Fashion Newsletter – original illustration by Becky Snare
I’m on a mission to make fashion writing better. As with any campaign, one of the ways we can all help is by using our power as consumers. I asked people to stop buying rubbish fashion magazines in my Bettakultcha talk at Leeds Town Hall. Now I’m asking: why have you signed up to those fashion email newsletters?
Firstly, why does the fashion newsletter even exist? It’s pretty simple: to gain more sales through promotions and fashion content. Email marketing is still an incredibly effective sales tool – as I discussed in my post on Cadbury’s email campaigns – and for a lot of brands, less scary than social media and easier to track. When an email newsletter pops into your inbox, the main CTA is ‘buy stuff from us’.
Why are they useful for customers? If you’re a dedicated shopper, email newsletters are ideal for flash discounts and sales reminders. But I question whether we should consider them in this way. If we stopped thinking of them as prettily-packaged Voucher Codes and instead as miniature fashion editorial, we could get a lot more out of them.
So, what could you judge them on instead of discounts? Most fashion email newsletters will include advice on trends, new products, the brand’s work with bloggers and celebrity looks. They’re giving you valuable fashion information that you can share online, use as inspiration or work into your wardrobe. If you find yourself skimming the content and searching for the discount code, it’s time to ditch that particular brand’s email. You’re a valuable customer with sartorial sense, not a cash machine. Pick newsletters based on quality of content first, and buying opportunities second.
You’ve made the decision to go from discount code to decent editorial. Now, how do you filter these fashion newsletters? Sometimes we like a discount or two, so if there’s a particular brand you shop from a lot and get good discounts from, keep the subscription. But there are some simple ways to strip the wheat from the chaff and avoid spiralling into an email hole:
- Set up a separate email account for brand newsletters to keep your purchasing habits away from your professional encounters. This is the most effective and easiest way to kick your newsletter addiction.
- Set up separate sub-folders in your inbox for each newsletter you’re subscribed to. This is easily done in Hotmail – just click ‘New folder’ at the bottom of the left sidebar and put the details in.
- Filter the emails into the sub-folders automatically. Here’s how to do that for the two email providers I use.
Hotmail: When a new newsletter arrives, select it. Click Sweep > Move all from > Select your sub-folder and tick ‘Also move future messages’. That’s it! All your newsletters will now go into a sub-folder, rather than your inbox.
Gmail: After tinkering with Gmail labels and filters, it does seem harder to separate different emails than I expected. If you’re using the new tabbed inbox, edit the filter settings under ‘Promotions’ to pop your email newsletters into this tab (Promotions > Edit your filters > Create new filter).
You’ll need to manually add all the email addresses your newsletters come from into one filter. Then click ‘Create new filter’ and categorise them all under ‘Promotions’.
The point of filtering is to avoid temptation, clean up your email and create the experience of reading and enjoying the fashion newsletters like a magazine: with a cup of tea, a biscuit, and some spare time.
You’ve chosen your newsletters carefully and filtered them out, but how do you avoid outrageous spending whenever these tempting offers arrive? Firstly, if you’ve chosen your newsletters for content over cost-savings, you’ll find you’re spending less cash but taking more time to engage with the brand and their fashion knowledge. You’ll be getting more out of the brand who, in turn, will receive better CTR, brand engagement and customer loyalty.
Secondly, by filtering the newsletters into sub-folders, you won’t be distracted when you’re trying to do some proper work. Instead, take 15 minutes of your lunch break to have a look at your sub-folders and cherry-pick your reading material, like you would a magazine. Reading and genuinely thinking about the content means a reduced likelihood of reactive last minute spending.
Lastly, if you’ve set up a separate email for newsletters (which I highly recommend), only visit that email account on payday. It’s really that simple. Yes, you might miss out on a discount code, but if you couldn’t afford it anyway, why does it matter?
If I’ve convinced you that a decent newsletter cull is in order, perhaps you’ll be interested to know which ones I subscribe to. I used to receive at least 10 different brands’ newsletters, and spent too much time browsing things I couldn’t afford. Now, my main fashion newsletter is Net-A-Porter. It has quality editorial, exclusive content, sales alerts (not discount codes), and fantastic images. It’s soft-sell, filtered into a sub-folder in my inbox and the content is regularly used in my blog posts. I also like Emerald Street and the Telegraph’s fashion newsletter.
Join my mission to promote quality fashion editorial – tweet me @ebsnare or share this with your friends. Maybe even by email.