Doing Email Marketing Right: 12 Different Types of E-commerce Emails Using Audience Segmenting and Triggers

15 Sep

*Note: For running triggered email automation campaigns, you need your website is integrated with a CRM AND email marketing tool. Plus ensure Google Analytics is tracking to analyze user activity and behavior. This is especially important to get set up before you hire a marketer.

Email marketing is crucial to your funnel and one of the cheaper traffic-driving options. You can use it to assist website visitors through your funnel who may have never gotten through it otherwise and give new visitors extra information or extra motivation (discount code, a special) to buy. In addition, you can use it to retarget and motivate previous customers to return (hint: Retargeting is SUPER important once your business is established as someone who’s bought once and especially someone who’s bought more than once is extremely more likely to repurchase, especially with an email series with that goal.)

And if you’re not convinced about the power of retargeting:

“The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.

Marketing Metrics 

And the reason we are teaching you about segmenting and triggers?

“Trigger-based emails marketing campaigns can generate 4x more revenue and 18x greater products.”

-Forrester Research

So I think we can safely say that retargeting is extremely important and email is one of the cheapest ways you can do that. Segmenting and trigger-based emails just make it that much more effective.


Segmenting allows you to personalize your emails. And we aren’t talking about the age-old method of adding {first_name} to the email. We are talking about personalizing your marketing messages so that you are created marketing messages that appeal to the user, answers their questions, and responds to their needs. We segment mostly based on

  1. Demographics (location, age, gender),
  2. Preferences; (product categories and information update and offers)
  3. Level of engagement: Reengaging previous customers who haven’t returned in a while, rewarding customers

but we can also find out information like what’s holding them back and create a solution, all without them asking.


Triggering refers to responses based on actions taken on the website, from another email or based on them being in a segment of the audience that needs a particular nudge. This is also referred to as behavior-based automation because it’s based on the behavior of the person you are marketing too. This makes your emails timely and relevant making the funnel personal and feel seamless. And of course, it’s all automated so you save a lot of time yourself.

12 Effective Ecommerce Email Marketing Segmenting and Trigger Examples Plus Content Ideas

email marketing ecommerce
Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

1. Welcome Email: Your welcome email is the email that’s triggered when people sign up for your blog/newsletter. This is an important email because you’ve collected their email address and can now market directly to someone who has already shown interest in your product. Not many people segment their welcome email but you should. A good example who be to do segment people based on what they were looking at. You can start right with the first email with a marketing message that’s personalized for that person. Don’t forget to include a call to action that brings them back to your site unless you got their email because they made a purchase (see you’re already segmenting!)

re-rengagement emails free template
Free Re-engagement Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

2. Re-engage customers who haven’t purchased in a while: (Triggered by a period of time of inactivity.) Re-engaging emails can be about a new collection, an offer of some sort, and/or other products in the product category they typically visit. The main goal of this email is definitely to get them back to your site and hopefully purchase.

ecommerce email marketing checkout

3. Shopping Cart Abandonment: Here you can try to nurture your lead by giving them more information or product reviews, or you can give a special offer (I try to leave offers for the second email if they don’t make a specific action on the first, so that I have a chance to engage people without the offer. You then segment your audience based on those who didn’t open, click-through, or convert with that first email whichever you choose) and send out your offer to them.

Go a step further and send a feedback survey to understand why they abandoned and use their answer to trigger a new segment to get them to convert.

Free Feedback Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

The survey’s possible answers could include any of the following: ask about shipping costs, whether they wanted to purchase later, found it cheaper elsewhere, cost too much, they just don’t have enough money, complicated checkout process, were still unsure about gy regarding the product, forgot about it/was distracted busy, didn’t include a certain feature.

  • For money-related responses send a discount or free shipping offer. If you really can’t lower the price is there anything you can upgrade or throw in?
  • If it was a trust-related issue, then send reviews or other social proof (someone else’s blog or video review, etc), or a really great idea is a generous guarantee of return of some sort! I’ve seen emails from software or app companies that would offer a 365-day, no questions asked, refund policy!
  • If they were just not sold on the product you could do the same as the trust. In addition, you could send an FAQ and/or you could offer similar products or “other products customers who bought this also liked”).
  • If it was a time/distracted related reason you don’t need to send an immediate remailer, as the survey could have been a reminder for them to finish their purchase but instead, give them a week or two (although some people want to send an email and you could always just check back in with nonresponders and then inform them of a limited time discount on the product).

4. Order Triggers: This includes your purchase confirmation email (which may include related products they may also like and informational content like an FAQ to make sure they don’t experience frustrations upon receiving your product. You may also include a survey to collect information to refine your funnel, such as inquiring about satisfaction with the process, how they found you, or why did they choose your product/service. You may offer a discount or something free or points towards their next purchase if your company has a rewards program.

This type of trigger can also include the order shipped email. After enough time has passed for the product to be delivered (and maybe an extra week for them to have tried it) you can send a satisfaction survey, a contact method for any issues or broken parts, or satisfaction with the purchasing process survey. I usually wait to see if they were satisfied before sending a review request but you can test starting out with a review. Waiting to request a review also gives you a chance to assist them if they weren’t satisfied and perhaps get a better review due to good customer service.

Free feedback templates
Free Feedback Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

5. Negative Feedback/Review: You usually want this to trigger an email to either offer a problem resolution or explain an action being taken such as helping them fix an issue or offer a free repair or return. Discounts and such probably aren’t the answer here because they might be wary to spend money with you again. Although fixing the issue (and offering a discount for their next purchase if you should) might win you that customer back as it gives them access to more of your offerings and they can be reassured of your good customer service which will hopefully change their feelings. When making it up to them, a good alternative to a discount could be something like an upgrade or extra features depending on your product.

6. Positive Feedback: These emails are definitely less common. You could issue a simple thank you or if you have one set up, offer access to a referral program or ask them to share their review somewhere you might need it, for example, their social media.

7. Lead Generation Offers: This is when you offer something to a visitor in exchange for your email and is usually triggered by site pop-ups, lightboxes, or forms. It can also come from other places you may have set up sign-ups like adding a tab on your Facebook. Some offer examples include a free ebook, a swipe file, topical email series, or a checkout code for a discount or free shipping, or an upgrade. This email is really is a segment of the welcome email and is just the segment that gave you their email because of your offer. If you offer was topical or for a certain product category, this could put them into segments for emails related to that topic or category. An example of this is if you have marketing courses for example, and they sign up for a social media related checklist, then you might want to give them more emails related to your social media products or services.

8. Upsell/Cross-selling Emails: Upselling is what McDonald’s was doing when they asked if you wanted to “supersize that.” Cross-selling is when they ask if you “want fries with that.”

It’s basically a way to try to get more money from someone who’s already purchasing, but in some cases, with email marketing, it’s used just post-purchase. In fact, sometimes people will combine this email with their order confirmation email. They will write something like check out our other products or updates and add on’s or warranties.

9. Browsing Behavior: Repeated views (you’ll have to choose a number) of a product page or a product category but no purchase tells you a customer’s interested but something is stopping them. You could ask them about what’s holding them back. You could send them informational content or articles comparing different products, success stories/customer testimonials or send them similar products or other products who buy this product buy or of course a discount.

This is probably the most likely to buy group, as they have shown continued interest in your product(s) or company. They are also probably some of the most likely to open and read your email for the very same reason.

10. Browse Abandonment: Some people also use a similar trigger to browsing behavior but instead, it may possibly be the first time the person has been to the site (or the first time they submitted their information anyways). Similar to cart abandonment it typically includes the products they looked at and something additional to ret to convince them.

And this doesn’t need to be another discount offer. Some other content examples to test are a competitor or product reviews for social proof or comparing prices or benefits/features to your competitors.

SalesCycle claims that browse abandonment emails have an “80.9% higher open rate and 50.5% higher click-through rate than traditional emails.”

11. Event/Holiday Related: Birthday discount, Holiday sale (or products), or if a birthday isn’t collected it could be a year anniversary of joining the list or buying a product.

An anniversary from a segment that’s never purchased could be a good chance to clean up your email list (which helps in making ist less likely that your emails end up in the spam folder. Iif they are also in the segment that’s never bought. You could ask them if they are still interested in your company, (whether they open your emails could also help you determine this. You may try a last-ditch effort of a big discount to see if that finally convinces them. Of course, if they’ve made more than one purchase in the past, you, of course, want them on the list and could use the anniversary as a chance to say thank you or to ask them further about their feelings towards the company or your products and maybe even request a review. These are people you may get great testimonials from that could even be used on your site or in those other emails showing social proof.

This is basically another email to re-engage. Different industries have different events or holidays that give them a good reason to reach out. For example back to school if you sell children’s clothes or the beginning of summer for your summer collection. For holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Christmas Season is obviously very important in most industries.

Free Holiday Email Templates Build and Download Campaign Monitor
Free Holiday Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

11. Loyalty Email: This is for your VIP customers. Put people in the VIP segment who make X purchases over X period. People will ask why they should bother doing it if the person already buys. My advice is that they don’t forget: new prospects are the most expensive to even get to your site and least likely to convert or return.

Remarketing is generally less expensive as you have a better chance they will return, therefore THESE ARE YOUR MOST VALUABLE CUSTOMERS. Let them know they are valued. Keep them as long as you can. You may also want to create a separate series for this group when THEY haven’t visited in a while. A lot of times it just takes getting them to purchase one more time for them to fall back into their patterns.

Free deal offers email template
Free Discount/Offer Email Templates from Campaign Monitor

Have you been convinced about the benefits of segmentation and triggering? Do you already utilize some of these methods? If you have, which ones? Am I missing any important ones you use? Leave a comment!

Here at Murphy Strategic Marketing, we do everything from helping you get subscribers (I.e. landing pages, pop-ups, social media giveaway – where you enter by inputting email). We, of course, can help with newsletters and then the bread and butter is in the automation and segmentation (along with triggers) AND don’t forget A/B Testing and Optimization so you get the best results.

Go over to our contact page if you’d like to inquire about our email services.


The Modern Guidebook to Email Marketing

How to Create a Customer Journey: Show you how to set up segments and triggers similar to ones discussed here

Next to Read: More Email Resources and Tools – Sign up for our newsletter in the footer if you’d to be notified.

Shannon Murphy

Shannon was born in Upstate NY and received her B.S. in Behavioral Neuroscience form Northeastern University. She has worked as a digital marketing freelancer for over 3 years for several different agencies and freelancing before starting her own small start-up agency, Murphy Strategic Marketing.

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