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2023 Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Online Businesses

Interested in boosting your online business's marketing strategies this 2023? If so, maybe you've probably stumbled upon email marketing as one of the best ways to improve your e-commerce conversions rates, while building stronger relationships with potential customers.

Whether or not you've heard of this super sales strategy, we've got great news. Email marketing been an influential tool for decades—but it's still as important as a form of outreach tool for your online business today than when it first became a huge marketing tactic.

While it's as important today as it always was, given how frequently today's digital landscape evolves, it means you need to stay up-to-date on cutting-edge trends, best practices and techniques tailored for effective email campaigns.

To help you stay ahead of the curve, we've compiled an ultimate guide to email marketing for online businesses in 2023.

Whether you are a small home-based business or an establish small medium enterprise, here you'll get everything you need to know to start using email marketing effectively and drive meaningful results for your business. Read more below.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing refers to the practice of sending targeted messages and promotional content to a group of individuals through email.

Fun fact: the first email was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson, a programmer working on applications for MIT’s Arpanet project at that time!

Over the last several decades, this communication tool has evolved: from a one-to-one messaging between our friends, family, colleagues, and partners, email is now a huge digital marketing communication channel allowing businesses of all sizes to communicate with their customers and prospects.

Today, millions of businesses use email marketing to promote products, services, and brand awareness. It's not hard to see why: email encompasses a wide range of activities, including newsletters updates, sales announcements, personalized offers, and more. 

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Why email marketing is key to e-commerce success

While other modern marketing channels like social media and influencer marketing are also growing in popularity, some might assume that email marketing is outdated.

However, recent surveys show that email marketing is still a highly engaging tool for e-commerce businesses. Hubspot found that 77% of brand marketers saw that email marketing engagement increased over the past 12 months.

If you want to remain competitive, it’s essential for your e-commerce business to have a strong email marketing strategy in place.

Below, we’ll explore the benefits of email marketing and provide some tips on how to use it effectively to boost your sales and grow your business.

Email lets you foster ongoing customer relationships

In order to retain loyal customers in today's competitive market space, it's absolutely crucial for your business to use every available channel effectively—and that includes email marketing.

Email still plays an indispensable role in developing long-lasting connections with your audience beyond just driving sales. Using this super tool, you can easily keep your customers updated about your latest offerings and share useful updates with them about your business.

The key here is personalization—or dividing your target audience into more specific, defined categories or groups based on things like personal preference, transaction history, their likes and dislikes, interactions with your brand and more.

While many businesses use marketing emails to drive sales, keep in mind that most email marketing campaigns should be used primarily for engagement.

After all, frequent communication leads to retaining and developing relationships with your customers over the long term.

Email is effective at boosting sales

Email marketing has become one of the most reliable sales drivers using targeted campaigns that provide high ROI results each time.

With its ability to reach potential customers effectively while generating high conversion ratios, it's no secret why businesses to this day continue to rely on this medium of marketing and selling.

Whether you're announcing new product releases or sharing amazing deals with loyal followers like providing coupon codes, email shine the most when it comes to getting your audience's attention.

To make it even better, you can take it up a notch by setting up email campaigns for retargeting—meaning if a customer has already taken a specific action, say purchasing an item from a certain collection, you might retarget them with more deals from a similar or related collection.

Email is free from third-party platform influence

Unlike other digital marketing channels, email isn't influenced by third-party gatekeepers. It means that if your emails are reaching the right people inside their inboxes, you can be sure that it will be seen and read by them.

Unlike social media platforms or search engine algorithms (which change so often that it's hard to keep track), email ensures more control and success in delivering messages.

Or said another way: you own your email list.

Even if the email marketing tool you use today decides to shut down, the best part is that you can export your email list of customers into a CSV file, and just hop on in to the next email service provider.

You can imagine that social media doesn't quite work the same way. If, say, Facebook were to decide tomorrow that they wanted all brand pages to shut down—or more realistically, if it limited your page's reach even more than it already has—you don't have much control over this matter.

Email marketing saves you from this problem. You can take your list anywhere, and you rightfully own it (as long as you get your list's email address and details legally, of course).

This way, you can send as many marketing emails and email campaigns as you want; just be responsible when you do!

The role of email marketing in improving your customer lifecycle

The success of your e-commerce business depends on your ability to effectively manage customer lifecycles.

Email marketing can be a valuable tool in enhancing said customer lifecycle, whether it's for acquiring new leads, retaining customer loyalty, or promoting repeat sales.

In this next section, we'll explore the ways in which email marketing can help you segment your email marketing communication based on your lead's interaction with your business

1. New subscribers

When it comes to email marketing, segmenting your list is key.

New subscribers are those who have just recently subscribed to your email list. In order to ensure that these new subscribers become paying or loyal customers, sending them the right content is essential.

Content such as welcome emails, promotional offers and educational pieces of content can help you build relationships with these new subscribers quickly and effectively.

2. One-time buyers

One-time buyers are customers who have made a single purchase from your business. Many businesses miss out on the opportunity to upsell or cross sell to these customers as they don't take the time to nurture and build relationships with them.

This is where email marketing can help. Email campaigns such as product recommendations, loyalty rewards, special discounts or upgrade offers can help you generate more sales from these one-time buyers.

3. Loyal customers

Starbucks rewards loyal customers with free products

Loyal customers are those who have made multiple purchases from your business. These individuals are very valuable to your business as they are willing to come back and buy more products or services from you.

In order to encourage loyalty, sending them content such as exclusive offers, referral programs or loyalty rewards can help you keep them engaged and loyal.

4. Cart abandonment

An example of a cart abandonment email from Quip

Cart abandoners are those who have added items to their cart but have not completed the purchase.

Abandoned carts can be caused by several reasons, ranging anywhere from technical issues, to price sensitivity, or even down to customers simply getting distracted before they could complete checkout.

28 Shopping Cart Abandonment Statistics You Must Know in 2023 - OptiMonk  Blog
(Image source)

It's important to reach out to these customers as soon as possible in order to encourage them complete their purchase and keep them engaged with your brand.

Marketing emails such as reminder emails, limited-time offers or free shipping can help you engage with these cart abandoners and increase your conversion rate.

How to track e-commerce email marketing performance

It is important to keep track of your e-commerce email marketing campaign performance to understand what works and what doesn't.

A successful tracking system can help you optimize your campaigns for the best return on investment and effort. In the following list, we explore the top metrics you should track to analyze your e-commerce email marketing performance and provide you with helpful insights to enhance your email marketing strategy further. 

1. Open and click-through rates

Open and click through rates are two critical metrics that measure the percentage of users who open and interact with links within your emails.

These two metrics offer valuable insights into how effective your campaigns are and which type of content resonates with your specific audience.

To improve these metrics utilize catchy email subject lines, personalized content, and clear calls to action. 

2. Unsubscribe rate

It's crucial to track the unsubscribe rate metric because this metric measures how many people have opted out from receiving further emails from you.

A high unsubscribe rate indicates an underlying issue with either the content or frequency of emails themselves.

To decrease this rate, ensure that you're offering valuable content relevant to subscribers while giving them the choice of opting out specific emails or unsubscribing altogether.

3. Conversion rate

Ultimately, all your marketing efforts have a goal in mind, and that is to increase your bottom line through sales.

Because of that, the conversion rate of your email campaigns helps you to understand how many people have taken desired actions after receiving an email, like sign up for a free trial, or use a coupon code to make a purchase.

This metric is vital in driving sales as it analyzes email campaign effectiveness. Your emails should also contain clear call to action buttons with proper tracking mechanism set up to track these conversions.

Some ways to improve your conversion rate over the long run is to try use targeted emails by first properly segmenting your subscriber list and then sending them personalized emails based on their shopping behavior.

Make sure to also focus on creating email content that is of value to your subscribers so people don't unsubscribe. 

4. A/B test results

Lastly, A/B testing is essential in any successful email marketing strategy as it offers a comparison between two versions of emails for determining which content performs better among audiences.

Identifying your key success indicators like open rates and click-through rates is important as it lets you make more informed decisions when you try to optimize emails further.

Implementing tweaks based on your insights goes a long way in tailoring a more successful campaign catered towards specific demographics' needs.

How to maximize e-commerce sales with effective email marketing

If well-executed, emailing campaigns can be an incredibly powerful strategy to grow your e-commerce store's revenue streams.

But with so many businesses falling short when it comes to properly utilizing essential tools like email marketing, how do you ensure success from email marketing?

Keep reading below as we cover specific efforts that can genuinely alter your chances of success with email marketing.

1. Start building your email list

To optimize your email marketing efforts, it’s crucial to create a targeted list of prospective clients whose interests and needs align with the offerings of your business.

To do this, you have to first find different ways to collect these emails from potential clients who shown interest in what your business has to offer.

Offer potential customer something of value

A proven technique for building an attractive email list is providing potential customers with valuable incentives in return for their email address. This is often referred to as a lead magnet.

For e-commerce businesses, these lead magnets could consist of sought-after perks like special deals or discounts on products or services offered by your business.

Other popular alternatives are things like free resources such as ebooks or digital downloads; exclusive access to live webinars on relevant topics; or entry into fun contests where subscribers can win prizes.

As part of the process of capturing these contacts' email addresses into your email service provider, let your leads know exactly what happens next: explain what they'll receive the freebie by subscribing, and that you'll be emailing them in the future with deals and updates about your brand.

Ask for referrals from your loyal customers

To get the most out of your list, one winning strategy is to score some referrals from satisfied customers.

Remember that consumers trust other consumers, so any recommendations you might get from them helps position your brand better in the eyes of new leads and prospects.

Explore different referral options by crafting personalized emails that come with incentives, such as discounts or free products for every new customer referred.

Ask for emails in person through offline events

If you're looking for ways to increase subscribers on your email list, offline platforms are an excellent source.

Conducting personal information requests from prospective clients during networking functions like trade shows and conferences goes a long way in building relationships with them—helping you generate leads for the future.

2. Identify your goal for the campaign

Identify your goal

Launching your an email marketing strategy requires careful thought about its purpose.

What outcome do you want out of this? Is it more to generate more leads, increase more traffic to your website, or promote and generate awareness for a new product or service launch?

Once this goal is defined, you can start working on the content that caters directly to your target group and facilitates the desired response.

Select the right success metric

Selecting a suitable success metric for your campaign is the next step once you've established your objective.

Here are some of the common success metrics that you can measure with your email marketing:

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The click-through rate measures the proportion of subscribers who’ve clicked on a link included in your email campaign. This measurement is a useful means to gauge your email’s call to action's (CTA) effectiveness.

2. Conversion Rate

Understanding conversion rate is crucial if your primary objective is to produce sales or leads as it assesses the proportion of subscribers who accomplished the intended action after clicking from your email.

3. Open Rate

An important aspect of any successful email campaign is ensuring that your messages aren't just landing in inboxes but also being opened and read by subscribers. By tracking the open rate, which measures exactly that, you can gain insight into how well both your subject line and overall content are capturing attention among recipients.

4. Engagement Rate

The act of clicking on links within an email, responding to correspondence or forwarding it on is what constitutes engagement among subscribers. The engagement rate calculates all these interactions and allows you to discern which recipients are most receptive. By using this metric, marketers can tailor future campaigns towards those readers who exhibit a higher degree of interest.

5. Revenue Generated

If your aim is to achieve sales, the metric of ultimate success is revenue generated. This critical measurement evaluates the total amount of money that your email campaign managed to generate through sales.

3. Use a proper email marketing provider

Of course, when you start email marketing, you can't just use your personal email to start sending marketing emails en masse. That's the quickest way to get yourself into the spam folder.

Instead, an email marketing platform can help you set up and launch your email campaigns, while also providing valuable analytics and insights that can inform future marketing strategies.

In the list below, we explore some examples of must-know email marketing tools and how they can help your business reach its marketing goals with ease


For businesses keen on expanding their reach across diverse platforms through effective emailing campaigns, Mailchimp is a valuable tool that's been around for a long time.

With its vast spectrum of features ranging from designing personalized email newsletters and sending mass mailing lists to developing unique landing pages along with analytics, this tool comes with everything you need to launch intermediate and advanced marketing emails.

Plans start at $20/month with up to 6,000 mail deliveries. Mailchimp also offers a free subscription which enables users up to 1,000 individual mail deliveries per month without any cost.

Some of their notable features are:

  • Email templates and design tools
  • Advanced segmentation and targeting
  • Behavioural targeting
  • Marketing CRM
  • Landing pages and forms
  • Social media integration
  • A/B testing


Small and large enterprises alike looking for an efficient way to manage their entire customer engagement journey need look no further than HubSpot’s comprehensive all-in-one marketing suite.

The diverse range of features they offer, including email marketing software, automation tools, campaign monitor in addition to lead and customer service support, makes it an ideal choice for any business size or type.

Pricing begins at $50 per month, making it an attractive yet accessible tool for those wanting more extensive features beyond the basic free plan.

Some of their notable features are:

  • Email Automation
  • Segment Users
  • SEO recommendation
  • Form Automation
  • Landing pages and forms
  • Social media integration


Facilitating business growth and fostering better client connections, Brevo (previously Sendinblue) is a proficient email marketing and CRM solution.

Filled with diverse features like email marketing, marketing automation, lead management and customer service, it enables a seamless business operations from marketing to operations.

Businesses can pick from the range of pricing options available with an array of benefits including access up to 300 daily sent e-mails on the free plan, or opt for the paid versions initiating at a fee of $25/month supporting 20k emails per month.

Some of their notable features are:

  • Landing pages and forms
  • Email templates and design tools
  • Segmentation and targeting
  • Email Analytics


ActiveCampaign is a decent email marketing and CRM software option, featuring an array of helpful features ranging from email promotion down to customer support resources.

Should you be interested in experiencing everything ActiveCampaign has to offer firsthand, including access to their full API capabilities, feel free to take advantage of their free trial. 

ActiveCampaign options begins at $49 monthly for their Plus plan, along with two other alternatives. 

Some of their notable features are:

  • Email Marketing & Marketing Automation
  • Inline, Pop up and Modal Forms
  • Landing Pages
  • Facebook Custom Audiences & Lead Ads
  • Site & Event Tracking
  • API & Webhooks
  • WooCommerce, Shopify & BigCommerce Integrations


Cococart has a range of features that are specifically designed with small business owners in mind.

With Cococart, you can get an all in one business tool to streamline your orders, bookings, local payments, grow your marketing, deliveries, and build loyalty.

More than just an e-commerce platform, Cococart has its own email marketing feature built into its dashboard. What that means is that you can do everything from collecting email addresses from potential customers down to sending them promotional emails that market your products or offers.

Pricing starts from $9 a month with unlimited email campaigns you can run in a month.

Some of its notable features are:

  • Email marketing
  • Abandon cart recovery
  • Analytics & reporting
  • Delivery & Local Payment integration
  • Online order and inventory management

4. Create compelling email subject lines

One big aspect of any successful email marketing campaign involves crafting captivating subject lines.

Your ultimate goal is to create a message that grabs attention from among countless others emails in the recipients' inbox and prompt action from them.

You can do this by writing a compelling, yet concise, subject line that entices audiences to see what's inside your email. 

Follow these tips for creating headlines capable of prompting clicks:

  • Make them concise yet click worthy—about 50 characters or less is often concise enough
  • Use descriptive words to provoke curiosity among readers
  • Customize emails according to demographics like location or name

5. Incorporate clear calls to action

In order to encourage customers into taking action on your emails, a definite call-to-action (CTA) inside your email is a must.

The desired outcome you want audiences to take could range from them clicking to a landing page and checking out an announcement or making actual purchases.

Make sure you provide easy and precise instructions when urging users to engage. Try to include more engaging visuals such as videos or GIFs. Creative visuals are known to help increase engagement amongst the recipients without sacrificing the integrity of your message.

Be sure to to feature creative visuals which are relevant to the content of your emails in order to grab attention from readers. After all, your first impression counts!

6. Keep track of your metrics

In order to run a successful email campaign, you need to keep tabs on your success metrics. Once you've establish your campaign goals, things you'll need to monitor include open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates.

This will give you an over arching idea of how your campaigns are doing so you can make any improvements. You can also use the email campaign data to analyze customer behavior and give them more or less of the stuff your prospect likes or dislike. 

Choose an email tool that fits your business needs

Choosing the right email tool for your business needs is important if you want to ensure that you have all the features you’ll need to run a successful email campaign. Different software or tools offer vastly different features, but one of the main thing to take into account when you are considering a email tool is its ability to help you scale with as your business grows.

On top of that, you will want an email service provider which can offer onboarding and support services, as well as an other additional features such as email automation and A/B testing.

When selecting an email marketing provider for your business, it's important to choose one which fits your business needs overall.

Ready to have an all-in-one platform for your e-commerce business to take orders and also send email marketing campaigns? Look no further than Cococart to get you started.

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