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Are You Doing Enough With Your Ecommerce Newsletter5 min read

Does your ecommerce newsletter suck?

Your open rates are just OK; your clicks so-so; and you get the occasional conversion, but there’s clearly more you could be doing with your customer newsletter.

Think about how many email newsletters you receive each week yourself. How many do you read, how many sit in your inbox unread for weeks, and how many do you delete immediately before eventually unsubscribing?

There are probably very few in the first category. While we’re currently enjoying a resurgence in the popularity of newsletters, only a few of the best emails like 2PM or The Hustle get serious engagement from readers.

That’s because most newsletters are full of generic content that just isn’t very exciting or useful. But high-quality email newsletters can be super useful marketing tools if done well.

In fact, studies suggest that you get $35 to $40 back for every dollar you invest in email marketing. You should definitely keep sending newsletter email campaigns, but you have to make them more personalized, relevant, and interesting so that your buyers actually open, click, and convert. Here’s how to up the impact of your ecommerce newsletter.

Stay true to your brand and audience

There are a lot of recommendations for newsletter best practices out there, including:

  • Subject lines
  • How often and what time of day to send emails
  • Plain text vs. HTML
  • CTA color and copy
  • Effective newsletter templates
  • …and much more

But your business is unique and so are your customers, so you need to give them want they want, not what Walmart’s customers like. Your customers want insights from your ecommerce emails that only you can provide — with your brand’s personality, voice, and tone. Why would they want something they could get elsewhere?

That goes the same for copy and newsletter design. Again, there are lots of best practices out there – always include an image, keep copy really short, put CTAs at the top and bottom, etc. But only you know what your customers like and what works for them, so don’t be afraid to break all the rules and A/B test what your buyers respond to most.

Personalize

Even if you’re sharing your brand’s unique insights with a perfectly designed template, not everyone will like it. Not all of your customers want the same thing from a newsletter. That’s why you need to forget batch-and-blast right now and customize and personalize everything you send to your buyers.

To do that, you first need to collect enough data on your customers so you know what they want. Study which of your newsletters they’ve opened in the past, as well as their historical behavior, including:

  • Likes and dislikes
  • Product purchase history 
  • Brand affinity
  • Demographic data

Then, use marketing automation to insert dynamic content into your emails. By personalizing sections of content within your ecommerce newsletters, you’ll make your email campaigns more relevant and appealing. Even if your intro content is the same, you can personalize the second half of your newsletter based on past behavior and interactions, for example. This can include product recommendations, coupons to encourage customers to complete purchases they have abandoned, or CTAs to engage on social media.

Vary content

It’s important to mix things up and not send the same thing every week, or even your most loyal customers will get bored. Get creative! Send fun content marketing that your new subscribers and loyal buyers are likely to enjoy. Here are some different types of content you could try sending:

  • Customer stories
  • Product reviews or new product announcements
  • Competitions and quizzes
  • Industry news
  • Influencer content
  • Coupons, discounts, and information on loyalty programs
  • Invitations to follow your brand on social media
  • Invitations to special events

Test what kind of content resonates best with your users and always measure KPIs like click-through, open rates, and ultimately, conversions. That way, you know what to do more of, and what your audience isn’t interested in at all.

You should also make sure your newsletter has a focus of some kind. It shouldn’t be 100% promotional, but it also shouldn’t be completely random either. Make sure you follow up with content related in some way to your brand. Otherwise, it’s unlikely to win over your customers in the long term and could come across as gimmicky or clickbait-y.

Awesome examples of ecommerce newsletters

What does it look like when a newsletter is informative, interesting, or fun for the audience to read? We have a few examples of great ecommerce newsletters to share:

1. Soko announces an on-brand partnership

Soko ecommerce newsletter

All your ecommerce newsletters should tie in with your brand values and mission in order to build a more captive and loyal audience. Jewelry brand Soko’s newsletter does just that, aligning their devotion to sustainable fashion with an announcement that it is working with a UN Trust Fund. It also includes a CTA to buy the products that have been created as a result of this partnership, as well as other CTAs that link to best-selling products and new arrivals to maximize conversion rates.

2. Black Diamond shares customers stories

Black Diamond ecommerce newsletter

Customers stories are one of the best ways to softly sell products. Outdoor gear Black Diamond’s ecommerce newsletter includes inspirational and aspirational content that also shows the benefits of using the company’s products. The newsletter also includes a link to the product used at the bottom to make it easy for customers to click and buy.

3. Spikeball invites you to play

Spikeball ecommerce newsletter

Spikeball’s newsletter is fun and includes great instructional content for new players of the game, as well as experienced players everywhere. This newsletter invites their biggest fans to compete in tournaments around the country, which will build the game’s following even more.

The key to making your ecommerce newsletter a success is to build an audience through interesting content, staying true to your brand, and always offering something relevant. But it’s also about giving your customers what they want from your ecommerce marketing. Make sure you are collecting the right data so you can personalize every email you send, and segment your lists to only send the newsletters they really want.

This article was originally published by our friends at Zaius.

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.