E-Commerce Email Marketing Tips

If you’re looking for a valuable resource that simply lists email marketing tips for e-commerce, I won’t hold back. Really, I won’t. Just skip to the next paragraph and you’ll find what you’re looking for. But for those who decide to grace this blog with an extended visit, I’ve followed the list with some additional considerations which I find to be fundamental to email marketing strategy.

1. Relate to your users by either personalizing or localizing your message. Users who can relate will feel more compelled to engage.

Using your customer’s name in an email is the most common and basic form of personalization. However, personalization doesn’t just end by picking data from user profiles. It’s also interpreting information in order to speak at a personal level. So don’t be afraid to utilize users’ information, people are more than just a name. And of course, don’t do anything black hat (illegal).

For example, understanding the potential of your customer’s zip code gives you access to many things like the weather users are experiencing in real time. So, if you have a product that has marketable use in hot, cold or even nice weather – use their zip code, lookup their forecast. If the usage of zip codes is not convincing, then think of how zip codes are construed from the U.S. political campaign system. But remember, it’s not all about extracting data, it’s how you creatively apply that data.

2. Users who engage with your website should not only receive a welcome email but continue receiving courteous service or interactions throughout their entire experience.

Imagine walking up to a fabulous 5-star hotel. All sides of this grand edifice exude luxury. You walk into a large lobby and hear the echo of your footsteps. When you squint into the distance, you notice the artwork on the walls is all from famous artists. You vaguely make out the work from Botticelli, Da Vinci, Titian and somehow even Banksy has a spot in the corner – you’re enamored to say the very least.

When you finally arrive at the front desk, a hotel attendant graciously smiles and politely asks for your name and information. You finish checking in and begin to spend the next few days in pure leisure. Finally, it’s time to check-out. You approach the front desk and it’s the very same hotel attendant. However, he reveals a chilling expression. The attendant coldly types into his computer, with eyes glazed. He doesn’t say a single word nor looks your way. Puzzled by the encounter, you walk away wondering if you did something wrong. You thought you had a great time, but now not so sure. Would you return to this hotel?

As bizarre as this 5-star hotel may sound, there are parallels to draw with e-commerce websites. Think about the users on your own website. Do you have a homepage with an amazing slider and masterfully crafted CTAs (Call To Action)? Are the visual elements on your site captivating? Do you have compelling offers that no competitor can beat? If so, users should be captivated and engaged through your emails as well.

Many of us have visited e-commerce sites with cold, callous user-experiences. We’ve seen sites that had nothing more than a generic looking email or nothing at all. The danger is that we begin to instinctively think of incomplete services as the norm when it shouldn’t be. Make every handshake count. Make every visit satisfying.

3. Send reminder emails to alert abandoned cart users.


Abandoned cart emails focus on those who forgot to complete the purchasing process. Shopify reports that over a third of users who are reminded about their abandoned carts go back and complete the purchase. But one must appreciate how exclusive this abandoned cart phenomenon is to the world of e-commerce. Would you take the trouble to fill your cart at a grocery store, stand in line and then walk away? It would never happen in a brick and mortar store.
Fortunately for the digital space, all e-commerce businesses can remind forgetful customers without actually making them feel foolish. Again, be the detective. While emailing a user about their abandoned cart, why not enrich their experience by offering another product that compliments their purchase? “Oh, you probably forgot about these yoga pants, because buying a matching top and bag is so much better.” Cradle the user.

4. Follow up with your users after they make their purchase.

Consider this an opportunity to learn more about your customers.
Perhaps it’s easier to compare follow-up emails like maintaining a long-term relationship. A relationship, whether person to person or B2C, takes continuous effort to build, maintain, enhance. So, if your e-commerce customers only get transactional emails – that may be enough to renew your vows for the first few times. But, what about celebrating the anniversary of initial user engagement or showing you care by investing time into suggesting related products your users may like based on their past engagement with you? The little things really do go a long way.

5. Keep your emails mobile friendly and consider animated gifs.

Although mobile design and animated gifs are nothing new, they’re still relevant. To summarize what the latest industry practices generally recommend:

  • Mobile means simple layout. Unless you have a good reason, stick with a single column layout.
  • Mobile means users can’t read too much. Keep it simple.
  • Mobile means easy engagement. Size does matter, tiny buttons can ruin the fun.
  • Animated gifs or videos should be succinct. Long messages or numerous frames can equate to larger file sizes leading to undesirable load times for your audience.

Design remains pretty consistent in our industry. The basic rules and principles of design are synonymous with what grammar is to language. Language can be dynamic and change but is built upon a foundation of rules. Design is no different. Visual coherence has its own set of rules to follow. Trust the designers who are willing to explain these rules to you.

Additional Considerations

There are many more ways to market with emails, which aren’t covered in this article. Other ideas such as timed or triggered messages or even special-offer/incentive emails are also great ways of engaging your audience. But aside from more marketing tips, the root of all this begins with strategic thinking.

And as promised, next we’ll look into the understanding of why some email marketing methods are in place. However, this will have to be discussed in the next series of this article, which is aptly named…wait for it, wait for it…E-commerce Email Marketing Tips Part II (tada!).

Looking for an agency partner that knows email marketing? Rhythm has some solid expertise in email marketing…we even won a Silver Davey Award for our email marketing work with Acura.

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