10 ecommerce email marketing best practices for every Shopify store
Email marketing can be a brand’s superpower if you know how to use it.
Carving and executing a well-thought-out email marketing strategy can significantly lift business while netting a fantastic return on investment (ROI). Most research shows email marketing has the highest ROI among marketing channels.
If you want to squeeze the most from your ecommerce email marketing — especially in an age of rising ad costs and social algorithms constantly changing the game — get cozy with intentionality.
Follow our 10 best practices to cultivate relationships, build brand awareness, drive sales, and retain customers.
1. Maintain brand consistency
What brands stand out to you?
Whether widely recognized or niche Shopify stores, it’s highly likely their marketing adheres to a standard of conformity. Emails follow an expected look, feel, and tone of voice for immediate identification.
Here’s how to ensure brand consistency in your email marketing:
- Nail down branding guidelines. Outline messaging and visual parameters. Special occasions may merit straying from them; otherwise, they should inform the design and composition of all newsletters, campaigns, and automations.
- Load guideline rules into your email marketing software. Apps like Seguno Email Marketing enable you to set your themes — colors, typography, button styling, etc. — to establish commonality among emails.
- Include your logo in the header. We’ve encountered too many emails that jump into content, neglecting brand reinforcement. Make the logo horizontal; vertical versions have too much awkward white space. We also recommend incorporating a menu of links, confining them to one line.
- Create a “footer that functions.” Close all emails with the same block of information. You could highlight social media accounts, call out value propositions, or address customer support FAQs.
Consistency reassures. Aren’t you more trusting of brands steady in approach versus those that seemingly fly by the seat of their pants?
2. Leverage seasonal events
Connecting with your customers and prospects means relating to what they’re experiencing.
Therefore, it’s wise to address seasonal events and holidays, which often dictate the average consumer's priorities, decisions, and needs.
We don’t advocate latching onto every significant occasion on the calendar. Consider what matters to your audience and makes sense for your brand. Sending an email for Diwali, for instance, isn’t for everyone. It could come across as disingenuous and self-serving.
Go for emails that tie into holidays observed by most of your audience (Black Friday and Valentine’s Day, to name just two). If you’re struggling because your products don’t fit the celebration, relate with simple graphical embellishments or a season-themed email template. What matters is that you’re building a bridge to your subscribers.
Some other tips:
- Seasonal events encompass more than holidays. Consider emails for cultural events or observations like Black History Month or Earth Day.
- Use the changing seasons for inspiration. Weather-related emails are one of our favorite must-have newsletters.
- Be respectful. Recognize that some holidays or events have a deep meaning behind them. Craft appropriate messaging that’s sensitive to that.
Identify the events you don’t want to miss for the year. It will help you map a plan for promotions and sales.
3. Stay focused
People are busy. They’re on the go and regularly consuming content through mobile devices.
Acknowledge that your audience doesn’t have patience for dense, cluttered messages. They want concise emails that are easy to digest.
So stick to one idea if you want to make an impact with ecommerce email marketing.
Running a sale? Get to the point and toss in a few suggestions. Introducing a new product? Spead out what you want to say across a multi-email product launch campaign.
Follow these other tips for staying focused and concise:
- Conform to a foolproof email marketing layout. All you need are a headline, hero image, succinct copy, and call to action (CTA).
- Balance text with visuals. Don’t drone on, nor overwhelm with too many visuals.
Concentrate on one concept, and you’re respecting your subscribers’ time and preferences. You consequentially provide greater value.
4. Craft compelling calls to action
It would be difficult to find an ecommerce email marketing best practices list that doesn’t mention actionable calls to action (CTAs).
Leave out a button that directs readers to the next step, and you’re tossing away your efforts. You can’t expect subscribers to go on a hunt — you need to pave the path for them.
CTAs are your tool to nudge subscribers toward interacting with your brand. It may end with a click-through to your site. Or it could lead to a sale.
Motivate subscribers with clear and direct language that conveys the intended action. A generic “click here” isn’t good enough. Use phrases like “shop now,” “add to cart,” or “snag the deal.”
Don’t be afraid to experiment with more non-traditional approaches. CTAs are an excellent opportunity for highlighting your brand’s personality.
Other CTA tips:
- Make sure it’s visible. Place CTAs “above the fold” so readers don’t have to scroll too far; never bury them at the bottom. Contrasting colors and adequate surrounding white space also help draw attention.
- Limit your CTAs. One CTA is enough, but feel free to add a few more if you want to direct subscribers to specific product pages.
5. Inject stunning visuals
Unsurprisingly, visuals play a prominent role in capturing your subscribers’ attention. One stat contends companies that use custom visual content achieve conversion rates seven times higher than those that don’t.
High-quality images, such as stellar product photography, will draw the highest amount of intrigue and boost perceptions about your brand.
Here are a few suggestions for playing with visuals:
- Rouse emotions. Whether you use color and lighting to elicit a response or a powerful image to strike a chord, emotions have sway. They can produce a resonating effect that increases brand affinity or triggers impulse buying.
- Boost credibility. Position your product close to an image that portrays the problem it solves or its effect. For example, place detergent next to a stack of dirty or clean dishes. Either way, consumers are more likely to choose your product because they believe it’s effective.
As mentioned, there’s a line between an ideal visual-to-text ratio and an email overstuffed with images. Don’t cross it.
6. Personalize with automations
We constantly advocate email personalization because multiple research studies indicate it matters to consumers.
Take one survey, which found 77% of respondents will share their email addresses with brands in exchange for a personalized experience.
Addressing an email recipient by their first name is a nice touch. But the real value comes from email automations, which respond to subscribers with pertinent messaging at different moments along their journey.
Automations handle the brunt of the work. You choose the critical touchpoints and craft corresponding emails. Then, automated responses deploy upon subscriber activity.
Hopefully, you have a welcome email automation in place. Anyone who subscribes to your brand’s emails expects an official hello.
Other common ways to personalize emails with behavioral targeting include:
- Automations in response to website engagement (browse abandonment, abandoned cart, abandoned checkout)
- Automations in response to purchase behavior (post-purchase emails, customer win-back)
Automations are a sure-fire way to increase engagement and ring in sales, little by little, with minimal effort.
7. Segment for better targeting
As long as we’re on the theme of personalization, let’s talk about segmenting your email list.
Segmentation requires a greater level of hands-on work than automations. But digging into your customer data and using it to build stronger connections is worth the time.
The first step is to recognize that your list is full of people with varied interests, backgrounds, and levels of interaction with your brand.
Next, think of how you can categorize them into subgroups with tags. What are the big pockets of similarities? How can you use email to reach them in a more meaningful way?
Personalize emails based on aspects such as:
- Purchase behavior (recency, frequency, spending patterns)
- Email engagement
Segmentation can be highly effective in creating an experience that feels like a one-to-one encounter.
Just don’t overdo it. Always ask, “Is this content valuable for everyone?” before launching into segmentation mode.
Step up up your segmenting efforts by collecting extra data from your subscribers at the outset. Add a form field or two to your email popup.
8. Consistency matters
If only we could prescribe a foolproof sending cadence that hits the mark.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible. The ideal email calendar for one brand isn’t the right approach for another.
It’s up to every brand to identify the right balance for themselves.
Consider these four factors to determine how often and when to send emails:
- What frequency level is manageable? Once or twice a week? Every other week? Less?
- How quickly can you build newsletters?
- How much content do you have on hand? Do you have an extensive product catalog?
- What budget do you have for email marketing? Do you require agency assistance?
Whatever sending schedule you land on, ensure that it’s consistent. Sporadic sending — especially with long stretches of silence — can damage your brand’s reputation. Even if you only have the capacity and need to send once per month, that’s OK.
9. Keep your list clean
Some subscribers inevitably lose interest over time and stop interacting with your emails, whether clicking through to your site or even opening them.
Allowing these unengaged subscribers to remain on your list can negatively impact your email sender reputation. Keeping them around potentially harms email deliverability, meaning you put the ability of your emails to reach subscribers’ inboxes in jeopardy.
It’s your job to unsubscribe the MIA contacts periodically. We advise a quarterly cleansing. Choose the parameters for removal and take action, or give subscribers a chance to stay by sending a re-engagement email.
10. Monitor and adapt to metrics
If maximizing your ecommerce email marketing is a priority, then data should be your best friend.
Gauging what you’re doing right is vital to getting more out of email. Likewise, you need to see where you fall short to adjust.
Regularly monitoring these email marketing metrics can provide clues:
- Open rate: percentage of subscribers who were delivered the email and opened it
- Click rate: percentage of subscribers who were delivered the email and clicked on an email link
- Conversion rate: percentage of subscribers who made a purchase
- List growth rate: comparison of new subscribers versus unsubscribers
Stop yourself from scrutinizing email metrics after every send. A monthly examination is a better approach, as you need a bird’s-eye view to catch discrepancies and trends.
Only when you have a data set can you begin looking for commonalities, like:
- Content type
- Subject line approach
- CTA use
- Sending time
When patterns emerge, you have the information to adapt.
Stay ahead with ecommerce email marketing best practices
Half-hearted email marketing riddled with irregularity is a waste of your investment. It’s improbable you’ll be happy with the ROI of such an approach.
If you have high expectations from email marketing, you must integrate these 10 best practices at a minimum.
After that, regularly assess the ecommerce email marketing landscape to keep pace. Look around at what others are doing. Subscribe to brand newsletters to see how they connect with their audiences. Consumer expectations constantly evolve, so you need to pay attention.
Adhere to the best practices and treat email marketing as a work in progress. That’s the recipe for becoming top of mind.
Create, manage, and track your email marketing—without leaving Shopify.
Seguno is the top-rated email solution built exclusively for Shopify. Grow your sales with high-performing newsletters, email automation campaigns, and integrations with Facebook, Instagram, banners, pop-ups and more. Build and send engaging emails in our easy-to-use editor and take email creation to the next level with our Canva integration. Automate your email marketing and drive more revenue with welcome campaigns, checkout abandonment, post-purchase automations, tag triggers and more.
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