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Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending

Have an online business and want to leverage email in your marketing plan? Here are the ecommerce email campaigns you should be using to boost revenue and increase consumer purchases.

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There’s absolutely no question that email is one of the most effective marketing channels you could be using for your online store.

If that doesn’t sound accurate to you, consider that the Direct Marketing Association ran a study that revealed email has a return on investment of around 4,300%. So, for every $1 you spend on e-commerce email campaigns, you’re making about $43 in return.

Why Email Marketing Is So Effective

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Email Marketing
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When your customer makes a purchase, and becomes a part of your subscriber list, they’re giving you an open invitation to a very personal online space. That invitation is permission to communicate with them in a distraction-free environment where you’ve got their undivided attention.

So now what?

Don’t make the mistake of bombarding your subscribers with promotional email blasts. They might be onboard with one or two special offers, but repetitive promotions quickly turn into spam.

Your e-commerce email campaigns should have variety, and only a small amount of promotion. Put together a solid grouping of e-commerce emails, and you’ll start to see lifts in average order value, quantity of returning customers, and customer lifetime value.

Here are the most effective e-commerce emails you should be sending your customers.

Welcome Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Welcome Emails
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Confirmation emails are a norm in e-commerce. It’s easy to generate them automatically, and it lets customers know you received their order. Many businesses fail to customize these digital receipts beyond the order’s information.

By personalizing your confirmation emails, you can create a welcome email that shows appreciation for their patronage along with helpful links and resources.

It’s also a prime opportunity to show off your brand’s personality, and create a more engaging and memorable experience.

Create Cart Abandonment Autoresponders

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Cart Abandonment Autoresponders
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On average, ecommerce retailers lose about 68% of orders to cart abandonment for a variety of reasons. If you do absolutely nothing to retain those customers, only a fraction will come back. As many as 99 percent of people don’t make a purchase on the first visit, and as many as 25 percent of people never return when they abandon a cart.

To win those customers back, create an autoresponder that sends them a short email series reminding them of the items they left behind. Personalize the emails to show the cart contents, and consider offering an incentive to return — like free shipping or a small discount.

Some e-commerce platforms have this functionality built in, but you can also integrate email platforms like MailChimp to create your own autoresponders that trigger on cart abandonment.

Three abandonment emails is ideal. Send the first almost immediately after cart abandonment. Then send the second email within 1 to 3 hours, and the last within 24 hours.

Manual Cart Abandonment Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Manual Cart Abandonment Emails
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Automation can help you win back a fair number of abandoned carts, but don’t rely on it to save them all. It’s a good practice to manually reach out to some of those potentially lost customers.

I’ve used this tactic in the past, and on more than one occasion found that shoppers abandoned carts due to browser glitches, credit card processing issues, and problems with discount codes. When you can resolve their issue through one-on-one engagement, you gain that revenue plus a great deal of appreciation from a customer.

Referral Offer Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Referral Offer Emails
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Loyal customers can be some of the best ambassadors for your brand, giving you the benefit of word-of-mouth marketing that often costs you nothing.

Still, you can inspire your biggest fans to talk you up and encourage others to make a purchase by providing referral offers via email.

The easiest approach is to use a referral program that integrates with e-commerce platforms. This makes it even easier for customers to earn points or rewards for referrals while generating new business for your online store.

Purchase Follow-Up Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Follow-up Emails
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Post-purchase emails are a great way to gain customer insights — as well as make customers feel valued. You can still personalize the content to the individual customer, even with automated email.

This is an opportunity to check in, ask the customer if they’re happy with the purchase, to make sure everything arrived intact, and to solicit feedback in a short survey.

Since most customers don’t take the time to lodge complaints, a survey is more likely to elicit a response. Whether good or bad, you can use those insights to make necessary improvements.

Review Requests

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Review Requests
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Social proof carries a lot of weight with customers in the world of online shopping. According to Nielsen, more than 90 percent of consumers trust peer reviews over brand advertising — and use online reviews to help them weigh purchase decisions.

Make that work to your advantage by sending an email to your customers automatically after they receive a product. Ask them to leave a review on your site, social channel, or other review channel. Include links that take them directly to the review submission to make the process easy.

Lost Customer Follow-up

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Customer Follow-up
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This is one that few business owners consider. Your reports should provide you with information on customers who haven’t ordered from you within a set amount of time. You risk losing those customers if you don’t come up with a retention campaign.

Make it a point to run regular reports at least every 60-90 days to check for at-risk customers. Create an email with an incentive to encourage them to come back.

For lost customers beyond 90 days, consider setting up a feedback survey to find out why they haven’t returned and areas where you could make improvements. Be sure to ask what would make them buy from you again.

Active Customers and Big Spenders

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Active Customers
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You don’t want to forget your most active customers. Your reports should also help you single out the big spenders and most loyal customers in your system.

Develop some special offers or incentives specifically for these customers, and include them in an email letting them know they’re valued, appreciated, and that your success is due in no small part to their patronage.

Holiday and Birthday Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Holiday Birthday Emails
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If you’re collecting a lot of customer information, including birthdays, then develop incentives or “best wishes” emails. Let those customers know you’re thinking about them. These emails are highly effective at keeping your brand front of mind with your audience.

Integration with an email platform makes it easy to segment customer lists by date of birth, making it incredibly easy to keep up on promotional offers.

Major holidays are another opportunity to delight your customers. Just predesign your holiday promotions with high-quality stock photos and product images, and schedule them based on your editorial calendar. When the time comes, your holiday promotions can roll out to your entire subscriber list for a big revenue boost.

Trigger Browsing Autoresponders

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Browsing Autoresponders
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With an email automation platform, you can also setup email campaigns that trigger when a customer views a product but never adds it to the cart. This is a great way to engage current customers that showed interest in products but never actually added them to the cart.

Send them an email that shows the product they were interested in as well as similar products. This is another opportunity to incentivize the email and offer a promotional discount for making an order, or for pairing multiple items they viewed.

Product Education Emails

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — Product Education
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It’s not uncommon for customers to have questions relating to products they purchase. While your FAQ or product documentation might cover most of them, it never hurts to be proactive and build a stronger relationship with your customer.

Consider setting up product education emails that answer frequently asked questions, or provide direction in care, use, handling, setup, etc. Be sure to include customer support information and links to your FAQ or knowledge base in case they encounter problems.

News and Other Information

Email Campaigns Every Online Business Should Be Sending — News
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This is the best kind of content to send your audience, and should include a good mix of content. Every business should have a newsletter that goes out at least once a month. That newsletter should contain links to new blog content, industry news, product updates, social promotions, and curated content relevant to the audience.

This kind of non-promotional content resonates with readers because it shows that you’re willing to provide value, keeps them tuned into your brand, and can often lead to content being shared which lifts your brand visibility.


You may not be able to schedule and send every one of these email types, but hopefully at least a few can help improve growth in your online business. Email has been, and remains, one of the best ways to generate sales. Developing engaging, creative, customized, revenue-generating email campaigns is a task that every e-commerce store owner should make a priority.

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