Email marketing for ecommerce

Send the right email to the right customer at the right time.

Avatar Photo of Val Geisler
Val Geisler

Val Geisler is ridiculously obsessed with email. She has spent a decade on it, at organizations ranging from nonprofits to seven-figure businesses to tech startups. She now has her dream job as an email marketing consultant.

  1. Introduction
  2. Crafting a complete email marketing plan
    1. What does a standard marketing funnel look like?
  3. Creating full-funnel email marketing campaigns
  4. Using triggered emails to increase revenue
    1. Start at the beginning
    2. Win them back
    3. Order confirmation
    4. Request a review
    5. Promotional offers
  5. Using email marketing campaigns to reduce cart abandonment
    1. What are abandoned cart emails?
    2. What goes into an abandoned cart email campaign?
    3. Testimonials and reviews
    4. Next-level abandoned cart emails
  6. How to tag and segment your customers
    1. Using email tagging in your marketing campaigns
    2. Maximize your customer communications
    3. Supercharge your sales with segmenting
  7. How to write subject lines that convert
    1. Be useful
    2. Make them curious
    3. Get personal
    4. Comparison shop
    5. Request reciprocity
    6. A word about words
  8. You’re never done with email

Crafting a complete email marketing plan

Ninety-one percent of customers want to hear from the companies they do business with. It’s unavoidable in the modern ecommerce marketing world.

These days, welcome emails generate 320% more revenue than regular promotional emails. Nearly every ecommerce site collects the email addresses of both casual browsers and avid customers.

Yet many ecommerce shop owners have a sneaking suspicion that they could be doing more with their email marketing efforts. They’re right: Most ecommerce stores write impersonal emails. In a world of infinite choices a Google search away, why would you take a purchasing recommendation not crafted specifically for you?

Your store can get better results with less effort, drive more purchases, better acknowledge repeat customers, and send emails people actually want to read. And then, they’ll actually buy from you.

Want to build a blockbuster store like Dollar Shave Club, Warby Parker, Framebridge, and Kate Spade? Then it’s time to apply the same tactics and principles that major ecommerce brands put into place.

As someone who makes a living as an email marketing conversion copywriter and strategist, I’ve seen it all when it comes to email. In my weekly email onboarding teardowns, I’ve seen relatively unknown companies knock it out of the park, and I’ve seen huge brands completely miss the mark. And I’ve written more emails than I ever thought possible (including the templates I’m sharing with you in this guide).

What does a standard marketing funnel look like?

A standard marketing funnel looks like this:

There’s TOFU (top of funnel) activities such as ad strategies, content marketing, influencer marketing campaigns, and word-of-mouth referrals. 

As the customer moves further down the funnel toward what’s lovingly called BOFU (bottom of funnel), the engagement picks up with conversion-focused marketing like targeted email campaigns using that tagging and segmenting (discussed below).

Creating full-funnel email marketing campaigns

You can easily see 10x the results you get from email by being more strategic about how you use it to move people through your funnel.

First, you want to map out what your funnel is going to look like. Physical products and digital products will have slightly different funnels since the delivery method is different (shipped versus online), but a basic funnel for your email subscribers might look like this:

  1. A subscriber opts in through a discount pop-up form.
  2. They get a confirmation email with that discount code.
  3. They begin a follow-up sequence reminding them of the discount.
  4. They’re tagged as a “prospect.”
  5. They’re added to your “newsletter” segment.

Now here’s where the funnel magic comes in. Check out a potential product-buyer funnel:

  1. A customer buys a product through your online store.
  2. They get the “customer” tag added to their profile.
  3. The “prospect” tag is removed from their profile.
  4. They’re added to the “customer” segment.
  5. The “customer” segment is set up to go straight into the “post-purchase” sequence (order confirmation and thank you, shipping confirmation, customer satisfaction survey, product review request, and more).

From there your customer can head down so many different paths. They can get funneled straight into a winback sequence (set to a delay) enticing them to come back and order more.

But what about those customers who don’t ever finish their purchase?

Well this is where the very popular “abandoned cart” email comes into play—with plenty of opportunities to make the most of that interaction.

Let’s learn about segmentation and recovering lost customers via email.

Using triggered emails to increase revenue

Do you ever wish that someone would really get you? That your likes and interests would be considered, noted, and then discussed with you? That someone would pay attention to what you say and do and act accordingly?

Well, it doesn’t have to be a wish for your customers. 

You can be that special someone when you use triggered emails in conjunction with the other methods shared here in this guide.

Triggered emails are emails sent after a recipient takes a particular action, like visiting a product page or watching a video.

The primary purpose of a triggered email is to gently nudge a prospect along the buyer’s journey until they become a customer.  

And since a study by Experian found trigger emails generate as much as six times more revenue than other email campaigns, they’re worth talking about here.

So what kind of emails are trigger-based?

Start at the beginning

The welcome email drives three times the transaction and revenue per email than any other promotional emails. It’s the dinner party host of your onboarding workflow.

And it can be the perfect opportunity to introduce some follow-up triggered emails. 

Your welcome email could include a link requesting demographic information, so you can send more targeted campaigns.

It might share a video of a product demo, and you can tag the people who click through to watch that video as interested in that type of product.

Triggered emails are where you put tagging and segmenting (covered below) to good use.

Win them back

Email marketing lists naturally degrade by about 22.5% every year, so it’s important that you re-engage subscribers who aren’t taking action any longer. Not only is it good for your sales, it’s also good for your email unsubscribe rates. 

Triggered campaigns can kick off when a subscriber clicks on a link inside a re-engagement campaign, showing their interest again. You can take this opportunity to remind those customers why they took interest in your product in the first place, ask questions, or show some personality. Try this:

Subject line: What happened?


We miss you.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen you. We know you get busy, but we’d love to see you again soon. In fact, come back and visit us in the next 5 days and take 15% off your order.

[ Say hi! ]

A re-engagement campaign should, ideally, run on autopilot based on lead scoring, but you might need to run it manually depending on your email provider.

Order confirmation

Want to hit your customers when they’re most interested?

Your order confirmation email can do so much more than remind them of the thing they just bought.

Sure, it’s a digital receipt, and you want to be sure that doesn’t get lost in the mix, but your order confirmation email can remind them why they bought from you (and not a competitor). Like this:

Subject line: We’ve been waiting for you!


Hey, {{ }}!

We take two things very seriously over here at Get Cooking: kitchen supplies (obviously) and our customers.

I just got a notification that you, {{ }}, have made a purchase and etched your name forever into our Wall of Customers We Love.

Our team is carefully reviewing your order, boxing it up, and getting it ready to send your way. You’ll hear from them with an order tracking number once it’s ready to go. Until then, here’s what they’re looking at:

{{ receipt }}

I’m so glad you chose Get Cooking today. Welcome to the family!

Patty Piemaker
Owner, Get Cooking

You do you! Your customer could be purchasing from some big, faceless behemoth, but they’re not.

Amazon and Walmart will very often be able to outcompete you on pricing, delivery options, and selection. You want your customers to make the purchasing decision on a battlefield where Bezos and his robot armies can’t win. That could be part of your personality. Have a sense of humor or whimsy about the game that is online retail.

A store that sells everything loves nothing, so tell them how you lovingly curated your collection. A store that serves everyone is the lowest common denominator, so show them that you offer an exclusive experience to the discerning insider.

Request a review

Once your customer has made that purchase (and you’ve actually delivered the product), it’s time to ask for a review. Of course, you don’t want to be the waiter who asks how the food tastes when the diners haven’t dug in yet, so you’ll want to wait until they’ve had time to use your product. If you’re our fictional online kitchen supply store, Get Cooking, your email might look like this:

Subject line: Have a minute?


{{ }},

I just wanted to stop by and thank you again for your order from Get Cooking. It makes us all proud to know that we get to serve people just like you every single day. We’re the lucky ones, really.

As you already know, our goal is to provide the very best products AND service, and we are always looking for ways to improve both.

Do you have a minute to leave us a quick review so we can hear your story? It really helps us get the word out.

Just click this link and tell the world what you think about your new {{ product }} from Get Cooking.

Thanks in advance. I can’t wait to read what you have to say.


Patty Piemaker
Owner, Get Cooking

A well-timed request for a review is a great opportunity to get previous customers back onto your website and interested in your brand all over again. 

Promotional offers

Promotional email offers can be site-wide or for a particular product or line. And you can leave it at that with a single email, sure.

Or you can get 10 times that response and segment your audience based on their history with you.

For instance, you probably have three types of customers:

  • Big spenders: For these customers, you can send bundle promos full of recommended products or even a curated checkout cart all ready to go.

  • Discount seekers: These customers are typically buying only when there’s a discount or when something is on sale. Promote your referral program or a big sale to this audience, and watch those conversion rates go up.

  • Want-it or need-it buyers: Not driven by discounts or hype, these customers are purchasing your product because they want or need it. They’re often looking for something that’s exclusive or new, so make sure you let them in on special product drops or a VIP email list they can use to gain early access to your next big thing.

For example, for Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday that follows Black Friday), you want to send an email out to those subscribers you know love a good deal who have also purchased from you when you’ve supported a charity in the past.

You might send them a message like this:

Subject: Today’s the day to give back and save


Today is Giving Tuesday.

For every order placed today, we’ll donate 5% of our proceeds to Benevolent Charity.

How does it work?

Just fill your shopping cart, hit checkout, and we’ll funnel 5% of the proceeds earned today over to our friends at Benevolent Charity.

Benevolent Charity makes sure that people who need what they need get it, and they can’t do that without us.

Will you join us in fulfilling our pledge to give $10,000 to Benevolent Charity today?

[ Shop (and give) Now ]

You don’t have to be cheesy or get overly promotional either. Promotional email offers can be conversational and still create a big win for your business and your bottom line.

Using email marketing campaigns to reduce cart abandonment

Did you know that for every 10 customers that put an item in their cart, about 7 of them will leave the site without finishing their purchase?

In ecommerce we call this cart abandonment; when an online shopper adds at least one product to their cart and then leaves without making a purchase.  

Why should cart abandonment be a top priority for ecommerce stores?

Here are the stats:

  • 69.82% of online consumers will put something in a cart on your site and then leave without ever purchasing it
  • 58.60% of those shoppers were throwing things into their virtual cart with no real intention to buy

And what (hopefully) happens first in that checkout process? You get their email address.

Once you have that, you can trigger abandoned cart emails to help bring that customer back and complete their purchase.

Automations that add to your bottom line? Now we’re talking.

What are abandoned cart emails?

The most powerful automated email for B2C retailers is the abandoned cart email, which receives a whopping average click-through rate of 40%.

To maximize your email marketing strategy as an ecommerce business, you need abandoned cart emails.

Abandoned cart emails are a series of reminder emails sent to customers who have initiated your checkout flow, provided an email address, and failed to make a purchase.

The emails are sent based on the tags and segments you set up previously and will ideally feature the content left in their cart (though a generic abandoned cart email can be just as effective).

What goes into an abandoned cart email campaign?

Here’s a quick workflow for you:

  1. A potential customer takes interest in an item and goes to add it to a cart.
  2. Your ecommerce system asks them to log in to add that item to their cart.
  3. They log in and, in that process, give you their email address.
  4. The customer then puts something in their cart.
  5. That customer continues to shop but eventually clicks away, leaving their items in their cart.
  6. Later that day, you send a reminder email, encouraging them to continue checking out. Now you have a few options: At bare minimum, you’ll want that reminder email. Plenty of ecommerce stores report seeing strong results from a simple reminder email. A reminder is better than nothing but, remember, we’re maximizing our email strategies, so you’re going to do more. Picking up where we left off above, you’ve sent the reminder email the same day they added the product to their cart. But they still aren’t budging. So you:
  7. Send an incentive email. Some people send discounts. Others send a second reminder. Some send a countdown timer, letting the customer know the item will be removed from their cart when the timer runs out. Another option is to ask questions (“How can I help?” goes a long way here). Before you land on the default choice of going with a discount or coupon code, a note of caution: So many brands have implemented discounts in their abandoned-cart sequences that many customers are now trained to wait for that code. Training your customers not to give you money is rarely a good idea. When you offer a discount, even one that expires, you train your customers to join those masses who wait for a discount on purpose. They’ll never purchase at full price, and you run the risk of them sharing this “hot tip” with their friends. Also, you don’t really know why your customer abandoned their cart. Was it because they wanted a discount? Or was it because their coffee finally brewed or they had a meeting to get to or they opened too many tabs and forgot which one was yours? If you don’t know that a discount is what they want (and if they’d probably buy anyways without it), why offer one? Don’t undercut yourself when you don’t know the details.
  8. Send a final reminder. This should be a quick one. If they haven’t purchased by now, they’re either no longer interested or not at all enticed by anything you sent as a follow-up (or maybe both).

Your final reminder is actually a great place for a little something extra:

Testimonials and reviews

Often reserved for landing pages and product pages, reviews and testimonials go a long way in this final reminder email.

Have a tweet from a happy customer who loved her checkout process? Screenshot it, and add it to an email.

Utilizing the curated reminder with their products of choice still in their cart? Add a review or two from the website into that email.

Give those potential customers one last glimpse at what it’s like to be an actual customer of your brand and make it impossible for them to say no.

Next-level abandoned cart emails

It doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel if you can’t convert all of your abandoning shoppers. But making an effort to reach out, ask questions, and learn from the results will only improve your entire customer experience.

You should always be testing all of your emails, and the abandon cart series is no stranger to those tests.

So what can you test with abandoned cart emails?

  • Subject lines. A/B test the heck out of these bad boys (more on subject lines in a bit). It’s the job of the subject line to get the email opened, and if no one opens your emails, then it doesn’t matter what it says inside.
  • Time between emails. Maybe you’re coming on too strong, or you’re playing it way too cool. You don’t really know until you test. Try a sequence of emails with one day between each email, and test it against a sequence of emails with a bit more time between each one.
  • That discount. Maybe you need more or less of a discount. Maybe you don’t need a discount at all. Now’s the time to test and see what works and what doesn’t.

Of course, you might have the opportunity to set up more than one sequence of abandoned cart emails.

Let’s call them “new customer” and “repeat customer” sequences.

The new customer sequence can actually take care of that tricky problem of training customers to wait for a discount. Your sequence could include language like “As a new X Brand customer, you get a special discount on your first order.” This does two things: It acknowledges that you know that they are a new customer, and it tells them not to expect discounts in the future.

Your repeat customer sequence then might have recommendations based on previous purchases or an opportunity to introduce a frequent buyer program. Show them that being part of the family has its perks, and you’re simply a guide on that journey.

Investing time and thought into your abandoned cart email sequence can transform your entire buying process. These emails are a way to connect with your customers, increase customer happiness, and help bring revenue into your business.

How to tag and segment your customers

Have you ever received an email about a product you’ve already bought?

Or worse, a product that doesn’t apply to you at all?

Why send someone who lives in Hawaii emails about your cold weather clothes?

Unless you happen to be in a market with absolutely zero competitors, you have to get to know your customers—and then serve them the details that match their interests and needs.

It’s no longer optional.

Using email tagging in your marketing campaigns

Tagging uses your email software to add a tag to an individual customer’s subscriber profile based on their actions. A subscriber can have multiple tags or just one.

For example: You run a popular online store called “Get Cooking” selling kitchen gadgets and supplies. Your customer Sally Shopper buys a pie pan, cookie cutters, and pie weights. Each of those products have a tag connected to them: “baking.” Sally gets the “baking” tag added to her profile when she makes that purchase.

Segmenting is grouping tags together to target a specific audience. 

For example: Sally Shopper starts making bigger purchases in your Wholesale section. She gets the tag “wholesale” to indicate that she’s shopping in that way now. When you go to send an email to all of your wholesale customers about the new cake boxes you have in stock, you know that bakers are going to respond well to this addition to your shop. So you create a segment called “Wholesale Bakers” that includes the tags “wholesale” and “baking.” Sally ends up in that segment and gets your targeted email that speaks to her individual interest. Sally appreciates hearing from you in this way and buys 10 packages of cake boxes immediately. She drops all other potential vendors and decides to buy from Get Cooking exclusively, all because you thought to tag and segment her and send personalized email campaigns accordingly.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Well, that dream can be your reality when you use tagging and segmenting for your email marketing campaigns.

Relevance is huge for customers. And it can make the difference between a casual buyer and an avid fan of your brand.

Maximize your customer communications

Tags are a great way to segment your audience according to their engagement, buying status, product purchase, and much more.

General tags that might work for your store:

  • Prospect: For people who have not yet purchased

  • Customer: For one-time purchasers

And then you can add in these advanced tagging strategies:

  • Repeat-customer: For people who have bought more than once

  • High-value: For customers who spend over $X in your store

  • Product-specific: For customers interested in or purchasing a certain type of product

Product collections are a great way to get into those advanced strategies. Group a set of products together (maybe by category), and add a tag to anyone who purchases from that collection.

When you add a new product to that collection, you can email all past customers with that tag and let them know about your new offer. On a weekly or biweekly cadence, check to see if new items in your store are in popular or lucrative collections. If they are, you can quickly send out a microtargeted email to people almost guaranteed to find those items relevant to their interests.

For example: At Get Cooking, you might introduce some brand new aprons and a custom set of cookie cutters and sell them on pre-order before they’re produced. Bobby Baker signs up to the pre-order for two aprons and a set of cookie cutters. You’d want to set up a collection of items you’ve sold on pre-order and tag Bobby with “pre-order.” Then the next time you launch a pre-order product, you send Bobby (and anyone else with that tag) an email letting them know about the pre-order with custom text calling out the fact that he pre-ordered before, so you thought he’d want to be the first to know about this next exclusive deal.

And those active customers can do some free marketing for you by referring your brand to others.

You might already be asking for referrals on your thank you page, but are you doing it in your email campaigns, too?

By asking for referrals in your emails, you continue the conversation beyond your website. You’re reaching out in a way that’s personal and follows up on that thank you–page moment.

When you give your customers a referral link and they actually use it, you can tag them on the backend of your email marketing system. In fact, you can tag people who have been referred by others AND the customer who did the referring.

Often referral program software has email built right into their system and that’s how you notify your referrer that they’ve achieved a reward status. Why not connect that referral software with your main email marketing software and tag those power referrers on the backend?

Supercharge your sales with segmenting

Sure, there are some common ways to segment your customers, such as:

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Interests and preferences
  • Purchase history

And segmenting can be incredibly powerful with those basics in place. But think about the impact email will have on your business with a bit more advanced segmenting. You could use segments to:

  • Send an email after processing a refund to ask if there is anything that could have been done better.
  • Place VIP customers (those who purchase certain amounts or more) into special automation routines with better discounts and offers.
  • Send an email to cross-sell products that a customer didn’t buy but would be interested in.

Here’s another example from Get Cooking for you: In addition to basic supplies, you also sell stand mixers and other high-performance kitchen appliances. You have this brand new mixer that has a ton of cool features, and your production team has put together a powerful demo video to show those features off. You could certainly just post that video to your website and hope it does its job.

Or you could add an email opt-in form to the page with the demo video (even requiring the email address to watch the demo vid) and collect emails from those highly interested potential customers. Then you’d build a segment that would include past mixer customers, some of your very best customers (read: frequent purchasers), and anyone who signs up on that demo video page. 

Using that power segment, you can:

  • Send an email offering a coupon for that new mixer.
  • Curate an email sharing other kitchen accessories that would complement what you might make with that mixer.
  • Request written feedback on the demo video via email (this encourages them to watch the video again and gives you another opportunity to follow up after they submit that feedback).

Can you see how thinking strategically about tagging and segmenting gives you so many opportunities to connect with your customers?

Of course, you want to be sure you’re safeguarding against sending too many emails.

If you’re building more than one sequence for different subscriber segments, you’ll want to set it all up so that they can coexist without spamming your subscribers.

There are several considerations here:

  • You don’t want the same visitor to be part of multiple sequences simultaneously. These should be mutually exclusive to reduce spam.
  • If a visitor subscribes to your main email list and then gets through part of the process but doesn’t end up purchasing, you might want to tag them appropriately so that they get content that is specifically designed for higher-value subscribers instead of leaving them in a more generic sequence.
  • If you’re sending promo codes in your email sequences, you’ll want to remove them from that tag or sequence if they complete the purchase before receiving that promo code email. It’s annoying to get emails with promotions for something you’ve just purchased.

Keeping track of all of this manually is not only boring, it’s unnecessary—automating subscriber segmentation is the way to go.

How to write subject lines that convert

Think about that moment when you grab your mail out of your mailbox (yes, the snail mail kind).

You flip through each envelope: bill, bill, ad, bill, ohhhh, a letter from my best friend from high school!

Your customers are doing the same exact thing every time they open their inboxes, but the way they choose what they read is based on that subject line.

In fact, writing powerful subject lines will not only get your customers to open those emails, they’re going to make the entire message more cohesive and effective overall.

Luckily for you, there are few psychological triggers you can employ to make your email subject lines the most interesting thing in their inbox.

Be useful

This might seem obvious, but your email subject lines need to show your customers how useful you are to have around. 

Do you sell hair care products? Send a video of your latest frizz-reducing mousse with a subject line like: “Make frizzy curls a thing of the past.”

It’s specific, it’s descriptive, and it’s concise. And since 66% of emails are read on a mobile device, it benefits both you and the reader to keep those subject lines brief.

Make them curious

As humans, we’re naturally inclined to want to help each other. One way we do that is by answering questions asked of us. (It’s why Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?”)

You can build curiosity on the reader’s part by asking questions like: “Are these the glasses you’ve been looking for?”

Or you can imply curiosity on your part with a subject line like: “What do you think of this new kid on the block?”

But questions aren’t the only way to build curiosity. You can bake it in with those enticing (and popular) subject lines like:

  • “You’re gonna want to see this.”
  • “Don’t forget your invitation.”
  • “Big news just dropped!”
  • “Shhh... don’t tell these secrets to anyone...”

Whatever you write to build curiosity, make sure that you deliver on the promise. No one likes a bait and switch, and your emails will get marked as spam faster than you can say SALE.

Get personal

If you’ve opened your inbox lately, you’re likely already on to the fact that personalization in a subject line is a big trend right now. But it’s so much more than a trend—there’s data behind it.

Of course, the results of any kind of psychological trigger vary from industry to industry, but not surprisingly, there are several industries where use of the first name in a subject line has a large positive impact.

Compared to the mean open rate of 24 billion emails (yes, billion), retail industry emails that included a first name in the subject line had a 0.14% lift in open rates. It may not sound like much of a lift, but when you consider that every single opened email gets you closer to a sale, that tiny number can be music to your ecommerce ears.

Comparison shop

Price anchoring, sometimes called “framing,” is when you put the price of something against two other things to show how much value that first thing has.

It’s why you see pricing charts for software companies with tiered pricing on the same page. That’s price anchoring, and you can do it with your subject lines.

Let’s say you’re Vitamix. Your customers report back that they use their Vitamix, on average, four days a week.

You sell your Vitamix for $599.95, and you could list the price that way and talk about that exact price in every email you send. 

Or you could anchor that price based on a per-day cost:

4 days/week x 52 weeks/year = 208 days of use

$599.95 divided by 208 = $2.88/day

Subject line: Less than $3.00 a day

When you write an email telling your potential Vitamix customer that they’re looking at spending $2.88 per day, they’ll start to consider the investment differently.

You could also do price anchoring with coupons (something not enough ecommerce brands do, to be honest).

Do you offer a 15% off coupon in your abandoned cart process for that Vitamix?

Frame that percentage as the cold hard cash it is: $89.99. 

Subject line: Save $90... but only until Thursday!

When you tell your customer they can save nearly $90 (as opposed to 15%), it sounds much more appealing to take action ASAP.

Request reciprocity

Reciprocity is a powerful psychological trigger because it’s starting with a small request and then moving toward a larger one (like making a purchase).

Reciprocity is like your spouse asking you to boil a pot of water, and then you wind up making the whole pasta dinner.

When you ask for something small, like an email address or a free trial or a low price point product, your customers are more likely to respond to a larger request later on. 

Gain the respect and trust of your customers with small asks in your subject lines. Try something like:

  • “Do me a favor.”
  • “Can I show this to you?”
  • “Don’t miss your extended trial.”

A word about... words

It seems silly to say that words matter, but it’s an important point. Subject lines are another place where you have to test what works for your audience, and you’re slightly at the whim of those dreaded “promotion” and “social” tabs in Gmail (one of the most popular inboxes). But there are some cold, hard stats you can reference when you write your next email subject lines:


Research shows that people in the medical, retail, and travel industries should avoid using the word “free,” but restaurant and entertainment industries can get away with it.

“Urgent” and “Important”

These two words must deliver on their promise. Words like “urgent” and “important” showed dramatically higher open rates than the average, but you have to be careful that what’s inside that email is actually urgent or important.

“Announcement” and “Reminder”

Two more words that affect open rates are “announcement,” clocking in with a 0.46% lift, and “reminder,” which showed a 0.29% decrease overall.

“Thank you”

It’s natural to like being thanked, and the open rates show that a little thank you goes a long way. With a 0.57% increase in open rates when the subject line included “thank you,” it’s clear that showing your appreciation for your customers at the right time will only endear you to them long term.

“Last chance”

Last but not least (pun intended), your email subscribers really don’t like being told they’re missing their last chance to get something—these emails showed a 0.46% decrease in open rates.

You’re going to have to be creative. Psychological triggers can help get your emails read, and a single word can either aid or harm that mission.

Ultimately, an email is only as good as its subject line, so think long and hard before you hit send on your next campaign.

You’re never done with email

Here’s the cold, hard truth about email marketing: Statistics don’t mean anything if you’re not implementing new strategies and evaluating the results often.

What works for one company may not work for another.

The approach you take when you start your email marketing journey might look completely different once you’ve been at it for a while, testing and trying out what works on your audience. And that’s a good thing.

Take a look at what other brands are doing. Research industry trends, and consult with email marketing experts. Read the statistics, and poll your audience. And then decide which path you’ll take, and head down it. There might be some rough spots along the way, but know that you can always rechart your course if your chosen path starts to look dark and cloudy.

Email marketing is all about the journey. It’s the customer’s journey in their relationship with your brand. It’s your journey through the data, insights, and best practices. And it’s the journey of the emails making their way to inboxes all around the world.

Have fun with the journey. And come find me on Twitter to let me know how it goes.

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