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Unprepared Ep 47 - What Makes a Successful Ecommerce Email Campaign with Lianna Patch


  • [00:00] - Intro
  • [00:36] - Why this email sample works 
  • [03:15] - How to scope an email 
  • [05:07] - What’s wrong with image-only email?
  • [06:12] - CTAs and reducing objection on email
  • [09:12] - Summary of email campaign tips
  • [09:41] - Where to find Lianna


Key Points:

  • A good subject line can be creative or clearly state what the receiver can get from the email.
  • The email from Silly George contains ways to use the product and when to expect results, thereby reducing the objection from the customer.
  • Few brands use GIFs to highlight features but it’s an actually good way to pep up your email.
  • Brands often send giant image-only emails look like spam to the inbox, so it's not the best practice for email campaigns. 
  • This makes the email inaccessible to screen readers who need the plain text version. 
  • Having text on your email can help get through the spam filters or easily search the email when needed. With that little interaction, you can gain or lose a potential sale. 
  • When sending an email, brands usually throw too much on one email. It often doesn't give a good direction to the reader.
  • Digest or newsletter style has value but you shouldn't be using sales or click-through conversion as the primary metric of success for these types of emails.
  • Litmus scope bookmarklet tool can help see if the brand has tweaked the plain text version of the email. 
  • To use it, simply open your email, hit scope it, and see how emails will show up on desktop, mobile, and text only.
  • When an email campaign uses an email with text embedded on the image, no useful information are on the text email. It only contains links and URLs.
  • Brands can reduce objections ahead of time by explaining longer shipping hours or when to expect the result from the product, etc. This can lessen customer inquiries. 


Chase Clymer  

Hey everybody. This is probably...this is our second time trying after 300 weird issues with technology, but we figured it out. We made it work.

And today we're welcoming to Unprepared, Lianna Patch. Lianna, welcome to the show today.

Lianna Patch  

Thanks. So excited to be here and complain about emails with you. 

Chase Clymer  

Well, we're not necessarily complaining, we're gonna highlight some good emails, and then ways to be better, I guess is the way that we're approaching this.

Lianna Patch  

Yes, I think so. 

Chase Clymer  

Alrighty. Well without further ado, it's your next eight and a half minutes.

Lianna Patch  

Right. So I'm just gonna choose a few. I've got a few pulled up already. 

But this is one of my favorite emails that I've ever gotten after, you know, I think actually bought from them first. But they sent this to me as an onboarding, how to use the product or how to get used to the product. 

And things I love about it: the subject line is very clear about what I'm going to get inside. 

It's coming from the brand name, but also I can tell from the sender name, the sender email address here that if I need to ask them something, I can hit reply, and it will go to contact and I will probably talk to a person.

Chase Clymer  

So was this the first in their welcome series.

Lianna Patch  

This is after I bought. So this is actually the first in their post-purchase onboarding. 

I filed it under Ecommerce welcome in my swipe file, but I think it's not exactly accurate. 

Okay, yeah. I really also love the use of the GIF here or GIF if you want to fight about it. 

Because I don't see enough Ecommerce brands using fun GIFs to point out the product features. And it's a nice way to like pep up your inbox and I love their colorful branding and design. 

I'm really hoping this is a searchable highlightable text. I think it is. So this is one thing. There we go. 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. We talked about this on our failed first take. The fact that because all the big brands send image-only emails with their texts baked into the photo, other people think that that is best practice. 

And so brands will send giant image-only emails that to your inbox look like spam, because they're just a giant photo. 

And they're totally inaccessible to people using screen readers. You know, who needs the plain text version or who might have the plain text version being right to them by an app. 

So this is amazing. I love that they have this searchable highlightable text helping them get through spam filters. 

They get right to the point, like your products on its way, here's how to use it. Don't forget objection reducing immediately. 

You're going to have to use this for about six weeks before you see your longer lashes. By the way, I'm not being paid for this but it totally works. 

How-to everything here is, except for that step one, highlightable So again, there's like actual real text to read here.

Chase Clymer  

And the reason that's important is if you got this email, and you read it in passing on the train or whatever. 

And then down the line, you want to go back to it, you're going to search the text that you remember. And then if it's an image, they're never going to find it. And just that little interaction there, you've just lost a potential sale.

Lianna Patch  

Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm curious to see if we scope it. If we use the Litmus Scope bookmarklet tool to look at the plain text version, if they've tweaked the plain text version of the email.

Chase Clymer  

So for people that aren't familiar, what is litmus scope and how do you use it?

Lianna Patch  

It is a cute free tool from Litmus who are the email experts in design deliverability and content strategy, they're amazing. 

They make a lot of great tools. This is a free one that lives in your bookmark bar. And you can open an email, hit scope it, and see how emails will show up both on desktop and mobile and I think most crucially, in text only. 

I would say this is a pretty successful text-based version of the email because normally when you see an email with a bunch of images, you'll get the URL for all those images hosted on the website. 

And it's not readable. But after we get through these links up here, if you have a screen reader, you actually get into like useful text.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And we scoped one on the failed attempt. That was all images. And it was essentially just a big list of URLs, and it had no useful information in it at all. 

So extremely not accessible. And if I was on that email list, and that's what I got, and I couldn't understand any of it. It was straight up gibberish. I would have just unsubscribed and again, losing out on future sales.

Lianna Patch  

Yeah. So this is an A+, great work from both the strategy perspective because where I am in the customer journey, I thought that they're still making me feel appreciated. 

They're giving me tips to use the products and they're reducing some objections that I might have by saying use this for six weeks before you see results so that I don't email them that week for being like "It's been a month I'm unhappy. I want to refund".

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. always better to set expectations upfront.

Lianna Patch  

We'll go through a couple more, I want to look at this one brand in particular, that is doing a subscription. 

They're called Atolla Skincare. So after I'd already subscribed...I think this might be a full list email, they might be sending this to their whole list because this would work really well whether or not you purchased. 

This would be great for people who are considering signing up for the first time as well.

Chase Clymer  

I think that email is going to do a fantastic job of explaining the benefits and values of this product.

Lianna Patch  

Except that the text is not suitable.

Chase Clymer  

That does look like it might be a whole image. Well, I wonder what happens when you scope it?

Lianna Patch  

I don't know. Let's find out. Okay, so here it is. Let's look at the plain text version. 

Oh, no. 

Chase Clymer  

And it's a big list of links. That is terrible.

Lianna Patch  

And it's empty. All they had to do was adjust the plain text version and take whatever copy they had written in their Google Doc that they pasted into probably Klaviyo. And all they had to do is just paste it in here and they didn't do it. 

There is one more brand that is doing a great job. And I want to see if they use giant images. I want to show this to you. 

Let's see, it's called Girlfriend Collective. I order from them probably more than I should. 

One thing that they do really well that we haven't talked about is sending one email per piece of news.

So for instance, they restock the product, the whole email is about that product restock. They have a photo, but they also have that searchable text there one call to action is shop this product obviously goes to the product picture. Great. 

This is actually back in stock notification. But they do this regardless of whether you signed up to hear about this.

And also I just like to point out that if you look at their website, their models are incredibly diverse and include a huge range of sizes, ethnicities, body types, it's great. 

It makes people feel seen and reflects the actual composition of humanity which I love.

Chase Clymer  

I want to go and highlight what you said there about how when they're sending their emails that it has one call to action and one specific request from the reader. 

I think that that's something that people don't do enough. They will throw away too much into an email and if you want your traffic to go one direction, but then you poke a bunch of different holes in the funnels. Now you're just spraying and praying almost.

Lianna Patch  

Yeah. And I think there is value sometimes in sending like that digest or newsletter style email that lets people go where they want to go. But you shouldn't be using sales or click through conversions as the primary metric of success for a newsletter email. 

You know, you're not trying to get lots of sales from an email that sends people 20 different places.

One last email from Girlfriend. What I like about this is it immediately confirms the great decision that I've just made by congratulating me and saying you did that. 

Telling me what I did. by purchasing like, I helped save the environment. And I'm going to get some cute sweatpants. I literally ordered the sweatpants like 20 minutes ago. I'm so excited. 

What's next. So again, reducing objections ahead of time. Previewing what I'm going to deal with, which is longer shipping times. 

And one thing that I just noticed that they added to their website. I want to show you guys this. Because this is really, I think important for people who are, if you're an Ecommerce provider, and you're experiencing longer shipping times, which everybody is.

Here it is: Slow fashion takes time. In order to avoid creating extra CO2 during transit, we limit the distance our clothes travel by consolidating everything in a fulfillment center near our factory, then shipping out orders directly to you. Cutting out this intermediary fulfillment facilities might mean it takes a little longer, but we think saving emissions is worth it, don't you? 

Best way to message longer shipping times that I've ever seen.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that's a fantastic way to approach that. 

So to just kind of clean up what we talked about today is, when you are approaching your newsletter messaging, or your welcome series messaging, first and foremost, use real text and not images everywhere. 

Additionally, after that get, creative with your subject lines and break the mold. Don't just fall into the trap of Welcome to x newsletter. That's boring, people aren't going to open it. And then setting expectations are going to lead to less customer support tickets.

Lianna Patch  

Yeah, anticipate what people might need to hear from you regardless of where they are. 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. If people are curious about working with someone that kind of knows a lot more about email than me or possibly themselves. How do they get a hold of you?

Lianna Patch  

They can find me on Twitter @punchlinecopy.

Chase Clymer  

All right. Well, make sure to link to that in the show notes. Thank you so much. 

Lianna Patch  

Cool. Thanks, Chase.