Poor old email. All too often it’s like the has-been at the office party, a symbol of glory days long gone while all the cool kids are busy doing something else. But email can still teach the young pretenders a thing or two about engagement – providing we create emails fit for the brands they represent.
How much time and creative energy is poured into the packaging of luxury products? How many weeks of procrastination does it take to create a half page press ad that’s fit for purpose? So how come emails for the same brands are treated like the relative in the attic no-one talks about, fed on meagre rations when the budget has been used elsewhere?
It’s not that the packaging or the press ad don’t warrant impassioned attention – of course they do. But if you’re going to send a piece of email marketing, doesn’t it deserve the same treatment as every other weapon in your branding arsenal?
Yet that’s not what seems to happen. Take a look at the last luxury brand that sent an email newsletter or ad your way. Now imagine the logo was that of a budget brand and take another look. Is there anything in the execution that carries the inherent feel of brand personality, values and quality? Or is it the same soulless, boring (and often broken) message you receive a dozen times a day from far less illustrious brands, in fancy clothes?
Here’s how you create emails fit for the brands they represent:
1. ‘The Newsletter’
Yawn. How many brands dampen expectations from the get-go by giving their editorial a name that sounds like it’s the weekly missive from your child’s school? An exciting brand should give its editorial a platform to match – so let’s make ‘the Brand X Newsletter’ something more enlivening like ‘The Edit’ or ‘The Slice’.
2. More than an email
Think of it as a rich piece of communication, designed to inform, inspire and encourage readers to continue their brand journey. It needs to be slick, responsive and designed to render properly on all devices. And it needs to pack a persuasive, entertaining or informational punch – so give it the copywriting, content creation and design investment it needs.
3. Design flair
The paranoia of email designs breaking in the 1990s still seems to cast a lengthy shadow over today’s email marketing. There’s too much white space and a lack of rich design. Luxury brand emails should be rich, bold, confident and have as much charisma as a full page press ad – the only difference is you can click this one!
4. Ditch the template
If we ask for a basic template that’s easy to update every month, something that doesn’t require the time or investment of real creativity, is it any wonder that what we get is identikit, anodyne sameness that leaves customers cold?
A luxury brand needs to celebrate its individualism, and celebrate the individualism of customers by using data to cleverly personalise communications. And you don’t do that by using the same template everyone else uses.
5. Built on the brand
In the world of luxury retail the bag or packaging is as important in creating a seductive, exciting brand experience as the product itself. Luxury brands thrive by making us feel special, by developing our love of – and loyalty for – the brand.
Your emails should do exactly the same, acting as a key contributor to brand engagement, rather than a distant relation.
Email hasn’t had its day. But treating it with casual disdain has. We’re championing emails with heart, imagination and the power to be profitable.