Human Emails: Some Great Examples

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on how retailers can humanize their brands in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

In a previous post, I spoke about the important of humanizing your brand through showcase your company culture and engaging with the external world. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a few great examples of this approach in practice. First, an athletic accessories company, Jaybird. In an effort to associate their goods with sports, they pair themselves with “Ambassadors” who promote and use the brand. Details aside, this week they added a new ambassador and decided to highlight that in their emails. From the subject to the images, the ambassador herself receives the priority. You’ll notice that background on this professional climber is then carefully mixed in with product information and images.
Next, a look at Lovesac reminds us that marketers like pop culture, too. The “Dad Bod”—a man who is not overweight yet carries too large of a belly to have visible abs –was a term that got a lot of attention late this spring. Coined by a student reporter at Clemson University, “Dad Bod” references rapidly polluted the nation as a comical and counterintuitive new ideal for male appearance. In Lovesac’s email, they show their social relevance by incorporating a reference to this in relation to their ultra-fluffy furniture. Their subject line read, “What do Pillowsacs and Fathers have in common?” By tying this into the upcoming Father’s Day and including an array of products at the bottom of the email, Lovesac really did a fantastic job.

Finally, here is a more political statement in solemn contrast to Rue La La’s usual colorful and lighthearted imagery. In this, Rue comments on the recent new stories about a massacre recently occurring in Charleston. Not stopping with drawing attention to Rue’s views, the message goes on to promote a new product for which nonprofits will receive all earnings. Providing information about the YWCA and The Martin Luther King, Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change at the bottom almost overshadows the small “Shop Rue La La” link lurking in the bottom navigation email. While strong social statements that ask readers to, “Join us as we pause in solidarity with the victims of racial prejudice,” could seem out of place in email marketing, Rue took a firm position and, for many readers, may have earned a new level of respect. Rue showed an impressive step towards corporate responsibility by contributing publicity and funds to several worthy non-profits.

 What do you think? Is email marketing engaging with current events a best practice or a rookie mistake?

The Golden Rule: Content-Rich Emails

Layla Thomas, our summer marketing intern, shares her views on what retailers should be doing to create emails that are rich in content to engage shoppers in her latest blog post. You can reach out and say hi to Layla through LinkedIn.

Before even reaching double digits, we’re all taught about this enigmatic Golden Rule...the belief that “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

When we send marketing emails, we’re doing a lot of asking (or, depending on the quarter, begging) for engagement. We want dollars, birthdays, likes, friend’s dollars, friend’s birthdays, friend’s likes… In form alone, it’s a very one-sided conversation.

To build a level of interest, respect, or appreciation from your email subscribers, a little more giving could go a long way. While coupons and discounts are nice, sometimes some solid content can go even further.

For starters, here’s an example from Shoes of Prey, where the background images cycles through a woman trying on each pair of shoes until she finds her perfect heel. Besides the cute graphics, the brand provides an incentive for a click, gathers more data about the recipient’s preferences, and is likely to hide some more subtle product placement within the contents of the quiz.

Next we’ll tie in a case from Pegasus Lighting, representing a whole different industry. While far from impressive in terms of design, Pegasus seems to keep its handyman audience in mind when designing a diagram-filled message about perfect lighting for garages, and follows it up by suggesting specific products for each type.

Finally, here’s an example for the foodies out there. In their emails, Sur La Table really capitalizes on the content-rich world of food. By opening with a beautiful imagine and recipe overview, it begs for engagement to unlock the remaining information. Cleverly, the information featured with no click barrier falls to the bottom under the header “Get these to make the recipe”. Here, we see a wide array of product that connect with the given recipe. Overall, a very helpful email that shows a perfect balance of product and content.

What do you think? Let me know if you have any other great examples!

The Right Way to Send Daily

I heard someone say customers tire of emails when retailers send three, four or five times a week. And she encouraged retailers to send SMS messages instead. While I agree that retailers should be using text messages to engage their shoppers, it by no means should replace your daily email deployments. The two channels have different objectives. They need to work together and support each other, not compete against each other.
I also agree, however, that some customers will tire of daily email messages if the only messages you’re sending are batch and blast. Hopefully that isn’t the case anymore. To send daily, you must send personalized and contextually relevant messages that are aligned with the customer journey.
Sending daily doesn’t mean that you have to send every email every day to every subscriber. It means that you are continuously engaging different segments of your customers to influence them and help them make the right purchase decision. Segmentation today is much more than just sending to a particular demographic – you should segment your list based on engagement level, browse and purchase history and on combinations, such as customers who have opened and clicked on a specific product but haven’t purchased yet. You can learn more about Advanced Retail Segmentation here.
Your most active and loyal customers will appreciate a daily message while customers who only open an email occasionally won’t. Typically, subscribers fall into four categories: new, active, lapsed and inactive. Your new and active subscribers are the ones who are most engaged and the goals of your messages should be to get them back to your site to complete a transaction. Your lapsed subscribers are the ones who used to be active but haven’t opened a message in over a month and your inactive subscribers are ones who haven’t opened in a much longer time frame – 3 months, 6 months, a year. Your goal with these subscribers is simply to move them back into the active category by engaging them enough to get them to open a message. Daily messages will work for the new and active segments but not for the lapsed and inactive segments. If you haven’t started segmenting your list yet, this is the best place to start.
For more tips on aligning your mobile and email channels with the customer journey, read our article “Aligning Email with the Omnichannel Customer Journey”.