance, or your ever-expanding product line.
Why Is Email Marketing Key to Your Ecommerce Success?
Let’s start with the biggie. Amazon.
Not only is it a huge company, but it has the revenue necessary to discount prices in big ways.
PipeCandy estimates that as many as 3 million ecommerce companies exist (and that’s excluding those based in China). About 1.3 million of those are based in the U.S.
Think about that for a second. You’re not in competition with all 3 million — each ecommerce store has a niche and a limited range of products — but you’re also not lacking in competition.
Ecommerce email marketing can give you a significant advantage. Everyone remembers Amazon when they think about shopping online. But what if a consumer gets your email just as he or she is about to go shopping? You’ll be top-of-mind.
What Is the 4-Second Rule?
While ecommerce email marketing can prove extremely effective, it’s also a battle. Part of that is due to the four-second rule.
According to Roundtree founder and CEO Andy Jones, you have about four seconds to capture your audience’s attention. When the four seconds pass, you’ll have either succeeded or failed.
Now, think about your average email inbox. It might look something like this:
Crazy, right? And that’s just the Promotions folder.
If you only have four seconds to capture attention, you need a darn good subject line. You also need a respected “From” name.
At the top of that list is Brian Gardner. I subscribe to his email list because he’s always insightful and thought-provoking. Sometimes he tries to sell me stuff. Sometimes he doesn’t. But I’ll read his email.
Farther down, we have an email from a company called Thumbtack. It’s part of the micro economy.
The subject line promises “Easy price estimates for all your projects.” That’s intriguing. If I need to get something done, and I decide to delegate it, I might click.
But what about this next one? It’s from Mike at Butcher Box.
Mike says, in his subject line, “You need to hear this.”
Butcher Box sells meat in a box. That’s pretty simple. It’s also a great business model.
And the company continuously uses great subject lines — also called “hooks.” When I read that subject line, I think, “Maybe I really do need to hear this.”
What should you take away from this peek inside my inbox? The four-second rule matters. If you want ecommerce email marketing to work, you have to grab subscribers’ attention from the subject line.
How Can I Get More Emails and Grow My Ecommerce Email List?
Ecommerce email marketing only works when you have email addresses. In other words, people have subscribed to your email list voluntarily.
You can start by deploying a simple Hello Bar. It might look like this:
Users can enter their email address and click the call to action (CTA) button to “Sign up now.” Easy, right?
This process is called lead generation. You’re getting leads who might be interested in buying your ecommerce store’s products in the future.
A top bar isn’t your only option, though.
You could add an exit popup to your website that invites users to sign up for your email list. If a visitor tries to click away, the popup appears. It might look something like this:
Use an enticing image, a can’t-miss headline, and a CTA that encourages conversions. You want your visitor to think, “Hey, I could use free weekly coupons for products I’m interested in.”
That’s the hook — as well as the four-second rule at work.
20 Pro Ecommerce Email Marketing Tips to Increase Sales
Now that I’ve convinced you of the importance and power of ecommerce email marketing, let’s dive into my 20 tips for making your email campaigns more successful — and profitable.
1. Choose the Perfect Subject Lines for Your Marketing Email Campaigns
We’ve already touched on subject lines, but I want to make clear that your subject line is the first thing people see when they open their email clients. If the subject lines doesn’t entice them to click, you’re going in the trash bin.
A/B test multiple subject lines once you have a sizeable list. Figure out which ones are most persuasive when it comes to your audience.
The best email subject lines communicate value and urgency. They let people know exactly what they’ll get when they click.
Or, as in the case with the Butcher Box example I described above, they inspire curiosity. Make people click because they want to know the answer to a question.
2. Consider Not Using Overused Words in Your Ecommerce Emails
Consumers are used to getting emails. In fact, many of them are inundated with email every hour of the day.
Consequently, you don’t want to bore them. Try subject lines with unusual or powerful words in the copy.
Overused words include the following:
You can use similar words, but shake it up with the thesaurus.
3. Personalize Your Ecommerce Emails as Much as You Can
When collecting email signups, you can decide what information you want your subscribers to enter. While using fewer form fields can increase signups, asking for your subscribers’ names will allow you to personalize your emails.
With Hello Bar, it’s as simple as checking a box:
Adding the subscribers’ names to your ecommerce email marketing campaigns can help your subscribers feel more appreciated. Plus, it gives each email a more personal, intimate feel.
4. Make Your Emails Short and Sweet
A long email feels overwhelming. This is especially true with ecommerce. If you try to mention every product in your lineup in a single email, your subscribers will just click away.
Try to focus on one idea per email. If you’re sending one email per week, you can quickly inform your subscribers about your top products. Just focus on one at a time.
5. Ask Engaging Questions
Do you like when someone asks your opinion on a topic? If you’re like most people, the answer is, “Yes.”
We like to know that someone else values our expertise. We also appreciate it when a brand offers to answer a question to which we don’t know the answer.
I recently received this email from The Muse:
Short and sweet, right? The email’s offering three answers to three questions — all career-related.
You can do the same thing with ecommerce email marketing:
- Which dishwasher is right for you?
- How can you find dog clothes that fit?
- What precious stone aligns with your personality?
Questions like these immediately spark curiosity.
Or, if you’re asking for your customers’ and leads’ input, you could ask questions like these:
- What product would you like us to make next?
- Would you be interested in X?
- Do you prefer free shipping or bundle discounts?
6. Create a Sense of Urgency Because it Works
Urgency almost always works. It gets us fired up about the offer and makes us want to act.
Use urgency by letting people know that a deal is on the table, but only for a short time. Include the deadline, if applicable, such as “only for the next 24 hours” or “act before June 5.”
7. Get Your Ecommerce Email Timing Right!
Test sending emails at different times of day and on different days of the week. Don’t rely on advice from other companies because your audience might be different.
Maybe your subscribers are more likely to act on Fridays because they’ve just gotten paid. Perhaps most of your audience checks email first thing in the morning.
The only way to know is to test.
8. Use the Right Images in the Right Places in Your Ecommerce Emails
Attractive, contextual images can boost conversion rates considerably. Just consider this email from Overstock.
It’s advertising an extended Memorial Day sale. The photo includes a dining set that’s beautifully styled for a summer meal.
9. Do Not Forget About Mobile Email Optimization
I’m always on the go. My smartphone is with me all the time.
Chances are, if I subscribe to your ecommerce email marketing campaign, I’ll read your emails on my mobile device.
Use an email system that allows you to use mobile-friendly text and images. Otherwise, you’ll alienate your subscribers.
10. Use the Right Ecommerce Email Marketing Tools
Tools like Hello Bar automate your ecommerce email marketing campaign. You don’t have to worry about it every day. Just set it and forget it — but don’t forget to A/B test.
The right tools matter even more now that the EU has put the GDPR into effect. Hello Bar is GDPR compliant, so if you sell to companies in the EU, you won’t find yourself in violation.
11. Promote Your Social Media Profiles Using Your Ecommerce Email Marketing
You can use your Hello Bar account to promote your social channels easily, whether you’re using an exit intent or a top bar, or some other modal.
But don’t forget about cross-promotion. When you’re designing your ecommerce email marketing campaign, invite your subscribers to follow you on Twitter, like your latest Facebook post, or share your content on LinkedIn.
12. Create an Ecommerce Email Marketing Road Map
I’m going to give you a specific ecommerce email marketing sales funnel strategy later in this article, but I want to point out that you need a road map. Where are you going?
Do you want to sell more products? Improve brand awareness? Educate your subscribers?
Pick a goal and stick with it until circumstances change.
13. Put a Lot of Effort into Your Ecommerce Welcome Email — It’s Your First Impression
First impressions matter.
Think about the last time you met somebody new. You likely made snap judgments about that person based on handshake, stance, eye contact, words exchanged, and other details.
The same goes for ecommerce email marketing. If your welcome email doesn’t excite your subscriber, he or she might never read another email.
14. Nurture Your Ecommerce Email List With Great and Consistent Content
Content matters, too.
Fortunately, you don’t always have to create brand new content. Consider stealing content from your blog, publishing an excerpt in your email, and adding a CTA to read the full article on your site.
That’s what Wordstream did with a recent email, but with a guide instead of a blog post.
You could post an article on your blog about comparing different versions of products. That’s a great way to get people excited about what you sell.
15. After Providing Great Content, Promote an Irresistible Offer
A great offer should be the cornerstone of your ecommerce email marketing campaign. Check out the slam-dunk offer Bicycling Magazine recently sent out.
The offer’s spot-on, the CTA is simple, and the animated bar captures your attention.
16. Promote Upsells and Cross-sells on Your Order Confirmation Ecommerce Emails to Maximize Sales
Cross-sells and upsells can help improve your ecommerce email marketing conversion rates. Tell people how they can save money on multiple products together, or show how your products combine to great effect.
Check out this email from Stein Mart. It combines multiple products that go together.
And, of course, there’s an accompanying discount.
Maybe your customer needs new sheets, but hasn’t considered an entirely new bedding set. Why not start fresh?
Use the changing seasons and other factors to put together bundles or to recommend upsells and cross-sells. The more effort you put into the design of your email and offer, the more conversions you’ll get.
17. Use Cart Abandonment Emails to Increase Your Ecommerce Conversions
People abandon carts all the time. They get tired of filling out the forms, they get distracted by something else, they second-guess the price — whatever.
You can target those people with follow-up emails. Say something like, “Hey, X items are still in your cart. Interested?”
Tack on a discount for the abandoned items for even better conversion rates.
18. Send Re-engagement Emails
Similarly, you can re-engage people who haven’t opened or engaged with your emails in a while. Start with a subject line like, “Hey, are you still interested in hearing from us?”
Provide a discount code, an offer of free shipping or some other incentive. Bring those people back into the fold.
You can also re-engage with customers who have opened your emails but not converted on your offers. Send a follow-up email that thanks them for reading your emails and offers a renewed incentive to buy.
19. Use the Perfect Call to Action for Each Email
Your call to action should be the final piece in your ecommerce email marketing strategy. This is where you want your subscribers to do something.
Invite them to check out your latest product or to take advantage of a coupon code. Whatever it is, don’t give them a reason to say “no.”
In emails, calls to action should be highly visible. Use buttons and other graphics to draw attention to them. A boring CTA will get lost in the rest of the text.
20. Do Not Forget to Reward Your Most Loyal Fans and Customers
People who continually engage with your emails deserve a reward. So do those who consistently buy your products.
Consider starting a loyalty program. You’re probably a member of a few of those yourself.
For instance, customers get a $20 coupon for every $200 they spend. You get the idea.
Hello Bar Ecommerce Email Marketing Sales Funnel Strategy
The perfect ecommerce email marketing strategy starts with Hello Bar. Email marketing doesn’t work if you don’t have any subscribers.
Follow our conversion strategy to get more conversions for your ecommerce business.
Step 1 – Get Emails (Leads) Into Your Funnel
Start with a top bar to capture website visitors’ attention and convince them to sign up. This is the best strategy for getting more email signups quickly.
A/B test top bars to figure out what wording and offer works best. Test the headline and the CTA.
Step 2 – Send an Email Welcome Series to Your New Leads
When people first subscribe, welcome them to the fold. Get off on the right foot with an incentive, such as free shipping or a coupon code. Of course, you’ll also want to provide whatever lead magnet you used to incentivize the signup.
Step 3 – Nurture and Educate Your Leads With Valuable Content
Keep your promises. If you tell subscribers you’ll send a new email every Monday with new offers, do so. Don’t let a single Monday pass without an email from you.
Don’t just promote your products, either. Send educational content and other valuable information. If you’re constantly asking subscribers to buy, buy, buy, they’ll get tired of hearing from you.
If you don’t want to create new content, link to content from your blog or social channels.
Step 4 – Make an Irresistible Offer to Your Leads
The lead magnet can make or break your ecommerce email marketing campaign. For this market, a lead magnet might be free shipping or a coupon. It could also be an educational tool.
A/B test different lead magnets. Figure out what your subscribers really want.
Step 5 – Provide More Valuable Content
Keep dishing out that content. Today’s consumers are eager for information, whether they’re not sure which brand is best or they’re not sure whether they need a particular product.
Again, don’t make it all about the sale. Focus on winning trust, building authority, and developing loyalty among your subscribers.
Step 6 – Cross-sell and Upsell Your Leads With Amazing Offers
Upselling is the art of offering your customer a more expensive product, while cross-selling means selling an existing customer a different product.
Pay attention to what your subscribers buy. Invite them to check out related products. You can also bundle alike products together at a discount.
Step 7 – Reward Your Best Customers
Loyalty goes both ways. If people spend money on your ecommerce store, reward them with freebies or discounts. They’ll appreciate the gesture.
Step 8 – Go After Dorment Leads and Try to Put Them Back Into Your Email Sales Funnel
Dormant leads aren’t worth anything to your bottom line. In some cases, though, you can pull them back.
Offer an incentive to check out your latest product, for instance. A coupon code can work well.
Ask them if they’re still interested in what you sell. If they’re not, take them off your list. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, you don’t want to irritate consumers.
Ecommerce email marketing is both art and science. You need to follow the data, A/B test your every offer, and pay attention to your subscribers’ actions. However, you also need to get creative.
Hello Bar can help. Use different modals to encourage website visitors to subscribe to your list and take advantage of an incentive.
The more you A/B test your offers, the better data you’ll get. Plus, conversions will increase because you’ll know how to entice your visitors.
Once you’ve captured leads, don’t let them down. Provide as much valuable as possible through ecommerce email marketing. That way, you don’t lose their continued patronage.
What’s your favorite ecommerce email marketing hack?