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Viral email helps Charlotte Rhys net a 44.34% open rate and 17.10% response

Digital Fire continues to provide incredible results for brands through its email marketing campaigns. Charlotte Rhys is no exception, achieving an incredible 44.34% open rate. This is how.
Viral emails are an effective strategy for growing an email database, learning more about the customer and generating revenue. What’s more, the information gained allows for better tailoring of content, segmentation and distribution, further increasing email engagement and ROI.

Using viral emails to market their beauty care products and raise awareness, Charlotte Rhys was able to reach a wide audience, thereby achieving a phenomenal 44.34% open rate and netting a 17.10% response rate.

Understanding the brand

“Charlotte Rhys requires a large digital audience to promote its product”

Charlotte Rhys is an established cosmetics company that offers a wide variety of bath and lifestyle products both online and to the hospitality sector. Their main goal is to provide a luxurious and sophisticated experience, and this has to be communicated in their marketing material.

From offering just one product, the brand has expanded its catalogue to over 100 in just 12 years. Relying heavily on online sales, Charlotte Rhys requires a large digital audience to promote its product.

Taking the challenge head on

“Targeting the right audience with a data rental campaign”

With competition vying for the same online audience, Charlotte Rhys needed to find an effective strategy to communicate with their customers and growing an email list. The brand wanted to target the right audience and encourage them to sign up for the brand’s email marketing material.

Charlotte Rhys Promotional Mailer
Charlotte Rhys Promotional Mailer
click to enlarge
While there were a number of solutions to growing their email list, most required considerable financial investment, but had no guarantee of success. Furthermore, these strategies would not provide instantaneous results, or ROI and performance could not be accurately measured, or would take time to do so.

How Charlotte Rhys got it so right 

“Viral email campaigns have the potential to generate one forward for every 21 opens.”

Charlotte Rhys approached Digital Fire for the best solution. The email marketing and online media agency suggested a viral mailer. “The basic idea of a viral email is to generate buzz,” says Nikki Ingwersen, Digital Fire’s commercial director. “By so doing, it’s more likely to get shared amongst friends, colleagues and family, thereby reaching a wider audience than the original database it was sent to.”

Compared to standard promotional emails which can generate one forward per 370 total opens, viral emails generate an incredible one forward for every 21 opens.

How it works is simple. An email is broadcast to an audience who in turn open it and click through to a microsite or landing page. The landing page contains a form, which the audience enter their details on. Once data is captured they’re taken to a secondary page where they can forward the promo email to anyone they think might be interested in the offer.

Stage 1: Offering an incentive

While the theory surrounding viral email marketing may seem easy, there is a considerable amount of planning and strategy involved. Charlotte Rhys’ viral email would have to incentivise the audience to interact and share it.

How would the brand do this?

The viral email was to be served up as a competition. A premium bottle of Eau De Perfum to the value of R1200 was selected as a prize.

Stage 2: Designing and coding email components  

Once the incentive had been selected, it was now time to decide on the look and feel of the viral mailer. The email heavily relied on rich media, with very little copy and a clear concise call to action. A gif, interchanging between models dressed in black and white as well as a complementary fragrance took centre stage.

Four components were to be created for the viral mailer. These were the:

Promo mailer – the promotional mailer would be sent to the initial email list, which would be provided by Digital Fire. It featured the Charlotte Rhys logo as the header, followed by short copy reading, “A bottle of the Eau De Perfum to the value of R1200 could be yours…”  

Just after the copy, the mailer would feature a large hero gif featuring two models set beside complementary bottles of fragrance. Just above the fragrance a clear call to action was implemented to insure people could enter easily.

Microsite – the microsite took styling cues from the main promo mailer. However, it would only feature the two fragrances that were up for grabs. Right beside the perfumes was a form where contestants could enter the competition. This information would be used by Charlotte Rhys in future email marketing campaigns.

Thank you page – The thank you page featured the two models without the perfumes and a form encouraging contestants to share the competition with family and friends.

Viral mailer – the viral mailer was a duplicate of the original mailer. It would be triggered once a contestant referred the promotion to someone they thought would be interested in the offer.

Stage 3: The audience

Central to Charlotte Rhys’ success was targeting the right audience. Digital Fire selected a primarily female audience within the mid to high LSMs, especially professionals working in various corporate sectors. Their interests ranged from fashion, beauty and cosmetics, luxury goods and lifestyle.

The email list underwent a rigorous detox to remove inactive users. This would significantly increase the email’s deliverability.

Stage 4: Personalisation

Understanding that personalised emails provided six times more transactions, Digital Fire personalised both the subject line and salutation. This would also increase deliverability. Not only did personalisation make conversions more likely, but also subsequent open rates would increase to an average of 29%.

Stage 5: Subject line

Subject lines are the first thing an email recipient sees. This made it essential to create a subject line that would grab the reader’s attention and encourage them to open the email. It was decided that the best to use would be Charlotte Rhys’ own tagline – Perfume Your Wold – as it gave a subtle clue to the contents of the mailer and was very succinct.

Stage 6: Testing

Email clients are built differently and, therefore, interpret HTML code differently. It is for this reasons that Charlotte Rhys had to go through painstaking testing on all email clients available. Digital Fire did so to ensure that the email was successfully delivered and displayed correctly, and made changes to code if errors were picked up.

Stage 7: Broadcasting

Once the email was displaying as it was designed on all email clients, and approved by the client, it was time to schedule. The email had to be sent at a time most of the database was more likely to see and open it. Research and past broadcasts helped Digital Fire decide on broadcasting on a Wednesday at 11am UTC.

The outcome

“With a 17.1% response rate, Charlotte Rhys was able to grow their database substantially.”

The Charlotte Rhys viral mailer was broadcast once and it proved to a phenomenal success with the audience.

The tracked metrics show:
  • A 44.43% Open Rate
  • A 16.7 Click Through Rate
  • A 17.1% Response rate, which is the percentage of people who received the email and entered their details
  • A 10.8% viral response rate
12 Feb 2016 12:16


About Tendai Matsika

Copywriter at R.O.I. Media


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