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7 Key Tips for Increasing Your E-Commerce Email Marketing Revenue

May 20, 2017
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Are you looking for a way to ramp up your e-commerce business? Email marketing is a great way to not only drive revenue, but build a stronger bond and relationship with your customers and subscribers. Here are some of the top tips for improving your email marketing campaigns.

Always Bring Value

Email marketing should always be looked as an ongoing relationship. As with any relationship, you never want things to feel one-sided. How do you do that when you can’t have a back and forth dialogue with every person on your list? By providing immense value and being strategic with your asks.

One of the rules we live by at Power Digital is to think of our email campaigns as an ATM. “An ATM?,” you ask. Why yes, and here’s why the analogy works so well. If you want to see success in email marketing you need to make more deposits than withdrawals. You need to provide more value to the consumer. If you are constantly asking for the sale without rewarding them with valuable information, such as resources, promotion codes, or special incentives you are failing to foster a strong relationship.

Related: How to QA Your Email Marketing Campaigns

What happens when you make too many withdrawals? People stop clicking through, opening emails, purchasing, and ultimately, they’ll unsubscribe. While the thought of having people unsubscribe is daunting, it’s important that you be actively emailing your list to build value with your most engaged customers. Plus, with the level of sophistication ESPs have reached it’s easy to cater your frequency and messaging to extremely specific segments of your list.

At the end of the day, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aggressively emailing engaged segments of your list. Email is a sales channel. If you’re not driving revenue through your campaigns we have a bigger issue on our hands. However, if you fail to make it worth their while your key metrics and bottom line will be the first thing that suffers.

Related: MailChimp vs. Constant Contact: Comparing the Options

Keep It Short & Sweet

One mistake marketers often make when it comes to crafting their emails is that they overcomplicate their emails with different CTAs and an overwhelming amount of content. It’s important to keep your messaging clear and to the point. If it becomes unclear to the reader which action you would like them to take they will often take none at all.

While it can be tempting to build out a longer email showcasing a ton of project make sure you are zeroing in on a clear call to action and not pulling the user in too many different directions. It’s also key to keep your CTAs simple and consistent throughout your email.

Build Out Your Core Sequences

Welcome Sequence

Welcome emails are crucial as this is when users are often most engaged with your brand and likely to take action. Your welcome sequence should showcase top incentives to shop and your various product categories. It should also educate them on the perks they receive by joining your list. These emails should trigger immediately after someone takes your initial desired action. Whether it be signing up for a newsletter or making a purchase. If they’ve opted onto your list it’s time to reach out.


Birchbox does a great job of keeping things simple and making clear calls to action for the user which is to redeem their 20% off coupon. You can see here both the header and text below focus on this special offer.

As you can see in the top header they have four core emails in their welcome sequence and set clear expectations with the user as to what stage they are in. With a subscription service with Birchbox it’s important that they educate users on how to get the most value out of the product. The more engaged they are with the overall site the more likely they are to earn points, purchase product, refer friends, and, most importantly, remain a subscriber.

Abandoned Cart Sequence

Setting up abandoned cart emails to should be at the top of your list when it comes to increasing your e-commerce revenue.The more customized and relevant you can make your abandoned cart emails, the better. The goal of these emails should be to recover lost sales due to shopping cart abandonment. Similar to dynamic remarketing campaigns you may run to across social channels and display networks it’s important to stay top of mind with customers.

According to a number of studies the average abandon cart rate can is around 69%. The number only increases with mobile shoppers. This makes re-engaging those users more important than ever. Emailing them with their forgotten items is the perfect way to encourage them to take action.


In the above example, Kate Spade sweetens the deal for cart abandoners offering them 15% off their purchase. They also included alternative products they may be interested in. This is a great tactic because it incentivizes the user to take action while also getting even more products in front of them. They also have a two week expiration on the coupon which adds a clear sense of urgency. The last thing you want to do is make users feel like they can consistently hold out for a better deal.

Upselling & Cross Selling

Once someone has made a purchase it’s important to reward them and incentivize their next order. This is a classic strategy as it will cost you more to acquire new customers than to sell to your existing customers. Therefore, the more you can dive into data to present relevant upsell opportunities to your purchasers, the better. Keep in mind that the key here is making sure the offers and products you are pushing are extremely relevant.

If you’re going to take a more generic approach to the e-commerce upsell you can offer a blanketed discount on their next purchase. This is great way to bring users back to the site who are highly engaged with your brand and likely to take action. Note that in this email from Patagonia they were smart to include a time-sensitive that encourages users to take action within the next two weeks instead of leaving things open ended.



Win Back Campaigns

While you have your highly active shoppers who are consistently engaging with your emails there will always be those that haven’t opened one of your emails in months. Often these subscribers are engaged with your brand and haven’t been seeing the value in the content you’ve been sending them. So, how do you get them back on track? These are users who need a dedicated win-back campaign to be re-engaged. Win back campaigns will typically target users with a special coupon or discount.

Whatever you are offering should be clearly called out in your subject line as to increase the overall open rate. If users are still not engaging with your emails at this point it may be time to remove them from your list. While it’s great to have a huge list it provides you no real value to continue to email people are are completely unengaged with the brand. On the contrary, it can hurt your brand’s reputation in the long run.


A typical, effective approach, Thrive offers a limited time discount and free shipping offer to get users re-engaged. As always, time-sensitive urgency has proven to be a tried and true tactic.

So, what do you do if users still aren’t engaging with your content? This is when it’s time to try to get them to either opt-in to stay on your list or opt out. Having unengaged users on your list isn’t valuable as you aren’t building any sort of relationship with them and possibly clogging their inbox with unwanted emails. Here is a simple example of an email Nordstrom sent that encourages users to make a choice. Stay on our list or unsubscribe. While it’s great to have a large list, the main thing you should focus on is the quality and engagement level of your list. An unengaged subscriber will never drive revenue.



Segment Your Lists

One of the most powerful things you can do make sure you are accurately segmenting your lists so the content you deliver can be as relevant as possible at all times. There are a number of ways you can segment your lists. We’re sharing some of the most effective below:

By Product/User Interest

One way is to look at the specific products users have purchased in the past. This way you can continue to send them relevant products and offers. For example, if someone is purchasing menswear from your site the last thing you want to do is push them content related to womenswear. While this example is pretty basic you can apply this principle to your segmentation to really consider how relevant the emails you’re sending are to each user. If you’re not accurately segmenting, you’re likely missing the mark with a large amount of your subscribers.

By Behavior

Another powerful way to segment your lists is by user behavior. This allows you to send emails to groups of people who are either highly engaged or less engaged with your emails. You’ll want to continuously hit your users that are most engaged with your content and emails. The more emails of yours they open, the more you should email them. You can also reward them for being engaged by providing them with exclusive discounts.

On the flip side, if subscribers aren’t opening your emails you should look to scale back a little and then re-engaged with with the winback campaign ideas we discussed above.

Purchase History

Using your subscribers purchase history you can offer the relevant reminders to re-purchase relevant products such as makeup, sunscreen, razors, etc. Additionally, you can reward subscribers who have purchase frequently with exclusive perks and discounts. These are you most engaged users so it’s important to continue to provide value to them and encourage them to continue to purchase.

As you segment by purchase history you can also begin to present relevant cross-sells and upsells since you have a clear picture of the types of products they are interested in. However, as a consumer, there is nothing worse than receiving emails about products that are simply not relevant to you. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are leveraging purchasing data and trends to send content that truly ads value to the user instead of simply cluttering their inbox.

Send More Emails

One of the most common mistakes e-commerce brands make when it come to their email marketing strategy is not sending enough emails. The key here is to go back to our core principle of always providing value. While you should be sending more emails you should also be sending them to the right people.

So, who are the right people? Users that are new to your brand, highly engaged (opening and clicking emails) or users that are purchasing. These people are in your sweet spot and you shouldn’t be afraid to test scaling up the number of emails you are sending. Email marketing is all about running smart tests and taking action on the results. If you notice that users start to pull back as you increase the amount of emails you are sending you can quickly scale back down and see what works for everyone.

Wrapping It Up

At the end of the day it’s important to always look at email as a revenue driving channel and make sure you have a smart, yet aggressive email marketing strategy in place. Through proper segmentation, workflows, and consistent testing you can strike the right balance that works for your subscribers. One of the key thing to remember with email marketing is that while there are key best practices you can follow everyone’s audience is unique so start with the basics and test and iterate from there.




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