The 10 Point Ecommerce Email Marketing Checklist

Is email marketing the elephant in the room for your store? Is it always that task you’ll get to in 6 months but never do?

We repeatedly see ecommerce stores of all sizes, who are doing an amazing job building a brand and driving traffic with SEO, that have meager to non-existent email marketing efforts. It’s kind of like throwing a party where you put up signs and flyers, but forget to send invites out to the people you want to come or came last time.

The goal of this post is to give stores that easy starting point (or to help stores sending great email make sure they are realizing their full potential).

Each of these is small enough that if you invest a couple of hours, you should be able to see a tangible impact on your email marketing efforts.

1.) Do you send a welcome email to new newsletter sign-ups?

The moment someone signs-up for your newsletter is also a moment of peak interest for your potential customers.  A welcome series lets you tell them more about you and your store and can be a great time to show them your store is run by real people. Furthermore, studies have shown these emails are clicked 5X as often as the typical email you send.

Here are a few ways to get started with welcome emails.

2.) Do you sound like a human when you email?

You aren’t Walmart or Amazon – and that’s a good thing.  One of your unique advantages is that you can be more personal and less formal as a way of building relationships with your customers. Emails from people are read more, drive more sales and make customers happier than formal emails that sound like they were sent to millions of people.

Email marketing checklist

3.) Do you send newsletters regularly?

One of Seth Godin’s pillars of permission marketing is that customers anticipate getting your message.  If you aren’t sending a newsletter regularly (whether that’s monthly, weekly or daily based on your business), customers will forget who you are and why you are emailing them.

We routinely see that spam complaints overall are lower if you consistently email customers.

4.) Do your order and shipping confirmations match your store theme / colors / etc?

Making sure your order and shipping confirmations reflect your brand and look great is a quick win that’s often overlooked by stores.  These emails reach your customers when they are at their most excited, and they are more likely to be forwarded to their friends if they look great.

Here’s a post on making your email look great without a designer if you need a starting point.

5.) Are you collecting emails via either a pop-up or fly-out?

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is to ask your visitors to subscribe by showing a pop-up (potentially giving them an incentive) or a fly-out at the bottom of the screen that appears after they’ve been onsite for some time.

While having a newsletter sign-up in your footer is a first step, simply asking your customers more directly if they want be on your list gives them a clear choice without needing to hunt for it.

For those worried about annoying customers, a few ideas for making the sign-up seem less “annoying”:

  • Only show the sign-up after 60 seconds
  • Only show it one time and don’t show it again if the visitor closes it
  • Use a fly-out sign-up instead that is more subtle and appear at bottom of screen without blocking everything else out

Finally, there’s a ton of good content out there of people testing and debating email sign-ups that can be worth reading through if you are still unsure (for example this post on the Unbounce blog).

Email marketing checklist (1)

6.) Have you considered sending abandoned carts?

Many stores have a love or hate relationship with abandoned cart emails, but every store should at least consider sending them.

Great abandoned cart emails are helpful, personal and unique follow-ups that add value to potential customers at the right time when they could choose to go to a competitor instead.

Because so many carts get abandoned, it’s worth making an informed decision – try them out to see if they impact your store and spend a few minutes turning it into an email that you’d want to receive. We’ve seen that setting up an email series to bring back cart abandoners generates an average of $12 per abandoned cart.

7.) Do you email customers who bought previously but haven’t come back in 6 months?

Customers who have bought from you before are one of your greatest assets, and sending a personal follow-up when they don’t return can be one of the most effective ways of bringing them back.

Studies have shown that 80% of a company’s future revenues often come from 20% of their current customers – so investing in bringing customers back now is one of the best ways of building a sustainable business.

By sending a simple email with a discount 3-6 months after someone buys, you’re reaching customers who already like you and who you’ve already spent the money to acquire – while giving them an incentive to come back. An easy starting point is sending a one-off campaign to customers who bought a few months ago to see the impact.

8.) Do you say thank you to your best customers?

One of the best parts about running a business is knowing you’re able to make some of your customers really happy – and at the same time, those customers make up an outsized portion of the sales of your business.

A simple tactic is to either manually or automatically sending your best customers (either based on number of visits or on amount spent) a short personal note telling them you appreciate them.  It helps bring them back, builds your relationship with them, elicits feedback, and makes them feel good.

Think about it this way – if you ran an offline store and saw these loyal customers coming in, you’d certainly introduce yourself.

Email marketing checklist (2)

9.) Do you ask people to refer new customers to you?

Getting someone to your site and getting them to purchase takes both time and money – all of which is in sharp contrast to referrals, which bring passionate and excited customers right to you.

If you’re like most stores, you’ll start to see referrals happen on their own, which is a great way to validate your business but it’s also a sign that you should probably be asking customers to refer you to their friends, forward your emails and be advocates for you. Studies have shown that 83% of happy customers are willing to give referrals, but only 29% actually do – so asking for the referral is an important part of making sure they happen.

If you’re already sending newsletters or personalized thank you notes, it’s as easy as just asking someone to help you spread the word. 

10.) Are you evaluating your emails on how they impact purchases?

Finally, are you seeing how your emails are impacting your sales?  The great thing about email is that you can easily see the impact it’s having.  By making sure to analyze how email is driving sales, you’ll start to see what works and what doesn’t, and further inspire yourself to improve your email marketing.

To track how your email is driving sales, you can use an email platform that’s plugged directly into your store or you can use UTM variables and Google Analytics.

The Role of Email

Email marketing is an essential piece of the ecommerce marketing puzzle. As you drive traffic to your store with SEO, building a great brand and offering great products, email makes sure you take full advantage of visitors by nurturing potential customers into buyer and keeping them coming back.

Whether your store’s on Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce or a custom platform, email marketing shouldn’t be intimidating. If you start somewhere and steadily improve, you’ll quickly see that your email marketing goes from an embarrassment to an asset.


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