Why Email Marketing Is the Key to Ecommerce Success in 2019

By August 27, 2018 October 17th, 2018 No Comments

When it comes to promoting your ecommerce business, there’s a ton of marketing options to choose from.

But when it comes to sheer numbers and overall performance, email remains king.

If you haven’t taken the time to properly set up email marketing for your store, I’m going to assume you don’t know about email’s impressive track-record.

Jump to a section:

Your Customers Want to Be Emailed

Email Provides Huge Returns

Email Outperforms Facebook & Twitter

Ranking on Google Search Is Getting Harder

Content Marketing & Email Work Together

Email Drives More Traffic & More Sales

(Almost) Everyone Is a Subscriber

Your Email List Is a Business Asset

Read the summary here.

Your Customers Want to Be Emailed

Email is the most popular channel of communication, bar-none.

72% of people prefer communication with companies to happen through email.

In fact, email was the only digital channel to outperform traditional media —

  • Postal mail (48% preferred)
  • TV ads (34% preferred)
  • Magazines & Newspapers (31% preferred)

MarketingSherpa asked consumers: In which of the following ways, if any, would you prefer companies to communicate with you? Please select all that apply. 

Email was the most popular amongst every age and gender demographic…

Except for females over 64 years old – but only by a (grandma chin) whisker.

Their preferred form of communication was postal mail, beating email by just 1%.

So it’s clear that grandma still cranks up her PC for a bit of solitaire and checks her email while she’s at it…

Email Provides Huge Returns

People’s preference for email is reflected in dollar signs too.

Email earns an average of $38 for every $1 spent, which is an ROI of 3800%…

One in five companies even reported an astonishing ROI of over 70:1 – huge!

The chart below shows the superior returns of email per dollar, compared to other marketing channels.

Of course, this is a fantastic ROI, but it still takes work to achieve it.

You need to ask yourself if your own store has everything in place to secure these kinds of results.

If the figures above aren’t enough to impress you, see what Corey Dilley from Unbounce had to say their email list:

Unbounce’s email list is the biggest asset we have for driving new acquisitions. Why?

Email marketing consistently generates 80-90% of our landing page traffic when we launch a new campaign, piece of content or product feature.

We’ve been building our email list since before we built our product and it’ll remain one of Marketing’s top priorities until Google Telepathy is released.

You can easily figure our your own ROI with the Email Marketing ROI Calculator

…Email’s ROI is impressive, but how well does email really fair up against your favorite social media channels?…

Email Outperforms Facebook & Twitter for Selling Online

I’m sure your store has a Facebook page and probably a Twitter account…

But, just because customers ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ your page, it does not mean they’re going to see your promotions – even if they’re online at that exact moment.

These platforms are extremely crowded.

Your posts are being drowned out by friends, family, other businesses and dogs that can balance things on their head.

Not to mention the steadily declining number of organic post views since 2012.

In a study of over 100 brand pages Social@Ogilvy discovered Facebook organic reach hovered around 6% in 2014.

In comparison to Facebook and Twitter, email engagement is outstanding.

  • Facebook Engagement: 0.07%
  • Twitter Engagement: 0.03%
  • Email Engagement: 18%

If someone gives you their email address – it means they’re comfortable receiving your content and promos.

And once your email lands in their inbox, it will happily stay there until they come along and open (or delete) it.

Just look at the signup forms for Twitter and Facebook.

Like everyone else, they want your email address, because these companies know it’s still the most direct and reliable way to reach you.

Source: Facebook / Twitter

When you give up communication to your customers through Facebook or Twitter you are now at the mercy of them allowing you to talk to your customers.

AppSumo.com is a 7 figure business and 90%+ of our revenue comes from emails.

7 Experts on Why Building Your Email List Is So Important, Noah Kagan, Founder of SumoMe

“But what about organic search!?” you say, well I think you and I both know…

Ranking on Google Search Is Getting Harder

Google is the most visited website in the entire world.

To hold onto the #1 position, they must continuously deliver exactly what their audience wants…

“And what’s that?” you ask.

The answer is content. Lots and lots of content.

And not just any old content. The best, most relevant content.

So Google continuously develop and communicate their improved search ranking factors.

And old techniques (like keyword stuffing & link spamming) that could once rank rubbish content on page 1 of Google, no longer work like they used to.

[Search engines] have gotten so much better at essentially optimizing for solving the searcher’s task, helping them accomplish the thing that they wanted to accomplish, the writing that does the best job of solving the searcher’s task tends to be the most highly prized.

What Does It Mean to “Write for SEO” in 2018? by Rand Fishkin

The technical side of SEO optimization is getting easier thanks to tools like Yoast.

But remaining strategies that are still effective (e.g. content marketing), are either extremely time consuming or costly.

Plenty has been said about the value of great content.

The issue however is that creating quality content – whether it be text, photo or video – is hard.

Not to mention, that after you create your amazing new content, you must now attempt to rank it – bloggin’ ain’t easy!

Google is constantly changing its algorithm and, sometimes, you can end up with a penalty without even knowing what you’ve done wrong. In that situation your mailing list is the only real protection you have. Even if all of my search rankings disappeared tomorrow I’d still be able to promote my blog to tens of thousands of people via email.

7 Experts on Why Building Your Email List Is So Important, Ramsay Taplin, Founder of The Blog Tyrant.

Just think of how much easier like could be if you had a way to get your content right under the nose of your customers…

Content Marketing and Email Work Together

While email dominates ROI and communication channels, content feeds our endless digital consumption.

As a business, it’s your job to figure out which platform your audience gathers on and the type of content they like to consume.

Once you know what kind of content your audience want and how they consume it, your next challenge is getting them to actually see it.

The easiest method is to share it on social media. However, a single status update is there and gone in an instant.

However, your content is 5X more likely to be seen if you send it via email instead posting it to Facebook.

Make sure you collect the emails of people that visit your site. Then you can deliver content straight to their inbox.

This ensures all that time and money you spent on creating content isn’t going down the drain…

Additionally, your content will build your mailing list, which will increase sales through your store.

Because email is your highest converting sales channel, it converts over 3x more sales than Facebook and more than 10x Twitter.

HOT TIP: Use your email audience to test your content.

For example, if you create a blog piece – send it out to your audience in 2 separate batches, with 2 different subject lines.

Determine which subject line had the highest open rate and then make this the headline of your blog post before your share it on social media.

This is called A/B split testing, and it works fantastically.

But you must walk before you can run. And you need to grow your email list before your can see these kinds of returns.

Email Leads Drive More Traffic & More Sales

Converting visitors into sales is a constant challenge for any ecommerce store.

Even customers that are interested in your product may simply forget to purchase, never to return…

So it’s important to make a good first impression on new customers. After all, they account for 84% of your sales.

However, on average more than 98% of visitors to your store will leave without making a purchase.

While businesses spend a lot of time and money on customer acquisition – according to data from 150,000 businesses – returning customers spend 3X as much as one time shoppers.

So, although they only account for 15% of your customer-base, returning customers make up a third of total online-retail spend.

To increase your customer retention, you must engage your website visitors.

But don’t simply ask them: “Can you join our email list? We promise it’ll be worth your while!”

Give them an instant and specific reward for subscribing:

“Subscribe to our list and get a 10% discount on your first order!”

If you’re not already doing this, implement this and your subscribers will increase… Afterall…

(Almost) Everyone Is a Subscriber

According to a report by ExactTarget, 93% of U.S. online consumers are email subscribers and receive at least one permission-based email a day.

This high number can be attributed to two factors:

Firstly, 88% of U.S.-based online consumers use email every day, 95% use it at least monthly.

Second, since email is required for most online activities, it’s become the default way that consumers provide companies with permission to market to them.

Overall, 58% of online consumers say that the first thing they do online is check their email. While only 11% said Facebook was their first online activity.

Of course, this varies amoung demographics, but consider these 2 different types of people…

People going to email first are more interested in finding deals, promotions, or new product information.

While a ‘Facebook first’ consumer is probably seeking to socialize and be entertained, 84% of them still use email daily – ‘promotions and deals’ were their #1 motivation for subscribing to an email list.

Your Email List Is a Business Asset

Smart businesses are all building their email list because it helps increase the valuation of their business.

Social media platforms are a great way to interact with your audience, but they come and go.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

In 2006 MySpace made a $900 million advetising deal with Google.

At its peak 2 years later, MySpace was attracting 75.9 million unique visitors a month. Earning it the title of the most visited social networking site in the world.

But the online world moves fast, social media sites come and go.

And in 2009, just 1 year after it’s peak, MySpace failed to attract enough online traffic to meet targets set in their advertising deal with Google and as a result would lose $100m this year.

More recently Vine suffered a similar fate, becoming dead and irrelevant overnight.

Unless aliens take over and ban humans from the internet, email will never suffer such a fate. And don’t just take my word for it…

An email list is critical because you can’t build your content on rented land. So many brands and companies build their audiences on Facebook and Google+, which is fine, but we don’t own those names – Facebook and Google do.

If we are thinking like real media companies, the asset is in the audience. Getting an email address is the first critical step to figuring out who my reader is, and hopefully in the future, my customer of some sort. If our goal is to drive sales or keep customers happy in some way, we first need to get them as part of our audience.

If I have one regret as a business owner, it’s not focusing on building our email list earlier in the process.

7 Experts on Why Building Your Email List Is So Important, Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute

A Summary of the Wonderful Things Email Can Do for Your Ecommerce Store

 Decrease cart abandonment by reminding customers about incomplete purchases.

 Make customers feel special with personalised emails like discounts on their Birthday (something difficult to achieve through Facebook or Twitter).

Increase the overall spend of your customers by emailing them information about products related to a recent purchase.

Increase conversions further by segmenting your list using information like gender, viewed products, location, what emails they opened and which links they clicked. (Possible on Facebook but not down to an individual).

Reward repeat customers with a VIP discount and turn loyal customers into raving fans.

Re-engage customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while by sending them a discount.

Set automated follow up emails to customers that have recently received a purchase requesting a review.

Immediately generate hits on blog posts while also nurturing customer relationships by sending new content to your list.

Your email list is a marketing channel you own forever. Unaffected by Google algorithm updates that can destroy rankings overnight and diminish organic traffic.

Stay relevant to your customers by sending them interesting company news, events and upcoming product launches.

Now that you know how powerful email can be, I’m sure you’re ready to get started – so dive right in, first choose an ESP (Email Service Provider) then start building your list!

Noteworthy Email Marketing Software

There are countless email marketing softwares to choose from. The folks over at Email Vendor Selection put together a great comparison of Free & Cheap Email Marketing Software in 2018.

At Big Sender, we prefer Klaviyo when emailing for ecommerce stores. But take some time to look over some of the most notable ones:







Campaign Monitor


Constant Contact

Convert Kit

Get Response

Active Campaign

Now that know how powerful email can be, I’m sure you’re ready to get started – so dive right in, first choose an ESP (Email Service Provider) then start building your list!

It’s Easy to Start Building your List

Once you’ve selected an appropriate software, jump right in – the first thing you should do is make sure customers have some way to sign up to your list.

The next thing you should do is provide them with an irresistible offer in exchange for signing up, making sure it’s extremely visible.

The most effective signup forms are email pop ups, signup bars, and exit offers.

According to OptinMonster, Social Media Examiner added 250,000 email subscribers using a lightbox popup like the one shown above.

Do your best to craft attractive headlines with engaging copy that conveys your brands personality.

Overtime customers will unsubscribe and lose interest – like any marketing effort, effective email marketing takes consistency.

But as we’ve discussed, the payoff is well worth it. If you need a hand with anything, reach out to us.



Ben has years of experience opening, reading and replying to emails. He now sends them professionally.

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