Email marketing still sells – if done right. Customers prefer it, it’s easy to measure, and the return on investment for e-commerce brands can be an astounding 45:1.  With the right strategy and content, email marketing can drive up to 35% of your sales revenue.

First, look over the big-picture components of successful emails regarding vision and content. Then, we’ll highlight easily overlooked tips and ideas that can turn your emails from deadweight to revenue drivers.

Design Emails by Purpose

Each email you send out should have a clear purpose. Typically, customer emails fall into three categories: newsletters, lifecycle campaigns, and transactional.

  • Newsletters – Keep your brand top-of-mind with regular communications, usually at least once per week. These emails should maintain your relationship with your customers by providing helpful information. Use these emails to announce sales or new products and provide industry-related analysis or value-adding tips. In general, keep the tone conversational and the information pointed.
  • Lifecycle Campaigns – These emails respond to the changing needs of your customers. Program these emails to trigger based on customer actions. Welcoming emails help onboard new customers, while timely re-engagement campaigns bring back old and unengaged subscribers. These emails can also prompt customers to complete purchases or follow up with customers after an initial purchase.
  • Transactional –For purchases and inquiries, these emails provide timely and critical information to your customer. This category of the email includes receipts and shipping confirmations. Keep the content professional, simple and scannable to impress your clients with your professionalism, forethought, and frictionless interactions.

Create an Effective Template

Although the specific information in the email will vary by type, building a clear template will give your brand a distinctive voice and drive engagement.

1. Get the open.

Whether or not they read the entire email, customers will always view three things: From Line, Subject, and Preview Text.  These aspects should work together to tell a story, display your brand, and compel your customer to open the email. Here are some best practices:

  • For the From Line, use just one recognizable name that does not exceed 25 characters.
  • The Subject line should stand out with compelling content and format. Test out features like special characters or emojis or use all caps and choose crisp, clear, and intuitive words for your customer.
  • For the Preview Text, put the most important content first while avoiding spoiling everything in the email.

2. Have a clear call to action in the email body.

Build your template so your customer understands the campaign’s main purpose immediately and can take the next desired action.  The call-to-action (CTA) should be descriptive and imperative, and the entire first section should be image heavy and use a larger typeface. All the opening content should evoke excitement and curiosity so that the customer scrolls further. Secondary and tertiary content should also include CTAs and content which complements the overall story being told by the email.

3. Plan and integrate your content.

Variety keeps your brand fresh. Develop an annual or quarterly email schedule that balances seasonal promotions, newsletters, and educational content. The scheduled content can be repurposed across your marketing platforms to create a unified message. This means blog entries, social media posts, and emails should broadcast the same event or idea.

4. Create multiple reusable templates.

Save time and create brand continuity by building drag-and-drop templates for frequently used information. Banners reminding customers of delivery options or inventory updates can easily be embedded within the email, creating a professional look and driving traffic.

Common Mistakes and Overlooked Ideas

Here are some of the most common mistakes and overlooked ideas when it comes to creating e-commerce emails:

  • Always welcome new subscribers with at least one email (ideally a series).
  • Add navigation links in your header to drive engagement.
  • Ensure mobile integration for smartphones on IOS and Android.
  • Use preview text to pique curiosity and compel opening.
  • Follow legal requirements to avoid the spam folder. Have an address and an unsubscribe button in the footer.
  • Segment emails based on subscriber purchase behavior or geographic location.
  • Test! Try a variety of hooks, phrases, and incentives to see what best drives engagement and purchasing.

Megan Bortner – Founder & Marketing Strategist at Labyrinth Digital

Megan founded Labyrinth Digital to use her experience to help scaling businesses achieve their vision. She starts every engagement by understanding her client’s goals and learning about their businesses. and then uses her knowledge of how the biggest brands use data and technology to build high-performing marketing programs for scaling businesses.

Originally from Indiana, Megan followed her adventurous spirit to Colorado in 2014 and loves it. She is an avid hiker, trail runner, and snowboarder. When she’s not participating in adventure sports, she is active in the local community, where she helps the refugee community assimilate to Denver and mentors aspiring entrepreneurs.