Issue #19

Ecommerce email marketing: 7 tried-and-true tactics to sell your online products

Email Marketing Commerce
12 min read
In this Article

Does this sound familiar?

You go to your email inbox, and are instantly bombarded by marketing offers, spam, and chain emails from distant relatives. Yikes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and just send everything there to the trash.

Now think about your customers. Their inboxes are just as crowded, and their attention spans are just as short as yours.

So how are your digital products supposed to stand out from the competition?

A solid email marketing strategy is one of the best ways to reach those oversaturated minds. You’ll need to grow your email list and market your products strategically if you want to build a lasting connection that turns into sales.

Here’s how to do that.

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Grow your email subscriber list to build an audience of potential customers

Every creator with an ecommerce business should leverage his or her email list to move products. It just makes sense!

People who signed up for your list are at least somewhat interested in you and your product offerings, so it’s a natural fit to promote what you’re selling there.

The first step, then, is building out a list of email subscribers. But saying, “Hey, sign up to stay up-to-date with my news!” isn’t going to cut it, unfortunately. You need to get creative.

Here are a few tips and tactics to get you started.

ecommerce email marketing tactics

Pop-ups or opt-in forms on your website

You see pop-ups and opt-in forms everywhere for a reason: they work. In fact, using pop-ups to ask for customer info has been shown to create a 44% increase in email subscriptions.

But again, it’s often not enough to make a simple ask with an opt-in. You need to give people a reason to subscribe. A lead magnet is a great way to incentivize opt-ins, as visitors get something valuable (and often free!) in exchange for sharing an email address.

You can even time these opt-in forms to pop up just before the reader leaves your website, which reduces the chance of disrupting the customer experience.

That’s what Angela Mary Vaz does for her content creation business, Stay Curls:

ecommerce email marketing
Stay Curls offers a free ebook with how-to insights to encourage customers to subscribe to its email list. Image via Stray Curls.

Referral programs

If you create a high-quality email that offers real value to your customers, then they’ll tell their friends. Right? Well… maybe not.

Sometimes people need a little push to get them to spread the word, which is where referral programs come in handy.

Try offering a special bonus for subscribers who refer three friends. Or you could give them a personalized discount code or access to your latest ebook, for example. There are lots of ways you can encourage folks to drive word-of-mouth signups.

If you need help setting up templates and automating this process, check out our integration with referral marketing platform newsletter referral platform Sparkloop. SparkLoop is a referral tool for newsletters that allows you to incentivize signups to your email list. This tool creates unique referral links for each user and allows you to manage a tiered reward system with ease.

ecommerce email marketing
Sparkloop is a great way to automate your email reward strategy and further your reach. Image via Sparkloop.

Podcast sponsorships

If you know your audience religiously listens to a specific podcast, you might want to become a sponsor of it. Sixty-eight million Americans listen to podcasts weekly, so it’s a great medium to reach potential customers.

Find a show that shares your brand values and ask to come on board as a sponsor—it’s a great way to share your products with a highly relevant audience. If your brand has a podcast of its own, don’t forget to mention the benefits of subscribing to your email list there, too!

Leverage user-generated content

When you're crafting a product launch strategy, think about how you can tie in user-generated content—think customer-created photos, or videos—with your email list. Showing happy customers utilizing or enjoying your product can be a powerful form of social proof.

The Crochet Crowd shows us how content creation doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, either: They put user-generated content to work, often including this type of material into their email marketing efforts.

ecommerce email marketing
The Crochet Crowd engages with the yarn community by sharing user-generated content to get a conversation going. Image via Instagram.

Try looking for user-generated content on Instagram to validate your product offerings and add compelling, sales-driving visuals to your email marketing campaigns.

Share ecommerce marketing offers on social media

Social media is a great way to drive traffic to your email list. Since your followers are already interested in what you have to say, use your social media channels as a way to share special offers along with a behind-the-scenes look into your business.

If you’re not sure where to focus your time and energy on social media, start with Facebook. With seven out of 10 Americans using it, it’s arguably the best place to start promoting your newsletter. Keep in mind, however, that Facebook will only show your posts to about 7% of people who like your page on average, so if you want to increase your conversions, you’ll want to look into paid Facebook ads.

Twitter is another solid option. There, you can tease your products while also building connections. Creator Matt Ragland, for example, tweeted a breakdown of his productivity template to his followers.

ecommerce email marketing
Matt Ragland uses social media to reach out to his followers and promote his ecommerce products. Image via Twitter.

However, he mostly sticks to the 80/20 rule on social media: 80% of his content are tips on productivity, health, and other topics engaging to his followers, while the remaining 20% are more sales-focused. As part of that 20% promotional work, don’t forget to remind people to subscribe to your email list.

Instagram and Pinterest are worth looking into as well. Pinterest currently ranks as the highest driver of average order value (valued at $103), but the social platform you choose depends on your company's target demographic.

Run PPC ads to convert more visitors

We talked about using social media advertisements to promote your email list, but you can also use PPC (pay-per-click) ads on Google, YouTube, or other search platforms.

Google Ads allow you to target particular people who are already using their search tool, and they have a staggering 90% share of the market. Run an ad for your product (and make sure to plug your email list simultaneously).

Partner with influencers

People are used to hearing influencers talk about products. However, having brand-aligned influencers ask people to subscribe to a company’s newsletter makes for an out-of-the-box way to boost email subscribers you can then advertise to down the road.

To do influencer marketing well, you must choose influencers with audiences that align with what you’re selling. So, how do you figure out who that is?

Hashtagpaid is one platform that makes it simple to find and hire influencers that match your brand values (and budget). You can see the influencer’s price per post, engagement rate, and reach before launching a campaign.

ecommerce email marketing
Hashtagpaid is a platform that allows brands and individuals to find and hire influencers for creative partnerships. Image via Hashtagpaid.

If you don’t want to go the paid route, you still have options. For example, you can partner with influencers simply by giving them free products to try. That means no money changes hands between parties, and the influencer is not obligated to post about the product. The idea is that they’ll love your product so much they will talk about it, which leads to more authentic content.

The ecommerce email marketing creators need to drive product sales

Now that you have a few tactics in your back pocket on how to grow your email list, let’s talk about the different types of emails you need to send to your customers.

Here are a few you should be using to promote your ecommerce brand.

1. Welcome emails

A welcome email is the first email someone receives when they join your mailing list. You can have a welcome email for customers too, but in this case, we’re talking about a welcome email for new subscribers who haven’t bought anything yet.

At the beginning of a new relationship with subscribers, you have the chance to make a great first impression by being friendly and helpful. By providing free value up front, you create a sense of reciprocity (which often pays off, as people are naturally compelled to reciprocate that behavior).

One way to do this is to introduce your products and talk about how they are beneficial to your new reader. For example: Shelby at Little Coffee Fox sets new subscribers up with a five-part free email course on productivity, ending with a CTA to purchase some of her products.

ecommerce email marketing
Little Coffee Fox uses their welcome email to show new subscribers around the blog. Image via Little Coffee Fox.

2. Bundle emails

Everything is better in multiples, right? Figuring out what products work well together and then selling them as a bundle is always a smart way to provide convenience to subscribers and boost average order value.

For example, suppose your reader is purchasing your Indoor Gardening 101 course. In that case, you could create a bundle to go along with the course, including additional resources related to gardening education.

Not everyone will opt for extra products, but there will always be people who get excited about bundles. (More is more, you know?)

Creator Steph Smith wrote a guide on writing and scaling blogs in 2021. Instead of giving the option to buy only the ebook, she also created a bundle to go along with the course that included access to a private community, 22 exercises, 12 live recorded messages and a 25-question quiz.

ecommerce email marketing
Steph Smith author sells her ebook as part of a larger bundle. Image via Steph Smith.

3. Thank you emails

Usually, thank you pages are just dead-end landing pages, but there’s actually a lot of sales potential there. The same goes for thank you emails. It’s one place you can help a buyer become a loyal, long-term customer instead of just another one-time purchaser.

You can add a little extra revenue in thank you emails by simply adding a few links to similar products. Writer Laura Belgray, for example, makes sure to plug her copywriting mini-course with both a discount and a timer to give a sense of urgency in her thank you email series.

ecommerce email marketing
Copywriter Laura Belgray makes upsells within her thank you pages and emails. Image via Talking Shrimp.

4. Abandoned cart emails

Did you know around 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned? It’s endemic in the online environment. But just because your customer didn’t go through with the purchase doesn’t mean it’s game over. It just means that they’re not at the right stage in the buyer's journey yet.

Try sending an abandoned cart email when a subscriber doesn’t complete checkout and determine where the issue lies. If there is a technical issue or question about the product that can be solved via email, reaching out like this is a great way to connect with customers and deliver a strong customer experience.

Should worse come to worst, offering a personalized discount within your follow-up email can be a great way to help them take that final step and convert.

ecommerce email marketing
Here’s a simple template for writing a great abandoned cart email. Image via Entre Resource.

How to set up important ecommerce marketing emails in ConvertKit

One of the best ways to use your email list and grow your digital product sales is by thoughtfully creating segments within your list to determine your subscriber’s level of interest in the different products you sell.

They’ll help you figure out:

  • Who are your high-spenders?
  • Who are the one-time shoppers?
  • Who are the cart-abandoners?
  • Who are the loyal return customers?

You can segment customers by setting up automatic link triggers that tag them as they interact with each email.

Having custom segments is a great way to gauge interest in your products and services. They increase conversion rates, reduce email fatigue, and help create a personalized customer experience. This all translates to more money in your pockets.

The best part: they’re super easy to set up in ConvertKit.

Under Segments and Broadcast filters, there are Filter Groups that define what Subscribers will show up when you result. Within a filter group, you can select Subscribers matching (any/all/none) of the following.

ecommerce email marketing

You can use these indicators to see what your customers are interested in and then send them targeted, highly relevant emails. You can even exclude them from certain pitch emails (if they already bought your product or expressed disinterest in a certain type of offering you have.)

Use ecommerce email marketing to drive sales

To stand out in the average email inbox, you’ll need more than beautiful images and a stellar product to grab a subscriber’s attention. There are millions (yes, millions!) of creators selling products online. A cohesive ecommerce email marketing strategy is the key to success.

You’ll also need to choose the right sales platform. ConvertKit Commerce makes getting set up to sell online a breeze. With it, you can start selling your products to your email subscribers with just a few clicks. Get set up with ConvertKit Commerce today and watch the sales roll in!

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Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer who works closely with SaaS companies and marketing teams for content creation.

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