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5 Best-Practice Email Marketing Case Studies

Authors: Alp Mimaroglu Alp Mimaroglu
Posted Under: Digital Marketing
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5 Best-Practice Email Marketing Case Studies

Momentum Worldwide came out with a very insightful marketing chart for 2015. I’m curious, what catches your eye most?

Momentum infographic

Among the most important lead sources, email marketing stands out as a clear winner. It barely loses to social media and SEO in inbound effectiveness, and surpasses every other outbound lead source by a significant percentage. In other words, email marketing is, pound for pound, still your best source for quality leads. 

This should come as no surprise. Email marketing is the modern form of direct response marketing, which has long been revered as the most effective form of marketing.

David Ogilvy, the founder of mega-agency Ogilvy & Mather and a former door-to-door stove salesman, often criticized inbound marketing (what he called “general marketing”) for being ineffective and unscientific by comparison. And freelance direct response writers are easily the highest paid freelance writers, with members of AWAI taking home millions just to write sales letters and email marketing campaigns.

So why are marketers so focused on inbound lead generation these days? It seems like blog posts, social media, and SEO have far surpassed email marketing in terms of priorities, but email is probably still your best bet to convert leads and upsell existing customers.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at what these five companies have been doing with their email marketing.


Argos, a UK-based toys, trinkets, and home furnishings retailer implemented a new basket abandonment email.

They retarget customers who abandoned their online shopping cart with personalized follow up messages in their inbox by using browsing data and email engagement. The follow up email would offer up to six alternative products that the customer might be interested in, based on what’s in their abandoned cart, as well as their demographic information.

Although this might seem a bit underhanded, Argos was obtaining all their information legally, and the campaign bolstered their conversion and revenue.

Argos abandoned cart


Instead of trying to squeeze in a promotion at the bottom of an email, Birchbox smartly sends email subscribers a follow up email where they claim to have “forgotten” a discount code to Rent the Runway, a dress rental company that fits their online profile.

There’s no hidden metrics here, but it’s a brilliant example of smart, strategic marketing psychology. Do you really need to see the numbers to believe that this got more email subscribers clicking than a tacked-on promotion at the bottom of another email might have?birchbox-email-example


Dell GIF

Dell may not be known for any recent innovations, but the hardware powerhouse still knows how to pack a punch. After launching a GIF-heavy email marketing campaign, Dell lifted their revenue by 109%. Not too shabby for a brand many assumed had no more fight left in it.

This is both surprising and unsurprising. It’s surprising because video, rather than GIFs, is the trend for both emails and landing pages. But it’s also unsurprising because, by bucking this modern trend, Dell is staying consistent with its old-school brand and feel, which I’m sure its email subscribers appreciated.


Hammock email header

Hammock, a creative agency, has its work cut out for it when it comes to email signups. Most agency email subscribers are B2B clients, and they already receive so much email from agency account managers, projects managers, and creatives that they would need a very compelling reason to read any more agency email.
Yet Hammock managed to increase open rates by 48% for B2B companies.

Their secret? Simplifying content. Hammock’s !dea Email is, in their own words, “One bright idea, every two weeks.” They even poke fun at it by calling it their “un-newsletter.” But hey, it works.

Zumba Fitness

Zumba Fitness - Real Men Dance

Not only is Zumba taking the nation by storm, but Zumba Fitness, the company behind the sensation, knows how to do email marketing like a 21st century contender.

Each year, Zumba Fitness hosts an Instructor Convention, which instructors at its 200,000 locations are encouraged to attend. In 2014, Zumba decided to kick off their Instructor Convention sign up with an email that included a compilation video of past Conventions. What made this email video special was the call-to-action at the very end, when an invitation with the recipient’s name appears.

This little bit of personalization worked. Zumba Fitness saw a 50% click-to-open rate with this email. According to MailChimp statistics, the average open rate of a company with over 50 employees is 23.61%, meaning Zumba Fitness beat the average by over 100%.

Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised with Zumba instructors like this guy. An Instructor Convention is probably a dream come true for him.

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