Snapchat Context Cards, Facebook VR Updates, Twitter Bookmarking

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show with Erik Fisher and Kim Reynolds, we explore Facebook VR updates, Twitter bookmarking with Madalyn Sklar, Snapchat context cards with […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing (Online Retailers, this One’s for You…)

As the founder of ReEngager, I’ve created email campaigns for Shopify, EasyDNS, and Home Staging. I got my stripes in the copywriting world and I’ve incorporated the lessons I’ve learned in this article.

This is a whopping 15,000+ word guide to ecommerce email marketing. Before you continue, bookmark this page now because you’ll want to return to it later.

Part 1 – The Tools of an Ecommerce Email Marketing Strategy (Published December 9th, 2015)

Part 2 – Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap – Stage 1 (Published January 19th, 2016)

Part 3 – Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap – Stage 2 (Published February 2nd, 2016)

Part 4 – How Ecommerce Companies Like Amazon, Bonobos and Drive Millions With Email Marketing (Published March 24th, 2016)

Part 5 – The 3 Highest Converting Behavioral Emails In 2017 (Other Than Cart Abandonment) (Published October 10, 2017)

Imagine having email campaigns that trigger automatically — based on how someone interacts with your company and your website.

These “automated” campaigns then go out to do your bidding…

…they build relationships and trust…

…they indoctrinate subscribers into your brand (so they buy from you instead of your competitors)…

…they keep people engaged (so they never stop opening, clicking, and buying)… and finally…

…they drive a predictable stream of sales, every day of every week of every year.

And that’s just the automated side of things. Ecommerce email marketing is the art and science of using email to generate sales for your store. ~John McIntrye

Then you’ve got the manual side of things… and while it might be manual, it’s no less important than the automated side.

  • Regular promotions
  • Segmented blasts
  • Reengagement campaigns

… there’s a lot of money to be found.

This five-part guide has everything you need to set up a full-scale ecommerce email marketing program without outside help.

So, let’s get into it, but first…

What is Ecommerce Email Marketing?

Ecommerce email marketing is the art and science of using email to generate sales for your store.

It can be simple, such as sending an email to people who abandon their shopping carts. Or complex, like having numerous campaigns that work together synergistically to multiply sales exponentially.

At the end of the day, when you look at the promotions, offers, free shipping coupons, and lead nurturing emails — email marketing is about building relationships.

Nothing more, nothing less.

If you approach email marketing with this perspective in mind, you’ll do much better:

  • You’ll create better promotions that sell more product.
  • You’ll nurture your subscribers better, which will lead to more long-term sales.
  • You’ll segment your database more effectively, which will (once again) generate more sales.

Email marketing isn’t about blasting the crap out of your database any more than sales is about cold-calling people and screaming through the phone at them. "Email is about building relationships."

You’ll learn more about this when you read about lead nurture email campaigns in this guide.

There’s a lot more to email marketing for ecommerce stores and online retailers than simply sending a weekly email and one cart abandonment email.

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s take a look at your tools because, like any good craftsman, we need the right tools.

Ecommerce Email Marketing Tool #1: The Perfect Ecommerce Email

When we get into the campaigns section, you’ll see specific examples of each type of email. Before we do that though, let’s dive into the pieces of the perfect ecommerce email.

The “From” Name

The “From” Name is the name that appears next to the email address when the email appears. It looks like this in the inbox:

The "From" Name is the name that appears next to the email address when the email appears

…and this when the email is open:

What the "From" Name looks like when the email is open

Now, some companies like to get all fancy by using a personal name in the “From” field. They do this because they think it’s going to get them attention.

However, in our experience, if your brand doesn’t revolve around like a specific person, like Oprah or Dr Phil, you’re better off using your brand or company name, just like the example above.

From Email

This is where I see a lot of otherwise smart companies make a silly mistake.

They send emails from a “no reply” email address, such as

But if you force people to go find your contact form on your website, or your support area, do you really think you’re going to hear from them whenever they have something important to tell you?

Of course not.

Make it easy for people to contact you by using an email address that they can send emails to, such as You’ll look more approachable, you’ll get more customer feedback, and you’ll be more successful as a result.

Plus, by using an email address people can actually reply to, you can ask people to reply to your emails in your various campaigns (which we’ll get to in just a moment).

Subject Line

Check this out:

Neil Patel, content marketer and founder of CrazyEgg, crunched some Experian data and created this incredible graph:

Graph from CrazyEgg based on Experian data showing that the email subject line has the biggest impact

In other words, of everything listed above, spend most of your time focused on your subject line.

This reminds me of the famous quote from David Ogilvy:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Don’t get caught up trying to perfect your…

  • From Name
  • Your design
  • Time of the day
  • Call-to-action (CTA)

…employ best practices, and invest your creative juices coming up with compelling subject lines and testing them. Because that’s where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.

Here are some tips for your subject lines:

Employ the “4 Second Test”

Litmus, an email marketing tool, discovered you have only four seconds to capture someone’s attention and get them to open and read your email. So, when you’ve written your subject line, study it carefully and see if it gets you hooked in four seconds.

Ideally, you should get that down to one second.

Avoid Sales Words (and Other Overused Words)

Great marketing is about pattern interrupts, but if you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, you’ll blend into the furniture and no one will pay attention.

So, don’t use words everyone else uses when selling something. Words like…

  • Free
  • Help
  • Percent off
  • Reminder

Personalize with Their City Name

When email first began, personalization with someone’s name was new and got people’s attention. But today, it’s easy and everyone’s doing it, so it doesn’t work anymore.

Instead, personalize with their city name. MailChimp research suggests it works even better.

Mix it Up

Most newsletters and email campaigns begin with high open rates and then decline over time.

To mitigate this, don’t re-use subject lines and don’t make your subject lines too similar to each other.

Remember, great marketing is about interrupting someone’s pattern, and to do that, you need to keep it fresh.

Shorter is Better

As a general rule of thumb, stick to 50 characters or fewer.

Since most people scan their inbox, make it easy on them when figuring out whether to open your email. If you absolutely must have a longer subject line, make sure that the first 50 characters are the juiciest part.

Don’t save the punchline for the end of the subject line because most people will miss it.

Don’t Be in a Rush to Promote Something

Yes, it’s fine to promote your products in the subject line, but no, it’s not OK (nor is it effective) to use promotional subject lines in every email you send.

That means…

  • Avoid bombastic promotional phrases
  • Avoid ALL CAPS
  • Go easy on the exclamation marks


Have You Tried Asking Questions?

Subject lines framed as questions tend to perform better.

Don’t Mislead

The first time you trick a subscriber into opening your email by using a misleading email, they’ll be annoyed at you. The second time, they’ll ignore you.

Clarity trumps persuasion.

Be honest and direct about what your email contains, while also being compelling.

Use Urgency, but Don’t Overdo It

Businesses use urgency (ie. 24 hours left!) because it works, but like any marketing strategy used too often, it loses its effectiveness if you overdo it.

Use urgency when it makes sense, but don’t come to depend on it.

Always be Testing

I can’t mention this enough. Test, test, TEST.

While I’ve described best practices here for email subject lines that will work for most companies, you’ll need to test, tweak, and optimize to find perfect subject lines that work for your company.

The topic of subject lines is way too big to cover entirely here, so I’ll point you to some fantastic DigitalMarketer posts you can take a look at (after finishing this post, of course). If you ever struggle to come up with ideas for subject lines, these posts will help:

Once you have your subject line written, use a free rating tool like to evaluate your subject line.

Alright. That’s it for subject lines.

Like I said, we could talk about subject lines all day, but we have to get moving.


The pre-header text is the text that appears in your email next to your subject line. It’s what people see after they’ve read the subject line and plays a role in determining whether they’ll open the email, so you want to get it right.

Think about your pre-header text as a continuation of your subject line. Use it to expand on your subject line and dial up the curiosity and emotion that is already associated with the subject line.

Ramit Sethi does a great job with his pre-header text, beginning with a story:

A good example of pre-header text

DODOcase, not so much:

A bad example of pre-header text

Don’t even get me started on Fitocracy:

A bad example of pre-header text

It’s obvious what you need to do. Don’t let it go to waste. It’s valuable real estate, and it pays to take advantage of it.


Generally speaking, when it comes to ecommerce email marketing, less is more.

Less images. Less fancy design elements. Less “pizazz.” Generally speaking, when it comes to ecommerce email marketing, less is more. ~John McIntrye

While the debate between what converts best — text emails or HTML emails — continues to rage (read about it here and here), you can be certain of two things:

  1. If your email is 100% text with no branding elements whatsoever, it will probably get marked as spam because people won’t know immediately who the email is from (this happened to a campaign we sent a few months back).
  2. If you go too heavy on the fancy design elements — like beautiful images, animated GIFs, and crazy layouts — your email is more likely to be picked up by email algorithms and sent to the promotions tab or folder.

You have to strike a balance; simple enough that your email feels at least somewhat personal, fancy enough that it gets attention but without triggering the promotions tab (or worse, the SPAM folder).

Email Copy

As with design, keep the copy simple and to the point. Avoid being clever or cutesy. Be clear and concise.

The magic of many of the campaigns we’ll be discussing below is due to the timing and behavioral nature of the emails, not a result of having the best copy.


I’m sorry, but I have to tell you that… when it comes to timing, the honest answer is:

It depends.

Despite what some companies will tell you, or what you probably want to believe, there is no “perfect” time for sending ecommerce emails that works for every company out there.

Instead of taking a cookie-cutter approach to timing emails, I encourage you to invest time and energy into thinking carefully about it.

Who are your customers and when do they like to read emails? You might already know this from historical data, or you might be able to figure it out based on your customer demographic.

Most emails are read within four hours of being sent, so think carefully about what people are likely to be doing in the few hours after sending your email. Are they likely to have some free time to read your email in the few hours after you send it? Are they going to be in the mood to buy?

Take a look at revenue and orders for time of the day. This will give you an idea of when people like to purchase, and these times will typically work best for sending emails (especially if you time your emails to go out just before buying spikes on a given day).

Lastly, hop on over to your competitors’ websites, sign up to their mailing lists, and see when they send their emails.

However, be careful about data gathered with this approach, as your competitor might have no idea what they’re doing with email. Be sure to test whatever you discover against your other preferred sending times.


Interestingly, when considering mobile optimization, it pays to keep your emails simple. The simpler the content, the easier is it to design and optimize for mobile display.


If images are disabled, does your email still make sense?

I’ll lead with an example from WhatCounts, a boutique email marketing agency:

An email example from WhatCounts

Who is this email from? What’s it all about? Is this relevant TO ME?

If the value of your email isn’t crystal clear the SECOND someone opens it, you’ll lose them. In this email above from WhatCounts, the reader has to dig to see who it’s from and what it’s about. Don’t make someone dig for the value, or they’ll delete you.

Instead of leading with a large image, use HTML for the text and the image for the background. This way, if the image doesn’t appear, at least the reader will be able to read your headline.

This email improves towards the bottom in the sense that I can read some text and figure out what they want me to do (click a link to view a blog post or ebook).

"Don't make someone dig for value, or they'll delete you."The lesson?

Always send a test email to an account that has images disabled and check to see if it makes any sense at all. If it looks like the WhatCounts email above, update the email so that it makes sense without the images.

Note how this email from Tony Robbins is easy to understand even if the images are disabled:

An email from Tony Robbins that makes sense even without images

Now, let’s talk about Tool #2…

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

Ecommerce Email Marketing Tool #2: Email Marketing Software

Chances are, you already have email marketing software.

Most email marketing software isn’t ideal for ecommerce companies — usually because most email marketing software is simple.

In other words, using the right email marketing software for your store will go a long way to helping you capture the potential available revenue.

If you don’t have email marketing software yet (or if you’re prepared to switch platforms), use Klaviyo.

Klaviyo was designed specifically for ecommerce companies and online retailers, and powers some serious players. It’s what we use for our clients, and recommend to everyone we speak with. Also, I’m not affiliated with the company and get nothing if you sign up with them (or for mentioning them here).

Klaviyo integrates with Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce and all the other platforms.


Ecommerce Email Marketing Tool #3: Pop-Up Software

When people buy, you’ll capture their email address.

But to send campaigns to people who haven’t bought anything yet, you’ll need to capture their email address before they purchase.

While you could fork out $4,000 a month to deploy a pop-up service, you can get similar “exit intent” technology from Picreel and ExitMist at a fraction of the price (from $14/month and $19/month respectively).

You can find other software out there for regular pop-ups, sidebar pop-ups, slider pop-ups, and it’s probably worth testing all of them.

However, you’ll tend to get the best mileage from an exit-intent pop-up, since this gives people the space to purchase if they want to — without distracting them with a regular pop-up. Then, when they go to leave your website, your exit-intent pop-up appears, and makes them an offer.

Here’s DODOcase with their exit-intent pop-up. It’s simple, clean, and easy to understand — the key components of all good pop-ups. There’s no way you could be confused by this pop-up.

Sign up and get 10% off. Easy.

 An exit-intent pop-up from DODOcase, offering 10% off for giving your email.

Here’s another simple example from Finch Goods, a men’s fashion and lifestyle company.

It’s almost identical to the DODOcase pop-up, except instead of offering a percentage discount, it’s offering a specific cash discount ($5).

They could bump their opt-ins here by adding an attention-grabbing image of 5 x one-dollar bills, or 1 x five-dollar bill.

An exit-intent pop-up from Finch Goods offering a $5 credit.

While Cloudways isn’t an ecommerce company, this example is still instructive.

Instead of offering a discount or credit, Cloudways reminds people of their “double your money back” guarantee.

An exit-intent pop-up from Cloudways offering a free trial with a "double your money" guarantee

I wanted to include this example because it highlights the fact that you can make virtually any offer in your pop-up. In an ideal world, you’ll test this on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and find the offer that leads to the best revenue over 30-90 days (or similar).

Instead of a discount, you could remind people about your guarantee, or offer them free shipping on orders above $40, or refer them to a specific product category, or feature a product that’s HOT right now.

In this example from Clearly, you can see that instead of getting people onto their email list, they’re using their pop-up to remind people about the discount and free shipping (as well as targeting it towards first time shoppers only).

An exit-intent pop-up from Clearly offering 10% off your order and free shipping

In my opinion, this is a poorly designed pop-up.

First, they should be collecting emails. Second, they are distracting people from buying by sending them to their social profiles. You’ll see companies doing this a lot. Forsaking email and sending people to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So sad.

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing [Part 2]: Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap – Stage 1

Kudos to you for sticking with us for Part 2! It’s time to start creating emails:

Your Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap

This is where the real fun begins.

For the sake of simplicity, just like DigitalMarketer breaks down the funnel into different stages, each with their own goal, we’re going to break down the ecommerce email funnel into three stages:

  • Stage 1: Interested – People who have signed up for a coupon, guide, etc., but haven’t bought anything yet. The goal of Stage 1 is to get them to make their first purchase.
  • Stage 2: Engaged – People who have bought one or several products. The goal of Stage 2 is to get them to stay engaged, and buy again and again over time.
  • Stage 3: Lapsed – People who have stopped purchasing and stopped opening and clicking emails. The goal of Stage 3 is to get people to reactivate by buying something, opening an email, or clicking a link.

Now, for each stage, there are specific email campaigns and email triggers we use to achieve the goal of that stage.

For example…

  • In Stage 1, we’ll send a welcome email that is designed to welcome them to the family, indoctrinate them into our brand, and encourage them to make their first purchase.
  • In Stage 2, we’ll optimize our transactional emails to provide product recommendations based on what they just bought.
  • In Stage 3, we’ll send a reengagement campaign that unsubscribes people if they don’t respond.

You’ll hear more about these campaigns (and all the other wonderful campaigns you can create) in a moment.

First, here’s a handy image that lists all of the email campaigns we’ll be creating:

The three stages of ecommerce email marketing

One of the best things about the campaigns listed here?

Almost all of them are automated. So, once you’ve set them up, most of them will go on driving sales for you… for, well…. forever.

Now, without further ado, let’s get into the actual campaigns!

Stage 1 – Interested: The Welcome Email

Did you know that 74.4% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe to a company’s mailing list?

Did you know that 74.4% of consumers expect a welcome email when they subscribe to a company’s mailing list? ~John McIntryeAs a result of this expectation, subscribers who receive a welcome email show, on average, 33% higher engagement, than subscribers who don’t receive a welcome email.

This engagement translates to four times more opens and five times more clicks than standard bulk newsletter promotions.

Ultimately, this means that welcome emails see more than 3x the transactions and revenue per email compared with regular promotions.

Set Up

The welcome email has several components that make it effective. Let’s look at each one separately.

Subject Line

Our favorite subject line is “Welcome to the family (please read),” however you can tweak this into variations like “Welcome to BRAND_NAME” and “Hello, (from BRAND_NAME).”

The important thing is to acknowledge it’s a welcome email in the subject line.


Before you do anything else, say hi to them. Welcome them to the family. You can do this by saying “Welcome” or “Hi.”

Brand Indoctrination & Unique Selling Proposition

After you have welcomed them, it’s time to begin the brand indoctrination process. There is no perfect way to do this. You can do it by listing a few bullet points on what makes you special, or by adding a few sentences or a paragraph of copy on the same thing.

This is the place to explain…

  • What makes you different?
  • What makes you special?
  • Why should I shop with you instead of your competitors?
  • What ideal result will shopping with you bring about?

You’ll see how other companies are doing this in the examples below.

What Happens Next

Once you’ve told them what makes you different, you need to explain what they should expect from your emails.

  • Will you be emailing them every day?
  • Weekly?
  • Will your emails include content?
  • Videos?
  • When do you have sales?

The details will vary from company to company, but the goal is the same: tell them what happens next so they know what to expect from you.

Make an Irresistible Offer

A surprising number of companies skip this step. They put in the hard work and effort to create a gorgeous welcome email, but they leave out the most profitable part — the offer.

Regardless of whether you offer anything in exchange for their email address, you should make them an offer in the welcome email. If you don’t want to give them a discount, give them free shipping, a free gift, or some amount of points.

Just give them something, and make sure you communicate it clearly in the email with big, bold text, and a button that stands out.

Promote Your Social Profiles

Finally, add links to your social profiles at the end of the email — whether this means social icons linked to your profiles on each social platform (think Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram… you get the point), or asking them to Like you/Follow You/Connect with you on [PLATFORM].

However, this should not be a key feature of your welcome email, and is probably best left to your lead nurture sequence (more on that soon).

Welcome Examples

Example: Aritzia

Welcome email from Aritzia

So, there are a few things going on.

First, there’s the big “Hi” top and to the left. Second, it acknowledges the subscriber as being new by saying, “Since you’re new here, we’d love to….” That’s when they begin the brand indoctrination process.

They’ve even thrown some personality into the mix by saying things like, “Customer service is our middle name.” "Any incentive is better than no incentive."

To top it off, the email is designed to look similar to a webpage (this is a recurring theme you’ll see in many of the emails). You’ve got the logo up top, a menu bar that leads to the main store categories, and then the content of the email.

How to improve it:

  • Double-check how it looks with images disabled (the text appears to be hard-coded into the image, and this is bad).
  • Offer some kind of incentive to encourage the first purchase (if they can’t offer a discount, they could offer free shipping on all orders over $100 — any incentive is better than no incentive).


Welcome email from

Here’s with a great email.

Notice the pre-header “20% Off your entire order”? That would have appeared next to the subject line.

Like the previous example, they make the “welcome” part of the email front and center. They’ve done well to offer the incentive “GET 20% OFF YOUR ENTIRE ORDER.”

How to improve it:

  • Add 1-2 sentences of brand indoctrination. Why is different? Why do I want to shop at instead of their competitors? Tell me.
  • Change the design of the incentive. Add a border around it. Maybe a dashed border, with a drop shadow to make it pop off the page. The goal is simply to make it stand out more.

Example: Bonobos

Welcome email from Bonobos

Bonobos creates gorgeous emails — and they’re effective.

In this welcome email from Bonobos, they’ve chosen to strip things down and keep it simple. You’ll see the same basic design — logo, menu with categories, then the content.

How to improve it:

  • Add 1-2 sentences of brand indoctrination. Personally, I don’t know much about Bonobos, so if I received this email, I’d be unexcited.
  • Tell me what makes them great, and why I should be excited about buying from them. The easy way to do this is to take a few lines from the About Page.
  • Product suggestions. Unless I already knew what I wanted to buy, I probably wouldn’t click “Shop now” and browse their website. But if they showed me a picture of something I might love, like “a top of the line coat” (from their homepage), I’d be more interested.

Example: Fab

Welcome email from Fab

This is an excellent email from Fab.

It’s simple, clear and easy to understand. It highlights the benefits of Fab in the header (free shipping, free returns, guarantee). Plus, they squeeze a little brand indoctrination into the email.

How to improve it:

  • Instead of getting people to download the Fab Mobile App, test sending them to a product of some kind. Or, if the app turns out to produce better conversions, add some copy that explains the benefits of using the app.
  • Tweak the brand messaging to be more specific. Currently, it doesn’t mean anything. Try mentioning specific products, categories, or types of customers (ie. men and women over 40 love Fab!).

Example: Huckberry

Huckberry welcome email

Huckberry nails their welcome email.

It’s clear. It’s eye-catching with the image. And it explains the purpose of the emails, as well as the brand. After reading this email, you know exactly what to expect from Huckberry (sales on Tuesday and Thursday that last seven days), and what makes them special.

How to improve it:

  • Instead of generic product icons (Grooming Essentials, etc.), make specific product suggestions, with a small link to the category.
  • Add “(please read)” to the subject line.

Example: J.Crew

J.Crew welcome email

J.Crew is doing a lot right with this email. The big “HELLO THERE…” at the top. The explanation of what the emails are about.

But they are missing some things…

How to improve it:

  • Where’s the incentive? There’s no offer in this email. Add some kind of offer. A discount. Free shipping on orders over $50. A free gift. Something is better than nothing.
  • The “See what’s happening on” call-to-action (CTA) is weak. That’s like telling me to go check your fridge for cookies. I feel weird doing that. Instead, get the plate of cookies yourself, put it in front of me, and ask me if I want one. In other words, instead of vague, boring CTAs, offer me a few specific things.

Example: Mack Weldon

Mack Weldon welcome email

This is a sexy email from Mack Weldon.

Notice how the “YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ THIS” headline makes you want to read further. Then, when you continue to read, there’s some subtle brand indoctrination going on, with a dash of personality thrown in.

How to improve it:

By now, you probably know what I’m going to say…

  • This email needs an offer! The welcome emails that generate revenue make it easy, and exciting, for someone to buy. Brand messaging and indoctrination is only one part of the welcome email.

Example: Michaels

Michaels welcome email

Most of the time, I love emails from Michaels, an art supplies store.

This is a solid email, with almost all of the key elements of a great welcome email. There’s the welcome. Some mild brand indoctrination. Easy-to-read design. And of course, a great offer towards the bottom.

How to improve it:

  • The only thing I’d change in this email is the brand indoctrination. I’d add one to two sentences which explain specifically why Michaels is different and what that means for me as a potential customer.

Example: Tradesy

Tradesy welcome email

If you’d read this far, you can probably critique this email yourself.

You might say that it’s a decent email. That it welcomes people. That it makes them an offer. That the design fits into our “ideal email.”

And you’d be right. Nice work, Tradesy.

How to improve it:

  • This email needs some brand indoctrination. You can’t assume that someone who joins your mailing list knows everything about you. You want to use it as an opportunity to educate them.

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

Stage 1 – Interested: Lead Nurture

When was the last time you received an email from your favorite brand that wasn’t trying to sell something?

If you’re like most people, it has probably been a while. Hell, maybe you’ve never received a nurture email.

While nurture emails come in all shapes and sizes, the quality that they all have in common is that their primary goal is not to sell something. Sure, they might link to products, and even “soft sell,” but they’re not the typical promotional emails most companies send.

This is a shame because nurture emails and campaigns work.

Set Up

Nurture emails all share one quality: their goal is not to sell.

If you keep that in mind, you’ll be a good “nurturer.”

Think about it this way…

Your customers have other problems in their lives aside from the problems that your product solves. Most companies focus solely on selling their products. They don’t care about the other problems their customer has.

Your customers have other problems in their lives aside from the problems that your product solves. ~John McIntryeAnd herein lies the opportunity.

Since most companies (including your competitors) aren’t nurturing subscribers and leads, if your company does nurture leads, who do you think customers are going to choose when it comes to buying products to solve their problem?

Here are some specific ideas for your nurture emails:

Brand Indoctrination

One of the best things you can do with nurture emails is to continue your brand indoctrination process.

Ideally, all the following ideas should be designed to fit into and reinforce your brand.


I speak to a lot of online retailers and ecommerce companies who don’t believe that it’s possible to educate their prospects and customers. They’re selling kitchen knives, or soap, or automotive parts. They can only write so many emails about their products… and then what? They run out of ideas.

But you don’t have to run out of ideas.

For example, take kitchen knives. You could write emails about:

  • The evolution of the kitchen knife (from 200 BC to now).
  • Why expensive kitchen knives matter.
  • Do high-quality kitchen knives affect how your food tastes?
  • How can you use different types of kitchen knives?
  • Here’s the knife that Jamie Oliver uses.

The trick is to think of all the related stories, ideas, and questions that people would find interesting.

Let’s try something else… something boring… like bathroom soap:

  • 17 dangerous chemicals in household soaps (and 1 brand that doesn’t have these chemicals).
  • How soap has changed over the ages.
  • Did kings have soap 500 years ago?
  • How soap was invented.
  • The 5 best soaps for soft skin.
  • Does the soap you use matter, or is it all the same?

…you get the idea.

Did you notice how each of these ideas leads naturally into a pitch for a product?

If I write an email about the five best soaps for soft skin, I can link to five soaps on our store.

If I write about the knife that Jamie Oliver uses, I’ll make sure we link to it in the email.

Despite the opportunity for selling, it doesn’t feel like a pitch and, therefore, doesn’t leave people with a sour taste in their mouth.


Funny cat videos, songs you’re listening to around the office, the latest joke you heard… it’s all fair game for entertainment in nurture emails.

Of course, what you can share will depend on your brand, but keep in mind that providing entertainment is a great way to stand out from the hordes of boring companies out there.


One of my favorite types of nurture emails are stories.

You can tell stories about your business, where and how it got started, and what drives you today. You can also tell stories about your employees and your customers.

Customer stories are great; however, you need to be careful to avoid over-selling the testimonial or story.

Sequence Examples

Let’s put all of this together.

Here’s what a five-email nurture campaign might look:

Email 1 – Welcome to the family (please read)
Email 2 – Brand indoctrination Part 1 (100 word brand story, with open loop)
Email 3 – Brand indoctrination Part 2 (100 word brand story, with open loop)
Email 4 – Educational email
Email 5 – Cool video

This is in addition to promotional emails, which should be going out on a regular basis, too.

The best frequency of emails will vary by company. Provided you’re sending promotional emails one to two times a month, send the nurture campaign every seven days.

Lead Nurture Email Examples

Example: Citrix

Citrix lead nurture email

While Citrix isn’t an online retailer of physical goods, this is a good example of a nurture email.

In this email, Citrix is promoting a whitepaper — a free digital report on how to manage teams. Anyone who downloads this whitepaper and consumes it will be further sold on the benefits of Citrix.

While Citrix might not sell itself directly in the whitepaper, the whitepaper positions Citrix as an expert in the eyes of the reader.

How to improve it:

  • Add a section with the header “In this whitepaper, you’ll discover:” and three bullets on the three top outcomes the subscriber wants. This will make the email more scannable for people trying to get through their inbox as fast as possible.

Example: Exposure

Exposure lead nurture email

This email from Exposure, a photography company, is a great example of a nurture email.

Being a photography website, they’ve done well to incorporate beautiful imagery into the email. However, they’ve also maintained the mobile-compatibility, as well as the communication even if you get rid of the images.

How to improve it:

  • Change the “Read The Whole Story” buttons to orange, or some other color that stands out. The current grey buttons they’re using are difficult to see and blend into the background.

Example: Fandango

Fandango lead nurture email

This is a decent lead nurture email from Fandango.

Instead of selling their movie tickets, they’re emailing about The Academy Awards. They’ve done well to use the blue button on the dark red background as this makes it stand out.

How to improve it:

  • The headline may be hard to read for some people. To increase readability, make the background dark and the headline lighter.
  • I love movies, but I don’t particularly care about The Academy Awards. If I got this email, I wouldn’t click through to the website. So they could improve this by improving the targeting and only sending this to people who are interested in The Academy Awards.

Example: FiftyThree

FiftyThree lead nurture email

What a wonderful email from FiftyThree!

The design is top-notch, with the important things featured front and center. The logo and menu are there, but they’re not overpowering the email.

What’s great about this email is that it sells the notebook, while also maintaining a “nurture-y” feel. It leads with a video, and instead of talking about the notebook, it leads with the inspiring “bring ideas to life.”

If I received this email, I would probably pause, scroll through it, and maybe even watch the video, just to see if I’d like to get one of these notebooks.

How to improve it:

  • The sort of person who would buy a notebook from FiftyThree is the sort of person who likes to read. So, give them stuff to read. Throw in some bullets on who it’s for, on what it does for me, and how my writing experience will change.

Example: Harry’s

Harry's lead nurture email

This email from Harry’s is a great example of how simple nurture emails can be.

Harry’s sells face wash, a mostly boring product. Most people would throw up their hands and tell me that they have nothing to write about if they had to write about face wash.

But here is Harry’s, making it work.

I don’t wash my face with face wash. But if Harry’s showed me why washing my face was worth it, and how I could do better, then I might sign up and grab some.

This is something to keep in mind with your nurture emails. Use your copy to create situations and trigger the pain that leads someone to buy your product.

For example, if you’re selling face wash like Harry’s, send nurture emails that educate people on why face wash is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and why most face wash products are dangerous. That leads naturally into a pitch for Harry’s.

How to improve it:

  • More teaser copy! To get more clicks on the content, Harry’s should tease people more about the content. In this article, you’ll discover… Then add three bullets on what they’ll discover.
  • The content landing pages should be optimized for conversions.

Example: Huckberry

Huckberry lead nurture email

I’m always impressed by Huckberry emails.

In this email, Andy, one of the co-founders of Huckberry, introduces one of their partners. But instead of doing it in a boring, drab, salesy way, he does it by telling a story about how he met the founders of the company. Facts tell and stories sell!

In this case, the subscriber is brought into the story in a way that he or she will identify with the brand being introduced. "Facts tell and stories sell."

How to improve it:

  • This email would be better with a headline, but only if it fits with the Huckberry brand. My gut says it does… if done in a subtle way. The addition of a headline improves scannability.

Example: Michaels

Michael lead nurture email

Michaels is back with another solid email.

In this email, they continue re-selling the subscriber on their emails, expand on some ideas from their welcome email, and provide links to the different areas of the website.

The headline at the top is a nice addition and gives me a way to evaluate the contents of this email fast — while I’m scanning through my inbox.

How to improve it:

  • Like the Michaels welcome email above, Michaels should add more supporting copy in this email. While this email here does a great job of selling their email newsletter, it doesn’t do a great job of selling Michaels as a brand and company.

Stage 1 – Interested: Promotions for First Purchase

This is the easy part.

You’ve welcomed your subscribers into your tribe. You’ve warmed them up with content, brand indoctrination and more. You’ve even made a few “soft offers” to people in the content of your emails.

Now it’s time to sell and sell hard.

The goal?

Get people to make their first purchase.

Set Up

Creating promotions is relatively straightforward.

Pick an offer

Create an email

Send it out.

However, depending on the size of your database and operation, you may want to segment people.

For example, you could target people who have only visited specific categories on your website, thereby displaying their interest in a specific type of product.

Ideas for your offers:

  • Instead of a blanket discount, require people to purchase a certain amount, such as $100. Offer 20% off on all orders over $100.
  • Offer free shipping for a limited time, or only on orders over a certain amount.
  • Overstocked on a certain item? Offer it as a gift to customers who spend a certain amount.
  • Offer points, or some kind of reward-based system to encourage purchases.

Also, whenever you make some kind of special offer, include a reason for the offer. Don’t offer a discount for no reason. Instead, tell them it’s because you bought too many and now you need to clear space in your warehouse.

Your conversions will improve if you provide a reason for the special offer.

Finally, you can (and should) hit this on both automated and manual fronts.

Take the nurture sequence from the last section:

Email 1 – Welcome to the family (please read)
Email 2 – Brand indoctrination part 1 (100 word brand story, with open loop)
Email 3 – Brand indoctrination part 2 (100 word brand story, with open loop)
Email 4 – Educational email
Email 5 – Cool video

Each of these emails should have “soft offers” for products on your website, again, to encourage the first purchase.

And if you offered an incentive for the signup, your welcome email will contain the coupon code and a big, bright, shiny button for purchase.

The educational email should lead into a soft-sell. For example, tell the story of the origin of the kitchen knife, and finish the story by mentioning that you have the most modern and up-to-date kitchen knives, which retain the lessons of the past. Then add a link to purchase.

The cool video should relate to your products somehow — or it should be embedded on your website (on your blog) and be surrounded with links, images, and so on, that lead people to other sections of your website to make a purchase.

Next, add a timed promotion:

Email 6 – Limited time offer (ie. 48 hours)
Email 7 – Limited time offer (ie. 24 hours left)

Finally, depending on what email software you’re using, you can set up page triggers. So, if a subscriber who hasn’t purchased yet visits a specific category but doesn’t buy, you can send them a quick discount offer (or just a reminder) to grab something from that category.

Promotional Email Examples

Example: Apple

Apple promotional email

For the most part, Apple does a great job with their email marketing (though I’ve seen a few blank emails from them due to too many images).

In this email, the image is eye-catching, and the targeting is relevant (it’s Valentine’s day soon). The button is easy to find.

How to improve it:

  • The headline is too clever. It’s trying too hard. I have to think to understand it. They’d get better results by using something more direct, like “iPod Touch For Valentine’s Day?”.

Example: Bonobos

Bonobos promotional email

Here’s a great example of a text-based email, that sells, and comes with personality.

Bonobos nails it with this one. It stands out, precisely because it’s not what you’re expecting from a company like Bonobos. The CTA is clear. And everything is easy to read.

How to improve it:

  • This email is a drab mix of grey and white, and that means a bright orange or blue (or some other bright button) would stand out like nothing else. Change the buttons to orange or similar to highlight them and make them stand out. It’s a small change, but I can’t find anything else to dislike about this email.

Example: Jet

Jet promotional email

Jet has come out of nowhere.

In this email, they lead with some personality and pop culture (do you know that song?) and make it dead obvious what they want you to do next. There’s plenty of whitespace. The text is easy to read. It’s easy to glance at this email and know if it matters to me or not.

How to improve it:

  • Add a menu below the logo that links to the most popular categories in store.
  • Add images and product suggestions below the button, in case I’m in the mood to browse through the email some more. Right now, it might be too short to catch my attention properly. It’s tough to say too much in an email (since I can leave at any time), but it’s frustratingly easy to say too little.

Example: Julep

Julep promotional email

Julep, a company that sells beauty products and nail polish, nails (pun intended) this promotional email.

They’ve got the elements that matter. Menu. Clear text. Obvious button. And they’re not trying to be clever or cutesy with it.

How to improve it:

  • The design makes you focus on the center circle. But this means some people won’t see that Julep is offering a free gift on orders over $50. This free gift offer should be featured in the white circle, above the button, so that more people can see it.
  • Product images and suggestions. If I’m in my inbox and I’m looking for distraction, I might open this email and want to read more. But if I have to click through to the website, I’m probably just going to hit “Archive” or “Delete.”

Example: Memebox

Memebox promotional email

Here’s an email after my own heart — I got my stripes in the copywriting world, so text emails always make me smile.

In this email, Memebox promotes their Korean beauty products using more text than most companies would. They’re doing a lot right with this email. Simple, clear offer. Big button. Supporting copy.

How to improve it:

  • While the use of text in this email is great, bunching it into one large paragraph isn’t. Memebox should add a few line breaks to make their “wall of text” more readable.
  • Also, the addition of a blue text link to the paragraph might bump the CTR by a few points.

Example: Twist

Twist promotional email

Twist. Epic product. Epic emails. What is it, you ask? Simply the coolest thing ever. LED light bulbs that double as speakers, so you can “play music in every room of your house.”

See that headline at the top? That’s a great example of a simple, straightforward headline. It’s not trying to be cutesy or clever. It tells you exactly what you get from Twist: the ability to “play all of your music in every room of the house.”

What else is this email right?

It contains a nice promotion ($50 off a speaker three-pack — normally $149). It includes supporting copy (“A speaker system without the pesky wires”) and brand indoctrination (“Our bulbs are rated to last over 35,000 hours”).

How to improve it:

  • The only thing I would change with this email is perhaps add more supporting copy or a testimonial. The premise seems a little unbelievable and gimmicky, so adding a proof element like a testimonial might add considerable trust.

We’ve reached the end… Part 3!

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing [Part 3]: Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap – Stages 2 & 3

Stages 2 and 3 are where email marketing to ecommerce customers gets really interesting.

Here’s a short recap of the stages:

  • Stage 1: Interested – People who have signed up for a coupon, guide, etc., but haven’t bought anything yet. The goal of Stage 1 is to get them to make their first purchase.
  • Stage 2: Engaged – People who have bought one or several products. The goal of Stage 2 is to get them to stay engaged and buy again and again over time.
  • Stage 3: Lapsed – People who have stopped purchasing and stopped opening and clicking emails. The goal of Stage 3 is to get people to reactivate by buying something, opening an email, or clicking a link.

Let’s dive in…

Stage 2 – Engaged: Transactional Emails / Email Receipts

It’s amazing how many stores overlook their customer base as a fantastic source of sales and revenue.

Did you know that it’s 10x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell something to an existing customer?

In this section, we’re talking about transactional emails… and we’ll talk about just how you can use these as an opportunity to sell to your existing customers.

These are the first emails customers receive. They’re your shipping and order confirmations.

Now, because they’re “transactional” — related to a purchase — instead of “commercial” — trying to get a purchase — they get extremely high engagement scores.

In fact, email receipts (another word for them) get an average open rate of 70.9%, compared with the typical ecommerce promo email average or 17.9%.

And that means, there’s an opportunity to sell. Here’s a great graph from CrazyEgg that illustrates this opportunity:

Emails with cross-sell sections had higher transaction rates

In this graph, you’ll notice that order confirmations, shipping confirmations, and return confirmations all had higher transaction rates and orders if the emails had cross-sells included.

Set Up

Optimizing your transactional emails is easy.

Take your default email receipts — your shipping and order confirmations — and add the following:

Up-sells and Cross-sells

Add up-sells and cross-sells for other products you sell. If possible, customize these recommendations like Amazon does (ie. people who bought this also bought…)

Brand Indoctrination

The brand indoctrination should never really end. Every moment you have your customer’s attention is another moment to reinforce your brand’s message and what makes you different.


Free shipping, your return policy, how and where to get in contact with support. Never stop selling people on the benefits of doing business with you.

Transactional Email Examples

Example: Athleta

Athleta transactional email

Here’s a great first example of a transactional email from Athleta. Order information, plus brand indoctrination, benefits (return policy, free shipping, free returns), and links to related brands (Banana Republic, GAP, Old Navy).

How to improve it:

  • Make specific product recommendations based on what people have just bought, instead of selling ad placements to similar companies.

Example: Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club transactional email

Dollar Shave Club is known for creating amazing marketing assets (like their famous video), and this email is no exception.

This email is a reminder that they’re about to ship the next box. But before they do, they’d like to know if you want to add anything in. Unlike other companies, they actually show you images of what you might want.

Shave butter? Hair styling products? Or perhaps One Wipe Charlies?

It’s simple, easy-to-understand, and leads easily to increasing their customer’s lifetime value.

How to improve it:

There’s little to improve on this email.

  • Perhaps add “From Dollar Shave Club” next to the headline. Some people might open this email and get confused about who it’s from.

Example: Etsy

Etsy transactional email

Here’s an email from Etsy. It’s decent but could be improved.

How to improve it:

  • The shop owner advises three weeks for shipping, but in the days of Amazon Prime and one-day delivery, three weeks will frustrate people. So, cut the delivery time in half or more.
  • I’m not sure how much the shop owner can personalize this email. If possible, he or she should add a link to a related product in the “Note from Shop Owner” section.

Example: GoDaddy

GoDaddy transactional email

I’ve always been impressed by GoDaddy’s transactional emails. This email has all the information a customer needs. Plus, it comes with a promotional code for the next purchase, and links to “GoDaddy Deals.”

How to improve it:

  • Remind people about the GoDaddy Deals and the discount at the bottom of the email.

Example: Social Print Studio

Social Print Studio transactional email

Social Print Studio (formerly Prinstagram) nails the text-based transactional email. Instead of the boring copy in most transactional emails, they’ve opted for something more fun.

Glorious news… Peace & Love… I am a robot…

All of these things are a component of brand indoctrination — cultivating the idea in the customer’s brain that Social Print Studio is fun and awesome.

How to improve it:

  • This email needs some kind of product recommendations — related or otherwise.

Example: Walmart

Walmart transactional email

Walmart, like GoDaddy, crushes the transactional email. Notice the related product recommendations on the right, tailored to the purchase of a student desk. If someone buys a desk, maybe they’d like a chair too?

This email also explains what’s happening next, so the shopper knows exactly what to expect.

How to improve it:

No suggestions. Walmart nails this one.

Stage 2 – Engaged: Cart Abandonment Email Campaign

According to the Baymard Institute, an independent web research company, 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This means online retailers lost as much as $4 TRILLION (with a “T”) to cart abandonment in 2015, says Business Insider.

Cart abandonment is a BIG problem for online retailers and ecommerce stores. Cart abandonment emails typically recover 5-15% of lost sales. ~John McIntrye

Shoppers abandon their shopping carts for many reasons, including:

  • Getting distracted by funny cat videos
  • Worrying about payment security
  • Not seeing their preferred payment options
  • Extra fees once they get to their checkout
  • Bad user experience

(RELATED: 21 Lessons the World’s Largest Online Retailers Spent Millions to Learn [2nd Edition])

While a cart abandonment email campaign won’t overcome every reason people abandon their shopping cart, it can still deliver a substantial boost in revenue:

  • Radley London, a designer leather handbag retailer, created a cart abandonment email campaign and recovered 7.9% of lost sales.
  • BootBarn, a seller of cowboy boots and western wear, recovered 12% of lost sales with their shopping cart abandonment email campaign.

Let’s be conservative and say that cart abandonment emails typically recover 5-15% of lost sales.

For a small online retailer doing $3 million in online sales…

  • Two-thirds abandon (which means one-third completes purchase)
  • One-third equals $3 million
  • Two-thirds — the cart abandoners — amounts of $6 million in lost sales

"$300,000 to $900,000 in the bank thanks to three simple emails."If this store creates a cart abandonment email campaign and recovers 5% of lost sales, they’ll add $300,000 to their top line. If they recover 15% (still a conservative estimate), they’ll add $900,000 to their top line.

$300,000 to $900,000 in the bank thanks to three simple emails.

Set Up

Don’t do what most companies do.

Don’t use the default cart abandonment email that comes with your ecommerce platform or email marketing provider.

You’ll get much better results if you customize the emails and send more than one. We like to send three emails.

Email 1: Reminder

The first email is just a reminder.

Unfortunately, most companies offer a discount in their first email. This eats into revenue unnecessarily, as some people just need a simple reminder.

Show them a photo of the product that’s in their shopping cart and give them a link to return to your website and complete their purchase.

Email 2: Objection

No discounts yet.

In this email, we attack one or several objections.

The objections might come from simple common-sense thinking (i.e. maybe they don’t know we offer free shipping), or research and data (i.e. based on survey responses and support requests).

  • Do they know you offer free shipping?
  • Do they know why you’re the best in the market?
  • Do they know what makes your products different and unique?
  • Do they know why you’re more expensive or cheaper than the competition?

Email 3: Discount

If they haven’t bought yet, after an email reminder and an email about why you’re awesome, maybe they’re just price-sensitive and a discount would push them over the edge.

Email 4 onwards…

We generally don’t send a fourth email, but if you’d like to be aggressive with your cart abandonment, you can continue sending emails until people stop buying.

If sales haven’t dropped off by email three, keep emailing until they do drop off.

Cart Abandonment Email Examples

Example: Fab

Fab cart abandonment email

Fab here with another great email. Notice how they’ve added the abandoned product to the subject line. This email is simple, clean, and direct.

I like how they aren’t using a discount in this email either.

How to improve it:

  • Auto-populate the email with one of the top reviews on the product to add social proof.

Example: FiftyThree

FiftyThree cart abandonment email

I love how simple this email from FiftyThree is. There’s something in your cart. It’s hard to get more direct than that.

How to improve it:

  • Add the product title to the subject line.
  • Dial up the urgency by saying that there are only three left.

Example: Doggyloot

Doggyloot cart abandonment email

This email from DoggyLoot is a great example of how to get someone’s attention when they open the email. There’s a cute image of a dog, with the big headline “Wait A Second.”

How to improve it:

  • “Restore My Cart” seems like an odd CTA for an email. Test more common variations like “Complete Purchase” and “Continue Shopping.”

Stage 2 – Engaged: Online Retail Customer Email Campaigns

Someone has purchased. Maybe for the first time.

This is an important moment!

If you get this right, your new customer will stay for life. Get it wrong, and you’ll be another shoddy company your customer avoids forever.

Email and Campaign Ideas


The first thing you want to do when someone purchases for the first time is welcome them into your family.

Just like the welcome email for new subscribers, this email is designed to welcome them, explain what’s next, and continue the brand indoctrination process.

Brand Indoctrination

Never stop selling. Continue the brand indoctrination process in the welcome email and in every other email you send.

You should make it a priority. Always be subtly reminding people about what makes you special, and why they made a good decision in purchasing from you.


You should never stop nurturing your customers either. Remember, it’s 10x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to sell to someone who has bought before.

Continue sending emails with the primary goal of helping them.

Yes, you can sell — in these emails and in your more direct promotional emails — but do spend some time nurturing people.

Surveys and Product Reviews

Your customers will provide you with a wealth of insights about your products, your marketing, your operations… if you ask them.

Remind people to leave product reviews. Send them surveys to find out what products they’d like to see more of, and to discover why they decided to buy from you instead of your competitors.


Did you notice how promotions are just one of the strategies I suggested you use with your customers?

The reason why is because far too many companies think that email marketing is just a matter blasting the crap out of their databases. Don’t be one of those companies.

Remember to use ALL of the email campaign ideas included here.

New Customer Campaign

Here’s an example of a new customer campaign:

Welcome to the BRAND_NAME family (send immediately)

Is everything OK? (send 3 days later)

Did your product arrive? (send 2 days after product should have arrived)

Request a product review (send 3 days later)

Time-sensitive promotion (send 3 days later)

Time-sensitive promotion (send 1 day later)

Repeat Customer Campaign

People who have bought multiple times are more exposed to your brand, so you can go into promotional mode faster.

Thanks for purchasing again! (send immediately)

Request a product review (send 2 days after product should have arrived)

Time-sensitive promotion (send 3 days later)

Time-sensitive promotion (send 1 day later)

Triggered Campaign Ideas

Win Back Occasional Customers

Suppose your typical customer buys once a month.

Send a promotion to your occasional customers — the people who buy less than once every three months. Like I’ve been saying throughout this guide, make them a “no-brainer” offer, and be sure to tell them that it’s only for people who order less than once every three months.

Special Promotions for Top Customers

Just as you want to create specific promotions for people who buy less than average, you want to create specific promotions for people who buy more than average.

These are your top customers. Treat them like royalty, and make sure they know how thankful you are for their business.

Create exclusive deals that are only available for your top customers. Depending on your market, you can consider things like events too.

Page Triggers

Depending on what email software you’re using, you may be able to create campaigns that trigger based on what pages someone visits.

So, for example, if someone visits your best selling product and doesn’t buy, you can add them to a custom three-email campaign that focused on selling that specific product.

Or if someone visits your Careers page but doesn’t submit an application, you can follow up with them via email.

Or if they visit a specific category…

…well, you get the idea.


Collect birthday information at checkout and email customers a gift or birthday promotion when their birthday arrives.

Manual Email Campaigns For Customers

Generic Blasts

When most companies think of “email marketing,” this is what they think of. This is a promotion that you “blast” out to the entire list.

Segmented Offers

Instead of sending the promotion to the entire list, send it to a specific segment, such as…

  • Only men or women
  • Only people who have bought products in a specific category
  • Only people who have visited your website in the last 30 days

Service Alerts

  • Updates about the company
  • Password changes
  • Product updates
  • Privacy setting updates
  • Feature updates
  • Maintenance updates causing the site to be offline or delayed during peak shopping hours
  • New reviews on a product they’re following or purchased in the past

In other words, any changes to anything that might interest them about your company is fodder for emails.

Reminders of Upcoming Events

If you organize events, email your subscribers with the information and benefits of attending.

Rewards Program

Consider implementing a rewards program for frequent shoppers. This is a great way to reward and incentivize your best customers to purchase more often.

Plus, it gives you an alternative to discounting. Instead of “get 20% off,” you might say something like “we’ll double your points on all purchases until May 22.”


Almost anything you do in your business can be a reason to email your subscribers to promote something, nurture them, or further indoctrinate them into your brand.

The only limitation is your imagination.

Customer Email Campaign Examples

You should be intimately familiar with ecommerce emails by now, so I won’t go overboard on the examples here. At the end of the day, you want to fit the ideas into the ideal ecommerce email template we discussed in the beginning.

Example: Facebook

Happy birthday email from Facebook

Here’s a quick example of a birthday email from Facebook. A simple email like this can make people’s day and further indoctrinate them into your brand.

Example: Boden

Review request email from Boden

This is a simple review request email from Boden, a UK clothing retailer. Notice how the email is from “Johnnie Boden,” a person instead of a company. Nice touch.

How to improve it:

  • The links to leave a review should be in the body of the email, not after the signature.

Example: Emma

Event promotion email from Emma

Emma, an email marketing provider, is promoting one of their events in this email. I wanted to include this to show you how to use email to promote events. It’s relatively simple and straightforward.

How to improve it:

  • Add a testimonial
  • Include a few speakers
  • More copy so I can figure out whether I care about reading more on the website or watching the video

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing [Part 3]: Ecommerce Email Marketing Campaign Roadmap – Stage 3

We have arrived at our final stage! You’ve made it this far, so let’s recap just how far we’ve come…

  • Stage 1: Interested – People who have signed up for a coupon, guide, etc., but haven’t bought anything yet. The goal of Stage 1 is to get them to make their first purchase.
  • Stage 2: Engaged – People who have bought one or several products. The goal of Stage 2 is to get them to stay engaged and buy again and again over time.
  • Stage 3: Lapsed – People who have stopped purchasing and stopped opening and clicking emails. The goal of Stage 3 is to get people to reactivate by buying something, opening an email, or clicking a link.

Ready to own this final stage? Let’s dive in…

Stage 3 – Lapsed: Reengagement Campaigns

I have some bad news.

Over time, people are going to start ignoring you. They’ll stop opening your emails. They’ll stop clicking your links. And ultimately, that means they’ll stop buying your products.

Fortunately, there’s a nifty category of email marketing campaigns we can use to reactivate and reengage people.

That’s where reengagement emails come in.

Set Up

The idea with reengagement campaigns is simple:

Set up strategic email marketing campaigns to go out to people who haven’t opened or clicked an email in 60 days. We can also target people who haven’t bought products within a specific time period.

Once you’ve chosen your segment, use one or all of the following ideas to reactivate and reengage.

Send Surveys

Find out why they’ve stopped buying or responding.

People disengage for a reason. Send them an email and ask them why they stopped responding to your emails (whether opening, clicking, or buying).

Offer an incentive for completing the survey to increase the number of responses you receive.

And speaking of incentives…

Offer Incentives for Visits

Get people clicking on links to get to your website.

Link to a blog post, create a simple game which gives them a coupon if they win (great for sweepstakes-style businesses), or create a video and give people something if they watch the video until the end.

“No-brainer” Promotions

If someone has stopped responding, there’s a good chance you’re just not making the right kind of offers. Maybe they want bigger discounts. Maybe they want products they can’t find anywhere else. Maybe they want additional benefits, like a rewards program.

For example, instead of your normal discount of 10% off, try offering 50% off, or 75% off, in order to encourage the person to repurchase.

Example Reengagement Campaign

The following is an example of a reengagement campaign that we run for ReEngager clients.

Email 1:  We’ve missed you


Yes, it’s time to make them feel guilty. Explain that you’re upset because they’ve stopped responding to your emails.

Include a cute animal or baby with a sad face, and encourage people to reply with their reason for disengaging.

Email 2: Holy kamoley – did you just say 50% off?

If they haven’t reengaged yet, we bring out the big guns. This is a big discount — much bigger than usual — or some other kind of “no-brainer” offer.

You want someone to read this email and think, “Holy crap, are they serious? There’s no way I can miss out on this!”.

Consider losing money on this sale, or at least breaking even, because once you’ve got them buying again, there’s a good chance they’ll buy again at full price.

To stay on the list, they have to click a link (include the link in the email) or make a purchase.

Email 3: We’re sorry but we’re deleting you in 7 days

Uh oh.

They still haven’t responded, so it’s time we informed them that if they aren’t going to respond, then we’re going to unsubscribe them and stop sending them emails.

To stay on the list, they have to click a link (include the link in the email).

Remind them of the mega discount (the “no-brainer” offer from the last email).

Email 4: You have been unsubscribed


They never responded to you, and you’ve finally unsubscribed them. Be direct but playful in this email, and remember to give them a link to re-activate their subscription in case they want to.

Reengagement Email Examples

Example: True Citrus

Here’s a three-email reengagement from True Citrus. It’s a great example of how you can reactivate and reengage shoppers based on the ideas above.

Email 1…

Reengagement from True Citrus

Email 2…

Reengagement from True Citrus

Email 3…

Reengagement from True Citrus

For more ecommerce email marketing examples, check out the amazing website from MailChimp called Really Good Emails. You can search for specific campaigns and categories on the left-hand side of the website.

Another way to find examples is a trusty old Google search. Try search queries like:

  • Cart abandonment email examples
  • Black Friday email campaigns
  • Email receipt examples
  • Cart abandonment case study
  • Ecommerce email reengagement campaign

And so on.

How To Optimize Your Email Marketing Operation

Always be testing.

Always. Be. Testing.

If you’ve been in the direct response world for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of testing. It’s no different with email marketing.

Test and then test some more.

Test your welcome emails. Test different cart abandonment emails and sequences. Test everything else.

However, don’t test stuff that doesn’t matter. Check out this graph from Neil Patel’s findings

When it comes to email marketing, subject lines count for the most — so test them the most.

When it comes to email marketing, subject lines count for the most — so test them the most.

(RELATED: [PDF Download] DigitalMarketer’s 101 Best Email Subject Lines of 2016 (…and 5 free tools you can use to amplify your email marketing!))

Integrate the results of your tests into your campaigns and iterate your way to a rabidly-hungry email marketing machine.

Surveys and customer reviews should also be used to improve your products, marketing materials, and funnels.

BONUS: Retarget People Who Open Your Emails (And Are On Your List)

DigitalMarketer is all about retargeting. If you’ve been following DM for a while, you’d know all about it. You’re probably already aware that you can upload your email list to Facebook and target it what way.

But what you might not know is that you can retarget people who open your emails.

Most people and most companies aren’t doing this, despite it being relatively straightforward.

Here’s how it works:

Graphic showing steps to set up email retargeting

When someone opens your email, the pixel fires and people who opened will see your ads as they browse the web.

Email retargeting could be the topic of another long post, so I won’t go deep on it here.

It’s an advanced strategy and is suited more to companies doing considerable volume. If you’d like to learn more, this post from ConversionXL is a good primer.

Before you do anything else…

Before you check email, look at Facebook, or watch movie trailers on YouTube…

Make a game plan using the ideas in this post.

If you’re an online retailer and you haven’t implemented the email campaigns outlined here, you could be missing out on 30% of your sales… every single day. "You don't need to be a massive retailer to reap the same benefits."

Set a reminder to review this. Send an email now to your team and assign someone to the project. Or make a note to hire an agency to set everything up for you.

In Part 4 of this guide, I’ll show you exactly how massive retailers are utilizing an ecommerce email strategy in their game plan. The best part?

You don’t need to be a massive retailer to reap the same benefits.

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing [Part 4]: How Ecommerce Companies Like Amazon, Bonobos, & Drive Millions with Email Marketing (…Millions You’re Missing Out On)

“Email beats just about everything for ROI.” – eMarketer, September 18, 2015

Isn’t that amazing?

Like I’ve said, email marketing is not dead. It’s alive and well. That quote from eMarketer is from September 2015, not 1999. Email STILL works.

Email marketing is not dead. It's alive and well. ~John McIntryeSo, you’d better be sending emails.

In the same post, they said that “According to The Relevancy Group’s findings, email alone drives the same amount of revenue as their social media, website, and display ad efforts combined.”

How much revenue does email drive?

“Just under one in four respondents (23%) said that email marketing drove at least 25.1% of their overall revenues.”

Is email marketing 25% of YOUR sales?

See, here’s the thing…

I’ve spoken to all sorts of ecommerce companies and online retailers — from tiny companies selling pest-cleaning sprays, to huge companies selling millions of dollars worth of car parts every month — and you know what I discovered?

Most ecommerce companies and online retailers suck at email marketing.

For example, here’s a typical blast from an ecommerce company:

Black Friday Ecommerce Email

What’s wrong with this email?

  • It’s “one too many” (i.e. they’re sending the same email to everyone)
  • It features a boring discount (the same thing that EVERY other company is offering)

There’s nothing in this email to differentiate the company or to make the customers and subscribers feel cared for and understood.

They’re doing this…

Ecommerce Email Marketing. Broadcasting emails to everyone

Instead of this:

Ecommerce Email Marketing. Sending more personalized emails based on their actions with your site

They’re “blasting” their entire database with the same offer that every other company is “blasting.” There is zero personalization.

The problem is…

If you want to use ecommerce email marketing to increase your sales by 10-25% or more within 90 days, you’re going to have to get a wee bit more advanced with how you do things.

That’s what I taught attendees to do at Traffic & Conversion Summit 2016 (get the slides), and that’s what Part 4 of this ultimate guide is all about.

Let’s get into it.

Case Study #1: (This Cart Abandonment Strategy Gets More Than Double the Typical Improvement of Cart Abandonment Email Campaigns)

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, it’s estimated that 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned (two-thirds of checkouts).

If you’re doing $1M in annual, you’re losing $2M to shopping cart abandonment.

Now, if you’re somewhat savvy with how you do things, you probably already have some kind of cart abandonment email.

Maybe you’ve got one email (bad).

Maybe you’ve got three emails (better).

But there’s no way you have seven or more emails (great).

In most cart abandonment case studies, including the case studies I mentioned in the cart abandonment section of this post, the average improvement is 5-15%.

In the original examples:

  • Radley London, a designer leather handbag retailer, created a cart abandonment email campaign and recovered 7.9% of lost sales.
  • BootBarn, a seller of cowboy boots and western wear, recovered 12% of lost sales with their shopping cart abandonment email campaign.

That’s better than nothing, but it’s nothing compared with has almost 4X better recovery than the typical improvement due to cart abandonment emails.

In the image above, notice how is almost 4X better than the typical improvement due to cart abandonment emails.

How Did SMASH The Industry Average For Shopping Cart Abandonment?

One word:


Instead of one lousy abandonment sequence for people who visited the checkout — but left without purchasing — they created three abandonment email campaigns:

  1. Category abandonment
  2. Shopping cart abandonment
  3. Checkout abandonment (what most companies think of when it comes to “cart abandonment”)

Let’s look at each one in turn.

1. Category Abandonment

Category abandonment happens when someone visits a specific category on your website but leaves without even adding anything to the cart.

Here’s what did for category abandonment:

Subject: Thanks for visiting Cart Abandonment Email

Here’s what’s great about this email:

  • Relevant subject line
  • Relevant headline (“THANKS FOR SHOPPING”)
  • Personalize copy based on category (“Thank you for visiting and for your interest in: Square Envelopes.”)
  • Big CTA button that’s easy to see (“SHOP NOW!”)
  • Relevant images (with different colors to demonstrate the actual different colors)
  • Other ways to shop and end up on the website (You can shop by Size, Color, or Style)

They sent one category abandonment email.

2. Shopping Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment happens when someone adds something to their cart but DOES NOT visit the checkout to complete the purchase.

They never actually get there.

Here’s what did for shopping cart abandonment:

Subject: Shopping Cart Reminder: Don’t Miss Out On PRODUCT Shopping Cart Reminder

Here’s what’s great about this email:

  • Relevant subject line that MENTIONS the product (“Shopping Cart Reminder: Don’t Miss Out On PRODUCT”)
  • Relevant headline and copy
  • CTA button that’s easy to see
  • Relevant image to remind them (empty shopping cart)
  • Personalized product section (that shows you what product/s you abandoned)

They sent three cart abandonment emails, and they were all similar.

3. Checkout Abandonment

Checkout abandonment is what most people know of as “cart abandonment.”

It happens when someone visits your website, adds a product or two to their shopping cart, and actually GOES to the checkout to complete their purchase. They begin the checkout process, entering their personal information, such as their name, email, and address, but they leave before they complete payment and finish the checkout.

Here’s what did for checkout abandonment:

Subject: A friendly reminder from Cart Abandonment Email

By now, you can probably tell me what’s great about this email. Nonetheless, let’s make the list:

  • Relevant subject line
  • Relevant copy
  • Big button that’s easy to see
  • Relevant image
  • Items you left in your cart

They sent three checkout abandonment emails, and they were all similar.

Steal This From

  • One email for category abandonment
  • Three emails for shopping cart abandonment
  • Three emails for checkout abandonment

That’s seven emails in total. Great, remember?

Click here for the full case study.

"You want to use triggered emails to capitalize on that buyer intent."How many emails are in YOUR abandonment strategy?

Ultimately, it’s about buyer intent.

Whether you’re emailing people based on the buyer intent they demonstrated when they visited a category or added a product to your cart, or some other trigger that specifically applies to your business, you want to use triggered emails to capitalize on that buyer intent.

Find the buyer intent on the Customer Journey. Then email hard and fast.

(DigitalMarketer Lab Member Extra: What’s Working Now – The Customer Journey)

Customer Journey

Now let’s take a look at how Bonobos sends FEWER emails but generates MORE sales.

Case Study #2: Bonobos (How to Send Fewer Emails But Generate More Sales)

If you want to see great email marketing in the wild, pay attention to Bonobos. is a fantastic resource for checking out other companies’ email campaigns, including Bonobos.

The second case study I shared at Traffic and Conversion 2016 was a simple case study about one email that Bonobos sent to two groups about their daily grind shirts.

The first group they targeted was a random collection of people from their database.

Zero targeting.

The second group they targeted was a specific collection of people who were targeted based on their likelihood to buy (according to an algorithm).

Group 1: No targeting vs Group 2: Specific targeting

Which Group Generated the Most Revenue?

If you said “Group 2” because you know that using specific targeting works, I’m sorry but in this case study with Bonobos, you’d be…


Can you guess how much Group 2 won the test by?

Group 2 produced a revenue lift FOUR times greater than Group 1.

Group 2 produced a revenue lift FOUR times greater than Group 1

If that doesn’t get you excited about segmenting your list, I don’t know what will.

Steal This From Bonobos:

Instead of emailing everyone, focus on people who are most likely to buy.

You’ll make more money, and your database will be healthier (which will lead to more money and increased brand value over the long run). "Instead of emailing everyone, focus on people who are most likely to buy."

Click here to read the full article about Bonobos “secret” to email marketing.

You can segment your database in countless ways, including by gender, age, algorithm, and interest:

Segmenting email by gender, age, algorithm, and interest

Once again, we come back to the idea of personalization.

The “secret” to generating 10-25% or more in sales via ecommerce email marketing is improving your targeting and personalization.

In the next case study, you’ll discover how to world’s largest online retailer drives BILLIONS of dollars in sales with advanced ecommerce email marketing.

Case Study #3: How Amazon Drives BILLIONS Of Dollars in Sales by Focusing on Personalization in Their Email Marketing

Instead of broadcasts and “blasting” (*shudder*) their list, Amazon focused on personalizing the crap out of every email they sent.

Here are just some of the emails that Amazon sends to customers:

Amazon emails, from the Welcome Email to the Review Email

Let’s talk about the welcome email.

Like I mentioned earlier in the post, welcome emails generate three times the transactions and revenue per email compared with regular promotional emails.

(DigitalMarketer Lab Member Extra: Office Hours – The Perfect Welcome Email)

Amazon’s Welcome Emails

Example of Amazon Welcome Email

Pay attention to:

  • The subject line (includes “welcome” and instructions “take a tour”)
  • The headline (includes a name — I’ve blanked it out for privacy)
  • The links (to relevant places on that someone might be looking for)

Other ideas for your welcome email include:

  • Make an offer (it could be a coupon, discount, free shipping, free gift, or something else)
  • Indoctrinate them (what’s your brand story?)
  • Direct them to all the important places on your website
  • Invite them to follow you on social media

Here’s how Huckberry welcomes people:

Huckberry welcome email

If you want more ideas for your welcome email, please see the welcome email section above in the original post.

More Emails Amazon Uses to Drive Billions in Sales

Amazon Emails

Want 75% more profits?

Increase customer retention by just 5%.

It’s true.

If you focus your energy on keeping customers, your profits will shoot way up. If you focus your energy on keeping customers, your profits will shoot way up. ~John McIntrye

Remember the old sales adage:

When’s the best time to make a sale? Right after you made one.

What does this mean for Amazon and email marketing?

It means adding related product recommendations to your receipts and transactional emails:

Amazon receipt with recommendations for related products

You can even send product recommendations at random intervals, and in your automated customer sequences:

Amazon product recommendations email

And if they don’t get you with their relentless related product recommendations, they’ll get you with their browse abandonment:

Amazon browse abandonment email

Like I said…

…they are relentless (and you should be too).

Steal This From Amazon:

The primary thing you should steal from Amazon is the mindset of personalizing as many touch points as possible.

I’ve listed some of the possibilities here, but there’ll be other possibilities that are unique to your business, product, and market.


  1. Create a welcome email (and make sure it’s awesome)
  2. Create a customer sequence (that includes product recommendations based on what they bought)
  3. Browse abandonment (as soon as you know they’re interested in pet food, engagement rings, or what have you, send them an email about it)

Click here to read the original post from GetVero.


  1. Find the buyer intent
  2. Send emails to each touchpoint

Ecommerce Email Marketing Roadmap

To recap what we’ve been talking about all along here, THIS is what your email marketing plan should look like:

ecommerce email marketing plan

If you’ve gotten this far, are fully convinced to implement now that you’ve seen the success in about 137 different ways, but you’re still concerned your software isn’t up to snuff — I’m going to encourage diving into Klavivo again.

We talked about this tool in Part 1, and now it’s time to make the leap.

Here’s a screenshot from one of our client accounts:

Screenshot of Klavivo dashboard

This is the Klaviyo dashboard. It’s the first screen you see when you log in.

My favorite part of the dashboard is the green box on the top right that says “Placed Order Value.”

I’ve blurred out the number for client confidentiality reasons. If it wasn’t blurred out, you’d see exactly how much money the various email marketing campaigns had generated in the last 30 days.

If you’ve ever wondered how much revenue your emails drive, and you’ve wasted time trying to integrate with Google Analytics or some other platform, you’ll love Klaviyo because it makes the revenue tracking dead simple. Simply integrate with your shopping cart and you’re done.

You’ll also notice on the dashboard the total emails sent, the open rate, and the click rate. The average is in red above the boxes. I’ve added green numbers below the boxes to indicate how well we’re doing with this account.

Our open rate is 61% above the ecommerce average of 16.8%, and our click rate is 160% higher than the average.

So, where do you go from here?

You take action:

  1. Plug your abandonment holes (ALL of it — category, shopping cart, and checkout abandonment)
  2. Focus on people who are most likely to buy (segment your database by gender, age, hobbies, or algorithm)
  3. Send a welcome email (and build out your customer sequence with related product recommendations)

Grab a pen and paper (or Evernote), write these three actions down and put a time on your calendar to start executing!

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing [Part 5]: The 3 Highest Converting Behavioral Emails in 2017 (Other Than Cart Abandonment)

If you’ve taken the time to read this massive guide on ecommerce email marketing, you know how much I love behavioral emails and personalized messaging.

So, for another update, I thought it would be fun (and profitable!) to take a look at our three highest converting behavioral emails in 2017 (other than cart abandonment) from our done-for-you ecommerce email marketing service88% of people never even add a product to the shopping cart. ~John McIntrye

While cart abandonment emails are essential for every ecommerce store, 88% of people never even add a product to the shopping cart, so if that’s the only type of behavioral email campaign you have, you’re leaving BIG money on the table… to the tune of roughly half the revenue of a store’s cart abandonment campaign.

Let’s get into it… the email campaigns you can run first, then examples of each.

Behavioral Email #1 – Product Browse Abandonment

Like I mentioned above, 88% of people never even add a product to the shopping cart. Worse yet, of the people who view products, only 12% add products to their cart.

That’s where product browse abandonment comes in.

This campaign is for people who view a product page but don’t add a single product to their shopping cart.

For best results, personalize the email with text and images of the product they viewed, as well as similar products or products commonly bought together (similar to Amazon’s “People who bought this also bought…”).

Behavioral Email #2 – Category Abandonment

I mentioned this extensively in Part 4 of this blog post, but it’s worth mentioning again.

Typically, only 39% of visitors look at products. That means you’ve got 61% of your visitors never even reaching a product page, and therefore, never triggering a product browse abandonment email or cart abandonment email.

"That’s why category abandonment emails are so important."That’s why category abandonment emails are so important.

Just like the product browse abandonment, it’s important to personalize the emails with text and images of the category they viewed, as well as related products and categories.

For product and category abandonment, don’t feel like you have to set these up for every single product and category. Start with your best-selling category and your high-margin categories.

Behavioral Email #3 – Homepage Abandonment

 There’s always a sizeable chunk of your audience that hits your homepage but never goes any further because…

  • They got distracted
  • They didn’t see anything they liked
  • Or they got scared because they didn’t trust your website

But those people are relatively warm, and with the right email, you can snap a few of them up.

This campaign is for anyone who visits your homepage but doesn’t go any further.

Send them an email with your site-wide top sellers over the past ten days.

BONUS – Search Page Abandonment

We’re experimenting with this at the moment.

People love to search for products on ecommerce websites, but what do they do if they don’t find the product they were looking for?

Many of them leave.

That’s where search page abandonment comes in.

This behavioral email campaign is for anyone who searches for a product, hits the search results page, and then leaves without visiting any other pages.

Send them an email with some product suggestions from the search results, as well as some of the categories related to their search keyword.

Let’s talk about triggering next so you’re sending to quality candidates.

It’s Important to Get the Specific Triggering Right

Now, if someone has only visited a category once and never returned, they’re a bad candidate for a category abandonment campaign because they’re not demonstrating much interest.

As a general practice, and if your email marketing software allows it, you may want to trigger product and category abandonment campaigns only when someone demonstrates definite interest.

What does that look like?

For product page abandonment, only send emails to people who visit one product in a specific category at least three times without making a purchase.

For category abandonment, send the emails to people who visit at least three pages within a category without making a purchase.

Next, be sure that you…

Don’t Send Your Abandonment Emails to Everyone

If someone visits 15 different product pages within 15 minutes on your website, you don’t want them to get 15 different product abandonment emails.

That’s why it’s important to set your suppression criteria correctly.

If you follow the triggering examples above, this should eliminate most of these problems, but it’s also worth setting the following suppression rule:

  • Don’t send a browse abandonment campaign to anyone who received one in the last 30 days

At this point, some of you may be wondering…

When Should You Send Your Browse Abandonment Emails?

To eliminate overwhelm, we suggest most companies begin with one to two emails and then extend the campaigns later if the metrics call for it.

  • Email 1 – 30 minutes after they abandon
  • Email 2 – 24 hours after they abandon

Now, let’s look at ten examples! Use them as inspiration in your ecommerce email marketing campaigns.

Behavioral Email Examples

Behavioral Email Example 1 – Julep

I love the simplicity of this email. It has all the right elements:

  • A logo
  • Top menu bar
  • Positioning statement
  • Recently viewed products

Julep Behavioral Email

The only issue with it is that it’s a little vague.

“Shop the favorites” doesn’t mean anything. Does that mean my favorites? The store’s favorites? Other customers’ favorites?

If I was going to re-do this email, I’d change the headline from “Shop the favorites” to something like “Psst… you forgot something.” I’d also make the headline much bigger, and center it. You want to make it dead obvious what the heck the email is about.

Oh, and last but not least, there should be a button beneath each image and product title. It sounds basic, but it’ll increase clicks if you add buttons.

Behavioral Email Example 2 – Nasty Gal

Whoa. This email is sexy.

Nasty Gal Behavioral Email

Seriously though, this email appeals to the direct response copywriter in me.

It has a big, fat headline, front and center, as well as a sub-headline. The headline asks a question, which is always a reliable way to catch someone’s attention. And the sub-headline builds on the headline, cultivating a friendly, fun vibe.

Good use of the product image, too.

The problems?

The headline and sub-headline take up too much screen real estate. Make them smaller to move the product image up (it’s the whole reason for this email).

The email also needs a colored button beneath the “Shop now” text link.

And maybe a testimonial or review on this product, or just a review for the store.

Now, there’s no hard rule for including testimonials in emails, but generally speaking, they work best when they address a SPECIFIC objection that the customer might have.

I don’t think there’s ever a time when you shouldn’t use a testimonial, but that doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely crucial. Just preferred.

Behavioral Email Example 3 – Wasserstrom

I love this email from Wasserstrom.

Wasserstrom Behavioral Email

The headline is big and centered and easy to read. And the email includes all recently viewed products.

To improve this email, you could add “Shop Now” buttons next to each product to increase the CTR.

Another idea is to add some sort of urgency, whether…

  • a discount
  • free shipping
  • some kind of package deal

…that’s only available for 48-hours or something like that. To increase the likelihood that they'll respond, design the email so it looks like it's a text email that came from the founder or CEO. ~John McIntrye

This offer should be based on customer surveys that have told you why people aren’t buying.

For example, you could add a second email after the reminder email that asks them to reply to the email and tell you why they didn’t purchase. To increase the likelihood that they’ll respond, design the email so it looks like it’s a text email that came from the founder or CEO.

Behavioral Email Example 4 – Cottages4You

Great email here from Cottages4You.

Cottages4You Behavioral Email

Not much to critique here… it has all the elements of a good browse abandonment email.

However, there are always improvements to be made.

They could add urgency to this email by mentioning how many people were looking at the listing and how it’s almost booked up for XYZ amount of time (like how Agoda and AirBnB create urgency on their listing pages).

And they could add a testimonial to each listing by pulling from the reviews.

Example 5 – ModCloth

 Simple and effective email from ModCloth.

ModCloth Behavioral Email

However, it’s missing some simple CTA buttons beneath each image. Some people will get confused and not know where to click. Everything should be designed so that even the dumbest, most computer illiterate person can figure out what to do.

Also, where are the testimonials?

Behavioral Email Example 6 – J.Crew

 This email is trying to be good, but it’s not really hitting the nail on the head.

J.Crew Behavioral Email

J.Crew assumes too much. What if I didn’t like it and that’s why I left?

Plus, are they referring to a specific product or to “Shirts & Tops” in general? If the latter, then the headline doesn’t really make sense.

To fix this, the headline should change to “Like our shirts and tops?” so it’s more obvious what they’re talking about.

And if possible, they should add a few more products, perhaps the top-sellers in that category.

Behavioral Email Example 7 – Famous Footwear

Nice work, Famous Footwear.

Famous Footware Behavioral Email

I like the copy here. The “Still Deciding?” meets people in the conversation going on in their heads. And finally, someone has nailed the buttons.

The only thing I’d change here is the “Recommended for You.” I’d test some variations… something like “People Who Bought This Also Bought” (if it works for Amazon, it’ll work for Famous Footwear).

The reason I think it works so well for Amazon is because of the “social proof” aspect. “Recommended for You” comes across like it’s the store’s recommendation, and therefore, is not to be trusted. But “People Who Bought This Also Bought” suggests that other normal people have bought these things together, so why shouldn’t you?

Behavioral Email Example 8 – Crate & Barrel

This is a decent email, but the headline annoys me because it’s trying to be clever instead of clear, a big no-no in copywriting.

Crate & Barrel Behavioral Email

Also, if someone was genuinely interested in the Rika Bowl set, where do they click?

What if they want to do just that instead of checking out “What’s new”? It’s confusing. "It's trying to be clever instead of clear, a big no-no in copywriting."

So, they should have a button or CTA for the Rika Bowl set as well.

Behavioral Email Example 9 – Blue Nile

This is a great email.

It gets right to the point, includes a product image with lots of white space, and has a CTA that makes sense.

Blue Nile Behavioral Email

I like the additional recommendations, but like I mentioned earlier, they should take a leaf out of Amazon’s book and try “People Who Liked This Also Liked.”

Also, the product recommendations should have small button beneath the text links too.

Behavioral Email Example 10 – AG Jeans

This is a good email, but it could be better.

AG Jeans Behavioral Email

I love the headline and product image.

But what do they want me to do? Click the image? Click the text? It’s not obvious.

So, they should add a button… something that lets me know how to continue shopping if I want to buy it.

It would also be good to see some product recommendations because maybe the reason I left the product page was because I didn’t like this product… but doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be interested in another.

 For more examples, check out this amazing Pinterest board.

It’s Easier than You Think to Get Started

Thanks to advances in tracking technology and marketing automation systems, it’s now relatively easy for any ecommerce company – large or small – to implement the behavioral campaigns listed here.

The trick with finding opportunities like these is to look for all of the potential drop-off points in your funnel and Customer Journey and to create an email campaign for each drop-off point. When you think about it like that, you’ll find more opportunities.

But like most business owners, you’re probably busy, with a million things on your to-do list, and while you know you should set up an email marketing program like this, you just don’t have the time.

That’s where our done-for-you ecommerce email marketing service comes in.

We can set up all of the above campaigns, and then some… If you’d like more information about our done-for-you service or you have questions that I didn’t answer here, feel free to request a free consultation at ReEngager.

If you’re not ready to talk, download seven free ecommerce email marketing templates here.

(NOTE: Want a proven plan for truly effortless email marketing that generates 200% more sales and conversions from the list you already have—even if it’s tiny? Check out DigitalMarketer’s Email Marketing Mastery program and become a specialist, on sale now for a limited time! Learn more now.)

Get certified as an Email Marketing Specialist. On sale for a limited time!

The post The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing (Online Retailers, this One’s for You…) appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

Episode 118: How to 10X Your Facebook Ad Spend and Generate Consistent ROI [Part 2 of 2]

Let’s apply the strategy!

Join the experts as they explain how they use the three-step formula from the last episode to 10X their clients’ Facebook ad spend and generate consistent ROI. Learn the hooks and tactics you can immediately apply to your Facebook ads to scale your campaigns.

And be sure to tune in to hear the results from the split tests detailed in Episode 115.


  • The main tip you want to remember when coming up with your ad’s hook (« and the red flag you want to avoid to keep your ad from flopping).
  • The retargeting strategy Dominate Web Media has used to generate a 4 to 1 return on ad spend.
  • What to do when people abandon your cart (« Hint: Use this Facebook ad type to drive more online sales and bring back people who didn’t buy from you).


Episode 117: The 3-Step Formula to 10X Your Facebook Ad Spend with Consistent ROI [Part 1 of 2]
Episode 115: 3 Facebook Tests to Double Conversions and Decrease Cost Per Lead by 40%
Episode 106: How Much Can You Afford to Pay to Acquire a Customer?
Dominate Web Media Trainings
Dominate Web Media Certification Event
Keith and Ralph’s 2017 Content & Commerce Summit Slides
Website Purchases Conversion Value
About Product Catalog
Facebook Dynamic Ads

Thanks so much for joining us this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes!

The post Episode 118: How to 10X Your Facebook Ad Spend and Generate Consistent ROI [Part 2 of 2] appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

How to Use Facebook Cover Videos: Inspiration for Marketers

Interested in setting up a Facebook cover video on your business page? Wondering how others are using cover videos on Facebook? In this article, you’ll find best practices and ideas for using Facebook cover videos on your Facebook page. Familiarize Yourself With Facebook Cover Video Specs According to a recent survey, 60% of consumers watch […]

This post How to Use Facebook Cover Videos: Inspiration for Marketers first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Episode 116: Ryan Deiss Breaks Down the “Before & After” Strategy of Chatbooks’ Viral Video

Join Ryan Deiss, Co-Founder and CEO of DigitalMarketer, as he explains the “Before and After” strategy that will help you reach your target audience and show them that your product will get them to their desired After state. Using a brilliant Before and After example from Chatbooks, Ryan shows you what you can do when you get this right.


  • How Chatbooks’ ad shifts from the Before state to the After state (« Use this as inspiration so your audience is open to your marketing message).
  • An ingenious way to position a product so customers understand your pricing model.
  • The mistake Chatbooks makes on their homepage that’s hurting their marketing message and how you can avoid doing the same.


Watch Chatbooks’ Viral Video:

Chatbooks Homepage
Chatbooks About Us Page
Episode 116 Transcript (swipe the PDF version here):

Darren Clarke: Hi there, and welcome to Perpetual Traffic. This is Darren here, reporting in from the DM studio where we’ve put together a Ryan Deiss special for you. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Chatbooks video, it’s a very successful video ad that went absolutely viral. In this week’s episode, Ryan’s going to talk you through the whole thing, detailing what makes this ad work so well, and explain how this ad brilliantly portrays the shift from the before-state to the desired after-state. Later in the show, you’ll see an ingenious way to position a product so the customers understand the pricing model. Most importantly, at the end of the show, Ryan highlights how even though this is an amazing video, there are some problems with the Customer Journey that could be vastly improved upon. I hope you enjoy it, and here’s Ryan.
Ryan Deiss: Let’s take a look at a before and after example in action. I want to show you an example of what you can do when you really get this right. This video is probably one of my favorite little viral ad videos of all, it’s a company called Chatbooks. Now Chatbooks produces photo books for, primarily the target market is moms, and it opens with this woman in a tub, and no, it’s not what you think, but if you’re a parent, believe me, when you watch this video, you’re going to say, “Oh my God, that’s speaking to me.” Throughout the entire video, it’s before/after, before/after, before/after.
This is one of the best examples of really clearly articulating the shift from the before-state to the after-state. They talk about the product, but the product is always positioned as the vehicle. Okay, so keep an ear out for those specific things. We’re going to be going through, it’s only about a four-minute video, but I am going to be pausing it occasionally to kind of make notes and point out how they’re effectively leveraging the shift from the before-state to the after-state, and how they’re positioning what is a relatively simple product, a photo book, a book of pictures, and showing how this one product, their product, can actually transform this mom from the before-state to an after-state.
Now, don’t get really distracted by how hilariously awesome and funny this video is. This video is amazing, it’s astoundingly well done, and there’s a lot of different pattern interrupts and things like that that they incorporate, but I want you to focus right now, is that before and after process. The first thing that I want you to notice is how they immediately call out to their market. They immediately announce and point out who their who is. If you recall, that’s where we start as well with the before and after process. If you don’t know who it is that you’re serving, it’s impossible to know who to talk to, and it’s impossible to create really good, compelling marketing. Listen for this and catch it.
Mom: I have three kids and I work from home, so people always ask me how I stay so calm and organized.
Ryan Deiss: Did you catch that? “I have three kids and I work from home.” Literally the first sentence is a call out to the market, “I have three kids and I work from home,” so what are we talking about here, who is our market? Well, our market is obviously stay at home moms. Now, this is one thing that’s interesting to point out because a lot of times when people say, “Well, I don’t want to call out so specific because then I might offend.” Look, as a father of four kids, I can resonate with some of this as well, you know even though it’s a woman and even though it’s a mom and even though I’m not a stay at home dad, it’s still close enough. Don’t think that when you plant a flag that you’re doing it at the exclusion of everyone else, think about it more like concentric circles.
You’re specifically planting a flag so those people, they’re going to see it, they’re going to feel it, I mean I found out about this video from my wife because she’s like, “Oh my God, this is hilarious, this is my life.” For her, it made a lot of sense, I’m sure for moms who aren’t at home who aren’t stay at home moms who go into an office or go into work, this would resonate with them as well, so don’t think that when you call out to a market that you’re eliminating everything else. I’m going to back it up again from the beginning, and I want you to look for the statement of the before, the first kind of picture that we get of the before-state because it’s not what you think, right?
What you see when you look at this is almost a picture of maybe the after-state, you’ve got candles lit, bubbles, life is good, middle of the day, what mom wouldn’t want this? This is the ideal, perfect after-state, and yet they’re going to use this idea of an after, but bring you right back to the before.
Mom: I have three kids and I work from home, so people always ask me how I stay so calm and organized. I’m kidding, do you think I have time for a bath? I’m fully clothed, I fell in the tub while I was timing my son holding his breath. [gasp] 26 seconds! Now go fetch mommy’s hairdryer.
Ryan Deiss: And boom, so right there you are brought into the before, “Do you think I have time to take a bath? That’s ridiculous, I’m fully clothed,” boom, she stands up, she’s fully clothed, soaking wet, and we find out that this is another mom just like us, who’s trying to get through another chaotic day. Instantly we’re brought into this before, right? What do we know right now? We’re less than 20 seconds in, we know who the who is, stay at home moms, probably multiple kids, and we know what the before state is, a little bit frazzled, overwhelmed, definitely living in chaos. Okay, so let’s see if any more of these themes emerge.
Mom: Motherhood goes by too fast. I haven’t slept more than four hours in 12 years.
Ryan Deiss: Did you catch that? “Motherhood goes by too fast,” and then, “I haven’t slept more than four hours in 12 years,” an absurd statement, and yet what are we getting a picture of in that statement? Motherhood goes by too fast, this notion that time is passing you by, that life is happening and you’re missing it. Like literally, if you go back to that picture, life is happening behind her, and she’s missing it, but then we also find out that she’s exhausted. “I haven’t slept more than four hours in 12 years,” so she’s exhausted. Now we get to the emotional state, she’s exhausted, she also maybe feels a little bit guilty that time is passing by and that she’s missing things.
In this kind of battle, this good versus evil, there’s this notion that the clock is evil, that the clock keeps ticking and it doesn’t care, and it’s this evil force that is taking away kind of some of these amazing moments with our kids, and we’re missing them.
Mom: My diet consists of the protein bars and pita chips I inhale in the dark in my pantry, and my children are growing like weeds, but I barely have enough time to keep them alive, let alone print pictures of them.
Ryan Deiss: More chaos, no time. Before that, you know you see mom in the pantry scarfing stuff down, another before-state. She’s so busy, she doesn’t even have time to eat.
Mom: Because here’s the problem, what the fork? Making photo books sucks.
Kid 1: It sucks.
Mom: Don’t say “suck.” They’re designed for moms with lots of free time, imaginary moms.
Ryan Deiss: All right, so what do we have now? We’re learning a bit more about this mom, she’s just like us, she isn’t perfect, she occasionally curses around the kids and feels bad about it, but more importantly, now we get an introduction to the before-state with regard to the product, “Making photo books sucks,” right? It’s no fun. Now we’re 40 seconds in, and we’re only just now beginning to realize that this is actually about a photo book service, 40 seconds in before there’s even a hint of a product. They’re recognizing, appropriately so, that the emphasis needs to be on the who and their before-state.
Remember, it’s not about your product, it’s about your product is simply a vehicle to get people from this before-state to this after-state, so let’s see how traditional photo books fall short with regard to being this vehicle. In fact, they’re working against you in terms of getting you from the before-state to the after-state, but how Chatbooks can actually be that vehicle that we’re all looking for.
Mom: They’re designed with moms with lots of free time, imaginary moms.
Ryan Deiss: I’m going to pause this and we’re going to back to it, and I want you to listen to this line. “Photo books suck, they’re for moms with lots of free time, imaginary moms.” Listen to this and catch it, because we’re kind of poking fun and getting a sense of this notion of there’s this group of imaginary moms over here, and sure, they can use the existing products on the market, but that’s not us. All right, listen for it.
Mom: Making photo books sucks.
Kid 1: It sucks.
Mom: Don’t say “suck.” They’re designed for moms with lots of free time, imaginary moms. What?
Kid 1: My hedgehog.
Mom: Really? Formatting them takes hours.
Ryan Deiss: This is an example of average day. Now again, the average day is being fictionalized, you know it’s really being kind of pushed to the limits, but what’s the average day in the life of a mom trying to do photo books? Well, she’s up late at night, and she’s two Diet Cokes and an apple into her evening, and she’s finally just lost it. It’s not working, the photo books aren’t freaking working, she can’t make it work on her computer so that’s it, she’s done with it, out comes the hammer, right? Now we’re getting average day, we’re getting some narrative here with regard to the average day.
Mom: They easily cost $50, so when Sarah does something adorable, I have to say, “That’s cute, but not $50 cute.”
Ryan Deiss: What are we getting there? A little bit of guilt, right? You know, “That’s cute, but it’s not like, really $50,” now they’re not saying that a mom actually thinks that, but what you’re thinking as a mom is, “My kids are doing really, really, really cute stuff, and it’s being lost. It’s being lost, it’s not being captured. All of these thousands and thousands and thousands of photos of our kids doing really, really cute things, they’re lost, they’re trapped, they’re captured and held by the phone, and nobody will ever see them. I’ve got to decide, yeah all this stuff is cute, but is it so cute that I want to spend a ton of money to get it off, and is it so cute that I can spend a lot of time to do it?” Now we’re kind of poking at the guilt thing a little bit.
Mom: But at least scrapbooking is great if you have no job or no kids, so not great. Jeffrey, put down the crossbow.
Ryan Deiss: All right, so there obviously again, a pattern interrupt, that’s an attention reset that you’ll see a lot of different videos use, you know you get an arrow blast out, and mom catches it. Now we’ve got a mom that we can actually respect, but did you see what she said before that? “Sure, scrapbooking is great if you’ve got lots and lots of time, therefore, not great.” Now we’re poking at other existing products on the market, that apart from not taking you from the before-state to the after-state, in fact are inhibiting it.
Mom: I am so tired.
Ryan Deiss: Did you catch that? “I am so tired,” it is a theme that you see repeated again and again, what’s her emotional state? “I am so tired.”
Mom: Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram, but my kids never see our photos, they refuse to follow me. Hi Jeffrey, you’re doing great! But now there’s a solution I do have time for because it takes no time. Introducing Chatbooks.
Ryan Deiss: We are a minute, almost a minute and a half into this video and we are just now finding out what the product is. Did you catch that? We are a minute and a half into this video, and we are just now finding out what the product is. Up until this point, it has all been about acknowledging to our who that we know who they are, and speaking to their before-state, and their desired after-state.
Mom: Introducing Chatbooks, the app that automatically creates quality photo books from your phone. Chatbooks is shockingly easy, because you already did the work when you took the photos.
Ryan Deiss: You see that? “Chatbooks is shockingly easy because you already did the work when you took the photos.” Now we’re beginning to introduce, and this is really, really critical, if you’re going to acknowledge that the before-state is your customer is tired and overwhelmed and exhausted, the last thing in the world that you want to do is position your product as something else that’s going to make them more tired and overworked and exhausted, right? You want to in fact position it the opposite, so scrapbooking? Okay, so let’s go back. Hey mom, you know how you’re really tired and overwhelmed and overworked and just don’t have any time?
Well, scrapbooking takes a long time, it’s really exhausting, it’s really overwhelming, and there’s a lot of stuff all over the place, it’s going to add more chaos to your life. They didn’t say that in as many words, but you get the idea. Now we want to position our product as separate from that, right? Our product is the exact opposite of that, so now we’re finding out that Chatbooks is the easiest thing in the world because you’ve already done the work. Apart from it being no work, it’s even better than that, you’re leveraging work that you’ve already done, that precious work and that precious time that you don’t have much of.
Mom: Chatbooks creates and ships a photo book to you every time you add 60 photos to Instagram, Facebook, or your phone favorites. It even includes the original dates and captions. It’s like getting a magazine subscription to your own life.
Ryan Deiss: Did you catch that? “It’s like getting a magazine subscription to your own life.” Now let’s go back to what do you have before. What you have before is pictures that are trapped on your phone, nobody ever sees them, you don’t have the ability to get them into the “real world” where people can see them and they can be viewed and remembered and oohed and ah-ed at, because photo books are really expensive and they take a long time, scrapbooking is even worse, but what do you have now? What you have now is you have a magazine for your own life, such brilliant positioning because it’s not even about a photo book anymore.
We’ve now positioned this as something that is separate, in particular we’ve positioned it as something that is a subscription, which I think is critical because this product’s pricing model is subscription. When we’re positioning our product in a way where it is different and unique in the marketplace, but that brings about a pricing model that we may not understand, so for example with scrapbooking, you’re going out and you’re buying all the pieces and you’re doing all the work yourself, with a photo book, you’re piecing it together, it’s a one-time fee, they said $50. This is a subscription, so now we need to anchor that idea to another subscription-type concept that we would understand.
Well, what are we accustomed to paying a subscription for? Magazines, there you have it. With Chatbooks, it’s a magazine of your life, really, really, really smart.
Kid 2: Why is dad wearing a dress?
Mom: Okay, that’s me. All right, the short hair was a mistake, okay? Unlike a photo book site, the Chatbooks app takes only 30 seconds to set up, and you do it once.
Ryan Deiss: “Unlike a photo book site,” so before, you were having to take forever to set up, now it’s only 30 seconds. Again, everything you’re seeing with the attention resets, they’re more little things to call out to the who. Most women that I know, they had a thing where they got a bad haircut and they’re embarrassed by it, so we’re just pointing out like hey, we get you.
Mom: 30 seconds to record the lives of your kids. Technically, that’s less time than it actually took to make the kids.
Kid 3: How do you make kids?
Mom: What?
Kid 3: What?
Mom: What?
Kid 3: What?
Mom: If you love your kids, or think you someday might, click the install button here, or search Chatbooks in the app store or Google Play to install the Chatbooks app today.
Ryan Deiss: Again, much like cursing in front of your kids, having to have the birds and the bees talk, something that all parents can relate to, really good pattern interrupt, and you see this mom, still real mom, running away from the scene. I’ll back it up so you can hear the first part of this one.
Mom: If you love your kids, or think you someday might, click the install button here, or search Chatbooks in the app store or Google Play to install the Chatbooks app today.
Ryan Deiss: “If you love your kids, or you think that someday you might,” I mean, it was so subtle, and it was presented in a humorous way, but what mom doesn’t love their kids? If you love your kids, or you think that someday you might, you know you should download our app, right? If you love your kids, or you think that someday you might, you should download our app, really simple and really smart call to action.
Mom: What’s awesome is your Chatbooks requires zero formatting, and if you’re saying, “No formatting? That’s the only reason I do photo books,” then this isn’t for you, freak mom. These books are already beautifully designed.
Ryan Deiss: There you go, “This isn’t for you, freak mom,” if you actually love the formatting. All we’re doing from this point forward is restating some of the points that we’ve made, and continue to present these new scenes that all parents of young kids can understand, right? Right now, what we’ve got is potty training, okay? All parents of all kids, you know you’ve got to accidentally cuss in front of your kids, you’ve got kids doing crazy stuff and destroying the house, you’ve got potty training, you’ve got having the birds and the bees talks with the kids, you get the whole thing, all right?
Mom: These books are already beautifully designed. Did you do it, do we get to do the potty dance?
Kid 1: No!
Mom: Plus, these Chatbooks cost just $8, that’s what you’d pay for a day’s worth of diapers, except you fill Chatbooks with the kind of crap you care about. How about-
Kid 1: Go away!
Mom: Then your photo books won’t just be for special occasions, they’ll be for all the quirky daily stuff you and your family care about. Yes, it’s that easy, it really prints and ships your photo books without you having to lift a finger. Thank you. Jeffrey, get off the roof.
Kid 2: Okay.
Ryan Deiss: That obviously again, absurd, ridiculous, but what are we getting, what do we have this picture of? Mom in the before-state, the yard is a wreck, the kid is on the roof, kid jumps off the roof. This is an insane scene, but we’re still in the before-state, we are still in this before-state. Let’s go back, she’s really, really happy now, Chatbooks gives us a glimpse of the after-state. It gives us a glimpse of the after-state, when the Chatbooks person arrives with her thing in the mail, she gets some relief and she smiles a little bit, but then it instantly snaps us back to the before-state.
Mom: Every time a Chat Book is shipped, you’ll be notified with enough time to edit your order. If you’re not satisfied, you can always get our money back, with our Love Chatbooks guarantee. That was really stupid. Chatbooks are made with the same paper and ink as photo books five times their price, so you can spend the savings on your little thumb suckers.
Kid 3: Suck.
Mom: Don’t say “suck.” My family’s life is insane, and I want to hold onto every single freaking stupid stressful beautiful moment, and now I can.
Ryan Deiss: My family’s life is insane, and I want to hold onto all of it. You get this acknowledgement that yes, there’s chaos, and yet at the same time, I know it’s fleeting. “My family’s life is insane, but I want to hold onto it,” and you can see as she’s saying it, I’ll rewind it so you can hear it again, she’s almost exasperated, right? This notion of, you can see this sense of guilt almost welling up, I mean the acting in it is pretty amazing, I wouldn’t be surprised if this woman were a mom who’s going through all of this stuff, but listen in again, and listen again for the emotional state. Remember, we’re still in before and after, acknowledgement that it’s crazy, but I want to hold onto every moment. Listen to the tone of voice, this is being acted, but all of this, it should be making its way into not just videos, but sales copy and things like that as well. All right, listen for it again.
Mom: My family’s life is insane, and I want to hold onto every single freaking stupid stressful beautiful moment, and now I can. You can install Chatbooks directly from this video, click the install button here, or tap the screen once and click the “visit advertiser” link here. Chatbooks.
Ryan Deiss: It’s insane, I want to hold onto it, and now I can, boom, after. Before, life’s passing you buy, stuff’s going, yup, it’s crazy, but you wish you could capture it all but you can’t, oh wait, but thanks to Chatbooks, you can. We are now beginning the transition to the after-state, we are beginning the transition to the after-state. If you’ve ever watched The Wizard of Oz, and you remember kind of one of the opening scenes when Dorothy is in the house and everything is black and white, and then she lands in Oz, and when the door swings open, Dorothy walks out, Oz becomes, you know the movie literally shifts from black and white to color, and we are shifting into this after-state. Okay, we’re shifting into an after-state, that’s what’s happening right now in the video. First, they’re going to hearken back to the before, but now because we have Chatbooks, we’re beginning to get a taste of the after.
Mom: You can install Chatbooks directly from this video, click the install button here, or tap the screen once and click the “visit advertiser” link here. Chatbooks, live your life and let Chatbooks print it. Oh, hi there, this is an actual bubble bath, since Chatbooks gave me the time for them. In fact, I’m ordering one now, and I’m done. I did not think that through.
Ryan Deiss: All right, so what we have there is a mom who’s still a real mom, but she has now fully achieved the desired after-state. What is the desired after-state? The desired after-state is, “I’ve captured all the precious moments, but I haven’t let life get the better of me. In fact, look, here I am taking a bubble bath in the middle of the day,” all right? Really, really, really smart, really well-done video, amazingly well-done video.
Now what I want to do is I want to transition over to the homepage for Chatbooks, and I have one really, really, really, really, really big problem with this website. As amazing as the video is, I’m not seeing any, any of this before and after transformational stuff listed on their website, right? It’s product first, I mean yeah you’ve got a cute kid and that’s great, and the cute kid is, you know you can see his eyes are looking down at the book, which from a conversion perspective that’s fine, you know we see beyond easy photo books and some pricing, make your own book.
Like all this is okay, but where’s the mom? Where’s the mom? If you’re going to leverage before and after effectively on a website, then I’ve got to see the mom, ideally in that after-state. I would much rather see the mom in the tub saying, “I just made a photo book for my kids from the tub.” Right now, I’ve got mom in after-state, and I still get what the product is. I hate that I’m missing that. Now, stop wasting hours making photo books, you know that’s okay, but even on the page itself, “Watch the viral video, 36 million views and counting,” even in the introduction of the video, which is outstanding, it’s, “Us, us, us, watch our video, 36 million other people have, aren’t we smart, aren’t we great, aren’t we awesome?”
Kind of, I mean it’s a great product, and good job hiring the Harmon brothers to make your video. You should have also hired them or leveraged some of the stuff that they created for your website in your copy because the people that made this video nailed before and after. The people that wrote the website copy, not so much. Stop wasting hours making photo books, got it, I understand it, but where’s all this, where’s the before and after-state? “Don’t have time to make photo books? We hear you,” okay that’s pretty good, that’s pretty good, but then it’s all just features. There’s no emotion, there’s no acknowledgement of the before state or positioning the product as the vehicle to take them to that transformative state, and I really do think it’s as simple as bringing in some of the copy elements that were already in that video.
At a bare minimum, like I get if you want to say, “Well really, you know Chatbooks are for everyone, they’re not just for moms,” that’s fine, but where’s mom, where is she? I don’t get it, simple, beautiful, automatic, that’s great, I’m sure some hipster copywriter spent a lot of time coming up with those words, but where’s the freaking before and after? It’s gone. Everyone loves Chatbooks, yay, we’re so great, more features, right? More features, pricing, it’s just so, it’s pretty, but it’s sterile and it’s completely devoid of emotion and story. Now let’s go to the about us and see what’s going on here.
What do you have here? These are the founders, this is founder mom and this is founder dad, and these are their seven children, seven children. Now, on here you find out the story, this woman was that mom, so why not have this story on the homepage? Why not bring this over onto, clearly it’s not a privacy thing because it’s on the about us page, but even this, “Hold onto what matters.” This is a registered trademark, that should be the headline. That’d be a much better headline than what they currently have on the homepage. “Hold onto what matters,” compared to, “Beyond easy photo books,” which one speaks to the true desired after?
“Beyond easy photo books,” so before, you’ve got difficult and expensive photo books, now you’ve got easy and cheap photo books, that’s have, that is have. Have is okay, but as you move down that continuum, at each step you gain more power. Emotion is more powerful than have, average day is more important than emotion, status is more important than average day, and really if you can bring in a good versus evil element, then you’ve got that. What they have down here, “Hold onto what matters,” is a good versus evil argument. Right now, time is your enemy, you’re losing all of these things. With our product, you can truly hold onto what matters, you can beat the clock.
Amazing video, amazing video, clear understanding of before and after from the people who produced the video, a clear lack of understanding of before and after from the people who developed and wrote the copy for the website, so that’s a little bit disappointing.
All right, before Chatbooks, what does the stay at home mom have? Well, what she has is thousands of pics that are stuck on her phone that no one can see, or what she has is maybe an expensive photo book that was a pain in the butt to set up. Okay, how does that make her feel? Well, it makes her feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and tired. You saw that throughout the video, right? Clearly overwhelmed, frustration galore, and she says specifically multiple times, “I’m so tired.” What’s an average day like? Chaos. If there is one word I would use to describe that video, it would be “chaotic”, but chaos mixed with cuteness, you know and if you talk to the stay at home moms who are there living in the chaos, in their kids’ chaos and in their kids’ messes every day, they’ll tell you that that’s exactly what it is, it’s chaotic, but it’s very rewarding.
One really cute moment can turn a bad day into a great day, so that’s the average day. Status, you know it’s the frazzled mom that everyone pities, and no mom wants to be that mom that other moms are pitying because, “Oh my gosh, look at her, you know she clearly can’t keep it together, hasn’t even brushed her hair this morning, those socks don’t even match, you know blah blah blah,” no mom wants to be the mom that all the other moms pity or think that she just doesn’t have it together. All the moms want to be the moms that clearly have it together.
Now, this notion of good versus evil, we touched on this a bit, life is moving too fast, time is the enemy, the clock is the enemy. Each year, your kids grow a little bit more, you know they get a little bit older and those little moments that they had the year before, heck, even the day before, aren’t ever going to happen again, and that’s wrong and it’s evil and the clock is trying to steal all that from you. I mean, there’s not a great method today to really capture that and to hold onto it because all the things today that are used to capture and hold onto it take even more time, and so they actually exacerbate the problem, they don’t solve it, so that’s the before.
Now let’s look at after. After, what does mom have? Well now, mom doesn’t have 1,000 pics stuck on her phone. What mom actually has is a magazine subscription of her family’s life, so much more valuable from a have perspective. How does she feel? She feels accomplished, not overwhelmed, not frustrated, but accomplished, and even at peace, there’s this sense of peace. Remember before, you know, “Are you kidding me? I don’t have time to take a bath,” and yet after, there’s accomplishment mixed with peace, accomplishment mixed with peace.
Average day, still chaotic, but the cute moments are remembered. At no point did they pretend like, even when you saw her at the end as Chatbooks gets delivered, the lawn is still, there’s toys all over the place and the kid’s jumping off the roof, there’s still chaos, but she’s content because these moments are getting remembered. Now she’s scrapbooking supermom, that scrapbooking mom that all the other moms love to hate because somehow, even though they have like 15 kids, the kids all look great with their teeth brushed and their hair combed, you know and they’ve got these amazing scrapbooks to document every second of every kid’s life.
Well now, because of Chatbooks, you can be that mom. In terms of good versus evil, you’re actually able to slow life down a little bit. Chatbooks actually gives moms, parents, families, people more time, more time, they’re actually slowing down the pace of time. In terms of products and services, what are we really talking about? We’re talking about a done for you photo album, a done for you photo album, an incredibly simple, and I would argue, unremarkable product left to its own device. Yeah okay, awesome, you take the pictures on your phone, once 60 of them are taken, then it automatically creates a book, that’s awesome, yippee skippy, but there’s nothing overly unique or remarkable or miraculous about the product itself.
What’s unique and remarkable and miraculous about the product is that it shifts moms from this before-state that we described on the left, to the after-state that we described on the right. It is a vehicle that figuratively is like a time machine for moms, and for that, is it worth $8 a month? I think so. Okay, so I know this was a long example, but I really want you to think, and it doesn’t have to be done in video. We talked about how this is an example of a company that did it great on video, but poorly on a website. Those same elements could have been brought over to the website, and it would have sold really well from the site, but I want you to think about this when you’re getting into your messaging and crafting.
Are you speaking to the transition, and are you positioning your product not as this thing that’s really smart and amazing and inexpensive and, “Whoa, we got 36 million views and counting because we’re awesome and so hip and so with it,” screw all that, okay? Are you positioning your product as a vehicle that will take your market from their undesirable before-state to a far more desirable after-state? If you’re doing that, then my guess is you’re going to sell a lot more than your competitors, and if you fill out this before and after grid for your business, then you’re going to actually be able to do that.
Darren Clarke: All right, well there you have it. If you want to check out the resources and Show Notes from this episode, go to This is Episode 116. The gang will be back as usual next week, so we’ll see you then. Have a great week.

Thanks so much for joining us this week. Want to subscribe to Perpetual Traffic? Have some feedback you’d like to share? Connect with us on iTunes!

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The post Episode 116: Ryan Deiss Breaks Down the “Before & After” Strategy of Chatbooks’ Viral Video appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

Creating Short, Snackable Videos for Instagram and Beyond

Wondering how to film and edit compelling 60-second videos? Want your videos to boost social media engagement? To explore how to create short videos for Instagram and Facebook, I interview Lindsay Ostrom. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help […]

This post Creating Short, Snackable Videos for Instagram and Beyond first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

YouTube Advertising: New Research and Insights for Marketers

Do you advertise with video? Wondering whether YouTube ads are worth your time and money? In this article, you’ll find new research that reveals how consumers respond to ads on YouTube and insights about how marketers plan to adjust their YouTube ad spend. #1: Viewers Accept Ads on YouTube More Readily Than on Facebook Not […]

This post YouTube Advertising: New Research and Insights for Marketers first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Episode 117: 3-Step Formula to Scale Your Facebook Ads While Generating Consistent Return on Ad Spend [Part 1 of 2]

Want to scale your Facebook ads?

In this two-part episode, learn the simple three-step strategy to scale your Facebook ads while generating a consistent return on ad spend. Once you understand this, you can create an ad that will resonate with a broad audience, get your message across, and create a campaign that can last for years to come.


  • What to do in the first ten seconds of your video ad to grab a viewer’s attention (« and what you should avoid doing so you don’t discourage views).
  • How to leverage the UPSYD Awareness Formula to move people from unaware of the problem to desiring your product/service.
  • The tactics Dominate Web Media uses in their clients’ Facebook campaigns to turn cold traffic into buyers.


Episode 67: The Proven 3-Step Formula to Transform Your Business with Video Ads [Part 1]
Episode 68: 3 Elements of High-Converting Video Ads [Part 2]
Episode 86: UPSYD: The 5-Step Framework to Generate More Customers
Episode 115: 3 Facebook Tests to Double Conversions and Decrease Cost Per Lead by 40%
Episode 116: Ryan Deiss Breaks Down the “Before & After” Strategy of Chatbooks’ Viral Video
Keith and Ralph’s 2017 Content & Commerce Summit Slides
3-Step Video Ad Formula PDF with live links to video examples
Dominate Web Media Certification Event

Thanks so much for joining us this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave us a review on iTunes!

The post Episode 117: 3-Step Formula to Scale Your Facebook Ads While Generating Consistent Return on Ad Spend [Part 1 of 2] appeared first on DigitalMarketer.

How to Use Facebook Carousel Ads to Dramatically Lower CPC

If you’re going to splash some cash on social ads, Facebook is the place to do it.

The power of the platform is well-documented, especially given that 93% of marketers are already on board with Facebook ads. Meanwhile, the ability to drill down and target hyper-specific audiences through display ads and Facebook remarketing is second-to-none versus other social networks.

That said, there’s always the issue of the price tag when it comes to social advertising.

“But Facebook ads are expensive.”

And hey, you’re not necessarily wrong.

Pricing out your Facebook ads can quickly add up for those unfamiliar with the platform’s many features and functionalities. So if you’re interested in keeping your budget in check and your cost-per-click (CPC) down, are you stuck?

Not at all. In fact, we’ve broken down one of Facebook’s most effective forms of advertising to guarantee you get the most bang for your buck.

Enter the era of Facebook carousel ads.

What Are Facebook Carousel Ads?

Facebook carousel ads are an ad format that allows you to combine 3-5 ads into a single scrollable ad unit.

You’ve probably seen carousel ads pop up in your newsfeed but perhaps you didn’t know them by name. Spend about five seconds scrolling through your Facebook and chances are you’ll run into something like this from Warby Parker:

Facebook carousel ad from Warby Parker

Ta-da. That’s a carousel ad.

Facebook rolled out carousel ads in 2015, so these types of campaigns are still relatively young. Even so, Facebook carousel ads boast some impressive stats in terms of clicks and conversions. In fact, Facebook themselves claim that these types of ads drive a 30% to 50% lower cost-per-conversion and a 20% to 30% cost-per-click versus single image ads.

Impressive, right?

On the surface, Facebook carousel ads seem pretty straightforward. So what’s all the hype about, then? What elements of these ads cause them to perform so well? For starters:

  • They’re visual: Carousel ads provide marketers with multiple opportunities to catch the eye of scrollers by showing off multiple products or images versus a single static photo.
  • They’re interactive: Even something as subtle as clicking an arrow means your prospects spend more time engaging with your brand and its imagery.
  • They’re fun: Okay, calling any type of ad “fun” might sound a bit corny, but many brands truly manage to get creative with their Facebook carousel ads. Here’s an awesome example from Mazda Canada:
Mazda Canada animated Facebook carousel ad

Who Are Facebook Carousel Ads Meant For?

Carousel ads are fair game for just about any type of marketing campaign or industry, but bear in mind that not all industries are created equal in terms of Facebook ad performance.

According to a 2017 Wordstream study, the average CTR across all Facebook ads is 0.90% while the average CPC is $1.72. The top-performing industries such apparel, retail, fitness and beauty also represent industries that dominate carousel ads. That’s probably why brands such as H&M run so many carousels:

H&M Facebook carousel ad

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage Facebook carousel ads if you aren’t part of these particular industries. Remember: carousel ads are simply a piece of Facebook’s advertising platform at large. Any brand can run them as long as you’re familiar with the platform’s best practices.

Generally speaking, Facebook carousel ads are likely a good fit for marketers that meet any of the following criteria:

  • You have a visually striking product or brand identity (bold fashion pieces, sleek electronics, loud colors, etc.)
  • You sell a variety of different products that you want to show off versus honing in on a single promotion
  • You’ve never run ads on Facebook before and want to start with something simple

That last point is arguably the most important. Whereas there is a much higher time commitment and room for error when it comes to running, say, video ads on Facebook, carousel ads can be set up in a snap.

If you have photos, a few lines of copy and a product to sell, you’re good to go with Facebook carousel ads. The important piece of the puzzle is simply having something to promote that catches the eyes of prospects within their newsfeeds.

But before we can get to that, we need to delve into the setup process.

How to Setup a Facebook Carousel Ad

Alright, so let’s say you’re sold on Facebook carousel ads and you’re ready to set up your own. What does the process look like?

At first glance, Facebook’s ad creator can be daunting to say the least. Let’s break down the setup process step-by-step.

As the case with any ad, start at the Ads Manager. You’ll need to select the objective of your ad, whether it be traffic, lead generation or store visits:

How to set up Facebook carousel ads

Next, create the audience for your ad or choose from an existing one if you’ve run an ad before. For the purpose of this example, we’ll use a fictional audience (and budget) just to get things moving.

Making an audience for a carousel ad

Now, here’s where you actually get to choose which type of ad you’re looking to run. Simply select “Carousel” as noted below:

Facebook ad types

Then, you’ll be introduced to a preview of your ad based on the type of carousel placement you’ve specified (in this case, Desktop News Feed). Here you can experiment with imagery, copy and any other aspects of your Facebook carousel ads:

Setting up a Facebook carousel ad

Again, the setup process is fairly straightforward. There are also more advanced options such as Facebook pixel tracking for retargeted ads and lead opt-in forms. Facebook also has their own list of specifications for optimized carousel ads, noting that:

  • Images should be a square 600 by 600 pixels
  • You’re limited to 90 characters of text for your ad “post” (think: the “status” copy)
  • You’re also limited to 40 characters for headlines (bolded copy that appears under your images) and 20 characters for ad descriptions (optional copy beneath your headlines). See all the character counts for Facebook ads here.

While there are quite a few variables to any given carousel ad, they’re elementary as far as most paid ads go.

But how can you predict whether or not your Facebook carousel ad will actually perform? If you’re on the hunt to make every click count, it’s crucial to understand how to optimize your Facebook ads for clicks, conversions and engagement.

The 6 Do’s the Don’ts for Fine-Tuning Your Facebook Carousel Ads

Outlined below are six best practices and pitfalls to consider when crafting your ads.

1. Do: Pick Thematic Photos

Ideally, the photos for your carousel should be related in some way, shape or form. Perhaps they show off a similar series of products, tell a story or represent individual pieces of a larger photo. Here’s one of Facebook’s favorite examples of a multiple-image layout:

Savage Race carousel ad

2. Don’t: Pick Photos at Random

Simply put, carousel ads aren’t an excuse to post random photos related to your business. A series of unrelated photos won’t do much but confuse viewers and result in money down the drain.

3. Do: Mind Your Color Scheme

Colors definitely count if you’re trying to catch the attention of someone randomly scrolling through their Facebook feed. Although you don’t necessarily have to gravitate towards loud or bright colors, doing so will certainly draw more eyeballs to your ads. Check out this colorful carousel from Harley Davidson for inspiration:

Harley Davidson carousel ad

4. Don’t: Run an Ad Without a Goal in Mind

If you don’t have a distinct goal in mind prior to running your ad, you’re essentially flying blind. Not only do you run the risk of your ad not making sense, but you also defeat the whole purpose of running ads in the first place. For example, you might be looking to:

  • Build buzz and attention around a new product launch
  • Encourage more subscribers to your email list
  • Generate leads from a discount or promotion

Any of these options are prime for carousel ads, as long as you know what your goal is prior to getting started.

5. Do: Pay Attention to Your Copy

You certainly have to be economical with your copy given Facebook’s character limits, but look at these limitations as more incentive to make every word count. Try to avoid generic “Click here!” copy and opt for something more in line with your brand’s messaging.

Check out how Pura Vida Bracelets emphasizes a helping hand in their title copy while also promoting free shipping in their headlines:

Pura Vida carousel ad

6. Don’t: Present Yourself as a Salesperson

Don’t squander your ads by going way too heavy on the sales pitch. Just because you’re running a sales-based ad doesn’t give you license to be heavy-handed. Those who aren’t familiar with your brand may mistake you for a spammer if all they see is “BUY NOW!” or “EPIC SALE!”

So much of the beauty of Facebook carousel ads is that you have all the freedom in the world. As these types of campaigns are relatively young, marketers have plenty of freedom and room to experiment. As long as you stick to the best practices outlined above, you’re golden.

How Do You Feel About Facebook Carousel Ads?

Whether you’re looking to spend money on social ads for the first time or simply step up your paid ad game of Facebook, carousel ads are ideal for those looking to keep their CPC down. Cheap to run while remarkably effective in terms of engagement and ROI: what more could a marketer ask for?

Any Facebook carousel ads catch your eye lately? Do you prefer carousel ads to the other types of paid social marketing out there today? Let us know in the comments below!

This post How to Use Facebook Carousel Ads to Dramatically Lower CPC originally appeared on Sprout Social.

How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow and Monetize Your Email List

Do you want more leads and sales from Facebook? Interested in remarketing to your email subscribers? In this article, you’ll discover how to use Facebook ads to build your email list, and then remarket to subscribers to increase your sales. #1: Create a Lead Magnet That Will Appeal to Your Target Audience You have to […]

This post How to Use Facebook Ads to Grow and Monetize Your Email List first appeared on .
– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle