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Email Marketing Strategy - Superhero Style

Posted on 3.30.2011

Content and the Engagement Imperative Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world. Apple also provides an excellent example of effective email marketing. Let’s take a look at an iPad 2 promotional email that recently arrived in inboxes everywhere to see how these superheroes of Silicon Valley get their message across.


Email marketing superheroes know how to secure and reserve a recipient’s attention and, more importantly, get them moving down the conversion funnel. For this reason alone, include at least one “hero shot” in every email (think, a barrel-chested Superman standing with hands on his hips). Hero shots are the best representation of your company, its products or services. If you are selling an actual product like an iPad 2, that should be the hero shot (as seen here). If marketing something intangible, however immediate the benefit received, show the result of using it (think, happy people).


Brands need to take center stage, just like our favorite superheroes. After following the guidance regarding email acquisition you will have, over time, developed a recipient list that is interested in your company and its products and services. Including a logo in a high-profile manner and a consistent look gives those recipients the immediate sense that the information received is both trustworthy and available to them exclusively, making them feel part of a group. The actual Apple logo is relatively small but consistent in every product email from Apple, as is the soft gray background and clean layout. In this instance, the hero shot plays a dual role and supports the brand’s widely-known image as a tech leader.


Consumers are more likely to react to messages that are targeted, timely and relevant – just consider the last email you interacted with as evidence. Too often, those responsible for email marketing become so tied to a delivery schedule that they lose sight of what is most important – engagement. Emails that clearly express a purpose or objective are those that bring the user closer to an eventual sale. In this email, Apple’s objective is to notify its audience that the product is available online and in stores. Superheroes are never timid so jump right in and convey the message that matters most.


Superheroes know intuitively when to use their super powers. Email marketers often don’t. Developing specific strategies for the separate objectives of your enterprises’ email marketing campaign is superhero-like, but using available filtering, segmentation and suppression tools and technologies provides an ability not accessible to average marketers. Using RFM metrics (Recency, Frequency and Monetary, in whatever form they are delivered) and segmenting by those variables and others, including most notably purchase history, are important strategies to understand during preparation. Also, note available contact information, privacy settings and opt-out options in the email itself.

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