Here’s a refreshing read to start your week, and a quick breakdown of this company’s email marketing strategy
Check out this article from Fast Company for some Monday inspiration—it’s about how going against the grain doesn’t always result in triumph, and how that’s okay.
It’s a great article, and worth a quick read. The byline in my inbox (“What walking a marathon taught this sociologist”) first intrigued me because I’m a runner, and I also happened to have just listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast about marathons (my favorite podcast, by the way).
“They were judging me against a criterion I hadn’t signed up to succeed at, which made me feel like a failure…This made me realize the importance of defining your own criteria for success and sticking to it rigorously.” Read the article »
But it’s not just Fast Company’s content that I enjoy. Fast Company’s emails themselves are an ingenious example of great marketing. Their website turns out a lot of new articles every week—actually, every day. I know, an overload of content is not a “problem” that most of my clients have. But when you do have a ton of great content, what’s the best way to make sure your audience actually sees all of it without overloading them? Fast Company’s emails are a perfect solution.
Fast Company’s email marketing strategy: A quick breakdown
First off, their emails always have a catch subject. They grab my attention when I’m scanning my inbox every time. It’s usually a complete sentence, and it is aimed to pique curiosity. Here are a few recent examples:
- “Coffee drinkers can stop ruining the planet now”
- “22 companies changing the world through design”
- “Tesla’s dashboard sucks. Here’s why”
Notice how they also don’t use capitalization like most email subjects. Instead, without end punctuation, it feels like they are pulling you right into their email to see what they’re talking about.
The opening text
When you open the email, the first thing you see (besides the Fast Co logo) is… not information about the subject line! Instead, you see a one-liner with a few more previews, a plain-text paragraph greeting you, and yes, a native ad. (Curious about native ads? Here’s a nice intro from Copyblogger. I’ll add native ads to my blog post ideas list…they’re worth talking about more!)
After that, you’ll see text about a different article, with a short intro, and of course, a link to read more. Only after that might you see the article that originally intrigued you. Sometimes, the subject-line article is way down the email, past five or six other article previews. And I think that is absolutely genius. I always end up checking out more than what I had planned as I search for the article about the email’s subject. And even when I find it, it’s often worded differently, so I take my brain off autopilot and snap out of my mindless email scanning to actually think about what I’m reading. It’s such a nice break from the typical email newsletter.
And now I’m really sucked into the email, from the opening paragraph—which is filled with references to a variety of articles and lots of in-text links, to article previews—all of which seem as read-worthy as the one referenced in the subject, to the bulleted list of even more articles that are sentence-like hyperlinks with a few keywords after each one, to even a few links that are to other websites.
They can cram links to more than twenty articles in a single email. But crammed is the opposite of how the emails feel. Their text-heavy content, small and sparsely-used photos, and simple, predictable formatting is a piece of cake to navigate. I usually choose one or two articles that are most intriguing to me to read on the spot, and save the email in my inbox for a few more days for when I want a break from work or a mental reset. To me, the articles are that good.
Even if the article content doesn’t perfectly align with your tastes, as a small business owner or influencer of your company’s marketing strategy, I suggest subscribing to Fast Company’s Compass emails for at least a few weeks to check out this strategy in action. When you have quality content and an effective marketing strategy, you end up with a trusting and loyal following—which is just what you need to get long-term customers.
Have a great week!
One more tip
P.S. Guess what… they also reuse content! Sometimes, an article can be seen a few weeks in a row, but always in a difference place in the email with different preview text. I’m sure that they check stats and clicks on their articles, and are giving their best content some extra exposure—another fantastic marketing strategy.