Alekh Verma

A Primer: How to Expand your E-commerce Store with Email Marketing

Email Marketing is an easy, inexpensive tool that can provide e-commerce entrepreneurs with a number of benefits that bring weekly subscribers, relatively high open rates, surges in website traffic, and a significant return on investment.

When tested, email marketing performs better than other channels including social media, SEO marketing, and content distribution. Why? Because it is an advertising approach that can be customized to engage readers and build solid relationships for better customer acquisition.

Here are just a few of the ways your business can utilize email marketing to excite and monopolize the subscribing list:

  • Send discounts for special events such as holidays and birthdays.
  • Update customers on the newest product launches and company news.
  • Share your website’s informational blog posts.
  • Remind users of the products left in their cart.
  • Reward loyal customers with a special discount crafted exclusively for them.
  • Remind customers to leave product reviews after purchasing.

All of these methods are direct techniques that according to recent research can bring small and medium businesses up to a 3,800% ROI. Now that you know why you need email marketing, it is time to learn how.

Email Marketing Platforms

First, you will need to choose one of the many email marketing platforms available to host your contacts and automate the emails sent. Some popular platforms are:

  • MailChimp (from $0/month-$199/month)
  • Constant Contact (free 60 day trial, from $17/month-$335/month)
  • Rare (free 14 day trial, from $0/month-$79/month)
  • Vertical Response (free 30 day trial, from $0/month-$196/month)
  • Convert Kit (free 14 day trial, from $24/month-$79/month)
  • Get Response (free 30 day trial, from $15/month-$165/month)

Building an Email List

After you have selected and registered for one of the email marketing platforms listed above, you will need a solid list to send emails to each week.

Your website needs clear and well-placed opt-in forms (newsletter sign-up boxes) to start gathering users. The best way to entice these users to input their email is to offer a free trial or small discount on their first purchase:

From the example above, if the website visitor is interested in the products at Kate Spade Saturday, this visitor would be more than happy to enter their email for 15% off. You can then send this subscriber weekly new products, more discounts, etc., to prompt future purchases.

Many of the services like MailChimp have an easy way to design and implement opt-in forms into your website that connect right to the platform.

Other methods to build an email list include:

  • Include sign-up forms within your blogs, emails sent, and social media.
  • Offer an incentive for existing subscribers to refer a friend.
  • Send a card with every product shipped detailing the list-only deals.
  • Add a QR code to the opt-in form on your print materials.
  • Host a giveaway for a product. To enter, users have to register with their email.

Crafting an Effective Email

Email is the most popular method of business communication with billions of emails sent and received daily, so you have to continuously stand out to result in opens and sales.

Subject Line - The first impression to let your subscriber decide if it is worth the time to even read the email.

  • Avoid gimmicky words such as “free” or typing in all CAPS. You want your email to actually land in the reader’s inbox, not their spam folder.
  • Customize each email to include the customer’s name, location, etc.
  • Keep it short - a maximum of 50 characters is enough.
  • Be as direct and truthful as possible about what is inside of the email.

Reason for Email - Whether it is a discount, news, or special offer, you will want to ensure the reason for your company sending the email is easy to comprehend and place first and foremost in the content. Graphics and other visually appealing components keep the visitor engaged.

Call-to-Action - Now that the reader understands what is being offered, they need a clear way to take part of the action with a button or link. Call-to-actions are always more effective when placed early in the email instead of at the complete bottom.

Tips for Optimizing a Campaign

  • Send emails during standard business hours for an immediate opening.
  • Consider sending something other than promotional emails - whether it is industry news, valuable information, or just saying hello.
  • Don’t let months go by without sending new content.
  • Send customers pre-written emails in intervals starting from sign-up day, 1 week later, 3 weeks later, etc.
  • Don’t forget shopping cart abandonment, order confirmation & shipped, thank you for signing up, and customer feedback emails.
  • Keep the design consistent through emails and websites to establish a brand.
  • Consider the users viewing the email on mobile devices when designing.

Tracking Email Analytics

Tracking your email campaign results can provide insight into what you are doing wrong, what you can change, and the most effective strategies used to duplicate. The six main elements to track are:

  • Open Percentages - The rate of subscribers that have taken the time to open your email. If this is low, you can then try changing your subject line.
  • List Growth Percentages - The rate in which your subscriber list is growing. Try to set goals for your e-commerce business such as 10 new subscribers a day.
  • Bounce Percentages - The rate of emails that never make it to the subscriber's inbox whether due to it landing in spam, an inactive subscriber email, or some kind of technical error.
  • Click-Through Percentages - The rate of subscribers who clicked a link or call-to-action that led to your website.
  • Conversion Percentages - The rate of subscribers who not only clicked a link in your email but also completed the action related to the link. Campaigns that have high conversion rates can provide information on creating similar campaigns in the future.
  • Opt-Out Percentages - The rate of readers who unsubscribe from the list as a result of an email. This can tell you that you are either sending too many emails or the wrong kind of emails.

When used correctly, email marketing has the ability to become a powerful channel for every e-commerce business in the world. There is no limit how an online company can use email marketing to increase sales, website visitors, and brand recognition.

Really impressive. I Would like to seek your input on whether it is good to craft email using a template or tool, or just go manual?
“Host a giveaway for a product” - A very effective step I must quote to grow email list. It may also include promoting online contests, discount rewards on products, offer of discount coupons on their birthdays and anniversaries.
Veda Madan
We can do these and especially coupons on birthday can be done by creating specific segmentation within Email Marketing Tool with automation too.
This is particularly helpful to me! I was looking for new ways to drive traffic and sales to my store. This article is a very helpful for me and you provide a lot of great information. Thanks
Ravi Mathur
Thank you Ravi! You can surely use these ways.
Hi, Well explained!

I Was in need of something to elaborate upon discussing with my team for their strategies. And you have provided the right source.
Vivian Stark
Thank you, Vivian, for reading this out!
I really believe that tracking email analytic is a critical act, which many fail to achieve, obvious being not so technically sound. Would love if you can shed some light on some powerful tracking tools.
Alston Smith
Seems you came a wrong way :) you can find all these elements/tracking reports inside your emailing tool.
Amazing post, Alekh!

Just curious to compare, what were the highest and the lowest CTRs of your email campaigns?
Amanda Sparks
Hi Amanda, thank you! It typically lies between 1.6% to 2.4% for regular email campaigns and upto 3.5% for some specific automation campaigns.
Alekh Verma
Thanks a lot! Got the similar results, to be honest.
Great tips, Alekh.

'Send a card with every product shipped detailing the list-only deals.' and 'Add a QR code to the opt-in form on your print materials.' are really cool ways to grow your email list authentically.
Moin Shaikh
Hi Moin, thank you for reading and appreciating my efforts! Yes, these are the great ways to grow your email list authentically there is nothing wrong with it.

What are your thoughts on it or please share if you have any other ways in mind, would be happy to know :)
Hi Alekh, Great Article !

Today Email marketing is a very easy way for promoting our business and web site. I am really impressed with your article. Really we found a very usefull stuff regarding the relation in between email marketing and an indication for positive ROI. E-mail marketing is the the powerful tool to increase the website traffic and selling product. Like, Mailchimp is really effective when it comes to email marketing campaigns. In fact I’m still using it.

Good Stuff.! Once again thanks Alekh..!!
Saravanan Subramani
Thank you, Saravanan! I will try to come up with more informative articles very soon related to Email Marketing and, I am planning to write one about Automation feature of Mailchimp specifically and how it can help any e-commerce store in a great way.
Add a comment