Deborah Lippmann's Six Tips for Polishing Your Email Strategy

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The cofounder and managing partner of the luxury nail lacquer brand shares his best practices for sending successful emails this holiday season and beyond.

As a celebrity manicurist, Deborah Lippmann is used to catering to the stars. But when it comes to her eponymous luxury nail lacquer brand, it's the customers who get the real VIP treatment.

Deborah Lippmann is distributed to about 1,500 stores in 24 countries worldwide. And while social media certainly helps the brand connect to its international consumer base—it has more than 81,000 Instagram followers—email allows the company to directly engage with customers and offer them exclusive value.

“We can engage them in a much more direct and personal way than we can with social,” says Mark Lippmann, cofounder and managing partner of Deborah Lippmann.

Indeed, Mr. Lippmann considers social more of a batch-and-blast channel while email allows him to connect with more engaged customers, communicate with them in a more direct way, and achieve better results. He has the numbers to prove it, too. He says that the brand's initial welcome email has a 33.3% conversion rate, and 47.21% of online transactions come from email.

Despite this success, Deborah Lippmann isn't done polishing up its program yet. Like many marketers, the brand is currently preparing for the upcoming holiday season. Lippmann shared some of his email marketing best practices that marketers can leverage this holiday season and all year long. Here are six:

1. Consider the device. Three years ago 50% of Deborah Lippmann's site visitors came from mobile devices. To ensure that its Web and email content were suitable for this audience, Deborah Lippmann redesigned its website and implemented a new email service provider, dotmailer. Today, Lippmann estimates that 60% to 70% of its site visitors come from mobile.

However, Lippmann knows that mobile site visits don't always equal mobile conversions, especially given the often frustrating consumer experience of having to enter billing and shipping information.

“That's been a huge stumbling block for e-commerce, in general, in terms of checkout,” he says.

To make the purchase process easier for mobile shoppers, Deborah Lippmann worked with dotmailer to implement an Apple Pay purchase button that allows customers to buy an item with a single tap inside of their email.

“It can take the transaction from ‘I want it' to ‘I bought it' [in] about three seconds,” Lippmann says

2. Offer subscribers exclusive value. Lippmann knows that “Black Friday is no longer a Friday experience,” but rather a month-long shopping spree. The nail lacquer brand decided to get an early start on its holiday marketing by exclusively offering email subscribers early access to its holiday products this month. For other marketers looking to implement a similar strategy, Lippmann advises them to ensure that they can offer the early-access products at the time of the email send.

“We don't want to tease them in an email campaign with something they can't get yet,” he says.

Not only does this exclusive strategy benefit customers who are looking to start their holiday shopping early, but it also benefits Deborah Lippmann by encouraging customers to buy directly from the brand, versus its retail partners.

“As long we're staying front of mind and we're presenting content that is more rich and engaging than [what they] can get from other partners, then we feel like we have a win,” Lippmann says.

3. Make the experience personal. Before working with dotmailer, Deborah Lippmann sent primarily batch-and-blast messages—which resulted in what Lippmann refers to as “fair engagement.” Now, the brand sends a range of targeted messages, ranging from welcome and abandoned cart emails to birthday campaigns and special offers. Lippmann says the company even sends replenishment emails reminding customers to order more of a particular item when they might be running low.

“Being able to do all of that kind of segmentation and automated, targeted campaigns was really important to us,” he says. 

4. Don't over-email. Lippmann discourages marketers from emailing their customers multiple times a day. And even on Black Friday—when nearly any email cadence goes—Lippmann advises marketers to pay attention to customers' behavior and to segment them out once they've converted.

5. Always test. A/B testing is crucial during the holiday season and beyond. Lippmann encourages marketers to test everything from their calls-to-action to their wording to their subject lines. Doing so, he notes, provides an opportunity for customers to weigh in and influence a brand's strategy.

6. Show that you still care after purchase. It's important for customers to know that their relationship with a brand doesn't have to end at the register.  Deborah Lippmann shows its customers that it still values them by sending a customer care follow-up email 10 days after they receive their order. Lippmann says this email thanks the customers for their purchase and lets them know that the brand is there for them if they have any questions or would like additional information.

As he puts it, “They bought the product, but we are there for them."

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