Email + WooCommerce: Strategies and Tactics for Selling More Stuff

Illustration by Sim Kaart ECommerce

WooCommerce and MailPoet go together like bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, bees and honey… okay, you get the idea. Considering that email is probably the single-best marketing channel, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But are you making the most of email marketing to sell your products?

The first step to selling with emails is getting email addresses. To do that you need to start sharing valuable information. Create content your audience wants and share that on your newsletter. And promote your newsletter via social [media], your blog, and other channels.

Everything comes back to email – that means everything comes back to getting emails. So spend time on content creation to get people onto your list.
Patrick Rauland, eCommerce Educator & Entrepreneur

In this post, we’ll go through four common (and uncommon!) strategies for combining MailPoet with eCommerce.

New! New! New!


The power of novelty cannot be understated. Indeed, according to scientific research, the human brain itself is hard-wired to seek novelty. In a study conducted at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London, Dr. Bianca Wittman identified a key region of the brain that is activated by new experiences.

Seeking new and unfamiliar experiences is a fundamental behavioural tendency in humans and animals…I might have my own favourite choice of chocolate bar, but if I see a different bar repackaged, advertising its ‘new, improved flavour’, my search for novel experiences may encourage me to move away from my usual choice…”
Dr. Bianca Wittman, Welcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at the University College London.

This reaction to novelty even applies to old things that are presented as something new. According to a research study conducted at Tokyo Metropolitan University, simply being reminded of generic objects that we used in the past is sufficient to draw up “highly nostalgic” feelings:

Some insight into this experience can be found in a neuroimaging study recently conducted at Tokyo Metropolitan University.  Several undergraduate students were shown photographs of objects they would have encountered on a regular basis during elementary school. As they viewed the photos, the students reported experiencing “highly nostalgic” feelings…

How can we use this research for newsletters and eCommerce projects? In two ways:

1. Highlight the fact that newsletter subscribers will be the first people to know about your new products. Just think of Nike or Apple – their customers line up for days just to get a chance at purchasing a new product. This “first-in-line” status can also itself be a sort of cultural marker, a select group of your most loyal fans:

So why are so many people willing to waste their time waiting outside a store or restaurant? According to Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist…the willingness of these consumers to wait in line “has nothing to do with the freebies, or buying, or stuff.” Instead, people are drawn to participate in what they perceive as a cultural event, with like-minded people.

“It’s about human connection…It’s an excuse to be with other people, to be part of a festival or event. It’s basically a mini Burning Man. People with shared values hang out together and have something to talk about.”

Of course, this only works if newsletter subscribers are convinced that the newsletter will actually showcase new products before other channels.

If you post new deals on social media, your blog, and the newsletter at the same time, you’ll water down the “newness factor” and destroy the perception of exclusiveness. Keep your subscribers feeling like “insiders.” This is a popular strategy on Patreon, as well. Creators have been successful in raising money by giving early access to paying supporters.

2. Use nostalgia to get closer to your followers post-purchase. Have a loyal audience? Chances are, they know your story and want to hear more about it. Just as Facebook users like seeing #TBT (ThrowBack Thursday) posts, your readers will feel closer to you when they are engaged with a good story.

Try to tailor your message specifically to the type of product you are selling and its benefits. For example, if you run a wine shop, contact your customers a few months after they purchase a bottle and ask them how it was. If they had a positive experience (that is, if the wine was good) they’ll be delighted to hear from you, as your email will remind them of the nice time they had with family and friends (or just by themselves!) while drinking it.

For another example: if you sell video guides for writing an eBook, contact your customers a few months (or even 6+ months) later and ask them how their eBook project is going. If they’ve since launched their project, they’ll be nostalgic to remember the beginning of their journey.

Everyone Loves Coupons!


One of the most tried-and-true methods for building your list is to offer a coupon for sign-ups. After all, everyone loves coupons! We think this is pretty obvious, so we won’t spend too much time talking about it. Check out this infographic on Hubspot or this guide on Conversio for some in-depth explanations of why coupons work.

Our only advice: don’t go overboard with the coupons. If someone is on your website and interested in signing up for your newsletter, they’re probably already interested in purchasing your product(s). Don’t leave money on the table by offering a huge discount. Instead, give just enough of a discount to be tempting.

If you’re using WooCommerce, setting up a coupon is pretty straightforward. Just follow this guide.

Sign-up During Checkout


Perhaps the most “obvious” place to use a subscription form is during the checkout process. Don’t forget to remind users that they’ll receive discounts and coupons in the newsletter. Use a line like, “Sign up to our newsletter to save money on your next purchase.”

If a customer purchases a product from you once, chances are pretty good that he or she will make another purchase.

Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 27% to 70% of first customers will become repeat customers:

  • According to RJ Metrics, 32% of first purchasers will make a second purchase and 53% of customers that make a second purchase will make a third.
  • Market Wired is more optimistic: according to their data, repeat customers have a 60-70% chance of making another purchase on a future visit and prospective clients have a 54% chance of buying after a second visit.
  • Finally, claims that businesses with 40% repeat customers generated nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only a 10% repeat customers.

No matter whose data you choose to believe, the important take-away is that repeat customers can be immensely profitable. And the best way to make a one-time customer into a repeat customer is by getting their email address during the checkout process.

Want to set up WooCommerce checkout with MailPoet? This third-party plugin by Tikweb lets you do it directly in WooCommerce. We’re also hard at work building our own WooCommerce add-on – stay tuned!

Post-Purchase Follow-up Emails

Post Purchase

Finally, let’s talk a little bit about sending follow-up emails post-purchase. As we mentioned in the previous section, repeat customers are incredibly valuable. Once you have their email address post-purchase, you’ve got to use it! Generally speaking, you should aim at sending out between 1 and 5 emails post-purchase.

If possible, try to make your emails personal and in plain text. Depending on the number of products you sell, you may even be able to write the emails yourself (rather than use automated templates.) Customers appreciate talking to a human being and not simply an automated email.

1. Order confirmation – immediately. This one is pretty straightforward – send it immediately after the product is ordered and paid for. Be sure to keep it simple and to the point.

2. Educational information or course about the product – days or weeks later. Educating your users about the product is a must. One of the easiest ways to do this is via an email course. Check out our guide on creating your own email course.

3. Feedback request – 1 week to 1 month later. It always helps to ask your customers for their feedback. All feedback is good feedback, in our opinion! This can also help you refine your product and potentially create desired add-ons and extras, all of which lead to more income.

To set up automatic post-purchase emails, check out this plugin (that we mentioned previously) and this guide to setting up a Welcome Email. In short, you want to create a list for your customers to join during checkout, then create a Welcome Email that goes out days/weeks after they join the list. Simple!

That about sums it up! Hopefully you can implement some of these tactics into your own email marketing workflow. Have another tip that we didn’t cover? Share it in the comments!