Conversions & Testing

DTC Email Marketing Strategies (+ Examples): 9 Ways To Increase Revenue and Build Loyalty

Jul DomingoCharlotte Evans

By Jul & Charlotte

DTC Email Marketing

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Klaviyo's The State of DTC reported a noteworthy finding: email marketing platforms are the third most critical tool for brands in 2024.

This demonstrates email marketing's growing importance in DTC marketing. By leveraging it, brands can enhance the way they sell their products and serve customers.

dtc report

Graph from The State of DTC report

Whether you're aiming to step up your email marketing game or putting it into practice for the first time, this article is packed with practical advice and compelling examples that can benefit your DTC business.

Let's get started.

What is Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Email Marketing?

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) email marketing enables businesses without traditional distribution channels, such as physical stores, to deliver timely and relevant promotional offers or informative content to their audience.

The online nature of DTC brands makes email marketing a great means of communicating with customers. Adding it to your marketing strategy can help you improve brand awareness, engage customers, and drive conversions while maintaining full control over brand messaging.

5 Major Benefits of DTC Email Marketing

If you run a DTC business, investing in email marketing can benefit your business in a number of ways:

  1. DTC email marketing complements a brand’s social media marketing efforts. Social media marketing is a staple tactic for DTC brands. But in recent years, it hasn’t been as effective. Case in point: Artisan pastry and pasta subscription company Wildgrain noticed that adopting an email marketing strategy led to a 14% decrease in customer acquisition cost (CAC) and a 13% higher reach than Facebook marketing.
  2. DTC email marketing gives you ownership of your audience. Email marketing provides a more direct and less diluted line of communication with customers, whereas social media and search engines don’t. You gain direct access to your audience without worrying about factors, such as algorithm changes and user engagement trends.
  3. DTC email marketing is customizable and easy to personalize. While typical ads target a general audience, emails and newsletters allow for proper segmentation and tailored messaging (ex: names and offers). Email marketing services provide tools and functionalities to facilitate customization. Meanwhile, email service platforms like Gmail and Yahoo Mail have measures to protect against spam and ensure deliverability. The recent updates put in place are designed to ensure your marketing messages reach real, genuinely interested individuals.
  4. DTC email marketing is a cost-effective strategy. The ROI for ecommerce emails stands at $45 for every $1 spent. Emails can also be shared, and the process automated, so you can get more value out of what you send out. Email marketing costs for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), which represents the size of most DTC brands, usually vary from $300 to $500 per month for outsourced email marketing management or $9 to $1000 per month for in-house marketing. This is pretty low when compared to social media marketing, which sets SMBs back anywhere from $4000 to $7000 a month for services and $75 to $500 an hour to hire an advisor.
  5. DTC email marketing caters to every stage of the customer journey. Email marketing offers a high level of targeting, helping readers transition between phases of the buying process. Email campaigns can be designed to raise awareness (general tips), nurture leads (customer testimonials and product demos), increase conversions and sales (promotions and discounts), and improve retention (order confirmation, shipping updates, customer satisfaction surveys). Receiving the right email at the right time motivates them to slide into action.

How does DTC email marketing work?

DTC email marketing follows the usual email marketing workflow. The process often includes the following steps:

  1. Building a subscriber list. DTC companies can encourage subscription through various channels, such as e-mail sign-up forms, social marketing campaigns, and checkout pages.
  2. Segmenting your audience. Using factors such as demographics, user behavior, purchase history, and interests to define audiences allows brands to send targeted and relevant emails.
  3. Creating high-quality, persuasive content. Writing email copy is all about connecting with the audience, no matter where they are in the buyer’s journey. The goal is to generate engagement and provide value. For more tips on how to do this, read our guide on how to write an effective marketing email.
  4. Personalizing messages. Targeted messaging includes using personal tokens (ex: name), suggesting products based on past purchases and browsing behavior, and tailoring content to the subscriber’s interests and preferences.
  5. Automating the process. DTC brands can leverage email marketing platforms to streamline campaigns and send timely emails to their customers. A few examples of automated emails are: welcome emails for new subscribers, abandoned cart reminders, follow-up emails on purchases, and re-engagement campaigns for inactive subscribers.
  6. Analyzing metrics and optimizing performance. By monitoring and understanding email KPIs like open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generation, businesses can identify what's working well and iterate what isn’t. This can include A/B testing to determine what type of messaging and email frequency works best.

Build a solid DTC email marketing strategy by augmenting these steps with the best practices outlined in this article.

9 Effective DTC Email Marketing Strategies To Steal (+ Examples)

Regardless of your business size or product line, these strategies can help you create successful campaigns that increase profits and satisfy audiences.

Use Discount Offers and Freebies on Your Subscription Forms to Grow Your List Faster

Research shows that asking people to sign up only converts 1% of visitors. With a coupon, the number increases to 5%. Gamifying it with an ‘Enter to Win’ campaign, however, raises it to 10%. But it could be much more than that.

Ecommerce expert Steve Chou leveraged a “Spin The Wheel” sign-up form for his online store, and it resulted in a 131% increase in signups. Here’s what it looks like:

steve chou spin the wheel signup form

Source: Steve Chou –

It’s fun. It’s simple. And it speaks to 70% of shoppers who enjoy gaming elements.

Here are more tips to keep in mind when designing a similar sign-up form:

  • If your discount incentive isn’t working well, test out different offers for different customers based on their journey and browsing habits. For instance, targeted discounts for visitors who spend a considerable amount of time browsing certain categories can drive conversions. Ex: Loved our necklaces? Get 10% off if you purchase before May 30.
  • Pop-up timing and trigger should be taken into account. Adam Robinson, CEO of identity resolution software, has a tip: Set the pop-up to appear once a user finishes interacting with the page and is about to navigate away.
Tip: If you’re after an email marketing service that offers built-in gamification features, we’d recommend checking out Omnisend.

Prioritize Segmentation From The Get-Go and Fine-tune It Over Time

Email segmentation involves dividing contacts into smaller groups based on common characteristics and interests.

This allows brands to send out more targeted campaigns and messages. As a result, email marketing campaigns can receive up to 100.95% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

If you're just getting started, one good way to categorize them is to determine why they’re on your list. Did a promotional offer lead them to sign up? Or perhaps, after making a purchase. This behavior reveals their expectations for future email communications.

As your list expands, and you learn more about subscribers' behavior, fine-tune your segmentation criteria. If you need more email segmentation tips, read this article.

Keep Your Brand Identity Consistent in Every Email

Regardless if you’re sending a transactional email, newsletter, or marketing message, your brand identity should take center stage. Being consistent improves your chances of becoming memorable, credible, and distinct.

Vacation Inc immediately springs to mind here. Every time the sunscreen brand’s name shows up in my inbox, I already have an idea of what the email is going to look like. :

vacation inc email brand identity

Retro 80’s aesthetic. Quirky fonts. Playful, tropical imagery. And vibrant tropical colors, mostly yellows and blues.

Just the color choices alone can boost your brand recall. In one study, 78% of participants were able to recall the primary color of made-up companies' logos. Yet only 43% remembered their names.

When designing your email campaigns, think beyond text and images. Leverage your brand's unique aesthetic, from color schemes to fonts, to make it stand out from the dozens of emails your audience receives every day.

Put Your Product’s Use Into Perspective

So many brands focus on listing their products’ key features and benefits. But showing is so much better than telling. And your email marketing messages have plenty of room to get the job done.

Here’s how premium pet supplements brand Finn shows their audience how their paw cream is the hero their four-legged friends need as seasons change:

finn email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Finn’s strategy works better than presenting a list of ingredients or simply telling the audience that the cream will protect their pet’s paws. The brand added more context by pinpointing problems, such as wet conditions and rough terrain, to underscore the significance of their product.

Similar techniques include identifying the emotions your products evoke and the new experiences they can bring to your customers. If you’d like more valuable tips, check out our guide on writing marketing emails.

Pair Your Marketing Messages with the Right Imagery

Visual design can amplify your email copy. Images provide an accessible and engaging way to consume your message, especially since readers only spend an average of 9 seconds browsing your email.

Italic, a luxury DTC marketplace, adds a cozy lifestyle image to convey a sense of calm and serenity that emanates off the screen:

italic imagery email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Aside from product and lifestyle photos, other image assets that can strengthen your marketing messages include: UGC (user-generated content) and testimonial screenshots, GIFs/animations, infographics, and behind-the-scenes photos.

Leverage Email Automation to Create Strategic Email Sequences and Drip Campaigns

Welcome emails. Abandoned Cart Emails. Product Review Requests. Order and Delivery Confirmation. What do they all have in common? They can all be automated.

Email automation involves sending emails automatically based on triggers or prompts. It’s how a new subscriber instantly receives a welcome email upon joining your mailing list like the one Bijoux de Mimi sends:

mimi welcome email

Source: Really Good Emails

Welcome emails are profitable, generating up to 320% revenue. By automating them, you can take advantage of this potential.

The same goes when you automate abandoned cart emails. An estimated 50% of subscribers who opened an abandoned cart email went on to complete their purchase.

This simple email from the skincare brand Seen seems personal with its unique discount code, letterstyle format, and signature of the brand's founder at the bottom. Automation can make it possible for brands to send out highly-targeted emails to shoppers who left their online carts behind:

seen abandoned cart email

Pro Tip: Make the process easier with e-commerce-friendly automation capabilities.

Upsell and Cross-Sell with Targeted Product Recommendations

As Steve Jobs once said, “People don't know what they want until you show them.” This is the magic at work behind the effectiveness of cross-selling and upselling.

Cross-selling is making customers aware of products that would complement their purchase. Upselling is the act of offering a customer a more expensive product.

Both can increase customer satisfaction and your bottom line. Both can be done well via email.

Here’s how DTC brand MassDrop (now called Drop) uses cross-selling to encourage its audience to increase their order value in this cart abandonment email:

massdrop crosssell email

Source: Really Good Emails

Brands can also send targeted marketing emails to encourage repeat business.

Upsells and cross-sells work best when they are personalized. 90% of surveyed individuals reported returning to a site that tailored product recommendations based on their shopping history.

To tap into that, check out these tips for email personalization. And if you’re wondering which email marketing services allow you to send personalized product recommendations, check out Omnisend and Klaviyo.

Use Subscribers' Feedback to Improve Customer Service and Develop New Products.

Product review requests and surveys give brands insight into consumer preferences. Sending some via email can help your DTC company innovate and provide better customer service.

Premium men's clothing brand Taylor Stitch sends out this post-purchase review form, asking all the right questions:

taylor stitch review form

Source: Really Good Emails

Notice how this brand asked for feedback on fit, quality, and style. Such customer insights can help create better products.

Pro Tip: Motivate participants to take your survey or leave a review by offering something in return, such as freebies and discounts.

Leverage Transactional Emails’ High Open Rates

Many DTC brands fail to consider the power of transactional emails. These emails, which include order confirmation and receipts, provide readers with important information following an action they've taken.

But transactional emails don’t have to be completely business-like the whole time. They have high open rates (up to three times those of commercial emails), and DTC brands can take advantage of them.

La Portegna, a Spanish leather bag brand, uses its order confirmation email to introduce a discount code for the shopper’s next purchase:

la portegna transactional email

Source: EmailTooltester – Transactional Email

This simple technique can inspire recipients to become repeat customers.

If you want to make your transactional emails worthwhile (and profitable!), check out these transactional email tips and examples.

Send DTC Emails That Hit The Mark

Improve your DTC email marketing game in 2024 and beyond. Follow these tips and examples to get started.

If you need more help, we offer more resources for creating results-driven emails:

The authors

Learn more about us

Jul Domingo

Hi! I’m Jul Domingo. I’m a content writer focused on companies (SaaS, PaaS, B2B) serving small and medium-sized businesses. Having been born into an entrepreneurial family, I am passionate about helping SMEs like you make smart business decisions. Working with EmailTooltester allows me to accomplish that, particularly in terms of helping your organization establish a strong digital presence.

Charlotte Evans

Content Manager

Hey, I'm Charlotte! I've always been enthusiastic about helping others. After working for various tech startups and eCommerce businesses, I developed a strong passion for email marketing. Now, at EmailTooltester, I'm putting this knowledge to good use by recommending the very best digital tools for your business.

Learn more about us

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This article has been written and researched following our EmailTooltester methodology.

Our Methodology