email marketing - centis digital

If by any chance you read our previous post about how nutraceuticals businesses can use social media effectively, this post about email strategy for dietary supplement brands will probably make you wonder if we are contradicting ourselves.


Because whilst you may think that social media may be the Holy Grail of marketing, but it is not.

Email marketing is.

“But I thought email marketing is dead”.

Nope. Email marketing is alive and well, and in fact, email marketing outperforms social media by having an out-of-this-world ROI of more than 3.900%.

What many marketers miss is the use of best practices, amazing copywriting rules, boldness and of course a great tool that delivers results.

With that in mind, in this blog, we’ll review the basics of email marketing, including strategies, the tactics and the metrics you need to know in order to have a great email marketing result.

Where do you use email marketing for your dietary supplements?

Email marketing can be used for pretty much everything that includes communication between you, your company or brand and a prospect or a client.

It can be used for

  • General branding
  • Great engagement
  • Immediate acquisition
  • Retention
  • Sales
  • Reactivation
  • Traffic
  • Referrals

All the above are making it one of the most effective tools any dietary supplement brand can use to grow their business.

However, what we need to understand is what is the primary reason behind using email marketing.

You would say “to increase profits” or “to stay in front of our customers.

Interestingly enough, it’s not about that.

The main reason for having a strategy (And using) email marketing is to move your customers from one stage of the “Customer Map” to the next.

If you don’t remember what the Customer Map is, we talked about it in this blog post.

Let’s explore some email marketing strategies & tactics.

What is email marketing for dietary supplements?

Well, it’s not about sending “email blasts”.

It’s not about alerting people when you write a blog post.

And definitely, it’s not about letting your subscribers know when you have a promotion.

Sending emails is more of mastery in itself. You achieve mastery when you understand the types of emails you’ll use when to send them, as well as the different levels of email campaigns you’ll use to connect with your subscribers.

The Three Different Email Types You’ll Use in Email Marketing

There are three types of emails that you’ll rely on as an email marketer.

  1. Transactional – these types of emails are used to provide customer service
  2. Relational – to engage subscribers, create and maintain a relationship with them.
  3. Promotional – to sell.

As you can see in the chart below, each type facilitates a different interaction with your subscribers.


Let’s start with our first email type – the Transactional Emails

A transactional email is sent by automation, usually when someone acts on something that you have specified on your webpage – for example, a “Thank you for subscribing” email.

To get inspired, we collected 8 types of transactional emails that you can use in your business, along with some tips for raising their transactional value (because you do want to sell, don’t you?):

  1. Order Confirmations

Clearly, order confirmation emails are the emails that get open more than any other type of email – you bought something a minute ago, so you need to verify the details of what you just purchased.

How can you optimize an order confirmation email?

  • First, set some expectations. Explain what will happen now that you got their order.

Example: “We received your order and we thank you! We will send you an email or SMS the moment it ships. You can also track the progress of your order here”.

  • Second, add some cross-sells. (Most of the times) the customer is excited about what they just bought —it is now the proper time to add an additional offer. Example: If you sell vitamins for hair, a cross-sell would be to add a vitamin for skin, nails, or even a brush.
  • Third, promote your platforms of importance: in the example above, we are asking people to signup to a Facebook group, and in doing so, they will get a 50% discount on their next order. It is so important for Vitalis to add more people to the group that they are willing to provide such a great incentive.
  1. Receipts Emails

Just like confirmation emails, these emails are opened more frequently than any other email, however, very few marketers leverage them.

Most receipt emails have contact information in case you want to ask something about the order. Add an upsell there.

  1. Shipping Notes

What’s the second most important email that customers read? Of course – the shipping alert email, which tells them that their purchase has been shipped and when it will arrive.

Now, usually, there’s not anything in this kind of emails that could really push the customer further down their journey.

Normally, your customer feels excited at this point. Their order is on its way. What could you possibly ask them to do?

Here are some pointers:

– Ask them to share this for a % off their next order

– Invite their friends to get some extra product

– Add a discount code for their next order

– Invite them to your affiliate program with your best incentives

Shipping confirma

  1. Create A New Account Email

When someone becomes a customer, they normally create an account to purchase. This triggers automation and the email marketing system sends an email with their login details.

Here are some tips you could use to leverage this type of email:

– Ask them to like your Facebook or Instagram page

– Make them feel part of a community and invite them to a Facebook group

– Share some testimonials from customers

– And again, suggest a few products that are relevant to them

But don’t make it too busy – you can only use 1-3 of these as the customer will get confused and close the email without further action.

  1. Return Confirmation

If a customer changed his mind about your supplements and is requesting to return his product, now is a fantastic time to turn this disappointment to your favour, and make them an offer or give them a coupon.

Why? Well, clearly they aren’t happy about the supplement they’re returning, however, they can get really excited about your excellent customer service.

Whilst the sky’s the limit on what you can do, here are some pointers:

  • Provide a coupon for their next purchase
  • If the supplement they got is below €40 ask them to keep it, and give them a refund. The customer will be thrilled that they don’t have to go through the whole return process AND they get a refund
  • Tell them to select two other products, and provide them one for free.

Here is an example:

  1. Support Tickets

When someone opens a Support Ticket or contacts customer service, they exchange emails with you. This is an opportunity for you to add tons of value.

If your support team did a good job, then you can easily ask to return the favour and share their experience at sites like TrustPilot, or a writing a review on your Facebook page. To incentivize and create additional happiness, provide them with a coupon.

  1. Password Reminders

What do you expect when you lose your password and request a new one? An email from the business with a link to reset it.

We ask you to be more than this J Be creative.

Here are some pointers:

  • Add your best content on the password change page and your password confirmation email
  • Add the best sellers in the password confirmation email. An example would be “Why don’t check these best selling products?”
  1. Unsubscribe Confirmations

There is nothing more boring than getting these unsubscribe confirmation emails.

However, as mentioned before, we want you to be more creative than this.

What would happen if you could add an offer at the confirmation email?

What impact would have in your business if you could invite unsubscribes to a VIP-only club?

What could you do to transform subscribers into referral partners, ambassadors, or promoters of your brand?

This is how you need to think to become an email master.

Let’s Discuss The 2nd Type Of Email Marketing: Relational Emails

Did you know: Dietary Supplement Brands that use email to maintain a relationship with leads generate 50% more educated, ready-to-purchase leads at 33% lower cost.

Here are 8 types of relational emails you can use to get these results for your own dietary supplement business.

  1. Welcome New Subscribers

Each time someone opts into receiving your newsletter, it triggers an automated email. This email is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to your brand and spills out all the benefits of being on your list and the value that you will provide.

  1. Restricted Content

Restricted content is information that your subscriber finds it valuable but isn’t freely available online. More than once, this information can be obtained by entering your email address or by sharing a predetermined text on social media.

When someone gives their email address, an automated email sends the content (or a link to the content) that was requested.

How can you leverage this type of emails? Well, apart of telling people how to access your restricted content, you must also “sell” the value of being a subscriber.

Here are some tips:

  • Tell them how frequently to expect emails from you
  • Tell them what types of emails they should expect
  • Tell them what you provide for free
  • Refer to how many people read them
  • If you have, provide some testimonials on the same email from people that are excited to read your emails

This gets people excited about opening your emails and helps retain subscribers long-term.

  1. New Blog Posts Emails

Each time you create some content, one of the mediums to distribute it is by email your subscribers. These emails must explain what the article is all about, without revealing too much and also provide a link to your blog post.

  1. Event Confirmation

If you organize events, like trade shows or product demonstrations, then you somehow let people know, and they opt in to attend.

You then send a confirmation email, stating the venue, the date, and the time.

That’s the transactional side of things.

However, there is a relational side of things to your email. That’s because people decided to attend your event rather than being with their friends, family or coworkers (for a pint, that is)

In this case, what you need to do is provide a review of what will be shared in the event, so as to keep your attendees’ interest high.

The event confirmations also give you the chance to prove that you can be trusted to deliver your promises. The simple rule is that if you develop a reputation for following through on free content, it becomes easier for people to trust you in paid transactions as well.

  1. Survey email.

We love surveys. Make a habit to send emails with surveys to help you learn more about what your customer care. Surveys also offer segmentation capabilities putting interests in “buckets” so you can target different needs.

  1. Updates

Did you have an important update regarding your company? Have you developed a new dietary supplement and you need the world to know?

Have you just had a change in management?

Update your subscribers (and followers on social media)! By regularly sending updates about your company, you keep yourself in front of your subscribers, and people know that you are active and that you care to let them know.

  1. Contests

If we love something more than surveys, these are contests. Contests are proven vehicles of building excitement and attracting new subscribers.

Send the new contest via email to your existing subscribers first, and with a tool like Viral Loops ask for people to share and get in front of the line.

This will attract more subscribers and depending on your promotion, the type of contest and the prize, you will see your subscriber list explode.

  1. Referral Request

Normally, we advise clients to send a Review email after 10 days of purchase. It just makes sense, as the customer has already received their purchase and started using your vitamins.

Make sure your request for review to be as human as possible, like talking to a friend. Always remember to let them know the next steps and give incentives to people to take those steps right away.

Now let’s move over to the 3rd Email Type – what you have probably waiting for – The Promotional Emails

There are 8 types of promotional emails you could be sending (starting now).

  1. Promo Content

Promo content is content that provides value to your subscribers, like educating them, informing them, or entertaining them and at the same time, it sells.

You shouldn’t send too many of this type of content as it tends to backfire. Rather, it must be balanced with relational content so as to provide 80% education and 20% selling (approximately).

  1. New Restricted Content

Whilst restricted content, like ebooks, checklists, whitepapers, infographics and videos aim to attract new subscribers, what about the existing subscribers?

Send restricted content to your existing email list with the aim of re-activate them and move them along the buyer’s map.

  1. Announcement of A Sale

When you put your products on sale, this generally creates more engagement than all other types of email. The main reason is, that people who were hesitant to buy from you can now buy at a lower price.

  1. New Product Launches

When you are in such a competitive market as in the dietary supplements, you must constantly stay ahead. One of the ways to do that is to develop new products, like every six months or once every year.

Send a new product launch sequence email to your existing subscribers, your past customers and people that haven’t engaged or abandoned their carts, create excitement, and if you write the sequence correctly, you will create fans and hyper-responsive buyers.

In the same way, there are other email types that you could use to let customers know of how you are solving or plan to solving their problems. These are:

  1. Upcoming webinars (Talk about health issues and how your supplements can solve or ease the customer’s pain)
  2. Event Announcements
  3. Trial Offers
  4. Upgrade Offers

After the above, it’s time to talk about between broadcasting and autoresponders and how we use each one.

Nearly every email provider give you the option of sending emails in one of two ways:

  • Broadcast emails to your list: These are emails that you write every now and then and are sent manually to your entire list or a segment of your list. Their goal is to sell or educate (by sending out offers or content.
  • Autoresponders are emails that you write and design once, and then each time someone performs a specific action on your website, it sends them automatically.

There are certain limitations on when and how to use autoresponders though, and there are guides that explain how.

However, the big takeaway here is that when you segment your database of customers and subscribers and automate your emails, you will be sending highly relevant messages that match your subscribers’ interests, wants and needs. Essentially, your subscribers think that you read their mind!

What Types Of Triggers To use

The most common and widely used triggers in email marketing automation are:

  1. Welcome New Subscriber

When someone subscribes to your newsletter, you need to send them an automated welcome email that introduces them to your brand. No need to say here that you need to make a great first impression.

  1. Ebook Request

When you write and publish an ebook that solves a specific issue that your ideal customers care about (i.e. 10 Fast Keto Diet Recipes With Under 5 ingredients or 5 Ways You Can Get Healthy With Vitamin B12) people that have these problems will be interested and will provide you with their email address. You don’t spend time in sending the ebook manually, you create an autoresponder to do that.

  1. Event Registration Confirmation Email

If you organize events and someone registers for one of your events, you need to organize an automated email that confirms their participation and send them the information they seek, like date, time, and any access information.

Adding expectations can be either in this email or in a second welcoming email.

  1. Purchase

Likewise, when someone purchases a product from you, they expect a confirmation that their order went through. A purchase receipt does just that.

  1. Referral Requests

Referral requests can be automated to follow up purchases and if the customer agrees, it indicates they loved your product and your service, they are engaged and excited about your brand.

  1. Cart Abandonment

When someone registers (opens an account) with your e-commerce system, and proceeds in adding a product to their cart, but something happens and close the cart page (this happens for several reasons – from checking the final price to having a power cut!), one of the best practices is to send them a cart abandonment sequence. This will ensure that they will not forget you.

Make sure that the first is within 2 hours from the cart abandonment, and then you follow up for up to three days.

  1. Email Re-engagement

If you are sending emails on a weekly or a monthly basis, but you have minimal responses, click-through-rates, opens and reads, then you might need a re-engagement campaign.

Each of these triggers should set off an automated email campaign designed to follow up the triggering behaviour and encourage people to take the next step in their customer journey.

When Should You Send Your Emails

Ideally, when you start with email marketing, your initial goal is to excite your subscribers – to get one of those emails that customers can’t wait to receive and read.

To do that you need to follow some basic segmentation rules and proper timing. These will coincide with your customer’s journey.

Segmentation gives you the option to send emails to the people who will be most likely to respond favourably. You can’t really send promotions to people that are not interested in, and segmentation feels to your subscribers that you send them an email just for them.

Timing your emails allow you to send them at when your subscribers are in specific points in your customer journey.

For example, if someone just subscribed to your email newsletter, you can’t just send them an offer a week later. No brand trust has been built yet.

The 5 Lifecycles of Email Marketing

When you understand the steps that your customer is required in order to become a customer (the customer path) then it becomes way more easier to send the right message at the right time. So let’s talk about the 5 phases of email.

  1. The Education Campaign

What: Triggered Campaign

When: Sent immediately after someone subscribes to your newsletter and introduces them to your brand.

Stage of customer path: Subscribe


  1. To welcome new subscribers.
  2. To tell them what they can expect in receiving
  3. To tell them their next step in order to get the biggest benefit from you and your brand.

Tip: To make sure your name stays on top and begin recognize your name in their inbox, add in the “From” field the following:

[Your Name] From [Company]

i.e. if your name is Brad from AcmeNutrition, then your “From” should say “Brad From AcmeNutrition’.

If your emails are interesting, you ask questions and show interest, customers will begin to recognise your name in their inbox.

Step By Step Action

Step 1: Start writing your email by welcoming new subscribers and introducing them to your brand.


Hey “Name”,

We are so excited you decided to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and join hundreds of others like you that read Active Nutrition’s health advice.

Step 2: Write down in 3-4 bullet points the benefits they’ll get as a subscriber.


Transform the way you feel by:

  • Getting more clarity about your goals
  • Ask a question and get a real doctor’s answer
  • Access hundreds of ingredients and know which are the best for you

Step 3: Manage your customer’s expectations by using a famous copywriting framework: this is what we’re going to do; this is what you need to do after we’ve done it.

For example:

  • [This is what we do.] Once per month, we’re going to send you to brand new content and strategies in keeping your health at optimum levels.
  • [This is what you need to do after we’ve done it.] When you receive our email, read it and save it—because when you’re looking for a biohack, an ingredient or simply a vitamin that works, you’re going to want to be able to access this information.

Step 4: Ask subscribers to whitelist your emails by saying something along these lines:

  • Others subscribers like you say that what we share is very important, and if you’re not getting it, you’re losing out. So here’s what we want you to do:
    • Whitelist this email address. [Include a link to instructions.]
    • Create a folder where you can save all our messages.

Step 5: Give them extra value. Send them a “The best of” campaign, listing the content your existing subscribers have engaged with the most. For example:

  • Your highest read blog posts
  • Your highest commented Facebook or Instagram post
  • Content that generated a ton of positive comments and possibly was shared a lot

Bottom line is to think of the brand education emails as a first date with your new subscriber. Your main goal here is to build a relationship and not to sell.

  1. The Engagement Campaign

What: Interest-based, triggered campaign 

When: Sent after your subscriber takes a specific action that makes a relevant offer (and sale) to your subscriber.

Stage of the customer journey: Convert

Goal:  To turn subscribers into buyers by suggesting the next step based on what you know they’re currently interested in.

This campaign targets subscribers who have recently engaged with your brand. For instance, maybe they visited a product page or downloaded an ebook.

Step By Step Action

Step 1: Write an email by acknowledging the action they just took.

Step 2: Step into your customer’s shoes and try to see what objections they may be having. Address the thoughts and feelings that keep them from taking action.

Step 3: Suggest the next logical step. Make sure it is clear.

  1. The Elevation Campaign

What: Interest-based, triggered campaign 

Goal: To make an offer to your subscriber immediately following their triggering behaviour.

Stage of Customer: Elevate

Use this campaign to:

  • Move people within the path you have mapped.
  • Upselling or repeating sales to new customers by suggesting the next step

When you send this campaign, it also moves the customer down the path you have mapped. This campaign is triggered each time a customer performs an action – like purchasing one of your products.

However, each additional offer is the point in your funnel (or path) where customers might simply say now and leave. This sequence is helping you follow up that on that offer, possibly provide bonuses that entice customers to consider it, and overcome any objections for not buying.

Step By Step Action

Step 1: Write your email by mentioning what action they just took. Say “We are so excited that you considered our Whey Protein”.

Step 2: What might be their objections to making the purchase? Is it price? Is it something else? Ask them and if you know (based on previous data) then acknowledge their objections.

Step 3: Then simply suggest the next step. Say “This Whey Protein is available today, for a limited time only for €23, so order now” (something along those lines)

Your goal is to turn someone who purchased once, to buy again, again and again. To help your customers become regulars and not miss out on any opportunities that might help their life, you must clearly project the value you’re providing, and remind them of the benefits they’ll receive for their health and wellbeing (after all, that’s why you are selling nutritional supplements in the first place).

However, there is one very fine line you must pay attention to:

Your offer must MATCH the stage of your customer. If you make an offer at the wrong stage – meaning, moving too fast or pushing for the sal, you’ll make your current buyers uncomfortable, and then they will hit the “unsubscribe” button.

If your customers show signs that they’re not ready to take the next step, don’t push. Your task is to put them on maintaining the relationship until they make a move.

How will you know? By using specialized email software like Klaviyo, which allows you to add conditions to your emails. For example – each time that someone opens and click a link, or depending on how many times someone opens your email.

  1. The Segmentation Campaign

What: Manual promotions

When: An email campaign sent to your entire database which allows you to segment your subscribers based on their levels of interest.

Stage of customer path: Everyone

Use this campaign to:

  • Create interest to subscribers who haven’t show much interaction with your brand
  • Create a pathway to allow them to select their own segments based on their current interests.

Contrary to all the above, this email campaign is completely manual. You just create an email that is sent to your entire subscriber’s list with the goal of asking people to choose what they want.

Basically, you are asking questions.

“What are you interested in right now?

  • Losing weight
  • Helping my skin look younger
  • Maintain my energy levels throughout the day
  • Boosting my immune system

You want them to pick one of your questions and say “Yes, I’m interested in hearing more about THIS topic”. When this campaign runs its cycle, then have an engagement campaign to continue the conversation.

To do this effectively, your specialized email system should identify who is engaging more with your campaigns and how doesn’t. Send more emails to the first group and fewer emails to the second one.

Segmentation Campaigns Sound Cool? Here Are Some Additional Ideas For Your Nutraceuticals’ Brand:

1: If you have a blog, use the content of that blog to segment your customers. Simply send a small teaser of what the blog post is about, and then, based on their interaction with the blog post, you send then an engagement campaign based on products that were used in that blog post.

2: Make use of the good old promotion tactics: coupons, weekend sales, or any other special promotions you can think of. If your offer is of value, and it is timed well, then (most) people will take action.

3: If you can, create a webinar that demonstrates your product in relation to a specific health benefit. Workshops are good too. If you present well, and your product is good, then people who attended that event are more open in buying it.

  1. The Re-Engagement Campaign

What: Triggered campaign 

When: send to re-engage any subscriber who hasn’t opened or clicked an email in the last 30 to 60 days.

Stage of customer path: Any

Use this campaign to:

  • Re-engage with inactive subscribers

Reality check: not every subscriber is excited in reading or receiving your emails. People have other priorities and several times in a day, their circumstances change.

To make sure you can make them interested again, you craft and send a re-engagement campaign with the sole purpose of recapturing their interest.

Step By Step Action

Step 1: Using your email marketing app, find your inactive subscribers—specifically anyone who hasn’t clicked on an email up to 90 days.

Step 2: Craft a compelling reason to help them re-engage with your emails. For example, we would ask if everything is ok with their current situation:

  • We are emailing you for quite some time now, but we understand that situations change. I wanted to reach out personally and ask if everything is OK. Is there something we can help or answer any questions you might have?

Step 3: Tell them what they get as a subscriber.

Step 4: Show them what type of content you sent in the past and what they missed. Send links of the best content.

Some people will respond back, others won’t. To whoever responds, clicks, reads or otherwise engages with your campaign, you just move them forward to your designated customer’s path.

What happens with the people who do nothing?

You have two options:

  1. Put them into remarketing lists until they buy or,
  2. Sunset them (it is actually a term used by email marketing apps, like Klaviyo) – stop emailing them.

Why stop emailing them? Because if you have a database of 3,000 subscribers and 1,000 are inactive, you are paying your email marketing provider for an extra 1,000 people that don’t want to hear from you. These emails also hurt your deliverability – your chances of them hitting the “SPAM” button, moving your domain to the spam lists.

Clean your list each month to avoid these problems.

Metrics of Email Marketing

Sending emails and simply praying for results is not a good strategy – it is actually a strategy for failure.

You need to measure your results and adjust your course accordingly. To properly measure the results of the email campaigns you need to have some KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to measure each time you send one.

Here is (not a complete) list of KPIs to use:

List Growth

Shows how many subscribers you are adding each month to your database.

Delivery Rate

Shows what is the percent of messages delivered to the recipient’s inbox based on the number of emails sent. Your target: 95% and above.

Open Rate

Shows the percentage of messages opened by the recipient relative to the number of emails sent.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Shows the percentage of email messages opened and clicked relative to the number of emails sent

Unsubscribe Rate

Shows the percentage of people that unsubscribed relative to the number of emails sent.

Complaint Rate

Shows how many emails were marked Spam.


As we showed above, email marketing outperforms in ROI any marketing activity. Unfortunately, the majority of dietary supplement brands we come across either doing it completely wrong or worse, they ignore it completely.

As with every other medium out there, email is most effective when you combine content and ads. All these combinations help you educate your new subscribers to your brand, maintain a relationship with them and move them down your customer path.

Interested in learning more digital marketing tactics for your dietary supplements brand? On our next post, we will discuss the role of search marketing and how important is for customers to find you organically.