Swedish Startup Space

The Power of Email

Written by on May 8, 2013

I get a lot of emails a day and many of them are just crap: promotion emails sent to thousands of people not targeted at all. I think we, as marketers, should put ourselves in the “receiver shoes” for a second before actually sending something. Email is still one of the strongest communication channels – make sure to get out the best of it and decrease the amount of people unsubscribing.

Three questions worth asking yourself before sending an Email:

1. What’s the goal with this email?

E.g. gain conversion (a purchase, a download, a click) or build relationship. Clarify your goal; make sure it’s central in the email and think of how to measure the success afterwards. Try to include measurable content, for example a promotion code you can track.

2. Is the content worth the risk of unsubscribes?

The more Email you send, the more people will unsubscribe. Make sure every Email you send is important and relevant to the receiver.

3. Why is the receiver getting the email?

I.e. “as one of our early adopters…” – make the receiver feel chosen and understand why your message is important to him. In this noise of impersonal emails you can really stand out by simply targeting your messages.

One example from my own work is a very targeted Email I send out on a weekly basis. Every week I pull out new users who’ve got a bad first impression of Uber: no cars available. It could be someone opening up the app outside service hours or someone trying to book a car during peak hours and couldn’t get one. Regardless, they didn’t get the full Uber experience and that’s the reason they’re getting my Email. The goal is to re-activate them, ask them to give us another chance and at the same time show our level of customer service. This Email is very well received and I get a lot of replies from people being blown away by our proactive effort – they feel chosen. Hopefully we gain re-activation and awareness of an existing costumer support that actually cares about their experience. Use a bad experience to gain a great experience J.

Here are some companies that are doing emails particularly well:


Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.55.16 AM

I love the idea of introducing the community manager. It’s very obvious for me to understand why I’m getting this Email: I have a tictail store and Livia is there to help me with the service. Also, they’re launching a new product feature, which might be interesting for my shop. The goal (as I see it) is to build a relationship with the CM and re-activate me as a user – very visible “Log in” button on the upper corner. Great Email!


Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 11.56.54 AM

This is their weekly Email. Goal? Make me click on one of the links leading me to their homepage. Why am I getting this? Because I’m a Quora user and this is content that should be in my interest, especially selected for me: “Top Content For You This Week”. Definitely a relevant Email!


Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.41.00 PM

This is the weekly Yelp Email, targeted for me as a user based in Stockholm, with pro tips of places to visit. Every week has a new theme. The example shown here was sent right before fat Tuesday listing the best “Semlor” (traditional bun you eat for fat Tuesday in Sweden) in town. Perfect timing!

  • Luke Ryan

    Nice message Barbara – I spend a lot of time sending biz dev emails and one of the greatest lessons learned has been to make it personal and relevant as you outlined but also to keep it SUPER short. As we all get increasingly busier with more and more information coming at us it is important to make the recipient’s life easier by keeping email short, on point and with a clear call to action.
    Look forward to more of your posts!

    • Great insight.

    • Hi Luke,

      Great inputs, short and clean is definitely important. I feel like all companies should do more and more targeted and short Emails. By doing so we don’t need to write long texts. Let’s say we have 5 new topics we want to share, instead of sending one long Email to the whole mailing list we should probably consider sending 5 shorter Emails and split the mailing list up into 5 different target groups. It’s very unlikely all 5 topics are interested for everyone.

      Thanks for reading, Luke!

  • Jason Dainter

    Some nice examples here. Love the community manager email from Tictail. This is a video i stumbled across a while ago taken from the email design conference in SF that gives some great tips on email also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZL8peQaEuc

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