10 min read

Email Marketing Strategy For Online Stores: 8 Crucial Elements

Written by Andriy Boychuk
10 min read

One of the most important aspects of email marketing is strategy.

You can send out one email per month and call it email marketing, but it won’t bring you the results you’re looking for. A well-developed email marketing strategy with your audience in mind on the other hand is sure to increase your revenue, brand awareness, and subscriber engagement.

So let’s start with what the email marketing strategy is, and why you need it. Email marketing strategy is the plan for which emails to send and when.

Let’s say you want to build your dream house. You hired a contractor to build it, but if you didn’t provide the contractor with blueprints of the house, it would be impossible for the contractor to build the house. The same is true with email marketing – you need to have a plan in order for it to work.

So let’s build an email marketing strategy for your online store together. There are eight steps, and below is a brief description of each.

Step #1 – Opt Ins

First, you need to list all the possible ways for subscribers to opt in to your system. Then, you’ll need to add some extra ways to incorporate into your strategy.

For example, you can have the website footer opt-in now, but you can also add a Facebook lead ad opt-in. There are many ways for subscribers to opt-in, but here are some typical examples.

It’s important to know and list all of your opt-ins in order to personalize the message towards that specific lead magnet.

For example, one of my clients has a Warranty activation opt-in. That means that they purchased the product on Amazon or eBay, and visited the site just to activate the warranty. That’s why, we do not want to send them Pre-Purchase emails, where we would be trying to convert them into customers, because they already made a purchase, but on a different platform.

How to check if your opt-ins are bringing you money? Watch the video and find out the answer here. 

Step #2 – Pre-Purchase

After some have opted in, but aren’t customers yet (meaning made zero purchases), we add them to the Pre-Purchase automation.

You will communicate differently with somebody who made zero purchases vs. somebody who plans to order.

In general you need to work harder in this automation. The goal is to nurture the subscriber, and convert him/her to a buyer; typically, you’ll want to talk about your brand, your product, and provide some useful content related to it.
This automation can have as many emails as you want — the email quantity is not as important as its content.

How to create the perfect welcome emails? Check these 4 examples of (almost!) perfect welcome emails.

Moreover, in one of our podcast episodes, Alissa and Vira explain what makes a good welcome email series and break down important pre-purchase emails proven to drive sales.

Step #3 – Abandoned Cart

Abandoned cart automation is the low-hanging fruit in email marketing for eCommerce, and it’s one of the most profitable automations.

A potential customer has visited your store, added a product to their cart, started the checkout, completed the first step, but left for without completing the purchase.

If you don’t have the abandoned cart automation, there is a 99% chance that you’ve lost a customer or two. However, if you have a trigger in your email marketing software to send follow-up emails personalized to that specific person, there’s a very good chance that you can recover that sale.

It’s important to consider what kind of emails you want to send them. What would you like to say? It should be a totally different message from the one they receive when they just opt in via footer on your site. Also, the software you use should have a dynamic block, which shows them exactly which items they left in the cart.

Use this step-by-step guide to create and optimize an abandoned cart flow for your Shopify store in Klaviyo.

Step #4 – Exit Intent

I learned this automation from Ezra Firestone, the CEO here at Smart Marketer and a prominent figure in the eCommerce space. He teaches it in his Smart Email Marketing course.

The idea of this automation is to capture people’s emails via a pop-up opt-in form as someone tries to leave the page. Before they could click exit, they’re shown a simple pop-up that encourages them to leave their email.

This pop-up form will be shown only to those who are not in your system yet. Also, this popup will be shown only to those who visit the product category page, the product page, and/or the cart page.

For them to opt in, the pop-up will have some monetary incentive. It could be a discount offer or some dollar amount discount.

Step #5 – Post-Purchase [New Customer]

This next automation is about getting in touch with someone who just made a purchase.

Think about the kind of message do you want to send them. One simple option is to thank them for their purchase. Also, it’s a good idea to tell them what will happen next, and when they should expect their order to arrive.

The goal of this automation is to remove any potential buyer’s remorse and make them feel good about their purchase decision.

One of the easiest yet powerful ways to do it is by creating an order status tracker. In this article, we show you the exact steps on how to set up an order status tracker in Klaviyo, so you can send it to your customers every time they make a purchase. 

Step #6 – 2X Buyer [Repeat Customer]

This automation is similar to Post-Purchase. However, in this one, you’ll want to acknowledge that it’s their second purchase and show them gratitude for coming back to purchase from you.

In this automation, you can also include some cross-sell or upsell emails.

Step #7 – Win Back

The idea of this automation is to re-engage your customer.

They purchased from you in the past, but haven’t placed an order in the last 45, 60, or 90 days? You’ll need to send them personalized emails and encourage them to buy again. If they don’t make another purchase, you can send a survey to find out why they didn’t buy again.

Win back strategy for eCommerce email automation here.

Step #8 – Browse Abandonment

This automation won’t be available on all email marketing service providers. However, I would like to cover it anyway in case you use Klaviyo.

This automation is triggered when someone is already in your database, and they visit a specific product page but don’t add the product to their cart and don’t buy.

Once this automation is triggered, they receive an automatic email with a personalized message which includes the image and description of the product of their interest.

Watch this video to learn how to build Browser abandonment flow in Klaviyo. 

Bottom line

While you can get creative with your email marketing strategy, these eight elements are a must I recommend starting with.

You can do it yourself, or one of your team members can do it for you. Some kind of plan is always better than none. In the beginning, you may have a very basic strategy, but you can keep improving it over time.

If you’re ready to build a profitable email strategy for your store but don’t have the hours in the day/experience to do it, schedule a call with our team to discuss how we can help you grow your revenue by 20%-50%.

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