Benchmark - Email strategies you can learn from these DTC Brands
For target customers, newsletters can be two things — either they love them or they hate them. They gave you their data - and the email channel is one of the only ones you really own. So make sure they will get something valuable from your newsletter. That's why they signed up in the first place.
“So, what do they want to see?”
Truth is, it really depends on what you offer and how you want to brand your business. Overall, here are the things that we highly suggest you consider when writing your newsletter:
Your tone — Getting the right tone is very important because this represents the identity of your brand. Think of how you want to sound like: do you want to sound friendly or professional? Do you want to sound funny or intimidating? Begin with setting the right tone.
Your subject line — You must always think of a creative copy to capture the attention of your reader because they have the choice to open your newsletter or not. Make sure it’s catchy, short— ideally 6-8 words max, and you can always throw in some emoji if you want to. You should incentive your readers to open your email, without revealing too much.
The sections — The sections to your newsletter is also very crucial because it is already a journey in itself. Your sections should be able to tell a coherent story so readers will read all throughout and not skip a single line. So, whether you're using platforms like Mailchimp or Autopilot, make sure your newsletter template speaks for the story you want to convey.
How you want to be remembered —In other words, how do you want to establish brand recall? Did you provide them with something useful that they can share to their friends or colleagues? When writing a newsletter campaign, make sure you ask yourself in the end if they would want more from you or would they unsubscribe.
“How do I make sure my subscribers will stay?"
Fret not as we’ve gathered and studied the newsletter strategies of these Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) brands that you may get inspiration from.
Doesn’t matter if you’re into skincare, beauty, lifestyle, or food — we got you.
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"What is Paula’s Choice?” This is a skincare brand that’s gaining so much popularity in the US for its rave reviews and products. Since they offer a range of fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and gentle products, they made buzz within the community of skincare and beauty enthusiasts. With that we got curious and reviewed their newsletter strategy for their customers:
Welcome email: Paula’s Choice has an on-going promo where you can get 15% + Free Shipping on your first purchase when you sign-up to their newsletter, which is a really good way to capture more leads. So their welcome email goes straight to the point by offering how customers can get the offer, followed by other key features in their website such as the “Quick Quiz, Instant Routine” and their main collection pages.
The second email: Their next email was sent two days after the welcome not. lt is not as aggressive as the first one. It’s dedicated to serve the needs of their clients by providing links on how they can find the right skincare routine for them and by providing their “Key Steps to a Healthy Skin” where the links to the collection pages are provided.
The subject: We love how they really make you want to click their newsletter by writing awesome subject lines. Of course, if you subscribe to them, you must be a skincare enthusiast and someone who knows the ingredients you’re looking for. Here are our favorite subject lines from Paula’s choice:
“The exfoliant that is sold every 60 seconds”
“Time is running out for this 2% BHA liquid exfoliant”
“Step 1) Save 15% 💫 Step 2) Glow”
The frequency: They send out newsletters every 3-4 days which is about right if you have a lot of offers and on-going promos.
Overall thoughts: We think that Paula’s choice’s newsletter strategy is perfect for brands with a wider range of products and if there are different discounts and promos available. Also, their newsletter template is very visual and it’s really a good way to get to the point right away.
Another beauty brand that we checked out is Function of Beauty— a customizable shampoo brand that has now released their skincare and body care products. The brand immediately gained popularity especially when youtube superstars like Bretman Rock started to feature them in his channel. To go see what the hype is all about, we subscribed to their newsletter and here’s our review:
Welcome email: Unlike Paula’s Choice, Function of Beauty started off with a friendly note from its founders accompanied by a link to their story. After that, they invite their customers to take the quiz for hair care and then for skincare. It’s pretty straightforward and that’s a good strategy.
The second email: Their next email was sent 2 days after the welcome email and it is an announcement of their new feature without any further texts, just a gif with links. This is a really good idea if you want your curious subscribers to go check the page immediately. Tease them with an announcement and redirect them to your website right away.
The subject: We are totally loving Function of Beauty’s creative subject copies. It’s simple, direct to the point, and it makes you want to read what they have to say. Some really cool examples are:
"Hey 😍 we want to spoil you”
"Natural fragrances you say? We’ve got 3!!!"
"Want award-winning custom skincare?"
The frequency: Function of Beauty sends their newsletter every 2-3 days and we think this is because of their website features and they have a new product line to promote. If you are in the same scenario, sending out newsletters every 2-3 days is not bad.
Overall thoughts: One of the most interesting parts of their newsletter is how they manage to create very visually pleasing templates that resonate to their brand. They also try to incorporate interactive functions such as a spinning wheel promo to reward their subscribers with a discount or a special offer.
Mattresses and pillows aren’t things you buy regularly but you buy for long-time use. So your pitch should be about what matters most to your customers which is value for money and their well-being. Learn a thing or two from the award-winning lifestyle brand — Casper. Here’s what we think of their newsletter strategy:
Welcome email: Casper’s welcome note is very visual and direct to the point. There are less texts and they tell you what’s in it for your right off the bat. First they greet you with a link that redirects you to their “Sale” landing page, followed by what you’ll get from subscribing, a quick tip for sleeping, and then a link to their “bundles”. It’s plain and simple, which gives their subscribers the whole picture right away.
Second email: The next email was sent just a day after the welcome and it features their product line like the Wave hybrid mattress and the Original mattress. It talks you through the benefits and redirects you to their collections page. Once again, they provide a quick tip for sleeping and a link to their bundles.
The subject: As mentioned, value for money and one’s well-being is a really important talking point for lifestyle clients. Here are some cool ways to write a subject from Casper:
“Award-winning comfort for $900 less.”
“Three easy ways to upgrade your sleep.”
“Ever wonder how Casper snoozers are sleeping?”
The frequency: Casper sends out their newsletter every 1-2 days and yes— that’s a lot. Here’s the thing though, they do have a lot of on-going promos and product launches. Aside from that they are also giving away daily tips on how to get a better sleep. If it’s a part of your objective to be involved in your subscribers’ daily routine, then this strategy should work.
Overall thoughts: Just like the first two brands, Casper’s newsletter is very visual and direct to the point. This strategy gives your subscribers a quicker way to access the pages you want them to see. No extra fluff! Also, we love how they really try to show their subscribers how much value for money and health benefits they will get from their products. Yes, it is part of the sales talk but hey, it really works!
Another lifestyle/ fashion brand that we will review is Allbird, popularly known for its sustainably made shoes and clothing. Nowadays, we all love brands who advocate for a sustainable future and lifestyle, so your target market really needs to see that in all that you do — even in your newsletter. Here’s what we’ve gathered:
Welcome email: Allbirds’ welcome email talks about their mission and goals right away. As a subscriber for these kinds of brands, it’s really important to know more about their advocacy before buying. So as a marketer, you don’t want to redirect them right away to your collection pages but show them what your brand is all about. The flow of Allbirds’ newsletter does exactly that and it’s a good way to start.
The subject: Aside from Allbirds’ advocacy, they also represent innovation in this time of modernity, so it’s important to showcase both aspects, especially on your subject line. If you have awards or reviews for being an awesome and innovative brand, show them off! Also, get creative with some of your favorite pop songs! Here’s our top picks from their subject lines:
“TIME best inventions of 2020”
“Run towards a better future”
“Living in a material world”
The frequency: The frequency of Allbirds’ newsletter varies from time to time. Sometimes they send it out every other day or every other week. We’re guessing that they are following a marketing calendar when sending out promotional materials. But hey, this is a really good example! If you think that it’s best to align your newsletters with your marketing calendar, then that’s totally fine. Don’t get pressured to send out something all the time!
Overall thoughts: Allbirds is a really good benchmark for sustainable brands and marketing, as they put their advocacy first before trying to sell. If you are one of them, we highly suggest that you subscribe and see how they are winning at it.
Moving on to something that we all love — food! And by food we mean, Ben & Jerry’s. Aside from their mouth-watering ice cream flavors, Ben & Jerry’s is also popular for their “Chunkmail'' newsletters. Why is that? Because they have a really creative writing style that you’d really want to read. Aside from that, they don’t just talk about ice cream, they also talk about things that matter. Here’s our review:
Welcome email: Their welcome note is really fun to read because whether you’re a foodie or not, they give you something that will spark your interest. Their welcome note promises to share their new flavors as well as their favorite stories and issues they care about. This is really a good way to capture more readers. So even if you’re an ice cream brand — you need to stay relevant. Make them want to dig into your food while they read through your awesome blog.
The second email: This email was sent a week after the welcome note. Oh! And, speaking of staying relevant, we have observed that Ben & Jerry’s loves to commemorate special days in history just like Martin Luther King day or Biden’s inauguration. It’s totally not related to ice cream at all but hey, you're letting your readers know cool things from your blog so it’s still a win-win situation.
The subject: Who says you can’t read about ice cream and news at the same time? Ben & Jerry’s Chunkmail is just so fun to read! Here are some of their awesome subject lines:
“A side of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You haven't seen before”
“The Biden presidency starts today”
Frequency: Ben & Jerry’s rarely send out their newsletter and we’re guessing it depends on their blog posting schedule. We get it! This is a good example of showing that if your goal is to share stories you’ve written for your subscribers, you don’t have to flood them with so much reading material right away. Let them crave for more, just as you would want them to crave for your food.
Overall thoughts: Awesome! Would give it a 10/10. No wonder there’s a buzz about it among marketers. It’s a really good example on how brands can stay relevant while engaging more readers and page visitors to your site.
Last but not the least, the brand that became so famous among millennials — Prisoner Wine. As Vinepair wrote, this brand is popular for its unique blends and flavors. But, how do you market wine in a newsletter? Here’s our review about Prisoner wine:
Welcome email: Prisoner Wine’s welcome note starts off by giving a short overview about their brand and how they differ from other wine brands out there. Followed by that, they invite you to join their membership program and then they redirect you to their collection pages. We love how plain and simple it is and gives readers a feeling of exclusivity. They also close the newsletter with a review from one of their customers where it says they live up to the hype.
The second email: The second email was sent 3 days after the very first one. Since Prisoner Wine is all about pushing boundaries in the art of wine-making, they love sharing about their production process and the people involved in it. Their next email was all about this and we do believe that marketers should really consider letting their clients know the process and the people behind their brand.
The subject: Based on the newsletters that we’ve received from Prisoner Wine, we can tell that they really want to showcase their promos on their newsletter. Aside from talking about creative wine making, they really want their subscribers to get their in-demand bottles by making them the first to know about it. Here are some of our top picks form their subject line:
“Last chance to save $40 on our iconic red wines”
“How we push boundaries in the art of winemaking 🍇”
“Final hours for complimentary shipping”
Frequency: They do send out their newsletters a lot and we’re guessing it’s because their customers are still having a hangover from their holiday wine purchases. Just like Prisoner Wine, if your customers are asking for more, give them a treat by giving them discounts and complimentary shipping. Let them be the first ones to know through your newsletter.
Overall thoughts: Prisoner Wine has a lot of offers going on and if you happen to be a wine or beverage brand that does the same, we highly recommend subscribing to them and learn a thing or two about the right newsletter strategy.
There you have it! Which one is your favorite review and what are the tips that you’d love to apply to your brand? Let us know by connecting with us on Instagram or LinkedIn! If you need help in creating a newsletter campaign, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
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