Resources Hub » Blog » 5 Brands Crushing It with Email Marketing and Automation

This post has been updated as of May 2019

Today’s marketers are going beyond one-off emails. They’re using email marketing and automation to support their marketing strategies and are seeing results.

These automated emails are personalized and relevant. They’re triggered by a subscriber’s actions or other conditions like time or a date, so relevant content gets delivered just when a subscriber wants and needs it.

What are the brands with the best email marketing and automation?

Today, we’re sharing 5 brands crushing it with email marketing and automation, as well as some lessons you can learn from them. The marketers at these companies are using email marketing and automation to welcome subscribers, increase engagement, and educate their audience.

1. ZURB connects with subscribers

ZURB is a product design company located in Silicon Valley, and caters to a large community of aspiring and accomplished designers, as well as company CEOs. They use email to educate their subscribers and are focused on delivering valuable, educational content on design.

According to Daniel Codella, Marketer, ZURB has several newsletters for different products and business groups. When he first heard about email automation, he shuffled his feet, thinking it’d be confusing. “Eventually, I jumped in, and I found it really easy to use,” he told us. “When I was done creating our automated welcome email, I thought ‘Is that it?’ It was so easy.”

ZURB implemented automated welcome emails so that, when a fan signed up for the newsletter, they automatically received a tailored email. ZURB iterated on these emails and achieved fantastic results. The welcome emails now see upwards of 70-75% open rates and 40-45% click-through rates.

Zurb welcome email

What you can learn from ZURB:

  • Email marketing and automation is easy to implement, no matter your level of technical know-how.
  • Subscribers will be more engaged and invested in your emails if you give them a timely welcome.
  • You can easily dip your toe in the marketing automation waters by automating something simple, like a welcome email, and it can result in huge gains.

2. Mumsnet’s personalized experiences

Marketing automation lends itself to personalized experiences, and Mumsnet, the largest parenting site in the UK, provides one of the most inspiring examples out there.

Mumsnet understands that parenthood is a journey, one that begins the moment a woman finds out she’s pregnant. If you find out you’re expecting and share your due date, Mumsnet will send you email newsletters throughout your pregnancy to help you learn about the different stages, based on how far along you are.

“The pregnancy newsletter is fully automated and uses the mother’s due date as the trigger to send emails,” said Shamim Mirzai, CTO at Mumsnet. “We record the due date through a custom email signup form and use that custom field to schedule emails that the expectant subscriber will receive. This approach is a really effective use of automation, and it’s creative too.”

What you can learn from Mumsnet:

  • Your customers are on a journey. Use email marketing and automation to join them.
    • Get creative with your triggers.  You can trigger automation of many things like dates, actions or inactions, joining a list, joining a segment, leaving a segment, and more.

3. BuzzFeed’s automated courses

BuzzFeed has made substantial waves in the media world, becoming one of the most visited sites on the planet. But BuzzFeed does a lot more than share puppy GIFs—it has a thriving email marketing program that leverages automation.

BuzzFeed has developed over 20 email newsletters that are catered to subscribers’ specific interests, such as Health and Beauty, Pets and Animals, or BuzzFeed News. Email is one of the top five referrers of website traffic. Email subscribers are super engaged too. Visitors from email spend three minutes longer on their website than those from other channels.

Many aspects of these newsletters are automated, but one of our favorite examples of BuzzFeed’s use of automation is their educational courses. BuzzFeed automated their “4-Week Get Fit Challenge.” After a subscriber signs up for the course, they get a series of emails with tips on how to get in shape.

What you can learn from BuzzFeed:

  • Even the largest media sites rely on email automation to drive engagement.
    • Packaging content into an automated email course allows you to stay in touch with subscribers on an ongoing basis.

See more examples of how publishers are using email marketing and automation to succeed.

4. Apartment Therapy Media teaches

When someone needs advice on which sofa bed to buy or how to roast a whole chicken, they turn to Apartment Therapy or The Kitchn, its sister site. The company’s mission is to help people make their homes more beautiful, healthy, and organized by connecting them to helpful online resources.

Email marketing and automation has proven to be a great way for Apartment Therapy to connect with its audience, and the team uses Campaign Monitor to expand their following, distribute their content, and drive traffic to their website.

Apartment Therapy has found that automated emails allow them to educate their audience and disseminate email efficiently. The team at The Kitchn uses automation for their baking school, a series of lessons sent straight to subscriber’s inboxes. Once a subscriber signs up for a class, they’re taken through daily lessons on various aspects of baking. The subscribers are super engaged, with open and click-through rates higher than 55%.

What you can learn from Apartment Therapy:

  • Automated email courses can lead to very high engagement.
  • You can tailor content to specific segments of your audience, delivering the right content at the right time to the right subscriber.

5. On celebrates the start, and supports throughout

On, a Swiss-based running shoe company, uses email marketing and automation to connect with runners all over the world. The company leverages automated emails to provide fans with a seamless customer experience.

On cares about much more than the finish line. On celebrates the start of the running adventure, so, when customers subscribe, they get an automated welcome email sharing the latest collection. In this automated email, subscribers also receive a shoe selector guide, so they can pick the right shoe for them.

And On takes it a step further than just sending a welcome email. Because On cares deeply about providing their customers with an all-around amazing running experience, and part of that means helping them decide when it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes. After buying a pair of shoes, customers can give On information about the kind of runner they are, how many miles they run, and so on.

Using this data, On sends automated emails to their customers, reminding them about when they should start shopping for their next running shoe. It’s an easy calculation for On, and it provides a great experience for customers.

What you can learn from On:

  • You can implement email marketing and automation in multiple areas of your business.
    • You can automate your sales efforts, so that customers know when it’s time to repurchase.
    • It’s worthwhile to support customers throughout their entire journey—from start, to middle, to finish, and then repeat, as needed.

Other companies crushing it with email marketing

The 5 brands we’ve shown you above are not the only brands crushing it with email marketing. Need some more email marketing automation examples to prove it?

Jaybird – adding a soundtrack to your life

Every audiophile knows the value of great sound. That’s why many turn to Jaybird for high-performance earbuds that sit comfortably when you wear them.

What sets Jaybird apart?

Besides performance and comfort, they also offer the added advantage of being sweat-proof—something everyone who values fitness finds difficult to find in earbuds.

However, no matter how great a device may be, it can only shine when people actually get to hear about it. That’s why Jaybird decided to trust one of the best email marketing companies to power their email campaigns.

email marketing examples from jaybird

Source: Campaign Monitor

Jaybird’s emails feature a vibrant design. This makes the company appealing to music and active lifestyle lovers (their main target audience).

Here’s what you can learn from Jaybird:

  • Target your audience: Know your audience and send highly segmented and targeted emails.
  • Build trust in your emails: Jaybird did this by including brands that endorsed them in their email design.
  • Inspiration encourages engagement: Jaybird doesn’t just sell earbuds. The company encourages customers to be the best that they can be. The engagement that the inspiration drives is a sure contributor to the success of their email marketing campaigns.

UNICEF New Zealand – changing the world one email at a time

It doesn’t take much to change the world. All you need is a vision and good automated workflows.

nonprofit email automation examples - unicef email

Source: Campaign Monitor

While UNICEF New Zealand isn’t in the business of making profits, the organization is one of the best email marketing automation examples in our books. This is because most—if not all— of the email marketing campaigns achieve goals of transforming the world, one life at a time.

Here’s a lesson to glean from UNICEF’s campaigns.

Timing is everything. Most of the emails UNICEF sends out to donors are time-sensitive. To ensure that the emails get results on time, it needs an automated workflow that’s precise, as well as a great email marketing platform.

Rip Curl – riding the waves of success

Rip Curl is an Australian company that designs, manufactures, and sells surfing sportswear and accessories. Considered one of the three biggest companies in their niche worldwide, the company attributes a part of the success to email marketing, making Rip Curl one of the best email marketing automation examples.

email marketing and automation examples - ripcurl email example


Source: Campaign Monitor

How does Rip Curl ride the international wave of success in such competitive waters?

Here are a few lessons from Rip Curl’s email marketing campaigns:

  • Show, don’t tell: Rip Curl understands the power of showing product in action. The company’s emails are designed to sell products with as few words as possible, but with as much action as possible.
  • Experiences sell: Marketers have known for a long time that people’s buying behavior is directed by feelings, rather than logic. Rip Curl packs a lot of emotional triggers in their emails—both in the images and the copy.

Wrap up

Email marketing and automation allow companies to connect with subscribers at the right place and time. They leads to a more engaged audience with subscribers who want to open, read, and take action on your emails.

Automation is spelling huge wins for companies like the brands we’ve shared, as well as many others. By learning from them, you too can be one of the future email marketing automation examples others can emulate.

Whether you’re the sole marketer at a startup or part of a marketing team at a large brand, there’s room to creatively use email marketing and automation to crush your goals.

If you need to up your email marketing game, check out our guide on how retailers can use email marketing and automation to achieve their marketing goals.

This post was originally published in July 2016


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This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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