Successful E-Mail Campaign Example

How one coffee and tea retailer is using email to reach customers.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a retailer that began operations during the 1960s in Berkeley, Calif. The popular coffee shop soon spread throughout California, and eventually all over the United States via a print catalog.

With the Internet becoming a greater part of our daily lives, Peet’s went online [http://www.peets.com] and conducted an e-mail campaign to introduce and familiarize its customers with the site’s features. The introductory e-mail campaign generated positive feedback from consumers so Peet’s decided to run a follow-up campaign.

As with the first e-mail campaign, Peet’s turned to Digital Impact [http://www.digital-impact.com], a San Mateo, Calif.-based e-mail marketing firm, for assistance. Peet’s initial campaign was designed to alert consumers about its Web site. The main objective was to foster a feeling of fun and build a relationship with the recipient.

Instead of focusing on selling a product or products — as most e-mail campaigns often do — Peet’s second campaign attempted to further foster this laid-back atmosphere. To begin the e-mail campaign, Peet’s mailed out 1,000 test messages to determine whether any negative or unexpected problems might arise. There were no problems or complaints from the recipients and Peet’s mailed out the remaining 19,000 messages two days later.

The e-mail messages were sent out in both HTML and text formats and contained a brief greeting and a copy of a comic with a coffee/Internet theme from New Yorker magazine. In an interesting side note, Peet’s sent out the e-mails late at night assuming that most people would open the e-mails in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee. This enabled Peet’s to target a particular time of day when they believed their e-mail message would be most receptive and effective.

The e-mail campaign’s friendly, non-pushy tone and late night delivery worked. The campaign generated approximately 100 positive responses from recipients the following day. Within two weeks, the campaign’s click-through rate was an impressive 32 percent. The second campaign, plus Peet’s initial introductory campaign resulted in a 15 percent overall increase in sales.

To top it off, the campaigns only accounted for .05 percent of Peet’s total advertising budget.

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