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How We Audit Ecommerce Email Marketing Programs

By Megan Young, Senior Digital Specialist, Metric Digital

When we start a new email marketing project for our clients, the first thing we do is audit exactly what they are doing well (and not so well) today. Many companies are making some of the same mistakes, so we wanted to share our approach. Click and open rates are nice, but our approach is focused on using email to maximize revenue generation. 

Step 1: Whats going on with your tracking?

If you can't measure how you're tracking toward your goals as a digital marketer, you can't improve. Generally, one source should serve as your "hub" for tracking where your sales coming from; we typically recommend using Google Analytics to understand how much of your revenue comes from email, paid advertising, organic search, etc. "But Mailchimp tracks my revenue!" you might say. Not good enough - if you are only tracking revenue in your email service provider, you will honestly not look at it nearly often enough. By the way, if you're using Mailchimp, enable that Analytics360 integration with Google Analytics. This allows us to quickly see if your email marketing program is generating as much revenue as it should be. 

Don't be this person! Set up Google Analytics tracking

Step 2: Campaign style emails

By far the most frequent mistake we see is not emailing your customers enough. If you have a subscriber list over 10K, you should be emailing at least 1x/week, and we recommend >2x per week. I know, there can be some hesitation here, you don't want to bother your customers, but: 

  1. Your subscribers either gave you their email address or bought something from you. This means the majority of them like hearing from you
  2. If they don't like getting emails they can unsubscribe, and you can closely monitor unsubscribe rates
  3. Increasing email frequency almost always increases overall revenue generated from email. 

Of course, you want to provide content that your readers will enjoy, but don't put the bar for content quality so high that you never send anything out. A few ideas if you're stuck: product spotlights, product launches, customer reviews, customer spotlights, pictures of customers with your products, recent blog posts, sales, seasonal content.

Once you're sending frequently, we dig deeper into additional opportunities like audience segmentation, customized content, and new promotional programs. 

Step 3: Automated email flows

Automated or "trigger-based" emails can transform your business and effectively increase your site's overall conversion rate. They work by emailing specific subscribers based on actions they take on your site, such as viewing a product, signing up for your newsletter, or even a period of inactivity. Though Mailchimp covers the basics, if you want to get serious about email automation, we recommend Klaviyo for ecommerce email automation. And they don't even pay us. 

Basic email flows that everyone should have:

Additional flows to consider (we recommend having 6+ total)

These are the pipes your emails go through when you use automation 

Step 4: Email content

Of course - what is actually in the emails matters too. We're asking the following questions when we look at your emails:

Step 5: Email capture 

Typically, 97+ percent of the people who visit your ecommerce site will not be buying anything. Your goal - get the visitor's email address and "nurture" them into a paying customer. We check to make sure you have an optimized email popup and offer something to your customers that makes signing up for your newsletter worth their time - free shipping, a discount, exclusive access, etc. We also dig into your email acquisition strategy. We recommend testing Facebook lead ads, doing giveaways, launching partnerships with complementary brands, and creating ambassador programs. 

These audits can go many levels deeper than what I've outlined above, but these are the basics. Feel free to get in touch if you'd like your own email audit.

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Megan Young Senior Digital Specialist, Metric Digital The Metric Digital Blog A Blog on All Things Digital Marketing