Email Marketing for Ecommerce Websites

Email Marketing for Ecommerce Websites

December 01, 2014

Considering all the spam people receive on a daily basis, email marketing might appear to be dead and buried - an ineffective approach that just keeps spam filter companies in business. However, done correctly, email marketing can still have an impact on your bottom line. It is fascinating to note that around 5% of all ecommerce is generated through email marketing. Below are a few ideas that can be used to make email marketing more effective.

So how do you make email marketing effective?

Choose the right software

There is a vast array of commercial and Open Source email marketing solutions these days, to the extent that email marketers are overwhelmed. Aside from software solutions, there are cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions that take on the entire email marketing process. Again, there are a lot of options, but one cloud-based service we have found especially useful has been Your Mailing List Provider ( This service doesn't integrate with your other software, but is a sterling way of creating attractive HTML-based emails to spearhead email marketing campaigns. The biggest advantage we have found with this solution is the ability to import a huge list of emails, something that is missing on other solutions.

Avoid sending images

There is more chance of a image-laden email being sent to spam than an email with nice clean HTML. If absolutely necessary, have the email draw images from your server rather than embedding them in an email.

Send a text only version

Although most email software and email services can manage HTML emails these days, some still do not. Ensure that a plain text version of your emails is sent alongside your HTML emails to accommodate plain text clients. In addition, some spam filtering tools specifically remove HTML emails from incoming mail in a bid to eliminate email with malware attached or viruses embedded in the email's code. As a result, sending a plain text version of an email alongside an HTML version is absolutely essential.

Ask recipients to add you to their whitelist

Because your email got through spam filters this time, doesn't mean it always will. Ensure that every email sent out to customers contains the request for recipients to include emails from your company's email address in their whitelists.

Make sure people can opt out easily

Ensure that your 'unsubscribe' button or text is prominently placed so people who don't want to receive your emails can easily avoid them in the future. Make sure people who have unsubscribed are genuinely unsubscribed or they will be really annoyed the next time they receive an email! If you have limited numbers it would be a good idea to manually check unsubscribed notifications, just to be on the safe side.

Make your text lively and intriguing

You only have a very limited amount of time before someone hits the delete button. Email marketers have to make an immediate impact, but it must be one that separates your message from the mound of spam around it. Make sure that your company name is in your subject line so people can recognize your email is from a bone fide source.

Remove dead emails

Obviously, for email marketing to be effective the emails a campaign sends to should be valid. Prune dead emails regularly to save costs on third-party systems and avoid falling into the trap of thinking that your mailing list is much longer than it actually is.

Test different versions of your email

Something as simple as a different subject line can dramatically impact the number of emails that are opened. Likewise, the design of an email can have an impact on whether recipients explore further and eventually reach the products and services you are selling. Finalize different designs, send out equal numbers of emails, and monitor results. Tweak an email's content and send out again. You will quickly get a good feel for what is best before you send out to your complete mailing list.

Encourage reviews

Try to encourage customers to offer reviews of the products they have purchased through email campaigns. To do this, offer discounts on future purchases or a similar incentive. Studies have suggested that email marketing campaigns are up to 15% more effective if products have been positively reviewed.

Encourage active customers

Track what active customers purchase to establish their areas of interest. Once established, tailor email marketing to better cater for those interests. Offer discounts and other incentives to specific groups of customers rather than offer a 'one promotion fits all' type of approach.

Encourage inactive customers

Monitor your customers to establish who is and who isn't making purchases. Using most email marketing technologies you can establish who has and who hasn't opened an email. Send emails offering inactive visitors incentives to visit your site - a gift coupon or some type of credit. Monitor results to see what is successful and what isn't.

Be seasonal

It is fairly obvious once stated, but keeping email marketing seasonal is very often overlooked. Easter, Christmas and other holidays and special days (Valentine's Day, etc.) offer fantastic opportunities to focus email marketing and make it more successful. Keep track of all such opportunities - make sure at the beginning of the year you add them to your calendar with enough notification for you to prepare for them.

Give credit and make spending it time bound

Send your customers a 300-400 Baht discount coupon which has to be utilized within a certain time frame - 24 or 48 hours. Again, national holidays and special days can be a good reason to send customers such gifts.

Use confirmation emails to encourage sales

Everyone who pays for something online expects an email confirmation of a sale. This is a great opportunity to sell something related to the product bought. If you customer buys a mobile phone through your service, ensure that the email confirmation offers that customer a case for the mobile phone they have bought at 5% discount.

Reward customers on your birthday

Your company is 10 years old - send an email to customers with the code "10yearsold" - when they make a purchase using this code they receive an 10% discount. Who can say fairer than that?

Reward customers on their birthdays

If you have enough software and information, award customers on their birthdays with a quick email offering a discount on products that might interest them.