Best practices for Shopify Email

Sending marketing emails to your customers can be a great way to increase traffic to your store. Increasing the number of visitors to your store can increase your chances of making a sale. Here are some things to help keep your customers engaged with your content, and interested in visiting your store.

What to consider when you create and manage an email subscriber list

  • If you buy an email list to acquire new subscribers, then you might damage your reputation by spamming customers who didn't opt in. A better approach is to offer newsletter sign up in your online store, at checkout, on the POS, and at events in real life to ensure more highly engaged subscribers.
  • Review your list of subscribers regularly to verify that you’re not sending to any generic or role-based inboxes such as info@domain.com or sales@domain.com. There likely won’t be any engagement with your emails from those inboxes, which might hurt your sender reputation over time.
  • Create customer groups to help target a specific set of customers. For example, if plan to have a sale on hats, then you might email only customers that have bought hats in the past to to encourage them to make another purchase.
  • If you enable double opt-in for subscribers, then you should update the newsletter forms' confirmation message in your online store so that customers know to check their email for a follow-up confirmation. Updating the confirmation message can help ensure more opt-ins. For example, your confirmation message could say something like “Check your email to confirm your subscription!”.
  • If a subscriber clicks the Unsubscribe link from within the email that they receive, or marks an email from you as spam, then the subscriber is automatically removed from your subscriber list. When an email bounces back due to an issue with an email address, that email address is automatically suppressed from future email sends.

What to include in email campaigns

  • The types of emails that you send to customers could include announcements about new products or sales that are taking place in your store. If you’re having trouble figuring out what kind of content to send to your customers, then see what types of emails you’re subscribed to, note anything that stands out, and decide what aligns with your store brand. For more ideas, refer to the Email Marketing section of the Shopify Blog.
  • If you haven't sent an email campaign to your subscribers before, then creating a welcome email is a great way to introduce yourself and start building a relationship with your customers. In your welcome email, you can let customers know who you are, advertise your store, feature one of your most popular products to remind customers why they love your brand already, or help them discover something new. You can also create a unique subscriber group in the Customers section to email only recent subscribers.
  • The purpose of your email campaign is to get subscribers to visit your store. You should include at least one link that lets subscribers click through to your store.
  • Include links to your store's social media sites. This helps customers know where they can stay in touch with your brand beyond email.

When to send email campaigns

  • Keep your subscribers engaged by emailing them at least once a month. Some businesses keep a calendar of the types of emails or updates to send. Having a schedule for your emails helps to make sure that your readers can regularly find new content and reminds them to visit your store. Be careful not to communicate too often with your customers because this can cause them to lose interest.
  • Before you send an email message to your subscribers, send a test email to yourself so that you can verify that link destinations and discount details, is correct.

Designing emails

Planning the look and feel of your emails helps to make sure that they match the rest of your brand. Use similar colors, fonts, and logos as seen in your store. The goal is to make sure that when readers open your email, they can tell it’s from your business.

If you add images, then they should relate to what you sell in your store. Shopify automatically pulls in product images and collection images, but you can also add images that help show readers the journey your store is on. If you're looking for stock photography to use in your emails or for your online store, then burst.shopify.com is a great place to start.

However, since some email clients disable images in their emails, you should avoid using images to display text that's critical to your email. For example, don't advertise a sale only by using an image that includes the text "50% off" since the image might be blocked by a customer's email client.

For any images you use, make sure to include alt text. Alt text is important for keeping your emails accessible for all audiences. The goal of an email is to guide readers to your store, so it’s also good practice to include a link for any images you add to help readers navigate to the relevant content on your store.

Tips for writing effective email content

When you're writing content for your email, try to get familiar with your intended audience, and create emails that appeal to them. For example, if you are writing for a younger audience, then you might want to adjust your language to engage with them.

Keep any promotional or important information in the top section of your email. On mobile devices, it should be within the first two scrolls to help get the reader's attention. You might only have a few seconds to get the attention of readers, so make sure that the main information in your email is what they see first.

Try to keep emails under 200 words or about 20 lines. In some cases, if your email is too long, then an email provider might cut off your email so that readers see only some of your content. For example, Gmail cuts off emails with messages larger than 102KB, and hides the rest of the content.

Avoid putting your content exclusively in capital letters or using excessive exclamation marks, and write for a 8th grade reading level. This helps make your emails accessible to a wide audience of readers. Learn more about making your content more readable from Nielsen Norman Group.

Using the subject line to attract the attention of your subscribers

The first thing readers see when checking their inbox is your subject line and preview text. At that point, readers make a decision on whether to open your email or delete it. How you write your subject line and preview text can help influence that decision, and get readers to open the email.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Create your email first, and then come up with a subject line and preview text as a last step. This helps make sure that your subject line and preview text are relevant to the email.
  • Your subject line should be related to the content of the email, and compelling enough to get readers to open your email.
  • Make sure to include preview text. Preview text is most effective when it encourages action from readers.
  • Your subject line and preview text shouldn't be the exact same phrase. Instead they should complement each other, while letting your readers know what the email is about. For example, you might have the subject line "Look at our new spring gear" followed by the preview text "Don't miss out on 10% off shorts, tanks, and more for the warm weather ahead."
  • Keep your subject line between 3-6 words, or under 50 characters. This ensures that readers can still see the subject line when checking emails on a mobile device.

Including a mailing address in your emails

Depending on where you’re located, you might need to include a physical postal address in your promotional emails. The CAN-SPAM Act in the United States and the CASL legislation/PIPEDA in Canada are examples of these laws. The rules, regulations, and laws surrounding email marketing and spam, such as unsolicited emails sent in bulk, vary depending on your location. Make sure you're familiar with the laws in your region, state, and country before you begin an email marketing campaign.

By default, your store address is included in the footer of your emails. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your store address in your emails, then you can rent a PO box from your local post office or UPS store to use as your mailing address. To change the mailing address in your emails, go to Settings > General in your Shopify admin and enter your PO box address as your store's address.

Additional resources

To learn more about email marketing, you can find detailed information in the following articles:

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