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7 Ways to Grow Your eCommerce Business Through Email Lists

grow eCommerce business through email lists

Are you struggling to grow your eCommerce business through your email list? Then this post is for you.

The good news is that marketing through email still works. Compared to other marketing channels, email marketing has the highest return on investment (ROI) with an average ROI of $36 for every $1 dollar spent. But for the retail, eCommerce and consumer goods industry, email marketing ROI is higher at $45 for every $1 spent.

Once you have a healthy email list, you can grow your eCommerce business successfully with email marketing.

Today in this guide, I’m going to share with you:

  • Strategies to leverage an email list to grow your eCommerce business
  • How emails can drive sales
  • Keeping your email list healthy

Strategies to Leverage Your Email List to Grow Your eCommerce Business

Without wasting time, let’s look at eight strategies for growing your eCommerce business through your email list.

Offer Discounts and Free Samples

According to research discounts and free samples can reduce stress and make people happy and excited enough to buy. In addition, they can:

  • Encourage people to buy from an unfamiliar brand or business
  • Discourage cart abandonment
  • Convince shoppers to make impromptu purchases
  • Boost sales and overall revenue of a business

That’s why you can increase sales and grow your eCommerce business when you offer discounts and freebies to your subscribers in the form of:

  • Free trials
  • Free product samples
  • Seasonal campaigns and promotions for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc
  • Free shipping
  • Buy one, get one free promotion

Check out this holiday season freebie from Origins

origins offer

For best results, segment your email list and identify relevant offers for each segment. Remember to create a sense of urgency and also watch how often you run these promotions.

Offer Exclusive Experiences to Loyal Subscribers

Whether your loyal subscribers are buying from you or not, it’s a fantastic idea to reward them from time to time.

You can appreciate them on the anniversary of their sign-up dates or on their birthdays or on Valentine’s Day and so on. Apart from saying thank you, you can also offer them unique experiences like:

  • A trip to an exotic location
  • A special invitation to your online or offline events
  • Membership of an exclusive community or group

All these can make them feel recognized, valued and appreciated enough to become a repeat customer, who also promotes your business through word of mouth.

Create Custom Offers Based on a Customer Journey

You can also boost sales and grow your eCommerce business when you create custom offers based on where your subscribers are on the customer journey.

Here are some custom email marketing offers relevant to each customer journey stage:

  • Awareness stage: People here will be new to your brand, products, or services. Custom offers can include a welcome email series with a juicy discount offer, followed by emails that share stories about your business
  • Consideration stage: Here people will be interested in whether your products and services are relevant to their needs. Custom offers should include emails that advertise products and their benefits, in addition to customer testimonials, case studies, and your best reviews
  •  Decision stage: People are ready to buy here, and your custom offers can include irresistible discounts and promotions, free trials, free shipping, and so on.

Take a look at this 12 days promotion from Poo~Pourri

poopourri promotion

Follow-Up stage: The goal here is to turn customers into repeat customers. Custom offers will include emails asking for feedback or reviews after a purchase, re-engagement emails, upselling emails, and cross-selling emails.

Set up Retargeting Campaigns

In simple terms, a retargeting campaign involves sending a personalized email or a series of targeted emails to subscribers and existing customers based on their interests and past activity.

You can use email retargeting campaigns to encourage:

  • Customers that abandoned items in their cart to complete their purchase
  • Inactive subscribers to engage with your emails again
  • Subscribers who only browse to buy
  • Existing customers to buy more through upselling and cross-selling

For successful retargeting campaigns, identify the segment of your email list you want to target. Then take everything you know about them and craft time-sensitive and juicy offers they can’t afford to resist.

Survey Your Email Readers

You can also grow your business through your email list when you survey your email readers for feedback on a regular basis. Depending on your goal, you can use feedback from surveys to:

  • Improve the shopping experience on your website
  • Introduce new products and stock up on relevant products
  • Find out why some subscribers are yet to buy & what they want
  • Retain subscribers and turn them to repeat customers

To survey your readers, simply ask one or more questions in an email or send them a link to an external survey/ review tool or website. You can even have a survey on your website and direct people to it or send an email that contains the full survey

Here are examples of questions you can ask in a survey:

  • Can you describe your first impression of our website?
  • Did you find everything you wanted to buy?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer us to your friends & families?

Check out this survey email example in the form of star ratings from Sports Direct in partnership with an external review site.

sports direct survey

Set Up Back In Stock or Wishlist Emails

No matter how good you are with vendor management and stock tracking, your store can still run out of items from time to time. When this happens, customers who’re interested in these items can sign up to be notified when you restock.

This notification is called back in stock emails. You can set it up and send to relevant customers once the items are available

And in case you didn’t know, a Wishlist feature on your website allows customers to save items they wish to buy later in their account. Your eCommerce platform provider can confirm whether this feature is available on your website.

Having a wishlist can boost the overall shopping experience on your website and reduce cart abandonment. You can set up wishlist emails to remind customers about their wish list items going on sale or currently on sale or about to go out of stock.

To further generate interest, boost sales and grow your eCommerce business, always drive a sense of urgency with juicy incentives and limited-time offers in your back-in-stock and wishlist emails. Here is an example of a back-in-stock email from AYR an apparel brand.

back in stock email

Automate What You Can

To grow your eCommerce business through your email list, you need multiple email campaigns running at the same time. Doing this manually is not advisable because it can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

The solution is to automate relevant emails.

Whether it’s a single email or a series, automated emails are prepared and set up in advance using an email marketing service provider. Based on the email type and goal, they are sent automatically on scheduled dates and time or when a specific action is taken by someone on your website.

For example, a welcome email can be sent to a new subscriber automatically within minutes of signing up. Other emails you can automate include:

  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Order confirmation emails
  • Survey / feedback emails
  • Birthday / Anniversary emails
  • Re-engagement emails

Bonus: Make A/B Test Your Friend!

If you really want to leverage your email list to grow your eCommerce business faster, A/B testing is your friend. Seriously!

Also called split testing, A/B testing makes it possible to test what you’re doing on a small scale first. It involves sending two versions of your email or email elements to two small separate groups of subscribers to find out which version performs best. You can do A/B testing on variations of your email subject lines, email copy, email design and length, email tone, call to action, and so on. With A/B testing, you can create compelling emails that generate higher engagement and also boost sales.

How Emails Can Drive Sales

When done right, sending regular emails can boost your eCommerce sales beyond your expectation. In fact, research shows that:

  • Marketing emails influence the purchase decisions of 59% of people
  • Over 50% of people buy from marketing emails at least once a month
how emails can drive sales

Now, let’s look at how emails can advertise your eCommerce store and drive sales in diverse ways.

Bring Customers Back to the Site

Even if a customer plans to come back to your store to buy more, they can forget. Also, some subscribers may not visit your site for a long time. But when you send regular emails, they’ll remember your business and likely visit your website more often. And the more they visit, the higher the probability that they will buy again and again.

Notify Customers of the Sales

You can drive more sales when you notify customers of various sales promotions through emails. Compared to sharing the news through other channels like social media (and having to monitor Facebook ads comments, for example), most will get the exciting message directly in their inbox, believe it, act on it, and even spread the news around.

Promote Testimonials and Case Studies

When you share testimonials and case studies with your customers and subscribers through emails, they’ll learn of the good things people are saying about your business or products or services. This can help you gain their trust and convince them to buy from you, repeatedly.

Send Exclusive Discounts

Whether you’re trying to reward loyal customers or have an attractive offer for new customers, sending exclusive discounts through emails allows you to target a specific customer segment and personalize the email to them. An email also makes it easier for your recipient to act since they can just click through to take advantage of the offer, without any delay.

Send First Looks at New Products

Are you about to launch new products, or maybe you’re expecting new stock? Sharing a catalog of new items through emails can generate a lot of interest and even help you sell out before the stock arrives.

Keeping Your Email List Healthy

Without a healthy email list, it’s impossible to grow your eCommerce business through your email list. A healthy email list is one filled with people who’re interested in what you have to say and offer. Remember, the size of your list has zero effect on the health of your list.

To maintain a healthy email list, you should:

Delete All Inactive Subscribers

Inactive subscribers are those that’ve never engaged with your emails or haven’t engaged for a while. Your best bet is to delete them from your list. But before you do, try and re-engage them one last time with a win-back or re-engagement email. If nothing changes, remove them so you can boost the health of your email list.

Segment Your Subscriber List

Segmentation means dividing your email list into smaller groups based on relevant factors such as:

  • Age
  • Past purchases
  • Stage in the sales funnel
  • Active / Inactive subscribers

When your email list is segmented the right way, you’ll have better knowledge and understanding of subscribers in each segment. And send them relevant and valuable emails, boost their engagement with your brand and also keep your email list healthy.

Target the Right Audience

Your target audience is the right audience for your business. They are a group of people with similar behaviour, needs and interests that your eCommerce business is meant to serve. Your target audience will view your products or services as a solution to their pain points and will buy from you, sooner or later. But you have to identify them before you can target them successfully and invite them to join your email list.

Remember, there’s no point in buying, borrowing or renting an email list. If you do, you’ll end up with the wrong audience and mess up the health of your email list.

Carefully Word Your Subject Lines

Are you aware that people open, ignore or even delete emails based on the subject line alone?In fact, 47% of email recipients open their email based on the subject line alone while 69% of email recipients report email as spam based on the subject line alone.

subject line open rate

You can keep your email list healthy when you craft engaging subject lines that are short and also inspire curiosity or urgency or make people laugh. Your subject lines can also promise a solution to subscriber problems and challenges.

Personalize Your Email

Unlike a generic email blast, personalized emails are written specifically for individuals or a segment of your email list, based on everything you know about them.

According to McKinsey & Company:

  • 76% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize
  • 78% of consumers are more likely to refer friends and family to companies that personalize
  • 78% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases from companies that personalize

In short, personalized emails can make each subscriber feel recognized and valued, and also lead to higher engagement and a healthier email list.

using personalization in emails

Improve Deliverability & Reduce Spam Complaints

Spam complaints occur when recipients mark your emails as spam. But you can prevent & reduce spam complaints when you:

  • Avoid buying or renting an email list
  • Send relevant & engaging emails that provide value
  • Provide the type of content your subscriber signed up for

On the other hand, email deliverability is the rate at which your emails land in recipient’s inboxes. When they fail to land, it’s possible the email bounced or was filtered to the spam folder. To improve deliverability:

  • Prevent and lower spam complaints
  • Watch the volume & frequency of your emails
  • Use the double opt-in method
  • Avoid spelling & grammar mistakes

Email lists: From Start to Sales

Your email list is a powerful sales tool that can transform your eCommerce business faster than you can imagine.

To increase sales and grow your eCommerce business, start by building and maintaining a healthy email list filled with your target audience. Then carefully implement the various email marketing strategies discussed above.

When done right, you’ll develop a better understanding of your subscribers and customers, consistently provide relevant value and turn most of your subscribers to repeat customers. Before long, not only will your sales increase but your eCommerce business will also grow, as a result.

Bhujal Patel
Bhujal Patel
With 10+ years of eCommerce & marketing experience, Bhujal is passionate about helping businesses get more revenue and profit through customized strategies. Bhujal lives in Toronto, ON, and writes about online business ideas and scaling your eCom business at mydigitalkube.com
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