Learning from Bombas' Emails: An exercise in customer engagement

Email Marketing

This post was initially a thread on Twitter.

In the last 65 days, Bombas has sent me 24 emails. 23/24 were 100% product or sales based.

That's roughly one PRODUCT email every 2.5 days for the last 2 months.

I opened 3/24 (mass opened all today for image) and clicked on 1/24.

This is dangerous.

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Email marketing is a commodity for DTC brands. As a solid benchmark: about 30% of DTC brands revenue should be coming from email marketing.

If you’re running $10 mil a year in revenue and email is driving 30% (or has the potential to drive 30% of your revenue), that’a $3 million asset.

It needs to be treated as such.

First stop: Protect your list, focus on engagement.

The amount you email a person should be very contingent on how engaged they are with your brand (and your previous emails).

AKA- with an open rate of under 15%  and only a SINGLE click over the last 65 days, Bombas should have scaled back their frequency.

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Here’s the problem: A lot of brands are sending 1 or 2 email blasts per week, with no real understanding of how the people within that list are engaging with them.

If someone hasn’t been engaging with your emails or your brand, and you’re *still* sending them 1-2 emails/week for the last 30, 60,90 days, now you’re just spamming them.

You’ve killed any brand equity that customer may have had with you 60 days ago (in this case).

The solution to this is one many marketers may not like. When we’re held to consistent metric reporting, the idea of scaling back sounds terrifying.

But this is the beauty of engagement segmentation.

If someone HASN’T engaged with you for a while, send fewer emails, instead of more.

If someone hasn’t engaged with a PRODUCT email, but has clicked on a CONTENT-PIECE, add them to a better, slow-nurture flow.

Let’s look at two scenarios for a brand who just received an email (3-month test):

  1. Send two emails a week for 90 days.
  2. Send 1-2 emails a month w/ deep content.

For scenario 1:

I’d be out at day 30, but for the purpose of the exercise Let’s pretend someone stayed for the full 90 days.

3 months of this and most people would go “unsubscribe, I’m out” And that’s that. Your $$ asset (email marketing) just COMPLETELY severed a customer relationship- for no reason.  

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For scenario 2:

Most customers are going to open that first email, because they still *like* you as a brand. Then, because you’ve trained them to expect GREAT quality, they’re going to open the next one…. And the next one… and now your indispensable asset (email marketing) has just automatically created high brand affinity AND  high chance of purchase.

Here’s the ticker: By using engagement analytics to personalize journeys, you actually increase engagement with your list, even if it means decreasing email sends.

Think: If someone hasn’t engaged with you for a while, they’re a high-risk. So instead of amping up, you back off email sends, and create highly targeted flows based on their previous actions.

Slowly, you build up email trust, getting them to open, engage, read your content, and ultimately getting them to start walking that customer journey with you again.

Engagement doesn’t always mean more communication. It’s not just to send more and more, it’s to send better content, at the right time, that people actually WANT to engage with.

DTC brands email lists are an incredible asset. So ask yourself, how do we make sure we protect it?

Email should be driving somewhere around 30% of your revenue. As you continue to scale, that is going to turn into a multi million dollar asset. So you must protect it NOW.

  • Focus on engagement.
  • Personalize the experiences.
  • Protect the relationships that are being built through this channel, so you don’t lose potential customers for good.

On that note, I’m sorry Bombas. But this relationship has come to an end.

Kristen LaFrance

Head of community at Churn Buster, host of the Playing for Keeps podcast, and (unofficial) mayor of DTC Twitter, Kristen is an expert on all things retention. When she’s not interviewing leaders in the eCommerce world, you can catch her hiking 14-ers with her three rescue dogs.

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