If you want to boost sales and grow your ecommerce business this quarter, you have to invest more time and money in email marketing. Email is one of the best and most effective ways to communicate with your customers and prospects. Consider some of the following statistics about the impact of email marketing versus other online channels:

  • According to Campaign Monitor, you are about 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
  • According to Forrester Research, 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed.
  • According to Monetate, 4.24% of visitors from email marketing buy something as compared to 2.49% of visitors from search engines and 0.59% from social media.

It’s clear from these and other relevant statistics that email marketing can drive ecommerce sales, so the question is, what kind of emails should you be sending, and who should you be sending them to?

If you’re not investing much time into email marketing, the best place to start is with the people who have purchased products from you before.

Here are 7 emails you can send to customers to get them to buy again:

1. The Abandonment Cart Email

The abandoned cart email is one of the most effective and revenue-boosting emails you can send to past customers. According to research compiled by Bigcommerce, the average revenue per abandoned cart emails is $5.64. That’s compared to $0.02 per promotional email, $0.07 per birthday milestone email, and $0.18 per welcome email.

Surprisingly, many ecommerce brands are simply not setting up or sending these types of automated emails. It’s a huge miss. According to Shopify, “67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes a sale.” Imagine if you could get back all or even some of that potential revenue!

There are a number of tools you can use to start sending automated abandoned cart emails. Here are a few worth looking into:

There are also a few best practices you should keep in mind when building your cart abandonment email campaigns:

  • Tip #1: Be Specific – Make sure it’s clear to your customers which products you’re reminding them about. Be specific about the product they left in the shopping cart by mentioning it in your messaging, illustrating it through imagery and graphics, and including it in your subject like and CTA text.
  • Tip #2: Be Authentic – This is your opportunity to be a little playful with your copy. Make sure that your brand voice and style shines through in your email. Help your customers remember why they love your brand, and what they are missing out on by not completing their purchase.
  • Tip #3: Be Generous – If you want to drive customers back to the shopping carts in your email, offer a special promo code or offer that expires after a certain amount of time. Create an incentive that they can’t ignore.
  • Tip #4: Be Personal – Reference the name of the person you’re sending your email to. This is relatively easy to set up and automate in most of the cart abandonment software available. Personalization will make your recipient feel like they’re receiving a special email from you, as opposed to a generic message that gets sent to everyone all the time.

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Example from Made and CartStack

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Example from Neiman Marcus and CartStack

2. The Psychology Email

To persuade customers to return to the shopping cart, you need to present them with strategic, conversion-driven messaging. That’s where the psychology email comes into play. These are emails that include or utilize specific psychological techniques in order to drive action. To implement this type of email for your ecommerce store, send emails that leverage the following:

  • Social Proof: Statements, testimonials, reviews, photos, and other content about your products from happy customers that you can use to influence people to shop with you again.
  • FOMO: Statements that make customers think that they’ll be missing out if they don’t grab your products while they still can. Examples include limited-time offers, messaging about limited quantities, testimonials from others who are enjoying their products.
  • Scarcity: Statements and imagery that lets customers know inventory is limited and running out. The goal is to drive them back to your store  to purchase before it’s too late.
  • Urgency: Statements and imagery letting customers know they need to act fast. These statements usually reference time (offer ends soon!) or quantity (almost sold out!).
  • Risk Aversion: Statements and imagery that remind customers their is no risk involved in their purchase (examples: free shipping, free returns, money back guarantee, try-before-you-buy, etc.).

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Urgency example from Kate Spade

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Risk aversion example from Teva

3. The Related Product Email

Another great way to drive customers to buy from you again is to send them emails featuring products you know they’ll love. Ecommerce has come a long way over the past decade. Online shoppers are much less motivated by non-personalized emails asking them to return to shop again. Instead, they’ve come to expect that the brands they support know what they actually want. That’s where the related product email comes into play. Perhaps made popular first by Amazon, this simple email technique is now used by most ecommerce brands as an effective way to connect with shoppers and drive them back to purchase more products.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: An online shopper comes to your store, views your products, adds some to their cart, and completes their purchase.
Step 2: The ecommerce software and email tools you use tracks this purchase, then matches it with any related products you have in your inventory.

Step 3: You either manually or automatically (based on time or triggers) send an email campaign out to customers featuring these related or “recommended” products, along with compelling CTAs and offers that persuade them to shop with you again.

There are a number of tools you can use to send related product emails. Here are a few worth checking out:

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Building a Product Recommendations Campaign in Mailchimp

4. The Education Email

The important thing to remember when you’re communicating with your email list is that you can’t just spend all your time sending them deals, coupons, reminders, and other campaigns trying to get them to buy. If you over-sell to your customers using email, you’ll risk losing them as subscribers, or worse, as customers all together.

One way to continue nurturing your relationship with your customers without sending promotional emails is by launching an educational drip series related to your product. Beardbrand, for example, creates original blog and video content featuring grooming and style tips. They send email updates to subscribers whenever they publish new content on their blog. The email still includes links to products, but the focus is on providing value instead of directly trying to sell. By doing this, Beardbrand is able to leverage itself as a knowledgeable and trusted resource to subscribers. Trust leads to loyalty, loyalty leads to more sales.

If you want to launch an educational series for your products or brand, consider the following questions:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What do they care about?
  • How do they spend their time?
  • Why do they care about your products?
  • How do your products help make their lives easier or better?
  • What niche topic can you focus on in your educational series?

Your answers to these questions will help you shape and build a successful and nurture-driven education email series.

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Example from Beardbrand

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Example from Beardbrand

5. The Order Confirmation Upsell Email

One of the biggest and most common missed opportunities in ecommerce email marketing relates to order confirmation and receipt emails. Although these emails are typically some of the most successful emails for ecommerce brands in terms of open rates, they are surprisingly underutilized when it comes to leveraging them to sell more products.

To drive customers to buy from you again, consider turning these transactional emails into sales tools by including recommended product sections. If you use Shopify to manage and host your ecommerce store for example, Spently is one tool you can leverage to make your order confirmation emails do your selling for you. Spently allows you to customize order confirmation emails with product visuals and CTA links.

If you want to test this tactic out without having to spend too much time or resources, try simply adding a few lines of text and a CTA link that sends people back to your store to your order confirmation email template. In order to measure the success of your test, make sure you can track the click-throughs on the link you add.

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Example from Dollar Shave Club and Blue Stout

6. The Replenish Email

If you sell products that have specific expiration dates (like food) or if you can predict when customers will typically run out of the product they purchase from you (like a bottle of lotion or printer ink cartridges), you should be sending emails that remind them to restock. It’s an easy way to get back on the radar and reconnect with your customers before they go searching for a similar product from a competitor.

You can use most email marketing clients to set automated trigger-based emails like these that follow the lifecycle of your customer and send emails only after they pass a designated amount of time (like 21 days after purchase).

To dive deeper into this tactic, read this great blog post from Jimmy Daly at Vero. It will give you the tips and best practices you need to send effective replenish emails to your customers.

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Example from Rockin’ Wellness

7. The Promotional Email

The final email you should be sending to customers is the classic promotional email. It’s likely that at a minimum you’re already sending these to customers, but if not, try sending emails to customers that celebrate and promote:

  • Personal Milestones: Send promo codes or offers to customers on their birthday, on their anniversary of becoming your customer, or on a date that relates to your business (like the anniversary of your grand opening).
  • Holidays: Send special deals and themed-emails that relate to specific holidays throughout the year (like New Year’s, the 4th of July, Christmas, etc.).
  • New Products: Send emails whenever you are launching or have recently launched new products that you want your customers to know about.

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An Example from Wet Seal

These types of emails can be fairly effective, but a word of caution: don’t over-do it. These days, it seems like every day is a holiday (National Cookie Day, National Chocolate Day, etc.)—try not to bombard your customers with too many promo emails and holiday-themed emails. Be thoughtful and strategic about the promotional emails you send to customers, and, as always, think about how you would feel if you were one of your customers and you were receiving the emails you send. Doing so will help you create stronger lasting relationships with your customers in the long run.

Over to You

What other emails are you sending to get customers to buy again? Tell me in the comments below.

  • Rob Wormley