Email marketing is a popular and highly-effective marketing channel.
Yet, maybe because we’re all so well versed on email – and perhaps because we receive so many of them – it’s a marketing approach that is tricky to get right.
But those that do, reap the rewards.
So here are four companies that have made email marketing work for them – and what you can learn from them for your business.
1. SHOKOsmile – be useful
I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard of SHOKOsmile – after all they’re an online Ukrainian chocolate shop. What makes them interesting is that while they had the contacts – 3,000 email addresses – they rarely did anything with them.
Something I think will resonate with a lot of companies.
But SHOKOsmile started sending two emails per week: one would be sales, one would be informational content. They included a pop-up widget on their website that prompted email collection to further increase subscribers. And they started sending emails at specific times after purchases to collect feedback.
Half a year on, they more than tripled the size of their email database and the number of emails being opened each month had also seen huge increases.
Oh, and sales grew 2,100%.
What you can learn from SHOKOsmile
You can make big waves with a few simple strategies, even if your email list is relatively small.
While both website pop-up widgets and emails have the potential to irritate if done wrong, SHOKOsmile shows perfectly that if you have something useful to offer or say, it actually nurtures trust.
2. Uber – keep it simple and personal
Uber is well known for keeping their email communication short, sweet and personalised.
There are no catchy lines, or long intros. The copy is straight to the point, with a clear call to action – Your free Uber ride is waiting.
There are also no random emails appearing at random times. According to Teri Rosenbaum, who was Uber’s CRM lead in the UK, this was all a very conscious decision.
Uber is big on user-initiated actions. You take a ride, you get an email. You open the app, you might get an email with a promo code. It’s really personal to you.
What you can learn from Uber
As well as keeping things simple, Uber really leads the way with showing how to reach out to individual customers.
Such tactics don’t have to break the bank. Start by monitoring email open rates and click throughs. Which emails get opened a lot but generate few leads?
Then get scientific about it. Create campaigns with your normal email style and another with a new style designed to fit a certain customer type. Does this improve open rates? If it does, you can then start retargeting different sectors with personalised emails.
3. Buzzfeed – not about your brand
Send an email that isn’t about your brand? Surely that’s just wasting everyone’s time? Yet, according to Buzzfeed this is one of their favourite email marketing tactics.
Every Sunday, Buzzfeed sends out an email of great feature stories. While it sometimes contains some Buzzfeed content, the point is to share great stories from around the web regardless of their origin.
It is by far their most opened email – 40 to 45% of subscribers open it, which is an incredible number.
What you can learn from Buzzfeed
Keep it fresh and keep it interesting. If you don’t have a big in-house marketing team that can pump out brand-specific content, you can still reach your customer base by keeping them updated on things that interest them.
People appreciate this and recognise the non-brand nature of this content. There is no immediate click through, but there is brand loyalty.
4. Stitcher – be mobile friendly
Stitcher has good reason for wanting to create mobile friendly email campaigns – they’re a podcast provider. People naturally open their emails on their phones and click through to the app.
And they’re really good at it, especially when it comes to email design. We already saw how Uber keeps things simple. Well, Stitcher keeps things balanced. The ratio of image to copy to call to action is perfect for someone scrolling down on a mobile.
But for many, the idea of mobile accessed content can often be an afterthought. It shouldn’t be. According to Campaign Monitor, 60% of all emails are now opened on a mobile.
What you can learn from Stitcher
Don’t forget the importance of email design. And don’t forget that this design needs to work on multiple devices – desktops, mobiles, tablets.
Luckily, there are plenty of email marketing platforms that have ready-made designs that are tried and tested. Structure the emails for easy reading and choose a responsive template.
So, there you go. Four brands, four simple email marketing campaign take-aways: make it useful, make it personalised, make it mobile friendly, and don’t be scared to spice things up.