Ecommerce + Email Marketing = the Formula Long Lasting ROI

Your guide to badass ecommerce email marketing.


What is email marketing?

Email marketing isn’t merely a strategic framework. It’s a way of life. Just kidding! Well, sort of. All jokes aside, email marketing has become one of the most personal and impactful ways to connect with current customers and marketing funnel prospects.

By nature, it gives marketers direct access to customers and enables them to segment audiences based on the customer data they collect. Phenomenal, right? Even better (when done well), email marketing is one of the most cost-effective channels a brand can leverage.

Because it’s ideal for sending a variety of planned and targeted marketing communications that empower marketers to:

  • Drive sales & revenue 
  • Boost engagement
  • Increase website traffic
  • Share thought leadership & education
  • Build long-lasting relationships & community

How does email marketing work?

The short answer: it works if you work it. The longer answer: email marketing is a tool that can be used to maximize the impact of your ecommence experience. If done intentionally, consistently and to scale, it can be a perpetual source of traffic to your online store and a fun way to engage your customer base.

Core Requirements:

  • An engaged subscriber base of contacts who look to you for content.


01 Database of subscribed contacts

Building an email list of subscribers provides an opportunity to garner a more one-to-one rapport with your customers in an efficient and strategic way. You can easily share new products, services, promotions, and company updates. Plus, it’s perfect for showcasing your brand personality and POV in ways that are harder to do on other platforms.

03 Cost effectiveness

Three words: it’s budget friendly. Essentially, with email marketing there are zero costs required for printing postage, or ad space. You pay only a monthly fee from your email service provider that permits you to email as many inboxes as you desire.

With privilege comes responsibility

Having access to a person’s inbox is a much more intimate level of contact with prospects. It’s not like a social media ad or television commercial. Email marketing relies on permission based interactions, meaning your subscribers are choosing to give you their email.

So with that privilege comes the responsibility for marketers to serve them with communications they actually want to receive. This is why data privacy laws and compliance are such an emphasis for email marketers. But more on that below!

Types & Examples

01 Email campaigns (single-sends)

Email campaigns are single-send emails you create to publish at a specified time you choose to a list or lists of people you select from your email database and audience segments.

Types of email campaigns:

Sales emails

Blog posts

Company updates

Event invites

Lead generation

02 Email automation (flows)

Email automations / flows are automated emails sent specifically to people who perform a particular action that triggers and sends a designated email you create.

For example, after signing up for an email newsletter, a user would receive an automated welcome message immediately after subscribing to confirm their subscription and thank them for joining the list—potentially with an offer, blog links, resources or whatever floats your boat.

Types of email automations:

Welcome email

Welcome new subscribers. Typically includes a coupon code with a first time offer, links to best-selling products, popular blogs, and important resources.

Abandoned cart

For recovering carts left by customers who did not complete their purchase.

Browse abandonment

To recapture the attention of customers who browsed items on your site but did not take any further action to add anything to their cart or make a purchase.

What are the advantages of sending email automations?

ROI, plain and simple. Email flows can be more impactful than a regular email campaign, because it’s targeted and set up to align directly with your audience’s behavior. According to Klaviyo data, email automations produce over 14x higher revenue per recipient (RPR) than manual email campaigns.

The real brilliance of email automations is the set it and forget it approach. Because essentially after you set up an email flow, very little effort is required to maintain them. You simply create the email, turn on the automation and let it run—which helps to reduce time and effort spent to create new marketing assets.

What is the difference between transactional based emails and engagement based emails?


Engagement Based Emails

Engagement based emails are communications to drive engagement with email subscribers. Usually featuring content such as blog posts, e-books, quizzes, and giveaways. They are also known as buy me emails.

Engagement based emails typically contain:

  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Company updates
  • Instructional email flows for product care guides, use guides, etc

Transactional Based Emails

Transactional based emails are communications to drive sales with customers. Usually featuring promotions, offers, and items that are available for purchase. These are often referred to as click me or read me emails.

Transactional based emails typically contain:

  • Sales/promotions
  • Ecommerce customer notifications
  • Abandoned cart
  • Restock / back in stock
  • Replenishment reminders
  • New customer series
  • Loyal / repeat customer 
  • Provide feedback / leave a review
  • Birthday shout out email or anniversary email
  • Thank you email post purchase
  • Cross-sell and up-sell automations
  • Customer win-back campaigns / re-engagement

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Build and Grow an Email List

Develop a content strategy and understand who your audience is so you can decipher what’s important to them.

Questions to ask:

What captures and forms will you set up to gain new subscribers?
  • Will you provide a sales offer? This is usually ideal for ecommerce companies looking to gain new subscribers or customers who come to their website.
  • Will you provide content such as a gated blog or ebook? In our experience, resources are ideal for establishing trust and a rapport with prospects. Depending on the industry your brand is in you may want to invest in creating gated content you can test to gain email sign ups.
What are your goals for sending emails / building an email list?

Do you want to primarily drive sales? Engagement? Or both? Figure out what your intentions for sending emails are and underline them. And do so before you start sending emails.

What content will you send to subscribers to achieve these goals?

Sales emails? Blog posts? Styling tips? Graphics? Gifs? Memes? The world is your oyster! Go for it. There are a multitude of approaches you can take to create content for your subscriber base that will engage them and lead them further down your marketing funnel.

What automations will you set up?

Come up with a plan to determine how many automated emails you plan on sending depending on what makes the most sense for your brand now and as you scale. Tip: a welcome email or series should be the first email you set up. You’re welcome!

How many emails will you send per month as you start?

Another tip: It’s best to start small and work your way up. Starting with a realistic number you can manage and then scale as you gain more experience with email marketing and subscribers.

How many emails will you send per month after 90 days of sending consistently?

After three months it’s a good time to start thinking about how to scale your email marketing efforts and add more emails to the schedule.

How will you optimize your efforts as you gain new insights on performance?

It’s important to prioritize the plan for making changes as you gather new data on how your efforts are working. If something isn’t performing then it means it’s time to try something else. Your mantra needs to be: ’’test it, don’t guess it.’’ As marketers we all have our theories about what will work and what won’t. But without data, it’s null.


Which ESP should I choose?
  • It depends! It’s important to note that finding the right email marketing service provider for your needs is contingent upon how your company is positioned now, and where you plan to go as you scale. 
  • Essentially, every ESP has the same core functionalities but some have unique advantages over others in terms of the email building process, workflows and reporting. 
  • Your best bet: do some research to understand which ESP will be best suited for you depending on how big your list size is.
    • There are numerous ESPs to choose from. Here are a few we recommend looking into:
      • Klaviyo
      • MailChimp
      • DotDigital
      • HubSpot
When is the best time to send emails?
  • Great question! CoSchedule analyzed 10 studies to determine the best time to send an email in 2023. 
    • The results indicate: The five best times to send emails are 10 a.m., 9 a.m., 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. 
    • 10 a.m. has been identified as the best time overall. Typically morning send times are top performing. But 10 a.m. was marked #1 in four of 10 studies CoSchedule assessed.
What is email marketing compliance?
  • Now for the fine print! Compliance in email marketing is a set of rules that hold email marketers accountable for sending practices. It requires senders to meet specific regulations established by governments and industries that protect the privacy and data of individuals. For example, email compliance regulations include CAN-SPAM and GDPR.
  • Primarily, compliance requires senders to have expressed permission / consent when sending emails to individuals on an email list. 
  • Senders must also always have an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. In addition to the sender name and address.
What are the risks associated with non-compliance in email marketing?

Nothing good…


  • Ignoring email compliance can result in potential penalties such as GDPR fines which can be costly to your business. 
  • It can also damage your sending reputation if too many of your emails are marked as spam by recipients. In which case most ESPs will restrict you access to their platform. 
  • And, it’s possible that if too many abuse complaints are received because of your sending practices, your email sending domain could be black listed.
What is email segmentation?
  • Segmentation is what good email marketing is all about. It’s the practice of creating specified groups of subscribers based on unique qualities about them such as their location, gender identity, purchasing behavior, data on their email engagement, and more markers. 

Then, sending to these groups in an intentional way to serve them with the right communications at the right time. It’s what distinguishes savvy email marketers from the herd.

What is email list cleaning?

Think seasonal cleaning but for your email subscriber list. Email list cleaning refers to the practice of routinely refining your email marketing subscriber database to remove old, stale contacts and any unengaged subscribers. This can do wonders for your engagement metrics and deliverability rate.

What email marketing benchmarks, KPIs and reporting metrics are most important?
  • Email open rate: The total percentage of subscribers who open a specific email out the total number of subscribers on your list.
  • Email click rate: The number of unique clicks on any link in your email. As told by the percentage of successfully delivered emails.
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of emails your messages could not be delivered to because of issues with the quality of the email address. 
  • Spam rate: The percentage of users who have marked your communications as spam. This is an impactful metric that can make or break your sending reputation.
  • Email deliverability: Refers to the ability to successfully deliver emails to your subscribers’ inboxes. It’s a metric used by marketers to determine if there are issues impacting emails reaching inboxes related to ISPs, throttling, bounces and spam complaints.


Why does maintaining email deliverability matter?

It’s kind of a big deal! Email deliverability is one of the most important aspects for email marketing to work. Because essentially subscribers have to receive your emails in the first place. If they don’t get your emails because of poor deliverability, sending to them defeats the purpose.

Explore email marketing resources

Ready to Transform, Refresh or Scale Your Email Marketing Program? Above The Fray Can Help.

Schedule a meeting with us to discuss your ecommerce goals and how we can help you develop an email marketing strategy.