Email Marketing in Ecommerce: Tips from Sending 137+ Million in a Single Quarter

Email Marketing in Ecommerce: Tips from Sending 137+ Million in a Single Quarter
This is a special guest post from Gabe Macaluso, Channel Manager at Oracle Bronto.

During the week of February 26, 2018, Oracle Bronto sent 13,308,546,572 emails on behalf of the over 1,400 high-growth retailers we serve. In the last quarter alone, that number adds up to 137,170,800,324.

It’s a staggering figure that means two things. First, your customer’s inboxes are flooded, so standing out is tough. Second, the death of email has been greatly exaggerated.

Email is simultaneously one of the most challenging sales channels and the most profitable.

Based on those high-growth experiences, I want to share five advanced ecommerce email marketing tips:

  1. Harness the Power of Popups
  2. Send Irresistible Welcome Messages
  3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
  4. Write Sourced-Based Messages
  5. Play Your Channels Off Each Other

Keep reading to unearth the high-volume tips.


But, to go behind the scenes and find out how email marketing is just one part of what helps the average Shopify Plus merchant grow between 126% and 274% YoY …

Then download the full recordings and slide decks from our two-part webinar event.

1. Harness the Power of Popups

You can’t do much with your email audience if you don’t have one. So, let’s start there.

Love them or hate them, popups are easily the most effective way to build your list. Our customers typically see a list increase of 2.5x to 3x within 12 months of implementing popups at their site.

But that doesn’t mean all popups are made equal …

The common denominator of powerful popups is incentive: make sure visitors have a reason to sign up. Our customer Francesca’s saw a whopping 1,200% increase in monthly sign-ups compared to their previous popup by offering 10% off visitors’ next purchase.

Leesa’s popups take incentives even further, with a one-two combination. Their first popup drives customers to purchase immediately with both a discount and countdown timer.

Then, a few pages later, a second popup appears that offers an additional $25 off framed just a bit differently: $150 off instead of the initial $125 (as well as the free $75 pillow):

From a branding standpoint, you might be hesitant as this method seems intrusive to your visitors, but there are many ways to ease it up.

For example, consider making your popup appear briefly, place it as a banner at the top of your site, or use an omni-present button for continual access like Yoobi:

These types of seamless integrations make your marketing less pushy and invasive.

2. Send Irresistible Welcome Messages

A visitor has subscribed — and that’s just the beginning. Start the conversation with a welcome message or sequence. Not sending a welcome message after someone signs up is like making a new friend, inviting them over for dinner, and then not opening the door when they show up.

From a pragmatic perspective, welcome emails are opened 57.8% of the time, compared to 14.6% of standard promotional emails.

But, how do you make your very first “Hello” irresistible? Two ways …

First, if a new subscriber signed up because of an offer, give it to them. That might sound obvious, but dropping the ball on immediate gratification or, worse, mixing up your offer and delivery is disastrous.

Leesa does this masterfully. From their onsite popups:

To the email that arrives moments later:

Leesa’s branding, aesthetics, and offer all connected with one another.

Second, make your welcome email ooze your brand’s personality. Yoobi combines both approaches, immediately giving new subscribers access to the offer they signed up for as well as flexing their fun and friendly style:

MVMT, on the other hand, simply presents their brand’s distinctive value and social-media-driven focus:

3. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize

According to a June 2017 report from OneSpot, US marketing executives says email attributed 21% of the total revenue in Q2 2017 and that continues to go up 17% year over year. Emails are a way for brands to become more connected with their subscribers, with the goal of reaching out on an individual level with each potential customer.

An easy way to make your emails more personalized is to start the personalization process while they’re still signing up.

MVMT does this with a short popup form attached to their newsletter signup:

Greats does something similar through a two-step popup that appears as an overlay automatically:

Naturally, the first email subscribers receive reflects their selection (men’s imagery on the left and women’s on the right):

Additionally, if your first email is general — i.e., presents multiple collections or product categories — track where subscribers click and, based on their interests, segment them into different groups and send automatically targeted sequences to follow up. Even better — track your subscribers’ onsite activity, and send follow ups with the exact products they’ve recently viewed:

The above email is a result of Bronto’s Browse Recovery app, which captures browsing behavior, ties it to an individual email, and automatically delivers personalized messages.

After implementing Browse Recovery, TTI — the floor care company behind Dirt Devil, Hoover and Oreck — saw their email open rates sent to Oreck shoppers increase 150% and their conversion rates rise 60%. “I’m in love with the Browse Recovery app,” TTI’s Digital Marketing Email Manager James Brown says. “It captures customers on the edge of purchasing and helps them to cross that line.”

In aggregate, sending personalized emails results in an open rate lift of 134 percent, a click rate lift of 254 percent, and a conversion rate lift of 257 percent.

4. Write Source-Based Messages

Sourced-based emails begin with subscription offers that are segment or product specific and lead into emails that follow suit. This is a more detailed form of personalization that shows your subscribers you’re attentive to what they want.

Greats does this on their product-description pages by automatically generating a shoe-specific popup that applies the same 10% off deal from their universal popup directly to the on-page price:

Likewise, MVMT’s welcome sequence integrates this source-based method depending on what gender the subscriber chose at the time of signup:

For a more general approach, if a visitor signs up through a men’s clothing page versus a women’s clothing page, you can cater your welcome sequence to products that you can safely assume they’ll be interested in.

Alternatively, you can add segmentation into your sitewide popups themselves, like Ministry of Supply:

It’s off-putting when a visitor signs up for updates on a certain product, and receives content that doesn’t match their original interest. Source-based messages not only shows the subscriber that you are paying attention to their needs, its brings them closer to the products they are likely to buy and will increase your conversion rates.

5. Play Your Channels Off Each Other

Your website isn’t the only asset you have online. You should make use of all your internet real estate, including your social media profiles.

The secret is to create experiences across your various channels unique to each one rather than serving up the same content on every medium.

Hammitt’s email newsletter drives subscribers to their Facebook page for exclusive announcements

If you’re interested in seeing quick wins (or “low hanging fruit”), look into Instagram shopping or Twitter Lead Generation Cards, which enables visitors to quickly fill out email information. Your business can also make use of Facebook by creating lookalike audiences and leading to a Facebook sign up tab.

I love blending social media and email into each other, using these individually different channels to create a collective result.

Similar to Francesca’s tactic with email popups, you can promote exclusive deals for email subscribers. You can also do the opposite — let your email subscribers know of a sweepstake only available to those who are active on your social.

This type of interaction makes the most of Facebook’s engagement algorithms. By doing this, Facebook promotes your post, expanding the social reach of your brand.

Final Thoughts on Email Marketing in Ecommerce

Pay no mind to the growth hacking flavors of the month. Amidst changing algorithms, emerging platforms, and various other trends, email marketing in ecommerce remains the least expensive and most reliable revenue driver.

Whether it’s for B2B or B2C sales, email enables brands to tap into the emotions of the buying cycle by engaging with people. Sending birthday messages, or general content emails, without the intent for conversion creates a connection between your brand and your subscriber.

Focus on making this connection and implement the advice above, and you will build a loyal customer base.

About the Author

Gabe Macaluso is a Channel Manager, Team Lead at Oracle Bronto, a Shopify Plus Technology Partner, and has been in the ecommerce industry for the last five years. He began by advising retailers on how to increase their marketing sophistication and drive revenue through email marketing.

Currently, Gabe serves in a strategic role to build relationships with Oracle Bronto’s largest partners and provide expertise on marketing automation best practices.