15 eCommerce email marketing strategies to make your potential revenue a reality
Sure, targeting your existing customers with your eCommerce email marketing is great for bringing in repeat sales.
But you could be bringing in a lot more.
If you only target those who have already purchased, you’re potentially missing out on thousands of extra revenue - and the first-time customers who will help you achieve this.
To target these yet-to-buy customers, you’ll first need to build your subscriber list.
How do you do this? We’ve put together our top 15 eCommerce email marketing strategies to help you grow your email list effectively (strategies that have worked for our clients and our own 7-figure eCommerce businesses).
Remember, we’re here if you have any questions or need some extra help in building your subscriber list, just get in touch.
Why build your email subscriber list?
Most of the time it is better to have quality over quantity, including when it comes to eCommerce email marketing. However, at first, you need to grow a high number of subscribers, otherwise it will be impossible to get good quality leads.
And without good quality leads, you will miss out on sales and revenue.
The average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is only 2.86%. That means that over 97% of your website visitors leave without making a purchase.
Don’t let 97% of your potential future customers leave your website, never to return.
Ecommerce email marketing strategies entice them from their inbox, back onto your website, and through your checkout. Converting them from new website visitor, to happy paying customer.
How to effectively build your email subscriber list
Testing different email marketing strategies is key for the success of your eCommerce email marketing campaign.
Every business is unique with a unique set of customer behaviours, which means the methods used to acquire (and retain) your customers will be unique too.
We suggest taking these 3 steps to find out what works best for your target audience:
Step 1: Explore email marketing strategies
Your customers can be encouraged to opt-in to your email subscriptions through an endless number of methods. Promo codes are a reliable and effective method, but your target audience might respond better to other offers.
To help you find out what works best for your target audience, we suggest asking your sales and customer service teams the following questions:
What (good or bad) feedback have customers given?
What previous email marketing campaigns generated the highest conversion rates?
Things to consider :
Average order value
Length of buying cycle
The number of new contacts who convert to customers
How their lifetime value (LTV) compares with averages from all customers
Check out the list below of our top 15 eCommerce email marketing strategies to help you start growing your subscriber list.
Step 2: Test, test, test
You can use the most enticing offers and strategies for your audience, but it will mean nothing with the wrong placement, copy, or time on your website. Your web designer or conversion rate optimisation (CRO) specialist can set your offers up to have the best placement and copy on your website.
We recommend you run a range of tests over a period of time, changing one thing at a time, to find what gets the best subscription rates.
Step 3: Review your results - and build on what works
If your tests are done right, you’ll have a reliable list of strategies that work for your business. These can be built into your eCommerce email marketing plan. But don’t stop there. Your customers’ behaviours and industry trends keep changing. Keep up with these changes by regularly experimenting with different strategies.
15 Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategies
Here at Contrast, we have grown the email subscription lists of our own 6 and 7-figure eCommerce businesses, as well as dozens of eCommerce client businesses.
From our vast experience, we have identified our eCommerce email marketing best practices:
Give your customers offers that meet their needs and desires
Ensure your delivery method reaches customers at their ideal purchase time
Types of Offers
Nobody can tell you a single “perfect” strategy to grow your subscriber list - different things will work best for different eCommerce businesses. To choose the offers you want to test, you will need to think about your customer purchase cycle and the prices of your products.
For example, discount offers like 10% or 20% off work well for orders under around £300. However, for bigger orders, content offers may work better than discount offers.
We suggest doing your research and testing different strategies to see what works best for your business. (Remember to contact your search engine optimisation specialist or team to see how your site’s SEO strategy is affected by your offers). Don’t have one? We can help.
1. Free Samples
It's always a joy to get something for free, you can offer your customers that joy. Your customers get a free sample of your products by just paying for shipping, and you get their email address.
Sometimes packs of free samples are provided to eCommerce businesses from manufacturers. If instead your free samples are going to be coming out of your bottom line, then before using this offer, you need to evaluate your cost per acquisition (CPA). Usually the CPA from free samples can be lower than other marketing channels like PPC and paid social.
As free samples are one-time orders, we suggest you consider Customer Lifetime Value. For some businesses, these one-time orders might lower ROI and misrepresent average customer behaviour.
Many home decor websites, like Carpetright, offer their customers free samples of fabrics and flooring. Carpetright sends free samples (in this case, with free shipping) in return for useful information like the customer's name, email address, shipping address, and more.
Everyone wins: Carpetright can add their email address to the subscription list, and the customer can see if the product is right for them and their home.
2. Discounted Order
The most common way of gaining a potential customer’s email address is to offer a discount on their first purchase. This can be in the form of a percentage or set amount of money off, or free delivery, and usually appears as a pop-up.
This type of offer assumes the customer is ready to purchase. However, as this is often not the case, this offer might not be as effective as others at gaining subscriptions.
Emma Sleep sells high quality mattresses at affordable prices. Pop-ups are used by Emma Sleep to gain potential customers email addresses in exchange for a 5% discount on their next order.
3. Content Offers
If your customers aren’t ready to buy yet, content offers can tell them more about your business and how your products would solve the issues they face. Content offers include webinars, courses, buying guides, white papers, and more.
As well as one-off content offers, we suggest that you create a landing page for your email list subscription that lists the benefits and offers great content like discounts, new product alerts, content upgrades, and VIP access.
Healthy food brand, Eat Water, offers content in the form of a free eCookBook that customers can download after inputting their name and email address.
4. Back-In-Stock Emails
Back-in-stock emails are a great way of getting into a customer's inbox. However, signing up to a back-in-stock email for a product does not add the customer to the marketing list - but if you can give them an offer they can’t refuse, they might opt-in to the larger marketing list.
For example, an out of stock item on Internet Gardener has a sign up for back-in-stock emails:
5. Loyalty Programmes
Loyalty programmes give a certain group of your email subscribers special content, offers, discounts, and early release products. You can build this loyalty group of email subscribers in different ways. Some businesses create this list with existing customers who have spent over a certain amount on your website. For yet-to-purchase customers, you can have a sign up on your website to join the loyalty programme.
Based on the Scottish Isle of Arran, Arran Aromatics produces bath, body, and home products. They offer the Arran Rewards loyalty programme. Subscribers earn points when they spend which are then converted into discounts, offers, and free gifts.
6. Personalised Offers
You could grow your email subscriber list through personalised offers. Although these usually require you to already know the customer's email address, that doesn’t have to be the case. Personalised offers in exchange for an email address can be given to people using cookies or who have entered your website from a referring website.
For example, Cheeky Wipes, an eco-friendly wet wipe brand, offers a discount code for customers who have come through their Facebook ad.
7. Surveys and Quizzes
Surveys or quizzes can be used on your website to offer personalised information or product recommendations. At the end of the survey/quiz, you can ask for the customer's email before giving them their results.
Makeup brand, Il Makiage offers a quiz to find your perfect shade of foundation. The quiz is quite detailed but doesn’t take too long to complete. At the end of the quiz, the customer needs to enter their email address to receive their product recommendation.
8. Shopping Basket Abandonment Offers
There are a couple of methods of using basket abandonment offers without needing to already have your customers email address:
Save your basket - exit intent pop ups to encourage customers to create an account to save their basket.
Offers - exit intent pop ups to give the customer a discount or offer to use on their purchase
Make the customers email address be the first information they provide in check out in case they abandon checkout later in the process.
For example, the first piece of information clothing brand, Snag Tights, asks for during check is the customer's email address.
9. Sign up to Win
Many brands have found contests to be successful at growing email subscription lists. Often, your customers will be used to signing up with their emails for the chance of a prize or giveaway.
We recommend creating a giveaway or prize attractive enough to excite your target demographic. These email addresses can be entered into the contest as well as being added to a “lead to first purchase” email flow.
Prestige flowers offers their website visitors the chance to win a year's worth of free flowers in exchange for their name and email address.
10. Social Media Logins
You are able to gather useful contact information about your customers by offering a log in or sign up with their social media accounts. Linking to their socials allows you to gain the information you need to personalise their future shopping experience.
For example, Wrendale Designs gives the option to log in to their website using social media sites. This makes it easy for the customer to login and is a great way for the business to gather the email marketing information they need.
After choosing the types of offers that might work best for your target audience, you need to choose the best way for you to deliver the offers.
1. In-Line Offers
In-line offers do not pop up in front of the customer. Instead, in-line offers can be surrounded by other content. Either amongst a blog post, as a block on the home page, or on a sidebar.
For example, the jewellery brand, Pandora, has a scrolling block on their home page with different discounts that are available. These include a student discount, NHS discount, or a sign up discount.
Pop-ups are a popular way of delivering offers within eCommerce. These pop-ups can be set to trigger with different customer actions or time frames. For example, a pop-up may be triggered a certain amount of time after entering the website, when the customer clicks on a certain page, or when the customer moves towards the navigation bar.
A/B testing can also be useful on the pop-up copy. Check out our eCommerce copywriting guide for copywriting best practices.
Here is an example of a pop up by Monsoon.
3. Lead Generation from Events and Partnerships
Email subscriptions can also be gained by forming digital partnerships and providing content for their webinars and online courses. The contact details of people who signed up for these events can often be accessed by you.
4. Tabs and Bars
If pop-ups are too invasive for your customers, you could display your offers in a tab or bar on the edge of your website. These tabs and bars follow the reader as they scroll or navigate through your website. This creates a better mobile experience. However, we recommend having an “x” on the tab or bar so your customers can close the offer whenever they want.
For example, Ocado has an offer bar towards the top of their website which appears across the site until the customer uses the offer or clicks the “x”.
5. Offer Landing Pages
Creating a landing page for your offer gives you the space to list all the benefits of your offer rather than reducing it down to a smaller pop-up and CTA (call to action). This delivery method is great for PPC, social, and affiliate channels and it gives you the space to really sell your offer.
There are many examples of offer landing pages for loyalty programmes including the Love Your Body Club by The Body Shop. This offer landing page explains all the loyalty programmes benefits, exclusive offers, how it works, and answers FAQs.
When it comes to eCommerce email marketing, there is no one strategy that will work perfectly for every business. We suggest you take some time to try out different strategies and delivery methods to see what gets you the best results.
Things to remember as you develop your eCommerce email marketing strategy:
Don’t buy a list - it’s not worth it. You’ll just be decreasing your open rate and deliverability.
Don’t overwhelm web visitors - Avoid showing multiple offers at once, your potential customers will just leave.
Make sure to test on mobile - Viewers from a mobile device will have a different experience meaning different conversion rates.
If you need any help with testing or finding the right strategies and delivery methods for your business, get in touch!