Friday, February 3, 2012

Email Marketing

Aside from a very simple signup form on our Shoes of Prey home page, and a monthly email newsletter, we've never explored email marketing in great detail.

We recently added a dismissible email signup popup on our Sneaking Duck online try on page and we're now capturing email addresses from about 5% of the total visitors to the Sneaking Duck website. This has us thinking about ways we can use email marketing more for both Shoes of Prey and Sneaking Duck.

Successful online retailers like, Gilt Group and BrandsExclusive here in Australia require you to sign up and provide your email address to even access their site, and email marketing has been a key component of their success.

We don't want to go that far, but we've been thinking of adding a dismissible email signup popup on our 3D shoe designer page, then creating a 5 part email series that goes to new customers explaining some of our most commonly asked questions around shipping, delivery time, and returns policy as well as some key sales messages, like the very bespoke way our shoes are made, the natural leathers and materials we use, the fact we sell gift certificates and that our shoes are great for events like weddings.

Have you considered using email marketing in your startup? If so, what has worked well for you?

Image credit. Cross posted to StartupSmart.


  1. Triggered emails are one of the most powerful but least used mechanisms to help interested customers get up to speed on your products / services. One big mistake is to put too much in the email - one concept per email works so much better.

    also, design for mobile first - think about how much you use your mobile to screen emails - most other people do that too.

    here's a great resource:

    1. Thanks for the link Ian and excellent thoughts on designing email to be read on mobiles, I read a lot of my email on mobile and lots of people still don't design for it = annoying.

  2. Hi Michael,

    Firstly, thanks for your blog. I'm interested in launching something in Sydney so your insights into life as a start-up have been rather inspiring.

    I thought I'd share some thoughts on how email marketing could be useful specifically for Shoes of Prey and Sneaking Duck. (I'm not trying to sell you anything either).

    Have a look at this chart -

    The best tip I can give you about email is to send the right message to the right person at the right time. In practice, this means to segmenting your audience according to their expressed behaviour and placing them in different email / marketing automation programs.

    A note on technology -
    To get the most out of email, I suggest you look into marketing automation. It's normally used in B2B, and allows you to automate your relationship marketing. Eloqua and Marketo are two of the biggest providers, but there's also freemium offerings like loopfuse which you could use as proof of concept. A quick search will bring up more options. Most of the ideas below are contingent on having some sort of automation in place…

    Trigger emails & segments
    I think your idea of sending people a 5 part email series is a good, but only if it reaches them in the right context. Email is an intrusive channel, so it’s important to always give people a good reason to open (and keep opening) your emails. The best way to do that is to send only what they might be interested in.

    So to take your example, sending information about Gift Certificates to someone who has just ordered their first pair of shoes is probably redundant (they've just paid, unlikely to purchase gift certificate right now). However, a segment of past buyers who haven't visited the site for 12 months might really appreciated the reminder about Shoes of Prey in the lead up to Christmas.

    Expanding on this idea, there are three segments that you might want to target with different messages. I've put together a PDF chart to illustrate -

    A couple of other things that I've found email great for are:
    Membership pack - Send people a “membership pack” when they sign up. Include all the information that they need to do business with you, from their login details to links to return policies, and gift certificates. A bit like a reference guide.
    Building a profile of your most engaged customers. These are the people who keep coming back to the site, and read every email. They might not be the ones that buy the most (poor uni student = low cash), but they are likely to be the ones telling their friends about you...

    I hope that was somewhat useful for you. If you have any questions, please let me know.

    I'll be in Sydney next month - perhaps it might be worth having a coffee? Again, there's no ulterior motive beyond meeting local entrepreneurs.


    1. Hi Michael, thanks for your very well thought out ideas, they're excellent - very much appreciated.

      Would love to catch up for a coffee when you're next in Sydney, I'll shoot you an email.

  3. If you use email marketing correctly it can have many advantages over other channels. It is more cost effective, easy to setup, you get immediate results and it is very transparent. Check out this article on Advantages of Email Marketing for more details.

    Also, here are a few tips for Creating a Successful Email Marketing Campaign.