E-commerce Email Marketing Dos and Don’ts (Plus Some Extra Advice for CBD Sellers)

Successful e-commerce companies look for every opportunity to promote their brand. Operating a thriving business means continuous growth, which happens by retaining customers while attracting new ones.

But how do you accomplish that?

One of the most effective tools for doing so is email marketing. Email marketers understand that the right campaigns can increase customer loyalty and improve customer experience, resulting in higher sales.

Yes, blogs and social media posts are relevant too, but retail emails can potentially reach a larger audience.

When done correctly, the power of an email campaign cannot be overstated.

Today, we’re going to discuss the dos and don’ts of e-commerce email marketing. Whether you operate a wholesale B2B empire, a small B2C lifestyle brand, or anything in between, you can use this guide to strengthen your marketing efforts.

First of All: What Exactly Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is simply sending subscribers useful information about a brand or product via email. The goal, of course, is to make a sale by showing the target recipient that you can fulfill a need in their life.

Because of the prevalence of social media, many people consider email a useless marketing channel. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Retail email is still a powerful force, consistently helping brands to meet and exceed their sales goals. According to a recent McKinsey study, email is 40 times more effective for customer acquisition than Facebook and Twitter combined.

Aside from positively influencing buyer behavior, successful email marketing campaigns can:

  • Broaden brand awareness
  • Be a means to present special offers to your subscribers
  • Inform recipients of sales and other events
  • Redirect viewers to your store and social media pages via enclosed links

So how does a simple email harness so much power? The goal is to craft relevant emails.

We’re going to let you in on the dos and don’ts of making that happen:

Do: Understand How to Use Retail Email Effectively

It’s fairly simple to write an email and send it out to whomever you like in your personal life. But your marketing emails require more thought.

This is your opportunity to attract new customers, reconnect with current customers, and regain the attention of those who abandoned their shopping carts before completing a purchase.

But in order to do that, your emails must do three things:

Engage Your Audience

Marketing emails need to capture the recipient’s attention. Your subscriber probably receives tons of marketing emails every day from various companies. Make sure yours is engaging in terms of content, aesthetics (colors, infographics, GIFs), and looks great on a web browser and mobile device alike.

Add Value to the Recipient’s Day

A marketing email must have something to offer the subscriber.

Include content like a promo code linked to their specific email address, an offer to watch a new product tutorial, or early access to an upcoming sale.

Represent Your Business

Your emails must include your branding, as in your logo and any images and/or colors associated with your business. It will help you build brand awareness.

Ensure the language and tone you use in your messaging are appropriate to your industry. For example, a company that sells swimwear can concoct more lighthearted emails than a business that sells cremation urns.

Do: Take Advantage of Email Automation Apps

By now, you should be able to see how useful retail email can be for your e-commerce business. But you may not have the time or marketers on your team to handle all of the work that goes into a finely crafted email campaign.

This is where email marketing apps can make all the difference. With the right apps on your side, you can design a drip campaign and have automated emails sent out to your target customers over the course of several days, weeks, or months.

Here are some of our favorite email automation apps:


Klaviyo includes forms, templates, and automation tools you can start using as soon as you install the app. It uses messaging based on customer segmentation for a more thoughtful, potent marketing approach.

It includes several templates for welcome messages, abandoned cart instances, and re-engagement efforts.

Klaviyo is available on Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce, and other platforms.


MailerLite automates targeted email campaigns, tracks the sales they generate, and allows you to create website pop-ups to encourage new subscribers.

It uses your email list to create segmented marketing groups for more effective campaigns. It also automates cart abandonment emails to attract customers that didn’t complete their purchase.

MailerLite’s emails are opt-in only, which is crucial from a customer engagement perspective. It’s available on Shopify and WooCommerce platforms.


Optimonk helps you build your email subscriber list and automate your email campaigns.

With this app, you can automate post-purchase and abandoned cart emails to boost sales. It takes cross-selling and free shipping incentives into consideration to help increase average order values.

Optimonk has simple integrations for instant setup and is available on Shopify, BigCommerce, Wix, Magento, Volusion, and other platforms.

Do: Strategically Craft Your Emails

There is no reason why you can’t send remarkably effective emails to your subscribers. Businesses like yours do it every day.

No matter your enterprise or benchmarks, retail businesses will benefit from following this simple step-by-step guide to effective marketing emails:

1. Create a Recognizable Sender Address

The recipients of your business emails may not open your messages, let alone read an email sent from john.smith@gmail.com. Therefore, it’s crucial to send business emails from your professional email account.

Your recipients will be more likely to click the links and offers if your email address is something like info@yourbusinessname.com

2. Follow the the “Four U’s”

There is a formula to writing superb email marketing copy, which is known as the “Four U’s.”

The Four U’s are:

1. Unique:

No one wants content that is bland or just like everyone else’s. Creating unique content should not be much of a challenge after you reflect on what you’re offering and who you’re selling it to.

2. Useful:

This takes us back to the importance of relevant retail emails. If your message doesn’t serve a purpose or a specific need for the reader, they’re going to hit “unsubscribe” pretty fast (and perhaps end your relationship for good).

3. Urgent

You’re not spending time on these efforts just to shoot the breeze with customers. Make sure to communicate that your customer needs to do something actionable, and they need to do it fast. Embedding a countdown clock in an email about the final hours of a sale with a link to your sales page is a prime example.

4. Ultra-specific

Tailor your emails to your target customer, using the voice and tone that matches your brand. If you do not use ultra-specific language describing ultra-specific offers, then the recipient will not feel that your message pertains to them.

3. Add Power Words

Power words are those that trigger a response in people who read them. You should sprinkle a selection of power words throughout the content to grab and retain the readers’ attention.

You may not put much thought into email subject lines when you’re messaging coworkers or friends. But that needs to change when you’re sending retail emails.

After all, a subject line serves as a preview of the message within. It’s a headline that can either attract or repel readers. And since we want to ensure recipients open your email and engage with your content, you should make your subject lines attention-grabbing.

Don’t go overboard, however. Be concise and focus on that particular email’s message. A few applicable power words in the right places can lead to significant conversions.

4. Personalize Your Messages

Shoppers respond to personalized emails. When consumers feel a brand is really speaking to them, their loyalty will never waver.

But personalization is not as easy as knowing a potential shopper’s name and age range. Digital marketing companies rely on sophisticated research and data mining techniques that provide priceless information about a company’s targeted customer.

Armed with that knowledge, companies can create and send highly converting retail emails.

Successfully personalized marketing messages tap into what shoppers need, offer something they cannot do for themselves, and is delivered to them at the perfect moment.

5. Build Brand Equity

You can develop positive brand equity with a concise email that looks visually appealing.

But more than anything, you do that with your message. Give your email subscribers what they need in a way only your company can. If you can get that message across, your brand equity will increase, building customer loyalty and increasing your profits.

Related: How to Develop an Email Marketing Strategy to Grow Online Sales

Don’t: Forget How Email Marketing Makes You Money

Emails are also the perfect opportunity to upsell and cross-sell your products and services, both of which are effective AOV-increasing strategies.

Adding a “Like” and a “Share” button on your retail emails can up the odds that the recipient will spread the good word about your business to friends (who could end up as customers).

Every email you send should include something actionable. CTAs help increase your click-through rates, which measure customer engagement and help you track your email marketing hits and misses.

Marketing emails should never be spammy or prod your customer into buying something from you.

Instead, they should inform the customer that you have something that they want. Use new emails to serve as reminders, which is exactly the point of cart abandonment emails.

Don’t: Lag on Email Marketing (Especially if You Own a CBD Business)

It should be obvious by now that every company can benefit from an investment in email marketing. But it’s particularly valuable for CBD companies.

The cannabis industry is booming. Cannabis product sales increased by 67% in 2020 in the United States, with the industry itself expected to be worth $100 billion USD by 2030.

So, it’s no surprise that plenty of investors and entrepreneurs are jumping on the CBD train to reap the rewards of such growth. If you own or are thinking of starting a Cannabis-Related Business (CRB), you may be worried about one major issue:


Not every state has legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use. And CRBs are not always allowed to advertise their products on digital platforms.

This makes email, which is owned media, crucial for CBD marketing. Using a cannabis-friendly email service provider (such as MailerLite and Klaviyo) can help you avoid service disruptions.


Retail email is still the most effective way to build brand loyalty and retain customers.

And it shows no sign of slowing down.

It is possible to create successful email marketing campaigns, but there is only so far retailers can go without the help of professional digital marketing experts.

Contact us at SKU Agency today to discuss how we can create relevant, data-driven email content that grows your email list, increases conversion rates, and attracts and retains loyal customers.

And sign up to receive our free guide that takes the challenge out of sending retail emails.

Want help building out your marketing campaign? Check out our Shopify email marketing services!

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