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Online store marketing strategy is not the same as it used to be. When did sending emails get so complicated? Nowadays you practically have to have a degree in psychology in order to get customers to simply open your emails. Oh, and you want your customers to click on the links in your email too?

Then you better whip out that degree in graphic design (or be intimately familiar with an outside email marketing company like Constant Contact or MailChimp). Fret no longer over your unsuccessful email campaigns since you can steal the following 7 ideas for your business’ email marketing strategy.

7 Ideas for Your Online Store Marketing Strategy

1. Make sure your email design is responsive.
2. Always send a test email and view it on multiple devices.
3. Come up with a short yet creative subject line that does not contain any spam words.
4. Give something of value away for free.
5. Create a conversation.
6. Timing is everything.
7. Be consistent in your follow up.

email marketing strategy

Online Store Marketing Strategy #1: Make sure your email design is responsive.

email marketing strategy
Image via Vertical Response

Having a responsive email design simply means that your email will look good no matter what device it is viewed upon (whether that be an iPhone, Android phone, tablet, computer, etc.). Why is this important?

Well, Litmus did an in-depth study of over 13 billion (yes, billion with a “B”) emails that were opened in 2015 and discovered that over half (55% to be exact) of all emails that were opened were done so on a mobile device.

To break it down even further, of those emails that were opened on a mobile device, 33% were opened on an iPhone while 10% were opened on an Android phone. Do your emails look good on both, iPhones and Android phones? Don’t know the answer to that question?

It’s imperative that you find out so you’re not wasting your time designing beautiful emails that aren’t being displayed correctly on the devices your customers are using. Non-responsive emails are essentially worthless when viewed on mobile devices, so employing this email marketing strategy will give you a higher rate of return on your emails too.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #2: Always send a test email and view it on multiple devices.

This one seems obvious, but it is amazing how uncommon common sense can be these days. If you want perfect emails to go out to your customers, test them first.

email marketing strategy

While grammatical errors and broken links are certainly things you need to look out for, there are other nuances you get to view with a test email that you might not have taken into account.

For instance, I received a responsive design email from a real estate agent advertising a home nearby. On the computer, the email looked fine. However, on my iPhone, there was a problem with a line break in the copy.

Look at the difference in the meaning between these two examples:

Close to I-40. Mins to Asheville!

Close to I-
40. Mins to Asheville!

The first example shows that the property in question is only minutes to the city of Asheville, meaning it is very close to the city. The second example (which is what showed on my iPhone when I viewed this particular email) looks like it is saying the property is 40 minutes away from the city of Asheville, which is not very close at all.

email marketing strategy
Photo via Email Monday

This type of oversight could have easily been fixed with different spacing in the copy. The sad truth is our lives have become so fast-paced that we now only give ourselves a few seconds to scan each email before we move on to the next one (for more in-depth statistics on mobile email usage, click here).

The best email marketing strategy to ensure that you make a good impression on your customers is to send a test email to yourself first and then view it on multiple devices in order to get all the kinks worked out.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #3: Come up with a short yet creative email subject line that does not contain any spam words.

email marketing strategy
Photo via Hiver

It can be difficult to be creative within the confines of a subject line, so you’ll have to think outside of the box on this one. Whatever clever subject lines you do come up with should be short and devoid of spam words though.

What are spam words, you ask? They are words that will get your email sent straight to your customer’s spam folder. Words like “free” “now” and “click here” are all likely to get your email buried so deep in your client’s junk folder that they won’t even know you tried contacting them at all.

Use a spam word checker like the one found here before committing to a subject line.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #4: Give something of value away for free in your emails.

Who doesn’t like free stuff? The trick here is going to be your cleverness in offering something of value to your customers that you can give away for free in an email. For instance, many businesses give away an exclusive, downloadable eBook with unique content that their customers desire.

email marketing strategy

Other examples of freebies you could give away are a discount code or e-gift certificate to your online store (with minimum purchase requirements of course), an exclusive video how-to, or a desirable template of some kind.

Using this email marketing strategy not only garners you more subscribers, website visitors, and/or purchases, but it proves the value of what you have to offer to your customers as well.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #5: Create a conversation with your emails.

When most people think of email marketing, they only see it as a form of one-way communication from the business to the consumer. However, you can really get your customers engaged in your brand or cause by creating a conversation with them through email. Read 7 Statistically Proven Ways to Maximize E-Commerce Sales Using Email Marketing for more.

This is undeniably basic, but make sure to include your social media share buttons in your emails so you can turn your customers into little promoters for your business. Another way to create a conversation is to ask for feedback on your already existing products or services. Surveys are a great way to get feedback and to get a two-way conversation going with your customers (services like Survey Monkey can help you with this).

email marketing strategy
Photo via Lynda

Finally, what if you asked your customers what they would like to see next from you? Rather than simply hope your next idea will be well-received, you could just ask what your customers want and deliver that to them instead. Actually, creating a conversation with your customers is more than just an email marketing strategy—it’s a good business strategy overall.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #6: Timing is everything with email.

The famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is credited with saying, “There is timing in everything. Timing in strategy cannot be mastered without a great deal of practice.” This is true even for your email marketing strategy.

What is the use of creating the most perfect email if you send it to your customers at the wrong time? While many studies have produced conflicting information regarding when the best time to send an email actually occurs, there are several guidelines you should follow to ensure that your email has the best chance of getting opened.

Generally it is accepted that people check their email before bedtime, so sending an email between 8 p.m. and midnight will garner you the most opens and click-throughs. It’s also well known that there are fewer emails sent on the weekends, so perhaps you’d like to send an email then while there’s less competition for your customer’s attention.

online store

For more in-depth information on 10 different studies regarding the best time to send an email, click here. Whatever you decide to do, test out different times and see what your customers respond to best.

After all, according to our friend Miyamoto Musashi, practice leads to a mastery of timing.

Online Store Marketing Strategy #7: Be consistent in your email follow up.

Sometimes what you need as a business isn’t to offer something new, but to gain more focused attention on what you are already offering. For instance, if you have an online store that is having a 40% off sale for a three day holiday weekend, don’t you think it’d be a good idea for you to email your client base every day for those three days letting them know that the sale is still going on?

You don’t necessarily need to have more sales throughout the year; you just need more attention on the sale you’re already having. Brand awareness can only occur if you are consistent in getting your brand in front of people on a continual basis.

Be consistent with your customers and it’ll not only translate into more brand awareness for your business but into more sales for the business too.

About the author

Kathleen Marks

Kathleen writes from Western North Carolina. In her free time (which is rare), she enjoys camping with her family amongst the mountains that she calls home.


  1. Duke Vukadinovic

    Great tips, especially the second one! I agree with you that it’s quite shocking how many companies don’t send a test email to view it on multiple devices before they send it out to their potential buyers.

    1. Hanna Whirty

      Thank you for reading, Duke!

      1. Duke Vukadinovic

        Please don’t mention it! It really was a pleasure :)

  2. Hanna Whirty

    Glad to hear it, Haley! Thanks for reading!

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