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DTC Diagnostic Part 2: Email Analysis


Welcome to part two of our four-part deep dive into the marketing strategies of DTC sneaker brands Atoms, Vessi, and Cariuma.

If you haven’t read last weekend’s Facebook Ads analysis, you can catch up here

Today we’re focusing on email strategy with the help of Pilothouse’s chief email experts Julien Normand and Graham Battie.  

Let’s Jump/Run In: 

? Pop-ups

As SMS has risen in popularity, collecting phone numbers has become a huge priority. 

Some brands collect email and phone numbers in one pop-up, but we recommend implementing a two-step process like Atoms. 

The Pilothouse team notices there’s less friction with two steps.

“We’re seeing a submission increase of 7% for email and 5% for SMS when implementing a two-step process,” says Julien. 

In the Atoms pop-up, the copy doesn’t change from step one to step two. 

We’d suggest adding “You’re almost there! Finish by entering your phone number and we’ll send you free shipping” as a way to encourage users to complete the process. 

Notice how close the CTA sits in comparison to the email/SMS form. 

Bringing this down a touch to help with the awkward white space at the bottom. 

? Welcome EmailThe copy is strong and precise and the brand perfectly displays its value propositions along with a sleek photo. 

The images aren’t the same sizes, and while this isn’t a huge deal, Julien and Graham did notice (email nerds ?). 

The value props are clearly communicated, but if you’re still unsure, the brand writes, “Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.” 

The CTA leads to a page specifically about sizing – a key USP for Atoms. 

If you’re still not convinced, the brand hits you with social proof. 

Julien and Graham are massive believers in the use of social proof and UGC within emails. Make sure your emails flows have BOTH. 

To complete the email, we’d suggest adding one more CTA between the review and Instagram pictures. 

? Founders Story

Establishing the “why?” behind your brand is vital, especially early on. Atoms sends their why email three days after their welcome email. 

Since there’s no CTA, you’d assume the video links directly to their website. Unfortunately, it links to YouTube. ? 

We’d suggest placing this video on the website, so users end up on site. They’ll likely browse after watching, which could lead to sales. 

? Order Confirmed & Delivered

Similar to the overall brand aesthetic, these are very minimal. Nothing fancy, only the essentials. 

Notice that “View Your Order” is predominantly placed at the top for easy access.  

“Returns and Exchanges,” “Help Center,” and “Order Status” are styled in black, so they’re clearly visible.  

Every line is standard procedure.The brand is missing an opportunity to showcase its tone of voice. 

Write a piece of copy that’ll make customers laugh, smile or excite them about the shoes. 

?  Pop-Up 

Always make sure your offer is crystal clear. For Vessi, “10% Off” is upfront and prominent – nice work. ?

We’re big fans of the CTA “Let’s Do This,” and the ending statement: “Get Ready to start puddle jumping.” 

They’re small pieces of copy but go a long way towards building the brand voice. 

There’s a lot of steps in between typing your email and opening your inbox. Users might get sidetracked and forget about the coupon. 

We’d suggest split-testing the “Continue Shopping” screen with a pre-delivered coupon code to see if code conversions increase. 

?  Welcome Email 

Vessi has a comprehensive and clean email strategy. 

The wavy lines between sections create great transitions and look aesthetically pleasing. 

The unique value propositions (comfort, style, utility) are clearly stated along with “100% waterproof” and “Lightweight.” 

If a user quickly scrolls, they’ll easily catch these USPs. 

Notice the three icons at the bottom. We call these “trust badges,” and they’re a must for any brand. 

They help build customer confidence, making it easier to purchase from your brand.

? Secondary Welcome Email

Vessi has two CTAs distinguishing those shopping for men’s products and those shopping for women’s products. 

This reduces the number of times a user has to click once they’re onsite. 

Reducing just one click in the user journey can have a massive impact on conversion rates.  

Remember, if a user clicks on a particular CTA, it doesn’t necessarily indicate their gender. Many users are shopping for a friend, partner, etc. 

One way to gain clarity is by asking who they’re shopping for. 

Think about adding a small check box in your pop-ups to gather this information. 

The data collected will help shape customer profiles and deliver relevant emails to shoppers. 

? Abandoned cart 

This is a simple but well-executed email with killer copy: “We’re not spying, but we did notice you were taking a peek at these.” 

Notice the “flexible payment” trust-badge is missing. 

Vessi (presumably) believes enough purchase intent has been shown. Therefore, the icon isn’t necessary.  

On the contrary, you could argue that someone who leaves their cart is price sensitive and might need a push. Tough to tell. 

We’d suggest keeping the badges the same throughout all emails.   

? Order confirmed

Vessi uses Shopify’s standard back-end confirmation emails, but similar to Atoms, they’re a bit bland.

Every touchpoint is an opportunity to showcase your brand’s voice. Insert a line of copy that makes customers laugh or excites them. 

Check out Native deodorants order confirmation email. It’s clever, engaging and makes you laugh. ??

Final note: We’d encourage Vessi to sprinkle social proof throughout their emails. 

The brand needs to add a human element, and customer reviews, UGC, or PR from blogs/articles will help. 

?  Pop-ups 

“If I was putting Atoms’ and Vessi’s pop-up against Cariuma’s, I’d almost guarantee Cariuma’s is getting a better conversion rate,” says Julien. 

“Unlock your free shipping” makes users feel like they’re earning something exclusive. Great copy. 

Additionally, “Free shipping” is bolded and has a larger font than everything else. This makes it crystal clear what you’re receiving. 

? Welcome

All three brands do a killer job of displaying their main value propositions. 

Cariuma is no different with “Good-looking,” “Crazy comfy,” and “Consciously made.” 

The only CTA leads to a women’s page, which is a problem since I’m shopping for men’s sneakers. 

We’d suggest looking into this and potentially adding a men’s and women’s CTA. 

“We’re all about serving up old-school sneakers made with new-school ethics.” This line perfectly sums up the brand’s ethos, which is hugely important in a welcome email. 

Cariuma’s bright green trust badges and great photography makes for an awesome email. 

Similar to their Facebook ads, Afterpay is on every email the brand sends. We love this strategy. 

? Product Launch

Cariuma pairs a stunning header image with a bold statement, “The Lowest Carbon Footprint of Any Sneaker. Ever.” 

The claim is backed up with the exact amount of carbon emissions, and the footer features their certifications. 

While most consumers won’t know what the numbers or certifications mean, it shows the brand’s authority and commitment to sustainability. 

Instead of placing their trust badges in the footer, Cariuma features them higher up on their emails. This increases their visibility. 

? Order confirmed / Order Delivered

For this type of email, Cariuma has a better branded experience compared to Atoms and Vessi. 

They’ve invoked their brand tone with the line: “Good news, you’re about to make your feet very happy.” 

Plus, the brand displays their Instagram at the bottom. A small but important detail. 

The “order confirmed” email isn’t spaced out correctly, making it tough to read, but it’s not the end of the world.  

That’s all for the Facebook analysis. Our next review will cover each brand’s website strategy!

Special thanks to our friends at Pilothouse for their insights on this topic.
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