Crafting an email that stands out to readers isn’t as easy. As of last year, the average office worker was receiving 120+ emails per day. We can only expect that number to climb.
To grab your customers’ attention and distinguish your message from the hundreds of others, you’ll need to bring your A-game.
One of the best ways to snag readers’ attention is to elicit an emotion with your email.
“What makes people feel things rather than just think about them?”
In our experience, the answer to that question is almost always superb storytelling.
Today, let’s talk about four big-name brands that have brought stories to life through their email campaigns. These companies have been internationally recognized for their marketing campaigns and stories, and as a result, their customers have come to support them strongly.
If you’ve ever used or worked with Airbnb, you probably know their mantra: belong anywhere. The slogan reflects the brand’s mission to help its customers feel comfortable in any of their accommodations around the world. Not only does the mantra embody their travel philosophy, but it also draws people in by making everyone feel included in this relatively new business idea.
To support this “belong anywhere” mantra, Airbnb embraced around-the-world storytelling in its marketing campaigns. Instead of just talking about company origins or what they offer, they told stories through the eyes of locals.
Whether highlighting a specific person’s life story or hosting “experiences” led by locals, the company bring these stories right to people’s inboxes.
The above picture comes from an email sent out by Airbnb entitled “Meet the coolest women in history.”
Instead of merely pointing out that it's women’s history month, they highlighted activists, artists, suffragettes, and winemakers that were all women. Through Airbnb’s “experiences” and stories, people were able to learn more about the brand and the company values, as well as the world-wide services it has to offer.
When you’re subscribed to emails from TOMS, you aren’t just getting notifications about new products or coupon codes. This is a brand that’s long been known for its efforts to give shoes to people in need, and the company highlights that effort through its storytelling marketing strategies. When you support the brand, you support more than just the products - you support their purpose.
As you can see in the below email, the company doesn’t just sum up their success with statistics or simple phrases. They give customers the opportunity to dig deep and see what good TOMS is doing, both behind the scenes and publicly. This makes people feel more involved in the company’s efforts, especially considering that their money has contributed to these TOMS stories.
Many companies in the world that support important causes and charities and all of them can benefit from following TOMS’ example. Don’t just ask for people’s support. Instead, provide them with stories that reveal just how strong their donation and impacts can be. People will appreciate the email marketing strategy, and the company will likely earn more supporters as a result.
Another interesting (and effective) strategy is to your product story and the people behind them. Take Serengetee, for example. Although the brand has a fascinating story itself, the clothing company makes great efforts to highlight how the products are made and where they come from.
By subscribing to their email list, you’ll receive interesting stories about everything from fabric purchases to the Guatemalan women who weave the prints. The amount of brand transparency, as well as properly-executed storytelling, should be impressive to any brand.
As more and more consumers demand sustainable practices and social responsibility from companies, it’s smart for brands to begin telling the story of their products. Like Serengetee, you can reveal where your company’s purpose fits in with your products and how your story backs your morals. Every aspect of your company can tell a story, from the type of thread you use to the delivery methods people can select.
According to a study by Unilever, about 33 percent of consumers now buy from brands that are doing social or environmental good. People want to know where their products are coming from, and you can share that story, as well as the other hidden parts of your production. Email marketing campaigns play a role in the way brands tell their stories, and that can include how and where your products come from.
The eyewear company Warby Parker goes above and beyond when it comes to highlighting the company’s goals. They want people to know what they are all about from the beginning of their relationship with the brand. As soon as someone signs up for their email list and receives the “welcome” message, they are always prompted to learn about Warby Parker’s story.
The brand has done an excellent job of quickly summarizing its goals but in a powerful way.
Their story page states:
“Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.”
Bam! As soon as you’ve read that, you know all there is to know about supporting the eyewear brand.
Even if a customer only reads the brand origin story once, the message sets the tone for all of the emails that are still to come. Whenever the customer opens a coupon code email, they’ll think of the brand’s goal to provide revolutionary prices. When they find out that a pair of glasses were donated because they bought a pair, they’ll think about the brand’s social consciousness.
Warby Parker proves the point that storytelling can set a mood for an entire email marketing campaign. It can also boost people’s understanding of your brand and bring your entire marketing message together. For this brand, it’s not just an origin story - it’s who the company is at its heart.
If there’s one thing you walk away after reading this article, let it be this:
Your emails can be so much more powerful when you tap into true emotions and stories.
Share your experiences, as well as those from others. Be real and tell your customers exactly who you are as a brand and a team.
Sure, your emails can carry sales pitches every now and again, but it’s vital that they all tie into your “big” story. When you need a little guidance, look to the four brands mentioned above for a little inspiration. The success of their campaigns is extremely evident, so they must be doing something right when it comes to touching people’s hearts and minds.
President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience, Manish is passionate about helping businesses take their branding to the next level.