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Those in ecommerce marketing know they must walk a fine line between providing valuable content to their email subscribers while also encouraging them to click through to their website and make a purchase.

That’s where an ecommerce newsletter comes in to build your ecommerce marketing strategy while maintaining the value to your biggest fans.

When it comes to creating an ecommerce newsletter, you want to make sure you’re standing apart from the crowd.

Not sure how? We’ve got you covered, so read on to discover our top tips.

Ecommerce newsletter vs. non-ecommerce newsletter: Is there a difference?

Retailers have to be careful with their newsletters, as compared to non-ecommerce businesses. Why? Because newsletters are designed to inform, not to sell (which is the overall purpose of your ecommerce marketing strategy).

An email newsletter is a specific form of communication that informs your audience of the latest updates, news, or tips about your product or company.

Newsletters n can come in quite literally hundreds of different formats and styling. However, each one of them serves the same purpose: to inform the reader. This is where ecommerce marketers run into a bit of a snag, as compared to other brands.

While non-ecommerce brands can focus on sending informational content out, ecommerce brands need to focus on their end goal: reaching a previously set goal for sales.

While sales may be the end goal, that doesn’t mean that ecommerce newsletters are out of the question.

That said, let’s take a moment to look at an ecommerce newsletter and a non-ecommerce newsletter.

Ecommerce newsletters

An ecommerce newsletter—just as a traditional newsletter—can come in many different forms. What sets these different formats apart is the fact that they serve a dual purpose: to inform and to sell.

Ecommerce brands need to take the time to focus on informing the reader, just as any other brand does. Why? Today’s consumers want your marketing messages to be about more than just a sales pitch. You have to provide value for them.

The Honest Co. promotes value not only by incentivizing sign ups by including a coupon code, they also include some of their best performing content that informs their subscribers about topics The Honest Co. knows will matter to their audience.

These posts share information that aligns with their company values, a major selling point for their brand:

Honest welcome email

Non-ecommerce newsletters

This newsletter by Discovery Creative serves to inform the reader with very little promotional content. The content of this newsletter includes:

  • What the brand has been up to
  • New ideas the brand has been working on
  • Content that the brand enjoys and more

This newsletter serves to inform the reader, not sell to them.

The idea here is to share both original content and curated content with the reader to help the brand establish themselves not only as an authority figure in their niche, but to show their readers just what the brand has been up to behind the scenes.

The goal of this type of newsletter is to pique the interest of the reader. It also needs to encourage them to click through to their website to “learn more.”

And that’s a goal shared by all brands, ecommerce or not.

Ideas for your next ecommerce newsletter

After looking over the ecommerce newsletter and non-ecommerce newsletter examples above, one thing is clear: There’s little difference besides the end goal being a sale instead of purely educating readers.

With that in mind, consider the following 4 ideas for your next ecommerce newsletter.

1. Personalized content and recommendations

One of the best types of newsletters, ecommerce or not, is the personalized newsletter. For those sending an ecommerce newsletter, this type of newsletter will take on the form of a personalized recommendation.

These recommendations can be based on segmented information (i.e., gender, geo-location, etc.) or on a subscriber’s past purchase history.

Take this example from the travel giant Airbnb. Once the subscriber has booked lodging through the company, they go ahead and send a personalized newsletter on various activities that they can partake in while enjoying their trip.

These recommendations are traditionally based on a user’s previous browsing or booking activity, making it a genuinely personalized piece of content subscribers are sure to open and read.

Airbnb takes the time to send out curated email newsletters to help their subscribers make the most of their vacation.

Source: Really Good Emails

And because Airbnb provides this value to their customers, people are more likely to book with the brand for their next trip, too.

2. Interactive ecommerce newsletters

Need to capture your reader’s attention with more than a special offer? Encourage each of your readers to interact with your brand by using an interactive email, like this one by PizzaExpress.

PizzaExpress encourages interaction by including an Instagram story-style poll in their email to subscribers.

Source: Really Good Emails

In this example, PizzaExpress grabs their reader’s attention by posing a question: Which of their calzones would you try first? They then include an Instagram-style poll within the email to encourage their readers to actively participate in the “most important vote of the year.”

Since this message is an ecommerce newsletter, the brand goes on to include a special 25% off special for their readers to encourage them to make that conversion from a reader to a consumer.

However, the sale isn’t the primary focus of the email or its design. That’s what makes this example a standout winner in our eyes. This newsletter includes the sale information, while also informing readers on other topics throughout the message.

3. Product launch

Product launches make for great ecommerce newsletters because they focus on not only making a sale but informing the reader and keeping subscribers up to date with their brand.

After all, your subscribers will most likely be your most engaged and loyal customers, so you want to make sure they know you value them. Letting them have first look at a standout new product is a great way to keep subscribers engaged and active in your email marketing.

An excellent example of a product launch is this email newsletter by Wiivv for their Paaww custom pet insoles.

Wiivv’s ecommerce newsletter not only announces the launch of their new product, but informs the readers on why this product is essential.

Source: Really Good Emails

This ecommerce newsletter begins by announcing the Paaww custom pet insole and the brand’s special 20% off pre-order savings. From there, the brand goes on to talk about what the product is, what makes it so special, and why their readers need to jump on this pre-order special.

Again, the focus of this ecommerce newsletter is to get subscribers to act and pre-order the product; however, the brand doesn’t merely tell them to “go buy” and instead focuses heavily on informing the readers why this product is worth the investment.

4. Brand and company announcements

When it comes down to finding a balance between promotional content and informational content in ecommerce newsletters, there’s no better example, in our opinion, than a brand announcement.

These may not initially come off as ecommerce newsletters since they focus so heavily on information with little to no product pushing. However, what better way to encourage your current subscribers and customers to remain loyal to you than announcing new collaborations and other news that will, in the long run, benefit them?

Take, for example, this company announcement from Unsplash announcing their latest partnership with Dropbox.

Unsplash announces its partnership with Dropbox to loyal customers and tells them how this partnership will benefit its customers.

Source: Really Good Emails

This is a great example of an ecommerce newsletter. The content focuses on the benefit of the customer, not on the benefit of the brand. When reading through the message, we see that Unsplash is talking directly to each reader with the use of “you” and “your.” Nowhere does the email talk about the benefit of this collaboration on the brand, only on the consumer.

This will help to encourage their customers to continue working with them, which is why it makes for such an outstanding example of an ecommerce newsletter.

Wrap up

When it comes to differentiating ecommerce newsletters and non-ecommerce newsletters, there are few differences. The biggest difference is the end result that each is looking for:

  • Ecommerce: looking to make a sale
  • Non-ecommerce: looking to inform

When it comes time to design and send out your next ecommerce newsletter, there are quite literally dozens of different ways to go about it. However, some key ecommerce newsletters worth noting include:

  • Product launches
  • Brand/company announcements
  • Interactive newsletters
  • Personalized recommendations

This isn’t an extensive list, by any means; however, it’ll help you get off on the right foot.

Campaign Monitor is happy to announce that we’re launching a new email marketing product for ecommerce stores. If you’re interested in learning more, then visit our CM Commerce page today.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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