How To Send Effective Ecommerce Emails

How to send effective ecommerce emails? [with Metrilo]

Why is email still the second best converting marketing channel after search? Because we process data much better so we can use behavior insights for more effective marketing.

All things optimized, your ecommerce emails are doomed if they don’t drive engagement.

If people don’t open them, don’t read them, don’t click on the CTAs and regularly unsubscribe or move them to the spam folder, your overall rating goes down and you’ll have problems with deliverability and reaching the main inbox folder. It’s a downward spiral from there.That’s why your emails need to be good. Professional, good-looking, well-sounding, relevant, and action-provoking. So people like them and engage with them.

Luckily, you don’t need to be a developer or a designer to do that. You can do it from the same platform that analyzes your ecommerce data and piles up insights to use in your marketing. That way, you’ll be doing behavior-driven marketing, your best bet to break through the promotional clutter of the competition.

Why is behavior-driven marketing so powerful?

Everybody knows you track their movement and behavior on site (and not only) so nobody is really surprised at how you use that info for tailored email marketing. Better that than mass campaigns that don’t go even close to what they care about.

For example, as the Magento blog suggests, if you only promote your newest collection, it may not resonate with many of your customers who like your more classic products. This way, they might even think you don’t carry what they like any more and stop opening your emails altogether.

The trick is to show everybody what they already proved they respond well to. That means you’ll get stable open and click rates and as a result – more sales.

As we’ve warned before, untargeted emails result in more unsubscribers and spam reports because they feel much more generic and salesy (and nobody likes being sold to).

What customers like is feeling in control of the sales process – that you’re not pushing too hard or instilling false needs in them.

When you do behavior-driven email marketing, you’re stepping only on what they did so they can’t turn it down. Yes, they bought that barbecue, sure they’ll need utensils too.

Starting from the insight you have about their behavior, you are one step ahead in providing irresistible offers. When you know what they have been looking at the past months and what they’ve bought, if they’re drawn to deals or not, it’s so much easier to be what they expect from you.
Related: Well-timed emails

Customers see that you’re not just blasting emails, but taking into consideration their tastes and previous behavior. They understand and appreciate the power of technology to engage them with relevant offers only.

It saves them time to sort through all your products and takes them directly to the categories they’re interested in. They don’t even have to see the rest of it. Behavior marketing is a win-win.

What technical details are influencing your open rate, click rate, unsubscribe rate, sender reputation and so on? Are you sabotaging your won marketing?

Read: Why it’s not a good idea to email everyone on your list at once, always

Customer segmentation and personalization

Without segmentation, you’re shouting in the middle of a busy town square and saying nothing in particular to anyone. So you can’t really expect people to pay attention to you.

As mentioned above, we believe the only way to stay relevant is to segment your customers based on their behavior and engage them with different emails.

A good ecommerce CRM like Metrilo tracks all your customers’ behavior and makes it easy to use for segmentation. Actions performed or not completed, numbers of orders, particular product ordered or being idle for over a month – fast and easy, you get the list and can reach out to those people.

The possibilities are almost endless 🙂

Metrilo Filter 1

Some of the basic segments every ecommerce business should regularly engage with are:

  • high spenders
  • frequent buyers
  • regular browsers (who don’t buy)
  • loyal to a certain product
  • new customers
  • idle customers
  • cart abandoners
  • shoppers of all new collections
  • coming from a certain location

Personalized emails

Marketing personalization is not just plugging their name at the beginning. To be honest, “you” might even work better than a name.

It’s using the data to deliver the best customer experience possible. Trust customer behavior patterns to guide you what is relevant and interesting to them.

It’s a personal touch to offer brown socks for the brown leather shoes they bought. It’s sweet to keep them updated on new gluten-free snack only if that’s what they prefer and leave out all the others that just don’t fit. It’s awesome and thoughtful to never offer tight exposing dresses when they only shop plus-size covering cardigans.

That way their customer experience will be completely different from somebody else’s – the ultimate personalization!

Behavior segmentation is awesome simply because it can’t lie – they, your customers, did that so it’s like telling you what will work with them.

How often should I send emails?

Frequency is the number 1 reason for unsubscribing. People just say, “I’ve had enough” with a simple click. To avoid losing them off your list forever, pace your emails reasonably. A few things to have in mind:

  • Product lifecycle matters. Bigger and more expensive products are shopped less often so has to be the communication. After all, what can you possibly write about fridges every day?
  • Promotions are fine, content is better. Mix what you send so when people search their inbox by your brand name, they find rich communication instead of a pile of promo codes, each devaluing your brand deeper and deeper. It doesn’t look good and you know it.
  • Email teams up with other channels. To stay on top of mind, even just seeing your brand around the Web helps – like Facebook ads. So don’t overdo it for the sake of “impressions”.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the promotional emails you get and analyze what frequency annoys you as a customer. It’s not genius, but it’s a start. Emailing 1-3 times a week is ok for an online store.
With behavior-triggered email marketing, it’s harder to go over the top because they and their actions pretty much dictate your moves and interaction is anticipated.

Ecommerce email design

Generally, the two extremes in email design are text-only and HTML templates. Of course, experts can’t agree which is better because:

  • Text-only emails are not branded and look more generic and spam-like.
  • HTML-heavy emails look overdone, slow down loading times and are often recognized as spam due to too many visuals.

To strike the balance, you should brand your emails and use visual and other elements elegantly. Luckily, you don’t even have to be a designer or developer to create appealing emails.

Let’s go over the process of creation (using the Metrilo email composer as a tool).

Who’s best to be the sender?

It’s simple. If you or somebody else acts as an influencer and is more popular than the brand itself, use that name to “open the door”. If not, your brand is absolutely ok to use because people will immediately know what the email is about.

Misleading and unclear senders are double trouble – spam filters will penalize them and even if they get through, recipients won’t open them.

The same goes for sending domains. Custom domains look much more professional and secure.Mail Sender

Subject lines

First, it shouldn’t be longer than 50 characters because that’s what people will see in their inbox. Second, you’d better not repeat subject lines in similar email campaigns – you never know if people will filter your messages and bust you.

Since there are so many studies on the best-converting subject lines, we only want to repeat: test what works for you and your brand. Other than that, here are a few very extensive guides:

50 Retail Subject Lines

62 formulas to get your emails read

Best Email Subject Lines of 2015

How to Write a Killer Ecommerce Subject Line (With Examples!)

Email branding

No need to say that non-branded emails don’t stand out…at all. To create the whole brand experience and seal your spot in your audience’s mind, better use all brand assets you got – visuals, colors, tone of voice, etc.

  • Always make your logo visible.
  • Add your social profiles.
  • Choose a color scheme that fits your brand colors or campaign theme.

How to write effective ecommerce emails?

After you have the target group, what’s your idea for this communication?

Welcome aboard? Recover abandoned carts? Introduce new products? Build a relationship?

We can’t tell you the exact words to put in there, but we have few pieces of advice:

  • Stick to your brand tone. If your brand is playful and easy-going, your emails can’t be serious and boring. If you’re upscale, you can’t be lazy and generic.
  • Use the core value that you and your customers share. Whether it’s the love for hiking or the desire to be the most elegant person in a room, use it. It’s a binding factor, it reminds them why they like you and provokes their interest. Find ways to always mention it in emails somehow.
  • Use attention-grabbing words. Play with words related to your product to keep people reading. If you ever make it so popular as “googling” or “Netflix and chill”, you’ve mastered it.
  • Get straight to the point. An email is not a book. More on scannability down below.
  • Double-check for spelling mistakes.
  • Lead them to one desired action. Make it clear what the goal is – read article, check out products, complete order…Trying to do more than one thing with one email doesn’t work.

Other than that, creativity is left to you. 🙂

Read for more Content Marketing Ideas for Ecommerce

How long should they be?

Top of mind advice: not long. The whole idea of email marketing is to check in the customer’s mind without interrupting his day too much. You want them to open your email on the bus home, but can’t expect them to spend the whole trip reading only your message.

As with everything, balance is gold.

Email Length Research

Source: Boomerang

A study by Boomerang shows that customers react best to emails of 75 – 100 words in length.

This should be enough to spark their interest, but not bore them. The email is where you get them to do something – click, browse, shop, read more, etc. and not where you present your brand’s story, values, political views and Noble Prize Acceptance speech in detail.

“Write for scannability”

In a blog post for Econsultancy, Ornaith Killen reminds us that readers almost never read the full text we so carefully craft. Rather, they scan it for anchors to grasp the meaning.

So give them these anchors that make the marketing experience pleasant. Let them process your message the way they want to – that benefits you in the long run.

  • headlines – walk them through all important points so they don’t have to waste time searching (and get annoyed)
  • bullets – (yes, I’m doing it here)
  • bolding or other way of making key parts pop is ok
  • short sentences in short paragraphs
  • don’t fluff it up – write briefly and to the point
Pro Tip: Put words on your visuals for a stronger brand impression (and save space).  The human brain understands them better anyway.

What elements to include in your emails

The better email marketing tools give a range of elements you can add without any coding.


Example Brand Image

Source: Canva Design School

As we noted, images save you words and help your brand. There are plenty of options where to put them – as a cover image (first to be seen at the top), somewhere in the middle or make one special image to dominate the whole email.


Adding coupons to your ecommerce emails is easy – just type in the code and any additional instructions. You can then track how that coupon performs.

Coupon Example

CTAs in emails

Naturally, you want people to act on your message – read more, shop, enter a contest, etc.

However, plan carefully what most important you want them to do and use CTA buttons sparingly. Too many are more harm than good because they confuse people – what if they want to browse a collection and enter a sweepstake? Better not lose focus and call for one thing at a time.

Too Many CTA Buttons

Break up a discount code in a series of emails…not

You may have come across this strategy of giving away bits of a discount code in an email series. While its advocates have their reasons to believe this works, we really doubt it.

Making the recipient wait for your next email only to get the discount code is not better engagement or open rate. On the contrary, additional steps might even annoy people and make them drop the whole thing.

[That’s what I’d do personally. You’re the one who wants me to buy, why make it harder?]

Product offer

Featuring any product from your store in an email is a great attention-grabber – especially if it’s relevant as we talked.

The Metrilo composer pulls product data automatically so your listing is complete with price and picture.

Email Example Composed With Metrilo

Bottom links

In email, every inch of space counts so use it to the full. Instead of distracting your reader with additional links in the body of the email, include a useful (but less important) resource or link at the bottom.

Usually, it’s the place for your blog, link to clearance page or terms of shipping – anything that might get a click but does not deserve a separate email.

Before you hit the “Send” button

  1. Check how it looks on mobile
  2. Double-check the “Unsubscribe” link is there. With Metrilo, you can’t break the law – it’s always there.
  3. Make sure you’re not spamming – don’t email people who have received another message from you in the last 7 days, for example. You can stay on top of mind by differentiating from all spammers and respecting people’s time and attention.

If you’re into technical details and want to read more on spam, anti-spam legislation, and sender reputation,

Check out our Email Help Center

Sending effective email campaigns should be a regular marketing effort for your online store. You see, with the right tools, it doesn’t take much time and is data-driven, good-looking and relevant.

Try Metrilo for free with full email functionality
14-day Free Trial


About the author

With experience in FMCG and marketing, Dimira writes to help the brands of tomorrow succeed and believes passion is a key ingredient in any business.

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