5 Ways to Write Effective Ecommerce Emails

Email is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s toolkit. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of 4,300%.

It’s even more important for ecommerce companies. As an ecommerce business, you don’t have the luxury of interacting with your customers face-to-face like you would if you were a brick-and-mortar store. Cue email.

The problem is that the average office worker receives 121 emails a day. That’s a lot of email, making it difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd.

If your previous campaigns aren’t getting the kind of response that you are hoping for, you likely need some help and tips for writing your emails. After all, your email strategy is only as good as your message.

You don’t have to be a wordsmith to write effective emails. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you craft effective ecommerce emails for your brand.

1. Establish a Clear Goal

Assuming that you have a solid grasp of your target market (if not, download this template), the first step in nailing your ecommerce emails is to establish a clear goal. It’s the foundation of your emails, so ask yourself: what do you want your reader to do once they receive the email?

If you lack a clear sense of what your email’s goal is, it’s unlikely that your recipient will either, meaning that your emails are unlikely to hit the right note. Here are some examples of goals you may want to consider:

  1. Launching a new product
  2. Promoting a special event, discount, or sale
  3. Cross-selling on a previous purchase
  4. Send shopping cart abandonment messages

Make sure each email focuses on one goal and that all of the copy in the email aligns with this goal. In fact, the best email marketing copy aligns everything. Your copy delivers on the promise of the subject line, the messaging on your landing pages, and with your brand in general.

2. Subject Line

Perfecting the subject line is the difference between recipients opening your email, deleting it or, even worse, reporting it as spam. Behind the credibility of your brand, it’s the second reason why people would open your message.


A lot has been written about email subject lines, Sumo has a list of 87 subject lines to get your email opened and DigitalMarketer has a collection of 101 of the best email subject lines. You can also check out this infographic on the Best Email Subject Lines. There is a lot out there to help you nail down subjects lines, because you have to put just as much thought and time into your subject line as you put into the rest of your message.

Where do you start? Here are some guidelines for writing a subject line that will drive your open rates to new heights:

  • Communicate the benefit of the email
  • Leverage curiosity and FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • Present compelling evidence

Sure, it’s a lot to ask from a string of words, but you can do it! Check out some of the lists on various blogs (mentioned above) for inspiration but don’t be afraid to be original.

3. The Preview Text

With email, it’s not just the subject line that sells people on opening your email. It’s also the preview text. Your preview text is a great opportunity to include secondary messaging to a short, attention-grabbing subject line. For example, if you’ve landed on an award-winning “abandoned cart” email subject line, see if you can affect an even stronger open rate with additional messaging within your preview text.

While preview text is supported by most major email applications, the character count they show does vary, so it’s often a good idea to:

  • Keep preview text on the shorter side
  • Include main points and buzzwords towards the front
  • Include a sense of urgency call out

4. Don’t Shout

Avoid all caps and multiple exclamation marks in both the subject line and body of the email. Not only are all caps the equivalent of shouting online, but overusing them screams spammy email marketing which can impact your email open rate. And if enough subscribers report you, it could also hurt your email deliverability or even get you blacklisted by your email newsletter service.

5. Write Email Marketing Copy for Readers

Put yourself in the shoes of your recipient and ask yourself is the copy contained within the body of your email something that you would want to read? Achieving this goal usually means sounding like a real person. Avoid marketing “speak” and be conversational, as if you’re talking to someone who is sitting across the table from you.

It’s also a good idea to use psychological triggers to drive conversions. Email marketers recommend leveraging the six basic emotions, which are as follows:

  • Belonging: Make the reader feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Hope: Create a sense of expectation for a certain outcome. Give them a reason to feel this way and most importantly, follow through.
  • Guilt: Help the reader understand that they have the opportunity to make something right. You can play on this emotion to get the reader believe they have a chance to right a wrong or improve something.
  • Vanity: Flatter the reader with praise over their intelligence or smart decision-making.
  • Fear: Inform the reader what they’re in danger of if they don’t take action. Make the impending danger sound so real as to entice the reader to respond.
  • Lust: Tug the heartstrings of the reader by waving the carrot of desire in front of them.

We recommend choosing one and using your copy to evoke your emotion of choice in order to achieve your email’s goal.


Everyone’s inbox is overflowing. Nobody is keen to receive poorly written, forgettable emails. With so many brands leveraging email marketing, following these tips will not only help you stand out from the crowd but keep your audience engaged instead of frustrated.

Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help.

Looking for help creating emails that convert? Book a free marketing consultation today.