E-Commerce Email Essentials

As I’m sitting here preparing for the Internet Retailer conference in San Diego this week I’m going over some of the successes we’ve had producing email campaigns for e-commerce clients. Each client has a unique situation and came to us with a different email marketing background. Some of them didn’t even have any email campaigns prior to working with us.

What’s interesting is that while each client has unique needs, there are several strategies and tactics that are essential regardless of the desired outcome.

1. Subscriber Acquisition

Ask anyone who wants to do email marketing (aside from well-known brands)  and they will probably tell you that acquisition is one of the most difficult parts of producing a quality campaign.  Fortunately for e-commerce companies, anyone who purchases from them or visits their site in search of a good deal can easily be converted into a subscriber.

While many sites collect email addresses, and even double opt them in, I’ve found that a good portion of them still lack an official acquisition strategy. They may be collecting “enough” addresses but might not be collecting as many as they could.  It’s easy to test different sign-up box placements, sizes and colors. It’s also easy to create contests, coupon codes and other incentives for people to subscribe.

2. Initial Engagement

After you have successfully captured an email address you need to immediately get the relationship with your new subscriber started. Don’t wait hours, days or months to contact them for the first time. Send them an email immediately! Send them something special and unique and don’t be afraid to ask them to whitelist your sending address.

With inbox engagement becoming an increasingly important factor in message delivery, senders need to strike while the iron is hot and increase inbox actions while they are fresh in the mind of their subscribers.

3. Content

I really get tired of receiving email campaigns with nothing but the same coupon code time and time again. Or with a new sorta-deal, or free shipping, or a third-party advertisement.

Producing quality content on a regular basis is difficult. It takes time and money to do, but for most e-commerce companies, it’s worth the additional expense. Even if you’re on a budget, there are options available for youincluding freelance writers, repurposing blog content or even highlighting product reviews. Get creative and think of new ways to get new content into your subscribers’ inboxes.


Check out our white paper for 6 secrets to improve email deliverability. You’ll learn how making the inbox can mean big dollars for your business. Includes a case study of adaptive deliverability that boosted customer response by 19%.

Case Study: Email Deliverability

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  • Thanks for the tips, Tim.

  • Tricia McCune says:

    Acquisition is a big struggle for most companies. Using a holistic strategy is the most successful way to accomplish list building.

    If companies are concentrating on setting themselves up as experts in their field then they should be doing a lot of content marketing. Putting that expert content behind a simple form is a great way to collect email addresses and learn where clients are at the in buying cycle.

    As always companies should be collecting email addresses at every point of customer contact, but when all their competitors are doing that too it is just not enough. This is why I think content marketing is a necessary to building a strong, engaged list.

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