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What Internet Marketers Know About Email Marketing That Ecommerce Merchants Don’t

Ecommerce merchants can learn a lot from digital product marketers.

Granted, there are the unscrupulous ones out there who make millions from selling dud products which add no value to anyone’s life whatsoever, but likewise, there are also some seriously savvy Internet marketers who sell great digital products and programs.

And the thing that both of these types of Internet marketer (IM’ers) have in common, is: a great understanding of human psychology and salesmanship, especially using the medium of email marketing.

In this post I’m going to share with you nine principles Internet marketers employ with their email marketing campaigns which help them make $$$$$ of sales with just the click of a button.

Sellers of physical products often feel that have little in common with info-product sellers, but the truth is, there’s a lot you can learn from the strategies they use, and in this article I’ll show you how.

1. Focus on your headlines/subject line

Email marketing headlines from Ecommerce merchants are some of the most boring, easy to ignore mailings I get in my inbox every day. I’m signed up to lots of lists – both as a consumer and for research – and believe me, 8/10 of the headlines I get in my inbox from brands are so boring I hardly even notice them.

Internet marketers (IM’ers) know that your headline has a very important job to do, in fact, the most important job of your whole email marketing campaign. If it fails, everything else you do will be in vain.

What is that job?

To get your subscriber to click through and read the body of your email. That’s it.

And this is why you need to spend just as much time crafting the perfect, clickable subject line as you do crafting your body text. Boring, easy to ignore subject lines mean less eyeballs on your offer.


Black Milk craft headlines that standout in your inbox

Atterley road….not so much.

2. Personalise your emails with their first name

This requires that you collect your new subscribers first names at the time they sign up–which is something you rarely see smaller Ecommerce merchants do.

So what do big brands and Internet marketers know that you don’t? Personalisation jolts people into paying attention to your mail. They naturally think, “if it has my name on it, then it must be important?”

This is where creating an email opt-in offer that is super compelling and not just ‘subscribe to our mailing list’, becomes of critical importance. You need to give your web vistors a good reason to give you their email – one that benefits them.

Again, creating free optin offers, or another value-driven giveaway in exchange for an email address is another list building tactic that IM’ers have been using for years. But somehow product sellers seem to ignore this tactic.


“It’s difficult – I don’t have the time – I have no idea what to create?” – are the excuses reasons I’m given most frequently.

Here’s my simple tip for that:

Create an offer than will do one of the following:

  • Help customers get more value, use, life span from your products
  • Solve a common problem that they have which is/can be related to your product

Good attempt, but here’s the thing: If you have my first name, why didn’t you use it in the headline?

3. Place your buying link in the first paragraph of your email

The data shows that most readers take in 28% or less on any article that they read. That number is probably even lower when it comes to reading salesy emails from brands they maybe shop with once or twice a year.

So, if your subscribers are only going to – at best – skim your copy, then you need to place the most important information right at beginning when you still have most of their attention.

Placing your link in the first three lines of your paragraph will increase your click through rates dramatically.

Pro IM’ers never make readers search for the link, in fact, everything they do is about making it as easy and enticing as possible to get their reader out of their inbox and over to their content or sales page.

4. Only have one central call to action

You’ll often see brands trying to sell 5-8 products in one email – Especially when they are doing capsule wardrobe pieces.

They put links left, right and centre, and then they sit back and scratch their heads wondering why their click through rate was down.

Well the answer is simple: you’re confusing the living daylights out of your subscriber, and seeing as they don’t know you personally, they are not going to take the time to work out what all these links are or where they take them. Sadly, they’re going click the only thing email marketers don’t want you to click: the delete button.

This leads me on to my next point.

5. Stories sell – get creative

Think about those narrow emails you get with the short sentence structure, where you know without even scrolling down that it’s going to go on for days.

Usually you think, ‘I’ll just read the first paragraph to see what this all about’, and before you know it, you’ve been reading for ages, your coffee’s gone cold, and you’re now thinking about buying some random course on X.

That, my dear, is email marketing execution at it’s finest. And IM’ers work hard to master this craft.

Now think about it?

What was it that got you reading the next line, and the next line, and the next line?

Well it’s rarely, hey! “We’re (name of company), we’re having a 25% off sale today – come buy my stuff.”

No, it’s usually a story of some kind that gets your interest and sucks you in, right?

You can and you should use story telling in your Ecommerce emails, for one simple reason – stories sell.

All ‘sell’ and no ‘story’. Le sigh.

6. Always include a PS.

If you read a sales email from an IM’er and it doesn’t have a PS. You can safely assume one of two things: they’re pretty new to the game and don’t understand how essential the PS. is, or, they were having a bad day and a now kicking themselves that they mailed without doing everything they KNOW works.

So why is the PS so important? Well the PS is for the skimmers. Those are the people who read the 28% of whatever you wrote.

Therefore the three most important parts of your email are

  • Your opening paragraph
  • Your subheadings
  • Your PS.

Always include another link to the product you’re promoting in your PS. If anything is going to save the sale, it’s that.

7. Encourage interaction – ask questions

IM’ers do something very skilfully when it comes to deciding what new products to offer or affiliate for.

They ask questions.

Yup! they are constantly asking their readers for their opinions and feedback so they can use this information to make sure they are making offers their readers actually want.

Now think about it?

When was the last time you asked your subscribers’ their thoughts and opinion on something. When was the last time you ended an email with a call to action to: click reply and let us know X… 


Well it’s no small wonder you still have 400 day-glow green, spandex and hemp crop-tops sitting in your warehouse. Go figure.

8. Mail your list when you publish new blog content 

How often are you mailing your list? Three or four times per month?

Whenever you get new products in, or you’re trying desperately to shift something that is not selling?

Remember, consistency is key with email marketing, and that’s why only mailing when you’ve got something to sell gets real old real quick–maybe not for you, but definitely for your returning or potential customers.

So what about that content on your blog that you ummmed and ahhhed about before finally getting it done-have you emailed your list to let them know about it? Are you using content and email to build a deeper more well-rounded brand experience and relationship with your customers?


We’ll you’re going to have loads of catching up to do profit-wise in comparison to the brands that do.

IM’ers know that people buy from people, and while they might have a different head on and decision to make when deciding whether to buy that $27 dollar t-shirt or $2500 coaching program– with each of these purchases they are more likely to go with the brand they feel most connected and familiar with. Your job is to make them feel connected to you.

9. Write with personality – think brand, not bland!

Email marketing is hands-down the most perfect way to really express more of your brand’s personality and values without taking away from the product.

IM’ers do it all the time.

They disclose embarrassing stories, occasionally get a bit fresh with the language, and they often throw the grammar rulebook out of the window for the sake of an easier/cleaner reading experience.

They know that in order to build a connection with a consumer they need to enthuse their personality into their words so it connects. Otherwise, they are just going to bore the pants of their readers, and before long they’ll just stop reading. Next, they’ll unsubscribe.

Remember, a customer’s inbox is a sacred place and just because they gave you their email to be kept up-to-date, that doesn’t mean you have the right to fill it with boring, bland, repetitive sales messages that get on their last good nerve.

That’s all the tips I have for you in this post, but to be honest I’m just scratching the top of the iceberg. There’s way more that I could share, and I will do in later posts, so make sure you get signed up to Ecommerce insiders so you never miss a post.

Going back to point number 9. If you’re stuck on where to get started with blogging for your brand? This complimentary 7-day mini-course is a great place to start.

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About Stacey Herbert (20 Posts)

Stacey Herbert is a marketing and business coach for fashion entrepreneurs, and the founder of #TOMB The Online Marketing Boutique – the premier group coaching program and training portal for online boutique owners. Take a class, accept a challenge, or access expert marketing advice 24/7 – 365. To discover more, check this out.

Ready to experience brazen profits in your eCommerce business? Get in touch today.

Join her private community for online boutique owners on Facebook and follow her on Instagram.

2 thoughts on “What Internet Marketers Know About Email Marketing That Ecommerce Merchants Don’t

  1. Chris Freshmail

    Great post, Stacey!

    Regarding tip #1. I would add – focus on your preheader – the short summary text that follows the subject line when an email is viewed in the inbox. Many mobile, desktop and web email clients provide them to tip you off on what the email contains, before you open it. Generally this line of text is borrowed from the first text found in the email newsletter. On mobile clients in particular, the preheader can mean the difference between someone opening your email and archiving it – so you generally want it to be something meaningful.

  2. Pingback: ‘What Internet Marketers Know About Email Marketing

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