Currently, many businesses are being affected by containment measures that are meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect people worldwide. Companies in certain industries–like entertainment and travel–have been hit hard by the epidemic and have had to cancel many large-scale events. In other sectors, companies have needed to adapt and plan to maintain stability during and after the crisis.
Because of this, brands around the world are actively contacting customers and partnersto keep them informed and reassured. As you may have noticed in your own inboxes over the last few days, email is being used by brands to carry out these communications on a massive scale.
Despite the urgency of the current crisis, you should continue to follow email best practicesin order to protect your reputation as a sender, the deliverability of your messages, and your brand image. In this article, we’ll tell you all the do’s and don’ts of email best practices.
What is deliverability and why is it so important in a crisis?
Email deliverability is the delivery of legitimate emails to the inbox and not the spam folder. Deliverability is a major issue for brands, especially in times of crisis. Brands rely heavily on digital communications and want to know that these communications will reach their intended recipients.
Deliverability is not an exact science, and it depends on a multitude of factors. Keep in mind that red flags for email spamming vary from one Internet Service Provider (such as Gmail, Yahoo, and, Outlook)to another. In recent years, ISPs have become smarter and have moved away from traditional spam filters. Their emphasis is now on the engagement, or non-engagement, of the users. ISPs learn from the way we interact with the messages that arrive in our inbox, and these interactions help them determine whether emails should go to our inbox or land in our spam folder.
In today’s environment, the increasing number of emails received related to COVID-19 is likely to lead to a decrease in the engagement rate on these campaigns. Decreased engagement can then lead to an increase in unsubscriptions or spam reports from recipients. Due to this decrease in engagement, it’s possible that emails related to COVID-19 may begin to be filtered into junk folders by some email clients like Gmail or Outlook.
Do you need to communicate in the context of the crisis?
The answer depends very much on your industry. If you belong to the industries that have been strongly affected (entertainment, events, or travel) and you need to communicate important information (for example: cancellations, postponements, or refund terms), you should continue to email your recipients and give them the information they expect. The same applies if you are in essential areas like healthcare and need to keep people informed as the situation evolves.
ISPs are currently facing a significant increase in inbound traffic related to COVID-19. Some email clients cannot handle increased traffic, and this can cause delays in the delivery of important emails, like those sent by health organizations. Due to the increased traffic, we recommend that you do not send emails if they are not essential. This will decrease email traffic and ensure that really important information can be delivered to the public.
It’s possible that the current crisis is a business opportunity for your brand. If this is the case, only communicate if your message is really timely and useful for your subscribers, and if it helps them during the crisis. Otherwise, you may pay the price in the form of lower engagement and a damaged sender reputation.
What are the best practices to follow during COVID-19?
In light of the above, if you need to communicate with your subscribers, we recommend the following practices:
Again, give priority only to communications that are really useful to your recipients. Don’t use COVID-19 as a pretext to communicate for commercial or marketing purposes if it’s not really needed. Also, do not send out multiple communications if they are not necessary. Instead, use other channels such as social networks.
If you haven’t already done so, authenticate your domains with SPF, DKIM and DMARCto avoid phishing attempts. Phishing is a technique used by scammers to obtain personal information. Spammers will try to take advantage of this pandemic by sending phishing emails. Make sure you and your subscribers are protected.
Never send emails to your entire contact base. This practice should be banned because the recipient servers will blacklist your sending domain and/or your sending IP address due to the large number of inactive/non-existent recipients. Instead, segment your contact lists and only target your active subscribers -for example, those who have opened or clicked on your emails in the last six months. Don’t try to reactivate inactive subscribers under the pretext of delivering coronavirus information to them.
Don’t use a newly created domain name for sending emails. Instead, use a subdomain of your usual domain. Otherwise, you could be mistaken for a spammer instead of a legitimate sender. In addition, make sure you use a sender domain name that allows your recipients to recognize your brand immediately.
In terms of content, don’t write anxiety-provoking communications that can cause panic among your recipients. Instead, make sure to reassure your recipients while reminding them of measures recommended by the World Health Organization to stop the spread of the virus.
You can download our Email Deliverability guide if you want to find all the best practices to follow to improve your general deliverability and avoid the spam or junk folders.
A Mailjet, we are closely monitoring the overall impact of COVID-19 and are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that our customers do not experience any changes in service levels or response times due to the virus. If you would like to learn more about how we are dealing with the pandemic, click here.
Do you know that feeling? You’ve just treated yourself to a long-awaited purchase, and you immediately go to your inbox to check on the Holy Grail: the confirmation email! 🤩 Because of it, you can rest assured that your new phone, laptop, or Bob Ross painting kit will arrive safe, sound, and soon. These feelings of excitement and confirmation are why the transactional emails are so important. But, before we dive in, let’s back up and revisit the concrete definition of transactional email.
What is a transactional email?
Unlike email marketing, which is an email sent “en masse” to many recipients (e.g. newsletters), transactional email is sent to a single individual as a result of a particular action.
It can be, for example, a purchase confirmation, a password reset, a delivery follow-up, a registration validation… the possibilities are endless.
Turn your transactional emails into a marketing opportunity
Sometimes the look and content of triggered emails are overlooked by brands, but transactional messages have the highest engagement rates. That’s why it is important to follow some basic best practices when designing your triggered emails.
Consistency with brand image
To ensure that your users have a good experience, the design and tone of your transactional emails must respect the graphic and editorial standards of your website and your marketing emails. It is extremely important to provide your users with a harmonious and consistent user experience. Any and all communications you send them must be in line with your brand’s visual identity. Avoid triggered emails with only black text on a white background and, instead, infuse them with a little marketing magic.
The power of cross-selling in transactional emails
We also recommend that you take advantage of these triggered emails for cross-selling. This technique consists of alerting the customer to the sale of a product that complements the one he has just bought. Take advantage of your transactional emails to highlight other products or services that could be interesting for your consumers. For example, if you send them an email to confirm a flight reservation, why not offer them a car rental service in the destination city? The important thing is that the offers are consistent and non-intrusive. Once again, keep in mind that the user experience comes first!
Upselling opportunities in transactional messages
Transactional messages also provide the perfect pretext for upselling. Upselling is the practice of offering a slightly superior product or service – one that is more expensive than the one the consumer is interested in. For example, if you offer different types of subscriptions, you can take advantage of a sign-up email to praise the merits of your superior subscriptions.
Referral and loyalty programs
Use your transactional emails to promote your referral or loyalty programs. For example, you can insert a banner at the end of your emails to encourage your customers to refer their friends via a dedicated code. Remember that your consumers are your best brand ambassadors! Make them want to talk about your services to those around them. You can also offer them points to add to their loyalty account. This will allow them to benefit from many exclusive advantages and further improve their customer experience.
Examples of successful transactional emails
Some brands have already understood the huge potential of transactional messages and are sending their consumers high performance emails. Below are some good examples of transactional emails, which can help you build your own effective emails.
American Airlines offers clear and well-designed travel confirmation emails. Travellers can easily find all their flight information at a glance, which helps reassure them after a major purchase. And at the bottom of the email, the brand takes advantage of the opportunity to promote its mileage program, and to offer the consumer a hotel reservation service. These proposals are non-intrusive and completely consistent with the potential needs of the person making the purchase.
Not only does this transactional email from Cream make us hungry, but it also makes us want to tell our friends and family about it. With a simple referral code to share, the brand allows their consumers to benefit from a $100 credit on shipping costs and to pass on the same advantage to their friends. Like Cream, don’t hesitate to put forward a very advantageous offer that makes your readers want to jump on the occasion.
BarkBox is a pretty fun concept: sending boxes to the owners so that they can spoil their dog with toys and treats. With this simple shipping confirmation email, the brand manages to convey the offbeat tone and image of the brand. Additionally, the brand offers consumers to offer a gift box to a “dog lover” like them. This gives good ideas to their customers.
Transactional emails and deliverability
If you send your marketing emails (newsletters, promotional campaigns…) and transactional messages (notifications, confirmations, alerts…), we recommend that you separate your sendings. This way, possible sending restrictions (often triggered by non-compliant statistics or by bad emailing practices related to the account used for your marketing campaigns) will have no impact on the sending of your transactional emails.
Mailjet offers many services that allow you to design, send, and track effective transactional emails. From creating attention-getting, personalized and responsive email to important, real-time email traffic analytics, our transactional email solution provides multi-faceted support for developers and marketers alike.
Create and send your transactional emails with Mailjet
Design beautiful transactional emails with a consistent brand image and send them with Mailjet’s powerful email infrastructure.
Here at Mailjet we’re continuously monitoring the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Our team is working around the clock to ensure the continued health and safety of our employees, as well as the continuity of our business and the continued support of you, our customers.
As we embark on a time of unique uncertainty, we recognize that it’s critical to focus on what’s important. For Mailjet, that is our employees, loved ones, and customers. We know that you rely on our platform to communicate critical information to your customers and partners. As much of the world limits physical interaction, strong virtual communication is more important than ever. We recognize that we’re the backbone of much of the communication for you and your business, and it’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
What we’re doing in response to COVID-19
Mailjet has enacted numerous measures to ensure that we are able to provide seamless uninterrupted support during this time of uncertainty:
We have a Pandemic plan in place to ensure we’re able to maintain our promised service levels. If you’d like a copy of this plan, please submit a ticket.
We have closed all of our offices and have instituted a global work-from-home policy.
We’ve stopped all non-essential business travel, both domestic and international.
We’re encouraging our team members to eliminate all non-essential travel and practice caution to reduce the spread of this virus.
We will continue to monitor the global impact of COVID-19 and adhere to recommendations of agencies like the CDC and WHO. We will not waiver from providing best-in-class service for our customers, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure customers do not experience a change in service levels or response times as a result of this virus. Should you have any further questions as to how we are responding to the pandemic, please do not hesitate to reach out.
E-commerce is growing at an astronomical rate. In 2017, global e-commerce was responsible for $2.3 trillion in sales, and this is expected to grow to $4.5 trillion in 2021. That’s why, if you haven’t done it yet, it’s time to review your e-commerce email marketing strategy.
Alongside this growth, all signs point towards emailing as the preferred method of communication in e-commerce over other channels, including social media. In fact, 72% of people, (including those elusive millennials and teenagers) still primarily prefer email as their primary mode of communication with brands.
In this article, we will give you everything you need to get your e-commerce email marketing strategy up to par, including the different types of emails you’ll need in your customer journey, and essential tips to get content, design, data, and deliverability right.
Email marketing strategy: The essentials
Before you send a large number of emails to your customers, it’s important to define your email marketing objectives. After all, to build a house you need a solid foundation. Your objectives will be your foundation.
Writing emails without a solid strategy will run the risk of sending campaigns that aren’t relevant, and that can result in a low click rate or worse – skyrocketing unsubscribe rates. You don’t want this, do you? 🤔
The key question you should be asking yourself here as an e-commerce company is: What do I want to achieve?
Your objectives could include:
Converting new customers
Receiving reviews and feedback
Boosting customer loyalty and communication
Providing customers with information (about special offers, new products, etc.)
Introducing your company and your unique selling points
Of course, you don’t have to pick just one of these objectives, but it is beneficial to have just a few clearly defined objectives. Concentrate on those most important to you, your business, and where you want to grow. This will allow you to utilize your resources efficiently and also means you won’t waste unnecessary time creating email content that provides no added value.
Instead, ensure that your email campaign is perfectly tailored to your needs. Follow a clear objective that you can naturally adapt, modify, or realign over time.
Email marketing tips for e-commerce
Within each of these campaigns, you always need to keep in mind the 6 key elements of any email strategy: content, design, data, tactics, personalization, and deliverability. To get right to the point, we’ve outlined what you need to consider in each email and included some examples (as well as cautionary tales) to help you with your own campaigns.
1. Spend time on your email content and design
Working on your email content and design should be one of your main concerns in your email marketing strategy. An unengaging subject line won’t entice customers to click on your emails, while poor design reduces the chances that your customers will find the right product for them.
What you want is to first optimize your subject line and preview text. After all, they are the gateways the first things people see in deciding on whether they should open your email or not.
Opt for subject lines that generate curiosity. This will make the reader feel they are missing something “valuable” and want to click into that email to find out more. Which fabric is in-season? What are those fresh finds? This is very effective marketing tactic. However, each “preview” text is simply their URL, www.etsy.com which is a missed opportunity to engage the reader some more.
Good content does not rely just on being creative, and good design isn’t just about being beautiful. Good content is about personalization and timeliness. Good design is about inciting an action.
This is especially impactful for e-commerce where a sale is just a click away, and good content paired with good design can effectively drive clicks.
This Black Friday email by Julep fulfills the basic rules of smart email marketing by knowing how to sell what it wants to sell, writing creative, holiday-oriented copy and ensuring responsive design across all devices and inboxes.
The header immediately introduces the email content (hint: it’s Black Friday sales!); the multi-column design blends image and text into creating compelling copy that guides customer attention. The Call-to-Action (CTA) button (SHOP NOW) also is strategically placed above-the-fold alongside the content. Customers don’t have to scroll down to see these great deals ($19.99 instead of $82), inciting them to click on the CTA.
2. Know the difference between marketing email, automated email, and transactional email
Learning the different types of emails will not only allow you to target different audiences, but to also target the same audiences in a variety of ways. Sending identical promotional emails every single time with just slightly-altered copies can quickly lead to a smash of the unsubscribe button.
As with all marketing efforts, email-marketing should be diverse and creative. As an e-commerce business, you will be sending three main categories of emails:
Transactional emails are the types of emails you send out to customers after they’ve done an action. These emails can be purchase confirmations, account verifications, or password resets.
This confirmation email by Harry’s does its intended job and more. In addition to ensuring that your order has, indeed, arrived, it’s also included some quick shaving tips for customers to read. Beyond just trying to drive sales, they’re trying to drive engagement, loyalty, and through education they are growing their connection to their audience.
On the other hand, marketing emails are bulk emails you send to your subscribed customers. This marketing email from New York & Company contains two types of promotions. The top section includes coupons encouraging customers to spend more to save more. The email’s main body introduces the arrival of their new collections by introducing a sale on their kimono sleeve sweater, for that perfect autumn aesthetic. Get creative and create value where customers had not seen. That’s showbiz marketing baby!
Finally, automated emails are triggered by milestones. They can be automated in many ways, depending on your analysis of customer data. Automated emails can include welcome emails, feedback emails, anniversary emails, and retention emails. For example, if a user purchased a product from your store, you can send an automated email one week later to how they are liking it, whether they would like to buy one for a friend, or perhaps write a review on your site.
3. Avoid mistakes before sending
Of course, when you’re new to sending these different types of email, you’re bound to make a couple mistakes, or miss out on some things. To avoid that, send yourself a test email to ensure everything displays properly, that there are no typos and that the email is responsive.
Before sending emails or committing a template, make sure to pull your teammates into the email builder to have them provide their comments, and be sure to A/B test your campaigns to identify which piece of content, design, subject line, or CTAs drive the most engagement.
Don’t send emails from a useless “no-reply” address. “No reply” emails are those annoying emails you get from businesses sometimes who are making it very clear they don’t want to hear from you.
Not only is it a little rude, almost more importantly it can negatively impact your business as it is often flagged as spam.
4. Don’t ask for subscribers, incentivize subscription
Before sending emails to your customers, you have to make sure that your customers have subscribed to your emails in the first place. There are a lot of different ways to do this.
For example, you can invite website visitors to subscribe to your emails via pop-ups integrated into your website using Mailjet’s subscription widget or third party providers like SumoMe. Or like many of our customers have done so effectively, use the power of social media to invite customers into your mailing list.
One thing that you need to include is an unsubscribe button in your channels. Yes, adding this will mean your list may decrease in size, but more importantly it lets your audience do the different work of cleaning your contact lists for you. By removing customers who’d rather not see your emails, you are ensuring that only those most active engaged users are being sent an email.
In turn, this means you are:
Spending less money sending emails to people who won’t open them anyways, or worse would mark it as spam.
Increasing your domain and IP reputation with ISPs and inboxes.
One of Mailjet’s enterprise users, Videostream, knows the value of this all too well. With the help of a Customer Success Manager, Videostream cleaned their list from 1.2M contacts to 120K contacts. This 10x decrease in users actually resulted in a 5x more total opens, and an increase in ROI of 10x.
Data should serve as the bedrock of your email marketing campaigns. Considering different buyer personas and the customer lifecycle in your email marketing will allow you to send the right email to the right people. Whether it is creating promotional holiday emails, or segmenting people into different groups, data will help you send the relevant emails to the right people.
Useful email metrics to consider when using Mailjet’s platform include how many emails have been sent, delivered, opened and clicked.
The sent rate is a way of saying that the recipients’ servers have received the emails, and the delivery rate means that the recipients can now read them…somewhere (in their inbox? Spam? Mystery. Well, kinda.). The opened rate shows how many people have opened their emails, and the click-through rate shows how many times your customers have clicked on a link in your emails since receiving them.
Other types of data that you want to track, of course, are related to the types of customers you want to target. Getting actionable customer insights will help you send the right types of emails to the right segments, and create engaging, personalized emails.
6. Optimize your e-commerce email marketing strategy
Even the most successful email campaign can be improved. So you need to keep testing your performance.
Ask yourself these questions and adjust your content accordingly:
Which email subject line has the best opening rate?
Which links and call-to-action buttons generate the most clicks?
Which email content was uninteresting for your subscribers?
You can use A/B testing to compare different types of content and then see which alternative was received most positively by your customers.
You can use a tracking function for a step-by-step breakdown of if and when an email has been opened, and which links and widgets were used. With this knowledge, you can improve and adjust your future campaigns.
Segmentation can also be carried out based on this evaluation. You can send personalized email content and build an optimized list of newsletter subscribers.
7. Work on your deliverability
Improving your deliverability – the rate at which your email reaches your customers’ inboxes – is of utmost importance to ensure that your emails do not go not into the spam folder, where emails go to die.
Essentially, all of the previous tips lead up to getting a higher deliverability rate for your e-commerce business. Creating compelling, data-driven email copies will increase the open rates and click rates, which improve your sender reputation. Your contact list should be constantly updated and adequately segmented so that the right people receive the right emails.
To get high delivery rates, have a good, reliable email service provider (like Mailjet). There are many marketing platforms that can send your emails, and have become particularly good at providing both a CRM and an email system, however these tools are often good at a few things but are simply not as strong in email deliverability as an email service provider can be.
This is primarily because good deliverability requires three things that take time, resources, and a commitment to email:
Strong and on-going relationships with inbox providers.
A robust infrastructure and third party vetting tools like Mailjet’s partnership with 250ok.
Deliverability experts to help maintain quality domain and IP addresses for senders like you.
On your side of the equation, you will need to enable your Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail Option (DKIM). These allow your ISPs to recognize the fact that your emails come from a reliable, authorized system, and prevent spammers from stealing the identity of legitimate identities. Mailjet provides an easy-to-follow guide to do this.
Send stunning e-commerce emails with Mailjet
Design and send newsletters, promotional emails and order confirmations for your e-commerce business with the best emailing platform.
E-commerce email campaign ideas along the customer journey
As an online shop, there are many types of emails that you could send out. In order to make the most of all email marketing potential, we recommend integrating marketing and transactional emails along the customer lifecycle.
The benefit of focusing on the customer journey is that it allows you to deduce current customer needs and create personalized content.
Here are the seven different email campaigns you should use, depending on your objectives and customer journey:
1. The welcome email
No matter what, first impressions really count.
When welcoming a new “member” to your email list, send them a welcome email containing valuable content that will inspire them to continue to engage with new articles. For instance, this is a great opportunity to:
Introduce your company and your products.
Make the subscriber aware of your social media channels.
Provide an overview of what type of emails you will be sending.
Send them a welcome gift to validate their decision to subscribe
Indicate important links.
Ultimately what you want is to convey a positive and trustworthy first impression, which will make your new subscriber look forward to receiving more.
2. The classic newsletter
Once you’ve won over new subscribers, you need to make sure they stay in your list by providing them with valuable content.
Naturally, the exact content depends on your business model and customers. As an e-commerce company, you can offer the following newsletter content:
Promoting your own products
Guides for your products
A behind-the-scenes look at production
Compelling content and entertainment like videos
Customer interviews and testimonials
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your newsletter is only there to sell. Sending out newsletters that are too pushy will cause people to unsubscribe from your list, or put a bad taste in their mouth. Instead this is an opportunity to take an engaged list of potential customers and make them love you.
Ask yourself the following questions and create your newsletter accordingly:
What interests my readers?
What questions might they have?
What problems are they currently facing?
How, specifically, can I help them solving these problems?
3. Special occasion newsletters
In addition to your regular newsletter, you can create email campaigns for special events. These can be for holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day, as well as seasonal events such as the World Cup, the Olympics, or Oktoberfest.
You could even, for example, showcase your expert knowledge in the form of useful tips and tricks, or make readers aware of special offers. However, make sure that it all ties back to your company and brand message.
4. Order and shipping confirmations
While you can send out marketing campaigns at any time, transactional emails are triggered by customer action. These include, for example, newsletter subscriptions, invoices, and purchase confirmations.
As an e-commerce company, your main objective is obviously to promote sales in your online shop. Once a customer buys something, you should first send them an order confirmation and then an email receipt. Once the purchased product is sent for delivery, you can then send them a shipping confirmation.
Transactional emails tend to have higher open rates, as customers already expect to receive your communications and look forward to receiving their purchase.
Make sure you leverage these emails to make your customers aware of other products or special offers. This is the best time for you to upsell, when they are most engaged and you know they are opening the email. Don’t miss the chance. 😉
5. Customer surveys
Show your customer that their opinion is important to you by sending them customer surveys and other feedback emails. This could target individual products, the entire shop, the service, or all of the above.
Customer surveys are absolutely essential to you for the following reasons:
To check if your communication with customers is clear and coherent.
To obtain and guide the attention of your customers.
To strengthen customer loyalty.
To inspire you with new product ideas.
6. Shopping cart dropouts
Has your customer halted a transaction or left an item in their shopping cart? Remind them with a friendly email! This gives you an additional option to show them similar products and offers, or provide them with buying incentives through discounts.
Don’t give up on any customers! You can send a personalized email to inactive users. This allows you to find out if they are still interested in your services and remind them about your unique products.
If you succeed in winning the customer back, you can surprise them with a “Welcome back” email. You can make a good impression here with the aid of discounts or coupons.
If you don’t receive a reaction following several messages, then it may be best to part ways and remove the contact from your list. Yes, we know it’s always hard to let them go… 😔 but it’s best for everyone this way (more on this below…)
7. Personalized note to your customers
You can engage your customers in a more personal manner and develop a friendly relationship with personalized touches such as a birthday email with coupon.
Think about whether you would like to show appreciation to particular customers – after all, loyalty should be rewarded! For example, cheaper account upgrades are a possibility here.
While we’re on the topic of rewards, you may want to provide incentives for customers and subscribers who recommend you others. Make it easy to recommend your website and shop, and show your appreciation for each customer gained this way.
You are now ready to make the most of email marketing for your e-commerce company. You know you need an effective email marketing strategy, how to create and manage email lists, and which types of emails are just waiting for you to use them.
Remember these top email tips for e-commerce businesses:
Tip 1: Marry good content with smart design to drive customers towards your products.
Tip 2: Learning different kinds of email will really allow you to take advantage of email’s sweet ROI. And don’t do no-reply emails. It’s bad for business.
Tip 3: Take multi-channel approaches to incentivize subscription. But make it also easy to unsubscribe to make sure that you’re not sending emails to people who will never read your emails.
Tip 4: Tracking data on customers and email will help indicate what works and what doesn’t.
Tip 5: Personalize and segment your email campaigns, putting in that little extra effort on each campaign and in data collection will go a long long way in standing out from the crowd.
Tip 6: Make sure your emails don’t go in the spam folder by sending emails smartly and following the previous tips.
Mailjet offers you all of the email functions and tools that online shops need for this purpose. Don’t miss any more opportunities for your e-commerce business. Simply log into Mailjet or set up a free account:
Send stunning e-commerce emails with Mailjet
Design and send newsletters, promotional emails and order confirmations for your e-commerce business with the best emailing platform.