Mercury Luggage E-mail Marketing Campaigns

E-mail marketing receives lots of abuse. Just check your Spam folder, and you will find loads of terrible e-mails. When I came on board at my company, we probably would have made that list of e-mail abusers, but with the right communication and coordination, I have been able to turn Mercury Luggage's e-mail marketing into an asset.

comparison of original image and modified image in photoshop
Comparing the original image to the modified image used in a campaign in Photoshop.

The Status Quo of E-mail Campaigns

The sales team put a lot of work into expanding the sports market for Mercury Luggage before I came to the company. They created partnerships with key influencers like the MLB and PGA tour. They nurtured relationships with equipment managers nationwide. As a result, they built great distribution lists for e-mail marketing. Unfortunately, the content and execution had become limiting factors for the effectiveness of their e-mail marketing campaigns.

Technical Issues

old style of email marketing
Example of an e-mail campaign sent before the overhaul.

First of all, their e-blasts lacked proper accessibility. Typically, a graphic artist created a single page flyer as a jpeg, and they would embed the jpeg in the e-mail as an image map. Of course, this strategy presented a problem for e-mail clients that accept only text-based e-mails since almost nothing would show up!

Depending on raster graphics also caused performance issues. Large graphics required larger file sizes which in turn required more download time. People often dislike e-mail marketing in the first place, so they would not wait for the images to load.

Strategic Issues

Aside from technical issues, Mercury Luggage had another problem: inconsistent brand messaging. In the past couple of years, they had undergone a rebrand. The new brand emphasized aspirational travel, and it was squarely aimed at the segment of the market that buys luxury goods. 

The imagery used in the e-mail marketing to that point did not always stay on message though. The backgrounds had been chosen primarily based on the type of sports team being targeted, and often simply involved images of sports equipment with a group shot of the luggage being pushed. Nothing about the images would bring luxury or excitement to mind.

Time For a Change

After I sending a couple of campaigns in the old style, I knew something had to be done. I brought my concerns to my Creative Director who agreed that changes were needed. On the next request for an e-blast, I put together a sample of how we could quickly produce better e-mails using the WYSIWYG builder in Campaign Monitor.

Then it was time sell the concept to others higher up the chain of command. The VP of Sales in charge of this particular project had been steeped in baseball culture for years, and so he made a perfect test subject for how the message would be received by our target audience. When we got his approval with only minor changed, we knew we were on to something. 

A New Formula For E-mail Marketing

email campaign distributed to golf courses

I kept the new formula simple. I used a black background because of its psychological ties to luxury. Next, I included a dramatic, relevant sports image and headline. Then I placed a plain text message below the header so that our message appeared even if recipients chose not to download images.

Products images and links followed the main message. I decided to present important links as buttons to draw the recipients eyes towards a call to action. Finally, the e-mail ended with a closing tagline to reinforce the brand voice.

Following Through On Campaigns

The right message with the right format gave us a good start, but I also knew that more opportunities existed. Campaign Monitor automatically tracks data such as open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. This analytics data offered a window into consumers interests and attitudes that could be used to drive sales and product development.

Unfortunately, no one had been using this readily available data set. I set out to change that. After distributing e-blasts, I sorted through the analytics reports to identify what worked and what did not. For instance, data about the links recipients clicked revealed how effectively the layouts funneled users towards the calls to action. I used this information to continue improving each campaign.

I also shared information with our sales team about receptive recipients to help them sort through which sales leads held promise. Just as importantly, the data also offered clues about leads likely to be dead ends.

The Results

While I cannot share specific numbers (out of respect for the company), I can say that the results have been positive. Higher, and better quality, click-throughs suggest better engagement. In fact, most of the vital e-mail marketing metrics have trended above average as a whole.

We also have made progress in efforts to build the Mercury Luggage brand. The sales team has offered several positive reports from the field about our latest campaigns. While brand perceptions cannot change overnight, the future holds promise.