Everyone gets emails from companies that they signed up for either knowingly or not: marketing experts know that emails are one of the best ways to get in touch with both past and prospective customers. Not only do emails reinforce brand recognition, but they can help create connections and provide useful information to those receiving the emails. But why should people care? What sets this email apart from the other 50 in the “social” or “promotions” folder in an email tab?  

Anyone can send emails that are templated and non strategic. But as is often the case, these lead to no increase in sales and goals that are left unmet. In order to reach the goals created, whether it is clicks to the website or more sales on a particular product, the emails must have a high rate of conversion to get there.

Spending hours working on campaigns that lead to no results can be a nightmare for any ecommerce business looking to increase marketing through emails. As discussed in a previous blog regarding building an email list from scratch, “the money is in the list.” Who the emails are going to is an incredibly important part of refining the process and bringing in more quality leads. The next step from here is actually bringing those quality leads from the email to the site’s landing page. Although there are many factors to the process, creating a successful and high conversion email campaign is achievable by following these steps. 

Somewhere to Start: The Subject Line

In reality, the average open rate for ecommerce emails falls at a very low 11.84%. Because of this, there is essentially a domino effect that is created once the email is delivered to an individual’s inbox. Although these dominos can stop falling and miss a spot in their rhythm at any time, the intended pattern begins with the subject line. The intrigue gathered in the subject of an email then turns into the email being opened, the content being read, a click to the website, and optimistically- a purchase.

Eugene Hertz, an author and tremendously successful copywriter, spoke on the importance of headlines in his book Breakthrough Advertising:

“There has been much confusion about how much of a selling job your headline should be required to do. Actually, your headline does not need to sell at all.

Your headline has only one job—to stop your prospect and compel him to read the second sentence of your ad. In exactly the same way, your second sentence has only one job—to force him to read the third sentence of your ad. And the third sentence—and every additional sentence in your ad—has exactly the same job.”

Keeping the subject line concise and attention grabbing is the key to a successful start. Approximately 51% of people read emails on their mobile devices which means that the amount of time spent reading paired with the amount of space available on the phone screen makes the optimal subject line approximately 30-50 characters. Once the subject line is complete, the focus moves to the preheader text.

The Preheader Text

This component, although often forgotten and disregarded, is absolutely essential. The preheader is the small summary of text that comes after the subject line that can be seen when viewing an email in the inbox. This is a perfect opportunity to use a different angle separate from that of the subject line, thus increasing the attention of the user. 

Without a preheader, the email header does not attract as much attention as possible. For example, this image below is not giving a potential customer enough information to entice them to read the email.

There are two main approaches to creating effective preheader texts: enforcing and creating opportunity.

The first of which is listed below. This shows an example of reinforcing the email subject line in order to draw more users in to this sale.

Next, it is important to create more opportunities through educating the user about the company’s offerings. By expanding on the subject line, the reader is given more information about the campaign and therefore has more of a reason to click on the email.

The Timing and the Message

If someone has opened the email, that’s half of the success ready to be celebrated. The reader has been persuaded through the subject line and preheader to give their attention to what comes next in the email domino analogy – the message.

The message should be relevant both to what the consumer wants and to the timing of it all. This is where tracking the Customer Journey comes in. Important triggers are set up to match where they are in order to send the message when it is most likely to create a conversion. Examples of triggers for messaging include:

  • The time since the subscriber signed up for a given list
  • The past open and click-through rates
  • The past purchases
  • The average order value
  • The subscriber’s location

Many companies actually use the same email trail which include:

“The welcome email” which is sent after someone signs up.

After someone leaves something in their cart, “abandoned cart emails” are delivered as a reminder.

“The post purchase” is after a transaction has been made on the site

Then there is the “reengagement email” which comes after a user has not interacted with emails or gone onto the site in awhile.

The last step of creating a successful email campaign and tipping over the domino that gets users to click onto the website lies in the call to action.

Set Up a Stellar CTA

At this point, all the consumer needs to do is one tap of the finger and they are on the landing page-the home stretch. But oddly enough, consumers will not take that final action until they are told to. This is why a call to action that acts as a guide to show the user where to click and how to proceed is an absolute necessity.

 The text needs to be targeted, specific, and to the point. It is after all named a call to action for a reason, this is because it beckons the user to take action. Phrases such as “shop now” or “buy it” are powerful and concise ways to give guidance to a consumer. 

Lastly, the call to action should stand out. Making the text bold or creating a box or button for it are going to be what draws attention to the words and therefore causing the user to click. 


If all of the dominos have been knocked down successfully to this point, there is now a user browsing products or services on the landing page of an ecommerce website. Emails can be intimidating due to conversion rates, but with these steps the chances of creating new sales opportunities and brand recognition are much higher. Being proactive in creating an email strategy and effectively executing on all of these factors will lead to results.