When we talk about marketing and sales, emails have proven to achieve a higher success rate than other sources.
Most online stores get great open rates and CTRs for emails.
But, they still see a low email conversion rate.
Let’s dive into 17 proven email conversion strategies to squeeze more ROI from your list.
How content can boost your email conversion rates
1. Use social media to show authenticity
94% of people are more likely to purchase from a brand that has real customer reviews
If you got great comments under your social media posts for a particular product, capture them.
Next, see how many shoppers have the same product in their cart.
Create an email that says, ‘See what our customers are saying about product X’
This way, the shopper gets a genuine review and can take action.
2. Make your team part of the influencer strategy
If you sell beauty products, collaborate with beauty influencers to recommend the products and create content on how to use the product.
Furthermore, you can make your team a part of this strategy.
Copy like “Editor picks”, “Our stylist recommends”, and “Favourites from our beauty team”, can show how involved the brand is in the recommendation process.
See how Glossier does it with a review from their in-house editor:
3. Get your content basics right
Your online store copy and your email copy need to speak the same language.
For instance, if you use pop-culture references in product descriptions, then add some type of reference to your emails.
Here are some tips on how to keep your email copy interesting:
✅ Address the readers directly as if you are speaking to them one on one.
✅ Repurpose your existing content (guides, blogs) into an email format to make it more digestible.
✅ Use humor and content to relate to a shopper's interest
✅ Try reading out your final copy to see what it sounds like to you. If you see that a sentence in your email doesn't flow well, adjust it until it does.
4. Try a little storytelling
Most email marketers will say:
“make your email skimmable”
“crisp the content”
“no one is reading the whole email”
While shorter emails generally work, you might also land in the trash bin because your email looks just like all the other emails.
Clever storytelling can make those potential customers pause their scrolling and read.
You can also grab their attention with impactful visuals and highlighted text.
See how Tuft & Needle flex their storytelling skills with a cart abandonment email:
Tips on how to improve email conversion rates with creative visuals and layouts
1. Experiment with design layouts
a. Inverted pyramid design
In this email layout, every element in this design builds momentum toward the goal, without any distractions.
This way, the attention is centered on what's most important, the ‘CTA’.
When to use: For email campaigns with a central CTA.
b. Zigzag layout
The zigzag email layout makes it easy to digest more content without overwhelming your shoppers.
For example, each consecutive section can redirect them to different product pages.
When to use for maximum email conversion rates: If you’re sending emails that are heavy in content and visuals. For instance, for category discovery emails, this zigzag design can break the monotonous format.
2. Use professional images—but avoid these pitfalls
Humans process visuals 60 times faster than text.
Images can get your message across fast in emails before losing a reader’s attention.
“The most common type of visuals in eCommerce emails are product images. But most stores use static product images that look the same across campaigns, which creates a bad impression.” - Ryan Day, Email Marketing Strategist, Convertcart
Here are some image optimization tips that can improve email conversion rate:
✅ Keep the text-to-image ratio at 80:20 to avoid triggering spam filters.
✅ Avoid putting important information and CTA on the image as servers often fail to render images in emails
✅ Add alt text just in case the image doesn’t get rendered. This way, recipients can read the text to know what the image they are missing is all about.
✅ Test your emails before sending them to make sure images are rendered properly across different email clients.
✅ Instead of a static product image, show the product in use. This way, shoppers can envision how to use the product. Here’s an example:
When to use: Cart abandonment emails so shoppers can recall products through visuals.
3. Embed GIFs & videos—but limit use on mobile
Video emails tend to perform 2-3 times better than text-based emails.
But using videos in emails is tricky.
Unlike other visuals, the recipients have to play it, and it can be challenging to render by email servers.
Here are 3 things you should do before including a video or GIF in your emails:
✅ Compress the video size as much as you can get away with. This helps ensure it loads up fast in emails.
✅ For mobile recipients, if the video is not embedded directly in emails, ensure the thumbnail redirects to the right landing page or video.
✅ Use GIFs in your emails, to add a bit of fun and capture attention. They also have a relatively smaller file size than regular videos.
When to use for maximum email conversion rate: For new product launches and highly anticipated seasonal campaigns or when you have a human-centered brand story to tell.
Tips on how to improve email conversion rates with email subscriber optimization
1. Segment based on your ICPs
Segmented campaigns can increase email revenue by 760%.
While you might segment email lists based on demographics, interests, preferences, or engagements, do more with ICPs.
Here are some tips on how to segment your email list correctly to achieve good email marketing conversion rates:
a. Analyze your ICP completely
Evaluate your audience to identify the information you might need and update your data sources accordingly.
Segment your email audiences based on the following factors:
✅ buyer journey stage,
✅ past purchases,
✅ purchase amount,
✅ purchase frequency, and
✅ sign-up sources.
b. Align the segments according to your goals
Are you trying to get more purchases?
Are you building brand awareness?
Are you launching a new product?
Are you driving store traffic?
To improve email conversions, segment your email lists based on your goals.
For instance, if you have a large customer base who have not purchased anything in a long time, send them an email that asks them for feedback about past products.
You can incentivize the action of posting a review.
The incentive can be a discount code or product samples from the same range or brand.
c. Go beyond existing data
Email marketing platforms are only as smart as the data you feed them.
For example, if you sell men’s grooming products, your customer base might include customers who gift these products.
Around special days such as Father’s Day, you can create a segment and send promotional emails with gifting options.
2. Prune your email list—be clever
Don’t rush into weeding away all your hard-earned subscribers in the name of list cleaning.
Your email audience subscribed to your list by themselves for the value they perceived you offer.
But your email list might include subscribers who will never turn into customers.
Here are some tips on how to clean your list to improve email conversion rates:
✅ Identify unengaged subscribers, those who haven’t clicked a link in your email or bought from you in the last 3 or 6 months.
✅ Remove email addresses that bounce due to reasons like invalid emails and keep an eye on ones with temporary issues like full inbox and recipient server issues, they can come around later.
✅ Remove inactive subscribers from your list. These could be subscribers who have never opened your email or click-through in a long time (you determine how long you want to set the bar).
✅ Immediately remove subscribers that marked your emails as spam.
✅ Verify and validate your email lists ahead of big holiday campaigns.
Convertcart Pro Tip 🚀
Launch a re-engagement email campaign to win unengaged subscribers back. If you still don’t see any results, mark these subscribers as inactive subscribers and remove them from your list.
3. Build your own email list
Don’t buy email lists.
This is the golden rule of effective email marketing.
Buying an email list in itself is not illegal. And so many brands purchase email lists to send promotional emails.
However, this only results in creating a bad impression.
To maximize email conversion rates, here are some tips to keep in mind:
✅ Get permission to email the people on your mailing list (send a triggered email that confirms they want to join the mailing list)
✅ Display information that identifies you in emails (social media profiles, links to about us landing pages)
✅ Don’t use misleading information in your header and subject line (if you promise a discount, fulfill it)
✅ Include an unsubscribe button that allows subscribers to opt out of your emails (especially if they have not engaged in a while)
✅ Process any opt-out requests as quickly as possible (no more than 2 steps)
How workflows can increase email marketing conversion rate
Send emails based on the buyer’s journey
Meticulously planning your workflows based on the buyer’s journey can boost email conversion rates.
Here are some workflows to always have in your email marketing strategy:
a. Welcome campaigns
Welcome emails generate 320% more revenue than any other campaign.
Send welcome emails to:
✅ confirm their subscription right after sign-up
✅ welcome them to your community in the first 24 hours, and
✅ show products and categories to explore.
b. Promotional campaigns
Promotional emails are more than just offering discounts.
Here are 3 tips to craft promotional emails that boost conversions:
✅ don’t batch and blast (segment, segment, segment)
✅ offer more value (early access to new arrivals, discounts for back-in-stock products)
✅ make the next step frictionless (take shoppers directly to the cart page)
c. Cart abandonment emails
Cart abandonment is a common problem for online stores.
Tips on how to win back shoppers:
✅ send email notifications after 30 minutes, a day later & a week later
✅ analyze their cart and recommend products in similar or complementary categories
✅ offer first-time buyer deals and rewards (discounts, free samples, free shipping, etc)
d. Re-engagement emails
If your subscribers haven’t engaged with your emails for some time, send them a re-engagement email.
Usually, these emails contain special discounts to encourage passive subscribers to take some action.
An effective re-engagement campaign can include:
✅ an option to unsubscribe (complete process in 2 clicks or less)
✅ incentives in the form of discount coupons (celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, or special days)
✅ pre-populated cart to reduce friction at checkout (auto-apply offers)
e. Post-purchase campaigns
Post-purchase emails enjoy a 217% higher open rate than traditional emails.
Post-purchase emails should include:
✅ a genuine thank you (compliment their taste)
✅ order confirmation (show a way to edit and track the order)
✅ rewards for future use (referrals and loyalty programs)
How to personalize your campaigns to boost email conversion rates
1. Use triggers for compelling subject lines
47% of recipients open an email based solely on the subject line.
A great email subject line should invoke some type of emotion.
Here are some tips on how to use psychological triggers in subject lines:
a. Create FOMO
Use urgency or scarcity strategies as triggers. Arouse their curiosity by mentioning something strange, asking a question, or using cliffhangers
Some examples include:
“They call this x heaven on earth”, “SOLD OUT”
“A New Product Has Emerged That’s Slashing The Prices for x”
“Watch this space…”
b. Create controversy
Use this tactic sparingly and only when you actually have something controversial or shocking to announce.
Some examples include:
“You’ve Never Seen x Like This”
c. Get personal
Keep the subject line casual and conversational
Some examples include:
“We went shopping for your best friend”
“Rose, you will want in on these fire picks!”
d. Awaken greed
Mentioning a discount or special offer but don’t overdo it.
Some examples include:
“Don’t miss a sale like this”,
“Save 25%, just for you…”
2. Personalize (beyond just the fname)
95% of email marketers have witnessed higher open rates by personalizing their emails.
Email personalization improves your brand reputation and builds credibility.
Tips on how to personalize your email campaigns:
✅ Analyze location data to send personalized product recommendations (for example, based on the weather so they can suggest relevant fashion products to them)
✅ Remind customers about their reward points and show them what they can buy (exclusive discounts and deals)
✅ Use quirky copy [That gear in your cart is lonely and cold. And all it needs is someone to love it and wear it. That someone could be you]
3. Priotize mobile view
Today, more than half of emails are viewed on mobile.
A mobile-responsive email design is one that automatically adapts itself to the screen resolutions of any smart device—whether it’s a mobile phone or tablet.
You can create a simple mobile-responsive email by choosing from an existing template available.
If you plan to design an HTML email template from scratch, keep the following tips in mind:
✅ Use a single-column layout. Multiple column layouts appear cluttered and difficult to navigate on mobile screens.
✅ Use 13-14 pixels for the body text and keep it between 20-22 pixels for the title.
✅ Create an information hierarchy based on importance. Keep your main message or most valuable offer in the first scroll.
✅ Make your CTA buttons inclusive for all types of fingers. Use a minimum of 40 x 40 pixels with lots of white spaces and avoid using hyperlinks.
✅ Use small responsive images to avoid poor loading time. Include alt tags.
✅ Test your emails before sending them out to ensure it renders perfectly on all major mobile devices.
Tips on technical solutions to improve email conversion rates
1. Avoid the spam filters
The last thing you want is for shoppers to click “This is junk” or “Mark as spam”.
Email spam filters use a long list of criteria to decide whether or not your campaign will be placed in a recipient’s spam folder.
Here are some tips on how to send emails that don’t end up in the spam folder:
✅ Make sure all subscribers on your list have opted-in to receive your campaigns. This is the easiest way to ensure no one unsubscribes, complains about, or reports your campaigns.
✅ Write code for only what’s necessary. Avoid extra tags or code pulled in from a rich-text editor.
✅ Make your intentions clear and tell shoppers why you’re emailing them.
✅ Be consistent with your content and design. Using the same language and colors helps to jog a shopper’s memory about your brand or products.
2. Get the frequency and timing right
What is the best time to send eCommerce emails?
What’s the best day to send emails?
What is the recommended email frequency?
While more emails could mean more revenue for some brands, it could mean the death of email conversion rate for others because of email fatigue.
Here are some tips on how to boost email conversion rates:
a. Determine your email marketing goals
For instance, if your goal is to drive purchases, you can risk a few unsubscribes to increase your chances of getting more purchases.
b. Understand the customer purchase cycle.
For instance, if you’re a fashion brand, send emails more frequently (an average of 6 emails per week) because clothing usually has a repeat purchase frequency.
c. Set different frequencies for different segments.
Segment your audience into 4 categories: people who have opened your emails in the last 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year.
Then, determine the average number of emails it’s been since the subscribers in each segment last engaged.
This way, you can determine how engaged each of the four segments is and send just the right number of emails without ending up in spam.
d. Optimize send time
Every subscriber on your email list has a unique engagement pattern. You can experiment to see at what time your subscribers react immediately and take action.
3. Test, test, test
Every email audience is different, so it is important you split-test all elements that move the needle of email conversion rates.
Here are some tips on how to make your email A/B testing effective:
✅ Understand why you’re testing and have a clear rationale for every test
✅ Focus on testing email elements with the most impact on your email marketing conversion rates such as subject lines, CTA, offers, and images
✅ Ensure your test groups are large enough to have a statistically significant result.
What is a good email marketing conversion rate?
Researchers have argued that a good email conversion rate is anywhere between 2-5%.
However, the truth is conversion rates vary based on industries. Some industries tend to record lower than others.
What we’d recommend is that you try to improve on whatever conversion rate you currently record.
Work to increase those figures because recording higher than the industry standard is a plus for your brand.
What is the average email conversion rate?
The average email conversion rate for the eCommerce industry is between 4-5%.
How to calculate the email conversion rate?
Simply divide the number of conversions by the number of people who interacted with your email and multiply by 100.
Alternatively, you can use this formula to calculate conversion rates in email marketing:
Email Conversion Rate = [ No.of purchases / No. of total recipients] x 100
How to track email conversion rates?
The go-to answer would be to track email opens and clicks.
While these are indications that show that people are willing to interact with your brand, it doesn’t tell if there’s an action taken.
So to effectively track your eCommerce email marketing conversion rate, add a UTM tag to your email links and then track it on your analytics tool.
You’ll be able to determine how many of your subscribers went back to your store to purchase an item.
Which type of email campaign has the highest conversion rate?
Remarkety conducted a study based on the eCommerce businesses that use their platform.
This research tracked email campaigns, open rates, click rates, and conversion rates.
Conversion rates in this context were the percentage of customers who placed an order within three days of interacting with the email.
Here are the conversion rates tracked by email type:
Transform Email Marketing Into A Revenue Machine
Most eCommerce store owners don’t see email as a serious revenue stream.
Ask them about the importance of email marketing, and you'll hear:
“We don’t really have a major strategy,”
“We mostly use generic templates,” or
“We just send emails to people on our list.”
BUT AT THE SAME TIME:
There are stores out there that drive 30%+ of their revenue from email marketing.
Engage can help you do the same - Book a free demo.
We’ll show you:
- workflows we can create for your store,
- proven ways to drive 30% or more $$ from email alone, and
- successful templates and strategies from your industry (and others).