An online store offers a distinct advantage over a physical store - more efficient strategies to build your digital Rolodex of client contacts. For businesses using e-commerce, your email list is like gold. It is the resource you’ll need to engage with customers, incentivize return clients, create value and even predict your business’s trajectory. It’s important to develop effective communication strategies with your clients - this is how you build relationships and share information and opportunities with the people who’ve expressed interest in or made purchases from your business.


Why is e-commerce email marketing important?

 After search engine marketing, email marketing has proven to be the most effective marketing tool. It’s a direct tool that brings in customers and gives them reasons to return to your business again and again. These are some of the top strategies and the ways you can apply them to your e-commerce business: 

  • Reward loyal customers with exclusive promos: The clients that return again and again to support your business are its lifeline. Show how much you value them by giving them more reasons to continue patronizing your store. By inviting previous customers to be part of a loyalty program, you’ll continue fostering relationships with them as you also offer exclusive discounts. 63% of customers open emails whose subject line includes information about a discount.

That’s a pretty attractive number, but even the promotional email has its limits. Overusing emails with discounts is tiresome to customers - and creates the perception that either you aren’t able to sell your product without offering some kind of rebate, or that perhaps your normal prices shouldn’t be taken seriously. Think of promos as special occasions, carrots that provide motivation for customers to return, but not so much that they won’t buy from you unless they have a discount. An effective option is to send an email with a discount that feels personal, that’s tailored in some way to your return clients. This will keep them engaged and more likely to continue opening your emails. ...which brings us to the second strategy -


  • Create personalized email campaigns: Sending emails with tailored content is a great way to improve engagement rates. Beyond just including clients’ names in the subject line, you can segment your contacts into groups according to interests or demographics, like gender, age, past email engagement, purchase behavior, birth month (to send birthday promos!), etc.


  • Reward customers for referring your business: This strategy makes things even more personal. When a client recommends your shop to a friend or contact, it’s a display of trust from within their network - trust in the quality of your business as well as in the value of your business for others. A referral is much more likely to be heeded than even the most targeted advertisement because it demonstrates the legitimacy, trust and approval of your business by a friend or someone within your network.

So how do you get customers to send referrals? Give discounts to customers who recommend your business. This has a double benefit - it encourages referrals while also motivating these customers to continue making purchases from your shop. Or consider giving discounts to both sides - the recipient and sender - as an additional incentive for new customers.


  • Design: As is the case with most things, moderation in email design is key. Aesthetics are important but you shouldn’t go overboard with extras, animations, or overwhelming designs. On one end of the scale, if your email is too text-heavy, with no images or branding elements, it is likely to be marked as spam. But if you load your emails with design elements (images, GIFs, animations, etc.), there’s a greater probability that, through email algorithms, they will be sent directly to the promotions tab. Design-heavy emails tend to feel impersonal, but overly simple emails without visual elements won’t call readers’ attention. Find a balance between these two extremes - while making sure your message is clear and to the point.


  • Grab attention with the subject line and preview text: This is the first thing that email recipients see, so it’s crucial to make a good impression. Be direct and enticing, in order to pique curiosity while giving concrete information. Avoid using language that sounds like clickbait or spam. After a great subject line, preview text - the first bit of text in an email, visible from the inbox - can provide additional motivation to open a message. Take advantage of this text to complement the subject line and give your subscribers a good reason to continue reading.


  • Frame campaigns around special occasions: Holidays and seasonal transitions are always great opportunities to launch an email campaign. Wish your customers a happy holiday, using special, engaging email templates generally provided by marketing platforms.


  • Offer clients multiple opportunities to subscribe to emails: Because if you can’t get potential customers to sign up for emails, all of these great tips are worthless! Make it easy for your website’s visitors to opt in to emails by including a form on your website’s home page and sidebar, or using popup messages to encourage signing up. And for site visitors who end up making a purchase, take advantage of the checkout process. Because they’ve decided to spend money in your shop, it’s clear that your business has a value to them. That’s why this is an ideal moment to ask them to sign up for promotional emails or newsletters.


  • Get reviews:  Reviews give your business legitimacy as well as valuable feedback for improvement. Because 92% of consumers read reviews and use them to make decisions, getting reviews should be one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy. When you ask customers for reviews, remind them that you value their feedback and make sure that the process of writing a review is simple. Provide a direct link in an email after a purchase to facilitate the process.