3 Examples of an Amazing Email Marketing Strategy for Ecommerce Businesses

Melanie Balke
May 21, 2024

Few digital marketing channels match the reach, reliability, and sheer power of email marketing. On average, email marketing campaigns can churn out an impressive 4,200% ROI. That’s a return of $42 for every dollar spent! (Even the lower estimates are impressive, raking in around 3,600% ROI.)

Email marketing campaigns are flexible, customizable, and perfect for cultivating customer loyalty. They’re the cream of the crop, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to make! A high-quality email marketing campaign requires research, planning, and behind-the-scenes implementation work. You need more than just a writer; you’ll need a fully staffed team of experts.

What It Takes to Make Successful Email Marketing Campaigns

An out-of-focus photo of a man studying succulent plants. "The Basics: The Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategy."

Like a good novel, every effective marketing campaign has a beginning, middle, and end. It butters up subscribers, gives them incentives, and leaves them wanting more. Through compelling language and masterful visuals, these marketing efforts earn more sales and bring more interest to your business.

All things considered, it may seem like ecommerce email marketing campaigns should be no-brainers. After all, you’re doing little more than selling a product. But here’s the catch: A good email marketing strategy requires variety. You can’t drown your email subscribers in conversion-based campaigns. You need something more — something different!

You need a fully realized email marketing strategy.

Know Your Target Audience

A marketing strategy begins with loyal customers.

It doesn’t matter what your online store sells. It doesn’t matter what your subject lines say. What matters is that you understand and appease your primary audience.

Think of it this way: You wouldn’t speak to your boss the same way you talk to your friends at a club. You wouldn’t address your grandma like your teenage cousin, either. Everyone expects different treatment. They like different things and want different experiences. As a marketer, your goal is to pinpoint and act upon those needs.

You want that initial welcome email to draw them in and keep them engaged. Afterward, you want your marketing messages to resonate and retain those loyal customers. In some ways, accruing more sales becomes a secondary goal. New customers are particularly tricky, requiring more attention than run-of-the-mill transactional emails.

Essentially, online businesses need something more than volumetric output. They need…

Map Your Customer Journey

Potential customers crave interaction and convenience. Of course, you’ve streamlined your ecommerce site to cater to the masses. It matches your ecommerce brand and functions flawlessly. There’s just one problem left: Anyone can do that. Today’s ecommerce platforms give everyone the power to establish and run a tidy online store.

You need to stand out. You need those shiny baubles to attract new customers and earn more brand recognition.

One way to start this process is to look at your competition. What do they have that you don’t? They probably have a referral program and personalized email campaigns. Back-in-stock notifications are another common hallmark of a well-organized email marketing strategy. You’ll see varied promotional messages and impeccably timed triggered emails.

Overlapping leaves with text describing the difference between triggered and scheduled email campaigns. Scheduled email campaigns are sent on certain dates.

These campaigns — often bundled as “lifecycle emails” — encourage customers to interact with your online store. They form the basis of a relationship and aid the customer journey. They’re your “must-have” automated campaigns, making up for lost revenue and earning customer loyalty along the way. More excitingly, most email marketing software can pre-populate your schedule with these automated email campaigns.

Plan Your Email Content

However, even the best email marketing software can’t save you from subpar marketing campaigns. You still need to polish and refine those marketing communications. And that polish doesn’t end with the written word.

Your email marketing efforts will also require graphic designers and implementation specialists. You’ll need analytical oversight, too; otherwise, those customer feedback emails are useless! Don’t forget a liaison for the sales team. They’ll oversee Google Analytics and ecommerce integrations. Then, you need someone to pull the teams together — an email marketing manager.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

You’ll need more than one person to execute a stunning and successful email marketing strategy. Even the simplest ecommerce email campaigns can pass through three or more departments before final approval. That welcome email you mindlessly opened this morning? It probably took weeks of dedicated brainstorming and market research!

Ideas to Inspire Your Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategy

Now, I don’t say that to intimidate you. It’s possible to learn the ropes and run lean email marketing crews. You can even lead your own email marketing team!

However, the best results come from experienced experts.

That’s why I’ve gathered some of my team’s best email marketing campaigns! Take these and learn from them. They’ve earned an ecommerce business plenty of revenue, and their conceptual basis can work for your brand, too.

That said, do not copy these campaigns! They were tailored for a specific audience. These promotional emails won’t match your ecommerce business, and carbon copies will likely decrease your customer engagement. For the best results, you’ll need to tailor these emails to match your ecommerce store.

1. The Value-Based Email Marketing Strategy

The Eiffel Tower. "Deliver Value: Mutual Promotion for Your Online Store."

Adelante specializes in made-to-order shoes. Each product is handmade by skilled artisans to fit the individual buyer, not some generalized idea of what feet should look like. The brand prides itself on maintaining positive relationships with existing customers and the earth, preferring natural, renewable materials.

So, why not emphasize the mission?

Your brand’s values are a strength. Emphasize them. Inject them into your email marketing strategy. You’ll earn new subscribers and gain rapport with your existing customers. Think of it as a heartfelt television spot for your ecommerce business — complete with that sad Sarah McLachlan tune.

Why Ecommerce Stores Need This Email Strategy

Brand storytelling is the central focus of these marketing emails. There’s no discount code or referral program here. You’re simply telling your story and enlightening your email subscribers. In some ways, these dual-purpose informational/promotional emails are an extension of your welcome email flows. They entice repeat customers and encourage sharing and social proof.

And, yes, your most loyal customers will certainly know your brand’s story and mission. Long-time email subscribers may even be excluded from these campaigns. (Inactive users can be targeted for re-engagement campaigns.) Ultimately, these campaigns focus on mid-stage subscribers in your customer lifecycle.

A campaign from Adelante shoes. "Thank You For Caring." The CTA is, "Shop Adelante."

Be the Stand-Out Ecommerce Store

“When you shop Adelante, it’s a sign that you truly care. You care about how you look, about supporting our artisans, and about taking care of the environment.”

That’s a powerful opening statement, and its emphatic compassion led to a higher-than-average click-through rate for this remarkable email marketing campaign. After all, it makes it clear that something good happens every time a customer purchases from Adelante.

You can scream your goals and core values everywhere, plastering them across every page of your ecommerce website. People will see them, but they may not grasp their implications. So, use your email marketing service to emphasize your impact. Cajole those potential customers with the “warm fuzzies.”

You’re one of countless ecommerce stores, but your ecommerce email campaigns don’t have to be bland. Humanize your brand. Stand out from more sterile, less empathetic ecommerce businesses. Personal connection is a powerful email marketing tool; use it!

2. The Automated Email Marketing Alert

A duckboard bridge over a moat, circa 1945. "Automate: Efficient Use of Email Marketing for Ecommerce."

You’ll also want automated emails to keep your audience happy.

There are many kinds of automated ecommerce emails. Some of the most common examples include abandoned cart campaigns, holiday greetings, lifecycle emails, and transactional emails. Specifics aside, these campaigns should have clear subject lines and straightforward instructions. Most — but not all — automated messages are transactional emails with financial goals.

Of the many types of automated email marketing messages, one of the most useful is the back-in-stock alert.

Give Your Marketing Emails Inherent Value

While some advanced predictive models may dispatch these alerts using a user’s purchase history, most can be configured with a simple on-site interface. Potential customers can subscribe to alerts directly from out-of-stock product pages; the email marketing software does the rest.

A campaign for Melinda's hot sauces. "Guess What's Back in Stock?" The CTA reads, "Check Availability." A second header advertises additional products.

Think of these campaigns as precursors to a shipping confirmation email. The prospective customer already wants the product; they’re eager enough to join your subscriber list! Reward their enthusiasm with reactive ecommerce marketing.

The Multifunctional Potential of Automated Marketing Emails

Now, notice how that email campaign has an additional header. It fulfills the subscriber’s primary goal, informing them that their Melinda’s® hot sauce is ready to order. However, as you can see in this example, you can also use these as cross-sell emails.

I took a simple approach for Melinda’s®. The email marketing service sends automated alerts and attaches a pre-defined selection of hot sauces. There are no advanced algorithms or predictive equations. It’s your simple, bare-bones recommendation section.

(And you can turn anything into a cross-selling campaign, even welcome emails!)

You can get fancier, too. Depending on your email service provider, you can use advanced algorithms to analyze a user’s purchase history and suggest related items. You can ask new subscribers to tell you their preferences at sign-up and tailor your promotional emails to those settings.

However, you should never base your email campaigns on a generic template. Run tests and gather customer feedback before implementing permanent automated flows. Consider how your new ideas fit into your existing ecommerce email marketing strategy. You may need to scale back if the new flows dramatically increase your average email output.

3. The New Product Launch

Platoons gather at the base of a mountain, circa 1945. "Inform: Build Excitement With Email Marketing for Ecommerce."

Finally, you may need to let consumers know that your business has grown!

It’s an exciting time for you as an ecommerce business, so make that energy contagious! Stuff all that hype into your email campaign!

Like general promotional campaigns, new product launch emails are mass appeal efforts. They’re usually sent to everyone on your list — both old and new subscribers. That flexibility makes them perfect vessels for re-engagement campaigns. Consider using that power to compensate for lost sales and unexpected results.

The Importance of Visuals

Think of these campaigns as an online furniture store. These are never-before-seen ideas. You may need to explain and demonstrate their use. You must showcase every detail. Large, prominent imagery is your best friend. You want that ecommerce marketing to spring to life, captivating your audience!

A truncated email for Baskits. "What's new in our Baby & Kids Collection." Several large product photos follow.

As a new product, these ideas lack social proof. You can’t use glowing reviews from old customer feedback emails. So, zero in on those details. Make the product the center of attention.

And don’t forget the call-to-action link! A big, bold CTA is the best email marketing tool in these situations. It leads buyers to the product and feeds your Google Analytics. Without it, your ecommerce marketing is little more than an empty gesture.

Take Advantage of the Best Digital Marketing Channel

Overlapping leaves. "Do More: Let Professionals Handle the Stress of Ecommerce Email Marketing and Promotional Emails."

As you’ll probably notice by now, email marketing is a lot of work. Email marketing for ecommerce is no different. Your content must be impeccable. Your subject line must be clear. Everything you do is a measured, calculated play. Even those generic transactional emails can make or break your ecommerce email marketing strategy.

Even worse: Like the owners of so many other ecommerce businesses, you’re always busy! You don’t have time to run A/B tests, send review request emails, and craft tie-in advertisements. You have enough on your plate; re-engagement emails are at the bottom of your list.

Well, before you throw in the towel, I have good news.

I founded The Email Marketers for people like you. My team of hand-picked marketing professionals has worked with countless ecommerce businesses, crafting everything from welcome emails to transactional emails. They understand what it takes to make your ecommerce emails succeed, and they can take your ecommerce email marketing strategy to the next level.

Schedule a free strategy session and learn more about the wonders of ecommerce email marketing. I’ll show you a personalized plan for your business growth. I’ll show you remarkable personalized email campaigns and automated flows that will boggle your mind. More importantly, I’ll tell you how you can succeed in ecommerce email marketing with a hands-off team of on-demand experts!