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Minimalism in Email Marketing: An Ello Story

6 min

Unless you’re an artsy marketer, who spends his free time doing DIY Pinterest projects or catching up on the latest in art, design, or culture, you may not care for Ello. This social media phenomenon became every artist’s mecca once all the curious “normal” people forgot their passwords.

So, why does a marketing blog bring up such a hipster creative network website? Not because you can market on it (well, you might be able to, but that’s material for another post), but because Ello ROCKS at email marketing. From simple product updates to GIF and emoji filled emails, Ello deserves a shout out for making minimalism relevant in email marketing.

First things first, what is Ello?

What is Ello?

Secondly, what is minimalism in email marketing?

According to Email Monks’ “Minimalist Email Design – A Timeless Style You Must Embrace”, it’s about embracing the five rules of ommmm:

  1. Using negative space
  2. Clear, crisp, and thought out typography
  3. Monochromatic or highlighting color scheme
  4. Icons (or images) rather than bulks of text
  5. Understanding the rules of visual importance

These rules aren’t there just to please all the design and minimalism followers, they are there because 54% of sent emails are now open on mobile devices – and that number is rising! Mobile devices are increasing, emails sent are increasing, and our attention span is also reaching going from 7 seconds to 11. Why am I mentioning the 7 to 11 statistic? Because as a marketer you need to grasp just how much time you have to convey your message – 11 seconds! Which is why it’s time you pump up your design skills and take a note from Ello’s crisp and to-the-point email marketing.

Product Updates

This is one of the most important emails we as marketers tend to send. Sometimes a product update can be the fine line between gaining or keeping a customer and losing someone’s interest.

Over the years I’ve received numerous product updates:

  • Plain text
  • An image and a link that takes me to a news update
  • A giant button prompting me to go take a look at an updated website
  • An email with a blog post link telling me something changed

What all of these lacked was a quick and preferably visually provoking update that doesn’t force the customer into clicking too much, figuring out too much, or maybe even forget that something changed.

The best way to quickly show what’s changed and get someone to go take a look? Throw a video or a GIF into your email. There’s a fabulous stat to back that up – emails with video in them receive an increase in their CTR by a whopping 96%. Why a GIF? Because it’s sometimes easier to throw in a little looped preview of what changed and what can be expected.

Here are three examples of great Ello product update emails (in full disclosure, they are not screenshots of the entire emails as Ello is the king of long haul emails!):

Ello Product Update email
Ello Product Update email part 4
Ello Product Update email

Copywriting that grabs your attention

As you may have already noticed, Ello has a specific copywriting style, moreover, it is a consistent style. The best thing you can do for your emails is to have a set of rules for your writing – from how you address your audience down to grammar rules you want to abide by.

If you know your customer personas you know exactly what speaks to them, take advantage of that knowledge and send them copy that they can relate to. Ello is a community full of artists, designers, and connoisseurs of good taste, their copy reflects that cool, chill vibe:

Ello Sunday digest email
Ello winter email
Ello celebrating textile art email

Being part of your community

The only way to increase your contacts list is by making sure there is value to it. Every email marketing expert will tell you that list hygiene is the way to go, it is better to lose 37 crappy contacts that refuse to acknowledge your emails, and in turn – your business, but gain 17 awesome contacts that engage with your business, help you step up your game, and finally – that buy into whatever you’re selling.

What does engagement look like and what are the benefits of it? It’s pretty easy, actually.

Read more about email list management and why it’s worth investing in good processes.

Feedback and Survey emails

You may not always hear what you’d like but there is no better way to increase your CTR and ROI than with some honest thoughts from the very users you are trying to entice into buying. Your business is, after all, for your customers and the best way to get that across is by working with them.

Ask your contacts for help! Are you working on a new product? Are there any customer behaviors that baffle you? Why not just create a survey email that will help you create solid customer personas, tweak your upcoming product, and in turn get more sales or responses.

As with everything Ello does – there is no hidden agenda, no marketing slogans and numerous banners taking away from the key message – do you like the emails you’re receiving?:

Ello feedback survey email

Another favorite minimalistic (meaning clear and simple) approach I love about Ello is the sheer honesty. We’re thinking of working on a project, we’d love to know if it really is relevant to you, our customer:

Jobs on Ello email

Case studies and Testimonials

An incredible amount of businesses produce case studies and testimonials that are posted on their website and left for people to find. Why not wrap that content in an easily digestible email that will reach every customer and prospect alike?

Ello did an excellent job of including their community in their emails. It was not really a case study and probably not a testimonial, but it was a great way to share what they do – for artists by artists to expand artistry (triple-a if you will). Check out their fab interview emails:

Ello interview emails

These were a great read to receive in my inbox. Tired of slogans, banners, screaming promotions, and endless overstuffed emails it was refreshing to just receive content. Pure and simple, a way for me to bond with Ello and look forward to their emails!

Ello interview with Cyberella email

Including your customers

This might be a very niche thing to do, but Ello did an incredible job of engaging their community by asking them to be part of their team! Sure, you may not be able to hire your customers (Or can you?) but they can be a huge asset in showing prospects and customers that you are open to working with them to create a product that they want beyond the usual survey and feedback research.

Ello send a beautifully simple and easy email asking their community if they’d like to be a guest-editor. They send a very clear message about their values – we are a community FOR a community. I love that there are no marketing words, no hidden clauses, and besides the essentials there are no links to various places.

Be a guest editor for Ello email

Bullet points, dates, bold text, and a VERY clear CTA button, what’s not to love?

Blank canvas

I have to admit, I have not logged into my Ello account a very, very long time but I still keep my account around to make sure I receive their email updates. The simplicity of each email and the incredible content curation is not just pleasing to me as someone who loves art and design, it is also an inspiration as a digital marketer, email campaign sender, and content curator.

Every campaign, message, and sale can be sent without the need to overwhelm. If every email we sent was this clear, positive, and mobile-friendly we’d build an empire of awesomeness like Ello!

What do you think of minimalism in email marketing? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!