The Complete Guide to Shopify Email Marketing

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Shopify is best known for its industry-leading ecommerce platform. But the software provider also has a built-in email marketing service for Shopify users.

This in-depth guide will explain everything you need to know about Shopify email marketing, why it’s important, and cover both short and long-term strategies for success. 

Why Shopify Email Marketing Is So Important

As one of the best ecommerce platforms, Shopify simplifies things for online stores.

Rather than having to bounce back and forth between multiple platforms, all of your customer information can exist in a single CRM. This makes it much easier for you to collect email addresses and match those addresses with customer profiles.

Shopify Email makes it possible to send targeted messages to the right users based on purchase history and browsing behavior. While this is offered through other email marketing tools as well, those third-party solutions often require complex integrations to get it right.

Best of all, Shopify Email is free with all Shopify plans.

Unlike other email marketing platforms, you won’t have to pay for each subscriber, and there aren’t any monthly commitments. You can send up to 10,000 emails per month at no cost. Each additional email beyond 10,000 costs just $0.001—or $1 per $1,000 messages.

Once you’re up and running with Shopify Email, you can immediately improve the way you’re communicating with both new and existing customers. 

Whether you’re running a flash sale, launching a new product, or just want to connect with a customer who hasn’t bought something in a while, Shopify Email makes it easy.

Shopify Email landing page

Shopify Email is a low-risk and low-cost way to create brand awareness, engage with your subscribers, and drive conversions. Historically, email has yielded the highest return on investment for any type of marketing campaign. 

With Shopify, you can automate your campaigns and use real-time data to craft your strategy—all from within your existing ecommerce platform. 

Here’s a case study on 304 Clothing that showcases the benefits of Shopify Email marketing.

304 Clothing is a UK-based clothing brand that sells products online via Shopify. They were originally using Mailchimp for email but had trouble connecting their transactional data with that platform. So the company could not target the right customers with campaigns at the right time, and the customer segmentation options were too limited for what the brand wanted.

The company was spending too much time manually importing data, which crushed productivity and ROI. They also weren’t happy with the open rates and click-through rates.

After making the switch to Shopify, 304 Clothing saw a significant change in results. They doubled their open rates, tripled click-through rates, and saw a 17.5% increase in growth in just one quarter. 304 Clothing also saw a 16% increase in average order value and a 56% increase in customer retention. 

Quick Tips to Improve Shopify Email Marketing Today

Getting started with Shopify Email is easy. Even if you’re new to the world of email marketing, the tips below are simple, and you can implement them immediately. 

You’ll quickly see how Shopify Email makes your life so much easier, and these tips will help you build momentum.

Tip 1 — Master the Subject Line

Spending hours crafting the perfect message is useless if nobody reads it. All too often, email marketers spend 99% of their time and effort writing copy and just throw in a subject as an afterthought. This is not the path to success.

Getting your subscribers to open the message must always be your first priority. 

Understand that your audience is getting dozens of messages per day. Most of those go straight to the trash folder without getting opened. So you need to find ways to stand out from the crowd without using gimmicks or spammy practices.

Here are some tips to consider when you’re brainstorming subject lines for your next campaign:

  • Keep it short
  • Mention what your email contains
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Make sure the subject is timely
  • Be original
  • Write copy that commands attention

The last thing you want to do is a bait and switch. Don’t add a clickbait subject line or try to deceive your subscribers just for the sake of getting opens. This will usually backfire and lead to unsubscribes. 

Tip 2 — Segment Your Subscribers

One major advantage of Shopify Email compared to other marketing channels is the ability to send custom emails to different audience groups. 

To do this effectively, you must set up different customer segments. 

Shopify Email segmentation page that says "Know and engage your audience"

Shopify Email is made for ecommerce. So you can capture granular details about your subscribers that are directly tied to shopping behaviors. 

There are dozens of different attributes that you can use to segment groups. You can keep it simple and target them by location or specific tags. Or you can go a little bit deeper and segment customers through product and purchase segments.

Shopify Email lets you put customers who bought similar products in the same group. The platform even supports predictive customer journeys for your segments. So you can put all of your customers with high-value spending potential in the same category as well. 

Tip 3 — Set Up an Automated Welcome Email

Welcome emails are often the highest-converting campaigns of any message you’ll send. 

Too many marketers make the mistake of collecting an email but fail to follow up in a timely fashion. If you collect an email today, but your newsletter or standard monthly coupon doesn’t go out for two weeks, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 

Think about it. Anyone who opts into your subscriber list was just on your website. They’re obviously very interested in what you’re selling, and your brand is already top-of-mind.

Now is the time to capitalize on that. You can set up automated welcome drips to go out immediately after a sign-up. 

Shopify Email product page with images showing how to set up an automated email

The best welcome emails encourage subscribers to convert. 

If they’ve never bought anything from your ecommerce store before, now is a great time to make that happen. Even if you don’t love sending discounts, a 15% or 20% one-time discount is usually a fair exchange for someone providing you with their email address. 

Tip 4 — Personalize Your Messages

Personalization is the recipe for success with email marketing. 

The more you can customize messages to make the recipient feel like it’s designed specifically for them, the higher your conversion rates will be. 

Customer segmentation will only get you so far. But it’s on you to be creative and figure out what you’re going to do with that information. 

For example, you could set up a personalized campaign for subscribers on their one-year anniversary of a first purchase. Or you can recommend similar products based on previous purchases.

If someone is buying a winter hat, gloves, and ski boots, you probably shouldn’t be sending them a promotion for a discount on bathing suits. 

Tip 5 — Have a Clear CTA

Every email campaign sent through Shopify should have a goal. 

Sending messages just for the sake of sending them isn’t going to get you anywhere. It will annoy your subscribers, hurt your open rates, and potentially lead to unsubscribes. 

So avoid the “just saying hi” emails and stick with messages that have a clear purpose. 

Generally speaking, it’s best to have just one call-to-action per email. If your message is promoting a new product, offering a flash sale, telling customers about updates to your website, and sharing industry news, there’s just too much going on for people to act. Your primary message will get lost in the shuffle.

Keeping your messages short with a clear CTA and clickable button is the best way to drive conversions. 

Tip 6 — Start With a Pre-Built Template

Lots of online sellers get stuck with email marketing because they don’t know where to start. But with Shopify Email, you don’t have to start with a blank slate.

Simply pick a pre-built template and customize your content from there. 

Shopify Email pre-built template page

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here. Rather than trying to craft an email template that’s 100% unique and original to your brand, you can just stick with what works.

You’ll still have the option to make changes to the template as you see fit.

Example templates from Shopify Email include sales templates, restock templates, events, holiday promotions, newsletters, product collections, and so much more. 

Starting with a template makes your life much easier, and all of the design work is done for you.

Long-Term Strategies For Shopify Email Marketing

Beyond the quick tips above, there are some additional success strategies that you can use for Shopify Email marketing. The tactics below will take a bit more time and effort to implement, but the payoff is worth it. 

Strategy 1 — Run A/B Tests

Start running tests to optimize your email content. With A/B tests, you can send variations of the same message and see if the results are different. You can test email elements like:

  • Subject line
  • CTA copy
  • CTA button color
  • Headline
  • Preview text
  • Copy
  • Visuals

It’s important to test just one element at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know exactly which difference caused a change in the results. That’s why A/B testing can take so much time.

Start with your welcome message subject line. Create two versions and see if one gets higher open rates. If you notice a significant difference after one month, then you can keep the version with higher open rates and then test the copy for another month.

The beauty of A/B testing is it never ends. There’s always more room for improvement. 

Strategy 2 — Establish a Consistent Cadence

Your email marketing strategy should not be random. You should have a clear plan and establish a regular cadence, so your subscribers know when they’ll be hearing from you.

Sending an email every day is usually too frequent. But once per month may not be enough. 

You need to find a balance and mix up your messages with different types of content. 

For example, if you’re going to send a June newsletter, make sure you’re going to send a July, August, and September newsletter. One week you can run a flash sale, and the next week you can promote a specific product. 

Not every message is going to get opened. That’s ok.

But you don’t want your subscribers to get annoyed or be surprised when they see a message from you in their inboxes. Establishing a consistent cadence helps you avoid those situations.  

Strategy 3 — Monitor Your Email Marketing Analytics

When you first start sending emails in Shopify, you don’t really have any data to back up what you’re doing.

But over time, you’ll start to see some patterns related to previous campaigns. Shopify does an excellent job tracking analytics. But it’s on you to read between the lines and use those insights for future campaigns.

Example of Shopify email marketing analytics

What types of subject lines are being opened the most? Which emails are converting at the highest rate? Are certain emails leading to purchases with a higher order value?

For example, you might discover that customer win-back campaigns convert at a higher rate after 60 days of inactivity compared to 90 days. 

Strategy 4 — Clean Up Your Email Lists

Having a large list of subscribers in Shopify Email can be extremely valuable. 

However, this number is often a vanity metric. Having one-million subscribers is useless if they’re not driving business. 

Never buy email lists. You should only be collecting emails through your website, either through opt-ins or purchases. 

If your list is growing large and your engagement metrics are trending in the wrong direction, there’s a good chance your list could use a refresh. 

Some people will opt-in using a fake email address. Others will subscribe and then block you. So if you’re not getting any engagement from a contact in six months, you can try a final re-engagement campaign before removing them from your list. 

This will also keep your analytics accurate and up to date. 

Next Steps

Now that you’re ready to start sending emails with Shopify, it’s time to grow your subscriber list. Check out our top tips on how to get more email subscribers to increase opt-in conversion rates. 

If you’re not sure what type of email campaign to create next, you can start with a newsletter. We have a step-by-step guide on how to create a newsletter that you can follow as a blueprint. 

Email marketing is crucial to the success of any ecommerce business. Even if you’re not a Shopify user and you’re using one of the other best ecommerce platforms on the market, you still need to prioritize email marketing. 

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