Does your E-Commerce company use e-mail marketing to drive traffic to your E-Commerce site? (you better say yes)

If so, has your company ever received a warning from MailChimp or your e-mail marketing software tool? warning

I have received the infamous e-mail warning and it sucks, no lie.

Does your E-Commerce company know why you received the warning and what it means?

Keep reading and I will educate you on how NOT to make this same mistake.

A brief education and context on how this company uses e-mail marketing.

Let me give you a bit of context, so you’re not lost reading this.

I recently worked with a client that sends their blog pieces twice per week, to their e-mail and prospect list.

They sync their email list with their website content management systems (CMS) and when they publish said blog pieces, MailChimp automatically sends out this same blog post to the segmented email list.

This sync function between the CMS and MailChimp is a nifty API that saves time and makes marketing and E-Commerce-life easier.

Sounds simple, right?

MailChimp and other e-mail platform providers won’t tell us why they give warnings.

When a company uses MailChimp for similar marketing purposes and receives a warning, MailChimp usually does not tell us why we received said warning.

Your marketing team can receive warnings for various reasons. Some of those warning reasons are:

  • Spam: your prospects or customers mark the e-mail you send as Spam.
  • Bad email list: if you bought a list or got the e-mail list from a 3rd party.
  • A high-unsubscribe rate: if too many customers’ click unsubscribe, this is red-flagged.
  • Your ISP takes issue with your e-mail domain.

While MailChimp warnings are not a huge deal, as E-Commerce and marketing leaders, we need to pay attention to them.

Warnings from MailChimp is their way of telling marketers “play within the rules or there will be consequences.”

Marketers that work in E-Commerce, that use email marketing tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact, receive warnings for a few more reasons. bummed puppy

Here are some more detailed explanations, based on our experience.

  1. Your customers or list may not want to hear from your company: one reason you receive warnings is the list inside of MailChimp may not want to be receiving your weekly content. When that happens, people unsubscribe. High unsubscribe rates cause red flags with MailChimp.
  2. Your company has a poor quality e-mail list: if you bought your list, traded with another vendor or got your list other than your customers’ giving them to you, this is a sign of an unhealthy e-mail list.
  3. Your content sucks and isn’t relevant: if your company’s marketing content is all about you, 100% promotional driven, full of offers, etc, then you may consider demoting your marketing director or CMO, as their content creation efforts are hurting your brand.

Again, not a huge deal, but the reasons above are usually why a company receives warnings from their email marketing provider.

Your E-Commerce and e-mail team may need to do things differently.

You’re not perfect and you don’t know everything about marketing or e-mail marketing.

When a simple marketing problem like this arises, you need to act and do things differently.

As marketers, we won’t know 100% why we receive MailChimp warnings, but we do know that there are some things we can do differently.

Here are some steps to take to make sure your E-Commerce business doesn’t end up having these e-mail marketing issues.

Emphasize the unsubscribe.

Your customers and prospects may not want to hear from you.

Believe it.

Your company needs to make sure you have an unsubscribe option, in case your audience doesn’t want to hear from you.

When you build your e-mail strategy, be sure and send out a first time welcome email, as a part of your auto-responder campaign, that stresses unsubscribe.

Most retailers and e-tailers fail miserably at this.

The message you are sending by creating an e-mail culture circled around the unsubscribe is ‘we don’t want to bother you, rather want to build trust with you, our consumer.’

Approach your e-mail efforts this way and you will decrease the chances of being flagged with a warning from your e-mail marketing provider.

Do not treat your customers and prospects like a slimy car salesman.

(No offense to my car salesman friends.)


Treating your customers’ and potential-customers’ like a used car salesman means you’re sending them content that is heavy on promotions, features, and benefits.

Marketing for retailers and E-Commerce professionals is no longer about promotion-only, features, and benefits.

Just like for men, it’s not about the nail. Watch the video here.

Be objective about your content and be willing to say your content and copywriting sucks.

High-quality content that is directed with your customers in mind will build trust, produce sales, and engage over time.

Your goal should be to educate, inform, and differentiate your business among your prospects and customers’.

No one likes to be sold like a slimy car salesman.

Your email list stinks like beef and cheese.

Want to know what stinks like beef and cheese? Learn more here. (credit: Elf, 2003)

But in all seriousness, how did you build your email list?

Trade shows?

Organically? Meaning, people gave you their email addresses and asked to receive your stuff.

Did you purchase your email list?

The health of your email list is a tremendous advantage when seeking sales and marketing results from your email campaign.

As an added note, I would highly encourage you (encourage means do it) to filter and scrub your email lists.

Most importantly, have a plan to gather and capture email addresses organically.

Build your email lists organically.

In chapter 2, of the book ‘The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing’ the authors talk about how to accomplish this task.

In order to be effective at email, these are non-negotiables.

  • Have opt-ins..everywhere: an opt-in is when you ask for someone’s email address. Put them in the sidebar, on a blog, and in the footer. Have a CTA in the order email, when a customer checks out via shopping cart conversion.
  • Ask your prospects to subscribe: ask your E-Commerce customers’ through a follow up email, or a social media campaign. Just ask!
  • Incorporate humor: create copy that attracts consumers to fill out a form, which captures an email address.
  • Use paid campaigns: send visitors and prospects to a specific landing page, where you ask for an email address or sign-up.

Sign up and we will send you a free gift.


For consumers or prospects, who want guidance on fashion, best times for sales, and general ‘how-to’ help, ask them to sign-up and offer to give them a 10% or 20% coupon code.

Express for men has an excellent blog that offers all kinds of advice and guidance for male shoppers. Check it out here.

What is the bottom line for E-Commerce and e-mail?

Social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn paid-ads, Instagram, will all only get your brand so much ROI. There is a glass ceiling with social media marketing tactics, especially with all the rules changes.

As a matter of fact, I’d say that marketing your E-Comm business via Facebook and social is a hoax.

Check out why here.

Which is why your E-Commerce business needs to avoid putting a marketing priority on social and step-up your e-mail game.

E-mail is intimate. When a customer or prospective consumer gives your company their e-mail address, it means they want to hear from you.

But they don’t want garbage.

With all the changing rules in digital technologies, e-mail has been consistent and is also controllable in terms of the delivery, messaging, tracking and testing. So use e-mail correctly, don’t abuse it.

We would love to hear your comments!

Tell us below how your E-Commerce or marketing team is using e-mail marketing. What challenges have you worked through and have you seen success?


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