When it comes to the types of emails you should be sending, variety is key.
You can't send the same type of email over and over and expect it to bring in revenue for your store if you're not mixing in different types of emails along the way.
Why would your subscribers continue to engage with your messages if you always send the same thing?
You want your audience to be looking forward to hearing from you. You want them to see your emails in their inboxes and want to read them every single time because they're so good.
But here are so many different types of emails you can be sending, where should you start? With these 10 types of emails.
They'll bring in revenue for your store at the click of a button and while you sleep.
In this guide, you'll learn:
The 10 types of emails you've gotta nail (and tips to do it)
Your email marketing strategy should be diverse. You can’t expect to send the same types of email over and over without ever mixing in something different. Otherwise, your audience will lose interest and stop opening your emails.
But when it comes to the types of emails you should be sending, there are so many options it can be hard to know where to start.
Use these 10 types of emails to build out your email marketing strategy and bring in sales for your store while keeping your audience engaged and excited to hear from you.
1. Welcome emails for brand awareness
Your welcome emails should set the tone for your relationship with your newest subscribers. This includes setting expectations around how often they should expect to hear from you, what kinds of emails you’ll be sending, etc.
It should also reinforce the fact that you run a small business and are a real person. A great way to incorporate both is to tell your founding story. Not only will this create a memorable first impression, but it will also create a solid foundation for a meaningful relationship.
2. Newsletters for brand awareness
People buy from brands they know and love. Every newsletter you send plants a seed in your readers’ brains, so that by the time they’re ready to make a purchase, you’re their go-to.
Your newsletters are an opportunity to reinforce your brand voice, values, and aesthetic, so your store is on speed dial when customers are ready to shop.
When you send newsletters consistently (you don’t want to be the brand that just sends emails during BFCM), you build trust with your audience and can encourage a two-way relationship, rather than a one-sided conversation.
3. VIP access emails for building you fan club
Time to roll out the red carpet! Loyalty programs have been shown to increase revenue by as much as 18%.
Your VIP customers are any shoppers who have purchased from your store a certain number of times (or have spent above a certain threshold). These are the champions for your brand, the people who will tell their friends they have to try your products out. So keeping this group of customers engaged with and excited about your brand is incredibly valuable.
Give them exclusive access to special discounts, early releases, and free gifts so they stick with you long term.
4. Purchase follow-up emails to drive repeat customers
Repeat customers are 9 times more likely to convert than a first-time shopper. So if you’re looking for a quick boost in sales, start off by selling to the people you’ve already sold to.
Yes, purchase follow-ups include order confirmation, shipping notifications, reorder reminders, and review requests, but purchase follow-ups are also a great place to cross-sell. Find products previous customers might be interested in based on their past orders and share any additional products in your catalog that might be interesting to them.
You can also send more education-focused purchase follow-up emails (like how to care for or use a specific product, for example) then include other products they might like so it doesn’t feel too salesy.
5. Abandoned cart emails to recover revenue
If you’re not sending abandoned cart emails, you’re missing out on revenue every single day. Because 70% of shopping carts are abandoned...but it turns out 45% of abandoned cart emails are opened.
So when a visitor leaves items in their cart behind, reach out to them. Sometimes a simple reminder is all it takes to get them over the hump. But your abandoned cart emails are also a great place to address their concerns by including any FAQs or offering a coupon to sweeten the deal.
Just make sure you understand the difference between checkout and cart abandonment. With checkout abandonment, you’re only capturing shoppers who make it all the way to the checkout page, but many people don’t get that far, which is why it’s critical that you’re sending abandoned cart emails.
6. Cross-sell emails to increase customer lifetime value
With cross-sell emails, you lean on your customers’ order history to make suggestions about other products they might love.
It’s the equivalent of standing in line at checkout and seeing the candy and snacks you can’t resist.
The more specific you can make your recommendations, the better results you’ll see. For example, if you have customers who’ve purchased a certain color item in the past and you just launched a brand new color, share the news with them! Just make it clear you know they already have that specific product in another color so it feels personal to their buying experience.
If you can nail cross-sell emails, you’re going to be able to unlock a higher customer lifetime value.
7. Referral emails to grow your customer base
Referral emails can build for you what no amount of money can buy: happy customers who sing your praises.
If you want customers to share the love and tell their friends to check you out, give them a reason to. Give them a referral discount or free gift for every new customer they refer to your store.
Just be sure it makes sense for the segment you’re asking for referrals from. Think about it: your VIP customers who know and love your products are much more likely to refer their friends than someone who just joined your list. So be mindful of who you’re asking and when. Timing is everything when it comes to referrals.
8. Customer winback emails to drive repeat purchases
Customer winback emails typically have subject lines like, “We miss you!” or “Come back!” and they’re designed to bring customers who haven’t shopped with you in a while back to your store.
Shopify reported that 80% of their merchants’ profits come from repeat customers, so your existing customers are a gold mine for your business. And customer winback emails are the perfect way to bring them back again with a special offer or just a simple reminder that your business can help with their specific needs.
9. Product review and survey emails to build credibility and get valuable insights
Asking for reviews and sending around surveys will give you invaluable feedback and insights about what you can do to improve your products and what your customers really want.
Incentives (like a free gift, discount on their next purchase, etc.) will be incredibly helpful when it comes to getting your customers to take action. Make sure the ask is worth it for them or they probably aren’t going to take the time to give you more information.
Surveys can be an amazing tool for asking serial browsers why they’re not buying, getting ideas for future product launches, and so much more. Whether you’re asking for a review or sharing a survey, make the process short and sweet and make sure you include about how long it’ll take to complete.
10. Teaser emails to build excitement
If you want to have an absolutely epic launch day, build anticipation with teaser emails. These are the emails that pique your readers’ interest, give them some information (but not all of it...you want to keep some of the mystery), and leave them wanting more so they’ll be hooked by the time you launch.
You can also use these teaser emails as a way to build a waitlist to gauge interest ahead of time. That way, you can include language like “this product has a 587-person waitlist” in future emails.
When to send these 10 types of emails
Now you know about 10 different types of emails, but you’re probably wondering exactly when you should be sending them. Because as much as having them as part of your email strategy is important, timing is also key.
You don’t want to send a review email to a customer before they’ve even received their product. The chances that they go back to it once they have a better sense of your product? Almost none.
So make sure you’re sending each type of email at the right time for maximum impact.
Send welcome emails immediately
When a new subscriber signs up for your list, a welcome email that confirms they’re officially on the list should be sent out immediately.
Make sure you deliver on your promise. So if you offer a discount code or free shipping, make sure they know exactly how to take advantage of that offer.
And if you turn your welcome email into a series of emails, your send cadence for the second and third emails should be relatively close together as you introduce your business, so the newest members of your list don’t forget who you are and have a great understanding of your store and the value your products provide.
Send newsletters at least once a month
To really build a relationship with your audience, you should send newsletters at least once a month. Ideally, you’ll get to a point where you’re sending them weekly, but you can work your way up to that over time, starting with monthly newsletters, then bi-weekly, then weekly.
Why do you need to send newsletters so frequently? Because you want your subscribers to recognize both you and your brand. If you only send emails around holidays like BFCM (Black Friday/Cyber Monday), your audience might not remember you. Which means they’re not likely to take action.
So start with a regular cadence you can commit to and work your way up to monthly, then weekly from there. Just remember that the most important thing is consistency.
Send VIP emails as often as possible
Whenever you have big news to share (like a brand new product, flash sale, or free gift for example) you should think about sharing that information with your VIP segment first.
There’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should be sending emails to this list, but the more frequently you can make them feel special, the better. So any time you have updates, think about whether or not it makes sense to share it with this group first. Just make sure they know they’re getting it because they’re a VIP. They won’t feel special if they think everyone on your list is getting the same message.
Send purchase follow-ups as soon as possible
The exact timing depends on the type of purchase follow-up email you’re sending, but generally the sooner you can send the email to the purchase, the better.
If you’re just sending a thank you email to thank first-time customers for their support, you probably don’t want that to go out until a few hours after they’ve received an order confirmation email. But you could also send something like that 24 hours after a purchase, so you have a bunch of wiggle room here.
Timing with your purchase follow-ups isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you’re setting them up.
Send an abandoned cart email 1 hour after abandonment
After a shopper leaves your store with something in their cart, you should be sending your first abandoned cart email 1 hour later while it’s still top of mind.
Because remember: shoppers abandon their carts for all kinds of reasons...they got a phone call, their kids started fighting, they realized they were late to an appointment, you get the idea. So it’s really important to send reminders that give them a reason to come back and complete their purchase.
If you send a series of 3 emails, you should send them 24 and 48 hours after the cart was abandoned, respectively. If you include a coupon code in the second email, the third email is the perfect place to give a last chance reminder before the code expires (just make sure it actually does expire...false urgency breeds doubt).
Send cross-sell emails after a purchase
Your purchase follow-up series is the perfect place to incorporate a cross-sell email to show customers who have already purchased from you products that pair well with their latest purchase or are frequently seen purchased with a specific item they bought.
If you think it’s too soon to include as part of the purchase follow-up series, you could also send it anywhere from a couple weeks to a month later. Just make sure it’s not too close to any other automated emails you’re sending (like a review request).
You can also send these cross-sell emails as a one off message. For example, if you launch a product a customer has purchased in the past in a new color or flavor, you could send an email specifically to that segment letting them know you think they may like this product because of their purchase history.
Again, there’s no exact science for timing here, so use your judgement and you can always adjust from there.
Send referral emails quarterly to twice a year
Timing (and the audience you’re sending to) is incredibly important when it comes to sending referral emails.
You don’t want to ask someone who just signed up for your list yesterday for a referral, but it also doesn’t make much sense to send a referral email to someone who has never purchased from you.
If someone has never purchased your products, it’s a big ask to try to get them to share your business with their friends (they don’t want to steer people they care about in the wrong direction). But customers who have purchased from you again and again are very likely to share your business with their network. So keep the audience you’re sending the ask to top of mind before you hit “Send.”
For referral emails, timing can be much less frequent than your other email types. Somewhere between once a quarter and twice a year should be a good cadence to start with. If you notice your audience is highly engaged with them, then you can pick up the frequency.
Send customer winback emails 30-45 days after a purchase
The right cadence for customer winback emails is dependent on your business, but generally, 30-45 days after a purchase is a great place to start.
Again, just keep in mind any other automated emails in the queue for this audience so they’re not getting a bunch of emails around the same time.
Your customer winback emails take minutes to set up and are the perfect emails to send either 30, 45, or 60 days after a customer's last purchase. They typically have the subject line, “Come back!” or “We miss you!” But you can do better than that.
Send review emails as close to unboxing as possible
The timing for asking for reviews can be tricky. Ask before a customer receives their product and you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. But if you wait too long, it may not feel relevant anymore and you’ll get overlooked. That’s why it’s imperative to send review emails as close to the unboxing as possible, depending on your product of course.
If you sell skincare products, for example, it probably doesn’t make sense to ask for a review the day after a customer receives their order. You might want to wait as long as 30 days after they’ve received the order to give them time to really see results.
But if you sell clothing, it’s much more reasonable to send a review request a day or two after they’ve received the order.
So think about the timing that makes sense for your business and send your review email as close to unboxing as you can.
Send teaser emails before your next launch
Teaser emails are an amazing way to build hype and excitement ahead of your next big launch.
Like purchase follow-up emails, there isn’t a hard and fast rule about when you should send teaser emails, but you probably don’t want to send them too far ahead of time. It’s hard for your subscribers to get excited about something that’s coming in 6 months. So make sure you’re sending them close enough to launch that people are interested in what’s coming. A week ahead of your announcement is a safe bet, but you could do it as soon as the day before.
Really all you’re looking to do is get your audience excited about hearing from you. You want them looking for your next email and getting pumped about whatever it is you’re going to announce.
Email examples to turn readers into paying customers
Now that you know about 10 types of emails your ecommerce store should be sending, now comes the fun part: showing you what they look like so you can create them for your own store.
Use these email examples as inspiration to create everything from your welcome email to cross-sell emails to generate revenue with the click of a button and as you sleep.
Welcome email example
This welcome email from Bella Doña leaves the reader thinking, “I want to hear more from these chicks.” That’s the kind of first impression that keeps your new subscribers’ interested and excited to hear from you.
No matter what type of email you’re sending, that’s what you should be striving for every single time.
Newsletter email example
This newsletter example from Love, Ara works because although it’s long, it’s divided up into distinct sections, with the most critical information right at the top. There’s also minimal text: they let their product photos speak for themselves. And the CTAs at every scroll point are a nice touch.
VIP access email example
This VIP access email from Doll 10 offers early access to BFCM deals for the VIP segment of their email list. It feels exclusive and a little bit mysterious: the kind of thing readers feel like they’ve gotta check out.
Purchase follow-up email example
This purchase follow-up email from Kōv is incredibly simple, but includes a really thoughtful note from the founder.
It’s just a thank you to first-time customers for shopping from her store. She also makes sure to include a note about asking questions. Who doesn’t want to feel like they can reach out to the founder to ask a question?
You can create two variations of this type of email, too: one for first-time customers, another for repeat customers.
Abandoned cart email example
This abandoned cart email example from Club Huey is the kind of email that once you open it, it’s impossible to forget. It’s playful, succinct, and offers a discount code to incentivize shoppers to complete their purchase.
Cross-sell email example
For this cross-sell email campaign, Hardcore Carnivore showcases four other flavors existing customers might be interested in. But notice how there aren’t an overwhelming number of choices; there are just enough to provide a selection without overwhelming the reader.
Referral email example
Bala’s referral strategy is simple: refer a friend and you both get $5 off. And their referral email is equally short and sweet, but includes great product photos and amazing design that draws you in.
Customer winback email example
With this customer winback email, Blume includes a discount code for previous customers to use as an incentive for them to come back and buy again.
Not only that, but they include product ideas in a way that doesn’t feel like too much with quick descriptions that point you in the right direction depending on what your skin concerns are.
Product review email example
Bitch New York keeps their review email on brand with their opening line, “Got something to bark about?”
They stuck with the theme throughout the copy, with a clear CTA: “Review Us Here.” And if you’re more of a yelper than a barker, you can post a photo of your purchase on Instagram and tag them.
The order summary is another nice touch just in case a shopper can’t remember exactly what they ordered.
Teaser email example
Granny Gear created this teaser email using Privy and specifically called out an upcoming sale. It’s simple, but it lets readers know that 1) a big sale is starting tomorrow, and 2) they should shop around for what they want now so they can buy it at a discount tomorrow.
Privy can help you create all these email types and more to build your email strategy from the ground up and bring in sales at the click of a button and while you sleep.