If this is your first time on the InkHouse blog, let me introduce myself.
I’m Eman – an Email Conversion Strategist & Copywriter. I write money-making, relationship-building email sequences for business owners and creative entrepreneurs. That’s: course creators, coaches, podcasters, authors and eCommerce brands.
Welcome to my email teardown!
I love checking out what big brands are doing with their emails, and dissecting what’s working and what’s not.
This week I’m tearing down Kylie Cosmetics – Kylie Jenner’s ecommerce business.
If you don’t know who Kylie Jenner is…I don’t know where you live or where you’ve been hiding but this woman is UBER famous!
She’s part of the Kardashian family. And this company is part of her billionaire empire.
I wanted to check out what this huge company is doing with their emails and how good (or bad) the email experience is for their customers.
If you’d rather watch the video, you can stop reading here and go hit play. Or you can carry on reading for a summary of The Good, The Bad and The Missed Opportunities (MOPs).
Watch the Video
Good 1. Attractive sign up offer
Above the opt-in box, the copy reads “Sign up for email updates from Kylie Jenner.”
This is a really clever way to get visitors to sign up for the newsletter. Clearly this company knows their audience well, and they know their audience want to hear from Kylie herself.
When you’re considering how to encourage visitors to sign up for your newsletter, always consider what’s valuable to them. What do they really want? (And that isn’t always a discount or offer!). This brand knows their audience well. Props to them!
Good 2. Effective subject line
When the email comes through to my inbox, I can see the subject line is “Welcome to Kylie Cosmetics”. It’s good, it works.
Anyone who’s read a lot of welcome emails, or who knows a lot about emails will know it’s a pretty standard subject line. We could do a lot more with that, but it works.
Good 3. Friendly welcome
“Welcome. Thanks for joining the Kylie Cosmetics Club. You’ll be first to learn about exclusive offers, promotions and new product launches.”
I love the air of exclusivity. The reader is part of a club now – with Kylie Jenner! That’s a great touch.
Good 4. Promo code
A promo code or discount is a great way to get people to sign up to your list. But I’m really pleased this brand didn’t put the offer of a promo code on their home page.
In the opt-in box, where they’re trying to get people to sign up, the enticement is: “hear from Kylie Jenner herself.” Because clearly this brand knows their audience values getting updates from Kylie Jenner more than they value a “save $10” promo code. So that’s great to see!
But the brand doesn’t at any point tell the reader they’re going to get a promo code. It is worth making it clear that a promo code is on its way. It’s a nice surprise when they do see it, but let’s be more strategic and intentional. Tell the audience what they’re going to get, because that’s also a great way to encourage them to sign up or to open the email.
Good 5. One call to action
By using just one call to action (“Shop now”) readers are being driven to do this one thing. They don’t have loads of calls to action they have to choose from. A really good way to drive conversions is to get people to focus on doing just one thing.
Bad 1. The opt-in box is hidden away
If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, you need to make the opt-in box really visible. It could be in the banner at the top of the home page. It could even be a pop up. What it shouldn’t be is a tiny box right at the bottom of your home page, like it is here.
You want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign up.
Bad 2. Lazy call to action
Below the opt-in box is the call to action: “Subscribe”. That’s a bit of a lazy call to action (let’s be honest). It doesn’t do a lot of work for you.
Jo Wiebe (copywriting guru) taught me that a call to action should also be a call to value.
A call to action shouldn’t just tell people to act. It should also tell people what value they’re going to get when they do act. Let your audience know what they’re going to get once they hit the button (in the button), because that will really drive them to do the thing you want them to.
Bad 3. Proofreading hiccup
“COVID-10” is what the email says.
Yupp, COVID-10 instead of COVID -19.
Lesson: always proofread your copy. Better still, get someone else to proofread it for you.
Bad 4. They didn’t deliver the goods
The opt in box copy promised me I’d get updates from Kylie Jenner if I signed up for the newsletter. My expectation (and the expectation set) is that Kylie is going to send me an email.
But she didn’t. Instead, I got a very general, corporate-y email from someone I don’t know.
More on this in ‘missed opportunities’, because this was both a bad move and a missed opportunity.
Bad 5. Wasted real estate
The very top of the email talks about COVID-19 (or COVID-10). It’s a pretty big paragraph that really doesn’t grab the attention or interest of the reader. That’s wasted email real estate. And since you don’t have a lot of that, you really want to make the most of what you do have.
If they’re going to put this announcement right at the top of the email, it really doesn’t need to be that long. I could cut it down to three sentences and still get the main points across.
They could’ve put this announcement somewhere else in the email – somewhere where it wasn’t the first thing people read.
In fact, if it’s deemed to be that important, it could have been a separate email entirely. That way, you can be sure you’re really getting the message across instead of drowning it in an email that covers a few different topics.
The Missed Opportunities (MOPs)
MOP 1. Not writing/signing off as Kylie Jenner
When they promised I’d hear from Kylie Jenner if I signed up for the newsletter, I was expecting to hear from Kylie Jenner herself.
But actually, I just got a very formal email from someone who is definitely not Kylie.
This is a missed opportunity.
They could’ve written this email as if Kylie had written it, and signed off with Kylie’s name.
That’s what subscribers are expecting. So what was promised and what I actually got are worlds apart. If I was a genuine Kylie fan, I’d be really disappointed.
This was a great chance to create instant connection, instant love for the brand and a real wow factor that kept people reading and opening their emails.
There are two different ways the brand could’ve gone about this. Well, there are lots of ways, but the two that came to my mind immediately was:
- have Kylie signing off after every email or,
- have Kylie sign off (only) on the first welcome email.
Both options would work, and both options are better than what’s currently in place.
Lesson: if you promise subscribers something… deliver.
NOTE: I’m not going to go through the second welcome email, but just so you have some extra context I want you to know that the second welcome email is signed off as Kylie.
That’s great, but it really needs to come in the very first email because THAT is the perfect time for “Kylie” to say hi to her new customers.
MOP 2. Lack of personalisation
Continuing on with my point above, a really clever way to have Kylie say hi to her subscribers is by using personalisation.
“Hi Eman!” instead of “Welcome.”
Readers would feel crazy special at the thought of Kylie knowing their name! They’ll feel like Kylie is writing to them individually and that’s what would make people keep reading and keep opening those emails.
MOP 3. Directionless (and again lazy) call to action
The ”Shop now” button takes you back to the home page of the website.
This is super overwhelming for me because as someone who’s hit the button and now wants to shop… I’m being taken right back to where I started.
I don’t have any more information about what to buy, what I might be interested in or where to find those products. And I haven’t even been able to hear from Kylie Jenner at this point, so I’m really disappointed and I’m overwhelmed by the thought of going through all of this information.
How do I even find what I’m looking for? Do I even know what I’m looking for at this point?
There are a few ways to make this experience more customer friendly.
You could, for example, direct people to the three most popular categories e.g. hair, face collections, eyes, lips, that kind of thing.
Disclaimer: obviously, I don’t know what the most popular categories are for this brand. That’s where data and research comes in. And that’s why it’s so important to know this information.
The second option is to direct them to, instead of categories, the most popular products themselves.
You’d want to ask yourself (and use data to find out): what are people buying?
What are the best selling items on the website?
Then you put those popular and best-selling products in the email so people are directed straight to those – which makes it easy for them to buy.
That means they don’t have to browse around this huge website like a child in a toy shop, trying to work out not only what they want, but also how to find it. (Seriously though: have you ever taken a child to a HUGE toy shop? I have. Can you say overwhelm and decision fatigue?).
MOP 3a. A Quiz
Another idea is to have a quiz instead of the call to action “Shop now”. A quiz that actually recommends the best products for the reader based on their personality and what they’re looking for.
Imagine a quiz called: “Which Kylie are you?” The results would tell you which cosmetics item/s to buy, with each of them representing a different side of Kylie Jenner’s personality.
Are you ‘True Mama’ or ‘Handbag Ho’? (PS. Each of those are actual product names).
That would be amazing! I would do that quiz!
In the video, I say the second welcome email comes two or three days later.
I double checked that and I was wrong. It doesn’t, it comes the next day. And that email is “A Message From Kylie” (that could do with some work).
BUT… I’ve still got some thoughts on that.
I’d recommend that second email be sent the same day instead of the second day. (Yepp, I advocate (sometimes) sending two welcome emails in one day – it works!).
Thing is: when people sign up to your mailing list, they sign up to hear from you. By actively becoming an email subscriber, they’re giving you explicit permission to email them.
They want to hear from you. And that’s the point at which they’re most excited to hear from you – so take advantage of that.
If you’re going to do a welcome sequence (which you absolutely should), email them every day (or almost every day) for four or five days and see how that goes.
It’s all about experimentation and seeing what works for you and your audience.
Got comments? Leave them below!
PS. If you need some help with your business’ email strategy and copy, drop my team a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Eman Ismail – copy expert and founder of InkHouse – writes conversational copy for businesses that want to sound more human, less robot.
Through her services and online course, she helps brands Marie Kondo their messaging so they’re loved and understood by their ideal customers.
When she’s not running her biz or hosting copywriting workshops for Lloyds Bank, you’ll find her bouncing around (probably injured) at soft play with her not-so-baby boy.