15 Practical Email Marketing Tips for E-Commerce (With Real-Life Examples)

Are you helping to run an e-commerce business? Looking for ways to use email marketing to boost your conversion rates?

You have a lot of options for marketing your e-commerce business online: social media, SEO, and content marketing, among others. But for driving conversions or sales, email can be your best friend.

If you’re not optimizing email marketing for your e-commerce store, then you’re losing money and opportunities: 33% of consumers report that email contributes most to their online shopping.

Are you getting real engagement or conversions from your efforts? If you want to drive real results, you need to take some steps. So, in this article, I’ll provide 15 e-commerce email marketing tips and best-practices (with real-life examples).

The best part? These tips are entirely actionable: You can easily implement them to increase conversion rates.


1. Offer a ‘bribe’ during subscription process

You’re a smart marketer, and a smart marketer knows the importance of email lists. If you want subscribers, offer them a “bribe”—some sort of incentive. Even a small one is better than nothing. Show people you’re serious about building a relationship with them.

Here’s an example from Food52, offering $ 10 off:

2. Send a welcome email series

She subscribed to your email list… now immediately send her your first welcome email. And continue with the welcome series to cement the relationship.

See the following example of a welcome series from SEMrush.

First email goal: make the first impression. Subject line: welcome to the SEMrush family!

Second email goal: build a brand identity. Subject line: Have you tried these 8 features yet?

Third email goal: achieve conversions. Subject line: Your FREE 7-day promo product is on its way!

3. Include a benefit (and pique curiosity) to make your subject line interesting

The subject line is the first and the most important thing that encourages someone to open and read your email.

If you want to grab the reader’s attention, offer a mix of benefit and curiosity to make your subject line interesting.

See how Ann Taylor uses this formula in its subject lines:

4. Use FOMO and urgency in the subject line

Have you seen the phrases “don’t miss out,” “limited time,” “last chance,” and “today only”?

They are examples of FOMO—fear of missing out—and urgency. Use this concept in your subject line to create a sense of needing to act. We humans are afraid of missing out on a good deal or opportunity.

Subject lines with a sense of urgency and exclusivity can result in a 22% higher open rate.

See this example from Birchbox:

5. Use preheader text like a movie trailer

Consider your email campaign as a movie, and preheader as a movie trailer that gives you an idea of what’s to come in the email.

A preheader acts as an extension of the subject line; and since it occupies a prominent place, above the email copy, make it creative and unique.

See an example from Janie and Jack:

6. Tell an engaging story in your email

Don’t write boring emails. People don’t like them. But people love stories.

Make your email natural-sounding and entertaining, and use friendly language or humor. Be a storyteller, and give them a reason to read your message.

See how TOMS tells a story visually:

7. Use deeper personalization

Simple personalization (e.g., using the recipient’s first name) is good, but deeper personalization will help you make a deeper connection and trust with a subscriber.

Use the customer data you’ve collected to write a more personal email, offering something the subscriber is interested in.

After making a purchase, I got the following personalized email from nearbuy that included a valuable offer:

8. Provide something valuable (such as incentives) to potential customers

Show your potential customers/subscribers how valuable they are to you by offering them a special gift of perks.

Howards “super members” were sent a $ 20 voucher. Those members were “surprised and delighted,” and 34% of them redeemed the voucher, according to this case study.

Take a look at the Howards email copy:

9. Ask feedback from customers

Wondering what your customer’s pain points are?

How can you know what your customers expect from you? Don’t make assumptions. Just ask them. Give your customers a voice, and listen to what they tell you.

Check out this email from Warby Parker


Image source: Shopify

10. Place an actionable call to action (CTA) that stands out

A clear and actionable CTA tells subscribers what they need to do next. Create a sense of urgency to make it stand out. Use words like “Now,” “Today,” “Free,” etc.

Here’s an email I received from NatureBox. The CTA includes “Free” and “Now.”

11. Send birthday or anniversary email with a special gift

Make your customer’s special day more special. It’s their birthday or anniversary, so why not give them a special gift?

Or it’s your birthday or anniversary, and you celebrate it with your customers because they make your business possible.

Offer them incentives before the special day. Consider this email:

12. Send a ‘miss you’ email to inactive subscribers

You have some inactive subscribers on your list, or some of your subscribers suddenly stop visiting you…

Send them a personalized “miss you” email. In an infographic, Neil Patel shares his take: “Only send out emails to people are opening them, and put all of the people who aren’t opening in re-engagement campaign to get them active.”

Take a look at this email from Bookmyshow:

13. Send personalized cart-abandonment email

Did she abandon the cart before purchasing? Cart abandonment email can help you to recover your lost sales.

Send targeted follow-up emails to encourage her to complete the order.

According to Experian, customers who received multiple abandoned-shopping-cart emails were 2.4 times more likely to complete a transaction than customers who received only one.

See this example:

14. Integrate your social media channels into your email campaign

Use the power of social media and email together. These channels are not competitors; use them as team players to achieve your business goals.

Place your social media links in your email, or ask them to follow you on social media.

Crocs does a great job here:

15. Make your unsubscribe/opt-out process smarter

Want to make your opt-out process smarter? Offer a preference center to give them control over email communication—change email frequency, update contact information, change content type, and even unsubscribe.

People will appreciate it, and it will help you reduce your unsubscribe rate. Use some humor to make it more appealing.

Bonobos does a great job with its preference center:

Now it’s your turn: What do you think? Do you use e-commerce email marketing? Want to add any tips to this list? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.

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MarketingProfs Daily: Email Marketing

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