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The Anatomy of a High-Converting Ecommerce Email
Last Updated:  
September 21, 2022

The Anatomy of a High-Converting Ecommerce Email

You’ve heard the stats before - email has the highest ROI with $36 returned for every $1 spent.

And for ecommerce, specifically? The average order value from email is 20% higher with 3 times the conversion rate compared to other channels.

Ecommerce emails, when executed right, can be the lifeblood of a thriving ecom business.

It will entail strategic thinking and a deep understanding of what your customers want to see in their inbox, but you can start building the roadmap with the information in this article.

Let’s look at what makes a high-converting email, piece by piece.

1. “From” Email Address

An email’s “From Address” is the address displayed next to your email header. And it’s the first place where you can immediately establish trust.

You need to have a name that will be instantly recognizable to your subscribers. Typically, it will be the company’s name or a recognizable team member – like a welcome email from the CEO. Your marketing emails should never come from a generic address.

The easier it is to identify the source of an email, the more likely it will be opened.

High Converting Ecommerce Email Content

In the example above, Wise, formerly known as TransferWise, made sure their email subscribers knew who the email was from by adding in their previous name – the ones their customers are more familiar with – in parenthesis. This can be a helpful trick when sending an email from a new company name, new address, or new team member.

2. Subject Line

Almost 47% of people decide to open an email based on just the subject line, so grabbing your subscribers’ attention is crucial – making this one little line a small but mighty piece of your conversion pie.

So how do you write a good subject line? Let the users know what’s waiting for them inside without giving it all away.

The following are general copywriting tips from real examples found in my inbox this week:

  • Pique curiosity
  • Ex: Time to start planning an adventure ⚡⚡⚡(Seek Discomfort)
  • Make it about them
  • Ex: The dashboard of your dreams (Triple Whale)
  • Push a sense of urgency
  • Don't miss out on this Beauty Bag 😍(Dermstore)
  • Tease with exclusivity
  • Download our APP for an exclusive offer 👉📱(Dermstore)
  • Announce a new item
  • Ex: New Limited Edition Hue? Yes, Please! (Parachute)
  • Cause a stir
  • Ex: Psst! The great indoors isn’t a thing (Airbnb)

With ecommerce, it’s very easy to succumb to blasting sales emails out each week. But what that ends up looking like in your leads’ inboxes is an exhausting train of SALE! SALE! SALE!

High Converting Ecommerce Email Content

In the example above, the online fashion brand Reformation showcases a nice mix of sales emails sandwiched between other enticing subject lines.

A/B Testing

Feeling stuck on subject lines? Don’t leave it up to chance. A/B testing helps you take the guesswork out of the process by identifying which email subject line is more powerful.

Email A/B testing, also known as split testing, entails sending two different versions of your subject line to two different sample groups of your email list. The subject line which receives the most clicks will be declared the “winner” and sent out to the rest of the subscribers.

The vast majority of email service providers have built-in A/B testing features for subject lines, making it an essential part of any high-converting email today.

Preheader

An email preheader displays text next to or below the subject line, depending on if you’re viewing it on desktop or mobile. Not only is it a fantastic way to engage with your subscribers before they’ve even opened your email, but it’s becoming more and more crucial you don’t leave this part of the email to the wayside.

That’s because if don’t add preheader text to an email campaign, email service providers may pull in the text for you based on the contents of your email. That’s not always a problem, but why wouldn’t you want to take control of the conversation and use the email preheader text as a sort of “second subject line” to get more email opens?

Make your subject line and preheader text work together. Here are some examples I’ve written for Keeps, a DTC company specializing in hair loss for men.

  • Subject line: Ends soon ⚠️ Up to 50% off
  • Preheader: Get our best-selling treatment plan
  • Subject line: Last chance for your FREE shampoo
  • Preheader: Don’t miss the mane event

3. Body text

This is the meat and potatoes of your email. Many ecommerce companies throw in a few price tags, some buzzwords and percentages, and product images and call it a day. While that’s better than nothing, high-converting emails are part of a bigger strategy.

Top brands that do emails well can break them down into three kinds of emails:

  • Sales emails
  • Nurture emails
  • Lifecycle emails

In the ecommerce world, sales emails reign supreme. A sales email is going for the close – like a promotion or a product announcement. It can also include cross-sell or upsell emails, back-in-stock emails, subscriber-only discounts, and seasonal sales.

A nurture email is meant to create engagement with your brand. So while the AOV of these emails isn’t as shiny as sales emails, they’re still crucial for building affinity for the brand and product line. You can send your subscribers to the blog or podcast, provide an update on the company, put the spotlight on a team member, post a survey, and more.

A lifecycle email only targets a small segment of your subscribers with relevant messages based on their behavior. Some popular lifecycle emails include welcome emails, birthday emails, win-back campaigns, and cart abandonment emails. According to Shopify, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is between 60% and 85% but abandoned cart emails typically can recover between 5% and 11% of those otherwise lost sales!

High-converting body text is written according to the strategy and type of email, and it is always written with the specific user in mind.

4. CTAs

A CTA (call to action) is a prompt asking your reader to take a specific action. In ecommerce emails, it’s typically written inside a colorful, hyperlinked button.

Without a CTA, your efforts in all of the above will be reduced to… almost nothing. That’s because a CTA creates almost a 371% increase in CTR and a 1676% increase in sales! Yeah, it’s a big deal.

Luckily, they’re the easy part. Use short phrases with action words in your copy. Some examples include:

  • Discover
  • Enter
  • Download
  • Join
  • Buy
High Converting Ecommerce Email Content

In the example above from Create & Cultivate, they end their email with a white CTA button to simply “BUY TICKETS”.

Attribution

If you’re running a multi-channel campaign, attribution can help you understand how, when, and why your customers decided to buy. This, in turn, will help you determine which ad channels are driving the most incremental value to your business – whether that’s your emails or otherwise.

Try Triple Pixel to ensure you are properly attributing your organic and paid efforts. We capture all events that lead up to a customer’s purchase, regardless of whether they happened 10 days before their order or 60. Head here to get started.

About the Author

Kaleena Stroud

Kaleena Stroud is a copywriter for SaaS and DTC businesses. She’s a fanatic about all things brand voice.

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