Email marketing for e-commerce: the ultimate guide to turning your subscribers into clients

Can you see your number of visitors growing in Analytics, but not your sales? Maybe you can’t get your clients to make a second purchase?

Whatever your situation is, they can all be solved by using the same technique: email marketing.

Whether you can’t see clearly what the advantages of sending emails to your clients are, you don’t know to to define your strategy, or don’t know how to get subscriber in the first place this is the post for you.

Doofinder is presenting a complete guide showing you everything you need to know about email marketing for e-commerce.

Today we’ll convert your subscribers into clients thanks to email.

What is email marketing in an e-commerce?

If we stick to the definition, email marketing is just the simple action of using email to communicate with clients. However, as you can imagine, this term means a lot more than what the pure definition tells us.

For any online business, and obviously for an online shop, having a list of subscribers is something incredibly valuable. But why?

When you gain a subscriber, what you are actually doing is converting that person who visits your shop into a potential recurring client.

The key to email marketing for e-commerce is that email is one of the best channels to communicate with a client. Think about it for a second: how many time a day do you check your email?

Every 3 hours? Every hour? Every 15 minutes?

Exactly! And however strange it may sound, most of us are addicted to our phones. So much so that according to this America Online study, 40% of people say that the first thing they do in the morning is check their email.

Although using this tool for e-commerce is considered to be obsolete by many, the truth is that it is still one of the most effective strategies around for increasing your sales.

Advantages and disadvantages of email marketing

It is possible that you are only thinking about how to increase your sales. However, emailing has many other advantages:


  • ROI: according to an eMarketer report, the average ROI of email in an e-commerce is 122%. This figure places it in a way higher position compared to other digital strategies.
  • Loyalty: knowing the client’s email address gives you the opportunity to communicate with them often, but forget about only writing commercial emails. If you want to gain their loyalty, you will have to add value.
  • Recover all abandoned carts: when a client abandons the checkout, you have the option of sending an email to ask about the reason and try to regain the sale.
  • Cost: when you first start and you only have a small list, the free version of any email marketing software will be enough.
  • Control: all these software include a statistics sections so you can monitor the success and reach of each of your campaigns.
  • Automation: you have the possibility of creating predetermined email sequences (also known as autoresponders). That is to say, selling automatically without you having to do anything.


  • SPAM: a lot of email marketing campaigns end up going to the spam folder because spam filters automatically invalidate them.
  • Cost: as soon as you get a bigger subscribers list, you will have to pay. If you want a more specific function, you will also have to pay for it.
  • Saturation: many people’s inboxes are full. That means your campaigns have to compete with hundreds of other emails that your clients already receive.
  • Bad image: for a period of time, the email marketing of many e-commerces was just about sending their clients lots of commercial information. This history has led many people do immediately delete any email coming from a shop.

Although this disadvantages section has several points, email marketing efficiency for selling is undeniable. An online business that doesn’t look for subscribers is wasting one of the best tools available.

How to create your email marketing strategy in 3 steps

As with any other digital marketing technique, you’ll need a strategy. A plan that guides you so you know what to do at all times in order to reach your goals.

1. Ideal client

If you want your emails to be effective, you need to know who you are talking to. If not, your message will be too generic and won’t have a strong impact.

To help you empathize with your clients, it is very effective to create a buyer persona.

The buyer persona is the virtual representation of your ideal client.  Normally, you can create a template and fill it in with a picture, a name, age, job, wishes, problems, and so on.

2. Frequency

Always prioritize quality over quantity. Regardless, you can fix this according to the metrics you obtain from each campaign.

However, the general rule is to try not to be intrusive or overwhelming. Just sending email doesn’t guarantee making more sales. The key is to define a sales funnel that you can automate by creating a sequence of autoresponder emails.

For example, if you notice that very few people open your weekly newsletter, you can try to create a monthly one including all the same information.

3. Email goals

Although the main goal is to make sales, each individual email may have a different goal. For example:

  • Adding value: we reinforce our content strategy when sending quality information by email.
  • Trust: we have already explained that in order to sell, you need to gain your audience’s trust. One way to do that is by sharing the history of your business or introducing your team.
  • Segmentation: thanks to automation tools, our list of subscribers can be filtered and divided according to their interests.
  • Directing traffic: when we send a newsletter, the main goal is that everyone visits our shop as a result. It can lead to a specific product or blog post.

Writing an email without having a clear goal in mind is one of the most common mistakes in email marketing. That’s why you should always define what the strategy is and what you want to achieve.

4. Software

To finish up, you must choose your email marketing provider. Currently, these are some of the most well-known options:

  • MailChimp: without a doubt, one of the most-used. The free version allows you to have 2,000 subscribers and send 12,000 emails sent. Go to MailChimp.
  • GetResponse: besides email marketing, it offers other automated marketing services, such as landing page creation or workflows. The cheapest plan is €12 per month per 1,000 subscribers. Go to GetResponse.
  • Active Campaign: it has several options for specific automations for e-commerce. For example, sending an email when there’s an abandoned cart or sending a coupon when a subscriber appears to be inactive. Go to Active Campaign.
  • MailRelay: besides being 100% in Spanish, the free version allows you to send 75,000 emails and have 15,000 subscribers. In addition, it includes the autoresponder option for free. Go to MailRelay.

Even if you want to save on costs at the beginning, it is advisable to have the option to set up an autoresponder from the beginning. Being able to design an email sequence will allow you to put sales on autopilot and to save a huge amount of money.

How to gain subscribers for your online shop

Before developing an email marketing strategy for your e-commerce, you need to get something: your clients’ email addresses.

Let’s take a look at some options to get subscribers:

  • Forms: you can place them on the home page, the sidebar, or on your blog page. If you have a pop-up, remember to deactivate it in the mobile version or Google will punish it in terms of web positioning.
  • “Let’s me know when it’s available”: someone wants to buy a product that is currently sold out. You place a button through which you can let them know when it is available again as long as they provide their email address.
  • Presale: if you are going to get a product that you know will work really well, you can launch a presale. You just need to tell all the people interested in the product that if they don’t want to miss out, they should join a list so you can tell them when it’s ready. 😉
  • Giveaways: we already explained this in our post on how to run a Facebook contest. One of the possible objectives of having a giveaway is to grow our list of subscribers.
  • Discounts: Yep, plain and simple. Offer discounts and special offers in exchange for their email address.
  • Free shipping: similar to discounts — offer free shipping in exchange for their email address. But don’t forget to make sure the cost is worth it for you.
  • Freebie: offer free samples in exchange for their email address. This is very common for SaaS (Software as a Service).
  • VIP Club: do you want to enter our shop and see the incredible products we have? Then you will have to leave us your email address. This is the strategy used by Huckberry, a shop for men products.

Remember that a business without subscribers is a business without a client portfolio. Emails don’t just allow us to improve the relationship we have with our subscribers, but rather they’re also the best way to “keep the pot boiling” in terms of sales.

If you want to read about more ways to gain subscribers, have a look at this post.

Are you ready to send emails?

If you haven’t used email marketing in your e-commerce before, or if you have, but you only sent reminder newsletter, it’s time to make a change.

Today we’ve explained everything you need to know to start gaining subscribers and generating your first sales. So, you no longer have any excuses!

Time to start emailing