59% of marketers believe that email is their most significant source of ROI, making it essential for outdoor brands to include it in their digital marketing strategies.  An effective email marketing campaign that stands out among the vast sea of competition is integral to success on this channel. But, what can you do to increase your open rate and boost email engagement??

We put together five fundamental email marketing tips for outdoor brands that will take your customers from their inboxes and into your website. 

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Statement 

Outdoor brands like REI use email marketing for more than just selling their products. Instead, they find opportunities to send emails that encourage their readers to take action and support the environmental or socially conscious causes they promote. One example is their boycott of Black Friday sales. 

Rather than promoting deep discounts and prompting you to rush to your local REI, they applied their #OptOutside campaign to their email marketing strategy to drive people to different landing pages that explained why they opted out of sales and closed their stores. They then offered tips on how you could lower your impact on the environment and how you could experience the outdoors in your area. The campaign became a landmark example of brand awareness that positioned them as a climate change leader. It also had everyone from USA Today to The Verge talking about their ethically charged advertisements to millions around the world. 

2. Make it Personal 

Personalization is crucial for outdoor brands. Segmenting and tailoring their email marketing campaigns to their audiences rather than sending out generic newsletters or promotional pieces is more time consuming, but it makes an impact. Open rates on personalized emails are 29% higher than non-personalized digital mailings. Outdoor brands using custom emails also receive 41% higher unique click-through rates. And marketers believe that personalized emails generate a medium of 122% of their annual ROI. 

Outdoor brands like Patagonia, REI, Snow Peak, and others experience higher open and click-through rates by segmenting and personalizing their emails around specific demographic information. They also send your inbox individualized emails highlighting products based on what they learned from your behavior after you used their websites. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t stop at segmentation and basic customization. You’ll also want to tailor your messaging and branding to motivate your readers to click-through your emails and drive them to the pages they want to improve to move them through the funnel.

3. Create Emails That Are Cohesive with Your Brand Identity 

Cohesive marketing across all of your digital marketing channels can lead to higher engagement. But let’s go back to REI’s #OptOutside Black Friday campaign for a minute. 

Their marketing team designed, wrote, and delivered a cohesive digital experience that communicated their branding goals by knowing the importance of using the same colors, messaging, and identity from the email they sent to the landing pages they directed you to. That cohesiveness delivered a user-experience that kept people on the page long enough to learn that REI is taking an active role in the fight against climate change and garnered more engagement. 

How do you make a cohesive branding identity? We follow these seven best practices for showcasing our clients’ branding through all of the digital content and design work we produce: 

  1. Know your audience
  2. Use high-quality visuals
  3. Get weird
  4. Be accessible
  5. Understand trends
  6. Test, test, test 
  7. Be Consistent 

4. Add Video to Your Email Marketing Strategy

We predicted that we’d see more brands using motion in 2020 to engage users at every step of the marketing funnel. We also think it’s important for outdoor brands to have a video strategy attached to their email marketing plan because movies have the potential to increase click-through rates by 300%

Yeti is an example of an outdoor brand killing it by adding solid video content to their email marketing strategy. If you’re on their mailing list, you may have received an email that included a well-produced video that possibly motivated you to leave your inbox and click-through to the landing page. If you did, you know the power of video first-hand. And if you want to use a similar strategy, but don’t know where to start with video, we recommend checking out our blog covering five video performance secrets you need to know as a primer. 

5. Remember Your Call to Action (CTA)  

Some marketing emails only require you to pack light. Meaning, not every email your company sends out has to include everything we listed here, but it should have a clear CTA to move people from their inboxes and to your website. An outdoor brand like Patagonia does this well by delivering direct and straightforward messaging alongside visual content that includes a simplified CTA to drive people to specific landing pages designed around their advertisements. They also rethought the way they wrote and designed their CTAs, which ended up earning them more brand affinity and engagement from their customers. So, remember, prioritize your CTA to meet the goals of a specific email and your marketing campaign. 

Email Marketing for the Outdoor Industry 

Mad Fish Digital has a passion for helping local and national outdoor brands reach their email marketing goals. If you’d like to learn more about how digital marketing can help support your online presence, or would simply like to discuss the points we’ve made here, feel free to reach out to us at our contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!