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The essential emails to send: email marketing for makers The five emails you need to grow your candle or soap business.

Email marketing is an incredibly effective way to stay top-of-mind with your audience, affordably reach them for less than paid advertising, and drive traffic to your site that generates sales—both new and repeat!    

In the first article of this series, we covered the why and how of getting started with email marketing for your small business, including building a subscriber list. In this article, we’ll guide you through the next step: deciding what emails to send.

The tips in this article will be easiest to implement if you have a website through an e-commerce platform—such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Woo Commerce, or Magento—and an email service provider (ESP) like Klaviyo, MailChimp, Constant Contact, or MailerLite. Be sure your shop platform and ESP are integrated to ensure a smooth flow of data between the two systems.

Marketing emails 101

Before we dive into the five emails you’ll want to start sending, let’s review the general categories of marketing emails to better understand what they are and when they’re used.

  • Transactional emails are automated emails triggered by a customer or shopper’s actions on your website that pertain to a purchase or their account. Transactional emails can be sent regardless of whether the recipient subscribed to your email list. Examples include account confirmation emails, password reset messages, order confirmations, shipping notifications, and abandoned cart reminders.
  • Automated marketing emails* are sent on a pre-defined schedule and are triggered by a subscriber’s action, such as joining your list or agreeing to receive marketing emails during a purchase. Examples include welcome emails, product review requests, and cross-sell/recommendation emails.
  • One-off marketing emails* are sent at a specific time to your email subscribers and are often (but not always) time-sensitive or promotional in nature. Examples include newsletters, sales and promotional offers, product announcements, and educational content about your products or brand.

*Remember, marketing emails are sent only to people who have subscribed to your list and have consented to receive promotional messages from you!

1. Order and account emails

Technically this is a category of several emails but we’re grouping these emails together for the sake of simplicity. The order and account emails to send are:

  • customer account confirmation email
  • order confirmation email
  • shipping notification email

These transactional emails are critical for a positive user experience and streamlined customer support. Setting up these automated emails ensures customers receive the information they need and expect, which means spending less time responding to inquiries about order status and shipping.

If your site is already launched, your e-commerce platform might have these emails pre-configured. Double-check the content and formatting, and make any desired customizations. If they’re not set up yet, explore your platform’s tutorials and help center to learn how.

2. Abandoned cart emails

Now that your foundational e-commerce emails are set up, there’s another must-have transactional email and it’s one that will generate revenue for you: the abandoned cart email. 

This is a reminder sent to shoppers who started, but didn’t complete, a purchase. You’ve likely received many of these emails if you shop online. Abandoned carts can happen because of distractions, comparison shopping, unexpected fees, shipping timeframes, or site issues. Whatever the reason, roughly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned, meaning money is regularly left on the table!

Abandoned cart emails are a powerful tool to recapture those lost sales by reminding customers about their items and nudging them to complete the purchase. While it’s better to send one abandoned cart email than none at all, Klaviyo found that sending two to three abandoned cart emails in a series generates more revenue than one email alone. Check out these abandoned cart email best practices to get started.

3. Welcome emails

A welcome email is an automated marketing email sent after someone joins your email list. This pre-written email usually includes your opt-in incentive (like a discount code, free shipping offer, or digital download), an introduction to you and your business, and an invitation to return to your website.

One single email can be effective but if you want to go the extra mile, consider expanding on the opportunity with a welcome series. A welcome series is often three to six emails sent in succession to new email subscribers. The emails in the series are sent in a relatively short period, like a week. Each email has a different focus, but the overarching goal is to nurture new subscribers, educate them about your brand and products, and ultimately prime them to become customers.

Sample welcome series

Email 1

  • Send: Immediately after sign-up.
  • Main message: Thank you for joining! Here’s your special offer.
  • Call to action: Use your code at checkout!

Email 2

  • Send: One day after email #1.
  • Main message: Introduction to your brand and mission; meet the maker.
  • Call to action: Visit our “About Us” page to learn more about our story.

Email 3

  • Send: One day after email #2.
  • Main message: Highlight your bestsellers and share product reviews.
  • Call to action: Shop our bestsellers now!

Email 4

  • Send: One day after email #3.
  • Main message: Invite subscribers to follow and connect on your social media accounts.
  • Call to action: Follow us on Instagram for exclusive content!

Email 5

  • Send: One day after email #4.
  • Main message: Reminder about the subscriber’s special offer and offer to assist.
  • Call to action: Don’t forget to use your code before it expires! Need help finding the perfect product? Contact us!

Successful welcome emails and series deliver a positive first impression, build trust, and provide useful information to empower subscribers to shop with more confidence. They also direct people to your website and product pages, ultimately increasing the chances of conversions.

4. Post-purchase emails

As a maker running a small business, an automated post-purchase email is a golden opportunity to connect with your customers on a deeper level.  It allows you to express your gratitude for their support and share the passion behind your scented creations.  

The post-purchase email can be as simple as one thoughtful note of thanks automatically sent one day after the purchase. However, because this is an automated email, you can also easily expand on the concept and pre-write a series of emails specifically about the product they purchased. 

These additional emails might include care instructions, styling tips, the story behind the product, or a recommendation for a related product. If you want to really maximize the marketing emails sent after a purchase, add a review request to this series scheduled for a few weeks after the order arrives. Let these post-purchase email examples inspire you when writing yours.

Post-purchase emails are a chance to build a relationship with your customers, humanize your brand, and show them you care about their experience with your handmade creations. This personal touch—even though automated—can turn one-time buyers into loyal fans who come back for more and spread the word about your products.

5. One-off marketing emails

So far we've explored automated emails, both transactional and promotional. These emails are triggered by specific shopper or customer behaviors, making them a set-it-and-forget-it powerhouse for nurturing leads and generating sales.

But what about connecting with your audience on an ongoing basis? That's where one-off marketing emails come in. These emails are the lifeblood of keeping your subscribers engaged. They allow you to share exciting updates, promote special offers, and build long-term relationships with your customers.

Common themes for one-off marketing emails include:

  • New products and restocks: Announce exciting new arrivals or the return of popular items.
  • Special offers and sales: Promote sales, seasonal discounts, or exclusive coupons.
  • Bestseller highlights: Showcase your most popular products to drive sales.
  • Product pairings: Suggest complementary items to increase order value.
  • Behind-the-scenes content: Offer a glimpse into your creative process or company culture.
  • Customer reviews and social proof: Leverage positive reviews and testimonials to build trust.
  • Ingredient features: Educate your audience about the ingredients in your products.
  • Educational content: Share valuable tips and insights about your brand.
  • Blog posts and news recaps: Repurpose existing content and provide roundups of recent news.
Pro Tip!

Repurpose content you've already created on social media, YouTube, and your blog, and share it with your email list subscribers too. This strategy is a time saver and helps you maximize your marketing efforts. 

How often should you send one-off marketing emails?

A good starting point for many makers is to send two to three emails per month. As you become more efficient and practiced with email marketing, consider increasing the cadence to one weekly email. That allows you to show up regularly and provide valuable content to your subscribers without overwhelming them, or yourself!

However, during product launches or sales, don’t be afraid to temporarily send more emails to ensure maximum reach. It’s easy for subscribers to miss emails, so well-timed reminders are often welcomed—and can lead to more sales!

Tips for marketing emails

When it comes to creating your one-off marketing emails, follow these best practices to make them more effective and to simplify the process for you:

  • Subject line and preheader: Write clear, attention-grabbing subject lines and preheader text (the text snippet displayed next to the subject line).
  • Keep it short and simple: Focus on one main message per email.
  • Visual appeal: Use a single eye-catching image accompanied by brief, informative copy.
  • Clear call to action: Include a prominent button directing viewers to a specific page on your website related to the email's content.
  • Test and experiment: Try different approaches to see what resonates best with your audience and iterate accordingly.

The takeaways and next steps

Spending the time to set up automated emails is hugely valuable in the long run because it frees you up to focus on creating your products and taking care of other parts of your business while generating sales. Establishing a regular schedule of one-off emails to your list will nurture existing customers, convert subscribers who are passionate about your work into new customers, and ultimately help you build a thriving community around your brand.

The five must-send emails for candle and soap makers

  1. Order and account emails
  2. Abandoned cart emails
  3. Welcome emails
  4. Post-purchase emails
  5. One-off marketing emails

Remember, email marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. But with a little planning and creativity, you can turn it into a powerful tool to connect with your audience and help your handmade business flourish.

Are you considering email marketing for your business? Or perhaps you're already collecting those email addresses and sending emails. Share your thoughts, questions, and experiences with email marketing in the comments below!

If you’re interested in more candle business content, be sure to check out our Business Guides. You’ll find in-depth articles on topics like selling wholesale to stores, at markets, and on consignment. Plus get helpful ideas for social media posts, taking product photos with natural light, saving time in your business, and more!