The usefulness of email marketing has been a topic of debate in recent years. In 2010, 49% of people surveyed by Forrester Research said they received too many email offers and promotions. In the same study, 59% of this group completely dismissed company emails. Email marketing was, on paper, being phased out by social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not so fast!

Have email marketing campaigns been rendered obsolete by new wave advertising? Undoubtedly, they haven’t. In fact, they are more profitable today than they were even two years ago. The average ROI for companies that effectively administer email campaigns is roughly $57 for every $1 spent. A McKinsey consumer survey in 2014 discovered that email was nearly 40 times more effective at gaining new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Companies have a lot to gain by establishing a well-maintained and targeted email program. According to, data from Marketing Cloud suggests that email marketing is as effective as ever. 73% of marketers agree that email is core to their business, and 60% claim email is a critical enabler of products and services. With 69.7% of U.S. internet users preferring email as their main method of communication, email campaigns are being used more often by companies to promote their businesses, gain fans, drive sales, and identify target markets.

Email Marketing Types

There are two main email types to include when building your e-commerce email marketing program: Promotional and Transactional emails. Promotional emails are the “standard” marketing emails. Effective promotional emails can include blog posts, articles, sales, discounts, new products, or abandoned cart notifications. Driving sales is the optimal end result of any marketing campaign, and promotional emails are beneficial in achieving your sales goals.

Transactional emails are generated through system actions on the e-commerce site, such as password resets, new order confirmations, and shipment updates. These emails are obviously less sales-y than promotional emails, but can still contain promotional content. Transactional emails offer an additional opportunity for brand building, cross-selling or driving return visits.

Keep in mind that both types of marketing should be kept as clean as possible – not cluttered with information. The average internet user will receive over 420 emails per month, so being as direct as possible is important.

The Foundation of Email Marketing – Building Your List

Building a quality email list is incredibly important for e-commerce sites and is the foundation of any effective email marketing program. While it isn’t the most exciting or fulfilling aspect of running a business, an email list’s benefits are undeniable. With a well-tailored list, you are able to make your subscribers more aware of your brand and products while keeping costs down. Increased targeted campaigns lead to higher effectiveness and aid in driving sales.

E-commerce sign-ups need to be arranged effectively on your site. They should be implemented at different levels. If you are using a platform like Magento, you should have a sign-up option on modal and in-site pop-ups, on headers and footers, call-to-actions (CTAs) throughout the site, on the checkout screen, and in the MyAccount section of the site. The pop-ups should include a discount for newsletter signups, and should be able to be shut off once the customer has signed up for the newsletter. The same goes for the CTAs on the site and the MyAccount page. Shutting these off will avoid annoying your customer.


There are many platforms through which you can manage email sign-ups. Accorin has worked with many different platforms, and while each has its own strengths and weaknesses, the four we most commonly use are ExactTarget, Klaviyo, MailChimp, and Bronto. Any platform will work as long as your list is easy to manage and delivers your message effectively to your customers.

A Few Keys to Email Marketing Success

Asking permission when first establishing your email list is a necessary first step. Opt-in emails are both required by CAN-SPAM regulations and good business sense. Unsolicited emails get tagged as spam and with reputable email providers (e.g. Klaviyo, MailChimp, Bronto, ExactTarget, etc.) you have thresholds that you need to stay within.

Before building out from your base list, you will need to understand what goals you want to achieve and what metrics to use to measure those goals’ success. Having a list and no vision defeats any targeting and management you do: you simply have a list of people and no plan.

By establishing targets, you’ll be able to personalize your emails. You can then further segment that audience and deliver relevant offers and content directly to their inboxes. Consistency is important when building your brand through email campaigns. Sending emails sporadically does not build a loyal consumer base. No matter the frequency, you must be consistent with your email release date and time.

The subject of your email will determine whether your customer reads it or not. On mobile devices, the subject line is displayed before any of the email’s body, so make sure you have a creative subject line.

The Bottom Line

Email is a critical marketing tactic for any e-commerce site and should be actively managed for best results. Need help getting your e-commerce email marketing program activated (or reactivated)? Give us a call.