Beauty Entrepreneurs And Executives On The Power Of Email To Push Sales

In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 21 founders and executives: What’s your approach to email marketing, and how has it helped advance your business?

Courtney Baber Co-Founder, The Route

We deploy email once to twice a week to our insider list. We offer tips from our co-founder Nurse Nancy via her blog and incentives for product bundles and giveaways. The idea is to give something to those who are so generous to follow and stay in touch with us. We also work with an email provider called Klaviyo, which allows us to auto-send emails via flows that are sent from taking action on our website. In the end it is a win-win, which is how business and partnerships grow.

Claudia Rosa Co-Founder, Fācit

Ah, the million-dollar marketing struggle: How do you create CRM content that provides value to both your brand and your consumer? Fortunately for us, given that the majority of our customers are annual subscribers, we are able to treat email as more of an authentic relationship-building tool and limit the hard-sell messaging to key moments throughout the year. 

This means being able to share content that is relevant to our customers' interests and provides real value to them, which, in turn, results in higher performing email campaigns overall. And, by nurturing that relationship, it makes our customers more likely to respond positively when we do send through those more sales-oriented emails.

Camrin Agin Founder, ALTYR

I liken our email marketing to dancing a fine line between keeping us top of mind, but not overwhelming our clients' inboxes. Personally, when I receive too many emails from a brand, I end up reading none because I think another one will come any minute. I like to keep them spread out and meaningful, making sure to provide useful information and tips, maybe a mini meditation and usually a promo code. Our clients like to feel included in the ALTYR family, and this helps build our community.

Kerlyne Jean-Baptiste CEO and Founder, KerlyGirl

Subscriber lists are so important. It’s not only your community, it’s also proprietary. We were able to grow our email marketing base quickly by participating in regional and targeted giveaways. Early on, we also took advantage of surveying consumer habits and hair types when sending emails and through our landing page.

What separates us from typical email marketing is that we’re not afraid to integrate our socially conscious voice into our drip campaigns. We make a deliberate effort in our brand to prioritize the image and voices of underrepresented folks in beauty: dark-skin, coily haired, fat and LGBTQ femmes. Our target consumer (gen-Z/millennial Black folk) growingly purchase products that align with social missions.

LISSETTE MONZON Founder, Lilly Be

Email marketing is key, especially with our given circumstances. I started building my list a few years ago at my local markets and events. This list has been able to help sustain my business since turning totally digital because of COVID. I had read that, as small business owners, we can’t rely on social platforms to reach our customers because we do not own those platforms. A website and an email list are my property and always in my control. This proved to be very true. 

I also recently worked with brand strategist Aggie Burnett of ABCreative and, together, we have been building out stronger campaigns, email automations for welcome series, product review, launches and more. There is so much possibility with email marketing. It is a must for every business.

SELMIN KARATAS Co-Founder and CEO, Kazani

Email marketing requires tedious work and exceptional content. The subject needs to be so enticing that the reader will click on it. Also, it shouldn't be bothering consumers and readers if you plan to do email marketing four times a month as one has a chance of getting unsubscribed. The pictures should be up to par and the design colors need to be succinct.

Email marketing contributes to a lot of sales with customers who are already in the system that are repeat customers. I have been speaking with a myriad of marketing agencies. They are advising the following: The task is to get good pictures, great content, and an excellent title that matches it. I have only been sending one email marketing per quarter. Whatever you do as a company, it needs to be consistent. In terms of writing multiple emails, I prefer to work with a professional agency.

Tony Johnson Founder, Krio

We approach email marketing in three segments: sales, awareness and newsletters. Email is integral to our sales strategies as we see high conversion rates from our email campaigns. At least one email announcing a sale is sent out to customers once a month. We are currently assessing whether we should increase the frequency of sale emails to twice a month focusing on personalization to help build brand trust, loyalty and transparency.

To help bring awareness to Sierra Leone, we are introducing our krio passbook, an all-encompassing, engaging learning experience. We help to transport email subscribers to our home country of inspiration. In this passbook, you’ll find different segments to learn, watch, and enjoy lessons and activities to make you feel like you’ve just hopped off the plane in Freetown. These categories include food and drink, culture, history, language and sightseeing. Skincare is a journey, and we are bridging the gap between travel and self-care with our passbook.

Our bi-weekly newsletter of curated content consists of skincare and self-care tips, delicious recipes, playlist and quick facts about Sierra Leone. The intent of the newsletter is to be an easy read for subscribers, but also leave them satisfied with what they have read. The bi-weekly strategy allows us to stay engaged with subscribers and keep the brand top of mind.

SIRKKU HAHN Founder and CEO, Inari Arctic Beauty

Email marketing is one of our core marketing activities. People who subscribe to a newsletter and often read them are a great value for any company. We consider them as our VIP group, and they are the first ones to receive information on newness and content which is not available for all. For me as a founder, it is also a great possibility to establish a more personal relationship with our customers. 

During the pandemic, when physical contact hardly takes place, all events and exhibitions are canceled or virtual, I have an urge to feel closer to our customers, and email marketing is a great method for establishing a connection. Although newsletters are more one-way communication, we get replies frequently, which we appreciate a lot. In 2021, our goal is to focus even more on email marketing.

Anne-Claire Walch Founder, Brûmée and Náu

Email marketing was integral to our launch strategy. We integrated and promoted it amongst our other marketing channels from the start to acquire new leads, i.e., using Facebook lead generation ads, which can be an expensive upfront cost, but, in the past, I've found email subscribers to have a longer lifetime value and higher order value, so the hope is that this expense will pay off in time. 

In the first instance, email has been a great tool to connect with our small, but growing community on a weekly or bi-weekly basis in what feels a more personal way than some other mediums. It's allowed us to be informative in the messages we want to push and, in turn, understand which messages resonate with this more loyal cohort based on clear and concise data. 

Our main focus with email is to drive engagement, traffic to the website and contribute to revenue, all of which it's showing early signs of doing so. It's also an incredibly time- and cost-effective tool if you find the right platform. We've found it to seamlessly slot into our marketing activities and will be a key communication channel for us going forward.

Charlotte Knight Founder and CEO, Ciate London

We tend to send out two emails per brand per week. It's really important to strike a balance between staying top of your customer’s mind and the risk of bombarding them. I think two hits the sweet spot. It’s a wonderful way of reaching and educating our audience about new launches, how to use our core products, and any deals we are currently running. Those who are already on our email database have an interest in the brand, so we know we’re reaching our biggest fans. 

We are always trying to improve, and we’ve found that by fine-tuning our content and regularly cleansing our database of spam email addresses has greatly improved our email performance. Personalization is a key part of our forthcoming email strategy to ensure we are really listening to our customer and serving them the content they want to receive.

Kayla Juan Creative Director, J Beverly Hills

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to connect with both new and returning customers, and we aim to make that experience fun and informational. We put a lot of thought and effort into curating the experience so that our emails are appealing to look at, and we consistently share a variety of hair tutorials with featured products and educate our customers on which product choices are best for their hair concerns.

This approach has allowed us to build trust and increase customer loyalty, improving the number of repeat buyers. We also send out reminders to purchase more when their product is running low and suggest new products that might be a good fit for their hair goals, making their hair healthier and their life easier!

Anna Persaud CEO, This Works

We really pride ourselves on the relationship we have with our customers and, as a brand that doesn’t own a physical brand environment such as a store, our emails are one of the primary ways in which we’re able to interact with our customers.  We have a dedicated CRM team who oversee our nursery program for new customers to the brand, but we also spend a lot of time speaking to our most loyal and regular customers with regular offers, sampling initiatives and early access to launches. One of our key focuses is also on increasing repeat purchases via our website via our email program as a way to grow our business. This year, we’ve increased our repeat customer by 81% YoY.

Janelle Friedman Founder, GoodJanes

Our approach to email marketing is to focus on getting our marketing message in front of our customers and prospective customers. We view email marketing as an essential tool to grow our business. Email marketing allows us to quickly, efficiently and cost effectively send all different types of messages to our audience such as e-blasts about new products, seasonal promotions, newsletters, and other types of emails to inform or engage our customers. 

Email marketing has helped advance our business because it is a cost-effective way of advertising. You can personalize your message without spending a lot of money, and you can do it yourself. It also helps us with brand identification because we can attach text, short how-to videos, links to our website or even a feedback form. We also include our logo and our social media links at the bottom of every email message to help our clients know us better. In addition, email marketing helps build our email list of clients, customers, and prospects who you can continue to market by emailing regularly to build your brand, your sales and your profits.

Courtney Summers Founder and CEO, VaultBeauty

Our focus is on building community and, because of that, we put a lot of effort in communicating with our users through social media and email. Our approach is to keep it genuine and timely. New to VaultBeauty? You get a welcome email. Did you sign up to learn more? We send a "Learn More" email detailing the value of VaultBeauty. To ensure every email has a clear purpose, each email is tailored for the user (e.g., VaultBeauty artists only get emails with resources for artists, etc.). This careful attention has allowed us to build a more loyal and happy community.

Jane Moran Brand Vice President, Eva NYC

When it comes to email marketing, segmentation and focused messaging are two key strategies that our e-commerce and digital teams work on closely together. Audience segmentation based on our customer shopping behavior, purchase history and demographics have always been important to make sure that we’re sending relevant email content to the audiences who would respond best to them, which also helps optimize our open and click-through rates. 

Our digital team works hard to ensure we’re developing high-quality and engaging content that not only elevates our brand, but also brings in the storytelling piece without compromising on potential conversions. It’s been a very successful approach thus far as we’ve not only been able to consistently hit above industry average numbers, but also achieve beyond our revenue goals for our DTC website in 2020.

Purvisha Patel Founder, Visha Skincare

Email marketing I would say is the most important outreach and marketing component of our business. It helps us reach out to those subscribed regularly and create touch points between the customers and the brand. We are able to send promotions directly to customers monthly and this results in direct sales. For the cost of email marketing and development, it is an excellent ROI.

Fabrice Gibert-Darras General Manager, BH Cosmetics

We look at email marketing as an opportunity to connect directly with our customers. Over the past year, we’ve increased our communication frequency, identified opportunities to help customers throughout their shopping journey, and provided our more robust content including tutorial-style to drive both engagement and conversion rates. This email strategy has advanced our business most significantly by driving the turnover of our new launches, pushing innovation to a higher contribution level than previous years.

Lynnsee Van Gordon Founder, Anese

As we’ve grown, our email marketing strategy has changed significantly. We take a data approach to analyzing the success of a campaign. We have also integrated automation logic into our strategy. As a company, we are huge on testing, so we test as much as we can to learn what works.

Carolyn Aronson CEO and Founder, It's A 10 Haircare and Be A 10 Cosmetics

We have built our e-commerce platform and our email database tremendously over the past three years and continue to do so. Our approach has been to build our email database through advertising and marketing. Because this was a priority for us prior to the pandemic, it allowed us to continue building strong customer relationships this year.

Erika Kussmann CMO, Paula’s Choice

Email is an important connection we have with the customer once they become part of the brand and, so, our focus is guidance and relevance. Once a customer has bought their first product, they are at a point where they’re looking for help about what to use with that product, to build the best routine for themselves. The combination of our content, education and AI tools to understand where the customer is in their journey helps us provide the best and most helpful solutions.   

Chris Payne CEO, Jane Iredale

We take a balanced approach to email marketing, a mix of promotional offers and storytelling. Ultimately, we want our community to receive our emails, find them relevant, useful and act on them.  To help do this, we continually strive to better use data in an attempt to serve up meaningful content and messages. From a broader perspective, we also seek to align our messages across all channels whenever possible to approach our consumer in a holistic manner.

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