Successful Email Campaigns for Effective Email Marketing

There’s a word used by e-retailers everywhere that’s a clarion call to me, and I pretty much skimp through all other emails by retailers until I see it.

Yep, that word is “SALE”.

Needless to say that’s probably most women’s (and some men’s) Achilles’ heel.

Instead of charging to the department stores all wild-eyed and eager, I do most of my shopping online these days, browsing through products at reduced prices in the comfort of my own home.

Some days though, I change my mind midway while browsing – I might find something better to do (oooo… shiny) or decide I want to hang on to my savings that month instead.

And here’s when the frontrunners in the email game really get a chance to step up with their event triggered email campaigns.

Run out of patience before finding something to your liking? No problem! BCBGMAXAZRIA sends you an email some time after you have left their site, with the subject line: Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.13.58 PMYep, I definitely was. Clicking upon the email, I was greeted by BCBGMAXAZRIA’s recommendations of outfits I might be interested in. It’s clear they knew I was looking for items on sale as evinced by the email copy.

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The email also has another section on popular styles if the above selections did not work for me.

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Hmmm. Very nice. They got their second clickthrough. And look… free shipping!

Now, if I had for some reason picked out some items I wanted and then had the audacity to abandon cart… I get this personalized email instead.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 5.14.20 PMThe email surfaced by this personalized subject line contains items that I had placed into my cart, making it just that much more effective since these are items that I actually want.

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And just to be sure that they capture every little bit of revenue that could possibly squeeze out from me, the email has an added section cross-selling similar outfits.

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As you can see from the emails, BCBGMAXAZRIA has succeeded in implementing a rather effective email marketing campaign that is highly personalized and relevant to my interests – that’s pretty much the gold standard of email marketing, where your customers actually appreciate receiving promotional emails from you.

10 Key Takeaways from BCBGMAXAZRIA’s Email Marketing Strategy

Much like Kobo’s effective email marketing campaign, which we wrote about earlier, BCBGMAXAZRIA adhered to certain best practices in their event triggered email campaign.

  1. Personalized subject line – A personalized subject line drew my attention, especially when I saw that the email was coming from a brand that I was looking at just a couple of hours ago.
  2. Content relevance – The email content sent by BCBGMAXAZRIA was highly relevant to my interests. No surprise, since they were using items that I had already placed in my shopping cart as a hook!
  3. Smart timing – Using automated event triggered emails at the right time is key. BCBGMAXAZRIA was able to catch me at a time when I was already actively engaged with the brand and just a slight nudge away from purchasing.
  4. Social media options – BCBGMAXAZRIA’s email featured other social platforms, offering customers their preferred choice of communication channel for engaging with the brand. Convenient for me, smart for the retailer to provide options to re-engage.
  5. Cross-selling – In each of BCBGMAXAZRIA’s emails, the brand was upselling other popular or similar items at each touchpoint.
  6. Clear call-to-action – While the call to action for the first email was to “Continue Shopping,” the second was clearly to “Return to Your Cart”- calls to action that were repeated twice in each email.
  7. Safe List – To ensure their emails don’t end up in the spam box, BCBGMAXAZRIA encourages customers to add them to a safe sender list, killing two birds with one stone: education and deliverability.
  8. Unsubscribe – Happily, we can report that BCBGMAXAZRIA does have an option for customers to unsubscribe.
  9. Brand identity – By utilizing a consistent brand identity across both the site and their emails (stark black and white) BCBGMAXAZRIA ensures that the customer has a unified user experience across different channels and platforms.
  10. Minimal copy – Sometimes, a picture says a thousand words. In this instance, it certainly does. BCBGMAXAZRIA dispenses with long copy, instead using visuals to make the sale instead.

There are some things that I might have done differently, such as positioning the unsubscribe and the safe sender list call-to-action in a more prominent area. It would have also been interesting if they had swapped the subject lines on both emails, for example using “You were checking us out” for an email that was supposed to drive the action of actually checking out my shopping cart (pun fully intended), but all in all, I thought BCBGMAXAZRIA is running a pretty great event triggered email campaign! As to whether or not I converted, let’s just say I just might have a couple of new dresses hanging up in my wardrobe.

You’ve got your promotional emails looking and reading just the way you want them to. Now let’s move on to your transactional emails. Get the Transactional Messaging Best Practices E-Book to see what you can do to drive more revenue.

Transactional Messaging Best Practices

Key Takeaways from Kobo’s Email Marketing Strategy

Every now and then, we find ourselves confronted by genius in the form of exceptional and effective email marketing.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call Kobo’s marketing emails genius, they are certainly extremely well executed. Among the masses of promotional email that throng my mail box, Kobo’s email campaigns stand out – and for good reason.

Time and again, Kobo has sent out emails that have considerably reduced my normal purchase cycle, triggering a reaction that results in me clicking a “Buy Now” button.

Here’s a recent example that resulted in my purchase of a grand total of 11 books in a single day.

From the mail box…

It was the subject line that started it all:

5 recommended reads we think you’ll love + Last chance to get up to 75% off!‏

What sane book loving person can resist a 75% off on books? I clicked immediately to see…

Kobo top five recs

… a perfectly innocuous email introducing me to some of the latest available books in the bookstore and wait… what’s that? A name-the-villian trivia? Being a bit of a book worm, I was both hooked and intrigued.

… To the desktop

Before I could even access the questions, I was presented with an option to create a new account stating that I consent to receiving emails by that particular contest.  I was also required to fill out a fairly lengthy form on personal details – but hey there was potentially a 75% voucher and a fun game at the end of the process! I dutifully filled out all the fields and submitted my form.

And voila! It led me to this fun little trivia quiz with fairly easy answers.


After 15min, I had in my email inbox 10 promo codes that would give me discounts ranging for 10-20%. There was also a fairly short deadline for me to retrieve my discounts by 28th April. The shopperholic in me went, “Challenged Accepted!” I began browsing frantically for books to buy.

Meanwhile, I’d received a nice little thank you email in my mailbox.


At this point I was feeling all sorts of goodwill towards Kobo and trying to figure out how many books $1500 would buy.

The journey doesn’t end here though. A day later, I received an email encouraging me to purchase The Alchemist – a book I had downloaded the preview of, but had not yet purchased.


I didn’t purchase The Alchemist in the end… but I did end up getting Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper.

And this, my friends, is how you execute an absolutely stellar and effective email marketing campaign.

10 Key Takeaways from Kobo’s Email Marketing Strategy

That one initial email netted Kobo not only an afternoon of my life. It allowed Kobo to collect detailed personal information for targeting. Most importantly, it led to several purchases. It also demonstrated the team’s powerful grasp of the email marketing tools at their disposal and how to wield these for maximum effect. Here are some key takeaways that can improve your email marketing campaigns.

Have a compelling subject line – It was the 75% discount that really got me to click on the email.

Ensure the email content is relevant to your target audience – The campaign worked as well as it did because it was highly relevant to my interests.

Consistent branded look and feel – Across multi-channels, the campaign retained a look and feel that was consistent with the brand, which reinforced the perception of the brand in my mind.

Add to Safe List option – Give customers a chance to tell you that they want to receive promotional emails from you, by giving them the option to add you to their safe list.

Confirmation opt-in and customer details – The email trivia campaign was a smart way for Kobo to collect personal customer details about me, which they could use to trigger repeated purchases by sending me a promo voucher on my birthday.

Clear call to action – Whether it was Play Now or Buy Now, Kobo’s single call-to-action emails worked by channeling the customer to the intended destination without other distractions.

Use automated triggers – Kobo’s automated encouragement for me to purchase the books I had previewed led to yet another sale that would not have happened otherwise.

Create an incentive for customer engagement – No matter how beautifully worded or designed an email is, customers will not engage if there is no incentive. In this case, my incentive was both a chance to test my knowledge and a discount off purchased books.

Refer a friend – Provide customers with an option to share news about your brand with friends. Customer referrals are a powerful testimony to leverage on.

Campaign deadlines – Ensure that customer has a sufficient length of time to take action on the promo offered in the campaign, but a short enough deadline that they have to take action quickly. In this particular campaign’s case, it was 10 days – 1 day for each trivia question. As I only found out about the quiz at the tail end of the campaign, I had to act within a very short amount of time to redeem my discount coupons.

What other examples of successful and effective email marketing campaigns have you seen? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!

The best strategies could come to naught if businesses do not observe the fundamentals of email marketing best practices. Download the free Email best Practices eBook today to ensure that your emails are getting into your customer’s inbox!

Email Best Practices eBook