Successful email marketing strategies of well-known companies and what we can learn from them (guest article)
If we look at the marketing strategies of large and successful companies, we see that the E-Mail-Marketing is given more and more importance. Many companies thus link the many other marketing channels with each other – following the inbound marketing process – and thus reach (potential) customers extremely personally and on many levels.
It is precisely these synergies between different marketing and sales channels that allow companies to address their customers as efficiently as possible and to communicate their own brand message in a targeted manner. However, companies often work with completely different priorities…
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E-mail marketing: The direct line to the Customers
If you want to maintain direct contact with your target group, you have to contact them as much as possible address directly and unfiltered. There are two different marketing channels that come into play today: on the one hand social media such as Twitter, Facebook & Co., and on the other hand email.
If we look at the effectiveness of both options, e-mail marketing wins, since direct and, above all, personal contact is much easier. However, communication by e-mail requires a basic interest on the part of the recipient, which we first have to arouse. So the comparison isn’t entirely fair.
Nevertheless, for this reason alone, many companies use e-mails – newsletters to be precise – not just to increase conversion, but also to develop an individual connection to the customer (keyword: trust).
Email vs . Newsletter – what’s the difference?
Basically, there is no difference. I like to use the term “newsletter” for regular, up-to-date, and, if necessary, automated e-mail communication as part of marketing campaigns. Others refer to this as “mailing”. An e-mail (or just “mail”) as such can be anything for me: double opt-in e-mails, announcements (so to speak, without “use”), replies, out-of-office messages, etc.
Emails are more than just a sales channel Shipping of e-mails and in particular, newsletters have long since ceased to be just for sales. Thanks to increasingly modern marketing automation (software), we can reach our target group through e-mails along the lead management process.
For companies In concrete terms, this means: The points of contact with interested parties are intensified and aligned to their needs and interests. Only when his interest is high enough and the chances of a deal are correspondingly good are concrete advertising emails sent with offers that match the person.
Content marketing is a strong driver of this development because collecting addresses and building recipient lists takes time and, above all, good incentives; ergo good content that interests the target group. It is important to expand this interest in the long term, to create trust, and finally to “exploit” it in the sense of conversion (in a positive sense for both sides).
A look at the e-mails themselves as well as at the marketing strategies of small and large companies shows how individual, personal and creative they can be.
Successful marketing strategies of small and large companies
If we look at the strategies of successful brands in the market, there are a surprising number of parallels, in the sense of overlaps. Nevertheless, most of them manage to set their own priorities and thus address their own target group individually.
The crux of the matter is a sophisticated (digital) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to customer data quasi individually – but automatically with the help of appropriate software – and to address the customer personally and specifically with offers that are relevant to him.
Zalando: Perfect address thanks to personalization
The Online mail-order company Zalando has managed to establish itself in the market within a few years through smart marketing. This is not only due to the pricing of the various offers, but also to the very well-coordinated and, above all, professional email marketing mainly on effective personalization and offers a very good mix of relevant advertising and various goodies offered to regular customers. Zalando aligns its e-mails with the gender as well as the purchase and viewing history of the recipient and thus offers them a direct reference to previous interactions with the brand. In addition, there is a very strong personalization of the emails. Recipients are always addressed by name and directly included in the subject as well as in the mail itself.
That speaks for a very good database and data management because otherwise, such personalized e-mail marketing is hardly possible. All points of contact with the company are taken into account and previous purchasing behavior is comprehensively analyzed.
Zalando also “observes” every single step of its visitors on the web, especially on your own website and beyond that, as far as retargeting allows. The aim is to be able to outline a customer journey that is as detailed as possible and to compare it with other interested parties. Based on these behavioral patterns, relevant product recommendations – with a very high purchase probability – can be communicated. The customer is additionally enticed by vouchers and discount codes and tempted to buy.
Overall a good and, above all, professional marketing mix, has contributed to a large extent to Zalando’s success.
Tip 1: Personalization and Automation
It is easy to see that Zalando uses various e-mail templates and adds personal data from a corresponding CRM software to its e-mails in some places. Although the effort involved in creating such templates and maintaining a structured database is quite high, personalized emails can be generated automatically as a result.
Foodist: Effective visual communication thanks to holistic content design
Food supplier Foodist advertises on its website, the web in general, and in its mailings with the freshness of the ingredients and products offered and with their excellent taste. The Foodist newsletters are also designed accordingly and try to convey this brand message in every single element.
Subscribers are also addressed personally, yes the direct use of customer data can only be partially seen at Foodist. Rather, the experts at Foodist optimally address the preferences and goals of their target groups in their marketing campaigns. Because the newsletters from Foodist convince with strong colors, appealing pictures, and the optimal presentation of the products offered.
Foodist relies on visual content in a newsletter.
More tips on the subject:
How to find matching pictures.
Checklist: Legal risks when using images.
How it works: Optimize loading time by compressing images through visual communication, the probability is high bigger to convince the subscribers of the freshness of the food and its potential taste than if the Foodist only described products with decent text.
Nevertheless, the texts of the mailings also contribute to visual communication, since Foodist uses visual language. Overall, everything is well coordinated and aims to create a need in the reader for the products presented – including the food emojis in the subject line.
Emojis in the subject line can attract attention.
Tip 2: Clear focus on the target group
Foodist (potential) customers are clearly defined. The company, therefore, directs its e-mail communication and marketing almost exclusively to them, instead of addressing as broad and generic a mass as possible. The needs and wishes of the target group are extrapolated from both their purchases and their social media activities and integrated into the respective newsletter. Every newsletter, indeed every e-mail from Foodist is intended to arouse hunger for certain products and offers and entice recipients to buy.
Actually, it is not an innovative concept, but the modern design and the excellent text and images make it work all the better.
HelloFresh: Content and advertising optimally combined
HelloFresh is also a food supplier with a very clearly defined target group. And here, too, the strong and lively colors of the image motifs play an important role. But HelloFresh’s e-mail marketing is clearly structured differently than, for example, at Foodist.
Although the individual products and offers of the company are also advertised in newsletters, rarely at the top. The prominent areas of the newsletter are taken up by editorial content, e.g. recipes or useful information on the topics of nutrition, food, and cooking.
In the context of this editorial content, It may happen that certain products and product groups are highlighted particularly strongly due to their properties. Whether due to special occasions (holidays, seasons, etc.) or topic-specific such as ingredients that are currently trending in the food industry. All of these can draw the focus of attention and significantly increase reader interest. Subsequently – not necessarily in the same email – these products are then offered by HelloFresh and made accessible to the reader. The purchase decision for such an offer is much easier for the reader thanks to the knowledge gained previously.
Tip 3: Storytelling as the basis for success
The editorial content is usually prepared as a story. Storytelling not only increases the attention of subscribers (for the newsletter) but also sustainably increases their goodwill toward the brand. In addition, this form of content marketing creates a direct benefit for the recipient, even without having to pay for the actual HelloFresh products – emphasis on “must”, because the newsletter does not remain without effect.
Conclusion: Use the marketing strategies of successful brands for your own success!
If we look at the three examples, it is noticeable that the subscriber is always the focus of newsletter marketing. This is made possible through indirectly tracked behavior (interactions with the brand) or the direct disclosure of personal information. The smart evaluation of this data and its use in the context of e-mail marketing will become increasingly important in the future (to be fair, we should have mentioned “content marketing” at least once).
Incidentally, not only for large companies but also (or even more so?) for small or even self-employed entrepreneurs who rely on direct contact and good relationships with potential customers.
If you want to differentiate yourself through your email marketing, your goal should be not just to be exceptional in one of the areas mentioned, but as much as possible in all. And anyone who has already prescribed e-mails as meaningless should definitely rethink. Because although we describe many things as “social” networks, hardly any channel is as personal in communication as e-mails. And it is precisely this personality, and familiarity that will become more and more important in the future.
So that’s it for me on email marketing best practices. Now it’s your turn!