Loren McDonald | Mashable

Email isn’t just the elder statesman of the digital world. Email also binds all the disparate elements of a marketing program and bridges the gap between online and offline in ways that no other communications channel can.

Granted, there are many brands out there that still do “batch and blast” emailing like it’s 1999. But there are also a growing number of brands that have created world-class email programs. The following five are getting it right in the eyes of their customers. Here’s how.

1. Amazon

Amazon effectively and consistently harnesses its customer data to drive its email program. Many marketers still rely exclusively on sending a single email message to every email subscriber in their database. Amazon, however, uses customer data to trigger specific, targeted messages. For the customer this email would likely be a list of recommended products that are based on a recent purchase.

2. King Arthur Flour

King Arthur Flour is a small, but prestigious, brand of baking ingredients and equipment that puts the human voice front and center in its email communications.

Sometimes, that voice comes from King Arthur Flour customers in the form of product reviews and commentaries. Sometimes a company employee writes about baking with a new product or passes along tips and advice. Other emails have featured farmers who grow the wheat that KAF mills into its premium flours.

This intensely personal approach isn’t just something the company thought up. Instead, it consciously reflects the KAF brand, the employee-owned company, the community of bakers who attend workshops, and its legions of home bakers.

Don’t be misled by the homey approach, either. Each message is designed to sell. But even with the most hard-sell messages, there’s a story to go along with the “buy now” push.

3. Air New Zealand

The airline that created the “best in-flight safety video ever” also works its magic on the pre-flight email reminder.

The email has a personal greeting from the actual Air New Zealand flight steward who will be working the flight. Representatives from Air New Zealand, say that passengers often print out their emails and show them to their “celebrity” crew member when they step on the plane.

Dynamic content rules in this email, which is part of Air New Zealand’s “personality allowed” campaign. Besides the personal greeting from the crew member, the email recaps the traveler’s itinerary, offers a five-day weather forecast, and destination tips.

Both the pre-flight email and the post-flight email generate impressive open and click rates, which are well above industry averages.

4. Moosejaw Mountaineering

When a company’s motto is “Love the Madness,” you know you’re not going to get standard email messages. Moosejaw products appeal to a younger, extreme-sports customer, so it infuses its emails with the same off-kilter humor and attitude. Two of my favorite campaigns are the live “Fridge Cam” and a “in fun” break-up service that gave Moosejaw customers the chance to let company employees do their relationship dirty work for them.

Moosejaw makes it work by giving its email writers the freedom to stray beyond the classic promotional mode, even into relatively racy territory.

5. Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker emails are a treasure trove of value for shoppers and cooks. Among the regular features are recipe lists like “Top 5 One Pot Slow Cooker Dinners.” Recipes are both printer-friendly and can be saved to an online “recipe box.” There are also links to chances to snag one of 10,000 free product samples each month.

The company’s “Quick Polls” and “Ask Betty” features also do a great job of increasing engagement in a way that feels organic and true to the brand.


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