3 Reasons Ecommerce Email Marketing isn’t Dead (And What This Means for You)

by Drew Kobb

Last updated on January 10th, 2018

Email. To many, this little word conjures images of dial-up Internet and AOL’s catchy “You’ve got mail!” quip from the ‘90s.

Though this useful tool has been available for over a decade, don’t make the mistake of writing it off as an ancient and irrelevant marketing strategy just yet.

Email marketing may be old, but it is not dead. In fact, the results speak for themselves. If you want to run a successful online marketing campaign for your e-commerce website (or any business), check out these 3 reasons email might be your best bet.


Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr Creative Commons)

Why email is still a good idea

1. Email Provides Targeted Reach

Email is one of the best tools for targeting specific customers (or groups of customers) in your marketing campaign. Unlike social media and print advertising strategies, email marketing can target consumers with greater accuracy and relevancy using analytics and metrics—resulting in higher conversion rates and a healthier bottom line.

Email metrics, which should be included in any quality email software, provide useful data on your email marketing campaign. Information, such as the open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate, can be measured and observed through email metrics data.

This information allows you to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign and tailor your  strategy to reflect the most successful approaches.

After analyzing metrics on your subscriber, you can determine what content they engage with most and which topics or products they prefer. Once you have this information, you can then create customized emails for different groups.

For example, if you are an online clothing store, you can send a promotion for a new men’s line to your male subscribers and an announcement for your back-to-school sale to teen subscribers. (Obviously this is a generalized example, but you get the idea).

With such information and capabilities on hand, email marketing becomes a powerful tool for your e-commerce business.

2. Email Supports Content Marketing Campaigns

It is hard to ignore the repeated claims that content is king, these days. And in many ways this is true, but it cannot stand alone. Email marketing supports your content marketing campaigns by bringing in readers and visitors to your website.

Why is this important? Because, though content is one of the most effective means of getting active on social media and boosting search engine rankings, it is also a huge investment of time and money.

Content marketing may involve writing blogs and articles, producing videos and webinars, sharing presentations, and creating infographics and podcasts. You have to decide what content to focus on and then figure out how you will produce it. Whether you outsource the work or have your own in house content team, producing content is expensive and time-consuming.

That is where email marketing comes in. You don’t want you content to be consumed primarily by one-time visits, you want people to engage with your website again and again.

Repeat customers are where most companies make their profit, so it is vital for your bottom line to encourage people to return. Providing a place for them to subscribe to your emails is a great way to ensure those repeat visits.

Online Marketing Synergy

Photo Credit: 14clicksNick (Flickr Creative Commons)

With a collection of permission-based email addresses, you can keep in touch with your loyal customer market and enjoy increased conversions as a result.

3. Email Has an Excellent ROI

In spite of the popularity of other marketing platforms and strategies, email remains one of the most cost-effective means of marketing out there.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing campaigns have an average ROI of $40 per $1 spent. That is a 4,000 percent return on investment—not a bad deal. Compare that to the strategy with next highest ROI, search engine optimization, at $22.24 per dollar. Obviously, email marketing is worth your time.

What This Means for You

It is pretty clear that email marketing isn’t dead yet—and it shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. However, figuring out how to apply this knowledge isn’t always as clear-cut as one might hope. Below are several ways you can improve your email marketing campaigns and see awesome returns for your ecommerce business.

Go Mobile

The future is mobile. According to Leaders West, 43 percent of all emails are accessed through mobile devices. And Forrester Research estimates that 78 percent of all U.S. email users will access their emails via mobile by 2017.

mobile future

Photo Credit: paz.ca (Flickr Creative Commons)

In spite of these overwhelming data confirming the prevalence and importance of mobile email, a shocking number of marketers (50 percent!) are not optimizing their emails for mobile viewing yet.

Considering the fact that 63 percent of Americans and 41 percent of Europeans will close or delete an email that isn’t modified for mobile, there is a huge market profit to be made in going mobile today.

Get Social

I probably don’t have to tell you that the world has gone social. These days it seems that everyone and their dog is on a social platform. From Facebook to Twitter, social media plays a powerful role in not only our social lives, but also our businesses.

A GetResponse analysis found that email newsletters that included social sharing buttons had an average click-through-rate (CTR) 115 percent higher than those that did not. There has been a 40 percent increase since last year in the number of emails that included social sharing buttons, and it is unlikely that that number will drop anytime soon.

Based on these statistics, it is clear that social sharing and email marketing are a match made in heaven.

Email marketing cycle

Be Specific

As mentioned earlier, email has the powerful advantage of being able to target specific audiences and markets. Don’t waste that opportunity. Create a list of targeted opted-in recipients. By segmenting your email database, you can increase your CTR as you reach people who are interested in your content.

Keep it Personal

No one likes talking to a robot. Personalize your emails by using your recipient’s name in the subject line or greeting. Also be sure to send messages from an address they can respond to (depending on the nature of the email). Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14 percent and conversion rates by 10 percent (source: Leaders West).

Polish Your Website

Sending the right emails to the right people is important, but it won’t do much good if your website is sub par. Don’t allow your marketing campaign to distract you from other priorities, like content management and web design.

Make sure your site design is attractive, clean, and easy to navigate. For e-commerce sites, it is especially important that check-out procedures and calls to action are simple, clear, and easy to follow. This will lead to better conversion rates on your site and a healthier bottom line for you.

In addition to design and navigation, make sure you use an ecommerce website hosting service you trust. You want a hosting service that is reliable and fast. If you encounter issues on your website, you don’t want to lose customers and money because your hosting service failed to respond quickly or effectively.

Finally, always update and improve your content regularly. Keep track of what content is most successful, and look for ways to replicate that success. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they need, and give them a reason to return. (This is where offering email subscriptions comes in).

By maintaining a quality website and launching an effective email marketing campaign, your business will see improved rates of return and a greater bottom line.

What online marketing strategies have worked well for you?


Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves blogging about his experiences and learning all about the online industry. He has written extensively about online marketing, ecommerce, and business.



Get updates on new articles, webinars and other opportunities:

Drew Kobb

Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves blogging about his experiences and learning all about the online industry. He has written extensively about online marketing, ecommerce, and business.


Comment Policy

Please join the conversation! We like long and thoughtful communication.
Abrupt comments and gibberish will not be approved. Please, only use your real name, not your business name or keywords. We rarely allow links in your comment.
Finally, please use your favorite personal social media profile for the website field.


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Ed Hallen says:
    March 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Drew – This definitely rings true, and if anything, I’ve seen that Ecommerce stores are some of the fastest email innovators. At Klaviyo, we work with thousands of stores to tie their purchase data from platforms like Magento, Shopify and Bigcommerce into their email marketing.

    We tend to see that the stores with the most success have started to live in a post-newsletter world, where each customer message is based on where that customer is in their lifecycle (whether that’s a welcome series for new sign-ups, abandoned carts for people who are active on site but don’t buy, or post-order follow-ups to make sure buyers come back).

    The great thing about all of this is that it’s making email better for customers too by providing more targeted and personalized emails that are evaluated on whether or not they work (rather than just on the number of people who opened them).

  2. November 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for the great points. We evaluate open and click through rates to get an idea on what content works and what doesn’t. Just recently we personalized our emails and immediately saw an increase in our open rates. -AJ

    • Drew Kobb says:
      November 8, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Thank you for reading, AJ! Glad to hear of your successes–it is amazing how just a few simple changes and improvements can transform your marketing results.

  3. November 1, 2013 at 3:00 am

    Email marketing is far from dead, but for ecommerce it should be a must. If you have an ecommerce it’s very possible that you have lots of data about your customers, that the average email campaign hasn’t. For example what they like and what they don’t, based on ther previous purchases, with only this you already have an amazing tool to enhance your email campaigs.

    • Drew Kobb says:
      November 1, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Well said, Jose. The Internet provides ample opportunity to gain insights into our target markets and customers. With e-commerce this is especially important to take advantage of, since we do have so much to gain from personalizing our campaigns and tailoring our messages to fit our consumer needs and wants.

      Thanks for reading!

Show Me My Heatmap

@CrazyEgg is the ultimate #bloggertool.

Everything Food Con


What makes people leave your website?