Los Silva
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May 12, 2020

Your Complete Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods for boosting e-commerce sales. It is affordable, easy to set up, and allows you to target a large portion of the internet public. 

You do not need a lot of marketing experience in order to begin promoting your e-commerce store through email marketing. You just need to learn more about the tools, resources, and methods used to create and start a campaign. 

The following details will help you get started. You will find everything need to begin your first e-commerce email marketing campaign.

The Basics of Ecommerce Email Marketing

What is e-commerce email marketing? This simply refers to online marketing efforts designed to help you boost sales through promotional emails and newsletters. The emails that you send out to your potential customers will depend on the focus of the campaign.

For example, you could send emails to website visitors that left your site with items still in their shopping cart. You could begin building a subscriber list and send out regular deals and promotions. These are all examples of email marketing. 

Essentially, email marketing is all about building a better relationship with your customers. You are helping to remind them about your products or services and increasing the chances of them coming back to your site.

What are the benefits of email marketing? As mentioned, email marketing is affordable. You will need a few basic tools, which will be covered shortly, but the ongoing cost is minimal. This allows you to promote your products, gain new customers, and generate more sales, without spending a fortune.

Essential Email Marketing Tools and Resources

Before you can begin your first email marketing campaign, there are certain tools and resources that you will need. This includes email marketing software and the ability to create emails that actually convert. Here is a quick overview of these essential resources and details:

  • Effective emails
  • Email marketing software
  • Pop-up plugins and software
  • The email marketing roadmap

Tool #1 – Effective Emails

Learning the basic structure of an effective email will help ensure you actually get results from your marketing campaign. Regardless of the type of campaign that you run, the following suggestions can help you create the perfect email. You need to pay attention to:

  • The sender’s name
  • The subject line
  • Pre-header
  • Design 
  • The actual copy
  • The time

The Sender’s Name

Start with the sender’s name – your business name. This is the name that appears in the “from” section of the email. Some entrepreneurs believe using a first name, such as “John”, makes the email appear more personable. This is not true. 

Unless your first name is a recognizable brand, such as Dr. Phil or Oprah, you should stick with the name of your brand or business.

The Subject Line

The subject line requires a lot of thought. In fact, the subject line is perhaps the most important part of the email. You need to get users to open the email simply based on the sender’s name and subject line. If they do not recognize the sender, then you better hope that you have an effective subject line.

When writing the subject line, keep it simple. This means using 50 characters or less. You need readers to make the decision to open the email within seconds. You want a subject line that can grab attention. 

If you are having trouble coming up with a good subject line, you could try phrasing your subject line in the form of a question. This can help increase the open rate of your emails.

Other tips include personalizing the subject line with their city name and adding urgency to the subject. Letting readers know that they need to act now can encourage them to open the email. 

Along with these suggestions, you may want to use A/B split testing. Later on, when you set up your email marketing software, you will have the option to run two identical campaigns with one variation. You can test one metric at a time, such as two separate subject lines, and then see which version performs better.


The pre-header is the first line of text that comes right after the subject line. With some email clients, the recipient will see this as they scroll through their inbox. 

You can consider the pre-header to be the continuation of the subject line. Follow up the question or exclamation that you placed in your subject line with a short line of text. Keep readers curious and interested in the email.


You do not have to worry too much about the design of your email. You want to keep it basic. Avoid the use of fancy text and graphics. At the same time, you do not want to use text without any other elements. 

Email clients often mark the email as spam when it only contains text and is sent from an unverified source. If you choose to use too many graphics, then you run the risk of having your email sent to the promotions tab of the inbox.

Strike a balance between plain text and styling. Keep the structure of the email simple and break up the copy with an occasional graphic or image – as you would a blog post.

The Actual Copy

The copy needs to drive home the main point of your email. Each email should have one specific focus – such as getting the reader to visit your website, getting them to complete a purchase, etc. Decide on the purpose of the email and build the copy of your email around this message.

The Time

Everyone has a different opinion as to the best times to send an email. Numerous studies have been performed to determine when to send emails. Generally, you will want to send them during the day, while the reader is more likely to have access to their email. Also, you may want to avoid sending emails on Mondays or the weekend. 

When Monday approaches, people are often trying to get back into work mode after the weekend. Promotional emails are less likely to get read by consumers. Instead, wait for the middle of the week or just before the weekend.

Tool #2 – Email Marketing Software

Now that you know the basics of writing an email, you need to figure out how to the send the emails. Email marketing software simplifies the process of organizing your e-commerce email marketing campaign.

The main features of marketing software include the ability to manage large subscriber lists. You need a place to store all the email addresses of all the users that have signed up to receive emails. 

Tool #3 – Pop-Up Plugins and Software

Some people feel that pop-ups are annoying, but they have been shown to be effective. Adding a pop-up ad on your website can help you gain email subscribers. In fact, this is one of the easiest methods for building a subscriber list.

There are many ways to use these pop-ups. You can include a special coupon or offer that requires users to subscribe to your newsletter. You could also simply add an opt-in form in the pop-up ad. 

You can find pop-up software that will work in conjunction with your email marketing software. After a visitor enters their email address, they will automatically get added to your subscriber list. 

Tool #4 – The Email Marketing Roadmap

The next step in preparing an email marketing campaign for your e-commerce store is to plan an email marketing roadmap. This is similar to a sales funnel, in a sense, as you are attempting to funnel visitors back to your site in order to make a purchase.

Like a sales funnel, the roadmap contains multiple stages. Each stage is designed to connect with a visitor during a specific action. There are 3 main stages:

  • Interested consumers
  • Engaged customers
  • Lapsed customers

Stage #1 – Interested Consumers

Interested consumers are those that have signed up to your subscriber list but have not yet made a purchase from your website. Your goal is to get these consumers to make their first purchase.

In order to get their attention, you will send a welcome email. This email should contain some basic details about your business. Let them get to know you better. Towards the end of the copy of your email, you will steer them towards your website and finish with a call to action that takes them to your e-commerce site.

The first email that you send to these consumers should have a simple subject line that, such as “Welcome to YOUR BRAND!”. Since they have just recently signed up, they should be expecting an email from you. They will see the “welcome” subject line and immediately associate it with your brand. 

Make sure that you include an offer towards the end of your email. Discuss a few key features of products or services that you believe they will be interested in. 

You could even create different campaigns to target customers based on the product page they were viewing when they signed up. 

Each of these stages can require a few follow-up emails. With Stage #1, you are trying to build interest. It is important to get them to visit your website within a short period after receiving your first email. 

Follow-up emails that you can use for this first stage should promote specific products or offer additional information about your brand. Do not send these emails out too frequently. Otherwise, the consumer may unsubscribe from your list. At most, you should one email each week.

Stage #2 – Engaged Customers

Engaged customers are customers that have already made a couple of purchases from your site. With these customers, the goal of your emails is to get them to come back to your site and make more purchases.

With a Stage #2 email marketing campaign, you will use emails that offer product recommendations based on previous purchases. This is an effective method for getting customers to come back to your e-commerce site.

Continue to follow-up with additional emails every 1-2 weeks. If they go several months without visiting your website, you can place them into the third category – lapsed customers.

Stage #3 – Lapsed Customers

Lapsed customers have made several purchases and then stopped visiting your site and opening your emails. You want to get these customers to resume opening emails and entice them to visit your website again.

A Stage #3 email marketing campaign is designed to re-engage your lapsed customers. During this final stage, if customers do not respond, then you can remove them from your subscriber list. This helps you avoid wasted resources on customers that have no interest in coming back.

Putting Everything Together

This is a lot of information take in without actually getting started. Bookmark or print this page for later reference. As you begin setting up your first email marketing campaign, follow the steps outlined. Put all of the tips and suggestions together. 

The hardest part of mastering email marketing is creating emails that convert. Remember that the subject line is the most important part of the email. If the subject line does not grab attention, then the rest of the copy is wasted. 

Continue following the stages outlined above. Every time that you send out a group of mass emails to your subscribers, you should consider using A/B split testing. Create two identical campaigns. The emails will be identical, except for the one variable that you want to test. 

Start by testing your subject line. Send one copy of the email to half of your subscribers and the second email to the other half. Whichever email ends up with a higher open rate had the better subject line. 

Then, evaluate the difference between the subject lines and why one worked better than the other. You can then use this same method to test other variables, every time that you send out a new email.

Good luck on your campaign. Ecommerce email marketing is essential if you want to grow your e-commerce empire. Stick with it and you will get results. 

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