3 ways to use email to support your eCommerce business

It’s a juggling act. Many publishers are already struggling to keep their subscription and media businesses in the air. Now the need to further diversify revenue streams has been tossed the proverbial flaming sword of eCommerce into the mix. Done right, eCommerce can prove to be a fruitful venture for publishers. The industry has seen companies pivot into eCommerce in dynamic ways. BuzzFeed’s shift into eCommerce helped them generate $100 million in revenue by monetizing their cooking content. The Daily Beast launched Scouted, their online marketplace centered around products vetted by their editorial team.

Whether it’s building an online store, forging eCommerce partnerships with other brands, or creating shoppable content, email has a place in helping publishers achieve their eCommerce goals. The heart of publisher eCommerce is deceptively simple – understanding what products their audiences are likely to purchase. This ‘knowing’ is contingent on having a strong relationship with readers. With 60% of people in the US choosing email as their preferred method of communication with companies and brands, it’s critical to leverage engaged newsletter subscribers.

Here are three ways you can use email to support your eCommerce business.


Dedicate space

Newsletter subscribers are already interested in the content being sent to them. They’re also logged-in. Together, that’s a powerful combination. Tap into that engagement by using your email newsletters to cross-promote eCommerce initiatives. Link directly to your online store or to branded content you’re already producing on the web.

Have enough eCommerce content to produce a dedicated newsletter? Set one up! Double-down and cross-promote your eCommerce newsletter in your other email newsletters. Don’t overlook this direct link to your attentive audience.


Activate your audience

Power eCommerce with insights from your first-party data. Create interest segments based on what appeals to subscribers the most and then target those segments with your relevant eCommerce content to maximize engagement. For example, try serving branded homeware deals within a weekly lifestyle newsletter. Take things a step further by pairing adjacent interests for instance, homeware deals within a cooking newsletter.

You can also use your audience insights to inform which products and partnerships make the most sense for you to pursue. Noticing that your subscribers display higher engagement with technology deals and travel offers? Focus your efforts around promoting those types of products and securing sponsorships with brands in those verticals. Give the people what they want!

It also never hurts to ask. Surveys asking readers for input on the products they would be interested in buying is another great way to collect valuable first-party insights. The feedback you gather will help inform your eCommerce strategy across the spectrum – from development to deployment.


Grow your subscriber list

Leveraging email as a channel to bolster eCommerce revenue requires a healthy subscriber base. Increasing subscriptions is key to expanding and strengthening the number of direct relationships you have with your audience. The larger your audience the more opportunities to get creative with segmenting and delivering experiences that will delight readers.

Use your first-party data to find current customers who aren’t subscribers yet and target them with subscription campaigns. Try approaching current subscribers to sign up for your other newsletters that align with their interests. You can also create a seed audience of your best subscribers while suppressing existing subscribers and use it to target an acquisition campaign.

Interested in more eCommerce ideas? Tune in to our Real Time Banter web series where guest Jon Nolz, Global Director at Ads at Groupon, discusses how eCommerce brands can use email for third-party monetization and revenue diversification.